A Win is a Win.
Three weeks before WWE Payback, RAW would head to the Great White North as the 1044th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Scotiabank Saddledome in the hometown of the legendary Hart Family, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In the city where countless legendary competitors would get their first taste of professional wrestling, from The Hart Dungeon & Family patriarch Stu Hart to his son, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, to Chris Jericho, and including such legends and current Superstars as “Superstar” Billy Graham, The British Bulldog, Mark Henry, Edge, Christian, Natalya, Lance Storm, Brian Pillman, and the Dungeon’s final graduate, Tyson Kidd, RAW would pay tribute to the most successful Superstar to come from The Hart Dungeon, the WWE Hall of Famer and Canadian hero himself, Bret “The Hitman” Hart as RAW presents Bret Hart Appreciation Night on the first ever RAW Post-Show, exclusively airing on the WWE App, as well as The Score in Canada! Also, after revealing third-generation star Curtis Axel as his next client on last week’s RAW, the new “Paul Heyman Guy” had an inconclusive match with Triple H on RAW, as well as a victory over Sin Cara on SmackDown, and, on RAW, Paul Heyman himself would join Chris Jericho on a special edition of The Highlight Reel! Also, after Triple H collapsed during his match with Curtis Axel on last week’s RAW, what will be the latest on the status of “The Game”? Are the thirteen-time World Champion’s days of competing over?
- Alberto Del Rio def. Big E. Langston (with AJ Lee) by roll-up after sending Big E. Langston into the exposed steel turnbuckle.
- United States Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) def. Kofi Kingston by pin following the Headlock Driver to retain.
- WWE Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (c) def. Team Hell No by Seth Rollins (c) pinning Kane following the knee to the head to retain.
- Non-Title: Special Referee- The Miz: Fandango (with The Miz) def. Wade Barrett by pin following the Skull Crushing Finale by The Miz.
- 6-Man Tag: The Great Khali & Tons of Funk def. 3MB by Brodus Clay pinning Heath Slater following the Funkasplash.
- The Bella Twins def. Kaitlyn & Natalya by Brie Bella pinning Natalya following an accidental Spear by Kaitlyn.
- Sheamus & Randy Orton def. Team Rhodes Scholars by Sheamus pinning Damien Sandow following the Brogue Kick.
- Non-Title: Curtis Axel (with Ryback) def. John Cena by count-out.
For the first time since his brutal Last Man Standing Match against Ryback that ended in a No Contest after he was driven through a lighting grid at Extreme Rules, RAW kicks off with the WWE Champion, John Cena. Cena says that the Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Title at Extreme Rules ended in “controversy” as neither man was able to get to their feet, saying that both he and Ryback feel that they deserve to carry the WWE Championship. Amidst chants of “We Want Bret”, the WWE Champion says that “payback should be hell” before declaring that the WWE Championship match should be a Three Stages of Hell Match, where two competitors square off in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match, but with an extreme twist on each fall! Cena explains that, since Ryback likes to “run” from fights, the first fall will be a Lumberjack Match, where a host of Superstars will surround the ring, throwing a competitor back into the ring whenever they find themselves on the outside of the ring. The WWE Champion then says that he is very familiar with the fans chanting “We Want Tables”, so the second stage of the Three Stages of Hell will be a Tables Match. Cena then says that, if it comes to one fall a piece, the third and final stage will be the Ambulance Match that Ryback wanted in the first place! Cena vows to beat Ryback two straight in the Three Stages of Hell Match, but says that the ambulance will still get some use as it will haul Ryback out of the arena after the beating he will take at WWE Payback! Ryback then comes out, saying that the WWE Champion is right when he says that “payback should be hell” and he tried to put Cena through hell at Extreme Rules. The #1 Contender then tells Cena to “say hello to Satan”!
Ryback then marches to the back before Paul Heyman comes out, saying that he wants to introduce John Cena to a “future WWE Hall of Famer” and a “future WWE Champion”, the man who “defeated Triple H” decisively last week and made sure that we will never see Triple H on RAW again! Heyman then brings out his newest client, Curtis Axel, before Heyman says that he knows that Cena is a “fighting champion” and that is why he is proposing that WWE Champion John Cena face the “future WWE Champion” Curtis Axel! The WWE Champion advises Curtis Axel to stay away from Paul Heyman because he is “full of crap”, but Axel says that they did not ask for Cena’s opinion, they asked if Cena wanted a “fight” and the gutsy champion accepts the challenge of the young newcomer!
After getting defeated by Big E. Langston on last week’s RAW and surprising Langston with a roll-up to pick up the win on Main Event, the “rubber match” would take place on RAW as the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title, Alberto Del Rio, with Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner, would go one-on-one with Big E. Langston, with AJ Lee in his corner. During the match, AJ Lee would spot Big E. Langston being in big trouble, so she would distract the referee by removing the turnbuckle cover, exposing the steel turnbuckle. However, Alberto Del Rio would not allow Big E. Langston to capitalize as he would lock in the cross armbreaker on the big man, but Langston would power out of the move. The resourceful Del Rio would then shove Langston into the exposed steel turnbuckle, catching Langston with a roll-up en route to picking up the win! After the match, AJ Lee gets in the ring, shouting at Big E. Langston, blaming Langston for the loss. Big E. would give AJ an angry glare before exiting the ring, frustrated over his loss.
Still obsessed over thinking that he is the “weak link” of Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan is pacing in the locker room before Kane tells Bryan to stop the obsession. Kane tells Daniel Bryan that the only person that thinks Bryan is the “weak link” is Daniel Bryan, saying that you don’t have to be “big” to be tough. Kane says that, if they hope to regain the WWE Tag Team Titles from The Shield, then Daniel Bryan is going to have to pull it together. Daniel Bryan mistakes Kane’s words for saying that Kane does think that Bryan is the weak link of the team, sparking a “yes”, “no” shouting match between the tag team partners. However, the shouting comes to an end when Team Hell No spots Hall of Famer and Calgary’s own Bret “The Hitman” Hart watching the proceedings! Bret tells Kane & Daniel Bryan that they are one of the “best tag team partnerships” that he has ever seen, saying that he has seen “tension” break up countless tag teams and Team Hell No is “better than that”. Daniel Bryan then steps forward, saying that Bret was the smaller man in The Hart Foundation and asking the Hall of Famer if he was ever considered the weak link. Bret repeats what Kane said, saying that “toughness” has nothing to do with size and tells Bryan that is one of the toughest WWE Superstars that he has ever seen, saying that “nothing” can stop him. After Bret exits, Kane asks Bryan why it is that both he and Bret can say the same thing, but Bryan listens to Bret and not him. Bryan says that it’s because Bret is “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be”, while Kane is “just Kane”!
After their match for the United States Championship on SmackDown ended in a disqualification, thanks to interference from Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns, the rematch would take place on RAW as Kofi Kingston would challenge one-third of The Shield, Dean Ambrose, for the United States Title! During the match, it was Dean Ambrose knocking Kofi Kingston off of the ring apron with Kofi’s face bouncing off of the steel steps that would lead to Kingston’s downfall as Ambrose follows it up with the Headlock Driver on Kofi en route to picking up the win and successfully retaining the United States Title. After the match, Dean Ambrose is joined by Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns as The Shield celebrates Dean Ambrose’s title defense, but Team Hell No breaks up the celebration, brawling with The Shield before their title match gets underway.
The WWE Tag Team Titles were also on the line on RAW as Team Hell No would try to regain the titles as Kane & Daniel Bryan get their rematch for the gold against the new champions, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns of The Shield. During the match, Daniel Bryan would take Roman Reigns to the outside, diving out on top of Reigns, effectively taking him out of the match for the time-being. However, Daniel Bryan would continue to pummel Reigns on the outside and, after Kane puts Seth Rollins down in the ring with a big boot, Kane goes to climb the turnbuckle, but not before telling Bryan to get back in his corner. Kane would hit his signature clothesline off of the top rope and would wind up for the chokeslam, but Kane would spot Daniel Bryan on the ring apron, sizing Reigns up for another dive to the outside. Kane opts to go over to Bryan, again pleading with his tag team partner to get back to their corner, but Bryan refuses to listen and runs off of the apron with the intent of taking Reigns down. However, the time that Team Hell No took to argue would prove costly as Reigns catches Daniel Bryan in mid-air, slamming Bryan on the arena floor! Meanwhile, in the ring, Seth Rollins would come off the top rope with a knee to the head of Kane, pinning Kane to pick up the win and successfully retain the WWE Tag Team Titles for himself and Roman Reigns!
After leaving Wade Barrett alone to combat both The Miz and Chris Jericho in a tag match on last week’s RAW, “The Dancing Enigma” Fandango, with Summer Rae in his corner, would go one-on-one with Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in a non-title match and, as voted on by the WWE fans, The Miz would serve as the Special Referee of the match! During the match, Wade Barrett would shove The Miz and the Special Referee would not take this kindly as The Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Wade Barrett, which would allow Fandango to pin the Intercontinental Champion for the win! After the match, Fandango would look to celebrate with Summer Rae with a dance, but when Fandango dips Summer Rae, The Miz kicks Fandango in the head and Summer falls on top of Fandango! The Miz then counts the pinfall, declaring Summer Rae the winner!
Backstage, WWE Champion John Cena is confronted by an unexpected guest as WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels confronted Cena in the trainer’s room, asking the WWE Champion if he really wants to go through with facing Curtis Axel despite his injuries stemming from Extreme Rules. Cena says that he never backs down from a challenge and HBK says that he saw what Ryback did to Cena at Extreme Rules and, much like he has tried to tell Triple H, Cena tries to return to competition too soon. Michaels says that guys like Cena and Triple H “never listen”, saying that he is the “voice of reason”, but Cena and Triple H “never, ever listen”. The WWE Champion responds by saying that it reminds him of “someone else” that he knows, saying that HBK “never listens” either!
In a 6-Man Tag Match, The Great Khali would team with Tons of Funk, with Hornswoggle, Natalya, & The Funkadactyls in their corner, to face 3MB, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, & Drew McIntyre. In the end, it was Brodus Clay hitting the Funkasplash on Heath Slater en route to picking up the win for himself, Tensai, & The Great Khali. After the match, Brodus Clay informs the crowd that today is Calgary native Natalya’s birthday, handing the microphone to The Great Khali, so he can sing “Happy Birthday” to his girlfriend.
Then it was time for The Highlight Reel as six-time World Champion and graduate of the famed Hart Dungeon in Calgary, Chris Jericho, would return to his homeland of Canada to his talk show with guest, Paul Heyman! Y2J welcomes everyone to The Highlight Reel before introducing his guest as “one of the most controversial, buzz-worthy, disingenuous, annoying, bulbous Superstars and performers in WWE history”, bringing out Paul Heyman, who makes his way to the ring to join Jericho on The Highlight Reel. Jericho says that Heyman has been called many things in his career from a “genius” to a “walrus”, but says that Heyman has a history of aligning himself with “tremendous talent”. Heyman argues that he doesn’t just align himself with great talent, he “discovers and develops” great talent, pointing to Jericho as a prime example. Heyman continues, saying that he gave Jericho his “very big first break” and Jericho agrees, but reminds Heyman that Heyman still owes him money! Heyman says that he has waived his appearance fee to be on The Highlight Reel before saying that he has taken and developed Curtis Axel, who steps up and faces the WWE Champion, John Cena, later on in the evening.
Jericho admits that he has been a big fan of Curtis Axel for a while, saying Axel has “tremendous potential”, but says that he doesn’t want to talk about Curtis Axel, he wants to talk about Paul Heyman’s “other client”. Heyman then jumps in, saying that he is so proud to be the advocate for Brock Lesnar, beginning to list off the many accomplishments of “The Beast”. However, Jericho cuts Heyman off, asking Heyman to “please, shut the hell up”! Y2J says that he doesn’t want to talk about Curtis Axel and he does not care what Brock Lesnar is doing on his “spring break”, the “Paul Heyman guy” that he wants to talk about is Heyman’s “other client”, the man who has been absent from RAW for the past six weeks, CM Punk! Jericho shows footage of CM Punk’s most recent RAW appearance, which was last month, eight nights after he lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The footage shows CM Punk beginning to talk about his match with The Undertaker before handing the microphone to a stunned Paul Heyman and walking off of RAW, not being seen since. Jericho then says that Heyman has the same look on his face now that he did then, maybe Punk surprised Heyman as well as the fans. Heyman dodges the topic, opting to talk about his suit, but when Jericho implores Heyman to continue and to discuss CM Punk, Heyman goes on a tirade. Heyman says that CM Punk was the reigning and defending WWE Champion for 434 consecutive days and he did not have to come out there and say “stupid things” like he’s “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be” because he was “the best in the world” and Punk has never gotten the “respect” that he deserves. Again, Jericho cuts Heyman off, getting into Heyman’s face and bluntly asking, “Where is CM Punk?” However, Heyman does not exactly answer the question, instead saying that, in the next “few weeks”, CM Punk will return to RAW and, together, he and Punk will make an announcement regarding Punk’s return to the ring. Jericho argues that CM Punk is “not allowed to sit at home for six weeks” and still call himself “the best in the world”, but Heyman says that Punk would disagree. Jericho then brings up that WWE Payback is in Punk’s hometown of Chicago on June 16, saying that if Punk thinks that he can “take his ball and go home” and sit around like a “spoiled, petulant child” and still call himself “the best in the world”, then CM Punk is out of his “straightedge, bald-headed mind”!
Jericho continues, saying that fans in Canada and fans around the world would consider Jericho “the best….”, but Heyman would refuse to let Jericho say it, telling Y2J that it is not his to say! Jericho argues that Punk certainly does not have the right to say it anymore before laying out an open challenge for CM Punk to return at WWE Payback in three weeks and face Jericho one-on-one once again! Heyman laughs at the idea of Jericho trying to “negotiate” with him, saying that Jericho could no doubt mop the floor with him physically, but Jericho does not get to “dictate terms” to either him or CM Punk. Jericho then says that’s fine, saying that Punk can sit at home before Jericho says that he is within his rights to say that he is “the best in the world at what I do”! As the crowd chants “Y2J”, Heyman tries to laugh off Jericho’s proclamation, saying that Jericho wants a match with CM Punk in Punk’s hometown, then on behalf of his client, he accepts the match between Punk and Jericho for Payback! Jericho then shakes Heyman’s hand before pulling Heyman in close and telling Heyman to tell Punk that, at Payback, Punk will “never, ever be the same again”!
RAW would feature Divas action as Divas Champion Kaitlyn would team with Calgary’s own Natalya to face The Bella Twins. During the match, Kaitlyn would try to deliver the Spear to Brie Bella, but Brie would side-step the Divas Champion and Kaitlyn would accidentally spear Natalya! Brie then tosses Kaitlyn to the outside before Brie Bella pins the birthday girl to pick up the win for The Bella Twins.
Backstage, Curtis Axel is confronted by one of his father’s most intense rivals, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who says that Axel reminds him a lot of the great Curt Hennig, but advises Curtis to get rid of Paul Heyman. Axel’s tune immediately changes as Curtis explains to the Hall of Famer that Bret may have been close to his father, but no one in the WWE would give him the time of day until he aligned himself with Paul Heyman, saying that Heyman is the only one who “believed” in him. Curtis then tells the Hall of Famer to enjoy his Appreciation Night because he’s got to go out and beat the WWE Champion.
A vignette aired on RAW featuring a husky bearded man in a rocking chair, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, somewhere in the woods in the South. As shots of different buildings, houses, fences, and an empty rocking chair in a barn flash by, the bearded man laughs maniacally and says that we live in a world where “society has poisoned the souls of men”. The mystery man continues, saying that men like him get down on their hands and knees and he “whispers secrets” into their ears. Two tall, bearded individuals, one bald with a red goatee and the other with scraggly black hair and beard wearing a dirty undershirt, are then shown standing by the husky man’s side. The man in the dirty undershirt then states that “we are the ones you’ve been told about and we are walking upright”. As the psychotic husky man repeatedly says “run”, the bald man is shown wearing a lamb mask in the woods. The bald man then says to tell them “we’re coming” before the dirty bearded man says to “send us someone”, but not to send anyone that they “want back” as shots of a graveyard flash by. One of the three individuals then screams, “Witness the new face of fear” before all three men demonically sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as shots of doll faces flash by. With the dirty bearded man in the background, the man wearing the lamb mask peers into the camera, uttering the line “the lamb was sure to go”. Flashes of the husky bearded man laughing flash by before everything goes black and the husky man can be heard saying, “We’re coming”.
In tag team action, “The Viper” Randy Orton would team with “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus to face the on-again, off-again team of Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow, Team Rhodes Scholars. In the end, it was Sheamus blasting Damien Sandow with the Brogue Kick en route to picking up the win for himself and Randy Orton.
Then it was time for the main event as, one week after a questionable victory over Triple H due to the referee stopping the match over Triple H’s unstable condition, the newest “Paul Heyman Guy”, Curtis Axel, would go one-on-one with WWE Champion John Cena in a non-title match! During the back-and-forth matchup, John Cena would take Curtis Axel down with a clothesline in the ring, the blaring sounds of an ambulance could be heard throughout the arena as an ambulance rolls into the arena. The WWE Champion immediately turns his attention to the ambulance, leaving the ring to investigate the ambulance. As the referee counts Cena out to give Curtis Axel the victory, Cena cautiously approaches the ambulance, expecting Ryback to pop out at any minute. Cena then swings the doors open of the ambulance, but discovers the vehicle is empty before Ryback jumps Cena from behind, pummeling the WWE Champion and rolling him into the staging area. Ryback then sets Cena up for another tackle through the stage lighting, but Cena moves out of the way. Cena then tries to deliver the Attitude Adjustment to Ryback off of the stage, but Ryback fights out, shoving Cena off of the stage before quickly retreating to the back! As Cena stands up, the ring announcer announces Curtis Axel as the winner of the match via count-out and the WWE Champion applauds the young upstart, who is now 3-0 since his debut, including a victory over the legendary Triple H and, now, the reigning WWE Champion, John Cena!
What did you think of this week’s RAW? Post your comments in the box below.