While last week’s WWE Raw featured Brock Lesnar in multiple segments and the incredibly emotional retirement speech of Daniel Bryan, the go-home Raw for WWE Fastlane won’t feature Lesnar or Bryan. Instead, Dean Ambrose will apparently be the main focus of tonight’s programming, with a large emphasis on the tension building between the Lunatic Fringe and Roman Reigns as their match on Sunday approaches.
Meanwhile, Brie Bella will attempt to prove that she’s a legitimate threat to Charlotte’s title, and the feud between A.J. Styles and Chris Jericho (and The Miz) continues to heat up. Completely absent from Raw last week, could current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H bother himself to make an appearance this week?
As laid out in WWE.com’s official Monday Night Raw preview page, there are five stories of interest to the WWE Universe that will likely be showcased live on the USA Network tonight.
Those damn, dirty Dudleys
On last week’s SmackDown, the Dudleys cut a promo in an attempt to explain their actions from last Monday’s table match. Aside from a full-fledged heel turn, D-Von and Bubba Ray claimed that they are through with the table gimmick.
A few questions remain for one of the most decorated tag teams in professional wrestling history. Are they really dropping the table gimmick for good? Will they pick up a new gimmick in lieu of the tables? Will they try to distance themselves completely from their Attitude Era image as they try to prove their relevance in 2016?
Giants among men
Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family have established a fairly impressive list of victims as of late. Beginning with Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble (for which the Beast Incarnate has yet to seek retribution), Bray and his minions have also managed to take out Kane, Big Show, and Ryback.
— WWE (@WWE) February 12, 2016
It’s too bad that the WWE was so hasty in their suspension of Titus O’Neil. From a storyline perspective, he could have just been another Superstar fed to the buzzards. Upon review of WWE’s active heavyweights, Mark Henry might want to just stay home tonight.
Never goes out of Styles
After a win over Y2J in his WWE Raw debut, The Phenomenal One lost to Chris Jericho on WWE SmackDown last week. With WWE Fastlane less than a week away, the obvious booking is a rubber match at the PPV between Jericho and A.J. Styles.
However, it appears that the WWE wants to keep The Miz in the mix. Admitting that a third singles match is the obvious next step for A.J.’s first WWE feud, they dropped a not-so-subtle reminder that the host of MizTV likely isn’t at peace with how things ended last week.
Come at the Queen
The wrestling industry has a history of taking real life drama and using it to further interest in their product. Much like the death of Eddie Guerrero was incorporated into pushes for both Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero, the injury of Nikki Bella and the retirement of Daniel Bryan are being used to make Brie Bella’s match with WWE Divas Champions Charlotte at Fastlane a much bigger deal that it normally would be.
— WWE (@WWE) February 13, 2016
WWE will be pushing the angle that this is a “must-win” for Brie, as her sister and husband are both on the shelf. While there have been rumors of Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 32, could WWE decide to capitalize on the recent hype surrounding the founder of the “Yes! Movement” by giving Brie another shot in Dallas — with a large emphasis on Daniel Bryan and Ric Flair being in their respective ladies’ corners?
Running the Asylum
WWE has been teasing some tension between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Reigns asked Ambrose if he was still upset about SmackDown, right before agreeing not to get involved when Dean confronted Brock Lesnar. Of course, Reigns couldn’t keep himself away while Ambrose refused to stay down during Lesnar’s onslaught.
Stephanie McMahon and The Authority have been plotting to get the former Shield brethren at each other’s throats before their Triple Threat Match with Brock Lesnar at Fastlane. Could one of them turn heel, resulting in Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania?
Where To Watch
WWE Monday Night Raw airs live on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE Raw aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a 90-minute version of Monday Night Raw is available to stream on-demand the following day with a Hulu Plus subscription.
[Image via WWE]