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WWE Raw preview (August 17, 2015): Let's talk about 'Slam, baby

@WWERollins on Instagram

Like ZZ Top, WWE is nationwide (and sometimes bad). Vince McMahon's company is packing their bads and leaving the west coast. The trucks are headed for one of the biggest shows on the calendar, Sunday, August 23's SummerSlam in Brooklyn, New York, but tonight, they'll take a pit stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a little show they like to call Monday Night Raw.

Say, isn't someone kind of important from The Land of 10,000 Lakes?

The Immovable Phenom and The Unstoppable Beast

Last time SummerSlam main eventers Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker were in the same state, we were treated to one of the coolest pull apart brawls in recent memory. WWE officials are kayfabe worried and ratings book thrilled about what might happen when that sore loser from Texas and the gloating Golden Gopher are in the Target Center tonight.

We've only seen Taker once since he decided that Battleground was where he would get revenge on Brock, and his manager, Paul Heyman, for their unsportsmanlike shilling about Lesnar ending his WrestleMania undefeated streak almost a year and a half ago. By costing The Beast the WWE title, and with it his own revenge on Seth Rollins, The Dead Man struck first.

Question now is, who will strike last? And will both men even make it to the pay-per-view (PPV)?

What they should do: Strictly booking in a vacuum here, as I have no inside knowledge on how Taker looks or feels, what kind of work he's cleared for or comfortable doing. But my concerns about Sunday's heavily hyped non-title showdown could lower while my excitement level rose if we saw him work a little tonight.

Probably shouldn't be a match, because there's no one they could trot out there for him to squash that wouldn't kill the mystique a little bit. If only 3MB were still around, because this situation calls for some cocky heel jobbers to interupt The Dead Man's entrance, or stop Renee Young from getting a comment from him backstage. DAT  NUMBERS GAME forces him to take some punches and maybe even a bump before some fools get chokeslammed and Tombstoned and maybe even slapped into Hell's Gate.

Maybe its time for the debut of Beef Mode?

What we're afraid they'll do: Contract signing, which would not only lead to Taker on the microphone and probably more violence between he and Brock that should be saved for the big show, but probably also add the retirement stipulation that's been rumored that would telegraph the finish even more than it already is.

The Champs. Are. Here.

Our Photoshop fears came true last week, only it was WWE champ Seth Rollins bringing the "comedy" rather than our old pal Jokin' Jern. That bit included throwing down the gauntlet for a title vs. title match in New York, a challenge picked up by the new look (in nose and gear) Cena on Tough Enough.

That wasn't enough for the man behind the knee that kept John off of Raw for two straight weeks, though, as Seth was on SmackDown Thursday night demanding that the U.S. champ show his face in Minneapolis tonight to make the match official face-to-face.

What they should do: While we're keeping our fingers-crossed that they leave the main event between the two part-timers a straight-up fight, this show stealer might need a little something to dispel the notion that we're getting a screwy finish or a 16th title reign for the Ce-Nation leader.

Gonna steal an idea from Lucha Underground again this week (get used to it) and suggest that this would be a good opportunity for the suddenly tweener Authority to announce that there must be a winner in Sunday's showdown between their biggest star and the man holding their most important championship. That could hopefully keep it from becoming a full-blown, foreign object-heavy no disqualification affair, while still leaving the door open for whatevery schmoz-ery they feel they need to protect Cena...because we know they're not losing sleep worrying about protecting Seth.

What we're afraid they'll do: Set-up whatever they have in mind with a twenty minute show opening promo.

Which is totally what they're going to do.


For all the noise they make about SummerSlam being the second biggest show of the year, they haven't done a phenomenal job of selling this writer on the four hour event. When an actor who plays a super-hero is central to the match I'm most looking forward to, there might be a problem.

Let's look at the other things that need to be sold on tonight's "go home" show in a little something we like to call...

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- In the "shut up and take my money" category, Cesaro vs. Kevin Owen gon b gud. But, in story, what's at stake, and, in reality, can either man afford to lose? There's a lot at play here, including if tonight's show will spend anytime addressing KO's other big match this weekend - Saturday night's attempt to regain his NXT title from Finn Bálor at TakeOver.

- Mr. Money in the Bank made a laughably bad cash-in attempt last week. And that wasn't the worst of it, for Sheamus or for us, as it seems his feud with Randy Orton will never, ever end. A PPV match between the two isn't official, but should become so tonight.

- Also unclear whether Rusev's flag and Hot Summer's Accolade will find their way onto the card. We're hoping they at least get some time on WWE Network to continue being super-entertaining...and probably to welcome the foes they've injured over the past couple of months, Dolph Ziggler and Lana, back to the program.

- One of several tag matches on tap for SummerSlam is the remnants of The Wyatt Family versus Shield brothers Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose. Story here is that Bray still wants to destroy Roman, but Dean loves him too much to stand by and watch that happen. Question here is if the bromance between the Big Dog and The Lunatic Fringe being played up for a heel turn from one of them...

- Another tag actually has the tag belts on the line. Those are still held by PrimeTime Players, who will defend against The New Day - because they're the most entertaining thing about most shows they're on - and Los Matadores & Lucha Dragons - because someone backstage realized they've run Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young A LOT recently.

- Forget the Divas championship...there's a Revolution going on! Or something. Apparently, the old regime will be toppled by taking almost every woman on the main roster who can work (plus Tamina and Brie) and putting them in one match for zero stakes!

- They're going to keep trying to make Ryback happen, no matter how many Daniel Bryan appearances or Triple Threats with Miz & Big Show it takes. Sunday!

What do you think they should, or are afraid they will, do on Raw tonight?

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