Brock Lesnar’s win at UFC 200 on Saturday night is just more things going exactly as Vince McMahon and the WWE would like. Having just announced Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton for WWE SummerSlam 2016, Lesnar’s win over Mark Hunt gives the Lesnar/Orton feud the fire that it needs to help get people excited for WWE’s “biggest party of the summer.” But before SummerSlam, the WWE Superstars will head to WWE Battleground 2016, where John Cena hopes to end his current feud with AJ Styles and The Club.
Prior to Battleground is the WWE Draft. It seems highly probable that all three members of The Shield will go very, very high in the draft, leaving it unlikely that they’ll end up on the same roster. The main event at Battleground may be the last chance the WWE Universe gets to see all three members of The Shield go one-on-one-on-one in the foreseeable future. If Dean Ambrose gets drafted to SmackDown, does the WWE World Heavyweight Championship go with him to Tuesday nights exclusively? If Roman Reigns gets drafted to Monday Night RAW, does his suspension prevent him from even making an appearance during the announcement? Will Seth Rollins end up on the blue brand or the red brand?
Before SummerSlam, before Battleground and before the WWE Draft on SmackDown Live next week, the man responsible for the success of professional wrestling in America returns to the most successful television show in the history of the sport. On a night when the United States Championship is on the line and a new No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship will be determined via battle royal, what will Vince McMahon have to say about the SmackDown General Manager position and the major roster shake-up coming to WWE on July 19?
Below is a deeper look at WWE.com’s official Monday Night RAW preview for July 11. 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
The WWE is in the Midwest again this week, as Monday Night RAW airs live from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Motor City has been an important part of WWE history ever since WrestleMania III. With Mr. McMahon returning to Monday Night RAW just eight days before the impending WWE Draft — and a General Manager for WWE SmackDown yet to be named — Detroit could once again be home to an iconic moment in WWE history that changes the landscape forever.
Vince McMahon Returns To WWE RAW
The last time that the WWE Universe saw Mr. McMahon on WWE programming, he had turned Monday Night RAW over to son Shane McMahon, who has since feuded with Stephanie McMahon over who should be allowed to call the shots on WWE RAW. Then, when it was announced that Thursday Night SmackDown would be moved to Tuesday nights for live airing on the USA Network, the McMahon-sibling feud reached new heights.
In real life, Vince just announced Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton for WWE SummerSlam 2016 days before UFC 200, where Lesnar returned to the MMA competition with a solid win over Mark Hunt. Throughout the UFC PPV, Lesnar’s match against Orton was hyped, and his win made the WWE match against Orton much more interesting. If Vince’s business prowess is still on-point, the WWE Universe could be in for another exciting episode of Monday Night RAW.
The New Day And The Wyatt Family Compound
Some people argue that The Wyatt Family inviting The New Day to their compound is very similar to Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy and the recent “Final Decision” feud on TNA. Other than the use of bizarre characters and a setting that isn’t inside of an arena, these encounters aren’t likely to be the same at all. For starters, the quality of television produced by TNA isn’t anywhere near the quality that Vince and the WWE produce.
More importantly, the Hardy vs. Hardy feud featured two wrestlers way past their prime rehashing a feud that has been going on for nearly two decades (if traced back to WWE). On the other hand, the New Day vs. Wyatts feud features six men who are still in their prime, portraying characters that the audience is invested in, as part of a feud that just began a few weeks ago. Will Xavier Woods join Big E and Kofi Kingston after they accepted Bray’s invitation? But more importantly: what all awaits The New Day at the Wyatt Family compound?
US Title Match: Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder has had a much more rewarding 2016 in WWE than most would have predicted. His victory in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at WrestleMania 32 was widely considered the biggest surprise of the evening. Then, on last week’s patriotic Monday Night RAW, he won the final fall in the main event, taking home the victory for Team USA on the 4th of July.
Zack Ryder defeated Sheamus on WWE SmackDown last week and immediately made clear his intentions to capture the United States Championship from Rusev. While it seemed like the perfect set-up for a WWE Battleground match, Rusev and Lana accepted the challenge for tonight’s WWE RAW. With less than two weeks until Battleground, it seems likely that the results of this match will impact the United States Championship scene for July 24.
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John Cena, Enzo & Big Cass Vs. The Bullet Club
John Cena didn’t show up on WWE SmackDown, so The Club had to focus on Cena’s new-found friends, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Even though Enzo and Big Cass were explaining that they weren’t necessarily big fans of John Cena, The Club went on the offensive anyway, resulting in a match between AJ Styles and Enzo Amore.
Cena has the chance to help his Battleground teammates save some face after Enzo was pinned by Styles on SmackDown. With a 6-Man Tag Team Match set for WWE Battleground, it seems likely that Cena will get in the ring with one of Styles’ pals tonight, whether that be Luke Gallows or Karl Anderson. The WWE Draft is also likely to come up during this interaction, as the combatants may end up on different rosters after July 19. Could Enzo and Big Cass be forced to work singles action? Could The Club be split up before they have a chance to prove their dominance? Will John Cena — the biggest money-maker in the industry — wind up on Team RAW or Team SmackDown?
IC Title: No. 1 Contender Battle Royal
Now that most of his obligations for Marine 5: Battleground are complete, The Miz (along with his lovely wife, Maryse) is focused on the WWE Intercontinental Championship more than ever. It was clear during last week’s 4th of July BBQ that The Miz has very few friends left in the WWE locker room. Tonight, 20 of his peers will get an opportunity to earn an IC title shot against the “awesome” Miz.
While the details weren’t addressed by WWE’s own preview, it would make sense that the new No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental strap will be awarded his match at WWE Battleground 2016 or possibly as part of next Tuesday’s SmackDown Live, when the WWE Draft takes place.
The Shield: Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
With so many other things going on in the WWE Universe, one of the most anticipated feuds in recent WWE history is flying somewhat under the radar. All three former members of The Shield will square-off in a Triple Threat Match at Battleground 2016, with Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line. But with Roman Reigns out due to his suspension, Ambrose and Seth Rollins have been left to promote their main event match without any help from Reigns.
Rollins has taken it upon himself to remind the WWE Universe again and again that Reigns broke the WWE’s wellness policy and isn’t the role model he claims to be. He has repeatedly said that Roman should be removed from the title match at Battleground and the live WWE audiences seem to agree. With less than two weeks until the marquee match-up, will Seth Rollins continue to focus on the non-present Roman Reigns, or will he turn his attention to the current WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose?
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. The WWE Draft will take place on WWE SmackDown July 19 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 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]