Raw was filled with more twists than a Pretzel Factory. There were several huge returns and at least one Main Event Match for Money in the Bank (in addition to the obvious ones) was set in place.
The show opened with a look at the events of Payback. Curtis Axel took the Intercontinental Championship. A.J. Lee also took a championship. The Shield retained their trio of titles. Alberto Del Rio took the World title off Dolph Ziggler. Ryback fell just a little short of wresting the WWE title off John Cena.
Ricardo Rodriguez introduced the new World Champion to Grand Rapids. Del Rio definitely got a mixed reaction from the crowd. The announcers talked about Del Rio’s brutal assault on the still-recovering Dolph Ziggler. Del Rio continued to kick Dolph in the head. Not a wise idea but it was effective. Del Rio said a lot of people talk about a Man of Steel when he is their Man of Gold, a real Super Man. The crowd wasn’t buying into Ricardo’s introduction. Del Rio discussed how Dolph Ziggler attacked him and took the World title from him. Del Rio couldn’t believe that the fans cheered for Dolph, who attacked, like a coward, an injured man. Del Rio said it was ok. “We Want Ziggler!” rang out. Del Rio talked about giving everything and not getting respect. Del Rio brought up Jack Swagger. Del Rio was offended that the fans kept chanting “U-S-A” (which started that exact chant). Del Rio said the fans were cheering for a pig and a coward. Del Rio said America was all about Pigs and Coward. (Well, so much for his Face Push). Del Rio said he was now ready to fight for himself. Del Rio wanted to show why he was the best. He allowed the fans a second chance to show the respect that he deserved.
Del Rio was cut off by…C.M. Punk! Monster pop for Punk. Punk kind of looks like a skinny Wolverine, now. Punk said his hellos to Ricardo and Alberto. Punk talked about beating Del Rio for the championship that lead to his 400+ day reign. Punk called Del Rio on his claim of being the best. “C.M. Punk” chant echoed off the walls. Punk said he was the only Best in the World. Punk challenged Del Rio. Paul Heyman sucked up to Del Rio and tried to back out of the match. Paul whined about the title not being on the line. Punk didn’t care. Punk said he and Jericho stole the show at Payback (they definitely did). Punk wanted to let everyone know that he was the best. Del Rio said Punk didn’t want this. Punk said he did. Punk wanted to fight Del Rio…tonight. That got a “Si!” chant going. Del Rio explained he was the World Champion and he knew Punk didn’t want anything to do with him. Punk was ready to go after Ricardo, too.
Vickie Guerrero came out, screeching. Vickie said she makes the decisions on Raw. Vickie thought Punk vs Del Rio was a great idea. She made it official.
Wade Barrett headed out to the ring. He was ready for his Intercontinental Rematch, next.
Punk and Heyman talked, in the back. Paul talked about how much he cared about Punk and apologized for “jumping the gun”. Punk said he didn’t need Heyman’s help to win matches. Punk said he no longer wanted Heyman at ringside. Punk said he would always be a “Paul Heyman Guy”. Heyman looked so upset.
Wade Barrett waited in the ring. Vickie was back to interrupt the introductions. She decided to put Wade Barrett against someone other than Curtis Axel. She brought out her Big Surprise…
Wade Barrett vs Christian!
The crowd went wild at the sight of Captain Charisma. Wade tore into Christian as “Welcome Back!” rang out for Christian. Christian slipped free and threw Wade to the outside. Christian flew off the top rope and landed on Wade, on the floor. Wade popped Christian and tried for a pin. Rear Chin Lock by Wade. Kneelift and Corner Rush by Wade. Christian punched and kicked and then nailed a Missile Dropkick. Christian with a hard punch and Flying Forerarm. Tornado DDT by Christian. Ouch! 2 count. Christian rallied the crowd but took a hard kick. 1-2-no. Wade was so upset at what he saw as a slow count. Pumphandle by Wade was escaped. Wade struck the ring post. Christian snapped Wade’s back on the top rope and then pulled the Kill Switch.
Your Winner: Christian
Raw Ranking: 3.0
Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan will happen, later. Fans on the East Coast were given the option to vote on the stipulations (There are reasons that living out here on the West Coast seriously sucks). The choices were:
1. No Disqualification
2. No Count Out
3. 2 Out of 3 Falls
Another creepy Wyatt Family video ran.
Raw looked at Sheamus’ win over Damien Sandow at Payback.
Team Rhodes Scholars vs Sheamus
2-on-1 Handicap Match
Sheamus really needs a good partner. Sheamus tore into both opponents as the bell rang. Sheamus took turns popping Cody and Damien. Sheamus threw Cody off the top rope.. Cody came back with a Dropkick and a series of stomps. Damien held Sheamus down. Double Team led to a 2 count by Damien. Each man took turns beating on Sheamus. Running Knee Strike by Cody into the Elbow of Distain. 2 count. Cody slapped Sheamus as Damien held the Irishman. Sheamus started to Hulk Up. Sheamus flipped Cody to the outside. Sheamus punished Damien. Shoulder Thrust by Sheamus into the High Knee. Celtic Plunge on Damien and Crossfaces on Cody. Cody recovered and flew off the ropes. Sheamus caught him and hit White Noise. As Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, Sandow slipped in and rolled up Sheamus for the win. After the match, Sheamus laid out Cody with the Brogue Kick.
Your Winners: Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow
Raw Ranking: 2.25
Michael Cole talked about Mark Henry’s tweets that suggest he is about to retire.
Rob Van Dam is on his way back to the WWE. He will return at Money in the Bank.
Triple H talked with Vickie and Brad Maddox. HHH agreed that Punk vs Del Rio was a brilliant move. HHH wanted to know what the main event would have been, if Punk didn’t come out. HHH also talked about Christian being cleared for more than a month. Brad and Vickie both tried to take credit for RVD’s return. HHH said he set up the contract, without them. HHH told Vickie to “make an example” out of The Shield, tonight. HHH mocked Vickie and Brad for using 3MB.
The announcers then talked about the problems between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, at Payback. In the back, Kane came in to talk to Daniel. Daniel didn’t want to hear any “I Told You So’s” from Kane. Kane said both of them lost and maybe Team Hell No should give it another shot. Daniel said he had to go solo to prove himself. Daniel talked about being in Team D-B. Kane said Daniel was being a D-B (I’ll let you all figure that one out). Grin. Kane wished Daniel luck and Daniel thought it was a shot from Kane. The polls opened to vote for the Daniel vs Randy battle.
Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan
Fan’s Choice Match
Randy Orton stated that Daniel Bryan is the weak link and he would prove it, tonight. Daniel then came out to a decent pop. Daniel is now looking to move towards the WWE title. Jerry Lawler got in the ring to announce what kind of match this would be. It turned out that the fans wanted…No Disqualification (54% of the vote).
Collar and Elbow into an Arm Wringer by Daniel. Orton reversed it into a Hammerlock. Daniel went after Randy’s legs and kicked the upper thigh. Daniel went for the Surfboard. Instead, he just hammed both of Randy’s knees into the canvas. Daniel with a series of sharp kicks. Randy rebounded with a Headbutt and kicks of his own. Orton stomped Daniel, in the corner. Randy with the Blanchard Slingshot Suplex. Thesz Press by Randy but Daniel rolled through and cinched in a Half Crab. Daniel kicked the leg that he been in the Crab, over and over. Randy went to Daniel’s eyes and then threw the American Dragon to the outside. Clothesline by Randy.
Randy pitched Daniel back in and got a 2 count. This was your 1st-Hour Hour Turner Match. Rear Chin Lock by The Viper. Daniel got to his feet and tried to escape. Orton stopped him cold with hard punches, including some in the corner. Daniel ran the corner and took down Orton with a Flying Clothesline. Corner Hesitation Dropkicks by Daniel. 1-2-no. Low Bridge sent Randy to the floor. Randy side stepped the Tope Suicida and Daniel landed badly on the floor. Randy went looking for toys and found a kendo stick. Randy waffled Daniel with the kendo stick. Those darn things sting when you get struck by one. Randy got in the ring with Daniel but only got a 2. Raw took a break.
I can’t wait to see Daniel Bryan vs Rob Van Dam. That match should be off the charts.
Randy with a Headbutt to Daniel, who was on the top turnbuckle. Daniel fought out of the Superplex. Daniel used his own Headbutt to send Orton off the ropes. Double Boot Missile Dropkick by Daniel. Both men were slow to get up. Daniel with another flurry of kicks and knee strikes. Orton with a wild Fallaway Slam. Randy went for the Rope Assisted DDT but Daniel countered it. Daniel wanted the No Lock but couldn’t quite lock it in. Randy launched Orton over the ropes. Daniel tried to Skin the Cat but Randy booted Randy low. The doc checked on Daniel and wanted to call off the match. Daniel wouldn’t have any part of it. He rushed in the ring and attacked. Randy took Daniel to the outside and Back Drop Suplexed Daniel onto the barrier. The doc forced the ref to stop the match.
Your Winner (by Match Stoppage): Randy Orton
Raw Ranking: 3.5
Randy checked on Daniel and helped him to the back. Nice show of sportsmanship by The Viper.The announcer said the docs were there to safeguard the superstars.
A new Be A Star promo video ran. P Diddy is now a spokesman for the anti-Bullying campaign.
A.J. Leee skipped out with her new Divas Championship. Big E Langston was at her side. Raw looked at Kaitlyn’s meltdown, after the match. Layla came out to help the former champion. A.J. started babbling about how great she is. Dolph isn’t medically cleared to compete so he isn’t there. Lee said she played mind games with Kaitlyn to crush her opponent. Lee said she was an example of how women should be. Lee said there wasn’t a woman in the world that was a strong, brilliant and courageous as her. Lee sent out an open challenge to any woman that felt she was as good as her…
She got…Stephanie McMahon! The announcers agreed that this wasn’t going to end well (for Lee). A.J. got all bubbly when Stephanie got in the ring. Stephanie said Lee was an “underdog” that was getting everyone riled up. She thanked Lee for her ability. Stephanie didn’t like it that Lee was pushing the underhanded stereotype women personality. Stephanie told Lee to grow up and start acting like a champion. Lee got a shot in about Stephanie marrying HHH and took shots at Vince. Stephanie got right in Lee’s face about not being original in thinking. Stephanie reminded Lee that “no one does crazy better than us (the McMahons)”. Stephanie warned Lee to act like a champion. Lee said she was a much younger version of Stephanie. Ouch. Stephanie reminded Lee that she could take it all away, including her job. That stopped Lee, cold.
Out came the rest of the Divas. Half a dozen beautiful women, led by Kaitlyn, arrived on the stage. Stephanie warned Kaitlyn (and the others) to never interrupt her again. Whoa. “You Messed Up!” rang out as Kaitlyn and the others obvious blew their entrance. Kaitlyn rambled about all that Lee had done to Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn hit the ring and tore into A.J.. Big E pulled Lee out of the ring and kept her on the outside. Lee shrieked that Kaitlyn will never have her title.
Was it me or was Stephanie in a cranky mood towards everyone?
Dean Ambrose vs Kane
United States Championship Match
This was a rematch from Payback. Kane threw Dean in the corner and punched away. It was announced that Daniel Bryan maybe suffering from nerve damage. Kane sent Dean to the ropes but the US Champ came back with chops. Kane with Whip/Corner Clothesline combos. Sidewalk Slam. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins hit the ring to attack Kane. That drew the DQ. Sword of Justice Triple Powerbomb.
Your Winner (by DQ): Kane
Raw Ranking: 1.0
Mark Henry talked with the Prime Time Players and others, in the back. There is a strong rumor that Mark Henry is ready to retire.
The Shield were walking backstage, bragging that they were running things around here. Vickie went off on them. Dean wondered if Vickie was going to spank them. Dean warned Vickie to think about what she was doing. Vince came up and praised The Shield for their Ruthless Aggression. Vince told Vickie that he was really impressed with them and said he never liked that Halloween Mask Wearing Freak, Kane.
The Wyatt Family had yet another oddball video to present. They are coming…soon.
Zeb Colter waddled out to spew his hateful crap. He bashed the government and foreigners. Zeb said America was at war and decided to enlist a new ally. Zeb is now aligned with…Antonio Cesaro. Really? Cesaro even spouted the “We the People” tagline. Jeez.
Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter) vs William Regal.
Antonio with an Wristlock and Back Heel Trip. Antonio with kicks and punches. Gut Wrench Throw by Antonio. Lawler compared Zeb to Yosemite Sam. Double Jumping Stomp by Antonio. Regal with a pair of European Uppercuts and several hard shots.. Antonio with a Stall Butterfly Suplex. Cesaro with the Swinging Sleeper. Neutralizer.
Your Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Raw Ranking: 1.50
After the match, Cesaro draped a “Don’t Tread on Me!” flag on Regal. Cesaro and Zeb did the pledge of allegiance. Ridiculous.
The RVD promo ran, again.
John Cena came out to a decent pop. The announcers talked abut the 3 Stages of Hell match. Cena put Ryback through the roof of the ambulance to score the final fall and retain his title. As the music faded, the boos rose. Cena actually seemed amused by the negative reaction by so many of the fans. John said he loved the reaction. Cena said they were all there because they love the WWE. Cena said his favorite superstar was…the fans. He admired the honesty of the fans. Cena knew there was a group that just dind’t like him and he appreciated them. Cena said he always goes to war for the fans. Cena wanted to speak to those that follow him. Cena talked about all the huge names that he had to face, over the past few months. Cena thanked those that stuck behind him. Cena said he could handle any challenge put in front of him. Cena then went on to discuss Money in the Bank. Cena said whoever got the Money in the Bank contract would never get an easy path to the WWE title. Cena said the person that eventually took the title off Cena would have to earn the belt. Cena was hugely confident.
Mark Henry then came out, carrying his wrestling boots. He was dressed in a ugly peach jacket and shirt and tie. Mark left his boots on the stage and walked towards the ring. Mark told Cena to drop his guard. The crowd really popped for Mark Henry. Mark asked John to stay. Mark had a message for everyone. Mark talked about how much respect that he had for the people that worked for the WWE. “Thank You, Henry!” grew from the crowd. Mark praised John Cena for his work. Mark joked about his wild jacket. “Sexual Chocolate” rose as a chant. Mark felt John Cena might well be the greatest WWE Champ of all time. Mark talked about all his accomplishments. He Mark told the crowd he was there to retire. “One More Match!” became a deafening chant. Mark held up the WWE title belt, which Cena had given him. JBL mentioned that the WWE title was the only title that Henry hadn’t won. Mark said the Silsbee, Texas boy done proud. Mark gave the belt back to Johna nd said that title had to be earned. Henry mentioned his world travels. He talked about being a proud, proud man. Henry talked about being away from his wife and kids. Somebody shouted out about the son being with Mae Young. Too funny. Mark said he was coming home. The crowd showed their love as John raised Mark’s hand. Cena went for a hug and got laid out with THE WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! It was a major swerve! Mark ripped off his jacket and tore his shirt. He told Cena that he still had a lot left in the tank. Mark threw the WWE title on Cena and said the belt would soon be his. The crowd was stunned. That was Awesome! I love a great double cross. JBL said everyone bought Mark’s act. I’ve watched that segment twice and have to admit I was buying into it, big time.
In the back, Renee interviewed Mark Henry. Mark accused everyone of being puppets. Mark said he wanted to challenge Cena for the WWE title. Mark said he was going to leave one of his boots in Cena’s rear end. The announcers were still shocked at the elaborate hoax that Mark pulled off.
Heath Slater vs Chris Jericho
3MB wants to open for Fozzy. Seriously? Collar and Elbow with a Push Off by Jericho. Knife Edge Chops by Jericho. Forearm Shots by Jericho. Leg Lariat by Heath. 2 count. Boot by Jericho into a series of Shoulder Tackles. Jericho sent to the apron but he nailed an Ax Bomber from the top rope. Bulldog. Drew popped Jericho as Chris went for the Lionsault. 2 count. Heath stomped away on Jericho and hit a Scoop Slam. Heath missed the Kneedrop. Jericho connected with the Lionsault. Code Breaker!
Your Winner: Chris Jericho
The rest of 3MB attacked and both got laid out with Code Breakers.
Matt Striker asked Paul Heyman about C.M. Punk dismissing Heyman as his attendant. Paul wanted Matt to ask him about the new I-C Champ, Curtis Axel. Paul said Axel was born to be “Better than Perfect”.
A new video for Sheamus aired. Sheamus used a Brogue Kick to replace the Heimlick to stop a guy from choking. 1 800 Fella. I miss those kind of fun “commercials”.
Miz was at ringside for the next match.
Sin Cara vs Curtis Axel
Axel took the I-C Strap when Miz had Wade Barrett trapped in the Figure Four. Axel just pinned the prone Wade to take the strap, at Payback.
Backbreaker by Axel. Whip by Axel but Sin Cara with a pair of Dropkicks Axel fell to the floor but quickly got back in to hit a Clothesline. Hard kick by Axel into a Snap Side Suplex. Axel and Hennig are the first Son and Father to hold the IC Strap. Scoop Slam was blocked by Sin Cara. Cara planted Axel and then started kicking. Axel with a hard Whip. Cara with an Enziguri. Cara went for a Top Rope Senton but Axel got the knees up. Weird variation of the DDT to take the win.
Your Winner: Curtis Axel
Raw Ranking: 2.25
Axel stared daggers at Miz, who clapped for the winner.
Vince said Vickie and Brad were doing a good job. He suggested that they listen to him to continue to succeed. Vince asked Vickie what they were going to do with Mark Henry. Vickie said Mark would face John Cena, at Money in the Bank. Stephanie McMahon and HHH came in and started to go off on Vickie. HHH wasn’t happy that Vickie didn’t make an example of The Shield. Vince told Vickie not to worry about it and to keep listening to him. Stephanie told Vickie not to listen to either one and just listen to her.
Elsewhere, C.M. Punk was walking. Paul Heyman rushed up and said everyone else was trying to stir it up. Paul said he understood what Punk was doing and he loved the guy. Paul said he would be watching and continued to call Punk “The Best in the World”.
Alberto Del Rio vs C.M. Punk
Ricardo did the regular intro. Very few were chanting along with him. The announcers talked about how Del Rio kept attacking the head of Dolph Ziggler, at Payback. Ricardo mocked the re-injury. The crowd went ballistic as Punk emerged from the back.
Punk exploded with kicks and Knee Strikers. Del Rio went out to the floor. Punk with more hard kicks when Del Rio got in the ring. Del Rio bailed out, yet again. Punk went out and attacked Del Rio, on the floor. Punk threw Del Rio in. Del Rio jumped Punk as Punk slid in the ring. Crescent Kick to the back of Punk’s head. Punk came back with hard Knee Strikes. Del Rio with a series of sharp kicks. Step Up Enziguri to Punk’s shoulder. Del Rio twisted Punks arm in the ropes. Punk fought back with his good arm. Punk waned the GTS but Del Rio got loose and bailed out of the ring. Tope Suicida by Punk. Punk sent Del Rio’s arm into the barrier. Punk was distracted by Ricardo. Del Rio snapped Punk’s arm over the top rope and then kicked Punk out to the floor. Break time.
Del Rio worked over Punk’s left arm. Arm Drag by Punk. Punk got the boot up. Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker by Del Rio. It was announced that Daniel Bryan suffered a Stinger. Del Rio with a Running Kick. Del Rio went to the top rope. Punk punched Del Rio’s ribs, on the landing. Punk cradled his hurt arm. Punk with a Spin Kick and Leg Lariat. Punk’s left arm was almost useless, at this point. Del Rio went right after the arm. Del Rio with Forearmas to Punks back, followed by the In Ropes Back Stabber. 1-2-not yet.
Del Rio went for the Superkick but Punk dodged it and almost rolled up Del Rio. Del Rio came back with a Superkick and got a two. High Running Knee into the GTS. Del Rio fell out of the ring. Punk was so frustrated. The ref started to count out the World Champ. Del Rio and Ricardo took off to avoid more action. They backed away.
Your Winner (by Count-out): C.M. Punk
Raw Ranking: 3.5
Dolph Ziggler came out of nowhere to attacked Del Rio and Ricardo. It took several refs to hold back Dolph Dolph and Alberto disappeared into the back.
Suddenly, Brock Lesnar’s music went off. What the heck? The Beast grinned and strolled down to the ring. He took the microphone and started to say something to Punk. Instead, he laid out Punk with an F5! Punk vs Lesnar at Money in the Bank? Or SummerSlam?
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