What you need to know
Even though we just put Battleground to bed, we're less than a week away from WWE's next pay-per-view (PPV). Meaning tonight is the go home show for Hell in a Cell. Meaning tonight is supposed to represent the company making their best case for you to part ways with your hard earned money and not watch football, or The Good Wife, or whatever is it you do with yourself on Sundays that don't provide you with the opportunity to drop five bills on some fake fighting.
The Big Show has been fired by Stephanie McMahon for indiscriminate punching. That didn't stop him from knocking out Chief Operating Officer (COO) Triple H. Or costing The Shield their tag team championship. Or cold-cocking Raw General Manager Brad Maddox.
The Giant says it's because he doesn't have anything to lose. Despite Daniel Bryan being one of the men Show KO'd at Battleground, the man who will compete again for the WWE title this Sunday is clearly on the side of the World's Largest Athlete. Probably safe to say that new tag champs Goldust and Cody Rhodes are, as well.
Will Shawn Michaels be on anyone's side when he serves as referee for the Beard's match against Randy Orton for the WWE title in MIami? He vowed to call it down the middle for the fans, but following the Viper confronting him last Monday, and given his roots training a young Daniel Bryan, might he lean a little toward the fan favorite in his adjudication?
CM Punk gained a big new ally in his war against Paul Heyman and his guys on Friday night. And I do mean a BIG one. Big E Langston didn't want to hear the Advocate call him "just a rookie" even one more time, and he put a hurting Curtis Axel and Punk's main opponent at Hell in a Cell to prove it. The Straight-Edged Superstar might be about to get locked in a cage with Ryback and Heyman come October 27th, but as Paul continues to make enemies, the Chicagoan may not be alone.
The return of John Cena has World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) Alberto Del Rio on edge. He's taken to attacking the media - his cross armbreaker to Josh Matthews has the former Smackdown play-by-play man contemplating legal action against HHH. With The Game increasingly losing it due to the wins by Bryan and the Rhodes, not to mention the considerable threat of Big Show, a worker's rights beef is the last thing he needs.
What to look out for
Ahhh a contract signing...what could possibly go wrong? Or, should I say, which was will they have it go wrong this time? Find out when Bryan and Orton make it legal in Memphis, TN tonight.
The COO has promised to make The Big Show and the Rhodes brothers pay for messing with his program the last couple of weeks. When the voice of WWE, Michael Cole, pressed him on the rationale for and details of his plans in their weekly internet interview, Hunter threateningly stormed off the set. What does he have in mind to try and regain the upper hand in his dealings with the roster?
Video game fans rejoice! Tonight, you'll be able to vote (on the app, no doubt) for which classic WrestleMania match you'd like to see recreated in WWE 2K14. I'd probably rather see human beings wrestle, but I guess they'll kill three hours their way, I can kill it mine.
What they should do
Fill out the rest of the PPV card, probably. While the top looks stronger this time around, mostly due to the presence of Cena, and the hope that holding the battle for the WWE title and CM Punk versus Team Heyman in Hell in a Cell matches means that we'll finally gets some resolution to those long-running sagas.
I feel like I'm beating a dead horse (chill out PETA, it's already dead), but it sure would be nice if some of those matches served to rebuild the mid and undercard, the tag and women's divisions. The unbelievable extent to which they gotten Cody and his big brother over in the last month or so if proof that if you can give us fans a little reason to care for a guy, throw a bunch of challenges in his way and have him overcome them - that's a guy we can get behind.
The inverse works for heels, too. Give us the germ of a reason to hate them - arrogance is the easy one, but they can get creative here, that's why they get the big bucks - have them come out on top even when they don't "deserve" to. That's a guy we can root against.
Not everyone is going to love or hate everyone you take a shot at developing. But when you don't try, and trot out the same dudes for context-less matches to fill out airtime, you can be sure that most of us are not going to care.
What we're afraid they will do
Somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes of John Cena, American hero vignettes. Is there really anyone who hasn't seen these before? If you love him, you already own the DVDs - and probably DVR'd the ones from last week. And his Royal Rumble return in 2008. Or either of his short injury absences from last year.
Point is, this is the opposite of the mid-card problem. With Cena or any of the really big names, WWE could take a page from their own playbook - from the 1980s. Less can be more with the biggest stars.
What does Raw have to do to get you to buy a third $50 show in six weeks?
Let us know the answer to that, and join Rex and the regulars for our live blog tonight!