SummerSlam's midcard will garner a healthy amount of attention on the Aug. 4 edition of WWE Raw.
With a number of marquee names not advertised, the show is set to focus more on the battle for the Intercontinental Championship, AJ Lee's pursuit of revenge and Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt. The night offers a chance for the non-main eventers to do the headline-making.
Count on more matches being added to SummerSlam, as the upcoming pay-per-view is under two weeks away.
The Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, hosts all the aggression and excitement, airing at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on USA Network. Catch the Raw pre-show 30 minutes prior on the WWE Network, but there will be no Raw post-show this time around.
Backstage reports and James Wortman's Five-Point Preview on WWE.com provide a glimpse of what to expect when Raw arrives in Texas' capital.
News, Potential Spoilers
Press pause on the build for SummerSlam's top match. It appears that both the world champ and his challenger won't be in Texas on Monday's Raw.
Neither John Cena nor Brock Lesnar are scheduled to appear on the show, per WWE.com.
As Steven Fernandes noted on PWInsider last month, "Cena is currently filming the Judd Apatow film Trainwreck." Lesnar is working a limited schedule and isn't slated to be onscreen until next week's Raw in Portland, Oregon.
With no Cena to antagonize and no Lesnar to introduce, Monday's Raw offers little work for Paul Heyman. The razor-tongued manager isn't likely to be around.
Ariel Helwani writes on MMA Fighting that Heyman will be in studio on The MMA Hour beginning at 2:05 p.m. ET. in New York City.
It's certainly possible that Heyman wraps up his interview, hurries onto a plane and makes his way from New York to Texas in time for the show, but scheduling this appearance so close to Monday's Raw suggests he won't be a part of it.
While no one may be able to make up for Heyman's verbal wizardry, Monday's Raw will, however, be getting a boost in brawling ability.
Sheamus is among the advertised talents for the latest edition of Raw after missing last week's shows. The Celtic Warrior was busy sightseeing in Ireland, as he noted on his Twitter account:
The United States Championship could get some added attention with him back. Sheamus is without a clear No. 1 contender. That has a great chance of changing in preparation for SummerSlam.
The Divas title is set to grab some spotlight as well.
On last week's SmackDown, Paige attacked AJ Lee from behind. She pushed the champ off the entrance ramp and left her in need of medical attention.
WWE.com later reported that AJ "was diagnosed with a whiplash injury." AJ is only injured in storyline, though. Erasing any doubts about the injury's scripted nature, AJ wrestled in Lubbock, Texas, over the weekend, per PWInsider.
The fall looks to be a means to further this feud. Wortman writing on WWE.com that "AJ will no doubt be looking for retribution this week. With her injury at the hands of The Diva of Tomorrow, though, will she be able to attain it?" certainly points in that direction.
Monday's Raw may also see the return of Big Show.
After taking a hiatus to film Vendetta, The World's Largest Athlete has begun to compete on house shows. The above report from the live event in Lubbock notes that Big Show stepped into the ring as well.
There's a chance he does so on Monday's Raw, too, but WWE has its hands full with a number of SummerSlam stories to tell.
A feud between stables has narrowed down to hatred between two men. Randy Orton and Roman Reigns' animosity is set to lead to an official matchup.
Orton issued a challenge to Reigns on last Friday's SmackDown.
In the WWE.com preview, Wortman asks, "Will we get an answer from Reigns on Raw, or has The Viper taken the fight out of one of WWE's most indomitable Superstars?" Count on the former coming to fruition. Using recent brawls between the enemies, WWE has been hinting at this direction since the night after Battleground.
It's not often fans see challenges like this ignored anyway.
Monday's Raw could set up Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz as well. Ziggler scored a non-title victory against The Miz two weeks ago, they then met in tag team action on July 28 and on last Friday's SmackDown, The Miz's distraction led to a loss for Ziggler.
Wortman states in his preview that "The Showoff is clearly in pursuit of The Awesome One's title," all but confirming that WWE is headed for a Ziggler vs. Miz IC title bout.
One of SummerSlam's already-announced matches could be adjusted after Monday's Raw. Jericho's win over Erick Rowan on last week's SmackDown will result in the bruiser being banned from ringside during Jericho vs. Wyatt on Aug. 17.
In the five-point preview, Wortman hints that Jericho will get a similar opportunity against Luke Harper.
Two of SummerSlam's other official matches—Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella and Jack Swagger vs. Rusev—should get some hype as well. McMahon accepted her bout against Brie with a slap and a bold proclamation on last week's Raw. A few days later, Swagger and Zeb Colter demanded that Rusev face the All-American American in a Flag match.
McMahon vs. Brie is featured on the five-point preview, so expect it to get some solid attention.
Wortman writes in it, "Is the savvy daughter of WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon about to unleash some of her family's time-tested 'Ruthless Aggression' on Brie?" That's a hint that Brie is set to suffer some of the punishment her sister, Nikki, has been enduring in her absence.
That match, along with SummerSlam's other undercard clashes, will get a chance to gain momentum with Lesnar vs. Cena stepping aside for the moment. The upcoming event will continue to take shape, its subplots taking center stage for now.
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