There wasn’t much of a WrestleMania afterglow for Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show following their disastrous Six-Man Tag defeat to The Shield on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Tensions collapsed their group at The Show of Shows, and a bout between Orton and Sheamus to decide who would have the right to face Big Show later suffered a similar fate when the giant laid waste to The Apex Predator at ringside.
Happily, there was no such confusion to be had in South Carolina when Orton & Sheamus put their squabbles aside and challenged The World’s Largest Athlete in a Handicap Match. The two former World Champions were hardly dominant, as Big Show wisely spent the majority of the bout blocking Sheamus from tagging Orton in. But thanks to a last-ditch effort, Sheamus made the tag and Orton’s speed turned the tide, with The Viper sealing the deal via a plus-sized RKO that left the giant looking at the lights for the three-count.
What began as a form of protest by 3MB turned into something much more sinister, as Brock Lesnar made his first appearance since WrestleMania 29 with an ominous challenge for the man who defeated him.
The would-be rockers had come to Raw to demand an apology for The Shield for their attack on SmackDown, but all they got was another thrashing at The Anomaly’s hands. It appears Lesnar’s loss to The King of Kings has done nothing to diminish his craving for mayhem: standing amid the wreckage of 3MB, Paul Heyman took hold of the mic and laid a challenge at Triple H’s feet: a match inside of a Steel Cage at Extreme Rules to settle the two titans’ brutal rivalry for good.
Antonio Cesaro has always boasted that no American could defeat him with the United States Championship at stake, and it turns out he was right: It took Ghanaian-bred, Boston College–educated Kofi Kingston to finish the job, prying Old Glory from The Swiss Superman after a hard-fought contest to bring Kingston his third U.S. Title.
Cesaro’s 239-day stint with the Stars and Stripes has left myriad Superstars ruined in his wake, but Kingston — who had struck up a recent rivalry with the powerhouse champion — seemed determined not to fall into the same traps as Santino, R-Truth and The Miz. The Dreadlocked Dynamo toughed his way through Cesaro’s mighty barrage, using his speed to his advantage and landing a Trouble in Paradise to Cesaro’s chin to ground The Swiss Superman to the mat.
One week after stunning the WWE Universe with his historic Money in the Bank cash-in, Dolph Ziggler strutted into South Carolina like a man who’d already stolen the show, even though Raw had begun mere moments earlier. As Ziggler preened his way through his inaugural trip to the same show where he’d won the World Title, though, he found himself interrupted for the second time in as many weeks by Alberto Del Rio, who demanded The Showoff grant him a rematch for the coveted title on the spot.
Although SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero supported Del Rio’s demand, but former No. 1 contender Jack Swagger was quick to object, crashing the contest before it even began and attacking The Pride of Mexico’s weakened leg in the process. The fracas allowed Ziggler to escape with title in hand, but the show-stealer’s clean getaway is clearly far from complete.
Hell hath no fury like the two best friends that anyone could have: Kane & Daniel Bryan continued their post-WrestleMania dominant streak when the WWE Tag Team Champions (and part-time MC's) added The Prime Time Players to their list of vanquished tandems on Monday Night Raw. Team Hell No has been riding high in tag competition for weeks now, peaking with their defeat of Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston at WrestleMania 29. And although Titus O’Neil & Darren Young attacked the champs with unbridled gusto, even the million-dollar offense of the mouthy musclemen wasn’t enough to stop Hell No. A Chokeslam to Young followed by Bryan’s top-rope headbutt (affectionately referred to by the commentary team as the “Flying Goat”) sealed the contest and ended the champions’ night in glory.
The Truth dished out the hurt Monday night when Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett went up against R-Truth in a one-on-one contest, and saw his post-WrestleMania hot streak run cold thanks to a strong effort from the self-proclaimed "Suntan Superman."
The brawling Brit came out strong against the former United States Champion, but Truth didn’t lie down for the champion by any means, attempting to knock Barrett off his game with his unorthodox offense. The Englishman would not be so unmanned by Truth’s flippantness, however, and quickly brought the fight back to his own comfort zone. It was Truth who got the final word, though, springing the Lie Detector on Barrett to cut the Barrage short ... at least for the time being.
They didn’t fare so well against Tons of Funk, but Team Rhodes Scholars bounced back nicely with a win over yet another odd-couple tag team in Santino Marella & The Great Khali. It’s been a rough few weeks for the brainy beard enthusiasts, but Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow were clearly ready to rumble from the get-go, coming out strong against The Italian Stallion and his towering tag partner. Except for a tight spot with Sandow and Khali, Rhodes & Sandow never let the bout get away from them. The duo goaded The Punjabi Titan into tagging in Santino and then going to work, taking advantage of a distracting melee outside the ring and rolling up the two-time Intercontinental Champion to earn the win.
It’s the latest sensation that’s sweeping the nation, and while “Fandangoing” continues to two-step its way across the world (and up the charts), Fandango himself took a few moments to address the phenomenon for himself on Raw. Given that Fandango is a man of few words that don’t include his own name, it came as little surprise he was more than willing to dance with the crowd … provided they got the pronunciation right.
But once again, the WWE Universe failed to let the A’s breathe, and so the disappointed Fandango left the WWE Universe with a simple message: “You can all go ‘FAAHHNN-DAAHHN-GO’ yourselves.” So much for dancing the night away.
It wasn’t so long ago that Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger were buddies under Vickie Guerrero’s management umbrella, but as anyone in South Carolina can attest, things have changed. Not only have The Showoff and the “Real American” become bitter rivals over Ziggler’s World Heavyweight Championship, but Ziggler, the man who claimed to shine brighter of the two, walked out of South Carolina with an upset loss to his freshly anointed name.
The dynamic World Champion strutted to the ring as if the Teddy Long-sanctioned bout was already in-hand and for a while, it seemed like Ziggler’s dynamic offense had Swagger at a permanent disadvantage. But Ziggler received a rude awakening in short order when Swagger reversed the Famouser into a roll-up pin for a victory, leaving the champion stunned on the mat. But when Swagger took to the stage to celebrate, the injured Alberto Del Rio struck from behind, exacting his retribution on the “Real American” by trapping him in the Cross Armbreaker over the edge of the stage.
CM Punk has often said that he can work wonders with the microphone, but a WWE Universe that was expecting a scathing opus in The Second City Saint’s first address since WrestleMania 29 were left with a whimper instead … and a cryptic one at that.
A visibly exhausted Punk had barely begun to speak on his loss to The Undertaker when he stopped mid-sentence, wearily looked around and cut his speech short by giving Paul Heyman an apologetic embrace. With that, the former WWE Champion handed off his sacred microphone and departed the stage, leaving the WWE Universe with more questions than answers as to what would come next. True to form, though, they were speechless in his wake.
The Bellas promised trouble for the Divas division upon their return to WWE, and they kicked their mischievous campaign off in high style with a chicanery-filled victory over Divas Champion Kaitlyn in South Carolina.
Officially, it was Nikki Bella who faced off against the “Hybrid Diva,” but as is the tricky twins’ modus operandi, a switcheroo was pulled once Kaitlyn hit Nikki with the gut buster. With the referee distracted, Nikki ducked out of the ring and Brie emerged from beneath the apron, taking her sister’s place and capitalizing on Kaitlyn’s confusion to notch an ill-gotten pin on the stunned titleholder.
Ryback certainly didn’t mince words when he explained his attack of John Cena, so how did The Champ respond when he came to the ring to address the beast’s accusations against the 11-time WWE Champion? He simply called Ryback out. And although Ryback obliged Cena with an audience, The Champ didn’t let him get a word in. Cena slammed Ryback’s “highlight reel of excuses” and challenged the “Human Wrecking Ball” to put his money where his mouth is and take Cena on man to man.
But alas, Cena wouldn’t get a chance to battle his old buddy one-on-one, because not only did Ryback wordlessly decline the offer, but The Shield also picked that exact moment to make their entrance. And though it wasn’t immediately apparent which man the “Hounds of Justice” had targeted, they soon made their intentions clear. With Ryback left untouched, the NXT veterans ruthlessly Triple-Powerbombed Cena into the canvas and preened over the wreckage while Ryback turned his back on the scene, wordlessly leaving his former friend to the whims of his attackers.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Randy Orton & Sheamus defeated The Big Show in a Two On One Handicap Match (6:00)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Antonio Cesaro (c) to win the WWE United States Championship (9:25)
- Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) (3:30)
- R-Truth defeated Wade Barrett (3:10)
- Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) defeated Santino Marella & The Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle & Natalya) (3:20)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) (9:50)
- Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) defeated Kaitlyn (5:10)
Other on-screen talent