It’s very easy to give a reaction to WWE RAW each Monday night, focusing on what the creative team did with the three hours afforded to them and sharing what you would done differently. But as viewers, we have a chance say what should happen before RAW even airs. That’s what “Pre-Action” is all about!
Last Week on RAW
Last week we saw a show-spanning storyline between CM Punk and Jerry Lawler that started with a challenge and ended with a steel cage match. The booking hooked fans throughout the entire three hours of the show, and the payoff solidified CM Punk as a calculated heel. It was a great use of Jerry Lawler, with the only thing that could have made it better being RAW emanating from Memphis.
AJ’s torturous treatment of Daniel Bryan continued, as she sent him to anger management classes. We were treated to segments that would make most hardcore fans groan, but the awesome performances put forth by both Bryan and Kane made the segments fun and enjoyable. The follow-up match between Daniel Bryan and R-Truth was a fun way to continue the issue.
In other action, John Cena pinned The Miz in an entertaining 10-minute match. Vickie Guerrero cut a promo against AJ that brought the general manager out—not for a verbal response but rather a physical one.
Santino Marella pinned Heath Slater, Brodus Clay teamed with Sin Cara to beat a pairing of their respective current enemies in Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, Kane chokeslammed David Otunga after sparing Zack Ryder (who had just defeated David Otunga) and Randy Orton teamed with Sheamus to beat Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio.
Finally, Triple H cut a promo where he didn’t say “Goodbye,” but he did say “Thank you.” Is he retired? The smart money says no.
So after the events of last week, what needs to happen this week?
We already know that CM Punk will defend his WWE Championship against John Cena at Night of Champions. What I need now is a reason to care. I know that Punk and Cena are capable of putting on a great match. Unfortunately, that’s because I saw it several times last year. So what can be different about this go-round?
Last year, CM Punk was the champion of the people, and John Cena represented the marketed star that Punk rallied against. Now Punk is a heel, and Cena is the same guy he was 12 months ago. The key lies in the champion himself, CM Punk.
Several Internet sites are reporting that a major angle will take place with CM Punk, but no details have been leaked. If the WWE were smart, they’d do something to put some major heat on Punk. Heat that would have people clamoring to either see John Cena get the better of him or see what Punk will do next.
Either way, Punk needs to do something that we haven’t ever seen (or haven’t seen in years). That will go a long way in making a stale, overdone feud feel fresh and exciting again.
The WWE has a juggernaut on their hands with Ziggler. He can hold down the main event picture for many years to come.
He’s finished with Chris Jericho, “retiring” him from the company. He has yet to really find himself in a position to cash in that Money in the Bank briefcase, and he could really benefit from a top-flight feud that spans both RAW and Smackdown.
Ziggler has recently found himself in the ring with Randy Orton, but Orton has already gotten the better of the future world champion on more than one occasion.
While I do believe Randy Orton is the best WWE superstar for Ziggler to feud with at this present time, Orton isn’t particularly known for putting other guys over. Dolph Ziggler needs to get one over on Randy Orton, and fast.
If AJ is going to feud with Vickie Guerrero, then it they will have to cross paths with Ziggler and his main enemy. If that person is Orton, then I’d expect AJ to have some role in pairing them up once again.
The anger management session skits were entertaining, but I fear they may have peaked. I do not think they need to be forgotten about this week, as Kane’s confession speech is one of the few moments in recent weeks that I would like to see in a “last week on RAW” highlight.
However, I do think they can get very old, and very fast. The WWE needs to transition out of those skits, possibly by having Kane and Bryan destroy the room playing host to the session and forcing the doctor to inform both men that they aren’t welcome back. Someone needs to snap, and it’s likely to be Bryan.
Let’s remember why Kane is so angry. It’s because (gasp!) he lost a match! That’s a rarity in wrestling today, so we should focus on it. Have Daniel Bryan brag about beating Kane at SummerSlam, and have him push and antagonize “The Big Red Machine” until he destroys another announcer (hopefully Justin Roberts this time!).
Kaitlyn is the current No. 1 contender to Layla’s Diva’s Championship, but we really don’t have any reason to be invested in this match. Both women are faces, and pairing off two faces in the Divas division all but guarantees that their pay-per-view match will be the restroom break in most living rooms during the broadcast. So what can be done to save this match?
Turn someone on RAW. Allow both women to be partners on RAW this week, but have one of them turn and absolutely destroy the other. Involve the championship belt in the attack as well, simply to drive him the point that being (or remaining) champion is the motivation behind the attack.
The funny thing is that I don’t care who turns heel. The division has become so neglected that either woman can turn heel and I will be happy. Just turn someone and give me a reason to watch their match on the PPV instead of skipping it to get a refill and a hot dog.
Sheamus is defending this championship against Alberto Del Rio at Night of Champions...again. This is a common complaint all over the Internet, even here at Bleacher Report.
And the complaints are very valid. We have seen this pairing a number of times, and we haven’t been overly entertained by it. This is one instance where what should happen and what will happen are likely the same option: add Orton and Ziggler.
I believe the WWE will continue their recent pattern of changing the World Heavyweight Championship match during the pay-per-view build, and will add Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler into the mix, creating a 4-Way match for Night of Champions. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.
While Sheamus already has one 4-Way title defense on his record for 2012, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler will add some needed spark to the match-up. Both men are amazingly talented and either would be considered a bigger threat to Sheamus than his named challenger Del Rio.
The in-ring bump that their participation would give this match trumps anything the WWE could do during RAW this week, including having another car theft or potentially allowing Sheamus to douse Del Rio in Irish beer.
Instead of adding in storyline crutches, add in a pair of talented men with world championship level ability: Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler.
Damien Sandow is ready to move on from the Brodus Clay feud. Clay is no longer undefeated, and will be down a Funkadactyl (Cameron) this week. It’s time for Sandow to put that issue to rest and move on to bigger and better things.
The Miz will likely have a championship match at Night of Champions, and that match needs a proper build. Whether it’s a rematch for Rey Mysterio or a new emerging challenger, something needs to happen on RAW to build a match that won’t just be announced on WWE.com or Friday’s Smackdown.
I believe that new NXT Champion Seth Rollins needs to make his RAW debut in Chicago. He’s be insanely over thanks to the smart nature of the Chicago crowd, and it would make sense for the NXT Champion to appear at Night of Champions each year.
Finally, let’s see something new with Ryback. He’s getting over with the fans both on television and at house shows. But what is the plan for him?
Maybe Jack Swagger isn’t happy about their last match and attacks Ryback on his way to the ring, effectively cancelling whatever match was scheduled for RAW. Maybe he cheats and wins. Whatever happens, I feel like the time to advance Ryback’s story is now.
Now it’s on you: What do you think should happen on Monday’s RAW?