As it turns out, placing five WWE Superstars in the presence of the WWE Championship contract induces the sports-entertainment equivalent of a feeding frenzy. What began as the latest sermon from Daniel Bryan soon turned into a six-way standoff when the submission master’s guarantee of victory brought out Sheamus, then Randy Orton, then Kane, then Christian, and finally CM Punk to add fuel to the fire.
As tensions rose and egos came to the forefront in the shadow of the coveted contract, the Superstars got overly antsy and Kane found himself the unwitting recipient of an RKO when he attempted to back Bryan up against an understandably irritable Orton. In fact, the only Superstar conspicuous by his absence in the scrum was Rob Van Dam, although Mr. Monday Night’s actions will surely do all the talking for him in a few weeks’ time.
All is right in the realm of The Shield after the trio of champions avenged their loss on SmackDown (only their second definitive defeat to date) by knocking off Christian & The Usos in a rematch of the contest on Raw. It seemed at first like The Shield were destined for Loss No. 3 when their opponents successfully thwarted the numbers-game strategy with a pair of suicide dives and a frog splash that left the three champs stewing outside the ring.
The Shield regained steam to even the playing field, but the tilt turned into chaos when all six competitors swarmed the ring. While Roman Reigns hauled The Usos over the ropes, Christian knocked Seth Rollins off the ropes and went to strike Dean Ambrose with the Killswitch, but a timely interference by Rollins allowed Ambrose to put Captain Charisma to bed for the three with a rollup.
Blond ambition beat the band when Dolph Ziggler got a piece of Jinder Mahal on Monday Night Raw, adding “The Maharajah” to his list of conquered foes as he prepares to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. Despite the absence of AJ Lee & Big E Langston, The Showoff was, indeed, in the money on Monday, shaking off a vicious knee to the head and escaping Mahal’s Camel Clutch before sealing the deal with the Zig Zag.
Never one to pass up a chance to show off, Ziggler laid a supplementary beatdown on Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre outside the ring before shaking his moneymaker atop the announce table to the delight of the WWE Universe. The show, it seems, will go on.
Yes, The Devil’s Favorite Demon did, indeed, put The Viper’s shoulders to the mat for a three-count. But thanks to special guest referee Daniel Bryan, that three-count was a mighty fast one, and didn’t sit too well with The Big Red Monster at all.
Bryan’s gig in the zebra stripes was, ostensibly, a mea culpa by the former World Champion for his misstep on SmackDown. But Bryan seemed less concerned with officiating the bout than gift-wrapping the win for Kane, going so far as to disqualify Orton before restarting the match at Kane’s insistence. But Bryan wasn’t done swinging the momentum, preventing the RKO and giving Kane the victory with the aforementioned fast-count after The Big Red Monster decked The Viper with a boot to the face. The ill-gotten victory left Kane so mad that he nearly punished Bryan with a Chokeslam of his own, though he ultimately let his former partner walk. Orton, however, had no such qualms, blasting Bryan with an RKO that had to, all things considered, have felt pretty good.
Well, well, look who’s back: one month removed from an injury that kept him out of WWE Payback, Fandango cha-cha’d his way back to the ring on Monday Night Raw for a tilt with Sheamus. Unfortunately, the dancing fiend’s first match back was also his first match back to his old tricks.
Despite having Sheamus at his mercy for a good chunk of the bout, Fandango decided mid-match that he’d rather not tango with The Celtic Warrior at all, scramming from the bout after the Irishman’s chest clubs left him wheezing for breath. The ditch gave Sheamus the win, but given Fandango’s history of coming through in the clutch, perhaps he’s just saving himself for a more “bank”-able opportunity.
Your eyes do not deceive you: The Miz defied the odds and defeated Ryback on Monday Night Raw, albeit under a set of truly bizarre circumstances. Although the “Human Wrecking Ball” was somewhat hobbled from a bout on SmackDown and looking more to humiliate Miz than beat him, the former WWE Champion toughed his way through the big man’s power moves and went to town on Ryback’s gimpy leg once he found an opening.
Miz did enough damage in the process that Ryback actually demanded the bout be stopped before the Figure-Four Leglock could be applied. The forfeit didn’t sit too well with Chris Jericho at commentary, as Y2J popped up from his perch to add insult to injury in the form of a Codebreaker to his unsuspecting Money in the Bank opponent.
With the biggest match of his career looming on the horizon and the impact of his career retrospective video still hanging over the WWE Universe, Mark Henry took the stage for the second time in two weeks to address his storied career and the one chance that has eluded him.
Henry addressed the "professional jealousy, politics and backstabbing" that he said held him back over the years and stressed that he had earned his upcoming opportunity at the supreme prize. The World's Strongest Man stressed that years of him "doing the right thing for the business" were behind him, and in its place was the ruthless aggression that Henry swore would bring him the gold he believed he earned. "I'm gonna do the right thing, all right," he said, "I'm gonna do the right thing for me."
A win is a win, but Paul Heyman’s proverbial roost is in a state of unrest following Curtis Axel’s series of shenanigans on CM Punk during their match against The Prime Time Players. Things were tense between Heyman’s two acolytes from the beginning after Axel tagged into the match and refused to let Punk back in. Axel seemed to have the bout in hand at first, but his gloating got the better of him when Titus O’Neil & Darren Young reclaimed the advantage, isolating Axel from Punk in the corner.
A big boot to “The Big Deal” gave Axel the gap he needed to reach The Second City Saint and Punk showed the youngblood how it’s done, making good on his word to take out both Players single-handedly. But Axel was not to be outdone, tagging his way into the match on an unsuspecting Punk and stealing the pin from The Straight Edge Superstar after he had already put Young down with the Go to Sleep. Needless to say, Punk was not exactly eager to take part in the victory celebration, leaving in a huff while Axel preened in the ring.
Kaitlyn’s still on a roll en route to her Divas Title rematch, but if AJ Lee’s actions are any indication, she’s not about to let her former friend get there without a few more mind games. The “Hybrid Diva’s” in-ring performance hasn’t been compromised in the slightest by the “Black Widow’s” bite, as she matched Miss Fox’s agility with pure power and sealed the match with a spear to Alicia’s gut.
But after the bell was when the real trickery started, as AJ arrived onstage with Big E Langston to continue the Divas’ game of one-ups(wo)manship by revealing a heavily-doctored “modeling photo” from Kaitlyn’s pre-WWE days. Though the preposterous pic was clearly a phony, it was still enough to nearly drive Kaitlyn into a mad rage. But thanks to the timely efforts of Layla, AJ’s comeuppance went undelivered another week.
After weeks of conflicting orders from WWE's first family, Vickie Guerrero finally got a concrete proclamation from Stephanie McMahon. Just not the one she necessarily wanted.
With Mr. McMahon and Triple H previously questioning Vickie's managerial supervision, she was thoroughly exasperated by the time Stephanie got a hold of her. And although Vickie's tearful pleas prevented The Billion Dollar Princess from bringing down the hammer, Stephanie did hit Vickie with a final bombshell: In the interest of giving her fair direction and preserving the unpredictable nature of Raw, Vickie would be subject to a formal job evaluation next week. Now that said unpredictability extends to her job security, though, Vickie seemed like she'd give anything for the comforts of familiarity.
Call it a tale of two teams. With Jack Swagger returning to the fold alongside Zeb Colter and Antonio Cesaro, Colter’s stable was looking stronger than ever … but Team Rhodes Scholars, on the other hand, didn’t look so hot after a miscommunication between Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow left “The Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” staring at the lights.
The flub in question was actually a matter of inaction rather than a failed action. After a technically crisp battle between the two Superstars, Cesaro clinched the win by reversing the former Intercontinental Champion’s backslide pin attempt into the Neutralizer. But thanks to a preoccupation with lecturing the WWE Universe, Sandow was completely oblivious to Cody’s trouble and failed to break up the pin. To his credit, "The Duke of Decency" seemed to recognize his mistake, but a few more repeats and school could be out for good.
The glorious history of the WWE and World Heavyweight Champions reached its latest summit when WWE Champion John Cena clashed with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio on Raw, and while The Champ ultimately stood tall in the marquee collision, it was a fortuitous fracas that gave him the opening and an ominous gesture that ended his night on a down note.
The Essence of Excellence drew on his long history with Cena and used his instincts to his advantage, dodging his opponent's power maneuvers in an attempt to let The Champ nearly punch himself out as the battle wore on. The respites served Del Rio well and kept him in the game, but Cena evened the field by applying the STF to Del Rio. The arrival of Mark Henry threw The Champ off his game, but another surprise appearance by Dolph Ziggler distracted Del Rio long enough for Cena to unleash the Attitude Adjustment and win the match in the process.
The Champ's night wasn't done yet, though, as Henry entered the ring with the WWE Title in hand and seemed ready to attack a skittish Cena ... but the No. 1 contender paused after The Champ's frantic, instinctive step back from his advances and simply tossed the title at the champion's feet. For all of his addresses over the past two weeks, it seems Henry made his strongest point yet without speaking a single word.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, & Seth Rollins) defeated The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) & Christian (9:35)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre) (2:20)
- Kane defeated Randy Orton (Daniel Bryan as Special Guest Referee) (12:10)
- Sheamus defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) by Count Out (6:15)
- The Miz defeated Ryback (5:10)
- CM Punk & Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated The Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young) (6:10)
- Kaitlyn (w/ Layla) defeated Alicia Fox (1:50)
- Antonio Cesaro (w/ Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter) defeated Cody Rhodes (w/ Damien Sandow) (2:20)
- John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio (15:50)
Other on-screen talent