If Monday Night Raw felt different this week, then there's a reason for that. According to Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin, Vince McMahon, Triple H and Kevin Dunn were all not backstage for the episode from Knoxville, Tennessee, leaving executive director Paul Heyman to run the show. The reason for McMahon and Dunn's absences are unknown, though it was reported that Triple H was in Orlando getting ready for NXT's USA Network debut this Wednesday.
With Heyman at the wheel, Raw had some legitimately great segments. To name a few:
- Seth Rollins opened the show to call out Bray Wyatt for his Clash of Champions attack. Wyatt responded with a handful of Firefly Fun House segments, culminating in a surprise appearance at the end of the show where he took down Kane with the Mandible Claw before sneering in Rollins' face
- Baron Corbin was crowned King of the Ring after a fantastic final-round match with Chad Gable.
- Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair kept their feuds with Sasha Banks and Bayley alive (even if the sword fighting with steel chairs looked a little goofy).
- Rey Mysterio and Cesaro put on yet another solid match.
- The O.C. looked utterly dominant by beating Cedric Alexander and The Viking Raiders
- Kane, as Mayor Glenn Jacobs, became 24/7 Champion
But it wasn't all perfect. Mike and Maria Kanellis returned to WWE television for the first time in nearly a month for the gender reveal of their second child, only for Maria to claim that Mike wasn't the father. This led to matches against both Ricochet and Rusev in which Mike was squashed while the commentary team kept calling him a loser.
By the end of the show two matches were announced for the Oct. 6 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view — Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt for the WWE Universal Championship and Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women's Championship. Both matches will take place inside the titular Hell in a Cell structure.
Triple H spoke with the media on Monday via a conference call to discuss his plans for NXT moving forward. At one point he addressed whether or not the show would be included in the upcoming WWE Draft in mid-October that is intended to re-establish the brand split.
"I think as that Draft hits that's going to be more focused on Raw and SmackDown and where those brands lay out," he said. "But going forward, who knows? I think this is a work in progress and as NXT continues to do what it's done for the last five years and grow in leaps and bounds, my intent is to create, and I think it's there and we'll see as we move forward, where there are three very distinct brands -- Raw, SmackDown and NXT."