On a night of jubilation and anticipation, Raw instead kicked off on a venomous note when Randy Orton slithered to the ring in the show's opening minutes for a match against Dolph Ziggler. The Showoff stormed into Raw looking to make an impact before he leads a squad against The Viper and the rest of Team Foley at the fall classic. Seizing his opportunity, Mr. Money in the Bank took it to The Apex Predator early and often in his statement match against the nine-time World Champion, though the outcome was not, perhaps, what he had expected.
Ziggler, who took Orton to the limit at Night of Champions, gave Orton no quarter and showed no mercy in what was an uncommonly brutal showing from The Showoff. A last-minute distraction, though, spelled doom for the flashy Superstar when Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez ran to the ring and attempted to distract The Apex Predator. Though Ziggler nearly achieved victory thanks to the interference from his Survivor Series lieutenants, Orton's veteran instinct took over and The Viper rolled Mr. Money in the Bank for a quick pin.
Business was not yet concluded for Del Rio, however. The Essence of Excellence stormed the ring and, alongside Ziggler, administered a stomping on Orton that continued unchecked until Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston sprinted to the ring to help his Team Foley comrade. The fracas then brought out Teddy Long, who, looking spiffy in his red suit, restored order to the chaos in his own, time-honored manner on behalf of Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero: The contest would be restarted as a (you guessed it) tag team match.
Was this a harbinger of things to come at Survivor Series? The Teddy Long–mandated tag team match between Team Foley members Randy Orton & Kofi Kingston and Team Ziggler members Alberto Del Rio & Ziggler himself was a fast, furious affair that culminated in an ominous win for the wily warriors of The Showoff's squadron.
Ziggler & Del Rio stuck to a simple game plan of double-teaming the dynamic Kingston while keeping Orton safely tucked away in his own corner, but calamity seemed certain after Orton maneuvered his way back into the match and unleashed a flurry of attacks to a seemingly stunned Del Rio. With The Mexican Aristocrat dazed, Kingston made his way back into the match, but The Dreadlocked Dynamo was himself ill-prepared for Del Rio's resilience. The two-time WWE Champion cleaned Kofi's clock with an enzuigiri kick that put the Intercontinental Champion down for the count of three.
They say the truth will set you free, so who was left liberated when Vickie Guerrero finally convinced AJ Lee to give her side of the "AJ scandal"?
Well, that's a complicated question to answer. You see, while Vickie (and Dolph Ziggler, who remained in the ring for moral support) seemed to be scraping the bottom of the barrel in their supposed evidence against AJ and the Cenation leader. What transpired on Monday seemed to turn the tide, stunningly enough, back in their favor.
For one, Vickie finally got AJ to tell her side of the story, and from the get-go, the former Raw General Manager seemed uncommonly on-edge when addressing the scandal. "I admit it!" AJ barked after Vickie's needling reached its breaking point, although her follow-up managed to leave Vickie somewhat at a loss for words. "John Cena and I ... are just friends."
With Vickie reeling, AJ attempted to get to the bottom of the Managing Supervisor's slanderous efforts: lingering embarrassment over Mr. McMahon's appointment of AJ as Raw GM at Raw 1,000, compounded by AJ's previous humiliation of Vickie and, of course, the ever-present threat of yet another beatdown at AJ's hands.
But while a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, what Vickie had in store for the former Raw GM seemed to unnerve her more than any security footage ever could: audio evidence.
"What happened last night was a mistake," boomed a supposed voicemail from AJ after Vickie cued it up over the TitanTron loudspeakers. "I want to stop ... but ... when I see you ... I lose control," purred another, leaving AJ genuinely baffled over the origins of the messages. The voice was, indeed, hers, but the messages, she swore, were doctored. She immediately called into question how Vickie got her hands on them.
Never one to pass up the opportunity to insult someone, Ziggler interjected himself here. "What's more embarrassing?" The Showoff sneered. "The fact that John won't talk to you anymore, or all those nights in his hotel room?"
Cue the trumpets and the M.O.P. sample, because this latest insult brought out Cena, who stomped down to AJ's rescue, but found his services somewhat unwarranted: Vickie stopped the Cenation leader from decking Ziggler ... and proceeded to do the honors herself, flooring Mr. Money in the Bank with a slap to the face before finally allowing Cena to eject the shamed Showoff from the ring.
We're not even sure brass knuckles could have spared William Regal from the ignominious ending of his one-on-one contest against Big Show. Following his twofold humiliation by the giant last week in his native England, the Blackpool southpaw was all business when it came to his opportunity at unmanning the giant in Columbus. Unfortunately, Regal had more guts than luck on his side in Nationwide Arena, as he was simply outpowered by The World's Largest Athlete in a bout that was nasty, brutish and short in equal measure. Despite a late surge that nearly saw Regal reclaim the advantage over Show, the giant ensnared the Englishman in a thunderous chokeslam that left Regal in sections.
A simple victory wouldn't satiate Big Show, however, who was all set to knock Regal out yet again following the defeat. Happily for Regal, Sheamus would have none of it. The mighty Irishman thundered down the ramp, chasing Show from the ring and offering aid to his fallen fellow U.K.-er, looking madder than ever and ready for a fight.
The Divas division got itself a big shake-up on Raw this week when Kaitlyn defeated Layla to once again throw her name in the race for the Divas Championship, and officially securing herself a match against Eve at Survivor Series. While Eve sat at commentary, dismissing Kaitlyn as inexperienced and too amateur a competitor to present a serious challenge for her championship, the former NXT standout proved the champion wrong in resounding fashion, reversing Layla's wild offense into a thunderous reverse DDT that spelled doom for both Layla and, potentially, Eve's title reign as well.
There was no pomp and circumstance in re-introducing Jerry "The King" Lawler to the WWE Universe for his first Raw since his near-fatal heart attack nine weeks earlier, because there was no need for any. Lawler's mere presence seemed to light a fire in the WWE Universe, each and every one of whom was either on their feet or bowing in reverence when the WWE Hall of Famer made his long-awaited return, a moment that Lawler, Michael Cole and Jim Ross unanimously agreed nobody was sure would ever happen again. "I just want to say from the bottom of my heart that I appreciate it," a tearful Lawler said. "I love you all so much. It's great to be …"
Enter CM Punk.
The Second City Saint, who clearly has not been one for celebration these past few months, wasted no time in picking up where he left off in his torment of the WWE Hall of Famer. The Voice of the Voiceless' audacity knew no bounds in particular on Monday night. "It's good you left the ring when you did," Punk sneered after Lawler headed back to the announce booth, "because if you did, I would have beat you to death ... again."
Because what else should "The King" have expected, Punk said, after getting in the ring with the reigning WWE Champion and "attempting to relive his glory days"? While the Superstars in the locker room talked about the number of minutes Lawler clinically left the land of the living, Punk presented a figure that he claimed "actually means something": 358, the number of days he had stood as champion, a number that officially ties him with Diesel on the all-time list.
The mockery didn't stop there, though, as Punk only paused his mockery of Lawler to aid Paul Heyman in the mad scientist's crass imitation of a heart attack. This, of course, would not stand for Mick Foley, who had been waiting in the wings during "The King's" return and saw fit to confront Punk one final time.
Because even though the two Superstars had supposedly concluded their business following the installation of Dolph Ziggler as a Survivor Series captain, Foley still had a few words for Punk's attempt to hijack Lawler's return for himself. "Let me tell you a secret about Jerry 'The King' Lawler," Foley seethed, the old Cactus Jack fury seeping from his pores. "HE WAS DEAD! And through miracles ... he's here tonight. ... You think the fact Jerry Lawler is here involves you and it DOESN'T!"
And yes, while Foley did harbor disappointment over losing Punk as a Survivor Series opponent and the opportunity to "teach him a lesson," not to mention the hole left in his ranks by Ryback's absence (to be filled by the WWE Universe via a RAWactive poll) he wasn't all that upset given the "parting gift" he'd been granted by the powers that be. For Punk's contest against Cena later in the night, Foley would serve as the Special Guest Enforcer.
It was chaos in Columbus when four of WWE's most high-octane tag teams collided in an 8-Man Tag Team Match, but it was an entirely unrelated Superstar who seemed to raise the most eyebrows throughout the course of the showstopping contest.
Primo had just begun a bout of offense in the ring when Ricardo Rodriguez strolled down the ramp and passed a note to Rosa Mendes outside the ring. Although the message's contents remained undisclosed, it was enough to flush Rosa's cheeks and distract Primo enough for Rey Mysterio to tag in. Mysterio unleashed a whirlwind of attacks on the former WWE Tag Team Champion, culminating in him tossing Primo over the ropes in one of his most eye-popping offensive sequences in recent memory.
Of course, Titus O'Neil was right there to bring Mysterio back down to earth. A series of backbreakers from "The Big Deal" left The Master of the 619 reeling on the mat, and the punishment continued for Mysterio after Primo and Darren Young tagged in to continue the attack. Mysterio managed to create separation and tag in Kidd, who stormed into the match like a house on fire and gave Young no room to breathe in an astounding offensive barrage that left "Mr. No Days Off" stumbling aimlessly around the ring. Kidd looked to seal the victory for his team by applying the Dungeon Lock, and that's when chaos struck.
All the combatants stormed the ring in quick succession, and Young attempted to capitalize by hitting Kidd with the Gutbuster. Kidd twisted Young into a hurricanrana, leaving the door open for Mysterio to dial up the 619, while Gabriel sealed the deal with a 450 Splash to leave the foiled foursome slinking to the showers.
As the old expression says: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Miz and Mick Foley might just find themselves unlikely allies at Survivor Series after The Awesome One maneuvered his way into the running to fill Ryback's slot on The Hardcore Legend's Survivor Series team. It was a spat with The Showoff that led to Foley making a marquee tag match for later in the evening (Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Kane & the RAWactive winner) and culminating in Miz planting the idea in Foley's mind.
"Put me on the ballot tonight to be on Team Foley at Survivor Series," Miz told Foley. "I know you don't like me and I don't like you, but think about it: beating Team Ziggler wouldn't be great … It would be ... awesome."
Clearly, The Hardcore Legend isn't the only one who has a way with words because, Foley, moved by the former WWE Champion's plea, acquiesced.
With the incumbent, immaculately dressed champion Antonio Cesaro scouting at ringside (note to all: It's a satchel. Indiana Jones had one), R-Truth made a strong case for himself as a challenger for Cesaro's United States Championship, which he will indeed compete for at the fall classic, with a win over no less a beast than Tensai. The mighty gaijin attempted to ground the freewheeling Superstar with his signature nerve holds and power attacks, but Truth sprung forth with a Little Jimmy to put his monstrous challenger away.
Of course, Cesaro couldn't let the victory stand without a little bit of multilingual mean-mugging, so he proceeded to disparage Truth with minimal fanfare. Truth, of course, would have no such travesty occur, and declared (via a knock-knock joke) that Cesaro's days as U.S. Champion were numbered.
Ask and you shall receive, Brad Maddox.
With a million-dollar contract on the line, the rogue ref–turned prospective Superstar took to the ring for a one-on-one match with Ryback himself, the Superstar Maddox robbed of the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell. And while Maddox certainly seemed game for the contest (He even had a personal cameraman who fashioned his own Brad Maddox shirt out of a Ryback one), it was a poor omen at best when, instead of a theme song, the whine of an apparently precautionary ambulance siren accompanied him to the ring.
Maddox did get one final moment of joy before the slaughter began: A pre-taped address played over the TitanTron in which he proclaimed it "the greatest night of his life."
"I'm a WWE Superstar," Maddox beamed. "No one is ever going to forget the name Brad Maddox."
It would appear at the very least that one Superstar remembered Maddox's name already because what Ryback perpetrated was less a match than a massacre. The beast made Maddox famous all right and was merciless in his dismantling of Maddox (who to his immense credit, would not stay down until the very end). With no absence of malice, Ryback pummeled the former ref's head into the canvas and decimated him with a Meathook Clothesline before executing Shell Shocked for the win and tossing Maddox inside (and against) the ambulance as a final exclamation point.
All of which, we suppose, was an elaborate lesson to the would-be wunderkind. To use another cliché, that lesson is: be careful what you wish for.
Sheamus was steaming following Big Show's attack of his friend William Regal, and who better to take his frustrations out on than a lawyer?
Nobody, as David Otunga found out to his detriment in a one-on-one contest with a fired-up Celtic Warrior. For all his mental might, the Harvard Law graduate fell victim to the brawler's unchecked wrath in the ring just as he did in the deposition room. Otunga attempted to get in Sheamus' head with a brief pose-down, but it didn't get him very far. A White Noise–Brogue Kick sequence soon followed, leaving Otunga down for the count and a freshly charged Sheamus alone with the mic.
While The Celtic Warrior aired his intentions to reclaim the World Heavyweight Title at Survivor Series, however, Big Show was revealed backstage on the TitanTron. In an ominous message to his challenger, the World Heavyweight Champion felled William Regal (who was watching backstage on a monitor) once again with the KO Punch, leaving Regal with a concussion and possibly broken jaw as Sheamus scrambled to his friend's aid.
As anyone in anger management can likely attest, passive-aggressive behavior is a powerful thing. It's a shame, then, that Dr. Shelby wasn't in the house during Kane's tag team match alongside The Miz to witness Daniel Bryan's attempted sabotage of his partner's teaming with another Superstar (this despite Kane's efforts to placate Bryan before the match by claiming he didn't have a new partner, but rather both men had a new teammate).
Suffice it to say, Kane working with a Superstar outside the ranks of Team Hell No didn't sit well with the submission technician, who looked like he'd rather have his teeth pulled than smile and shake Miz's hand before the match started. Bryan's mood didn't improve when The Awesome One gelled instantly alongside The Devil's Favorite Demon. Kane's power served as a perfect complement to the mouthy son of Cleveland, and this Bryan could not abide. The irascible WWE Tag Team Champion made a show of "supporting" his former WWE NXT mentor, but sprang at the chance to humiliate Miz in his home state. Bryan attempted to toss The Awesome One into the turnbuckle, but Miz reversed him and sent Bryan into an unsuspecting Cody Rhodes, leaving him prone to a match-ending Chokeslam from a vengeful (and confused) Big Red Monster. Whatever their differences, the clock is ticking for Kane & Bryan, who will defend their Tag Team Championships against Team Rhodes Scholars on WWE Main Event this Wednesday.
Nearly two months after their last meeting, CM Punk's epic conflict with John Cena resumed in the confines of Nationwide Arena, with Mick Foley patrolling the outside as the Special Guest Enforcer. And despite Punk's hesitance to mix it up with Cena, the 10-time WWE Champion notched a strong victory over the incumbent titleholder when Foley prevented The Second City Saint from abandoning the contest.
Forced to fight his way out of the predicament, however, Punk responded with gusto despite his efforts to vacate the bout. The Voice of the Voiceless' technical expertise nearly swung the contest after Punk locked Cena in a vise-like sleeper hold, but Cena managed to power out and create separation by slamming Punk into the turnbuckle. Punk briefly abandoned mat wrestling for brute force when he exchanged a barrage of kicks and punches against the Cenation leader. But blunt force is where Cena lives, and the 10-time WWE Champion countered strongly with his signature shoulderblocks.
Punk was not about to take Cena's moves lying down, though, and sprang a surprise counter to leave Cena prone for the flying elbow. Cena dodged the airborne strike and landed a Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk again countered, writhing out of the Attitude Adjustment and stunning Cena with a kick to the face before locking him up in the Koji Clutch. Cena broke the hold by reaching the ropes. The maneuver appeared to have taken its toll on him, but as always, Cena would not be counted out so fast. He countered Punk's springboard clothesline into the STF and, after Foley foiled Paul Heyman's attempt to break the hold, locked Punk in the maneuver again until the champion made his way to the ropes.
Having had enough, Punk attempted again to leave, but was met by Ryback halfway up the ramp and scrambled reluctantly back to the ring. Cena, however, was lying in wait and pounded Punk with the Attitude Adjustment to pin the champion. Cena's jubilation was ultimately short-lived as he found himself face to face again with Ryback. Each man grabbed hold of Punk's precious title, laying claim to The Second City Saint's prize while Punk himself withered in dread, the elusive yearlong mark never closer and yet, somehow, never quite so far away.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler (3:20)
- Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio defeated Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton (7:47)
- Big Show defeated William Regal (1:38)
- Kaitlyn defeated Layla to become No. 1 contender at Survivor Series (1:08)
- Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel defeated The Prime Time Players & Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes) (10:03)
- R-Truth defeated Tensai (2:17)
- Ryback defeated Brad Maddox (5:32)
- Sheamus defeated David Otunga (2:22)
- Kane & The Miz (w/ Daniel Bryan) defeated Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) (5:39)
- John Cena defeated CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) (13:20)
Other on-screen talent