Having finally redeemed himself on The Grandest Stage of Them All, there was a new, elated purpose to John Cena in his first Raw as WWE Champion in nearly two years. Not only did he seem physically invigorated by the gold around his waist (check out his championship dance, complete with a kick and a “heel turn”), but once he’d had his fun, Cena got down to business. He intended to celebrate his title win the only way he knew how: By defending it.
It didn’t take long for a challenger to present himself. Mark Henry, emboldened by his defeat of the monstrous Ryback at WrestleMania, stalked to the ring and demanded an opportunity to challenge for Cena’s hard-won championship. One ruling from SmackDown General Manager (and new Hall of Famer) Booker T later, and terms were set: given that the injured Rock was unable to make good on his rematch clause, Henry would indeed get a crack at The Champ … provided he beat Cena one-on-one on Raw.
It was hardly the grand debut Big E Langston had hoped for when he stepped into the ring for his first sanctioned match at WrestleMania 29, suffering a tag team defeat to Team Hell No alongside Dolph Ziggler. But time heals all wounds, and the colossus found vindication the next night on Raw, defeating the de facto hero of the previous night’s contest in Daniel Bryan.
The submission technician brought Met Life Stadium to its feet the previous night when he scored the deciding pinfall (not to mention vindication from the previous year), but the next night belonged entirely to Big E. Bryan battered his monstrous opponent with everything he had, but Langston simply powered through the veteran’s offense, tossing Bryan over the ropes before plowing him into the mat with the Big Ending for a bone-shattering pinfall.
You can’t keep a big, bad Englishman down: Wade Barrett bounced back from his loss at the WrestleMania 29 Pre-Show in a big way, reclaiming the Intercontinental Champion from The Awesome One just a little over 24 hours after a pair of Figure-Four Leglocks robbed him of the title.
Miz strode into the Izod Center still high off his upset victory from the previous night, but Barrett took it to the champion with ruthless abandon in a feral effort to reclaim his championship. The Awesome One regrouped quickly, seizing control and causing Barrett to suffer his third Figure-Four in two nights. But the bare-knuckle brawler powered back and Miz was left looking at the lights when Barrett let loose with the Bull Hammer, toppling the chatty champion and taking the Intercontinental Championship back in the process.
Much like the colors of Old Glory herself, Jack Swagger refused to run after Alberto Del Rio forced him to submit on The Grandest Stage of Them All, retaining his World Heavyweight Title in the process. However, the self-professed “Real American” did bring some backup for himself when he faced The Pride of Mexico in a rematch on Raw: Zeb Colter.
The former No. 1 contender and his curmudgeonly counselor put up a strong fight in a Handicap Match but Del Rio triumphed again, though not without emerging somewhat worse for wear. And that’s when the man who so often invoked “destiny” during his rise to prominence would soon feel the sting of fortune’s vindictive side.
With Del Rio hobbled by his opponents, a familiar promise to “show the world” roared through the loudspeakers and Dolph Ziggler struck, redeeming his battered Money in the Bank contract to make quick work of Del Rio and seize – at long, hard-earned last – the World Heavyweight Championship for his own.
With his immortal WrestleMania streak extended to 21, The Undertaker came to Raw to finally pay proper homage to the legacy of Paul Bearer. With Bearer’s sacred urn finally returned to him, The Phenom picked up a microphone to pay his long-awaited homage to The Father of Destruction.
But the ceremony was short-lived, cut off by the crackle of static and the sudden appearance of The Shield, who made their boldest play yet by encircling The Lord of Darkness in apparent preparation to strike. The cavalry soon arrived in the form of Kane, who stormed to big brother’s aid with Daniel Bryan hot on his heels. Team Hell No quickly joined The Deadman to drive the Hounds of Justice back to their den, preserving the honor of Bearer’s memory and bringing the tribute to a triumphant end. As the man himself might say: Oh, yes.
Notch one in the win column for Zack Ryder, R-Truth and Santino Marella, who knocked off 3MB in a high-spirited Six-Man Tag Team bout just one night after WrestleMania 29. Although none of the competitors got a chance to shine on The Grandest Stage of Them All, they certainly made up for it the next night with an infectious, high-octane energy that made the WWE Universe stand up and take notice. The match quickly devolved into all-out chaos, with each Superstar getting their shots in, but it was Santino who decided the bout with a Cobra straight to Slater’s mug, giving the odd trio a big win in the halls of the IZOD Center.
With friends like this, who needs enemies? With Big Show having clocked The Celtic Warrior and The Viper at The Show of Shows with a pair of KO Punches to cost them their match against The Shield, the Orton and Sheamus had it out in a friendly(ish) contest to determine who would be the first to get a piece of The World’s Largest Athlete.
Bolstered by a bizarre array of chants from the WWE Universe, The two former World Champions fought to a dead heat until Big Show emerged, taking Sheamus out and earning Orton the DQ win before getting his licks in on The Apex Predator himself. The giant went to work on The Viper with a vengeance, dismantling the former WWE Champion outside the ring before flattening him with a spear, leaving the commentary station – and Orton himself – in pieces.
Now that Fandango has danced to victory on The Grandest Stage of Them All, what’s a little Raw match to the finicky Superstar who refused, for months, to set foot in the ring? With Fandango set to battle Kofi Kingston – ironically enough, the Superstar who was supposed to be Fandango’s first foe on Raw – the WWE Universe was ripe with anticipation as to how he would follow his star-making upset of Chris Jericho at WrestleMania the previous night.
They may have to wait just a little bit longer. Fandango did, indeed, concede to fight Kofi, but the bout never got going once Jericho himself swarmed the ring and delivered yet another beating on the fox-trotting fiend with the unpronounceable name, locking him in the Walls of Jericho and refusing to let go. The win earned Fandango the DQ victory (not to mention an unusual moral win: the crowd was singing his theme song), but it appears Y2J is not out of Fandango’s immaculately coiffed hair just yet.
They didn’t get to throw down at WrestleMania 29, but Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls took the extra day’s preparation and put it to good use against their intended opponents, Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins, in an 8-Person Mixed Tag Team Match. The big men and their booty-shaking valets triumphed over the brainiacs and the Bellas, putting their coordinated power strikes to good use against the scrappier Scholars in a tightly-contested, highly unorthodox rumble.
With each Superstar and Diva getting a piece of the fray, the two tag teams rocked and rolled their way through the IZOD Center, but the big men triumphed with a double splash on an overmatched Sandow for their long-awaited victory. Consider it proof that funk’s roll cannot be stopped, merely delayed.
John Cena may have triumphed over his own personal demons at WrestleMania 29, but for a long time on Monday night, it didn’t seem like The Champ would be so lucky when he faced a very external foe in Mark Henry. Despite Cena’s dubious history on post-WrestleMania Raws, the 11-time WWE Champion was all smiles in the beginning (he even did a little dance). But The World’s Strongest Man quickly turned his mood sour, nearly planting Cena through the announce table.
The Champ rallied and struck Henry down enough to earn a count-out win, but the former World Champion wasn’t done, planting Cena with a World’s Strongest Slam. Henry looked like he’d be happy to continue until Ryback came to the rescue and drove him back … moments before turning his attention to Cena himself. With no inclination to his motives, Ryback struck Cena down, chopping The Champ down with a Meathook Clothesline before leaving him — and the WWE Universe, for that matter — Shell Shocked as Raw faded to black, Cena’s championship reign suddenly mired in uncertainty just hours after it began.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Big E. Langston (w/ Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee) defeated Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) (2:20)
- Wade Barrett defeated The Miz (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (13:00)
- Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter in a 2-on-1 handicap match (11:15)
- Dolph Ziggler (w/ Big E. Langston & AJ Lee) defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) to win the World Heavyweight Championship (2:05)
- Santino Marella, Zack Ryder & R-Truth defeated 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal) (3:25)
- Sheamus vs. Randy Orton ended in a no contest (15:00)
- Winner will face The Big Show.
- Fandango defeated Kofi Kingston by Disqualification (1:25)
- Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai) & The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) defeated Team Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes) & The Bella Twins (Nikki Bella & Brie Bella) (2:25)
- John Cena defeated Mark Henry by Countout (3:24)
- If Henry wins he will earn a WWE Championship match vs Cena.
Other on-screen talent