What you need to know
Seth Rollins (Mr. Money in the Bank 2014 to you) says that WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena is living on borrowed time. He almost lost his title via cash-in less than 24 hours after winning it, and Seth would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose promises to keep doing what he did on Raw last week - keeping his traitorous former partner from becoming champ. Seth doesn't think he can do it over the long run, and he got some back-up from Randy Orton in a brawl with the Lunatic Fringe to help prove his point. The third part of their once great unit, Roman Reigns, cleaned house for Dean. Triple H booked Ambrose vs. Orton for the Smackdown main event, and promised that Roman would lose his spot in the Battleground Fatal 4Way for the belts if he interfered.
Sheamus is still your United States champion, having defended the belt against a Mexican Aristocrat on Independence Day. More importantly, someone is now 12 and Bo! Bo Dallas defeated Diego of Los Matadores and then laid out that "bo-vine", El Torito. Best of all, he did it for "Little Daniel" Bryan. That guy is swell.
The number one BOliever also joined a growing cast in the battle royal to determine who will replace the injured Bad News Barrett as Intercontinental champ. Also in that match are Cesaro and Big E, whose animosity toward one another (based largely on the King of Swing's destruction of Kofi Kingston) prohibited them from waiting for the bell on Smackdown...and resulted in a no contest brawl.
We got the first of what promise to be many exciting promo duels between the returning Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds has rekindled the babyface fire in Y2J, and he threatened to get crazy and show Wyatt why he's the best in the world at what he does. Bray mocked Jericho's oft-used "Save Us" catchphrase against him, telling Chris to save himself. But then...Miz brought more of his Hollywood heel character, and chastised the Sexy Beast for damaging his "moneymaker". He didn't get to show us too much of his latest iteration before eating another Codebreaker.
Damien Sand-steen was Born in the USA, and Lana likes to have Rusev crush folk rockers and anyone else who makes that claim. Luckily for "The Boss", the greatest American heroes were there to save him. No, not G.I. Joe. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger! The Bulgarian Brute seems to want a piece of the Real American, but for now, he's following his social ambassador's lead and waiting for a more opportune time to strike.
New Divas champ AJ Lee got a big pop in her home state for her second appearance since returning from a matrimonial hiatus. It didn't hurt that she got to beat up Eva Marie. Former champ Paige was out on commentary, and seemed to keep her composure better than she did when AJ first returned...but it seems there is a lot of aggression just beneath the surface of the Anti-Diva.
Banged up shoulder and all, Ambrose hung with The Viper. But a dive too close to commentary got Rollins and his briefcase up for an attack on his busted wing. The two Authority-aligned heels put the boots to the Lunatic Fringe, but with the match over and the no-interference stipulation lifted, Reigns raced in to save his pal. Orton took a Superman punch, but was saved from a Spear by some quick thinking by Seth.
What to look out for
Attention screwjob enthusiasts! WWE returns to the scene of the crime tonight in Montreal! Rumors put The Hitman on the docket for an appearance...how will they use Bret Hart? Probably in something involving his good buddy John Cena, but will they miss any opportunity to put over Roman Reigns? As esteemed wrestling booker Jar Jar Binks would say, meesa no think so.
You'd think that with the likes of Triple H, Kane and Orton on his side, Seth Rollins path to cashing in his MitB contract would be clear. Does The Game have a 'plan B' for his 'plan B' to help the Architect deal with Dean Ambrose in order to get a clean shot at Cena?
Can Miz put up more of a fight against the Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla in a sanctioned match? He'll get his chance tonight. And the fact that Jericho will probably have one ear open for Live in Fear has to help the Awesome One's cause.
Is Paige trying to out maneuver AJ at her own signature head games? Will Lana allow Rusev to CRUSH Jack Swagger? What other names will join the quest to become the next Intercontinental champion?
Less than two weeks to Battleground, and the troops are still taking up positions!
What they should do
A lot of fans are asking for an explanatory promo from Zeb Colter as to why he and Jack Swagger are suddenly babyfaces. And to those folks, I would say, "why?"
I understood having Batista cut his famous "deal with it" speech a few months back. He was central to the major storyline of the just officially acknowledged Reality Era. Daniel Bryan being a B+ player, best for business, Randy Orton as face of WWE and Dave's movie career were all part of kayfabe for that. If he just started acting like a heel, it could have derailed the whole enterprise.
This is being asked to root for Yosemite Sam against Marvin the Martian. We don't need to know why he stopped chasing that varmit Bugs Bunny. He's entertaining and we don't like the guy he's set against. It's not as if there are a lot of layers or nuance to Rusev and Lana.
Plus, for better or worse, Zeb and his muscle already get a positive crowd reaction. Any explanation he gives will be cheesy, because it'll be part of a paper thin story. It's just as likely that WWE would see The Real Americans cheers turn to boos if they come out and deliver a Hulk Hogan or babyface Sgt. Slaughter-type promo. Nobody really wants a five minute speech about how Rusev reminded Colter of why he fought in Vietnam, so now he's siding with everyone who makes this country great against someone who says mean things about it. We want he and Lana to say funny stuff to each other, and we want a hoss fight.
Let's not complicate our Saturday morning cartoon angle.
What we're afraid they will do
The real Emma retribution watch begins tonight. They've had time to process the charges, and to get really worked up because that damn WWE Universe wouldn't let Vinny Mac and K-Dunn fire her like they wanted.
Please, please, please let her just not show up on television tonight. But I'm bracing myself for skits where she tries to steal things from the locker room and is foiled by being thrown in a pool of poop.
The bar was set pretty high with last week's Raw - what can tonight do to build on the excitement generated last week?
Find out with your fellow Cagesiders in the live blog, and keep it on this here website for all the latest news and analysis of all things WWE!