Previously on Monday Night Raw
Our hero WWE Champion John Cena was assaulted by The Shield while his former ally and future challenger Ryback looked on. According to a statement released by the hungry one earlier in the evening, this was quid pro quo for Cena's failure to aid Ryback in his previous skirmishes with the unit consisting of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Speaking of The Shield, the issues among their opponents from WrestleMania XXIX continued as Randy Orton and Sheamus defeated Big Show in a handicap match. Later in the night, Mark Henry would ally himself with Show and set-up the main event from last Friday's Smackdown. In Teddy Long tag team land, the monsters would come out on top.
Paul Heyman had his hands full, issuing a challenge to HHH for a rematch in a steel cage at Extreme Rules on behalf of his client Brock Lesnar, and being left as speechless as the rest of the WWE Universe when CM Punk left our screens without much of an explanation.
WWE tried to force-feed us Fandangoing like we were three years old and the nascent meme was spinach. And the crowd in Greenville, SC threw it up all over Jerry Lawler and the former Johnny Curtis.
Oh, and if you were recognized by WWE as holding one of their championships? And you wrestled? You lost.
WWE is on a European tour, and Raw lands in London. British crowds tend to be hot for any televised pro wrestling, but the flagship show of the biggest promotion in the world will surely cause an uproar. The company is giving them every big star at their disposal to ensure they have plenty to cheer about.
HHH will respond to the challenge from Lesnar and his manager. He forgot to wear his splint while doing his other job last week, but he did remember to put over the injury that will be a big part of the next chapter in his and Brock's feud.
Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins get one of the biggest rubs possible in sports entertainment today, as their lingering issues with the tag team champions, Daniel Bryan and Kane, are reignited. Some relative of Kane's will be joining Team Hell No for a six-man tag. (hint: it's the freaking Dead Man)
Barely removed from the highpoint of his career, new World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler is seemingly an extra in the story of his new title. As one of the champions who lost last week - to former tag partner Jack Swagger - and a non-presence on Smackdown as Swagger lost to former champion Alberto Del Rio...is it possible for the Show-Off to reclaim the spotlight?
Heyman will have to hustle to represent his boys. Neither Lesnar or the Best in the World are expected to be in London, but both should have their stories advanced.
And what of wee Johnny Cena? Last week, he affected a southern drawl for South Carolina. Can we expect some cockney rhyming slang from him now? Will he accuse Ryback of talking cobblers and punch him in the bird's nest?
Expect to pop for:
Undertaker. Everything about the six-way tag should be a hardcore fan's wet dream, but there's only one 'Taker and this is probably one of the last times we see him outside of 'Mania season. Will The Shield's winning streak continue, and could they possibly add The Phenom to their casualty list? And could this finally lead to the end of Bryan and Kane's championship or even their partnership?
Big Show and Mark Henry. Anything that allows Show's run of epic heelishness to continue is alright, but if wigs can be split at the same time? Orton and Sheamus were effectively buried by the last raucous crowd who saw them, so marking out for The World's Strongest Show might just be what we do.
Wade Barrett. And William Regal, if they let him get on television. Everybody loves a homeboy, and some of the best moments of Wade's career were last year in Mother England. It hasn't been good to wear a belt lately, and the 'E rarely puts over guys in their hometown (or country), but I'd expect the O2 Arena to treat him like a king either way. It might be his last chance to call himself Intercontinental champ for a while.
The heat is on:
Fandango. Was the Greenville crowd not savvy, shocked by the earlier tragedy in Boston or just rightfully offended by Lawler's pandering? This is make or break time for a gimmick that probably has a short shelf life - will it take Curtis down with it?
HHH. Coming off of a lumbering affair at the Granddaddy of Them All, Hunter probably doesn't want to let another of his occasional chances to further inflate his legacy go to waste at Extreme Rules. But lately, his promos have been rambles about the business-ah or disingenous tear jerkers about his career. His feud with Lesnar needs something new to keep us interested. Is The Game game?
Ryback. His opponent is beyond a made man, and has never seemed to be one who could or would elevate a lesser opponent. He is almost certainly not going to win the WWE championship. His most acclaimed interview was pre-taped, and even that only furthered doubts about his character (is he a monster who doesn't care about wins and losses, or a neurotic who catalogs perceived slights and snaps when his resentments get the best of him?). The next few months will probably tell us whether Ryback is the meteor we thought he was last fall or just another short-term monster Vince McMahon set-up for his super-face to knock down.