The aftershocks may outshine the earthquake as the WWE Raw after Night of Champions hits the airwaves.
After a pay-per-view that underwhelmed, fans pack into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio to watch the stories from Sunday continue and to veer into new directions. Daniel Bryan will be holding the WWE Championship he won from Randy Orton, but he can't be feeling confident with Triple H looming.
Fans will be curious to see if The Prime Time Players' showing at Night of Champions keeps them in contention or if The Shield is headed elsewhere in search of a challenge.
On Monday's WWE Raw, a Hall of Famer returns, the Paul Heyman and CM Punk saga gets a new face, the World Heavyweight Championship gets attention and the build to Battleground begins quickly.
The Plumber's Son Scheduled to Appear
Stephanie McMahon invited Dusty Rhodes to join her on Monday's Raw and "The Dream" accepted.
This follows Cody Rhodes losing his job via a match with Randy Orton and Goldust losing to Orton in an attempt to get his brother's job back. There's no chance we're seeing a third Rhodes lose to Orton thanks to Dusty's age, so what does WWE have in mind here?
Stephanie McMahon will no doubt insult the Hall of Famer, demeaning him and his family as she continues to devolve into a heartless executive character.
With as much attention as Rhodes' firing has received, WWE is clearly planning something big for his eventual return. So often we see someone get fired and go unmentioned on WWE programming for weeks. Rhodes' story has been one of the bigger focuses over the last two weeks.
That continues on Monday as his father steps in and keeps the narrative going.
WWE Champion? Not So Fast
Bryan fans hoping to see him celebrate his title win at Night of Champions are going to have that same sinking feeling in their gut they had after SummerSlam.
If you thought Bryan's path back to the WWE title was too easy, you were right. Referee Scott Armstrong counted too fast. This allows Triple H the ability to rip the WWE Championship from Bryan's hands again.
Triple H has too much power to just let a man he doesn't want as champion keep the gold.
Armstrong's fast count gives "The Game" the perfect opening to dispute the finish to that match and for WWE to book Orton vs. Bryan for the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view. The interactions with Triple H and Bryan will be saturated with drama and controversy.
Dissecting the Five-Point Preview
Two key questions from WWE.com's preview of Monday's Raw by Mitch Passaro create the most intrigue.
Concerning the Rob Van Dam and the World Heavyweight Championship Passaro asks, "Is it only a matter of time until he claims the coveted prize for his own?"
The fact that the focus is on Van Dam here implies that this feud will continue. Fans may have seen that coming when Alberto Del Rio evaded his challenger by getting himself intentionally disqualified. Were WWE to ask who should face the world champ next, we could assume that Van Dam was out of contention.
Instead, it's clear that Van Dam will get at least one more shot.
Does he get that on this upcoming Raw, another episode or the more likely option, at Battleground? That pay-per-view is only three weeks away so the match card is going to have to be crafted faster than normal.
Expect WWE to intensity the rivalry between Van Dam and Del Rio on Monday and to give us reason to want to pay to see that matchup again.
Hey ADR... Hahahahahhahahahahaha pic.twitter.com/1htasqKajd— Ricardo Rodriguez (@RRWWE) September 16, 2013
The other question from Passaro's preview that serves as a hint for things to come centers around Ryback and Paul Heyman. After Ryback interfered on Heyman's behalf and sent Punk through a table, one wonders where this story is going.
The preview asks, "Does the mad scientist now have a monster at his beck and call?"
It sure looks like he does. Ryback followed up his attack on Punk by carrying Heyman backstage. That showed us that Ryback's strike at Night of Champions was no random act of destruction.
Monday's Raw will help clarify just what kind of relationship Heyman and Ryback have.
Has the big guy forgiven Heyman for robbing him of the WWE title via The Shield and Brad Maddox last year? Did Heyman simply cut a big enough check to get Ryback on his side?
The episode will also show fans where the Punk and Heyman story is going. Sunday's match seemed to be the logical place to conclude it, but the surprise of the night looks to have this narrative continuing on a previously unseen path.