Canada welcomes two of its greatest wrestlers as Bret Hart and Chris Jericho head to the July 7 edition of WWE Raw.
With Battleground fast approaching, WWE will look to add to the Battle Royal field and highlight feuds that will likely lead to collisions at that event. While Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose's bad blood, tension surrounding the Divas Championship and The Authority storyline will grab much of the spotlight, Monday's Raw could also salute a Superstar on his way out.
Count on a vocal, passionate crowd inside Montreal's Bell Centre.
Not only is that fanbase normally a raucous one, but there will plenty to get excited about on Monday night. Hart is scheduled to appear. Jericho will compete on WWE television for the first since last summer.
Backstage reports and James Wortman's five-point preview on WWE.com offer a look at what else to expect from the show.
News, Potential Spoilers
Monday's Raw will likely pay tribute to Santino Marella in some way.
As reported by PWInsider's Mike Johnson, Santino announced his retirement at a house show in Toronto, noting that "Marella cited a number of neck issues, stemming from multiple injuries, as why he was closing his career." The funnyman and judoka isn't a high-profile star, but an untelevised announcement doesn't seem like a fitting way for him to go.
It's more feasible that WWE honors him in a small way at the Bell Centre, especially considering that he's Canadian, upping the chances he gets a big reaction from the crowd.
There will be no question about how loudly the Montreal fans receive Jericho.
The ever-popular wrestler is set to face The Miz in the only match that's been announced so far for Monday's Raw. That clash isn't likely to just be a one-off contest. Chances are their feud only intensifies after this meeting.
He hasn't even been back with WWE for a week, but Y2J has already clocked Miz in the face twice—once upon his return during last week's Raw and then again on last Friday's SmackDown.
Those incidents may end up leading to a match at Battleground. Citing a PWInsider report, PWMania states, "There was talk of doing The Miz vs. Chris Jericho at this month's Battleground pay-per-view and saving Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt for SummerSlam."
On WWE's July 6 live event in Toronto, Jericho and The Miz wrestled in a bout that the fans called "awesome," per PWTorch.
This is more of a sign that The Miz will serve as Jericho's warm-up opponent before tangling with Wyatt. Don't expect the leader of the Wyatt Family to stay in the shadows, though.
The fact that in his preview for Monday's Raw, Wortman asks, "Will The Eater of Worlds and his sinister disciples make their presence known during this anticipated encounter?" is a strong indication that fans will also see Wyatt and Jericho's feud develop.
It's less clear how much we'll see of Emma.
Based on a recent report from F4WOnline, Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc notes that "There was some speculation that Emma's work visa may have been in jeopardy due to the arrest but Hartford Police have confirmed that's not the case."
That means she'll be available to perform, but her arrest should have her firmly nestled in the company doghouse. Other Divas are sure to get more chances than her.
Paige and AJ are both featured in the five-point preview for Monday. It's not clear yet if WWE wants to save their imminent championship match for SummerSlam or add it to Battleground, but they will undoubtedly cross paths often in the near future.
Paige sat in on commentary during last Friday's SmackDown during AJ's match with Eva Marie. The former champ then shook the current titleholder's hand to congratulate her on her win.
Fans have seen enough cordial interactions morph into violence to know that this peace won't last. With Battleground only having two matches so far, there's a good chance Paige vs. AJ gets placed on the card soon.
One of the only bouts on the docket so far will decide who takes home the vacant Intercontinental Championship.
As of now, there are 11 official entrants in the Battleground Battle Royal, including recent addition Bo Dallas and former IC champs like Dolph Ziggler, Curtis Axel and Rob Van Dam.
Adam Rose, R-Truth, Xavier Woods and Heath Slater are lower-tier Superstars who are better fits for the Battle Royal than singles matches.
One thing Monday's Raw is likely to clear up is if Rusev and Jack Swagger are heading for a one-on-one collision at Battleground or if they will join Ziggler, Dallas and company.
Those two powerhouses faced off on last Monday's Raw after Swagger and Zeb Colter had heard enough America bashing. They snarled at each other once more on last Friday's SmackDown.
Wortman writes, "This Monday on Raw, will the 'Cold War' between Swagger and Rusev heat up?" That's a safe bet.
It's hard to imagine the feud between Ambrose and Rollins heating up past its current temperature, but count on WWE trying to do just that. They have attacked each other on a regular basis since Rollins betrayed his Shield brethren.
They will surely meet again on Monday's Raw.
WWE.com's preview suggests that Triple H and his various cronies will continue to go after Ambrose. In it, Wortman asks, "Will The Authority find a way to pull this thorn from Rollins' side? Or will Ambrose continue to stand between Mr. Money in the Bank and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?"
How that question plays out will be one of the biggest stories on Monday's Raw as two former friends continue to get closer to a showdown that promises to be like fire meeting gasoline.