What you need to know
Sheamus is acting heel-y, and if you didn't notice the turn - look harder. He's still the United States Champion, too, having put Dean Ambrose down with a couple of Brogue Kicks in a match that served as Ambrose's rematch and more of Triple H's scheme to bloody and batter The Shield.
Batista is definitely a heel, for however much longer he's with us this summer. He managed to beat Seth Rollins in another part of Haitch's gauntlet, but in a way that protected The Architect...via countout. I think Mark Henry still fights on the side of the angels, but, come to think of it, one of the last places I saw him was teaming with Big E, who might also be a heel now, if WWE Network post-special event press conferences are in continuity. But then E was teaming with Rob Van Dam last week, and RVD is definitely a face. I'm so confused. Darn Reality Era.
Where was I? Oh yeah! World's Strongest Man. Dropped by The World's Strongest Samoan. Ya feel, brah?
Back to the former Intercontinental Champion for a sec, he and Van Dam proved that together, they...still can't do what they also couldn't do alone, namely beat the new Intercontinental Champion and Cesaro. This was good news for Wade Barrett and Paul Heyman, both of whom have been on a roll lately. Barrett by becoming the IC titleholder (make it rain) and Heyman, you may have heard, has another client who conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
Did it bother you when Raw felt like a do over of Extreme Rules? Well, let's just skip past talking about Rusev vs. black people or the ongoing 3MB/El Torito beef.
Do you hate it that Emma now has a pink sock that she uses for her comedy finisher? Me too. I can't even joke about it.
At least The Wyatt Family got a pinfall victory over John Cena! Sure, it was in a tag match. And, yes, an Uso did the job. But, hey. Gotta start somewhere.
What to look out for
It's a big night in Greenville, South Carolina, as WWE does it up live one more time with the full cast before folks start taking off for Europe.
Starting off with those Wyatts - Bray last week declared his intention to lead the WWE Universe as a god, and promised to take Cena to somewhere from which "no one ever comes back". The rubber match in their series seems like a lock for Payback, and they're gonna need a new stipulation for it. What kind of match could be Bray's latest speechifying be referring to, I wonder?
Adam Rose's debut might not have impressed many in the IWC, but it made an impression on Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter when his Exotic Express cost The Real American a match against Dolph Ziggler on Main Event. Fellow NXT alum Rusev dropped that pesky first name as he and Lana continue to rampage for the love of Vladimir Putin - will anyone step up to The
The Game will undoubtedly want to challenge The Shield, and get the fans to Believe in Evolution. That might be a tough sell in Greenville, though. What might the COO have in store for The Hounds of Justice this time out?
And the last we saw of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, he was whisking off with his wife in a rented Chrysler, fleeing from a monster, nay, a DEMON, unleased by the diabolical principal owner of WWE, Stephanie McMahon. No bad horror movie ever goes without a sequel (case in point: Glenn Jacobs in See No Evil 2), and it's pretty much a no brainer that Kane will be back for more tonight.
What they should do
If only there was another angle to take on this whole Kane/Bryan feud. Like maybe some history between the two that could be used to create drama instead of pretending that the Director of Operations is a hellspawn predator.
You don't need to bring Dr. Shelby back (although, I WILL MARK OUT OF MY SHOES if they do), but isn't it strange (not to mention creepy, misogynistic and just plain wrong) to build this whole program around Stephanie giving Kane his mask of demonic sexual assault and sending him after Brie in order to punish the champ for becoming the champ?
Wouldn't The Big Red Bureacrat, fighting for his reputation on behalf of The Authority, attempting to take down his former tag partner to prove that Bryan's magical WrestleMania was a fluke, be a more "Reality Era" story? And a much more fitting follow-up for Daniel's epic battle against the machine?
Think of the scenes of Bryan trying to convince an old friend to side with him and the fans - join the YES Movement - instead of being a pawn in Hunter and Steph's game. That provides both men with character development that grows from the past year's worth of stories they have been involved in, rather than hitting a big cheesy reset button for Kane and turning DB into a horror movie extra instead of the underdog hero we've all come to love during his journey to the top.
Suddenly, all of the things that made The Beard's character and struggle so popular have been cast aside. People might care about Brie as part of Bryan's story, along with Connor the Crusher and his niece, but Ms. Elizabeth she ain't. Protecting a professional model from a cartoon character isn't the kind of action that made Daniel everyone's hero. It's time to get back to what made him the face of the company in the first place.
Shouldn't be too hard to remember...it was only a month and a half ago.
What we're afraid they will do
They can do almost anything different than what they did a week ago, and I'll be happy. One easy fix would be more Divas champ and less pink sock puppets. I'm confident we'll see Paige.
Unfortunately, I'm just as sure we'll see (shudder) VenEmma.
Will WWE make us forget about last week and get themselves back on track for Payback?
Find out with your fellow Cagesiders in tonight's live blog, and stick around for audio and written reactions right here on cSs!