The March 31 WWE Raw writes one last chapter before WrestleMania XXX arrives.
The Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. hosts the go-home show, which will feature Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker and Hulk Hogan. The night promises to further the major storylines, offer a few surprises and answer a number of questions.
Will the D.C. crowd give Batista the home-field advantage? Will Rob Van Dam come back sooner than expected?
Champions and challengers will be ready for tuneups before "The Show of Shows." Zeb Colter may be ready to spread his message to senators.
Backstage reports, tweets and hints from Anthony Benigno's five-point preview on WWE.com give the audience a peek at how Monday's Raw may play out. As this is WWE's last big sales pitch for WrestleMania, expectations are high and whispers about potential surprise guests have already started.
Battle Royal Rumors/Potential Spoilers
With the other WrestleMania matches set, the Andre the Giant Battle Royal's incompleteness has sparked the most rumors.
The 30-man contest already features a number of former world champions, including Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler.
There are still four spots left in the match, something WWE may address on Monday's Raw.
WrestlingInc.'s Marc Middleton reports, "WWE is expected to announce some of the final 4 spots in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on tonight's RAW."
Bad News Barrett and Alexander Rusev rank among the most notable roster members not yet a part of the Battle Royal. The company may be going the big-name-from-the-past route, though.
Van Dam is reportedly scheduled to return the night after WrestleMania, per Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via Chris Cash of Wrestle Zone. Even so, there is still buzz about him possibly being in the Battle Royal.
His entry into that match, whether it is surprise or announced, is a hot topic among fans on Twitter.
I'd say you could probably pencil RVD in for one of the spots in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal #WrestleMania— Daniel Murphy (@DannyIWR) March 27, 2014
WWE would add more another reason to tune in to WrestleMania if it were to announce that Van Dam will be in the running for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy. He could be on screen even earlier than that, though.
PWInsider, via Middleton of WrestlingInc., reports that Van Dam's "return to WWE TV is imminent."
Stars on the Schedule
Monday's Raw promises star power aplenty, whether or not Van Dam shows up.
Hogan is scheduled to appear on Monday's Raw, along with Lesnar, Undertaker, Batista and Paul Heyman. One of Hogan's most recent tweets is either just an announcement of his excitement or a hint that something newsworthy is happening during his latest appearance.
Headed to DC for RAW brother,I'm gettin that weird crazy feeling again brother HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) March 31, 2014
Undertaker, as WWE.com notes, has a "final message" for Lesnar.
Last Monday, Undertaker emerged from what Lesnar thought was an empty casket and proceeded to toss "The Beast" out of the ring.
This is Lesnar's last chance to retaliate, with both men set to be in the same arena one last time before WrestleMania XXX. Otherwise, Undertaker will go into this clash with all of the momentum.
He stabbed Lesnar with a pen before chokeslamming him through a table. He followed up by dumping Lesnar headfirst onto a casket.
Once Hogan and Undertaker have their say, Monday's show is set to end with Batista vs. Randy Orton.
Both men are set to meet in the main event of WrestleMania, joined by either Bryan or Triple H. Monday's bout is an opportunity for a confidence-boosting victory heading into that match and perhaps a chance to weaken an opponent.
It will be interesting to see how the crowd reacts with no fan favorite in the mix. Batista is from D.C., so he may get the bulk of the audience's support.
WrestleMania Hype/Biggest Questions
Triple H's assault two weeks ago was damaging enough to keep Bryan out of action for last week's Raw and SmackDown. WWE is hinting that Bryan won't be sidelined again this Monday.
Benigno writes on WWE.com, "With only a week to go before the biggest match (matches?) of his career, don't expect the 'Yes!' Man to sit out this week’s Raw."
Bryan's prominence on the WrestleMania card dictates that he and his story receive plenty of attention on the go-home show. Will he get some revenge on the COO, or will Triple H find another way to leave the bearded warrior flat on his back?
Monday's Raw should also be a way to hype the The Shield vs. Kane and The New Age Outlaws.
The impending collision between Cena and Bray Wyatt is sure to be warmed by the spotlight as well.
Expect Wyatt to continue to try to worm his way into Cena's psyche. Last week, "The Eater of Worlds" left Cena tied up in the ropes and wearing a sheep mask.
Benigno asks, "Can Cena find his footing and rally, or is Bray Wyatt irreparably in his head?" That question feels like foreshadowing of Wyatt doing something else to unsettle Cena.
The continuation of their narrative is just one of many big stories Monday's Raw will add to, taking the last few steps on the road to WrestleMania.