The coronavirus epidemic continues to affect the world of professional wrestling as WWE Raw once again emanates from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, Monday night, just under two weeks before WrestleMania 36, with the return of WWE champion Brock Lesnar.
The Beast Incarnate's appearance is just one element of a broadcast guaranteed to focus on building hype and anticipation for The Showcase of the Immortals as Randy Orton will also be in attendance to address a high-profile challenge laid down by Edge.
Lesnar Responds to Drew McIntyre
The last time we saw the WWE champion, he was flat on his back on the entrance ramp, with Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre standing tall over him, his own championship held high overhead as a message from the Scot.
Lesnar returns to WWE TV this week, almost certainly seeking revenge for the assault he endured at the hands of his WrestleMania opponent and equally hellbent on sending a message of his own.
With The Scottish Psychopath slated to be in attendance, the potential for retribution will be there, but it remains to be seen if Lesnar can slow his momentum ahead of their showdown. After all, McIntyre has been unstoppable since vanquishing The Beast in the Rumble and cashing his ticket to 'Mania.
The lack of fan interaction and response will have an effect on how well the angle WWE has in store is received. Given how red-hot McIntyre has been and how superb Lesnar can be when he turns it up a notch, expect something special Monday night.
The Viper Answers Edge's Challenge
Edge kicked off last week's show by challenging Orton to a Last Man Standing match at WrestleMania.
This week, The Viper returns to Raw to answer the Hall of Famer's challenge for what would be one of the most anticipated and emotionally intense matches on the entire card.
Orton has been absolutely stellar thus far in the program, turning in some of his greatest performances to date. His ability to recognize the value of the little things, including facial expressions and ticks, elevates him above most others in terms of getting stories across without laying a finger on his opponent.
Look for more of that Monday night.
Not currently scheduled for a match of any sort, Orton should deliver another phenomenal promo that makes the proposed bout official while simultaneously adding another layer to his rivalry with The Rated-R Superstar.
More In-Ring Action
With every passing show, WWE officials are learning how to best craft these no-audience broadcasts for fans watching at home. Friday night on SmackDown, the writing team struck a fine line between promos, old footage and in-ring action.
Expect the same on Raw, almost certainly fueled by the successful broadcast All Elite Wrestling provided under similar circumstances last Wednesday night.
WWE appears to understand it can still have matches with no fans in attendance and that its audience demands it.
How many or what those matches look like remains to be seen, but expect to see more bell-to-bell action from the red brand as it puts its finishing touches on the two-night WrestleMania card.