Previously on Monday Night Raw
The participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match for a contract to challenge for the WWE Championship opened last week's proceedings with a round table discussion of their individual merits and the likelihood of their winning the briefcase. Physicality was kept to a minimum. Probably saving the pull apart brawl for tonight's go home show.
The Shield got their win back against Christian and the Usos, and #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC) Dolph Ziggler began his glorious mini-feud with 3MB.
Team Brickie is caught in the midst of a family feud...HHH kind of likes what they're doing with Raw, Vince McMahon kind of doesn't and the whole thing just stresses Steph out.
Kane beat Randy Orton with help from special guest referee Daniel Bryan's fast count. Neither of the competitors appreciated his interventionist officiating, and while the Big Red Machine used his anger management skills to resist the urge to choke slam his former tag team partner, the Viper has had no such therapy and gave the bearded one the RKO treatment.
Fandango returned and proved in his match against Sheamus that he still isn't above taking a countout loss. Ryback is a big quitting monster, and Chris Jericho doesn't like it one bit.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman got along, but the Chicago native didn't appreciate Curtis Axel stealing the pin in their tag match against the Primetime Players.
Jack Swagger returned, and was instantly the least interesting thing about a segment involving fellow Zeb Colter follower Antonio Cesaro and the Rhodes Scholars. The Swiss Superman looked great in dispatching Cody Rhodes.
The less said about everything the Divas did last week, the better.
In the main event, John Cena and Alberto Del Rio tore the house down in a champion vs. champion match. Booking-ference predictably took over as the WWE champ won because Ziggy is a better distracter than Mark Henry.
Live from Baltimore!
The Wyatt Family are going to debut five minutes from my house, and I'm not going. Sometimes I hate having a life outside of being a pro wrestling fan.
But who cares about an exciting new stable of young talent with a unique gimmick (or my scheduling woes) when Vickie Guerrero is going to get a performance review? Human resources action always puts butts in seats, I tell ya.
Is "Cry"back crying wolf with tactics designed to get Jericho to take him lightly? Is there any way that Y2J could also put over Cesaro and Axel before he leaves for Fozzy's Summer & Fall tours?
Hopefully, we'll get lots of build to the pay-per-view (PPV), especially the title contests. The ladder matches sell themselves in several ways. But both combatants in the WHC battle (and the belt itself) have a lot riding on how Sunday goes. And the WWE championship match will have to be pretty hot to be a worthy capstone to some great build.
Last but not least, Punk is pulling double duty as he heads toward the Raw ladder match and keeps developing his babyface persona via his storyline with Heyman. Will he have to handle a guilt-trip from Paul and the six men he'll face at Money in the Bank?
Expect to pop for:
The Wyatt Family. We've been getting hype videos for a little over a month now. You can read my primer on the boys from the morning after the first one aired here. Or, if you prefer to experience a grown man marking out over the course of half a year, you can skim my NXT recaps (why aren't you already reading Cageside's NXT coverage?)
They're probably going to jump Tons of Funk and Luke Harper will push around Sweet T with his head and Erick Rowan will drag out the rocking chair and then Bray Wyatt will sit in it and and Luke will chant "YEAHYEAHYEAHYEAH" and Bray will say some cryptic $#!+ about walking upright and Erick will take off his sheep mask and show us his beard and...
The heat is on:
Anderson Silva. Oh, that wasn't a pro wrestling performance the other night? I thought that was a sports entertainer doing the job. Never mind...
Bromance. No, not the new TNA tag team sensations.
One of the most interesting subplots about the MitB matches are the current and former team mates populating both of them. Sure, a lot of attention will be on D-Bry, Kane and Orton in the battle for the red case. But that's been dysfunctional from the jump and falling further apart for more than a month.
The WHC bout has the long-running partnership of Damien Sandow and the essence of moustachioed magnificence himself. Rhodes Scholars were unique when they dissolved their pursuit of tag team gold and vowed to gain singles accolades without maligning one another. There have been signs that this mighty mutuality could be trending towards disunity - and in all honesty, I think Cody would make a great babyface - but I do like these two as a pair and I'm all for the subverting of expected storytelling, like a duo that stops tagging without a barbershop window incident.
Even more interesting might be how the recently returned real American interacts with the über American now that both are under the guidance of Colter. Swagger has been lost in a pairing of "creative has nothing for you" mid-carders before during his alliance with Dolph. And based on his legal issues and involvement in incidents resulting in injury for his match partners, you wouldn't expect him to come out on top on Sunday. But then, we didn't expect him to walk out of the Elimination Chamber with a WrestleMania title match, either.
I am, of course, much more interested in how Antonio fares. I have already been pleasantly surprised by his integration of "We the People" into his existing character, and there's really no one else I'd rather watch work a WWE match right now. It's not my preferred route, but if Colter and/or Swagger are what it takes for the Universe at large to connect with him, so be it.
If it involved Swaggy getting Swiss Death'd off a ladder, well, even better.
They're not just coming, as of tonight, the Wyatts are here. Will the rest of the Money in the Bank go home show make you want to RUN out an buy the PPV, or will you give the show an unfavorable evaluation?
Let us know what you think below, jump in the live blog and join us all night and tomorrow for results and reactions!