WWE Monday Night Raw 8/1/11 Preview: House Shows Building Hype for CM Punk vs. John Cena Feud

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Over the past week, the WWE has reportedly been putting on some solid house shows in Illinois that have been pushing the "Champion vs. Champion" angle between CM Punk and John Cena.  Whether or not the action that's taken place at these shows may bleed into the Raw storyline remains to be seen, but it's worth taking a look at regardless.  Here's what's been going down off air.

The Miz & R-Truth vs. Zack Ryder & Alex Riley:

Now that's a colorful tag team match, despite being four singles wrestlers paired together, which has become the norm in WWE's tag team division.  The heel team has been winning the matches, but it sounds like Ryder has been getting a lot of ring time, which is exactly what his fans want to see on Monday Night Raw.  With Ryder crushing Michael Cole last week, and being given a position as Teddy Long's assistant on Smackdown, this might be a sign that the Broski himself is about to get his chance to prove himself live on Raw.  I wouldn't expect to see Ryder in a singles match against a mega heel like The Miz or R-Truth, but if there's some chemistry between him and Riley, maybe a non-title bout between them and the tag team champions is in order.

We touch on even more key bouts from the recent house shows, including CM Punk vs. John Cena, after the jump!

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston:

These two had a decent match last week on Raw, but that main point of discussion regarding Alberto Del Rio is the  speculation on when he will be positioned to make his WWE Title run.  With Del Rio having the Raw Money in the Bank briefcase, it seems that it's only a matter of time before he gets his reign as champion, but he and his destiny have had to wait due to CM Punk's burst of popularity stemming from his feud with John Cena.  Kofi Kingston has also been getting some quality play on Raw, and it seems as though his feud with WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler was dropped harder than Del Rio's planned title reign.  Del Rio has been winning the matches with Kofi via submission, and we'll see tonight if these two talented men are stuck in filler matches as they were last week.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Evan Bourne:

Evan Bourne hasn't been doing too bad for himself recently.  Since his impressive showing at WWE Money in the Bank, he's been getting more and more time on Monday Night Raw.  Ziggler has been doing decent work, and has the feel of a classic heel, but his feud along with all other storylines save for CM Punk/Cena and HHH becoming COO haven't seen much development at all.  I love the big angles going on right now, but I do hope the WWE doesn't neglect the minor angles for too long.  It's not a stretch to figure both of these men will be in action tonight.

CM Punk vs. John Cena:

Reportedly, the highlight of these shows have been the Champion vs. Champion matches between CM Punk and John Cena.  The matches have ended via DQ via run in each time due to the nature of the angle, as you're obviously not going to give either man an edge.  The crowds have been hot for the match, either a majority being pro Cena, or dueling chants for both men.  After the DQ, both champions hit their finishers on the run in (which was solely Del Rio, or The Miz and R-Truth).  Judging from reports, CM Punk is as hot as ever, and continues to get the louder cheers during the champion vs. champion face off between he and Cena where they raise their titles.  Unless WWE creative throws a curveball, it should be safe to assume that Summer Slam will be headlined by CM Punk vs. John Cena to unify the titles.  The two have continued to put on quality singles matches after their epic at MITB, and I would be more than happy to watch them go at it again.  The main event of Summer Slam will be announced tonight, so we might as well speculate while we can, right? 

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