There may be a huge gap between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell, but that doesn't mean that nothing is going on in the WWE currently. Monday's edition of RAW promises to be very busy as the writers will probably begin laying the groundwork for the next pay-per-view.
The biggest thing to keep tabs on is the status of John Cena. He is slated to miss six-to-eight weeks due to surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, but he will still be appearing on RAW. Precisely what his role will be is anyone's guess, though.
Also, CM Punk has been the hottest thing going in the WWE for the past couple months and that is likely to remain true on Monday. With Cena out Punk has no opponent, however, so it will be interesting to see how he is utilized.
Additionally the team of Kane and Daniel Bryan has been a hot topic, as has the status of the World Heavyweight Championship picture. There is a lot to address on RAW this week, so expect the three hours of programming to fly by.
Here are the top five things you should keep an eye on when watching RAW on Monday.
It came as a surprise to many last week when it was revealed that John Cena would miss time due to elbow surgery to remove bone chips and the details surrounding his recovery are still very cloudy. The timetable was initially reported as four-to-six weeks, but that was then changed to two-to-three weeks before ultimately being changed again to six-to-eight weeks.
Whatever the case, Cena won't be wrestling this week, but he will be on the show. Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk are engaged in the most important feud in the company right now, so the WWE will have to try to continue it despite Cena's injury. That means that Cena will probably cut a promo, but he can't do much else.
Continuing a feud when one of the participants is physically compromised isn't easy, but it can be done. Cena and Punk are two of the best in the business on the mic, so they'll need to come up big in that area on Monday. It seems to me like Cena's recovery estimate was ramped up to make him look stronger when he returns, so hopefully this is only an issue for Cena for a couple weeks at the most.
CM Punk is still WWE Champion, but things haven't been going particularly well for him as of late. Punk was lucky to retain the belt due to a draw against John Cena at Night of Champions, but he lost to Cena in a tag-team match the next night as the referee failed to see Punk's foot on the ropes during the pinfall. Now, with Cena injured, Punk is somewhat in limbo.
He and Cena figure to keep things going between each other, but Punk still has to compete even while Cena's on the shelf. The timetable for Cena's return is very fuzzy, though, so Punk may move on to something different in the interim. If Cena actually takes eight weeks to heal, then that would render him unable to compete at Hell in a Cell and Punk would have to face someone else.
Perhaps the WWE will tease another opponent for Punk on Monday just in case things don't go as quickly as hoped with Cena. Also, the WWE can use this time to elaborate on the relationship between Punk and Paul Heyman. The two of them have been called business associates, but it remains unclear what role Heyman will play. Hopefully that is explained in better detail on Monday and in the coming weeks.
CM Punk vs. John Cena may be the most important feud in the WWE currently, but the two fastest risers may very well be Kane and Daniel Bryan. The demented pair was feuding a little over a month ago, but suddenly they are Tag Team Champions after their win over Kofi Kingston and R-Truth at Night of Champions. Now Kane and Bryan have become the most entertaining part of WWE programming on a weekly basis.
The writers are clearly behind the tandem as last week's episode of SmackDown was all about Kane and Bryan. There was little emphasis on the World Heavyweight Championship as all of the attention was focused on the tag straps. Kane and Bryan beat Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow last week and appeared to show some unity after the match as they decimated them and several other tag teams with steel chairs.
It remains to be seen whether they can co-exist over the long term, though. The bickering between Kane and Bryan during their matches has been hilarious thus far and I don't want that to end, so I'm hoping that they continue to argue. Either way, Kane and Bryan have really stepped their respective games up in recent weeks and I can't wait to see how much they can help the tag division.
When Dolph Ziggler won the Money in the Bank ladder match a couple months ago I figured he would be in line for a massive push. Ziggler doesn't seem to have received a discernible bump, however, and I'm now very worried about whether or not he can become a credible world champion. After losing to Randy Orton at Night of Champions, Ziggler now needs to thrive in a substantial feud.
The booking of Ziggler over the past two months has been awful as he lost to Orton last Sunday, lost to Chris Jericho at SummerSlam and even lost a match to Alex Riley. I realize that Ziggler is a heel and isn't going to win every match, but the Money in the Bank contract holder should be made to look much better than Ziggler has to this point.
Something needs to be done with Ziggler tonight or in the near future in order to solidify him. He could continue his feud with Orton or maybe he could even cash in his contract in the coming weeks. I personally wanted him to hold the briefcase for several months, but that may not be the best course of action based on how he has been utilized. The World Heavyweight Championship scene is stagnant as it is, so I wouldn't mind seeing Ziggler usurp Sheamus on Monday.
Although World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus is featured more prominently on SmackDown, he still makes regular RAW appearances and is a big part of the show. After defeating Alberto Del Rio yet again at Night of Champions, however, The Great White doesn't have anyone to feud with. There is a lot of time between now and Hell in a Cell, but I have to believe that Sheamus will enter into a new rivalry soon.
The possibility remains that he will continue feuding with Del Rio, but that angle has been so bad that I have a hard time seeing that carrying on. The most logical person for Sheamus to feud with next would be Wade Barrett. While Barrett has only been back for a couple weeks and hasn't really made an impact yet, he has all the tools needed to be a main event-er and would match up really well with Sheamus.
Big Show is another superstar who has been rumored to go after Sheamus, but that wouldn't be nearly as good. Big Show has been out of action for over a month, so a surprise return with him attacking Sheamus is definitely something that could happen. As far as I'm concerned, though, if we don't get Sheamus vs. Barrett, then I would prefer if Dolph Ziggler cashed in on Sheamus and became the new world champ.