John Cena returns, welcomed by a trio of Hall of Famers, on the Aug. 25 edition of WWE Raw.
Cena hasn't appeared on WWE TV since taking a stunning beatdown from Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. After giving his swollen, bruised ego a chance to heal, he's back to address the fans and his impending rematch with Lesnar at Night of Champions.
That title bout will get the bulk of the attention on Monday's Raw, but Nikki Bella's, Seth Rollins' and Chris Jericho's stories are set to continue as well.
Backstage reports and James Wortman's five-point preview on WWE.com give fans an excellent idea of what to expect when the Honda Center in Anaheim, California hosts Raw. Special guests, bad blood and increasing momentum highlight a show that will go head-to-head with the Emmy Awards.
News, Potential Spoilers
Last week, The Beast Incarnate wore the newly unveiled WWE World Heavyweight Championship as Paul Heyman bragged alongside him. Monday's Raw will be one beast short. Per WWE.com, Lesnar is not advertised to appear.
As it was during the buildup to SummerSlam, it appears that fans won't see Lesnar and Cena together often before Night of Champions.
To make up for the lack of star power, WWE is bringing in Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. On the WWE.com preview, Wortman announced that those three legends will all be on the show to discuss the Lesnar vs. Cena rematch in a Hall of Fame forum.
The Nature Boy tweeted that he would be kicking off the show:
Michaels also confirmed on Twitter that he would be at the Honda Center:
If any of those people are Zack Ryder fans hoping to see him make a rare appearance, they are in for a bit of disappointment. After working live events over the weekend, Ryder tweeted on Monday that he was flying back to New York:
Flying back to NY...not sick. pic.twitter.com/ORkyXL2IDb— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) August 25, 2014
Rather than featuring an upset from Long Island Iced Z, Monday's Raw will likely see more violence between Jericho and Wyatt. They have a rubber match to build toward.
That should mean that fans get at least a taste of where this storyline is headed. Last Monday's Raw featured Wyatt boasting about his SummerSlam win over Y2J. It makes sense to give Jericho the stage this time around, offering him a chance for a response or an opportunity for The Wyatt Family to ambush him again.
It doesn't take clairvoyance to know what Cena will be talking about on Monday's Raw. After suffering the worst drubbing of his career, fans will expect an angry, focused version of Cena, his sights set on Lesnar.
Wortman confirms that when he writes in the WWE.com preview, "Cena will address his upcoming collision with the ring's most dangerous competitor."
That bout is the only one officially set for Night of Champions. As the event draws closer, look for several rivalries to earn spots on the card as well.
That looks to be where Rusev is heading. WWE made it clear that Rusev's next obstacle is Mark Henry. The World's Strongest Man confronted Rusev on Friday's SmackDown after the newcomer took down Sin Cara.
This burgeoning feud should continue on Raw, the tension escalating. On the five-point preview, Wortman tells fans to "expect an international incident this week on Raw."
That match appears to be a lock for Night of Champions, although it's not yet confirmed.
That's also the case with Nikki and Brie Bella's sister-versus-sister match. After Nikki smacked her sister in the mouth last week, one can count on their relationship deteriorating.
WWE should be looking to showcase's Nikki's new dark side. That may come by way of her turning on her tag team partner. As Pro Wrestling Torch reported, Nikki attacked Emma after their match at the house show in Stockton, California this past Friday.
Rollins' villainy should be a major focus as well. Last Monday, he capped off Raw by crushing Dean Ambrose's head onto a pile of cinder blocks.
WWE.com later reported that Ambrose "not only refused treatment but is reportedly missing after escaping WWE medical personnel altogether." In his latest sit-down interview with Michael Cole, Triple H blamed Ambrose's absence on cowardice and mental instability:
With his archenemy out of the picture, Rollins can accomplish new dastardly feats. It's unclear who he will target next, but the five-point preview suggests he'll be successful against them. Wortman writes, "Now that Ambrose appears to be out of his two-toned hair, look for Rollins' hot streak to continue this week."
Monday's Raw will be another chance for Rollins to impress and prove he's one of WWE's top heels. He, Wyatt and Rusev will all be looking to announce that they are all key to the company's future on a night where WWE welcomes back three huge names from the past.