The March 24 edition of WWE Raw blends WrestleMania hype with an assortment of special appearances.
When the road to that upcoming event winds through the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., rivals will clash, a cartoon will come to life and the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class could get one man bigger. The Shield, Brock Lesnar and Arnold Schwarzenegger headline a show that promises to be eclectic if nothing else.
Backstage reports, Twitter and Anthony Benigno's five-point preview on WWE.com provide a wealth of insight into what to expect on Monday's Raw.
The Brooklyn fans should provide a raucous soundtrack regardless of what stories are told and which Superstars are featured. Not only does New York have a reputation for being a vocal and passionate fanbase, but as PWInsider reports, Monday's Raw is sold out.
Confirmed Guests, Appearances
The filled Barclays Center will welcome both Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello, who will be promoting their new movie, Sabotage. Schwarzenegger is no stranger to WWE, once thrashing Triple H on SmackDown.
Raw is part of a busy media tour for him this time around. WrestlingInc.com notes the following:
"Arnold Schwarzenegger will be taping an episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon at 5pm on Monday so he will be arriving to the arena for RAW not long before the show starts."
Raw's other special guest, Scooby Doo, will be there to promote Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery. The famous snack-happy dog is headed to the Barclays Center in live-action form.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "The Scooby-Doo appearing on tomorrow's RAW will be the same costumed character that was at Saturday's movie premiere in New York City. It will not be an animated appearance."
When the silliness of Scooby's segments are over, there will be much to tackle in terms of WrestleMania storylines. The Undertaker-Brock Lesnar story will get attention aplenty.
Both those rivals are scheduled to appear on Monday's Raw along with Paul Heyman, The New Age Outlaws, Batista and the usual cast of characters.
They may have to share time with a Hall of Famer, a metal band and another Hall of Fame announcement.
Asking Alexandria tweeted that they are headed for what should be a busy episode of Raw with or without them.
The band seems to be an odd fit for today's WWE. Although their album From Death To Destiny debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200, per Loudwire.com, their aggressive style is far from the easily digestible pop WWE has recently used as official songs for its pay-per-views.
Hogan noted on Twitter that he is already in the Empire State, up early for training.
Training before 5am in NYC reminds me of the old days training with INVINCEABLE brother. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) March 24, 2014
Will his former nWo teammate be in New Orleans with him come April 5? It appears that the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class is set to get its next inductee.
According to PWInsider, "Scott 'Razor Ramon' Hall is expected to be announced officially for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame during tonight's Raw."
Hall and Jake Roberts will host an event called "A Night with Wrestling Legends" at House of Blues in New Orleans one day before the Hall of Fame ceremony. That combined with the above report should have Hall fans confident that he will in fact join Roberts, Carlos Colon, The Ultimate Warrior, Lita and Paul Bearer in a loaded class.
The Shield's title hopes vanished on Friday's SmackDown, and the group instead found itself run over by a trio of veterans from the Attitude Era—The New Age Outlaws and Kane.
Monday's Raw will help clarify whether that beatdown now leads to a six-man WrestleMania match or if a more involved story is in the works. Of that attack on The Shield, Benigno writes, "Who exactly orchestrated the ambush and how will they be dealt with?"
That wording hints at Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins eventually aiming their anger at someone higher than Kane, namely Triple H.
Triple H has to ready himself for another revenge-seeking foe for now, though. He ended last week's show towering over his prey—a handcuffed, beaten Daniel Bryan. Bryan had to be taken away on a stretcher.
WWE.com reported the following on the storyline injury:
According to Dr. Amann, Daniel Bryan has suffered a shoulder subluxation (partially dislocated). The ligament in question is stretched and he has capsular swelling.
However, Bryan's labrum is structurally intact, so surgery will not be necessary. While the doctor has recommended rest, Bryan has vowed to continue to participate in all his scheduled live events, as well as Raw this Monday.
When Raw hits Brooklyn, fans will be tuning in to see how much those injuries are still affecting him. Will he have to hobble to the ring? Will he even be able to compete?
While there is no certainty that Bryan will be in any condition to confront Triple H, the fact that Undertaker and Lesnar will be in the same building once more points to a huge collision happening between them.
How that meeting will play out, though, is unknown for now. Benigno asks on his five-point preview, "What will go down when the two titans meet for the first time since their explosive contract signing?"
How WWE answers that will be one of the more compelling elements of Monday's Raw, a night that will juxtapose the ridiculous with the dramatic and a cartoon dog with seething rivals.