WWE’s road to Wrestlemania 30 swings through one of the loudest arenas in the wrestling world, Chicago’s Allstate Arena for ‘RAW’ tonight. With little more than a month left before the biggest wrestling show of the year in WM30, WWE will continue develop the stories that make up the card. Tonight’s RAW is stacked with a star-studded lineup, an Elimination Chamber rematch, a special guest from one of the biggest TV shows of the last decade, and a live crowd that is expected to very wild. Pro Wrestling Examiner breaks down all the news leading into WWE RAW live on USA Network 7pm C/ 8pm E. Follow this Examiner’s live in-the-arena tweets from Chicago on Twitter: @KevKellam
The biggest piece of news heading into tonight’s RAW are the rumors circulating that CM Punk who walked out on WWE last month, could make a return and join the road to WM30 in New Orleans. The Punk return tonight has some credibility to the story was broken on Sunday morning by the very credible Dave Meltzer, the editor of the Wrestling Observer. Read the the full story here.
If Punk does indeed return in his hometown tonight, he will be greeted like astronaut coming back from the Moon. To say the Windy City loves Punk would be an understatement. Some of his best all-time performances have taken place in the city including his memorable WWE title win over John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011 and his show-stealer against Chris Jericho at Payback last year.
This Examiner is going to way on the side of ‘wait and see’ as these are just rumors, but it seems like if there ever was a place to bring the “Best in the World” back to WWE it would be Chicago.
WWE has confirmed that both the legendary Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will be on RAW tonight and they are scheduled each other after last Monday’s show closing contract-signing segment. With both locked down for a battle at WM30, Lesnar needs to come out of this scene with the momentum as he was outclassed by the Deadman last week when he used a pen to stab the former UFC champ in the hand and chokeslam him through a table.
Look for Lesnar’s manager Paul Heyman to do a lot of the verbal lifting in this segment. Heyman was effective last Monday at establishing the narrative for Lesnar was to “conqueror history”. The always conniving Heyman will lay into the Undertaker on the microphone, and ignite a clear understanding why Undertaker/Lesnar is a big deal.
Batista is a bad guy again after cutting a scatching diatribe againt the WWE fans on Friday’s Smackdown. Big Dave directed his anger at the fans who have booed him since he made his return last month, and referred to him as “Bootista”. If you have not seen the promo, it’s worth checking out and reminds you how good of a bully and egotistical villain that Batista can play. The Animal now rebooted as a power-bombing jerk is going to be a lot more interesting to watch heading into WM30.
Batista is still set to face WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, so it’s seems like WWE will not pit a heel against a heel for their biggest title on their top annual show in Wrestlemania. Could another superstar be added to this title bout? It should become more clear what will happen with the WWE title scene at WM30 after tonight.
The match to watch on RAW this week is an Elimination Chamber rematch between the warring factions of the Shield and the Wyatt Family. The 6 man tag team match stole the show on pay per view two weeks ago, but last Monday’s singles match between the Shield’s Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt was widely panned by critics and fans. This rematch should keep the flame burning for both teams during this important time of year.
There is seeds of dissent in the Shield between Reigns and United States Champion Dean Ambrose. If WWE wants to pull the trigger and finally start the long teased breakup of the Shield, it could start here in this match against the group’s biggest rivals in the Wyatts.
Film and TV actor Aaron Paul is scheduled to be this week’s special guest star on RAW. Paul is appearing to promote the upcoming release of his action feature ‘Need for Speed’.This is a real ‘get’ for WWE here, as Paul is coming off the end of ‘Breaking Bad’, one of the most acclaimed TV shows of the last decade. This Examiner expects Paul to joke around backstage in a sketch or maybe make a match for the polish-sausage eating Chicago fans.
The crowd at the Allstate is expected to loud and hostile with fans planning a #hijackRAW campaign over social media, in hopes of making the WWE adjust to their wants for WM30.
This is being lead by the twitter handle @ChicagoRAWcrowd which has nearly 9,000 followers on Twitter. It’s not confirmed what the collective is going to try to do, but they seem intent on organizing something to disrupt the show especially when Triple H and Batista appear on the show. The group has even posted a directive sheet of what to chant and when to chant it. The most daring thing that may occur is fans literally turning their back on Triple H and Batista. WWE is aware of the planned protest, and are going to be able to handle it someway.
For WWE Network subscribers, there will be a live pre-show before RAW starting at 6:30pm C/ 7:30pm E. After RAW goes off the air, there will be a wrap-up show live on the Network as well.