Monday Night “RAW” will be broadcast live from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. tonight, and will be the final episode of WWE’s flagship program before Hell In A Cell. Monday night’s show will be crucial in building drama for the Oct. 28 pay-per-view, with many of the matches unannounced or underdeveloped.
Ryback vs. WWE Champion CM Punk for the Straight-Edge Superstar’s title is the top-billed match for Sunday’s event, but even that feud is in question with Ryback being the epitome of inexperience. The rookie powerhouse has only been working regularly on WWE television since April, and hasn’t been in any main event caliber matches.
Most of the bouts have been squash matches against lower-mid card jobbers, aside from other short matches against higher card talent, that still didn’t display the skills necessary to carry a pay-per-view main event. The up-and-comer is rising faster than any wrestler in recent memory (possibly since Brock Lesnar in 2002) and seems to have won the crowd over, but whether or not he can deliver is yet to be determined.
NoDQ claims that WWE officials have put themselves in an unwinnable situation with the Ryback vs. Punk main event, because they want to keep Punk as the WWE Champion to face the Rock in January, and breaking his lengthy title reign would be counterproductive, but they also don’t want to make Ryback look weak by having him lose the match.
Another option would be for them to have a screwjob, or unfair loss for Ryback, which would keep Ryback from having a loss on his record and have Punk stay the champion. The problem is that Hell in a Cell matches are no disqualification, so someone has to be pinned for the fight to end.
As bad as the situation is for the WWE creative team, it has drawn a lot of attention to WWE programing, because fans don’t know what will happen next. Often matches become formulaic and audiences can see what will happen next, but the Ryback and Punk situation has no optimal outcome.
Another feud for Hell in a Cell is the World Heavyweight Title match, with Sheamus defending his belt against Big Show. The two men have gone back and forth over the past few weeks to see who has the more effective finishing move, but the rivalry is dwarfed by Money in the Bank contract holder Dolph Ziggler.
The Showoff’s contract allows him to have a match for the World Heavyweight Championship at any time and he has outright said he would be cashing it in at Hell in a Cell. Ideally, this could be used to solve the Ryback and Punk issue, with Ziggler interjecting himself as the third man and being pinned, but that would put a halt on Ziggler’s push and wouldn’t work because his contract is specifically for the “SmackDown” World Title.
The other big “SmackDown” match is Alberto Del Rio against Randy Orton, which has almost no drama behind it. The two have been getting in each other’s business, but that’s about it; the match will have to be outstanding to gain a crowd reaction.
The Miz will face Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston in a rematch for the IC Title this coming Sunday. Miz lost his belt last Wednesday on “Main Event” and hopes to gain it back in what will hopefully be an impressive rematch, after the first one was well received.
The Tag Team Championship match with title holders Kane and Daniel Bryan facing the winners of the recent tag team tournament will be put on hold if Rey Mysterio is ill again tonight. Last week the tournament was put on hold due to Mysterio being sick, and tonight would be the last chance to determine the No. 1 contenders.
WWE.com has reported that Mysterio will be on “RAW” tonight to compete in the tournament finals with his partner Sin Cara. The two men will face Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow.
Kane will be in action tonight against Big Show in the fallout from last Friday’s “SmackDown.” The Giant faced Kane’s tag team partner Daniel Bryan, and now Show will have to fight the Big Red Monster in what WWE.com is calling a clash of the titans.
The WWE site is also teasing some involvement from new stable 3MB. Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre have come together to make a lower-mid card group that has been coming out on top in the past few weeks, and tonight the show will probably continue.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro hasn’t entered into a Hell in a Cell feud, and there is no word on what kind of involvement he’ll have on tonight’s show, but the Swiss superstar will undoubtedly be impressive on this weeks “RAW.” The rookie hasn’t been with the company very long, but he has already taken the U.S. title out of a rut after the belt was held by Santino Marella and Jack Swagger.
Divas Champion Eve Torres is also a likely performer to appear on the show. Though her time will be short, being that the women’s division in WWE hasn’t been kind to its performers for some time.