5 Predictions for WWE's Monday Night Raw Go-Home Show Before WrestleMania
There is only one stop left on the road to WrestleMania 29.
There is no SmackDown taping scheduled for this week, but we have one oh-so-important episode of Raw left. It's the go-home show as they call it, the final thee-hour show before the WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year.
With rather lackluster build up to WrestleMania 29 so far, tonight's Raw show will play a big role in building up some final momentum as he we head to "The Showcase of the Immortals."
It'll be very interesting to see what the creative team does to try to generate some late interest in a PPV that really seems to be lacking in that department. So, just what can we expect on tonight's show?
Well, there's really no telling when it comes to the WWE. But that doesn't mean we can't try to figure it out.
Here are five predictions for the final Raw episode before WrestleMania 29.
5. Both Midcard Champions Will Lose Non-Title Matches
Based on what's happened over the last several months, this is essentially a given.
Both Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro have lost so many non-title TV matches recently that it's almost become expected on any given Raw or SmackDown.
The booking philosophy behind having your midcard champions consistently put other stars over is obviously a very questionable one, and it's hurt both the prestige of the titles and the momentum that both Cesaro and Barrett once had.
Barrett is headed for an Intercontinental title match against The Miz at WrestleMania 29 while it looks like Cesaro isn't even going to get a spot on the show, which is a travesty in the eyes of most fans.
Because these two have been booked so badly lately, there's a good chance that will continue and at least one, but probably both of them, will lose non-title matches on Raw tonight.
For some reason or another, the WWE loves to do this. The fact that WrestleMania 29 is right around the corner won't change that.
4. A McMahon Will Make an Appearance
Two forgotten figures in the feud between Triple H and Brock Lesnar just so happen to both be McMahons.
It was during the build to their first match at last year's SummerSlam that Stephanie McMahon played a key role in this rivalry, and of course, Vince McMahon has also been a big factor leading up to this rematch at WrestleMania 29.
Especially when you consider that Paul Heyman recently mentioned Stephanie on TV and that Vince has been off TV for a few weeks now, it certainly seems like things are shaping up for one or both of them to return on tonight's Raw.
This rivalry between Triple H and Lesnar has become extremely personal at times, so it certainly makes sense for either Vince or Stephanie to appear on tonight's Raw after Lesnar and Heyman have targeted Triple H's family so many times in the past.
There really seems to be something missing from this feud, and though a lot of that has to do with this being a predictable rivalry and rematch, perhaps that can change if either Vince or Stephanie is thrust back into the mix tonight.
Logic says a McMahon is going to get involved in this rivalry again at some point. The only real question is when that will happen.
3. The Undertaker Will Fail to Get His Hands on CM Punk
On last week's Raw, we saw The Undertaker finally get his hands on CM Punk, but it was only for a few seconds before Punk was able to weasel his way out of the ring.
There's no doubt that Undertaker will want to get his hands on Punk again on this week's Raw, but this is the type of rivalry where it doesn't make much sense for the two rivals to get physical before their actual match.
Punk, of course, is a slimy and cowardly heel, who is going to do anything and everything in his power to avoid a beating from The Undertaker. The Deadman, on the other hand, really wants to beat the hell out of Punk, which is exactly why he won't.
I just can't picture Undertaker hitting Punk with a tombstone on Raw when that is a moment that the WWE will want to save for WrestleMania. Similarly, I can't see Punk hitting Undertaker with a GTS because that would either make Undertaker look weak or make Punk look weak if Taker does his bit where he sits up immediately after taking a finisher.
The best bet for the final confrontation between these two is to have Undertaker try to get his hands on Punk, but for Punk to do anything and everything he can to make sure that doesn't happen.
Not only does this make sense for Punk's character, but it creates considerably more intrigue and anticipation for that moment at WrestleMania 29 when Undertaker can finally get his hands on the man who's disrespected him so much.
2. Brock Lesnar Will Hit Triple H with an F5
You've probably heard about this booking philosophy before: "Look strong on TV, lose on PPV."
It's a strategy that the WWE has used for as long as it's been around, with one guy (usually the babyface) getting beat down on the final TV show before the PPV only to win his match at the actual PPV.
There are so many WrestleMania matches this year (10 announced so far) that the WWE isn't going to be able to use that strategy for every rivalry, but one that it will use it for is Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H.
Just about everyone knows that, barring something unforeseen happening, Triple H is going to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania, so it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Lesnar get the upper hand on this week's Raw.
It's not in Lesnar's character to get his butt kicked, and he's not going to end up on the receiving end of a Pedigree or a beatdown from Triple H. No, he's going to end up on the giving end of a massive F5.
By doing this, the WWE will be attempting to create doubt about whether or not Triple H can beat Lesnar. In reality, however, all this will really accomplish is setting up Triple H for a "shocking" win.
1. The Rock and John Cena Won't Get Physical
Last week's episode of Raw ended with The Rock standing tall after hitting John Cena with a Rock Bottom.
So naturally, the assumption is that this week's show will end with Cena standing tall over The Rock. But look for the WWE to book this rivalry a different way on this week's Raw by keeping The Rock and Cena apart.
While the WWE could easily let The Rock and Cena get physical on this week's Raw, I think there's a bigger payoff to creative taking the Henry/Ryback route and forbidding these two from making any contact with one another.
Not only would this play into Cena's newfound seriousness/anger, but it would build up the anticipation that this rivalry has been lacking. Like with Undertaker/Punk, we'll be waiting for that moment when Cena and The Rock can finally beat the holy hell out of each other.
The Rock will go into WrestleMania with the upper hand after planting Cena with that Rock bottom while an angry Cena will be eager to lay a beatdown on The Rock.
This could create an interesting scenario where Cena, who's already going to get booed heavily in MetLife Stadium, essentially enters the match as an enraged heel who's hell-bent on revenge.
Although the WWE may choose to let Cena get the upper hand on tonight's Raw, the creative team should and will hold off on that until WrestleMania 29.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!