Over the last several months, we have seen the build towards next week. After all of the build, all of the setup and all of the hype, we are finally ready for what is going to be the biggest week of the year (yes bigger than WrestleMania week) and one of the biggest of all time. It really is just next week and I’m somewhere between excited and ready for it to be over already.

Next week will see a grand total of FIVE major shows, all of which will have at least some sort of historical context or significance. That makes for a heck of a week and every company involved is already setting things up to be ready for their big shows. I have no idea how each one of them is going to go, but today we’re going to size them up a bit, which could help or hurt things.

This week we’re going to look at the five major shows taking place in the coming week and see what each one has advertised in advance. In addition, we’re going to try to see what might be happening and where each show will be going from there. A lot of this is going to be guess work and messing around with the future, but that is the kind of thing that can be the most fun.

These are in chronological order.

Monday Night Raw

Somehow this is the season premiere, even though the season doesn’t have a finale, making it more like the inverted 24/7 Title match of shows. Believe it or not this might be the weakest/least important of the major shows of the week, which is almost impossible to fathom for Monday Night Raw. WWE is trying here, but this is the first week of the new reality: Monday Night Raw is secondary to SmackDown, as it should be.

He’s up next:

WWE has already stacked the show as well, with AJ Styles defending the United States Title against Cedric Alexander (in case the previous title match and ensuing beatdown in a six man tag didn’t take), Brock Lesnar appearing, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair as guests on MizTV and Rey Mysterio challenging Seth Rollins for the Universal Title. Throw in Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss and the fact that it is the go home show for Hell in a Cell and this is actually one of the biggest Monday Night Raw’s in a long time. Oh and the Fiend will likely be around to scare Rollins, who is rapidly losing any backbone he has.

This show is stacked, yet it still doesn’t feel all that important. With so many things on the card, including a real chance of a US Title change and a glimmer of a chance at the Universal Title changing hands, we could be in for a big night. This is just the appetizer show though, as we move on to the big stuff in a hurry. Somehow that might be the new reality and that is going to take some serious getting used to.


This one is kind of cheating but kind of not, as the show goes full on two hours on the USA Network instead of the somewhat annoying half USA/half WWE Network, but what matters here is that it is officially competition to the new enemy in town. At the moment it isn’t clear what we’ll be seeing for the most part, but that is part of what makes NXT so much fun.

It worked the first time:

So far we have two title matches announced for the show with the Street Profits getting their rematch against the Undisputed Era for the Tag Team Titles and Candice LeRae challenging Shayna Baszler for the Women’s Title. That leaves a lot of time to cover, though a title change wouldn’t shock me. It also wouldn’t be out of the question to have some kind of a surprise, which is where NXT excels.

Overall, NXT is in the most unique place of all the shows. Not only is it the big two hour premiere on the network, but it also serves as a show designed to fight off the other company. I’m sure WWE wants it to do well and has some expectations, but I have a feeling they would be happy if it just took away some numbers from AEW, which isn’t something you see too often.


Here we go. This is the moment that a lot of fans have been waiting a long time to see: a well funded company with some major talent taking on the WWE head to head. That being said, they haven’t even held five shows yet and we’re doing this already. That can be both good and bad, as they have no history to run on, but they also have no history or reputation to drag them down. We really will be seeing them thrown into the deep end and that’s fascinating.

We’ve come a long way to get here:

They already have a good chunk of their card announced, with Chris Jericho and some mystery partners (likely the former LAX) against Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, Cody vs. Sammy Guevara, Jon Moxley doing something, the first ever Women’s Title match and more. In other words, they already have some stuff ready and that can make things a little more interesting. It’s them saying “here’s what we’ve got, come enjoy it”.

I’ve said this for months now and it’s still true: while important, the results of the first show aren’t what matter. What matters is what they’re doing on the fifteenth or thirty second or one hundred and nineteenth shows. AEW is taking one of their first (and most important) steps but this company is still less than a year old and literally has not yet put on as many shows as WWE runs on television in a given week. They have a long way to go, but this is where they’re getting started.


Now this is where things reach their peak. I know AEW could wind up being a huge deal down the line (or they could be a complete failure) but this is one of the biggest things that wrestling has ever seen. WWE is moving one of its biggest shows to broadcast television every single week in prime time. Even at their peak, they were lucky to get a handful of these specials (or none at all if you’re talking about the Attitude Era). It’s the big time now, and WWE seems to know this.

This, but with a bigger budget:

Next week has the huge card that the show needs, with Brock Lesnar challenging Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship and Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon in a ladder match with the loser leaving town (or at least the show). As a bonus, the Four Horsewomen explode again in another tag match, which should be awesome. Oh and it’s the 20th anniversary of the show and that means legends a go-go. What more could you ask for from a two hour show?

What matters here is putting their big foot forward and that is what WWE seems ready to do. Just like AEW, WWE is stepping into a much larger world and they better have some things ready to go to get them along the lines. There is a built in WWE audience, but they have to have a way to keep it around. If WWE can make this work, they’re going to make an even bigger fortune than usual, and that is worth trying to do. On to the big leagues we go and it could go in several directions.

Hell In A Cell 2019

Oh yeah this exists too, though you might not remember it if you haven’t heard about it lately. The problem here is very simple: it comes at the end of the week and the build to the show has been so rushed that it is hard to care about the thing. It doesn’t help that there is going to be a long stretch between this and Survivor Series, though the Saudi Arabian show in the middle should, ahem, help.

A little more of this maybe:

The card itself is….mostly empty at the moment with only a handful of matches having been set. So far we have the two Cell matches (Seth Rollins defends against the Fiend and Sasha Banks challenges Becky Lynch) plus Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan vs. the former Bludgeon Brothers, but they are going to need to add about seven matches in the span of a week. I’m sure they have them, but with so many matches taking place on the big TV shows, there isn’t much left to put on here.

The Cell pay per view has always been one of the weaker on the calendar due to the Cell matches being treated as all that matters on the card. Two big title changes could go a long way, but odds are we’re not seeing the SmackDown World Title defended on the show. It could wind up working out just fine, but I’m not sure how much hope they have for this one.

Overall….my goodness what a week. I’m not sure what we’re going to be seeing on the whole thing, but there is almost a guarantee of some great stuff. Above that though, we have some major historical moments and that could make for some very important moments. Hopefully we have a good week, though it certainly sounds exhausting. That is where we’re going in the future though and you better be ready for the ride.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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