John Cena is one of WWE’s most patriotic superstars, and there’s no doubt that his love for country will come across on tonight’s episode of WWE RAW. Cena continues to feud with the leader of The Club, AJ Styles, and they continue to run into each other every week. While it seems obvious that Cena vs. Styles will happen again at WWE Battleground 2016, will it be their last match in this program, given the upcoming WWE Draft when SmackDown goes live on Tuesdays?
Roman Reigns is still out on suspension but remains a No. 1 contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While “The Guy” won’t be on Monday Night RAW for a few more weeks yet, Seth Rollins and The Lunatic Fringe are left to build towards a highly-anticipated Triple Threat Match that will feature all three former members of The Shield. While Ambrose has his hands tied with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz (and his wife Maryse), how will Seth Rollins occupy his time on WWE RAW tonight? With less than three weeks until WWE Battleground, one has to suspect he’ll do whatever he can to harm the current champ, Dean Ambrose.
Additionally, Rusev is forced to defend the United States Championship against Titus O’Neil after successfully defending against Cesaro on SmackDown. Eight Americans will square off against eight non-Americans in a Survivor Series-style elimination tag team match, and more will undoubtedly be said about who will be the SmackDown General Manager after the WWE Draft on July 19, the first live episode of SmackDown.
Below is a deeper look at WWE.com’s official Monday Night RAW preview for July 4. Each week, the site provides the WWE Universe with some borderline spoilers in regards to the assumed events that will take place on the WWE’s flagship program, which airs live on the USA Network.
WWE Monday Night RAW Preview
As the WWE travels back through flyover country from the tropical southeast, Monday Night RAW airs live from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Since they’re in the home state of such WWE Superstars as Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Dana Brooke, will each of those competitors get a chance to have a match in front of their friends and families?
Could The Miz score a leading role in this summer blockbuster?
On last week’s episode of WWE SmackDown, things between Dean Ambrose and The Miz got rather heated on MizTV, resulting in a non-title, champion vs. champion main event. The Lunatic Fringe came away with the victory on SmackDown, but apparently that wasn’t enough.
Dean Ambrose is set to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Battleground. Will the WWE Universe learn the next person to challenge The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship? With Maryse undoubtedly at ringside to provide interference, will Dean’s former Shield brother Seth get involved, since Reigns is still out on suspension?
Will Cena get payback against The Club?
The feud between John Cena and The Bullet Club captures the two types of WWE fans as well as any feud currently happening in professional wrestling. John Cena is still the undisputed money-maker for WWE, thanks to the allegiance of the WWE Universe’s youngest fans and the so-called “marks” who still like him as an adult. But as is evidenced every time Cena comes to the ring, the rest of the WWE Universe — the smart marks or “smarks” — can’t stand the leader of the Cenation.
AJ Styles and The Club represent everything that those smarks want to see in the WWE. Styles is unquestionably one of the greatest in-ring workers in the world, and he’s proven that by doing it all over the globe. The same age as John Cena (39-years-old), it took Styles nearly 14 years longer to make it to WWE than it did for John Cena. While pro wrestling fans who stick primarily to WWE may not have been familiar with The Phenomenal One before signing a contract with Vince’s company, his wrestling skills and mic work prove that he’s been working hard just as long as John Cena.
Are “Team U.S.A.” world-beaters?
WWE embraces patriotism in a way that is almost unparalleled by any other major entertainment company. Hulk Hogan was the All-American Hero during the years of Desert Storm. Sgt. Slaughter might as well have been named G.I. Joe. Jack Swagger was the “All-American American” and Kurt Angle was America’s Olympic Hero. And they love to use anti-American heels to rile up the US base of the WWE Universe, like the recently-defunct League of Nations and the Hart-led Team Canada of the late 90s.
On the Fourth of July Monday Night RAW, eight American stars will compete against eight non-American stars in a 16-Man Elimination Tag Team Match, being billed as “Team U.S.A. vs. Team World” for tonight’s show. Since Team USA is likely to be made up of faces, a quick look at WWE’s current superstar roster would suggest a team that looks like Jack Swagger, The New Day, Apollo Crews, Darren Young, Enzo, and Big Cass. Eight non-American heels could include Alberto Del Rio (Mexico), Sheamus (Ireland), Primo and Epico (Puerto Rico), Kevin Owens (Canada), Chris Jericho (Canada), Tyler Breeze (Canada), and Viktor (Canada) of The Ascension.
RELATED REPORTS BY THE INQUISITR
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Can Titus O’Neil capture star-spangled gold?
The results of Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil will get the patriotic WWE Universe riled up one way or the other. If Lana’s Bulgarian Brute once again leaves with the United States Championship, he will be able to mock the United States of America on the most American day of the year while holding the most American title that WWE has to offer. On the other hand, Rusev’s most recent reign as US Champ could come to a patriotic end on the 4th of July with a win from Titus.
The only championships that Titus O’Neil has ever held were tag team straps. He won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Darren Young as The Prime Time Players and the Florida Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship with Damien Sandow. Could this be the beginning of a huge singles career for O’Neil by winning the United States Championship on the birthday of the United States?
Will a former SmackDown General Manager join in Monday’s festivities?
So far, the WWE Universe has been subjected to unexpected returns of former WWE General Managers John Laurinaitis, Teddy Long, and Corporate Kane. With Booker T seemingly happy with his current role and both Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon already on WWE programming regularly, who will WWE decide to bring out on the 4th of July? Could this be the opportunity for Kurt Angle to make his long-awaited return to WWE programming?
Former managers like Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman could make for fun with one-night appearances like the aforementioned former GMs, but it looks like WWE wants the 4th of July episode to be huge. With the world already talking about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, what better time to bring back the only former WWE Superstar to have won a gold medal in the Olympics? Even if he isn’t used as a potential GM, can you imagine the electricity Kurt Angle would bring as a member of the 8-on-8 tag team match?
Where To Watch
WWE Battleground 2016 airs live on the WWE Network on Sunday, July 24 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central. The WWE Battleground Kickoff Show begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Central.
WWE Monday Night RAW airs live on the USA Network at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central, with the RAW Pre-Show airing on the WWE Network at 7:30 p.m. Eastern/6:30 p.m. Central. 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]