WWE: 5 Things to Watch For on the Oct. 8 Edition of Monday Night RAW
After RAW turned in its worst ratings of the year last week, the WWE decided to break out the heavy artillery as Chairman Vince McMahon is being advertised to deliver a state of the WWE address. It wouldn't be fair to say that the company is panicking, but this is definitely a measure meant to reverse the downward trend.
If that weren't enough, John Cena is scheduled to make his television return despite an elbow injury, while WWE Champion CM Punk and the monstrous Ryback still have a score to settle. With so many high-profile happenings likely to take place on Monday, this week's edition of RAW promises to be a can't-miss show.
In addition to all of the main-event stars and Vinny Mac, a lot of storyline development figures to happen with regards to the mid-card as Hell in a Cell draws closer. The Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship and Tag Team Championships all have yet to be put on the upcoming pay-per-view card.
Whether or not you're a fan of the three-hour format, this week's show should have plenty of content to fill the time.
Here are the top five things you should be on the lookout for during this week's edition of Monday Night RAW.
Vince McMahon to Deliver 'State of the WWE' Address
It has been a few months since we have seen Vince McMahon on WWE programming, but the drought will come to an end on Monday, as WWE.com is reporting that the Chairman will address the state of WWE.
There hasn't been any indication regarding exactly what McMahon will be discussing on RAW, but there is no question that the show needed a boost following last week's poor showing.
Ratings always dip during football season due to Monday Night Football, but last week's ratings were alarming.
Trotting out Vinny Mac when ratings tumble is a tried-and-true method, so this is a great move on WWE's part. My guess is that McMahon will be talking about two issues in particular on RAW, those being general manager A.J. Lee's performance and the possible match between CM Punk and John Cena at Hell in a Cell.
A.J. has been made to look incompetent and mentally unstable over the past several weeks, so I have to believe that a removal from power is on the horizon. Also, with Cena set to appear, it is only natural that Vince will have something to say about him challenging for the WWE Championship.
I anticipate McMahon making the match at Hell in a Cell, with the added stipulation that if Punk wins, then Paul Heyman becomes general manager of RAW.
That is something that most wrestling fans would love to see, so I'm hopeful that will be used to up the ante at Hell in a Cell.
John Cena Set to Appear After a Week off
John Cena was absent from RAW for the first time in recent memory last week as he has been rehabilitating an elbow injury.
Perhaps because of that, RAW's ratings were down last week, so Cena's return this week will be a welcome sight for the WWE brass. According to Cena on Twitter, he is en route to Sacramento and will most definitely make his triumphant return.
I'm not a Cena fan by any means, but even I can admit that RAW didn't seem as important without him last week.
The WWE made due by executing the CM Punk and Ryback segment well, but I have to believe that Cena's absence affected the ratings negatively. I'm not sure if Cena was scheduled to come back this week anyway, but the decision had to be made a lot easier by last week's slip-up.
At the very least, the WWE has done a good job of keeping Cena relevant despite his injury, as the main talking point has been Punk vs. Cena at Hell in a Cell. Punk continues to refuse to grant Cena a rematch, but with the pay-per-view now a few weeks away, Monday would be a good night to lock in the bout so it can be heavily promoted.
I have no idea if Cena has been cleared for physical contact yet, but he should be able to do some damage on the mic, at the very least, and further his angle with Punk.
Will the CM Punk vs. Ryback Saga Continue?
With John Cena's role being diminished over the past couple weeks due to his elbow injury, WWE Champion CM Punk has met a new foe in the form of Ryback.
It all started two weeks ago when Punk attacked Mick Foley backstage. Punk was about to go back for more, but he stopped in his tracks as the ravenous Ryback was standing next to Foley in order to thwart Punk's plans.
It continued last week as Punk embarrassed Jim Ross in the ring on his special night and sent him to the locker room. Ryback intercepted JR, however, and caused Punk to leave instead. At this point, it's difficult to say whether there are big plans for Punk and Ryback or if it was just meant to bide time until Cena comes back healthy, but we should find out more on Monday.
WWE is still heavily advertising the dynamic between Punk and Ryback, so they figure to have another encounter of some kind, but Cena's presence should cool things off a bit. In order to keep Punk and Ryback from losing momentum—a match between them seems unlikely—I can see Ryback becoming a loose ally of Cena's moving forward.
Even if Ryback never has a match with Punk or says a word to him, this entire situation has helped him get over even more as a legitimate threat, and it should bode well for Ryback's future prospects.
Who Will Advance in the No. 1 Contender Tag-Team Tournament?
SmackDown general manager installed a tag-team tournament to determine the No. 1 contenders for the Tag Team Championships a couple weeks ago, and it is now down to the final four teams.
Rhodes Scholars, Zack Ryder and Santino Marella, Prime Time Players and Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara have reached the semifinals of the eight-team tourney, and one of those teams will take a spot in the finals on Monday night.
It was announced on SmackDown that one of the semi-final matches would take place on RAW, although it wasn't specified which one.
My guess would be Rhodes Scholars vs. Ryder and Santino, since Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes haven't had a tournament match since the night it was created. If that is the case, then there is a little doubt that Rhodes Scholars will come out on top.
I don't mind Ryder and Santino as a team, despite their status as a random pairing, but they really don't have any chance to beat Sandow and Rhodes. Rhodes Scholars are currently being built as the top heel team in the division, so they'll make the finals at the very least.
I expect them to win the tournament as well, but that isn't a guarantee, like their win over Ryder and Santino is.
Even if the tournament has been predictable to this point, I have still enjoyed it since it has been a very long time since the WWE has had enough teams to field a proper tournament.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of the tag-team division's rebirth.
Will The Miz Finally Get a Challenger for the Intercontinental Championship?
The Miz won the Intercontinental Championship from Christian a few months ago on the 1,000th episode of RAW and, amazingly, he has yet to feud with anyone over it.
Miz has defended the title a few times, including against Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam and against Mysterio, Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes at Night of Champions, but neither of those matches received proper build and Miz simply hasn't been elevated by the IC title.
Based on the way Miz returned with a bang at Money in the Bank, I had high hopes for his run with the Intercontinental Championship.
The IC title was once the No. 2 prize in the company and was viewed as a stepping-stone toward the WWE Championship, but it has degenerated into a run-of-the-mill, mid-card title with very little meaning behind it.
Despite my optimism, Miz's reign hasn't changed that by any stretch of the imagination.
It's quite laughable how poorly the WWE has booked Miz as champion, as he has been saddled with numerous non-title losses. Miz is one of the most charismatic guys in the WWE and is constantly improving in the ring, so he has the ability to bring the belt back to prominence if given an opportunity.
I haven't seen any signs of that happening, though.
Hopefully Miz is finally given a credible opponent to feud with, such as Kofi Kingston, Brodus Clay or whoever else.
If the WWE isn't willing to give him the ball and let him run with it, however, he might as well drop the title to someone like Ryback and move on.