WWE, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Post-PPV episodes of WWE RAW always endure the burden of excitingly following up on the prior night’s events, and this one had an even more daunting task. It had to curb fan frustration over Battleground, which most agree concluded with one of the worst finishes in WWE pay-per-view history. It had to rebuild fan goodwill.
Whether it did that remains to be seen, but it did bring a few surprise announcements. In addition to confirming Shawn Michaels as the guest referee for the inevitable Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match at Hell in a Cell, it also revealed that John Cena will return–months ahead of schedule–for a match with Alberto Del Rio at the show.
And, of course, it presented its follow-up to The Big Show’s actions at Battleground. “Fired” by Stephanie McMahon in the show’s first segment, Big Show returned in the closing segment to deliver his knockout punch to Triple H.
WWE.com RAW Results Report:
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – And now comes the fallout. One night after he singlehandedly sent the WWE Title Match at WWE Battleground to a No Contest with a swing of his fist, Big Show had no choice but to stand and face the music when Stephanie McMahon called him out for a very public – and ruthless – reprimanding on Raw. As it turned out, “The Authority’s” resident queen bee wasn’t so much interested in an explanation as extended humiliation of The World’s Largest Athlete, yet it was Big Show’s attempt to stand his ground that ultimately cost the giant the most.
Pushed to the brink by Stephanie, Show finally caved and roared that he interfered in the Battleground main event because Stephanie herself – using Brad Maddox as her mouthpiece – had ordered him to do so. The accusation sent the McMahon heiress’ rage into high gear, and she quickly leveled six slaps to the giant’s face before borrowing her famous father’s signature phrase: “YOU’RE FIRED!”
Dolph Ziggler def. Damien Sandow
The “Uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion’s” throne seemed farther away than ever when, one night after losing to Dolph Ziggler at the WWE Battleground kickoff, Damien Sandow was treated to an encore performance from WWE’s resident Showoff. Reeling from a Ziggler-induced knee injury that prevented him from cashing in his Money in the Bank contract at Battleground, Sandow started off with a feral burst of offense that showed The Showoff no quarter, punctuated by a pad-less Elbow of Disdain to Ziggler’s sternum.
It only took one maneuver for Dolph to switch the momentum, dodging a charge from Sandow that sent The Enlightened One plowing into the turnbuckle. The Showoff then channeled his challenger by mauling Sandow with a series of punches before transitioning seamlessly into his signature acrobatic style. Sandow attempted to use Ziggler’s momentum against him by reversing a roll-up pin, but Dolph was ready for that, too, pouncing with the Famouser for the three-count.
Natalya, JoJo & Eva Marie def. Alicia Fox, Aksana & Rosa Mendes
Looks like the Diva “Newbies” are getting the hang of things: Taking the ring alongside their de facto Diva mentor Natalya, “Total Divas” stars Eva Marie & JoJo notched a milestone win in a Six-Diva Tag Team Match on Raw. The unlucky recipients of their wrath were Alicia Fox, Aksana & Rosa Mendes, though the trio of devious Divas took advantage of Eva Marie’s inexperience when the newcomer tagged into the bout. Some quick thinking saved the “Total Divas” when Eva reached Natalya on the apron, and “The Queen of Harts” sealed the deal with a discus clothesline and Sharpshooter to Alicia Fox that earned the reality stars the win.
Los Matadores def. 3MB
Make it dos for Los Matadores, who followed up their debut victory over 3MB with a second win over a new permutation of the rockers’ ranks: Where the toreadors felled Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal last week, this time Mahal & Drew McIntyre met their defeat at the hands of the mysterious newcomers. Moments after “The Maharajah” felt the brunt of the Matadores’ offense, McIntyre tagged in and briefly turned the tables. Yet the synchronized offense of Diego & Fernando ultimately felled the two-bit rock gods when all was said and done.
Even El Torito got his licks in on the rockers, baiting Heath Slater into the ring and shocking the former WWE Tag Team Champion with a hurricanrana off the top rope. Fear the bull.
Ryback called out CM Punk
The only thing Ryback and Paul Heyman like less than “bullies,” as it turns out, is “cheaters.” The mad scientist and his monstrous man-at-arms came to Pittsburgh in a huff over the events of WWE Battleground, where CM Punk took advantage of the referee’s distraction to low-blow Ryback into defeat.
With great indignation, the ECW mastermind ascended his personal pulpit and ran down his onetime champion’s ethics, even going so far as to demean Punk to his face when The Straight Edge Superstar showed up in person. But Punk’s open rematch challenge slightly backfired when Ryback invited the former WWE Champion to back up his famous talk in Pittsburgh. With Punk at a 2-on-1 disadvantage, the situation didn’t look all that great. Happily, though, R-Truth was on hand to offer his hand and even the odds.
CM Punk & R-Truth def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel & Ryback
It was a rough night in Pittsburgh for Paul Heyman’s minions when Curtis Axel & Ryback fell to the combined efforts of CM Punk & R-Truth in an impromptu tag match on Raw. With Punk and Ryback circling each other for the majority of the bout, Axel felt the brunt of Punk & Truth’s offense at the outset when they isolated him from his monstrous partner. The Intercontinental Champion turned the tide for his team only when he tagged in Ryback, freeing “The Big Guy” to control the pace of the match.
With Truth now alone in the ring and unable to reach The Straight Edge Superstar, Ryback and Axel alternated offense against the former U.S. Champion while Heyman screamed instruction from the outside. Ryback’s showboating backfired when Truth lashed out with a heel kick and tagged in Punk, who made quick work of a freshly-tagged Axel with the Go to Sleep. Yet Punk allowed Truth to do the final honors and avenge his devastating loss at Battleground with a “perfect” scissor kick to Axel’s head.
Randy Orton def. Kofi Kingston
Few WWE Superstars were more upset about the outcome of Battleground than Randy Orton, and The Viper took out his frustrations on an old enemy in Pittsburgh: Kofi Kingston. Hungry for a “W” after his loss to Bray Wyatt at Battleground, The Boom Squad General used the full scope of his bag of tricks in pursuit of victory over The Viper. Despite Kofi’s fast start, though, a backdrop onto the barricade swung the contest firmly in favor of The Apex Predator.
Orton made a systematic show of dismantling his opponent, yet Kingston grinded his way to a second wind, plastering Orton with a sky-high cross body off the top rope. The burst left Kofi winded yet he found the reserves to hang tight, although it was all for naught after The Apex Predator executed a hanging DDT off the barricade and followed with a match-ending RKO. The night might have ended happily for Orton then, if Daniel Bryan hadn’t stormed the ring and laid waste to The Viper, mauling his longtime opponent into retreat while officials gave hot pursuit.
Ricardo Rodriguez def. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
It’s not a typo: One night after his new buddy Rob Van Dam was brutalized into submission by Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez avenged his pal’s (and his own) humiliation when Vickie Guerrero named him the surprise opponent for the World Heavyweight Champion on Raw.
Granted, he had some help: A sudden, blockbuster announcement from Vickie left the champion so gobsmacked that Ricardo was able to capitalize, springing a surprise rollup on his former jefe for the 1-2-3. The Essence of Excellence wasn’t about to let his old buddy’s win go unpunished, though, and he quickly cut Ricardo’s celebration short with another hellacious beatdown of his former ring announcer.
Oh, and as for that announcement that left Del Rio so furious? It was Vickie’s announcement of his new No. 1 contender at Hell in a Cell … John Cena.
Fandango def. Zack Ryder
Fandango danced away with a victory again on Raw, putting his famous feet to good use against a game Zack Ryder in Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center. After a tight back-and-forth, the furious efforts of The Ultimate Broski brought him within a spiked hair’s breadth of victory when he planted a big boot in the chiseled mug of the dancing fiend, yet Ryder’s euphoria was short-lived. A kick to the head left Ryder face-down on the mat, and Fandango’ soaring leg drop to the back of the broski’s neck put the bout to rest.
The Real Americans def. Santino Marella & The Great Khali
The Real Americans’ win at WWE Battleground was marked by one of the greatest feats of strength the WWE Universe has ever seen when Antonio Cesaro executed the Cesaro Swing on The Great Khali. And, as proof it was no fluke, the mighty “patriots” repeated the feat the next night on Raw. After Jack Swagger battled Santino Marella to a standstill, Cesaro & Khali entered the bout and the former U.S. Champion sent The Punjabi Titan twirling again with the Swing, covering him for the win moments after.
Cesaro’s demonstration didn’t end there, though: Hornswoggle nearly suffered the same fate as Khali, although Santino happily liberated his little buddy from the strongman’s clutches with The Cobra before Cesaro could really get rolling.
The Wyatt Family crashed ‘Miz TV’
“The Most Must-See Talk Show in WWE” got a sharp jolt of terror when Bray Wyatt came strolling out of the darkness, interrupting “Miz TV” before it even got going. The Eater of Worlds’ presence (plus the sudden appearance of Luke Harper & Erick Rowan in the ring) sent Miz into flight-or-fight mode and The Awesome One managed to get a few shots in on Bray before making his escape. Yet “The Man of 1,000 Truths” left Miz off with an final warning ringing in his ears: “You can run, but you cannot hide.”
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust def. U.S. & WWE Tag Team Champions The Shield def. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust
With Triple H perched at ringside, there was little chance of Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust scoring another upstart win at the expense of “The Authority,” but it was The King of Kings himself who truly felt the cost of doing business when all was said and done. After strong early work from Goldust, Dean Ambrose created separation in the match by preventing Cody’s moonsault, yet Bryan reversed the momentum back, gonig ballistic and singlehandedly tore the three titleholders to pieces.
It was a strong showing just three weeks before Bryan enters Hell in a Cell for another play at the vacant WWE Title (and a very special guest ref), but a steel chair from Ambrose gave Bryan & Co. the Disqualification win, but The Game’s decision to restart the bout with a No-DQ stipulation led to disaster when Randy Orton struck Bryan through the crowd with a surprise RKO and fed him to a waiting Seth Rollins for the pin. As The Game admired his handiwork, though, the freshly-fired Big Show made his presence known. With revenge on his mind and nothing to lose, WWE’s newest and biggest alumnus fended off The Shield’s attempted attacks and promptly KO Punched The Game into oblivion, leaving Raw for the first time in a long time with his head held high.