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It’s a safe bet the WWE Universe never thought they’d see the day the McMahon-Helmsley family staged an intervention for its prized competitor, but that’s exactly what happened when Raw rolled into Hartford with Triple H's in-ring future thrown into question. Just miles from WWE Headquarters in Stamford, both Mr. McMahon and Stephanie McMahon came to the ring to put a stop to the not-yet-present King of Kings' planned match against Curtis Axel ... and, potentially, any bouts beyond.
With The Game coming off a debilitating loss to Brock Lesnar that carried over into a contest with Axel the next night, questions have been circulating as to whether or not the 13-time World Champion was pushing his luck, and the McMahons decided to err on the side of caution. Mr. McMahon himself strongly implied that he would keep Triple H from any further competition that might endanger his physical well-being. Unfortunately, the static of The Shield’s theme music cut The Chairman off mid-stride, and any further pleas would have to wait as “The Hounds of Justice” stalked their way to the ring with the McMahons in their sights.
Another week, another victory for The Shield. While they once again notched a win over Team Hell No and a third party (Randy Orton in this case), the self-styled “Hounds of Justice” hardly waltzed off with their latest triumph. In fact, thanks to the focused intensity of Daniel Bryan, The Shield (whose confrontation with the McMahons ended without incident) barely even notched the “W” at all.
Not only did Bryan start the contest, but after The Shield rallied following hot streaks by both Kane and Orton, Bryan took control and brought the “Hounds” as close to the doghouse as they’ve ever been. But The Shield turned the tables by storming the ring and initiating a fracas that proved to be the deciding factor in the bout when Orton was shoved into an advancing Bryan. The impact knocked the submission expert out of whack, leaving him vulnerable to a match-ending standing bulldog from Dean Ambrose.
To cull a phrase from a fellow Samoan, The Usos hit like lightning and vanished like smoke in a big, big win over The Prime Time Players that re-established them as a team to watch in the tag team division. Sporting some nifty new face paint, Jimmy & Jey took it to The Players at high velocity, employing their trademark teamwork to withstand the power of Titus O’Neil and keep the bout in their favor. Once they isolated Darren Young from his beefy partner, the twins unleashed the final stroke of their victory and struck “Mr. No Days Off” with a Superfly Splash to send Titus & Darren from Prime Time to basic cable.
Tied at 2-2 with Ziggler’s hefty heavy, Big E Langston, Alberto Del Rio took to the ring on Raw looking to avenge his most recent loss. Del Rio was ultimately successful in the endeavor, although it took every bit of his considerable cunning to defeat the big man for a third time.
Seemingly anticipating Del Rio’s technically sound game plan, Langston unleashed his little-seen speed in the bout’s opening minutes, bouncing across the ring and leaving The Essence of Excellence flattened in his wake. A series of backbreakers seemed to spell doom for The Pride of Mexico, but Del Rio reversed the tide and applied the Cross Armbreaker. Anticipating Big E’s powerful counter to the maneuver, Del Rio used his ring savvy to reverse the reversal into an unorthodox rollup pin, putting Langston down for three. Olé!
The age-old question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object was finally answered when Sheamus’ boot collided with Cody Rhodes’ mustache on Raw, initiating an instantaneous pinfall for The Celtic Warrior and a tough loss for the former Intercontinental Champion. But like all great solutions to age-old conundrums, it took some time for the two Superstars to arrive at that fateful point of contact.
With Damien Sandow disparaging the Irishman from a post at the commentary table, Sheamus and Rhodes went to work on each other in the ring. Rhodes certainly lived up to his newest, Sandow-coined moniker (“The Prince of Precision”) in his initial dismantling of The Celtic Warrior. But Cody’s technical acumen proved a poor counter once Sheamus picked up momentum, dodging a Rhodes moonsault and unleashing the aforementioned Brogue Kick to earn a hard-fought win.
Not only do the record books reflect that Fandango is winless against The Great Khali in dance-offs, but the dancing Superstar’s luck in genuine competition is similarly spotty against the former World Champion. Each of Fandango’s tangos with The Punjabi Playboy have ended in abrupt fashion, and their meeting in Hartford was no exception.
Granted, it was only quick thinking on Fandango’s part that kept him from looking up at the lights, as he attempted to flee when the big man had Fandango on the proverbial ropes. An appearance by The Miz kept Fandango from making a clean getaway, but Wade Barrett truly brought the action to a halt when he appeared from the locker room and leveled The Awesome One with a Bull Hammer that allowed Fandango to dance away unscathed, but posed an ill omen for Miz's previously-announced bout with Barrett himself.
Wade Barrett got the better of The Miz with an underhanded Bull Hammer from behind before their match, but The Awesome One got the last laugh with a Figure Four Leglock that left the Intercontinental Champion a-tappin’ for mercy in a non-title victory on Raw. Though, all things considered, Miz got a pretty big assist in his win over the brawling champion, as Barrett had left him pancaked with the Winds of Change when Fandango reappeared atop the ramp with Summer Rae in tow. The pair’s impromptu dance left Barrett distracted just long enough for Miz to rally, tripping the Englishman up and wrenching his legs into the Figure Four for a submission victory and a sigh of relief in quick succession.
With a stroke of his pen, Paul Heyman made it official for Chris Jericho: He has his match against CM Punk at WWE Payback in The Straight Edge Superstar’s hometown of Chicago. Despite the mad scientist’s protestations that the former WWE Champion would make a “liar” out of Jericho at Payback, The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla seemed anything but skittish at the prospect of facing the absentee Punk on his own home turf.
Not only that, but Y2J got a few laughs at Heyman’s expense as well, rolling up the contract and depositing it down the front of the mad scientist’s pants once pen had been put to paper. Needless to say, Jericho found all this quite amusing, as did the WWE Universe. Whether he’s still smiling two weeks from now … well, that’s the big question, isn’t it?
After a succession of humiliations at the hands of her fellow Divas, Kaitlyn finally got one up on the resident mean girls of WWE, notching the deciding pinfall in a hard-hitting Six-Diva Tag Team Match. Joining forces with The Funkadactyls against AJ Lee & The Bellas, Kaitlyn and her team started strong but fell behind when the devious Bellas isolated Naomi from her partners.
The feisty Funkadactyl roared back to tag Kaitlyn into the match and the Divas Champion went to work against her opponents, though AJ did give her an assist of sorts in the win: With Nikki Bella taken out, Brie went to tag AJ into the match and she, well, declined to accept the tag (talk about payback), leaving Brie to the mercy of a spear and the ignominy of a three-count to put the Divas action to its end
When Daniel Bryan promises to beat the respect out of someone, he will be beating the respect out of someone. Despite Ryback’s earlier assertion that he’d wipe the floor with the submission expert, their impromptu matchup left the “Human Wrecking Ball” so stunned he willingly ate a disqualification loss.
In some ways, Ryback was lucky to even make it to the bout’s finale. Bryan dug deep into his arsenal of submissions, targeting Ryback’s legs in an attack that left the No. 1 contender to the WWE Title literally stumbling around the ring in agony. With Bryan proving tougher than anticipated, Ryback decided he’d had enough and (literally) turned the tables, piledriving Bryan through a table and taking a DQ loss in the process.
But before the “Human Wrecking Ball” could send the “No!” man the way of Kofi Kingston, WWE Champion John Cena came to Bryan’s aid in a standoff that was mitigated by the arrival of Curtis Axel, whose own match against Cena was about to begin.
"Chekhov's Table" struck and Curtis Axel’s winning streak continued in the finale of Raw when the third-generation prodigy clashed with the WWE Champion in a McMahon-mandated No Disqualification Match, riding an unlikely assist to another controversial victory. While Paul Heyman’s newest prospect may be a Superstar of few words, he proved himself to be a competitor of considerable brutality, swinging a steel chair and showing shades of his father and grandfather in a strong, veteran-level effort against the Cenation leader.
A comeback from Cena nearly left Axel in splinters when he hoisted the Heyman Guy up for the Attitude Adjustment and made for one of Ryback’s leftover tables, but a timely interference by Ryback himself liberated Axel from The Champ’s clutches. Ryback made his second statement of the night, plowing Cena through the pine while Axel scrambled back to the ring to beat the ten-count. Heyman Guy, 3; future WWE Hall of Famers, 0.
- 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 Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) & Randy Orton (17:15)
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) (4:00)
- Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Big E. Langston (w/ AJ Lee) (4:55)
- Sheamus defeated Cody Rhodes (5:20)
- The Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle & Natalya) defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) by Count Out (2:00)
- The Miz defeated Wade Barrett (3:20)
- The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) & Kaitlyn defeated AJ Lee & The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) (4:30)
- Daniel Bryan defeated Ryback by DQ (15:00)
- Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated John Cena by Count Out in a No Disqualification Match (13:00)
Other on-screen talent