Coming on the heels of the Money in the Bank PPV, tonight's Raw is sure to be eventful. With John Cena as champion once again, and Seth Rollins with a championship contract, things are heating up across the company. Add to that Triple H teasing a return of a former WWE Champion today on Twitter, and the anticipated return of Brock Lesnar, the next month and a half leading up to SummerSlam should prove to be exciting.
Tonight's show begins with a video recap of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match at MITB.
Triple H and Stephanie make their way to the ring as the show opens. Stephanie gets on the mic and talks about how she was born in Hartford. She says that Seth Rollins made history last night by winning the MITB contract ladder match. Triple H takes the mic and talks about Cena's history making 15th title win. He then welcomes Cena to the ring. Cena's music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Cena gets on the mic and says that he will grant Daniel Bryan a chance at the title when he returns. Stephanie then announces that Cena will be on the cover of WWE 2K15. Cena says thanks, but that he senses something fishy about the Authority's kindness. He then shows a picture from last night with the Authority obviously distressed about Cena's victory. Triple H then mocks Cena's accent and thuggish demeanor. Cena says he will kick Triple H's ass. Triple H says that Cena can either do things the hard way or easy way. Cena picks the hard way. Triple H says that Cena will compete in a fatal 4-way match at Battlegrounds. Triple H then sanctions a tag-team match between Cena and Roman Reigns against Randy Orton and Kane. Cena says that if he wins at Battlegrounds, then he truly deserves the championship. Cena leaves. Triple H reminds Cena that even if he wins at BG, there is always a plan B. Seth Rollins music hits and he comes to the ring.
MATCH: Seth Rollins vs. RVD
The match begins with Rollins going off the ropes and sending RVD to the mat with a shoulder block. RVD fights back and Rollins rolls out of the ring. Rollins gets back in the ring and hits a single leg take down. RVD fights out and Rollins once again rolls out of the ring. The 2 lock up and exchange kicks to the leg. RVD hits a pele kick to Rollins and drives him to the corner. He hits a spin kick followed by a standing moonsault for the 2 count. RVD is sent to the corner. He goes up and over and goes for the monley flip but Rollins catches him. RVD coutner with an abdominal stretch. RVD transitions into a submission hold. Rollins breaks free and rolls out of the ring. RVD goes for an attack off the apron but is stopped by Rollins.
The show returns with Rollins in control. RVD hits a kick to Rollins face. Rollins takes RVD to the mat and applies the half crab. RVD gets to the ropes but Rollins drags him away. RVD fights out. RVD hits the body scissors for a 2 count. RVD hits a superkick followed by the rolling thunder for a 2 count. RVD hits a backbreaker followed by a split leg moonsault for a 2 count. Rollins hits a leg drag and takes RVD to the mat. Rollins goes for the running powerbomb to the corner but RVD counters with a headscissors. RVD goes to the top rope for the Five Star, but Rollins rolls out of the ring. RVD remains on the top and hits a huge crossbody to the outside. RVD rolls Rollins back in the ring. The 2 men battle it out on the apron. Rollins knocks RVD off. RVD gets back in the ring and gets hit with the curb stomp for the 3 count.
WINNER: Seth Rollins via Pinfall
Rollins gets on the mic and plays up his title contract and victory at MITB. Ambrose interrupts Rollins and tells him that every time he tries to cash in the briefcase, Ambrose will be there to haunt him. Ambrose says that the briefcase is loaded with dynamite, and its going to blow up in Rollins' face.
The show returns with Lana and Rusev making their way to the ring. Lana gets on the mic and talks smack on Big E and America. She asks who will be Rusev's next opponent. Rusev says something in Russian. Jack Swagger's music hits. He and Zeb Colter make their way to the ring. Colter gets on the mic and says he sick of Lana and Rusev coming out week after week and slamming America. Colter says that Lana has taken advantage of America's 1st Amendment. He then says that he thinks Swagger can stop Rusev. Colter then gets the entire audience to say "We the People!".
The 2 go at it and Swagger hits a series of armdrags and sends Rusev out of the ring. Lana stops him from going back in the ring.
MATCH: Sheamus and The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
Rowan and Jey Uso start things off. Jey hits a few blows on Rowan and tags in Jimmy. They double team Rowan and send him over the top rope.
The show returns with Rowan in control of Jimmy. Jimmy tries to fight out but gets thrown to the mat. Rowan delivers several blowd to the head of Jimmy. Harper tags in Bray Wyatt and delivers several blows. He tags in Harper and drives Jimmy to the corner. Jimmy fights back and hits a corkscrew off the top rope. Rowan and Sheamus are tagged in. Sheamus clears the apron and hits a knee to ROwan. ROwan fights back but is thrown to the apron. Sheamus hits 10 beats to the Bodhran. Rowan is saved by Harper. Sheamus hits a huge clothesline to the outside form the top rope. Back in the ring Sheamus hits a big scoop slam. Sheamus is distracted by Wyatt and gets dumped outside. Harper is tagged in and delivers a big boot on the outside. Wyatt is tagged in and hits the senton splash. He stomps Sheamus on the mat. Rowan is tagged in and delivers a splash for the 2 count. Rowan drives his knuckled into Sheamus' head. Rowan drives his knee into Sheamus' head and drives him to the corer. Wyatt is tagged in and continues the assault. Wyatt goes for the splash in the corner but runs into a big boot. Sheamus goes to the top rope but gets knocked to the outside. Harper is tagged in and asaulted on the announce table. Sheamus tries to fight back but gets driven into the apron. He is sent back in the ring for the 2 count. Harper hits the back breaker and tags in Jey. Harper gets dropkicked to the outside. Jey jumps over the top rope on Harper on the outside. Back in the ring HArper eats a superkick. He cover HArper but it gets broken up by ROwan. Rowan eats a brogue kick. Wyatt plants Sheamus. Jey tries to attack Wyatt but he rolls out of the ring. Harper hits the spinning clothesline for the 3 count.
WINNERS: Wyatt Family via Pinfall
Nikki Bella is interviewed backstage about Brie getting escorted from the building last night. She is interrupted by Stephanie McMahon who schedules a handicap match for Nikki against the Funkadactyls.
Bo Dallas comes to the top of the ramp and asks the audience to observe 60 seconds of silence for the injured superstars who cannot compete tonight, including Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett. Bo kneels down with his hand on his forehead. A replay then airs of Daniel Bryan's confrontation with Bo Dallas last night.
Nikke Bella then makes her way to the ring.
MATCH: Nikki Bella vs. Funkadactyls
Cameron starts things off against Nikki. She sends Nikki to the mat by the hair for a 1 count. Nikki is whipped to the corner. She fights out and sends Cameron to the mat for a 1 count. Naomi makes the blind tag. Naomi hits a kick from the apron followed by a corssbody from the top rope. She plants Nikki for the 3 count.
WINNERS: The Funkadactyls
The show returns with Heyman coming to the top of the ramp and announces that Bad News Barrett is injured and the IC Title is vacated. He then says that Cesaro is the number 1 pick to win the Battleground Battle Royal for the IC Championship.
MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro
The match begins with Cesaro slamming Kingston to the mat. The 2 exchange holds, but Cesaro comes out on top and throws Kingston across the ring. Cesaro hits several blows and whips Kingston to the corner. Kingston counter with a cross body for a 2 count. Cesaro is sent out of the ring with a monkey flip, Kingston hits a front flip over the top rope to the Cesaro outside/. Back in the ring Kingston gets a 2 count. Kingston goes to the top again but gets got by Cesaro. Cesaro hits a big backbreaker. Cesaro hits a suplex for a 2 count. Cesaro applies the side headlock. Kingston fights out but gets planted with a clothesline. Cesaro hits a double foot stomp. Kingston gets slammed and Cesaro teases the big swing but instead just stomps Kingston on the mat. Cesaro applies the sleeper. Kingston fights out and hits a hurricanrana into a cover for a 2 count. Kingston is sent out of the ring.
The show returns with Cesaro beating up Kingston, who apparently won during the commercial break. Cesaro takes out his frustration on Kingston by gorilla pressing him into the front row and beating him throughout the crowd.
Santino is shown backstage on a cookout set complaining that no one came to his his party. Adam Rose shows up and does a commercial for Twisted Tea.
Damien Sandow comes out dressed up as Vince McMahon and enters himself in the Battleground Battle Royal. Stephanie comes on the titantron and flips out. She schedules a match with The Great Khali to start right now.
MATCH: The Great Khali vs. Damien Sandow
Khali hits a chop to the head and pins Sandow for the 2 count.
WINNER: Khali via Pinfall
The black limo which pulled up earlier is shown again. The identity of the champion inside will be revealed after the break.
The show returns with The Miz making his return to WWE. He gets on the mic and plugs the Marine 4. He says that he was begged to stay in Hollywood but came back because he wants to prove to the WWE Universe that he deserves respect. He is then interrupted by fireworks as Chris Jericho's music hits.
Miz asks why Chris Jericho came back and then makes fun of his jacket. Jericho takes off his jacket. The Miz gets cocky and Jericho hits the codebreaker. Jericho gets on the mic and says welcome to RAW IS JERICHO! He is cut off by the Wyatt Family's intro. The lights go out. When they come back on The Wyatt Family is in the ring. They proceed to beat up Jericho.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango
Fandango hits a dropkick and throws Ziggler into the ringpost. He dances over Ziggler. Ziggler fights back but gets planted by Fandango. Ziggler hits a back elbow followed by a clothesline. He sends Fandango to the corner and delivers several right hands. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker followed by several elbow drops. Summer Rae shows up and makes out with Ziggler. Fandango gets distracted as Summer Rae leaves and Ziggler hits the Zig-Zag for the 3 count.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall
MATCH: Rybaxel vs. Stardust and Goldust
Rybaxel attacks Stardust and Goldust, sending Stardust out of the ring. Axel and Goldust start things off. Goldust fights back with an atomic drop. Ryback is tagged in. He hits Goldust from behind and hits a big suplex for a 2 count. Ryback applies a sleeper hold. Goldust tries to fight out but gets driven to the corner. GOldust fights ou. Ryback ducks a clothesline and catches Goldust when he goes for a crossbody. Ryback goes for the meathook but Goldust counters. Stardust and Axel are tagged in. Stardust gains the advantage and hits an elbow to the head from the top rope. Ryback tries to interfere but gets taken out by Stardust. Axel tries to capitalize on the distraction but gets caught with Stardust's finisher for the 3 count.
WINNERS: Stardust and Goldust via Pinfall
The show returns with Paige making her way to the ring. She gets on the mic and says that while many people believe she didn't deserve to be Diva's Champion, over the past 3 months she proved that she is her to stay. Paige is interrupted by AJ Lee's music. AJ makes her way to the ring. AJ gets on the mic and says she wanted to come out tonight to tell Paige that she's right because she did what no other woman in WWE could do, that is, prove her wrong. AJ then apologizes and congratulates Paige. Paige tells her that she isn't going to fall for her her ruse. The crowd nearly drowns her out with CM Punk chants. Paige then says that nobody wants to see her defend her title tonight. AJ Lee asks if they want to see it and the crowd goes crazy.
MATCH: Paige vs. AJ Lee
The match begins with AJ jumping on Paige and delivering a flurry of blows. Paige fights back and sends AJ to the mat for a 2 count. Paige screams in AJ's face "This is my house now!". AJ slaps Paige and rolls up Paige for the 3 count.
WINNER: AJ Lee via Pinfall
MATCH: John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton and Kane
The match begins with Orton and Cena squaring off. Orton applies the side headlock. Cena is sent to the mat with a shoulder tackle. They lock up again and Orton is sent off the ropes. Orton reverses a hip toss but John Cena fights back and tags in Reigns. Orton tags in Kane. Kane and Reigns duke it out in the middle of the ring. Reigns sends Kane over the top rope.
The show returns with Orton in control of Reigns. Orton sends Reigns to the mat by the hair. Orton hits a knee drop for a 2 count. Kane is tagged in and they double team Reigns for the 2 count. Orton is tagged back in. Orton hits a snapmare and applies the sleeper hold. Reigns fights back and hits a big clothesline. Orton is sent to the corner. Reigns rolls out of the ring and takes out rings. Orton follows him and hits a big clothesline. Reigns is rolled back in the ring and Kane is tagged in. Reigns eats a big boot for the 2 count. Kane applies the chinlock. Reigns is sent to the corner and fights out with a clothesline. Orton is tagged in and stops reigns from making the tag. He stomps reigns for the 2 count. Kane is tagged in and covers reigns for the 2 count. Reigns is sent to the corner but fights out. Kane goes for the chokeslam but counters with a Samoan Drop.
Reigns tags in Cena. Kane tags in Orton. Cena takes Orton down and hits the 5 knuckle shuffle. Cena goes for the AA but Orton escapes and tags in Kane. Kane gets slammed and Cena hits the 5 knuckle shuffle again. Orton hits an RKO on Cena. Reigns takes out Orton and the 2 battle it out up the ramp and into the back. Cena is thrown into the steel steps. Kane picks up steps and hits Cena with them. The ref calls for the disqualification. Triple H tells Kane to finish it. Kane throws Cena in the ring and hits the tombstone.
WINNER: John Cena and Roman Reigns via Pinfall
Seth Rollins' music hits and he comes out to cash in the Contract Briefcase. Ambrose comes out before the bell rings and fights Rollins through the crowd. Kane goes to hit Cena with a chair but Reigns returns to make the save. Reigns and Triple H stare each other down. Triple H steps off the apron and walks away.
From start to finish, this was an awesome episode of Raw. While there were some things I didn't like, it was very entertaining and a very solid show.
I'll start with the things that bothered me.
First off, WWE's handling of Cesaro is very frustrating. He had a ton of momentum coming out of WrestleMania which was wasted on a pointless feud with Sheamus. Tonight, he lost to Kofi Kingston and then beat him up afterwards. Why couldn't he win and beat him up afterward? Either scenario would have solidified Cesaro as heel, but only one of them didn't make him look weak first. And making him lose during a commercial? Definitely not my cup of tea. Cesaro is a great wrestler and I hope to see him wear the IC Championship after Battlegrounds. He is exactly what that title needs and has the potential to put on some classics in its defense.
Second, Damien Sandow continues to be disgraced week in and week out. You know things are bad when you job to Khali in a 5 second match. In my opinion, it is a huge waste to have him in a jobber comedy role. He is a talented performer and deserves better.
Third, AJ Lee's return was awesome but I wish she wouldn't have won the title so fast. I would have much rather seen a slow burn towards SummerSlam culminating in an epic showdown between the two women. Of course, Paige still has a rematch coming so I still look forward to seeing how this rivalry plays out.
Now let me get to the things that I really liked. First off, the wrestling on tonight's show was spectacular and we were treated to several great matches. From the opening match between Rollins and RVD, to the 6 man tag match, to the main event, tonight's show was driven by the in ring action and I hope this is a formula WWE plans to stick with. While there were some filler matches, tonight featured quality wrestling overall and was worth watching for all 3 hours.
Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger's face turn was epic. I hope that this is handled properly and doesn't culminate with another squash for Rusev. A victory against the Bulgarian Brute would give Swagger a much needed boost in his career, and give us the rare opportunity to see Swagger display his full potential as a wrestler.
Jericho's return was awesome and when the Wyatt Family appeared, it gave me chills. This was very well handled and I can't wait to see what happens going forward.
The main event was well executed and very exciting to watch. I love how Rollins teased a cash in, only to have it interrupted by Ambrose. This rivalry is just starting to heat up and when Ambrose and Rollins finally meet in singles competition, it has all the makings of an instant classic. Reigns and Triple H also seem to be heading towards a singles match, most likely at SummerSlam. It will be interesting to see if Triple H is going to put Reigns over. If he does, all jokes about Triple H and his shovel will officially be irrelevant. I can't wait to see who is going to be Cena's first rival for his 15th title run, but all arrows point toward Brock Lesnar. While I don't usually get excited for Cena matches, Cena vs. Lesnar will be epic when and if they ever face each other again, especially now that both men can truly be called veterans of the ring.
Despite how bad MITB was last night, there is a lot to look forward to in the WWE right now. The roster seems to be solidifying after the transitional period we've witnessed over the past year or 2. With many young talents finally finding their place, we may truly be on the verge of a new era in WWE. I hope that WWE continues to deliver quality shows like tonight's on a more consistent basis. If anything, tonight proved what I've thought all along. That is, there is a ton of very talented wrestlers on the roster right now. It all comes down to how they are used in the ring.
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