Tonight’s WWE RAW kicks off from Phoenix, Arizona with The Shield standing guard in front of the ring. Triple H’s music hits and out he comes. Triple H stops and smiles at The Shield before heading to the ring. Triple H shows us footage from SummerSlam where Randy Orton became WWE Champion by cashing in. Triple H says that was business, nothing personal at all. He shows us footage from last week’s RAW where The Shield beat Daniel Bryan down in front of the McMahons and then hit with a RKO from Orton. Triple H says that was personal. Triple H says Bryan insulted his wife and family so that’s the personal response he gets for it. Triple H says he’s willing to be the bigger man and move on. Triple H says ratings and social media buzz were through the roof last week – business is booming and it’s all due to Randy Orton, the new face of WWE. Triple H brings Orton out to the ring.
Triple H congratulates Orton on breathing new life into WWE and the WWE Title. Triple H liked to reward people who excel. He got Orton a little gift. Triple H wants to make it clear that he did it out of his own pocket. A new Cadillac Escalade is brought into the arena. Orton thanks Triple H and thanks him for realizing he’s the only one fit to be the face of WWE. Orton goes to check out his new Cadillac but here comes Daniel Bryan to the stage. Bryan talks about how sweet the new Cadillac is and says it’s well deserved. Bryan has some thank you’s of his own. He thanks the WWE Universe for believing in him and supporting him. Bryan thanks John Cena for giving him the chance to main event SummerSlam for the WWE Title. Bryan then thanks Triple H for showing his true colors and proving that his view about what’s best for business and what the WWE Champion should look like is more narrow-minded than Vince McMahon. Bryan says Triple H is nothing but a sell-out in a suit now. Bryan cracks on Triple H’s extra large nose. Orton tells Bryan to show them both respect. Bryan says the face of WWE is going to get re-arranged at Night of Champions. Bryan declares he will become the new WWE Champion and gets a “yes” chant going. Triple H rips Bryan and says he’s a “B” at best. Triple H announces Bryan vs. Seth Rollins for tonight. If he makes it through that, Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose. And if he makes it through those two, he will have to face Roman Reigns.
The announcers show us footage from CM Punk and Curtis Axel from last week’s RAW. Still to come tonight, Punk vs. Axel in singles action. Fans can vote for the stipulation on the WWE App – Paul Heyman banned from ringside, Heyman as special referee or Heyman will be forced to step in the ring with Punk if Punk wins. We go to commercial.
Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango
Back from the break and Cody Rhodes is in the ring as Damien Sandow joins commentary. Out comes Fandango dancing with Summer Rae. During the match, Fandango’s music hits and out comes The Miz dressed like him on the stage. Miz mocks Fandango and dances with Rosa Mendes it looks like. Cody rolls a distracted Fandango up for the win.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes and The Miz vs. Fandango and Damien Sandow
The match started during the commercial. Sandow pins Cody for two. Fandango tags in, and it is Rosa out with Miz, staying at ringside. Cody is whipped to the corner, then falls and reaches for mix still dressed like Fandango. Sandow tags in and on Cody for two. Sandow on Cody’s arm and chin on the mat. Miz gets the fans clapping for Cody, but then Cody eats a side Russian leg sweep and an elbow of disdain for two. Cody whipped, but gets his feet up. Double clothesline and both men are down. King says Rosa is dancing around like Miley. Miz tags in and off the top with a double ax handle, then a knee and his clothesline in the corner. SR and Fandango seem to be leaving as Miz with a drop kick on Sandow’s knee in the ropes. Fandango on the stage, but this distracts mix. Cody attacks Sandow from outside. SCF from Miz for three.
Winners: Cody Rhodes & The Miz
After the match, Fandango says his own name from the stage and dances around with Summer as we go to replays. Still to come, Punk vs. Axel with fans picking the stipulations.
Back from the break and we get a vignette for Los Matadores. Josh Mathews is backstage with Christian. He’s asked about Triple H but Randy Orton interrupts. They have words and will face later tonight. We see footage from the WWE App where CM Punk was talking about the available stipulations. Punk wants Heyman in the ring. We cut to Heyman and Axel backstage. Axel says Punk will have to out-wrestle him tonight and he can’t do that. Axel says the situation is better than perfect. Heyman doesn’t seem so sure. Back to another commercial.
Curtis Axel vs. CM Punk
Back from the break and WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel waits in the ring for this non-title match. Out next comes CM Punk to a big pop. Paul Heyman comes out to the stage as Jerry Lawler reveals the stipulation. If Punk wins, Heyman must get in the ring with him. The bell rings and here we go. Heyman looks on from the stage as Punk and Axel go at it. Punk keeps control and goes for a quick roll up. Axel slides out of a GTS and goes to the floor to re-group. Punk runs up the ramp at Heyman but Axel comes from behind and fights him back to the ring. Axel works Punk over and brings him back into the ring. Axel with more offense and a 2 count. Punk turns it around and drops Axel. Punk goes up for the big elbow drop but Axel rolls out of the ring. Punk with a suicide dive out onto the floor as Heyman looks on. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Axel with a big clothesline to the back of the head for a 2 count. Axel with a big dropkick to the jaw for a 2 count. Punk with kicks. Axel blocks and catapults Punk to the second rope. Punk comes back with a crossbody and 2 count. Axel ducks the roundhouse kick. More back and forth. Punk comes back and nails the elbow from up high. Axel blocks GTS and hits his finisher for a close 2 count. Punk nails a GTS for the win.
Winner: CM Punk
After the match, Heyman looks shocked as Punk gets ready to fight. Heyman walks off to the back but he’s met by WWE referees, who bring him back to ringside. Punk waits for Heyman to come to the ring to fight. Punk leaves the ring and Heyman runs to the back. Heyman walks up the ramp but this time security brings Heyman to Punk. Punk rolls him in the ring but Axel makes the save with a low blow. Heyman hands Axel a pair of handcuffs and Punk’s arms are put behind his back as the crowd boos. Axel holds Punk while Heyman yells and smacks him. Punk sits on his knees as they taunt him. Punk jumps up and drops Axel with a roundhouse. He kicks Heyman’s leg out and goes to work on him with kicks. Axel makes the save from behind. Axel works Punk over and brings in a kendo stick. Axel hands the kendo stick to Heyman and he nails Punk. Axel holds Punk up on the ropes and Heyman wails away with the stick. Axel pulls Punk out of the ring and throws him into the announcers table. More trash talking and punches from Axel. Heyman comes out of the ring and hits Punk with several more kendo stick shots. Heyman yells that Punk broke his heart. A “walrus” chant breaks out in the crowd as a WWE doctor checks on Punk. We go to commercial.
We get a look at CM Punk walking away during the break. Total Diva star Jo Jo is in the ring to announce the next match.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Natalya comes out first with Cameron and Naomi by her side. Out next comes Brie Bella with Eva Marie and Nikki Bella. Typical back and forth Divas match. The rest of the Total Divas get involved and break up a Sharpshooter. Brie takes advantage and gets the win.
Winner: Brie Bella
After the match, Divas Champion AJ Lee comes out to the stage. She talks about watching last night’s episode of Total Divas. She mocks all of them. AJ says she sees nothing but a bunch of useless, interchangeable, talentless women. AJ says she has done more in 1 year than all of them combined. AJ says she worked her life for this while they were just handed 15 minutes of fame. AJ says she didn’t suck up to the right people. She got here because she’s good. She earned the title. AJ says none of them will ever be able to lace up her Chuck Taylor’s and that gets a pop. She calls them worthless excuses for women. She says they will never be able to touch her and that is reality. AJ drops the mic and skips away.
We see Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez backstage warming up. Back to commercial.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
Back from the break and out comes Ricardo Rodriguez to introduce Rob Van Dam. RVD is out first for this non-title match. Out next comes World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Ricardo takes off his coat to reveal a RVD t-shirt. Lots of back and forth to start. RVD sends Del Rio out to the floor and we take another commercial break. Back from the break and RVD fights out of a hold. It’s revealed that if RVD can win this, Brad Maddox is giving him a title shot at Night of Champions. Del Rio with a double stomp to the back. He mocks RVD now. Del Rio comes off the top but RVD cuts him off with a kick. RVD with clotheslines now. RVD nails Rolling Thunder but Del Rio kicks out at 2. Del Rio fights back but RVD sends him to the mat. RVD with a split legged moonsault for 2. More back and forth. Ricardo stands on the announce table and distracts RVD. RVD rolls Del Rio up for the win and the title shot.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
We get a look back at John Cena telling fans he needed surgery and won’t be back for another 4-6 months. We get a Cena Twitter update. Still to come, Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield in a Gauntlet Match. Back to commercial.
Josh Mathews is backstage with Ryback. Mathews brings up Ryback’s recent bullying. Ryback grabs Mathews by his face and brings him to his knees. Ryback says he finally found a way to shut Mathews up and pushes him away by his face.
We see footage from earlier with what happened between Heyman, Axel and Punk. Renee Young approaches Heyman and Axel backstage. She asks if Heyman was afraid earlier tonight. Axel says what happened was something Punk will never forget. Heyman says Punk is a child who just needs to keep getting punished, and punished, and punished, and punished. Heyman says he feels like a man right now, a man who put his prodigal son in place. Heyman says Punk will learn that he’s the last person to come up against. They get in a car and drive off.
Christian vs. Randy Orton
We go to the ring and out comes Christian to a nice reaction.We go to commercial. Back from the break and out comes WWE Champion Randy Orton for another non-title match. Christian took Orton down quickly for one. Orton laughs at Christian. They circle, then lock up. They muscle around, Christian is pushed down. Orton with a kick, then head butts on Christian. Christian with a drop toe hold into the ropes, but Orton counters Christian’s upper cut. Ccends up sending Orton outside. Low drop kick through the ropes on Orton. Christian out with blows on Orton. Orton rolled in, Christian in and pulls Orton up and takes him down for two. Christian climbs, Orton rushes him so Christian over Orton. Christian turns into a Striker from Orton. Orton on Christian on the mat with blows. Orton stomps Christian. Christian onto the bottom rope and Orton works him over in the ropes. Christian hung up top across the gut. Orton drops a knee on Christian’s face for two. Side headlock on Christian. Christian free and on Orton, but Orton fights back with a head butt on Christian for two. Headlock on Christian on the mat. Christian up, elbows free, but takes another head butt. Big slap to Orton. Orton hits back. Another big slap. Christian whipped, comes back with a blow. Christian ends up sitting on the top rope, Orton simply pushes him off and out. Heads to a commercial.
Headlock on Christian on the mat. They show the way Christian was pushed off the top rope and how badly he landed on the apron and outside. Christian up and punches free. Christian into the corner and gets his feet up. Christian climbs, sweating like crazy! Orton up and on Christian with blows. Head butts on Christian. Orton up, sets Christian up, and hits his father’s signature superplex on Christian. Both men are down. Christian on Orton for two. Orton eats corner, then blows on Orton. Orton whipped, but comes out with a big clothesline on Christian. Christian hangs Orton up top, then climbs. Crossbody on Orton for two. Christian slaps the top buckle to get the fans clapping, then sits up top. Christian flies, Orton reverses into a Jack knife cover for two. Blows on Christian, sending him to the apron. Christian avoids the DDT and sets up, but Orton counters. Orton rushes Christian in the corner and eats feet. Christian with a tornado DDT off the corner that they both botch badly – Orton lands on his face! Christian gets two for it.
Orton hung in the ropes, so Christian out for his upper cut, but comes in through the ropes with Orton’s DDT! Orton paces the ring as Christian on the mat. Orton spins, then pounds the mat, but Christian pushes off the RKO! Christian leans in the corner regrouping, Orton on the mat. Christian rushes Orton, Orton jumps over Christian! Orton turns, then eats the spear! Orton is able to kick out at two! Orton tosses Christian face first into the corner, but Christian avoids the RKO. Orton avoids the unprettier. Poke to Christian’s eye behind the ref’ back. RKO and Orton gets the three.
Winner: Randy Orton
Randy, Randy! Bravo, great match. They show Daniel Bryan on the Jumbotron. Take it from a B+ competitor, that was an A+ effort. You know, the more I realize you’re right, you are the face of the WWE. What a gift Trip gave you tonight. What a pretty car. Pretty car for a pretty man. What if at Night of Champions I beat you and become the WWE Champion. Would that make me the new face of the WWE? Huh. Bryan steps aside to show “YES!” on the front of Orton’s new car in orange spray paint. Bryan chants the “YES!” He then goes around the car chanting and pointing to each “YES!” as he goes. He says there’s more around the back, “YES!” “YES!” “YES!” Orton seethes in the ring as King calls it a Yescalade. JBL isn’t impressed. This leads to another commerical.
Back from the break and Triple H, Maddox and Orton are looking at the spray-painted Escalade. Maddox points out everyone is laughing at Triple H and Orton. Triple H says this Cadillac is his personal property. Triple H says the WWE Title is also his property and Orton is carrying it for him. Triple H orders Maddox to gather the WWE roster to watch what happens to Bryan tonight. Triple H will fire anyone who dares to help. Orton says Bryan is going to pay and Triple H agrees.
Titus O’Neil vs. Jack Swagger
We go to the ring and out first comes Darren Young with Titus O’Neil. Out next comes Zeb Colter with Jack Swagger. Colter talks about The Primetime Players have stole victories from the Real Americans lately. Zeb takes a shot at Titus and Young’s mothers for being on welfare. Swagger and Titus go at it to start the match.
Swagger with knees on O’Neil, backing him into a corner. Big splash in the corner by Swagger. Swagger takes O’Neil down for one. O’Neil backed into another corner and beaten on. O’Neil comes out with blows and upper cuts, but taken down by a high knee. Swagger works O’Neil’s leg, then chokes him in the ropes. Back suplex on O’Neil for two. Arm lock on O’Neil on the mat. O’Neil works his way up, punches free, then hits a back elbow. O’Neil moves out of Swagger’s way, then takes Swagger down a couple times with shoulders. O’Neil picks up Swagger and throws him back over his own head. Swagger ducks a kick, then takes O’Neil’s leg out from under him. Swagger sets up, but kicked off into a corner. Swagger gets his feet up. Swagger uses the ropes to pin, Young knocks his feet off. Swagger argues with Young, then turns into O’Neil who plants Swagger for three.
Winner: Titus O’Neil
We get a look back at SummerSlam where Kane lost the Ring of Fire match against Bray Wyatt. The Wyatts will speak next. Back to commercial.
WWE.com exclusive. Bray Wyatt: She taught me to get them before they get you. The rattlesnake’s color the same color as the leaves. We all understood her. She led us with love, told us the fire is our friend too. She said you’re the one, she chose you. I understood what she meant. Her touch saves the world, her kiss burns it to the ground. I love you Sister Abigail.
Brad Maddox is backstage with the doctor. Apparently CM Punk is refusing medical attention. Punk walks in and wants a match with Heyman. Maddox announces a Handicap Elimination Match for Night of Champions – Punk vs. Heyman and Axel.
All the WWE Superstars come out on stage, led by Hornswoggle, then Big Show. Ziggler and Big Show are right at the top of the ramp. The WWE roster is on the stage as Daniel Bryan makes his way out first. Out next comes one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins through the crowd with his partners. Renee Young is on the stage talking to Big Show about the Triple H regime. Show refuses to speak this week. She goes to Dolph Ziggler for comment and he won’t speak either. She goes to The Miz for comment but he doesn’t want to get fired either.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins
Bryan with an early surfboard submission as Reigns and Ambrose look on from ringside. Good back and forth match. Bryan with clotheslines and kicks while Rollins is on his knees. Bryan misses a roundhouse kick and Ambrose turns it around on the apron. Rollins springboards in but Bryan cuts him off and applies the half crab. Rollins makes it to the ropes and breaks the hold. Bryan sends Rollins to the floor and nails a suicide dive, causing Rollins to land hard on the other side of the announce table. Bryan works Rollins over as the fans chant “yes” and we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Rollins is in control, keeping Bryan on the mat. Rollins smacks Bryan around and hits another flying elbow in the corner. Bryan looks to make a comeback but Rollins drops him in the corner again. Rollins tells him to stay down and smacks him some more. Bryan nails a dropkick in the corner out of nowhere. Bryan comes back and trades shots with Rollins. They trade pin attempts now. Rollins with a big kick to the head. Big inverted suplex by Rollins but Bryan kicks out at 2. Rollins with more offense in the corner. Bryan climbs up for a super German and drops Rollins on his face from up high. Bryan drops Rollins again for the pin.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose comes right in and goes to work on Bryan. Bryan gets the Yes Lock applied early on but Roman Reigns interferes for the bell, disqualifying Ambrose.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns
3 Things that I Liked:
- CM Punk-Paul Heyman. Even though this feud will lead to an Intercontinental Championship match between Punk and Curtis Axel. I still think this has been the Feud of the Year. The variety of emotions that CM Punk and Paul Heyman went through was amazing. This has been the Feud of the Year and Punk and Heyman have never really had a match. I don’t think Punk will be the IC Champion and he doesn’t need to be but it should be an awesome match. I think this will be a special stipulation match, maybe involving the kendo stick that was brutally used tonight on Monday Night Raw.
- Daniel Bryan. Everything this guy does on WWE TV is pure gold. Not allowing him to walk out as WWE Champion at Summerslam was the best thing for him. Everyone in the WWE locker room and the WWE Universe loved it and of course they did. This was hilarious! Best segment of the night by far. Daniel Bryan will win the WWE Champion at Night of Champions bank on it.
- WWE App. We haven’t seen this or heard it mentioned for a little bit. I liked the way they used it tonight. When it’s not constantly mentioned or used throughout the show it can be alright. Safe to say with this app we won’t see Cyber Sunday or Taboo Tuesday. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a WWE App friendly PPV with every match being decided by the app. I like when the results aren’t obviously pre-determined and they can use the actual voting results.
3 Things that I Hated:
- Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio. Why give this match away for free on Monday Night Raw? I thought they were going to have this match on the Night of Champions PPV. So why have this match here. It was an entertaining match, but to quote Triple H is this “best for business”. So why did you give this match away on Raw just to have them announce that they’ll face at Night of Champions too. They could have come up with a different way to announce this match. RVD and Christian could have a stellar match and then announce the winner would face Del Rio. I don’t like giving these matches away for free only to make the match official for the next PPV.
- Triple H’s 20 minute heel promos. Please God no more! I can’t deal with these every week. These need to remain fresh; they don’t need to keep dwelling on what happened at Summerslam. We might see some new material soon and these won’t be too hard to watch so here’s to hoping!
- Gauntlets. I liked the idea of these matches being stretched out throughout the night and it will still do what it’s supposed to do. These matches were to make Daniel Bryan look strong and that he can overcome any obstacle to become the WWE Champion. I just don’t like having these matches back-to-back-to-back. There would be more focus on the matches throughout the night if they would have a match and take some time between the other two. It would give the spotlight on the members of the Shield more as well.
Segment of the Night: “AJ says none of them will ever be able to lace up her Chuck Taylor’s” AJ buried the Total Divas! I really liked this actually; I expect a face turn immediate future.
Match of the Night: Christian vs. Randy Orton
Overall Grade: A -
This concludes my live coverage of tonight’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw. As always I want to hear your thoughts on Raw! What did you like or hate? What was your match and segment of the night? What would you grade tonight’s Raw as? Use the comments section below…
Brandon Sampson currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about everything wrestling, Top 5 on the Rise/Decline in the week of wrestling, as well as the weekly Monday Night Raw and WWE Main Event recap and reaction. Like him Facebook.com/CamelClutchBlogBrandon and follow him Twitter.com/ThisisBDub