Raw Five-Point Preview: Feb. 25, 2013

The WWE Universe has itself a new WWE Championship, but the big question now is: Who will challenge for the fresh-faced prize at WrestleMania 29? On the one hand, you have John Cena, the current No. 1 contender following his Royal Rumble Match victory in January. On the other is CM Punk, who goaded Cena into putting his WrestleMania WWE Title opportunity up for grabs in a one-on-one renewal of their long-running rivalry. While Cena and Punk settle their score, however, trouble is brewing in Team Hell No’s shaky friendship, and Paul Heyman gets ready for the fight of his life against an injured — but eager — Mr. McMahon. Here are five things to look forward to on Monday’s Raw.

Also, the WWE Universe eagerly awaits Glenn Beck’s reply to the formal invitation from WWE officials to address his criticisms of Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Will the famous politico show? ( FULL STORY)

A fighting chance

Mr. McMahon drops a major announcement on Paul Heyman by informing the WWE Universe that he will face "The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless" next week on Raw.

A wise man from Philly once said, “It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” Well, we hope Paul Heyman takes those words to heart because even injured and on crutches, Mr. McMahon is gonna hit him hard.

To clarify on how Heyman found himself in this current predicament, The Chairman took advantage of Heyman’s ill-advised promise to do “anything” to remove The Rock’s “champion’s advantage” against CM Punk at WWE Elimination Chamber. Mr. McMahon’s price? Forcing the ECW mastermind into a fight — not a match, mind you, a fight — live on Raw. Hopefully, Heyman picked up a trick or two from his former Philadelphia charges, because he’s going to need every trick in the book when he throws hands with The Chairman of the Board. We’d start punching those sides of beef about now if we were you, Paul E ( VOTE: DOES HEYMAN STAND A CHANCE?).

Hell (No) in a handbasket

Randy Orton and Kane square off on Raw until WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan gets the attention of his partner.

Team Hell No’s alliance has been shaky at best from the very beginning, and it didn’t help that the WWE Tag Team Champions were pit against each other in both the Royal RumbleandElimination Chamber Matches, just as they were starting to get into a really good groove. All their progress as pals just about went out the window last week when Bryan came down to ringside for Kane’s match with Randy Orton — violating the expressed wishes of The Big Red Machine in the process. Needless to say, the “No!” man’s presence cost his bro the bout, and we’re expecting the fallout to be appropriately fiery come Monday.

Justice is forever

Sheamus, Ryback, & Chris Jericho try to control the militia that is The Shield.

Can anyone stop The Shield? Given the events of WWE Elimination Chamber and Raw the next night, the answer thus far seems to be an emphatic “no.” The NXT invaders triumphed over not one but two all-star teams — John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus at the pay-per-view, then Ryback, Sheamus & Chris Jericho the next night — and did so in convincing fashion, to boot. While The Shield triumphs anew, though, Ryback’s frustration grows. He has been looking for months to deliver The Shield their comeuppance and has come up short each time. What avenue will he pursue against his trio of tormentors this week?

Check out the big brain on Brad

Brad Maddox says WWE has entered a new era.

Give Brad Maddox some credit: The once-shamed former referee managed the turnaround of the century by snitching on Paul Heyman, parlaying the goodwill he earned with Mr. McMahon into a position as Assistant to the Managing Supervisor on Raw. Why Vickie Guerrero would trust the man who nearly singlehandedly derailed her show (and who already appears to be making subtle power plays against his boss) is not yet fully clear, but Maddox has proven to be quite the wild card whenever he appears on WWE television. Frankly, we’reveryinterested to see where this all goes next.

Cena vs. Punk: Once more, with feeling

A major No. 1 Contender's Match for the WWE Championship is made for next week between John Cena and CM Punk.

And now we bring it around to what has become something of WWE’s marquee rivalry, even if its two participants have only actually battled a handful of times. Whenever John Cena and CM Punk collide, it’s an instant classic, and this particular bout carries the added weight of a WrestleMania WWE Championship Match on the line.

John Cena, haunted by his failure at WrestleMania XXVIII, has been secretly stewing for another opportunity at The Rock since that fateful night in Miami. CM Punk has proven he will do anything to get his precious WWE Championship back. History and personal vindication are at stake for both men. Tune in to Raw Monday at 8/7 CT to see who’s headed to New Jersey, and who’s going home without a match on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

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