What you need to know
With the bitter taste of Battleground still fresh in everyone's mouths, Triple H came out to pour some more ashes on our tongues. He got a few jabs in at internet fans, but promised that after SummerSlam, John Cena would no longer be WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Randy Orton was the front runner to be The Authority's handpicked Cena-killer, but the COO was going to give everyone a chance to impress him throughout the course of Raw. Kane came out to make his case, and express his frustration with babysitting Orton. Roman Reigns arrived as the voice of the people, saying that no one wants to see Kane face the Cenation leader. A Superman punch later, and all three men got the first shot at impressing the boss - in a handicap match.
I'll give you two guesses how that turned out. But if the first one isn't "Kane ate the pin from Reigns when Orton walked out", you have to listen to Flo Rida's greatest hits.
Hunter's wife was just planning on having a nice, four-on-one handicap match to torment the remaining Bella twin. Then that darn Brie showed up and ruined it by calling her a "b!+ch". Still, Stephanie McMahon was feeling pretty good about herself when she slapped Daniel Bryan's wife and watched Alicia Fox axe kick Nikki into the canvas...
The Highlight Reel was set to feature host Chris Jericho gloating over/interviewing Bray Wyatt, but the Eater of Worlds had other ideas. He slammed Y2J headfirst into a locker backstage, and then used the show to explain to the WWE Universe that he was coming for vengeance, and to win the war against the Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rollah.
Lebron James Damien Sandow mocked Miami's basketball fans, and got his just desserts by becoming the 16th notch in Bo Dallas' streak. Dolph Ziggler got some revenge over the man who screwed him out of the Intercontinental belt at the pay-per-view (PPV) when he pinned The Miz in non-title action. And Cesaro dumped Paul Heyman and convinced The Game and The Architect to let him tackle their Dean Ambrose problem. The now solo Swiss wasn't quite able to finish the job, but he did take the Lunatic Fringe to the limit, and earned a disqualification victory when Ambrose took a steel chair to his shoulder.
Emma showed up on Raw! And got pinned by Divas champ AJ Lee. But then her friend Paige kicked the crap out of AJ. But I don't think it was to avenge the Australian or anything. Zack Ryder showed up on Raw! And got a win! It wasn't clean, as he needed the distraction and assistance of Slayer (Summer Rae and Layla) to beat Fandango, but...Zack Ryder showed up on Raw and got a win!
Steph's good night got real bad when the Miami cops showed up to arrest her for battery. Despite using every trick in the rich white woman playbook to try and get out of it, she was hauled off to jail. To make matters worse, her husband decided that sticking around the show rather than heading down to central booking to meet her was best for business.
Kofi Kingston and Big E couldn't muster a win over Rybaxel, who are putting together a win streak that might land them a tag title shot. But they did get a manager and a mission, both in the form of a suited up Xavier Woods. The trio won their first official outing on Main Event. Rusev still had his regular controversial manager with him, and that helped him to take down The Great Khali, even with a bad ankle still hurting from Battleground. The Tuesday night show probably made he and Lana feel worse, since he lost via DQ to his nemesis Jack Swagger.
When Triple H tried to name Randy Orton as his decision for SummerSlam, the Big Dog appeared to brawl with him to the back. Left without his hand-picked challenger, The Game's night was saved by Paul Heyman and "Plan C"...Brock Lesnar. Hunter made his deal with the two devils, and Heyman laid out his case for why his client would destroy the absent Cena and leave Los Angeles as WWE WHC.
What to look out for
The brand formerly identified by the color blue was just down the block from the Performance Center on Tuesday night when they taped this week's Smackdown in Orlando, Florida. Just like that show NXT that they film in that town, we don't read spoilers. Unlike that show, Cageside Seats has them for you right here.
The trend of slowly putting Roman Reigns in one-on-one matches with experienced singles wrestlers continues when he faces off against Alberto Del Rio in tonight's main event.
Folks are more excited for the "new Nation" than they are for tag champs The Usos, so here's hoping we get some more development from Xavier Woods' crew, and that whatever is going on with Rybaxel as challengers happens quickly. And as cool as the Stardust/Goldust segments are, maybe they could wrestle again some time?
More on the burgeoning Divas and Intercontinental title feuds should be expected, while United States champ Sheamus is still laid up nursing a wee sniffle. Otherwise...stuff? We know that neither Brock nor Cena is on the show, so it could be a bit of a slow Friday night.
(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
C'mon, it's been a long week. You fantasy book something, Mr. and/or Ms. Smartypants.
What we're afraid they will do
One thing that the otherwise superlative Monday night show wasn't full of was wrestling, and several of the matches we did get ended in shenanigans. Here's hoping Smackdown gets back to being the show we watch for long, dramatic contests instead of filler or Raw rematches.
Will tonight's show be more Raw-rific or Battleground-errible?
Watch along with your fellow Cagesiders in the open thread and find out!