Picture: WWE

The returns of Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, and Karrion Kross have set the precedent and expectation that Triple H would bring back former talent from NXT to WWE. This week on Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, Dexter Lumis and Hit Row made their way back to the company.

Welcome to WWE Weekly Round-Up, where The Inner Sanctum will take you through this week’s most pivotal moments on WWE television and preview what shapes to be a huge week ahead.

Not only were there returns, but Clash at the Castle continued to take shape and two championships were defended successfully.

Huge six-woman tag announced for Clash at the Castle

Ever since Triple H became the new Head of WWE Creative, the women’s division on Monday Night Raw has thrived and is finally becoming a pivotal part of the show.

Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai joined forces at SummerSlam and have now formed a faction together, targeting Raw’s top babyfaces in Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. At Clash at the Castle, both teams will collide against each other in a six-woman tag team match.

A concern would be that the Raw Women’s Championship is not being defended at one of WWE’s most important shows of the year. However, Bayley’s stable needs to earn a huge win to keep their momentum rolling and it is too soon for Belair to put her title on the line against either member of that group.

Rhea Ripley also just made her return from injury and is trying to receive some momentum, as the Eradicator of the Judgment Day is involved in a feud against Rey and Dominik Mysterio.

After Bayley made the challenge for her group to take on Belair, Asuka, and Bliss, all six women encountered a brawl, which even made its way into the crowd.

The real Kevin Owens is back

Prior to his return on Monday Night Raw, Kevin Owens was used as a comedy act to drive an angle with Ezekiel. The rivalry between the two was repetitive and served no purpose on television for three months, as Owens tried to prove that Ezekiel was actually Elias.

While the Prizefighter made it an entertaining watch, he was involved in a directionless feud and was not being utilised to his full potential. However, Owens is now primed to be a major player on Raw under Triple H and the fans saw that in full swing.

The Inner Sanctum suggested that Kevin Owens would be one to benefit from Triple H being in charge of WWE creative and on his first night back in weeks, the former Universal Champion unleashed a vicious assault on Ezekiel.

The two were slated to have a match, but Owens attacked his opponent before the bell rang and power bombed him on the apron. Ezekiel was then attended to by medical professionals and was sent out of the arena in a stretcher.

It was reminiscent of the monster Triple H made in NXT and in this new regime, this is just the start of the Kevin Owens we all came to love.

Dexter Lumis makes a wild return

A key figure in NXT who was released in April was brought back to Monday Night Raw, in an angle that was built throughout the entire evening.

Dexter Lumis made his way to the barricade in a black hood after the main event, before being escorted by police out of the arena. There was confusion at the start, as the audience and commentators thought a fan was attempting to make his way to the ring.

However, Lumis’ face was revealed and Corey Graves noticed it was indeed the former NXT superstar. He stared down AJ Styles following his victory against The Miz, potentially planting the seeds for a feud with the Phenomenal One.

It can be said that Styles has been underutilized on Raw in recent weeks since ending his long program with Edge. A rivalry with Lumis would finally give the former WWE Champion something to keep him occupied.

Earlier in the show, superstars were also assessing a car crash backstage and police were seen running through the arena. It turned out these events all had a connection to the return of Dexter Lumis and it looks to be an intriguing situation.


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Bobby Lashley and Gunther victorious in their respective title defences

Last week, both Ciampa and Shinsuke Nakamura earned title opportunities against Bobby Lashley and Gunther, respectively. However, neither were successful in defeating their opponents and the champions lived to fight another day.

The United States Championship was on the line between Lashley and Ciampa, and the latter was very competitive against The Almighty. He continued to pay homage to the first-ever United States Champion, Harley Race during the evening and looked like he was going to steal the victory.

The Miz kept interfering in the bout in favour of Ciampa, until AJ Styles equalised the situation and removed the A-Lister from ringside. Lashley then capitalised and retained the United States Championship.

It’s been announced for next week’s Monday Night Raw that The Almighty will once again defend his United States Championship, but against AJ Styles in a first-time ever match.

Expect The Miz, Ciampa or even Dexter Lumis to get involved as it is hard seeing either one of the champion or challenger taking a clean loss.

In the main event of Smackdown, the Intercontinental Title was contested between Gunther and Shinsuke Nakamura. It was an excellent match and the King of Strong Style looked to have it won at some stages.

He was able to neutralize the arm of the defending champion, inflicting pain to it. However, the tide of the match turned when Gunther countered a Kinshasa from Nakamura into a devastating clothesline.

The Intercontinental Champion then delivered his signature powerbomb for the three-count, as he continued his dominant reign. Nakamura lost no admirers, though and it was satisfying to see the championship be highlighted in the main event.

Hit Row is back, but without a key member

Following the return of Dexter Lumis. Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, and B-Fab arrived back to WWE after being released in a bid to boost the tag team division.

However, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was obviously not a part of their comeback, since he is now signed to AEW as Swerve Strickland and currently holds the company’s Tag Team Championship with Keith Lee.

Hit Row had a match against enhancement talent and look to give the tag team division some much-needed assistance, as competition for the Uso’s has been thin. Make-shift teams needed to be constructed while Vince McMahon was in charge, due to the lack of original tag teams.

The trio are charismatic and presents a unique gimmick to the roster, giving Smackdown more life following the return of Karrion Kross last week. Triple H adored Hit Row in NXT and will aim to put them on a pedestal.

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