Precap to the Oct. 8, 2012 episode of 'Monday Night Raw', or without a paddle

Previewing the Oct. 8, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw featuring the WWE Champion CM Punk, the return of Vince McMahon and John Cena, and continuing the number-one contenders tournament for the Tag Team Championship

Punk! Cena! Ryback! Mayhem at the Summit! WWE Championship!

The main event of Monday Night Raw is in a strange place at the moment. CM Punk has been the WWE Champion for 323 days (23 divided by 3 is 7.667, which is kind of close to 6.66. That is the sign of the devil, and the next Pay-Per-View (PPV) is Hell in a Cell. The numbers all make sense!). He has yet to become "the man" of the promotion, though.

John Cena, who is most certainly "the man," has finally gotten around to challenging for his title after a year of meandering around. The problem is that Cena's elbow is still recovering from surgery, so it is still up in the air whether or not he will be able to face Punk at Hell in a Cell.

Instead of just working around the situation, WWE has decided to have its steroid riddled cake and eat it too.

While Cena is still Plan A, The Ryback has somehow become Plan B. The 6'3", 291 pound freak of nature went from destroying Stan Stanksy and Willard Filmore to potentially contending for the WWE Title in six short months. Yes, he's a stopgap measure at a time when the babyfaces are thin at the top. I still stand by my belief that there must be someone better to take his spot, but that isn't even what annoys me the most.

If WWE wants to go with Ryback, go with Ryback. If WWE knows that Cena can go in three weeks, then don't bother with this feint. If WWE is completely unsure at what the hell to do, well...get better writers.

In a business where it's not "if" but "when" someone will get hurt, there should always be some type of contingency plan in place. Dancing around the issue does no one any favors. If Cena needs a break, give the poor guy some time off. TLC: Table, Ladders and Chairs 2011 managed to get 179,000 buys with no Cena and headlined by Punk, The Miz, and Alberto Del Rio. It was a little low, but nothing horrible for a "B-Show." WWE can survive a PPV without Cena on the card.

Because if we are really going to get Punk vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship, WWE really needs to start hyping that match now. I don't know how many people are going to pay for an obvious back-up plan

Hell No! Rhodes Scholars! Primetime Players! Mysterio and Sin Cara! Co-Bro! Tag Team Championship!

At some point the excitement of having real tag teams will wear off. We are not at that point yet. In fact, the joy has only grown over the past few weeks. We have four legitimate tag teams all competing to take on Daniel Bryan and Kane for the Tag Team Championship. The Primetime Players will face Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara while Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) will take on Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder, and no I didn't just make up the name, WWE.com is legitimately calling the pairing that).

All told, those are some darn good teams lined up.

What is most important moving forward is that WWE doesn't just drop the teams that don't win the number-one contenders tournament. WWE needs to keep this excitement alive, not just for Hell in a Cell, but for every episode and PPV moving forward. This is the best chance for a revitalized tag team division we've had in awhile.

I would hate to see it be lost.

Everything Else! Bullet Points!

  • Both Vince McMahon and John Cena have announced they will be appearing on tonight's episode of Monday Night Raw. The former is certainly a bad omen for the lovely AJ Lee. She has been losing control during her tenure as General Manager, and now may be the time we see this story start to wind down. This is either really good news or really bad news depending on your point of view.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is tonight's "Social Media Ambassador" for Monday Night Raw. Just because this is something that WWE does.
  • Antonio Cesaro is foreign and awesome. That is all.

Hopefully this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Monday Night gang in the live blog right here.

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