Tonight’s episode of Raw is shaping up to be an episode designed to lay the groundwork for SummerSlam. There are several storylines that have gotten a wink and a nod or are downright obvious that they’ll happen, and they should be solidly put into play tonight.
The biggest little storyline that we’ve been teased with for months is the one that’s been flourishing between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella. It comes as no real surprise that the plan all along has been for the two to meet at SummerSlam, which is why I think the challenge is made tonight when McMahon and Bella get into the ring for the first time in months. It was said over the weekend that McMahon invited Bella to be at Raw so that she could talk to her personally. I think that McMahon may go into the speech trying to fix things, amend the wrongs that she “may have played a part in,” but is going to be met with an outright attack from Bella, which will set up the fight at the WWE’s second biggest PPV. I figure that officials will come down to restrain Bella and while they’re taking her up the ramp, McMahon will scream out that she’ll see her at SummerSlam.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will continue their feud, but will finally set up their first official one-on-one match up for SummerSlam tonight on Raw. I know that the first one was made for Battleground, but that obviously didn’t happen, which only meant that WWE realized they never should have made that match for a lesser PPV. I think that one of the two will once again attack the other in a backstage segment, setting up the possibility for a street fight stipulation in their SummerSlam meeting.
The new faction, made up of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E, will find another person to join them tonight, most likely in the form of Mark Henry. I’m not sure what this group is going to do, nor do I even know the point of why they exist, but I am incredibly excited that they may be taken more seriously this way. The biggest problem I see is, who in the world are they going to feud with? All of the other groups/factions currently have ongoing storylines. Do they just go in and beat the hell out of whoever is in the ring, a la Nexus? Do they insert themselves into a storyline like The Uso‘s and The Wyatt‘s? I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to seeing the direction for this group.
The other big thing I see taking place tonight is the announcement of a Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns match at SummerSlam. I think the Reigns match on Smackdown allowed for any nervous fans to be put at ease in regards to Reigns’ stamina. He went the distance against Alberto Del Rio, never slowing down at any point in the match, never allowing a single one of his big moves to be hit lightly. It was a spectacular match that really showed what Reigns is capable of, and should set the tone for what his matches are going to look like moving forward. I’m looking forward to the official challenge being made, because it’s got to happen tonight or, at the latest, on Smackdown. They need to build this up as being a major match, rather than just one that’s put together at the last minute. I’m admittedly not a big fan of Orton, but the guy can go for a long time, which should set Reigns up to look even more incredible.
Lastly, we’ll finally see John Cena respond to Lesnar’s challenge, as he returns a week earlier than originally expected. While this will be, and should be, built as being something huge, I think fans just want to see Lesnar F5 Cena and walk out of the ring.
SummerSlam is the second biggest PPV for WWE, and they need to start working on filling out the card early so that fans know what a great PPV it’s going to be, rather than waiting until the week of, like they’ve been doing recently.