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WWE Raw preview (July 14, 2014): Once more into the fray

What you need to know

Lana must have gotten a message from the Kremlin that President Putin is not any happier about Roman Reigns main event push than half of the internet.  The ravishing Russian and her main man Vladimir must not be with the three-quarter of smarks who are worried that WWE is rushing a Rusev vs. Reigns showdown, because she made sure that match was going to happen on Smackdown; she even thought it was on her terms.

She must not be watching the recent Raw overruns.  All the terms belong to the Big Dog.

Two of the four Divas angles WWE is shockingly presently running were featured on Friday, and one of them may even be wrapped up.  Fandango had a bad night, losing to Adam Rose via countout while trying to break up a fight between his ladies and then taking a Party Foul when he tried to take out his frustration on Rose.  Later in the evening, both Summer Rae and Layla made out with referee 'Dango prior to their Money in the Bank rematch, but it was all a set-up to turn on the dancer and kick his two-timing @$$.  The closest WWE will ever get to Thelma & Louise danced off into the night with something in common.

Divas champion AJ Lee got a win over Cameron, who may finally have a signature move with her lip gloss after a year of trying to make "Girl, Bye" happen.  The heelish former Funkadactyl tried to walk out of her match with AJ, but Naomi threw her back in for a shining wizard and the 1 - 2 - 3.  Mrs. Brooks is headed to a pay-per-view (PPV) showdown against Paige.  If there's a reason for that beyond "rematch clause", they haven't told us yet.

Chris Jericho was going to step on the head of a Viper before doing the same to a spider at Battleground.  That's what he keeps calling Bray Wyatt (just go with's Jericho).  The Eater of Worlds got to say a few words before Y2J battled Randy Orton, which should have told a veteran like Chris what was coming.  A good match ended with an RKO after the Wyatt's entrance sound effect distracted the Sexy Beast.

The Family will get their second consecutive PPV shot at The Usos' tag team gold at Battleground. The champs celebrated their Smackdown win over the "Creative has nothing for you" pairing of Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil with one of their usual puzzling and interminable promos.

Stardust sure has helped Goldust learn how to beat Rybaxel.  Whatever else he's doing to interpretation.  What isn't open to interpretation is Bo Dallas winning streak, which now stands at 14 and BO.  Even the numbers game of a handicap match couldn't keep our man Bo down.  Diego got pinned after a running BO-dog, and then Torito got hit with one for good measure.  Dallas wanted to help the little guy BOlieve, but he got scared.  I mean, come on, bulls are scary!

Randy Orton wasn't done making the most out of his opportunities, even after a gotcha-assisted win over Y2J.  He used the cover of Rusev to hit his finisher on Reigns, and get a little something in on one of the men he'll be facing in the Fatal 4Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground.  Despite almost taking a pinfall loss, the Bulgarian Brute did make up for his disqualification loss to Roman by hitting him with a big superkick before Lana had him exit the ring, allowing the Viper to stand tall.

What to look out for

WWE sure has been in the mood to announce matches ahead of television shows lately.  We already know that Monday's main event from Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia will feature a PPV preview of sorts, as all four men who will be fighting for John Cena's belts will be in tag action - with the hottest feud in the company thrown in for good measure.  Cena, Reigns and Dean Ambrose will face off with Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins.

The power behind those last three names, The Authority, will also be back on Raw after a week off.  So will one of Triple H's mentors, Ric Flair.  But what will the Nature Boy be doing?  And will anyone else who got famous wrestling on a Ted Turner-owned cable channel show up on 7.14.14?

It's the go home show for Battleground everybody!  Expect more build for all the matches on the card, maybe a few more names added to Intercontinental championship battle royal and maybe a few surprises.

But probably not Sting.

What they should do

So, the reigning NXT Women's champ posted this on Twitter over the weekend:

Which struck me for a couple of reasons.  One, it's Naitch looking happy (the kind of happy I have only seen him be lately - on television, at least - when he's with his daughter) and healthy at a WWE event.  Two, it's Charlotte traveling from Developmental to a WWE Live event - a step that precludes an actual call-up to the main roster.

The Dirtiest Diva in the Game represents a lot of hope for women's wrestling in the WWE, both because she's shown signs of being very good at it, and because her lineage might protect her from getting attached to a male mid-carder, given a goofy gimmick or half-hearted push like Summer Rae, Emma or Paige.

If The Nature Boy is returning to television in a full-time role, it will almost certainly not be to manage his daughter.  We should just be glad that we've probably dodged The Miz bullet, since rumor has it Flair will be a good guy while Hollywood Miz is clearly a rudo.  But why not have Charlotte escort him to the ring and let Ric rip off a few sentences about how awesome she is and how management, the fans and especially the Divas had better get ready...because The Nature Girl is coming.


Just having her show up and get a 30 second introduction from her pops would introduce her to a wider audience and start to establish a connection with fans for her call-up.  Heck, turn it into a Network promo by telling the fans if they want to see the future, buy a subscription.

Paige got a nice pop because fans were ready for a new challenger to AJ Lee, and she supporters from the hardcore faithful in the arena.  But it fizzled a bit because the more casual fans didn't know her at all.  They should learn from their mistakes here and let the Flair legacy do some work for them in helping to build what should a legit female Superstar.

Now if only Ric could take the Figure Four back from Miz...

What we're afraid they will do

It's probably Kane's turn to stand tall tonight.  Reigns did it for the first two weeks of Battleground build, and Orton got last Friday.  They've teased some dissension between the two Authority-affiliated wrestlers in Sunday's main event, and it makes sense to continue building suspense as to whether or not they're on the same page.

But I hope that we don't spend too much time on THE DEMON tonight.  They clearly see some utility in keeping him in the main event scene, but making him too big a focus doesn't do anyone any favors.  The WWE WHC storyline needs to remain focused on today and tomorrow.  The belts or the program around them shouldn't be treated as a gold watch for loyal service.

Will Raw surprise before we head to the next PPV, or just jog in place with more of the same?

Find out tonight with your fellow Cagesiders in the live blog, or get the convo started early in the comments below!

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