There are just two episodes of Raw left before the 2013 edition of SummerSlam (Sunday, August 18), and the build for the WWE’s second-largest pay-per-view must kick into high gear.
The focus of the WWE Championship match has shifted from the actual in-ring action between John Cena and Daniel Bryan to a corporate makeover. The McMahons and Triple H teased last week that Bryan would be the focus of this Monday's Raw.
Add in the continued tension between CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, and there is little doubt that the WWE will have an ample chance to build a show that is both enjoyable this week and gets us ready for SummerSlam.
As the last Raw before the go-home show, this should be an exciting episode.
Where: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.
When: Monday, August 5 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: USA Network
The WWE teased the return of the Big Show to Raw two weeks ago, but the former world champion has been nowhere to be seen. With the past two weeks of Raw being taped at the same time, it makes sense that if Big Show was not medically cleared before the tapings in Texas that he would miss as much time as he has.
According to F4WOnline via Wrestling Inc., Big Show has targeted this weekend as his return date and could appear on Monday’s Raw. The reported plan is for Big Show and Mark Henry to team up against The Shield, which would lead to a handicap match at the PPV.
Big Show has never been the most entertaining Superstar, and another turn would only further dilute his character, but the proposed storyline with Mark Henry as a face team looking to stop The Shield is a legitimately interesting storyline.
After getting tricked before about his return, I’m tempering my expectations for Monday.
Daniel Bryan’s Corporate Makeover
On last week’s edition of Raw, a backstage meeting between Vince McMahon, his daughter Stephanie and her husband Triple H resulted in the idea that the trio should give No. 1 contender Daniel Bryan a corporate makeover.
As wrestling fans have seen in the past with stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mick Foley, these makeovers don’t often go as planned.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will Daniel Bryan Shave His Face?
NO! As much as shaving Bryan would be a funny segment on Raw, it is better for the character if he refuses the attempts to transform him into the kind of star that Vince wants to hold the WWE Championship.
The fans don’t want the challenger to sell out to the very-much heel Mr. McMahon. At most, Bryan should wear a suit for the whole show and as they are going to cut his beard in the main event, he yells "NO!" and rips off the suit to reveal his wrestling gear.
Hype Meter: 5 out of 5 Legendary Segments
The reason so many fans are nostalgic about the Attitude Era is because of the legendary promos and segments that made watching wrestling so much fun.
Monday’s focus on Bryan and his corporate makeover has all the potential to be something this generation of fans sees as the turning point for the career of the submission specialist.
If done correctly, the segment on Raw could begin Bryan’s climb to the top of the WWE as a CM Punk-esque alternative to John Cena for the mainstream fans.
WWE Rumors: Possible Spoiler for Bryan’s Segment with the McMahons, per Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.
CM Punk and Brock Lesnar
CM Punk attacked Paul Heyman last week during Curtis Axel’s match, and while he didn’t get to lay his hands on his former friend, the former WWE champion will not be deterred and should attack once again.
With Brock Lesnar likely to appear on this week’s Raw, this would be the perfect spot for Heyman and Lesnar to set a trap for Punk and soften him up with a surprise attack before SummerSlam.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will Punk and Lesnar Get Physical?
The WWE understands the element of suspense, and allowing the two combatants in the SummerSlam main event to battle on free television isn’t the best course of action. While the company will tease it all night and the duo could come face-to-face, don’t expect any physicality from these men as they save the fight for the PPV.
Hype Meter: 5 out of 5 Heyman vs. Punk Mic Battles
A strong contingent of fans will be dejected that Punk and Lesnar won’t beat each other down on Raw, but instead of being disappointed by the lack of physicality, the WWE Universe should be thankful.
The less fighting between these men means more talking, and when it comes to Heyman versus Punk on the mic, more talking is a good thing.
The duo had great promos together in the past and have proven an amazing chemistry thus far in this feud, and with SummerSlam so close, it’s clear that both men will bring the best verbal jabs they have up their sleeves. If you love amazing promo work, Monday’s mic war will be a clinic.
WWE Rumors: Lesnar Scheduled to Appear Monday, per Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc.
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