clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview for the September 2, 2013 episode of WWE Raw: Peach Toadstool and a Koopa Troopa

Catch up on recent events, find out what's being hyped for tonight and read some thoughts on the Divas and WWE champs, and who's positioned better right now. Then join in a discussion about it all...right here in this week's 'Raw' preview!

Previously on Raw

Show WWE Champion Randy Orton what he's won, HHH. A NEW CAR! The Chief Operating Officer (COO) began a night of throwing his weight around by showing the Viper his new gas guzzler, singing some Disney tunes to Daniel Bryan and then booking him in a gauntlet match against Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns of The Shield.

The holder of the blue leather Money in the Bank briefcase joined the commentary booth for a match between his tag partner turned nemesis Cody Rhodes and Fandango. When The Miz danced out to distract Summer Rae's tango partner, General Manager Brad Maddox paired up all four men for a tag match won by the faces.

Curtis Axel couldn't manage to beat CM Punk, and didn't fare much better after he and Paul Heyman had slapped some handcuffs on the Best in the World. The numbers and restraints eventually proved too much for the Second City Saint, and an intense performance by Heyman got everybody prepped for Night of Champions.

The usual lackluster Divas match lead to a smoldering promo that you may have heard a little bit about, and will read more about if you keep reading this preview. Rob Van Dam beat World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) Alberto Del Rio, because that's what challengers for the WHC do.

Christian delivered a great line about Hunter's new favorite tool, and another excellent match against Orton that lead to another loss. That segued to revealing that the Beard had detailed the Escalade, and providing an opportunity for The Game's real and/or kayfabe ego to run amok.

All of which set up the closing segment, which saw DB survive the gauntlet in sometimes spectacular fashion, but end up laid out by a triple powerbomb and RKO designed by Trips to send a message to the whole Raw roster - don't cross the boss.


LIVE from Des Moines, Iowa - home of the World Food Prize House of Laureates.

My new favorite part of the ongoing Daniel Bryan vs. Corporate H saga is that called the defaced Cadillac "Orton's whip". But that's neither here nor there. This Labor Day edition of the flagship program is sure to feature the program prominently. The question is, will it advance it in any significant way or just continue to stall?

The Hounds of Justice have been reinvigorated with purpose by their inclusion in the COO's tale. Will they have to do any defending of those belts they all carry around any time soon? What effect does the diagnosis of Mark Henry's injury have on a potential tag title feud?

AJ is now set against pretty much every other female on the roster (except maybe Layla). How will the cast of Total Divas respond, and who will get cheered? The powers-that-be have been hiding both participants from SummerSlam's dud-tacular Ring of Fire match - will tonight be the night we see either of them live and in action?

The Second City Saint hasn't exactly been thinking with his head while striving for a measure of retribution against his wrestling father figure - will he start to use his head in addition to his heart in the fight against Heyman and his guy?

Expect to pop for:

AJ Lee. After the latest rounds of collegial debates with Rex, I've done some research and some more thinking about both her promo last Monday and the Pint-Sized Powderkeg's work in general. On the former, I feel pretty confident labeling her #PipeBombShell as my favorite women's promo of all-time.

The complaints levied against it seem to focus on one of three things: the other Divas, WWE (and CM Punk)'s comparison of it to Punk's legendary worked-shoot speech in 2011 or Lee's in-ring prowess. All of which ignore the facts that AJ nailed the promo, has nothing to do with WWE's creative and marketing and that pro wrestling is scripted.

Should the Bellas have shut up or not had a mic aimed at them? Almost certainly yes. Whether that's on Nikki and Brie or the truck...who knows? But the decision was driven by network executives at E! who want footage of the stars of their latest reality hit front and center on their day job. And it has added a layer to the legend of that moment from August 26th.

Should Natalya have been the one on the mic? If realism is more important than charisma, maybe. But as much as I love Natty, she's never shown that she could could verbally captivate an audience for any period of time on her own - let alone for five minutes, live on a nationally televised program, in a way that would dominate the pro wrestling conversation for the next several days.

I'll freely admit that the Divas champ is no Sara Del Rey in the squared circle. I'd challenge her most vocal critics to provide evidence that she's anywhere near the bottom of the fitness model, failed pop singer dreck that has made up most of WWE women's wrestling this century, though. She has improved (especially her selling), been trained by legitimate work rate talents and puts on a decent Divas match with a capable opponent (and even Kaitlyn).

AJ is also positioned as the only one who can deliver that speech within the current storyline. Much as the pipe bomb made Punk the voice of the fan who hates the term sports entertainment, Lee's diatribe places her against the Divas in general and Total Divas in particular. Natalya can't be the one to do that, as she is front and center on the E! show and is receiving the largest push of her career based on her willingness to take part in the show.

WWE is heavily invested in both AJ Lee and Total Divas. The content of the champ's speech last week was carefully crafted to keep both in the conversation. They're going to hype it, and this isn't a case of Fandango-ing - there is an interested audience.

So, those unimpressed with the Pipebombshell mostly seem to be using it as a focal point of outrage about their complaints about the state of women in WWE. They aren't interested period, or AJ doesn't "deserve" this moment, role and spotlight. Well, as William Munny once said, deserves got nothing to do with it. She got the moment, and she owned it. Now, unless you're the most devout of the not-interesteds, you're watching to see what she does next. And that's what the greats do.

The heat is on:

Randy Orton. Is it just me, or does the champ feel like an afterthought in his own story? I'm not just talking about the fact that he's just holding Hunter's belt for him, but, I mean, damn. That was harsh.

No, even if the focus were as much on getting him over as it is on keeping Bryan's flame burning or rekindling Show or Dolph Ziggler's, he's still the fifth most interesting villain when he's on screen with his boss and The Shield. Throw in the fact that the memory of the goatfaced killah beating him clean is still fresh in everyone's mind, and he takes on the role of a tough henchmen that our hero has to get through to take out a boss, someone you beat to clear an early stage before getting to the big bad.

Orton has long been rumored to want this heel turn. His ring work has been reborn in the past few months. If those things combine and he's allowed a bit more of a central role in the build to the next pay-per-view (PPV), he should be fine. But the supporting part he's played the last couple of weeks seems a little odd for a face of the company-type.

It's been a bit of a slow news week in pro wrestling, but Raw should kick the cycle back in to high gear tonight.

Anything left to say about AJ vs. Total Divas, or where the WWE Champ ranks in the boss hierarchy for Super Beardio...let's hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to join Rex for tonight's live blog, and check back often for news and reactions from Monday Night Raw!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats