What you need to know
Doesn't matter how many guys Kane adds to the main event of Payback, Randy Orton believes that May 17th is the day he becomes a 13 time World champ. Roman Reigns, added to the main event of that pay-per-view (PPV) by fan vote last week, obviously disagrees. He believes that having his latest shot at the WWE title come in a match that starts as a Triple Threat instead of just ending as one will also mean that it'll result in his first run as the holder of wrestling's biggest prize.
While those two argued it out, some current champs came out to spread their unique brand of positivity. Tag champs The New Day tried to get Reigns & Orton to clap along. When that did work, they were authorized by the Director of Operations to show The Viper & The Big Dog the light, by any means necessary. And during a three-on-two handicap match that confused the heck out of Booker T, Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods took advantage of a miscommunication between their opponents - most critically in the form of a Spear to the Apex Predator - to kick-off a night of celebrating.
Looking to do whatever was best for business in the absence of his bosses Triple H & Stephanie McMahon, Kane booked Reigns & Orton into a main event showdown to fan the flames of mistrust between the #1 contenders. But since he's also trying to temper Seth Rollins' championship mettle, The Authority figure made a match for the WWE champ against his old pal Dean Ambrose.
That bout was supposed to be a strictly mano a mano affair, with J & J Security banned from ringside. And Seth also thought it would just be a walk in the park. But Kane didn't want Rollins to think it was meaningless, so he added a stipulation whereby the Lunatic Fringe would make Payback's title fight a Fatal 4Way if he won. Following some poorly executed interference from Jaime Noble & Joey Mercury, that's exactly what Dean did.
New Day's revelry was broken only by Tyson Kidd, Cesaro & Natalya - themselves victorious ove The Ascenion thanks to an impressive flurry of European Uppercuts - cutting into an interview to tell them they sucked. This was much more entertaining than, say, Ryback talking about eating fear before Bray Wyatt claiming that he's only hiding the fright he feels and advising that Big Hungry run. Or Stardust defeating R-Truth via a bag full of dollar store plastic spiders.
Despite Rusev's attempts to quell their relationship, Lana is really starting to enjoy the adoration of the WWE Universe. Fandango is even encouraging her to dance her way into their arms, but that only ended up with the Ravishing Russian exiled to the back, and the dancing Superstar tapping to an Accolade.
Getting heat for bullying his social ambassador will be easier for the Bulgarian Brute than reclaiming the United States championship, since to do that will require he get John Cena to say "I Quit". Cena has made a career out of not saying those two words. In Montreal on Monday, after Bret Hart bopped Heath Slater out of the open challenge with a well-placed mic shot, the champ ran into another guy who doesn't give up - even when he might be injured. NXT star Sami Zayn didn't leave his hometown with the red, white and blue belt, but he did get a nice rub from one of the biggest stars in the business.
Divas champ Nikki Bella was scheduled for a match, but instead she got a beatdown from her chief rival these days. Naomi had a new hairstyle and some new muscle in the form of cousin-in-law Tamina Snuka to go with her new attitude. New King of the Ring Bad News Barrett got the old "mix two feuds into one tag match" treatment, as he and Sheamus earned a win over Neville & Dolph Ziggler.
Last but not least (but certainly not most, either), Roman won the last match of Raw when Kane couldn't help but lay hands on the former Shield powerhouse. It didn't look like a disqualification loss was going to protect Orton from the numbers game until Reigns got back in the game, but they were still on the wrong side of a four-on-two until Ambrose joined the fray. The trio of babyface-ish guys cleared the ring of The Big Red Machine and J & J, leaving just the four Payback title match participants for a chain reaction of finishers.
When the dust settled, Dirty Deeds meant the last man added to the Fatal 4Way was standing tall.
What to look out for
WWE headed into the nation's capital..no, not Washington, D.C. - Rusev is right, you Americans are so self centered. Nope, we're talking about Ottawa, Ontario, the seat of power of the 51st state, Canada!
And, of course, the event was held a couple of days ago before being broadcast to you tonight. If you want the scoop on what went down on Senators' home ice, click right here.
We're promised a contract signing for the WWE title Fatal 4Way, which I'm sure will be uneventful since all four men involved respect each other and this is the honorable business of professional wrestling, after all. The real question is, since there's four of them, do they get split down the middle for our weekly impromptu tag match?
Neville/Barrett and Sheamus/Ziggler already got the Teddy Long treatment, while Intercontinental champ Daniel Bryan is still on unspecified, indefinite medical leave and the U.S. champ doesn't wrestle on Tuesdays (for broadcast on Thursdays). I know! Now that Naomi has a bodyguard, let's get The Bellas some more screen time to sell that face turn with some Divas tag action!
Twitter spoiled something for me, so look for another new wrinkle to
MizSandow's gimmick. But maybe that's on Main Event. I get confused trying to avoid spoilers.
I'd sure like to see something from Kalisto & Sin Cara that not only keeps them in mind, but also develops their characters. The tag title feud is fantastic stuff, but it needs more than two team/factions to make a scene.
(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - that will be posted behind spoiler text in the comments. If WWE.com releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated here)
Following up on an almost universally well-received Raw, how would you like to see WWE not f*** it up tonight?
Let us know in the comments below, or just complain about how the graphic and title is misleading. And be sure to circle back tonight for our weekly party in the live blog for Smackdown!