The May 19 edition of WWE Raw will erase the uncertainty surrounding the World Heavyweight Championship.
Daniel Bryan's neck surgery will keep him out of the ring past Payback, but does that mean that WWE will strip him of the world title? How will the company determine who hoists it instead? Raw heads to the O2 Arena in London to answer those questions.
The famous raucous English fans will also watch as WWE builds toward Payback, heightening animosity between rivals and announcing more matches for the June pay-per-view.
As one might expect, all of WWE's current British titleholders, Sheamus, Bad News Barrett and Paige, are scheduled to appear on the show. Bryan, Cesaro and Paul Heyman are among the notable names not on that list.
Thanks to London being several hours ahead of the U.S., Monday's Raw will be taped. Folks in the U.K. and fans scanning through spoiler reports will see how the show unfolds beginning around 2 p.m ET.
Anthony Benigno's five-point preview on WWE.com and several backstage reports provide a peek behind the curtain before that.
News, Potential Spoilers
Adam Rose figures to be a prominent part of Monday's Raw.
According to F4WOnline (via Wrestling Inc), there is a "special segment being planned with Adam Rose and his Rosebuds for Monday's RAW from England."
The vocal English fans will likely provide an electric atmosphere for whatever WWE has planned for him. It's certain to involve Rose's rival Jack Swagger in some way.
Benigno writes, "Will this be the week Rose turns the so-called 'lemon' Swagger into pulp?" Rose may throw some blows at the former world champ, but don't count on him having an official match. The party-happy Superstar isn't expected to wrestle until Payback, per F4WOnline (via Wrestle Zone).
It's a safer bet that the tag team champs will be in action.
F4WOnline (via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), reports that "John Cena vs. Luke Harper and The Usos vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust is currently scheduled for Monday's RAW from London." No word on if one of these is a dark match, though.
Rhodes and Goldust took on The Usos on last Friday's SmackDown. Tension between the brothers continued after the loss.
Should WWE pair these two teams again, it's likely going to be as a means to further splinter the Rhodes brothers.
As for Cena, he took on Erick Rowan on the May 9 episode of SmackDown, so it makes sense for him to move down The Wyatt Family line and take on Harper this time.
It's this rivalry along with the one between The Shield and Evolution that will have to take center stage with Bryan out. The bearded warrior will, however, reportedly be at Raw, sort of.
PWMania.com shares the following from F4WOnline:
Daniel Bryan's appearance on RAW tomorrow night is expected to be a taped interview as opposed to him being there in person but that's just the word going around WWE and nothing official.
It's not surprising in the least that WWE would have Bryan stay home and rest, send his message via video and let Triple H or Stephanie McMahon do most of the talking when it comes to announcing the fate of the world championship.
There are plenty of other Superstars available to entertain the London fanbase even if none of them have as fervent a following as Bryan.
Rivalries Continue, Payback Grows
The Shield and Evolution traded rounds in their fight over the last few weeks.
Evolution viciously attacked The Shield on May 5. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose went on the offensive the following week, spending much of the May 12 Raw pummeling Evolution.
The expectation will be that Triple H and company retaliate on Monday's show. WWE's five-point preview hints at that exact scenario. Benigno asks, "Is the other shoe about to drop on The Shield?"
WWE has done a good job so far in making these teams look evenly matched by having them leave each out cold on an alternating basis. Expect that to continue in London.
Monday's Raw is also promised a collision of powerhouses.
Last week, Big E prevented Rusev from attacking "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. It was the first time that Rusev had faced someone he can't just overpower.
Benigno foreshadows another clash between Big E and Rusev, writing, "The Super Athlete got the better of the former Intercontinental Champion last week, but don't expect the powerlifting champion to be so easily caught off-guard a second time." That suggests that there will in fact be a second time and that wasn't just a one-off meeting.
There's a possibility that Big E would have a number of Superstars in his corner when he tackles "The Bulgarian Brute."
F4WOnline's Bryan Alvarez (via PWMania.com), reports that someone within WWE suggested to him that "perhaps the company is planning on doing a new storyline similar to the Nation of Domination." Many of Rusev's wins have come against African-American Superstars, including Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and R-Truth, so it's easy to see why that speculation has emerged.
The more likely scenario, though, is that Big E represents Rusev's biggest test, setting up an intriguing midcard bout for Payback.
That event's match card should have some additional items after Monday's Raw, with or without Big E and Rusev landing on it. Swagger and Rose, Cesaro and Sheamus and The Usos and The Wyatt Family have all had run-ins with each other recently.
Without Bryan and perhaps without the world title being defended, WWE is going to have to give added focus to matches like those.