Previewing the Nov. 12, 2012 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, the go-home show to Survivor Series, featuring a final confrontation between CM Punk, Ryback, and John Cena and hyping up the 5-on-5 matchup between Team Foley and Team Ziggler.
Punk! Ryback! Cena! Heyman! Triple Threat! WWE Championship!
Do you remember, dear Cagesiders, the fall-out show to Hell in a Cell? It was only a few weeks ago (Oct. 29) when you realized there would be only three more Monday Night Raws before Survivor Series. WWE would have to deal with the mess that was CM Punk vs. Ryback while instantaneously starting the build-up for the traditional Survivor Series match.
It seemed like a Sisyphean task.
Do you remember, dear Cagesiders, when WWE trotted out Mick Foley? He got in Punk's face, decrying the WWE Champion. Foley demanded a match, and the Punk obliged. So WWE set up a traditional Survivor Series match of Team Punk vs. Team Foley.
Do you also remember, dear Cagesiders, that John Cena and Dolph Ziggler seemed to be involved in their own feud? Perhaps, this would be the opportunity to put Ziggler over and have him become a true main-eventer.
Well let's throw all of that out, because WWE has changed the entire equation.
Last week (Nov. 5), Punk and Ryback were dropped from the Survivor Series match to main event the eponymous Pay-Per-View (PPV). And just for funsies Cena was added into the mix. So the WWE Championship will be defended in a Triple Threat match, and we will have another non-finish to close out a paid show.
Because this is all WWE knows how to do.
It is well known that WWE does not know how to plan far in advance. It has The Rock penciled in for the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, and that is about it. It has no clue how to get there, nor what to do afterwards. So the promotion will smoz every finish between now and then to "protect" everyone. Heaven forbid Cena or Ryback take a clean loss.
It would be the end of the world as we know it!
Come Sunday (Nov. 18), we find out what new and creative shenanigans WWE will come up with. Following that, there is TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (Dec. 16). Then, finally, The Rock will come back to WWE and end all of this nonsense. We can have a legitimate storyline to lead into WrestleMania 29. The big guns will be back, and we may actually see a clean finish or two.
Oh, how I cannot wait for those days.
If WWE is going to give Cena the title, then just give him the title. If WWE wants to stretch Punk's reign out, then at least let him have a clean win once in awhile. If WWE is truly that high up on Ryback, then stop putting him in no-win situations.
Booking is simple, if you stop trying to get cute with it.
Expect a final confrontation between the three men tonight, with Punk and Paul Heyman scheming, Cena pandering, and Ryback yelling. It may not meet the highest of standards for a go-home show.
But with WWE's track record recently, it may actually be better than what it has been producing.
Team Ziggler! Team Foley! Maybe! Survivor Series Match!
With CM Punk and Ryback out of the 5-on-5 match, there's some open spots that need to be filled up. Dolph Ziggler has taken control of the heel team, while Wade Barrett reluctantly agreed to fill in when The Miz dropped out. The rest of the team includes Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) and Alberto Del Rio.
The faces, on the other hand, have a little more work to do. Foley has yet to pick someone to replace Ryback. With the entire roster available, it's up in the air who he will choose.
Perhaps a fun character such as Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, or Brodus Clay? Maybe it could be someone from NXT? Or it is possible that it is someone that absolutely no one expects?
I could be a member of Team Foley!
In any case, it is good to see the traditional Survivor Series match is back to the midcard. In all honesty, it is where it should always have been. Unless you are going to populate the teams with the likes of Brock Lesnar and The Rock, having it in the main event just feels weak.
It is still possible for Ziggler -- who still has the Money in the Bank briefcase -- to use this as a jumping off point into the main event. The guy is going to have a run with the World Heavyweight Championship at some point.
WWE is going to have to make him look strong eventually.
Everything Else! Bullet Points!
- Brad Maddox will face Ryback tonight with a $1 million contract on the line. I have no clue what WWE is planning to do here, but at least they are doing something with Maddox. There is definitely some potential here if WWE handles it right.
- With John Cena back in the championship picture, one would hope WWE is planning on dropping the entire AJ Lee - Vickie Guerrero - Dolph Ziggler angle. One would be wrong. WWE is planning on revealing more details of the alleged affair tonight. So watch out for that.
- Jerry "The King" Lawler will make his return to ringside tonight. As much grief as we give the man, it is good to see that he is healthy and able to get back to work.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below 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.