The Aug. 18 edition of WWE Raw will serve as Brock Lesnar's victory party.
One night after pummeling John Cena at SummerSlam, Lesnar will hoist the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Expect Paul Heyman to grin, gloat and remind us that he told us so.
Backstage reports, how SummerSlam played out and James Wortman's five-point preview on WWE.com point to where Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Nikki Bella are headed next.
Monday's Raw may also be the night that ushers in a new version of the WWE title. Lesnar and Cena will be there to watch the unveiling, but one high-flying former champ may have already wrapped up his WWE run.
News, Potential Spoilers
Lesnar's part-time schedule will have him miss a number of shows, but he will be in Las Vegas to celebrate his title win. The Beast Incarnate is scheduled to appear on Monday's Raw, per WWE.com.
Rob Van Dam likely won't follow his SummerSlam win with one in Sin City.
He may be on hiatus again. According to PWInsider's subscription-required section (h/t WrestlingInc.com), Van Dam's match against Cesaro could have been the last one of his current WWE tenure. The talk backstage is reportedly that he is done for now and will be back when he's ready.
Being minus Van Dam won't be the only change to Raw. The new logo is likely to be plastered everywhere.
Vince McMahon tweeted last week that WWE had made changes to its branding:
That could also mean a new intro and theme song. This is a new era, as the WWE Network has launched globally. Switching up Raw's opening is good way to punctuate that shift.
It's an era that will be marked with a change in how the WWE World Heavyweight Championship looks as well.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson reports, "You can also expect the new championship belt to come into play tomorrow with the older belts retired, as we noted was the plan several weeks back."
The Beast Incarnate told TMZ after his post-match meal that he doesn't plan to carry around two belts. He seemed to acknowledge that they would be merged.
The WWE Network logo is likely to find a prominent spot on the new title. As for how drastic the other changes are, fans won't have to wait long to see them.
Early Night of Champions Build
Monday's Raw will showcase the paths WWE chooses after approaching several forks in the road.
Which SummerSlam matches will beget Night of Champions rematches? Who will pursue new prey after the marquee event?
Wortman's preview doesn't provide clear answers. It instead announces that rivalries fans may assume will continue may in fact be over.
At SummerSlam, Wyatt pounded Chris Jericho into the ground to even up their series at 1-1. That usually means there will be a third go-round, but Wortman points in that direction and also to Wyatt possibly moving on.
He writes, "Will Jericho attain retribution against the backwater preacher on Raw, or will 'The Man of 1,000 Truths' seek out a new target tonight?"
Wyatt's win on Sunday was impressive, but it doesn't seem like a rivalry ender. As antagonistic as these two men have become with each other, one would expect a Steel Cage or No Disqualification match to serve as the feud's climax.
Fans will be wondering if Roman Reigns and Randy Orton are done battling as well.
Reigns' SummerSlam victory over Orton seemed to be the end of that story, with as clear-cut as it was. The long-expected showdown with Triple H feels like the logical next step. Wortman, though, hints at The Viper continuing to strike.
Wortman says to "expect some serious backlash against Reigns or whoever else gets in his way."
WWE could have Orton take out his anger on someone else, but it sounds as if he'll have at least one more attempt to take out Reigns. If Orton fails again, on this Raw or another one soon, that could be Triple H's impetus to challenge the powerhouse himself.
As for Seth Rollins and Ambrose, a fluky finish to their Lumberjack match at SummerSlam is a sure sign of that story continuing.
The question now becomes how much of a role Kane plays going forward. Wortman hints strongly that Kane will be folded into the feud even more, writing, "The unstable Ambrose will be looking for payback, but who will he go after first, Kane or Rollins?"
A Kane vs. Ambrose match on Raw is a safe bet. With five weeks left until Night of Champions, WWE is going to need something else for Ambrose to do before his next meeting with Rollins. Attacking Kane would be a welcome change of pace.
Monday's Raw also promises to offer an explanation for Nikki's actions at SummerSlam.
She betrayed her twin sister, allowing Stephanie McMahon to defeat Brie Bella. That narrative will get the spotlight once more, this time focusing on Nikki.
Wortman writes, "How will Nikki explain her unfathomable actions toward her twin sister?"
After turning on her sister, Nikki was clearly regretful. Tears pooled in her eyes as she backed away from the ring area.
This suggests that maybe The Authority blackmailed her into working for them somehow. Things may be getting even more soap opera-esque, depending on what McMahon has hanging over her.
The biggest story coming out of the Staples Center, though, was Lesnar's throttling of Cena.
He not only became the new world champ, but he also did so with little resistance. What WWE does next is going to be intriguing.
Wortman asks in the WWE.com preview, "Will Cena respond to his crushing defeat in The Biggest Fight of the summer?"
Of course he will. Cena isn't just going to limp into obscurity. A rematch is likely, with Cena wanting to do far better in his next outing. The options for Lesnar's other challengers are limited anyway.
The broken warrior should begin his recovery on Monday's Raw.
However, the focus of the post-SummerSlam show will be on the man who broke him. Lesnar should have a newly designed title to flaunt and a one-sided victory to boast about.
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