In an occurrence that would have been inconceivable just a few months ago, AEW Dynamite has beaten WWE Raw in the 18-49 demographic twice in a row. And with AEW Grand Slam taking place this week, with some huge matchups planned for Arthur Ashe Stadium, and with Raw up against another Monday Night Football game, the outcome seems all but inevitable. But WWE is pulling out all the stops, sending Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his entire family from Smackdown to Raw this week in hopes that The Tribal Chief can make a ratings difference. Will it work?
Announced for Raw on Monday, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos, with Paul Heyman in tow, will take on newly-crowned WWE Champion Big E along with his partners in The New Day in a six-man tag match. In other championship action on Raw, Jeff Hardy, who you may remember as that jobber chasing the 24/7 title a few weeks ago, gets a shot against Damian Priest for the United States Champion. Can Hardy pull off an upset win? Additionally, Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH will challenge Natalya and Tamina for their Raw Tag Team Championships, now that WWE has remembered they hold them. Other segments planned for WWE Raw this week include a championship celebration for Big E by The New Day and Charlotte Flair as a guest on Alexa's Playground, sure to feature lots of magical spooky doll action like true wrestling fans demand. Also announced last week, but possibly forgotten by now because it wasn't amongst the press releases WWE put out for the show, is a match between Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.
On Smackdown next Friday, Liv Morgan will face Zelina Vega, and if Morgan wins, she'll get to face Carmella, who she has promised to permanently disfigure, at Extreme Rules. Also advertised for Smackdown next week, Shinsuke Nakamura will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews, and we're hoping Crews wins just so we don't have to listen to Rick Boogs play his out-of-tune guitar after the match.
And later this month, WWE Extreme Rules will feature a Universal Championship match between champion Roman Reigns and The Demon Finn Balor. In addition, Sheamus will challenge Damian Priest for the United States Championship after winning a number one contender match against Drew McIntyre on Raw. Alexa Bliss and her magical doll, Lily, will get a shot at Charlotte Flair's Raw Women's Championship. Bianca Belair will get a SummerSlam rematch against Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women's Championship. And the Street Profits will get yet another shot at the Smackdown Tag Team Championships against The Usos. Then, at Crown Jewel in October (which doesn't bode well for The Demon's chances at Extreme Rules), Roman Reigns will defend the Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar.
All cards, of course, are subject to change, in case Vince McMahon shows up at the arena and decides to tear up the script two hours before the show, as he is wont to do. WWE Raw airs at 8PM Eastern on the USA Network. Smackdown airs at 8PM Eastern on Fox. Extreme Rules will take place on Sunday, September 26th, streaming on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network elsewhere. Crown Jewel takes place in Saudi Arabia at 1PM Eastern on Thursday, October 21st.