Prepare to end your Labor Day with a WWE Raw heavy on animosity.
Two weeks before Night of Champions, Des Moines, Iowa is set to host an episode where the WWE champ fends off his goat-faced challenger, two former friends continue to inflict pain on each other and a wounded set of women look to fire back.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin gave Daniel Bryan some choice advice about how to tackle a domineering regime. Austin told Anthony Benigno and Joey Styles, "If I could offer any advice to Daniel Bryan, I would tell him to be aggressive. Trust your gut instincts. The best defense is a good offense, and always be on the attack."
There are no advertised matches on the docket, but expect Bryan to take The Texas Rattlesnake's advice.
According to James Caldwell of PWTorch.com, Triple H, Randy Orton, Stephanie and Vince McMahon are all advertised to appear on Monday's episode. That means there will be plenty of hurdles for "The World's Toughest Vegan" to face. Rob Van Dam, Alberto Del Rio, the Wyatt Family and Ryback are among the other names scheduled to show up.
The clash between Bryan and his enemies will continue to be the main focus, though.
Expect WWE to amp up the intensity between the combatants of the Night of Champions main event. Bryan's tryout period as top face continues with Sheamus and John Cena out of action. With him ending the night on his back in recent weeks, Monday will likely have him earn some small measure of revenge as he takes Austin’s approach to workplace hostility.
What else can we look forward to? What stories and Superstars will have fans talking the most on Tuesday? Don't bet on the founder of the Hall of Pain being among them.
Mark Henry, Tag Title Situation
The Shield will be able to rest a touch easier for the moment; The World's Strongest Man may still be charging at the tag team champions, but he'll do so hobbled.
As reported by WWE.com, Mark Henry came out of the weekend hurt.
Mark Henry suffered a right hamstring injury at a live event in Boston on Saturday, August 31. This occurred as Henry ran in during the last match of the night. Medical imaging will be obtained to determine the severity of the injury.
A torn hamstring or similarly severe injury puts the potential Big Show and Henry vs. The Shield match in doubt. Otherwise, fans will just see Henry rest up between now and Night of Champions.
He can be plenty intimidating without getting in the ring. WWE will have him stick to doing his work on the microphone and tease physical confrontations between the two teams on Monday's Raw at the most.
How much the company uses Henry on Monday is something worth keeping a close eye on. Should Henry's hamstring cause WWE too much concern, The Prime Time Players or The Usos will slide into the spot of challenger.
Dissecting the Five-Point Preview
The WWE.com preview for Monday's Raw touches on the Bryan versus Orton/Triple H storyline of course, but hints at what else will be featured on the show.
It will be no surprise that CM Punk and Paul Heyman's intense feud will continue. Last week, Heyman escalated the situation by turning Punk's back red with kendo stick strikes.
The preview article suggests that we'll see Punk's suffering continue. "Smart money dictates that Heyman will take advantage of Punk's rage and goad him into a trap. The only question is how."
It looks like Punk will have to wait until Night of Champions to get his revenge on Heyman and Curtis Axel. He will have more reason to walk into that match enraged after Monday as his two rivals look to punish him in front of the Des Moines crowd.
Monday will also offer some clarity on Bray Wyatt's direction.
With Kane out of the picture, it's unclear what Wyatt's next move is and if he'll get a match at the upcoming pay-per-view. The five-point preview hints that we'll watch Wyatt sink his teeth into a new victim when it asks "When might "The Eater of Worlds" return for another course between the ropes? And whom will he target?"
AJ Lee will be targeted by one of the Divas she tore apart last week.
After dismissing her peers as interchangeable and useless, the Divas champ is going to suffer some backlash. The woman to stand up and try to repay AJ with violence will claim the top spot to challenge for the Divas title.
Among the Total Divas cast, Natalya is clearly the superior in-ring talent, but WWE may wish to have a woman who more personifies AJ's harsh comments. For that challenger to also be one of the top stars of WWE's new reality show would be a bonus in the company's eyes as well.
That means Brie or Nikki Bella will step up to AJ and the Night of Champions card will get clearer.
Dolph Ziggler and Big Show can either be passive bystanders or insurgents in the story of Triple H's abuse of power.
The latter is the far more exciting narrative, complete with violence, drama and onscreen tension. After Triple H intimidated both Ziggler and Show into silence, it looks as if those two will play big roles in the eventual upheaval of Triple H's current grip on WWE.
Expect WWE to hint at how the revolution against Triple H plays out. This is a story that needs a long brewing time, so Monday's Raw won't have major developments, only planted seeds for the near future.
Keep an eye on who Triple H shoves around and who seethes the most.
Those are the folks liable to join Bryan in his battle with The Shield, Orton, The Game and the rest of WWE's ruling class.
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