What you need to know
The vacated titles hung above the ring, as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon gloated about stripping Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to the enter roster, assembled on stage. Those men would get a chance to compete in a battle royal for a spot in the championship ladder match at Money in the Bank - except for Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. For failing to evolve - neither man would be allowed to compete for a shot at the pay-per-view (PPV).
Also on The Authority's "naughty" list - John Cena. For always wanting to help people, like Bryan, or what's left of The Shield, he would have to earn his way into the PPV main event by beating THE DEMON KANE in a stretcher match.
The first hour of Raw featured some great wrestling, but no decisive finishes. Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler continued their stretch of show openers, but we were denied an outcome by an attack from that crazy man Ambrose (who is crazy). For causing the disqualification, Dean had to face Intercontinental champ Bad News Barrett. He lost the match due to countout when Seth quid pro quo'd his run-in.
Bray Wyatt announced The Family's intentions to leave Money in the Bank with ALL THE GOLD, thereby breaking into the machine has he thus far failed to corrupt with his message. Sheamus just wanted to fight one of the fellas he'd be in the ladder match with in Boston, but there bout ended in a DQ, too, when the men who'll be duking it out for the tag titles, Family members Luke Harper & Erick Rowan and The Usos couldn't stay out of the way.
In between all that, Reigns was smooth talking and scheming his way into dosing Steph and Hunter's iced macchiatos. Vickie Guerrero would deliver the vomit-inducing caffeinated beverages, then angrily put Roman in the battle royal after she was punished by being left charge of the show when The Game had to take his wife to the doctor. Yeah, it didn't make any sense to me either...just go with it.
The one man rock band debuted, but he got his American rock star ass handed to him by Rusev. Hey, at least he still has a job.
Renee Young got to talk to a couple of short, powerful men. Paul Heyman guaranteed that his client, Cesaro, would be the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Kevin Hart just kind of got weirded out by Adam Rose. The leader of The Exotic Express would beat Fandango when the dancer was distracted by the ongoing Summer Rae/Layla feud, then Hart would dance with Rose in celebration. It was a nice rub for the new gimmick - that was quickly lost when the comedian told the world he thought he was partying with the 'Dango.
The Funkadactyls started their break-up dance while Cameron tapped out to Paige. Cody Rhodes found the perfect partner for Goldust, and he looks a lot like Cody Rhodes doing cosplay as Goldust.
It might have taken a screwy path to get us there, but the battle royal itself was a highlight of the night. The Big Dog of The Shield won, but not before a crowd-pleasing and hard-hitting showdown with The Bulgarian Brute. Then, to the surprise of no one, Cena overcame...whatever it was they were trying to tell us he needed to overcome - oh yeah, it was a sneak attack by Rollins and Randy Orton...and pushed THE DEMON KANE across the stage on a gurney.
Your final line-up for the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Cesaro, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio.
But wait...there is another. WWE announced on Main Event that there would in fact be a second ladder match for the traditional title shot contract-containing briefcase. So far, the only man in that one is the guy who announced it - the traitor, Seth Rollins.
What to look out for
The blue brand hit the home of the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, as Smackdown entertained the good people of Columbus, Ohio. We don't spoil anything in Preview-town, but if you want spoilers, we've got them for you here.
Earlier in the week it was announced that The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, would take on THE DEMON KANE tonight. The odds of Seth Rollins getting involved in that somehow? Kind of good.
Speaking of Rollins, we'll get our first good look at his shiny new ring gear. No word on what color wifebeater Dean will be wearing.
They won't be announcing the competitors for the second ladder match until Monday night, but expect a lot of the dudes who lost qualifiers or failed in the battle royal to position themselves tonight. That means names like Ziggler, Barrett, Rusev and Big E.
Someone like Bo Dallas could be set-up for that match, or he could continue with bouts that are more skit than match. Look for Adam Rose to definitely fall into the skit category. Poor Fandango will probably just continue to be the male valet caught between his dance partners.
(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing. We still don't want to risk spoiling anything, but as WWE.com releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, I'll update it here)
What they should do
Monday night's throwdown between Rusev and Reigns, or, as I like to call it, "Prelude to a Hoss Fight", was a nice payoff for both men's booking since Royal Rumble. But WWE needs to be careful where they go from here with Lana's man, or he could be headed to a similar fate as the one that befell Ryback in late 2012.
It will be interesting to see who they put in the traditional Money in the Bank match a week from this upcoming Sunday. There's no word yet on how many men will be involved, but the recently honored Hero of the Russian Federation is most likely being considered.
They should resist that temptation for now. Fans shouldn't see him losing, even matches where he won't have to be pinned, for quite some time - and especially on a high profile PPV. Having just failed to get over another hoss in Big E, Creative should take care to build Rusev back up, perhaps by coming out on the winning end of feuds against former World champs like Ziggler or even Jack Swagger.
Anything they can do to make sure the next face-off with Roman is a meeting of equals will be real money in the bank, and they shouldn't risk that by filling out a secondary match at Money in the Bank.
What we're afraid they will do
Cena's advertised for the show, which is understandable as they try to build to the title bout in Boston. But, please, don't let him talk. We've already heard him give a sales pitch for Reigns, unpredicatability in WWE and middle fingers once this week. There's no telling what he might bring up he gets more mic time.
There might be no champ, but WWE has plenty of moving parts to get in line for the next PPV. What will they do on Smackdown tonight?
Find out with all your favorite Cagesider in tonight's open thread, and read about all the fallout right here tomorrow!