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WWE Raw preview (September 7, 2015): Lazy carpenters and other villains

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WWE returns to one of its favorite venues, Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena, tonight to follow-up on last week's creatively panned but relative ratings success.

What will WWE do to wow Americans who've finished a weekend of saying goodbye to Summer (not RaeRae) with cookouts and other imbibements? Here's what they're telling us, and what we make of it...

Won't get Stung again

Runny facepaint and all, having Sting return to break up Seth Rollins' statue unveiling was a moment that popped even the WWE Universe - even those usually unmoved by The Icon like yours truly. Immediately turning that into a World title match at Night of Champions probably should have raised some red flags, but, hey, we were looking at a fresh match-up they could take in any number of different angles.

In and of itself, using this in a story that's been going on since shortly after WrestleMania to drive another wedge between the now-dual champ and The Authority wasn't a horrible idea. But casting Sting as almost an ally of Triple H, the man who's villainy he came back to stop at Survivor Series and who screwed him out of a win in his only WWE match this past March...

Similarly, John Cena's return at the end of the night, and Stephanie McMahon's allowing him to exercise his rematch clause for the United States championship in a way that will force Rollins to work double duty at the pay-per-view (PPV), fits that same narrative. Without the show opening promo, the Stinger walking out to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Cena is the cool image WWE undoubtedly thought it was. As part of an overall weird night, it just left most fans wondering how much Vince McMahon had paid Steve Borden to get him to come back for this crap.

What they should do: Two things, one of which a lot of people aren't going to like.

First, whether or not he's there this week, Sting needs to remain silent. The talking tonight needs to be done by The Architect's other challenger, the four time U.S. champ Cena. The only two people I want to hear talking about NoC in this angle are John and Steph...and with the principal owner basically playing a babyface since the start of the Divas Revolution, it would really behoove Creative to keep McMahon on the sidelines so as to not accidentally end up with Trips as a fan favorite in his feud with Rollins.

No, if anyone can right this ship, reminding us that The Authority is bad (m'kay?) and that an alliance of Scorpion venom and Hustle, Loyalty & Respect will be necessary to bring them down, it's our boy, John. The fire the 15 time World champ brings - hopefully without his Southern preacher voice - can get this back to two good guys fighting a powerful group of bad ones...and away from a debate about Hunter's legacy.

That other thing? Talk about the statue. A lot. It's just the goofiest pro wrestling thing ever, and totally fits with the good elements of Rollins' heel persona...that's precisely the thing he would be most concerned about heading into a big night where he'll have to face two of the best ever. If that hubris leads to a fall, well...

Plus, if you really want to get across that Sting is playing mind games, have him show up in various places around the arena with the statue. A shot of him in the rafters with Seth's effigy would be worth...however many times he said he respected Triple H last week.

What we're afraid they'll do: Cena presents a PowerPoint of himself with the statue at various places around Baltimore and Washington, D.C., followed by introducing Sting using his full Denzel Washington impersonation...leading to a segment where The Vigilante and The Game talk about how much Rollins sucks.

Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley haven't shown any signs of rust from their ten years away from WWE (say, were they in Dudleyville the whole time? is no help finding out what they were up to since 2005...). After quickly dispatching Stardust's new lackeys, The Ascension, in their official return match, the brothers polished off both current tag champs The New Day on Raw and former tag champs PrimeTime Players on SmackDown.

Darren Young & Titus O'Neil are still owed an official rematch for the belts, while Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods seem more interested in original trombone pieces and annoying the Attitude Era greats with bubblewrapped furniture than they are about PTP.

The tag titles are not among the championships currently being defended at Night of Champions...could that change tonight?

What they should do: This feud needs someone to root against.

The Dudleys are returning heroes. Titus is has figured out how to turn his in-ring limitations into being a phenomenal hot tag by just tossing dudes around, is reigning Dad of the Year and gets major props for hanging around with Darren - because if his commentary stints are any indication, Young must just laugh at the inane things he blurts out and say "big man" a lot. The New Day is the most entertaining team to hit WWE since...for me? Probably since Kurt Angle was getting clowned by Edge & Christian on the reg.

Right now, the champs are a couple of segments away from being turned by the crowd, which is so ironic it deserves its own post. But for this program to be really interesting, they should either do some actual bad stuff to one or both of their rival squads, or...

Everybody remembers that Bubba and D-Von are fantastic heels, right? Even with the always-gonna-be-over table spots, a double for them and the Postive three could be just the trick.

What we're afraid they'll do: Ahh, even in the very likely instance that this is just an entertaining way station in the wasteland that is WWE's pairs scene, some folks will go through tables and Xavier Woods will yell things from the sidelines...and everything will be alright.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Thanks to Miz's investigative reporting, it looks like Dolph Ziggler may have been cheating on Lana with Summer Rae, essentially meaning he has both stolen one of Rusev's ladies and made him a cuckold with another. The Ravishing Russian, meanwhile, has gone from managing the Bulgarian to a dominant U.S title reign to be worried that another woman saw her well-known player boyfriend's penis, and beating up the mistress because she thinks Dolph two-timed her.

- Everyone wants to know who Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose will recruit as the equalizer for their PPV showdown with Bray Wyatt and his boys Luke Harper & Braun Strowman. If it's Erick Rowan, as the former Wyatt has hinted on social media, everyone will want to know how he got Cena to tell him how to heal a torn biceps in just three months.

- With only a week to go on the BellaTron counting down to Nikki Bella breaking AJ Lee's record for longest Divas title reign, will new #1 contender Charlotte be able to angle for a match before Night of Champions? Can Team Bella play heels two weeks in a row? Will PCB do a better job of communicating the internal tension we hear they're supposed to be conveying? And I better hear "Sky's The Limit"!

- Since it looks like he won his feud with Cesaro when he busted up his ribs last week, Kevin Owens has set his sights on Ryback's Intercontinental title!

- Stardust has a posse, and Bo Dallas is pissed. Whether either of those stories will carry over from that Thursday night show is questionable.

- Sheamus still has a Money in the Bank briefcase, in case I wasn't the only one who forgot (again).

Night of Champions is just two weeks away!

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

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