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Raw Passion.

Raw Passion.

Catch Up With The Wrestling World Before Tonight's WWE Event at the AAC.

By Thom Fain on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

There's only one more WWE Monday Night RAW before SummerSlam's 25th anniversary show. And, lucky us, tonight's Raw is being held right here in town.

RAW, as you may know, recently surpassed its 1000th episode. And SummerSlam, meanwhile, has been a perennial fan favorite dating back to the late '80s and early '90s -- back when wrestling superstars like Shawn Michaels and Bret "The Hitman" Hart overtook sports entertainment with prowess on the mic and unmatched in-ring athleticism, making way for wrestlers of the "Attitude Era" to take WWE programming to another level.

More recently (after indie became mainstream), demand rose for current superstars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who had previously wrestled on the independent circuit, and Vince McMahon delivered, bringing us to the "Reality Era."

Problem is, for nostalgic wrestling fans, WWE RAW can sometimes be hard to watch, what with its current roster of characterless wrestlers, the wrestlers' entrance music being played almost exclusively by Trapt cover bands and RAW's "superstars" hashtagging everything over the mic while their "interactive" GMs tweets their nonsense live to the WWE Universe.

Still, the in-ring action is just as electric as ever, and even hardcore fans would be hard-pressed not to enjoy recent happenings, which just so happens to have included the return of Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel down in Houston on Friday. At Summerslam, Jericho is set up to face "Mr. Money in the Bank" Dolph Ziggler -- y'know, just to prove that he can still win the big one.

A betting man would say you can expect a clash between the two tonight on RAW. But that's not the only storyline going, of course. So, in advance of tonight's show in Dallas, let's play a little catch-up, bullet-point style.

A lot was expected out of RAW's 1000th episode, and the biggest turn of events (disappointingly) was the change in WWE Champion CM Punk from face to heel. Punk first won the championship just more than a year ago, but lost it right away to Albert Del Rio at last year's SummerSlam after Kevin Nash (yes, he's still around) interfered in the match.

He got it back a few weeks later, of course, but his uninspiring 267-plus day title reign since (he hasn't headlined a Pay-Per-View event since the beginning of the year) could end this weekend when the Straightedge Savior squares off in a Triple Threat Match against John Cena and The Big Show. Whoever wins is set to face The Rock at the Royal Rumble.

After a (mostly) successful run at MMA in the octagon, Brock Lesnar returned to the WWE this year and started a feud with Triple H, bringing the current WWE COO back to in-ring action after attacking the Cerebral Assassin in April and breaking his arm.

Lesnar also brought a much-missed Paul Heyman back to the company, and Heyman will be in Lesnar's corner at SummerSlam. In a countermove, Triple H had it announced on last week's RAW in Shawn Michaels' hometown of San Antonio that HBK will be in his corner at the PPV. It's a D-Generation X reunion! Again!

In probably the most exciting storyline going, Daniel Bryan will be facing Kane after turning to chants of "No! No! No!" during a losing streak that hit a crescendo with his engagement ending to A.J. Lee live on Raw 1000, when the superstar dropped his feud with CM Punk for a battle with A.J that promises plenty of drama for tonight's episode.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and the "Mexican Aristocrat" Alberto Del Rio have had a lackluster feud, since Randy Orton's suspension earlier this year stopped his rise back to the top, leaving Del Rio to take his spot as the number one contender. Their feud culminated last week when The Great White stole Del Rio's Ferrari and took it for a spin around San Antonio before returning it to the arena covered in burrito sauce.

Randy Orton walked out on RAW during a sound off by The Miz back in May and shut him the hell up with an immediate RKO, starting a mid-card feud between The Viper and The Awesome One. Miz won the Intercontinental Championship weeks later from Christian at RAW 1000, which gives Orton another shot at WWE gold as the two former WWE Champions are set for a face-off that could be a game-changer in the power rankings.

Tag Team Champions Kolfi Kingston and R-Truth will fight The Prime Time Players in a decision for the titles at Summer Slam. Both teams fit the mold made by SmackDown GM Booker T when he was a part of Harlem Heat, and they're an entertaining bunch. A lot of that was due, though, to the emceeing of Abraham Washington, who was released by the WWE on Friday after an ill-advised joke made by Washington concerning Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately for Washington, he really had No Chance after that one.