Here comes The Conqueror, and, perhaps, the future WWE World Heavyweight Champion. For the first time since being named the challenger to John Cena’s throne, Brock Lesnar appeared on Raw with Paul Heyman, as ever, at his side. Six days away from The Biggest Fight of the Summer, Heyman gave hype men the world over a run for their money, promising more vehemently than ever that Lesnar would emerge victorious (for what it's worth, Lesnar's shirt promised the same).
"If you're a fan of John Cena, don't miss SummerSlam," proclaimed Heyman, who called up WrestleMania 30 and Extreme Rules 2012 as evidence to support his claims of his client's physical superiority before dropping a rap at Cena's expense. "Because after this Sunday, when Brock Lesnar is through with John Cena, you ain't gonna see John Cena around here anymore."
Last week, Roman Reigns laid Kane so low that The Devil’s Favorite Demon once again surrendered his mask in shame to The Authority. However, Kane can do just as much damage in a suit and tie: The re-christened Director of Operations, once again moving and shaking on behalf of The Authority, looked to put Reigns in his place with a Handicap Match against RybAxel.
It didn’t quite go the way he would have liked. The bullies seemed content to simply trash talk Reigns for the first stretch of the match, and Ryback’s power maneuvers helped keep them in the game when Reigns responded with his signature brute force. Eventually, RybAxel seemed to throw out the competition altogether and settle for simply beating The Big Dog up. As satisfied as they were to take the DQ loss, the statement cost them some stiff-armed retribution from Reigns, who Superman Punched and Speared both men into next Tuesday and made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn't the slightest bit afraid of Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
Even though Seth Rollins’ match with Rob Van Dam was – Slated, let’s call it – last week on Raw, The Whole Dam Show and Mr. Money in the Bank enthusiastically picked up their on-and-off rivalry six days out from SummerSlam. Rollins employed the same strategy he typically does against Mr. Monday Night, targeting RVD’s legs to take away his high-flying. It was Rollins’ dodge of Van Dam’s corkscrew leg drop that really did the trick, leaving the former WWE Champion hobbled after his knee connected with the barricade.
The damage didn’t slow RVD down long: The ECW Original roared back with Rolling Thunder and a springboard moonsault that left Rollins seeing stars, though Rollins’ reversal of a monkey flip left RVD stunned enough that The Aerialist could execute the Curb Stomp and claim the win. Alas, his night did not end so easily, as Dean Ambrose ambushed his former Shield mate, having hidden in one of Hulk Hogan’s birthday presents until the opportune moment struck.
When you go up against a McMahon, you don’t just fight a battle in the ring. It’s a lesson Brie Bella learned the hard way on Raw when Stephanie McMahon brought out Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist, Megan Miller, to hurl some less-than-concrete accusations at the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Of course, Megan’s claims of a fling with The Beard did not sit well with Brie, who slapped Megan across the face and trapped Stephanie in the “Yes!” Lock before WWE security had to intervene once again. The upside of all this? Stephanie decided SummerSlam was too far away to settle her score, and declared she would face The Bella Twin one-on-one later in the evening.
First Switzerland; next, Russia? An injured Jack Swagger manned up and defeated former partner in patriotism, Cesaro, notching a morale-boosting win over The King of Swing on Raw that ensures momentum heading into SummerSlam. With Rusev lying in wait at the summer classic, The Real American had to bring his A-game against Cesaro and he did just that, countering The King of Swing’s brutality with some home-grown, Oklahoma-honed mat grappling to keep the bout level.
Cesaro found his greatest success by digging deep into his arsenal and targeting Swagger’s tenderized ribs with rarely-used maneuvers, even modifying the Very European Uppercut into a knee to Swagger’s midsection. Despite the damage, the former World Champion found his opening by shoving Cesaro off the top rope and applying the Patriot Lock on the way down. Rusev didn’t seem terribly intimidated by the display, storming the ramp and taunting Swagger from afar after the match concluded.
- AllRedEverything is back! Eva Marie stunned the WWE Universe – not to mention AJ Lee when she pinned the Divas Champion on Raw less than a week before AJ defends her title against Paige at SummerSlam. It was Paige herself who allowed the “Total Divas” star to score the win, skipping around the ring and enabling Eva to roll AJ up for the win. Paige even broke out a special, mocking poem to her “friend” AJ after the match, and a furious AJ decided to take her frustrations out on Eva Marie at ringside before skipping her way to SummerSlam.
As always, John Cena hears everything that is said about him. He’s heard the cheers, he’s heard the boos, and, most recently, he’s heard the rhetoric from Paul Heyman promising his demise at SummerSlam. So, Cena decided to take the initiative and challenge Brock Lesnar to a fight six days before he unleashes his own inner beast at SummerSlam. Of course, given that Brock Lesnar does not fight for free, The Champ’s words fell on deaf ears, so Cena was left to give a promise of his own: That, at SummerSlam, he would “conquer The Conqueror.”
Oh, how the tables have turned: Stephanie McMahon never forgets a slight, and thanks to some well-planned manipulation and the assistance of Megan Miller, The Authority’s reigning queen had her SummerSlam opponent arrested in a nasty bit of turnabout from a few weeks back. Actually, it was Megan Miller who pressed the charges in question, but it was Stephanie who reaped the benefits, smiling all the way to SummerSlam as her adversary was hauled off to prison.
Slaters gonna Slate, and The One Man Band steadily rocked his way to his second consecutive Raw win by knocking off none other than The Showoff himself, Dolph Ziggler, just six days before the Miz-Ziggler showdown for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam. Despite an incredibly impressive display from Slater, it took another assist for the former WWE Tag Team Champion to notch his second consecutive upset, this time Miz bum-rushing the ring after Dolph landed a Zig Zag on The One Man Band. Dolph’s temper got the better of him and he turned his focus to the Intercontinental Champion with such ferocity outside the ring that he forgot to make it back in by the count of 10.
Roman Reigns got his warm-up earlier on Raw, and The Authority wasn’t about to let Raw conclude without extending its own member the same courtesy. In yet another brainchild of Kane, Randy Orton was forced to face Sheamus in the main event of Raw and if not for some well-timed veteran instinct, The Viper may have headed to SummerSlam reeling from a loss.
Luckily for The Apex Predator, he understood the implications of his match with the U.S. Champion and hung tough from some truly brutal offense from The Celtic Warrior, whose last rally came at a moment when The Viper got too cocky for his own good. The titleholder ascended to the top rope for a Battering Ram, but that’s where the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion lives. The moment Sheamus took flight, The Viper was ready, seamlessly countering the airborne maneuver into a crushing RKO.
Happy birthday … BROTHER! The WWE Universe was promised a birthday blowout, and a birthday blowout they got when Hulk Hogan celebrated alongside a cavalcade of WWE Legends who paid homage to The Immortal One. Among the dignitaries were “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Jimmy Hart, Ric Flair, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff – yep, “Mr. Wonderful” himself – and the original members of the nWo. Hogan even broke out his old black-and-white duds for the occasion.
That said, there was a little hiccup before The Hulkster could dig into a birthday pizza celebration. Having no desire to let Hogan hang and bang with his fellow Legends, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar played party crashers and for a moment it looked like The Beast Incarnate would make mincemeat of Hogan. John Cena made his entrance at the 11thhour to save the celebration, and Lesnar made his exit at Heyman’s insistence. Whatever beating lies in store, it will wait six more days.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Roman Reigns defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) in a Two On One Handicap Match by DQ (9:10)
- Seth Rollins defeated Rob Van Dam (7:58)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Cesaro (11:58)
- Eva Marie defeated AJ Lee (1:10)
- Heath Slater defeated Dolph Ziggler by Count-Out (4:20)
- Randy Orton defeated Sheamus (13:08)
Other on-screen talent