All The King’s Men.
The 1057th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. On his quest to destroy Paul Heyman and everything Heyman stands for and represents, “The Best in the World” CM Punk gladly accepted a challenge to a one-on-one match on RAW from Heyman’s client, Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel as the third-generation star looks to stand in between Punk and the destruction of his manager and mentor. Also, the WWE Title match for Night of Champions has been confirmed as “The Corporate Champion” Randy Orton will defend the most prestigious title in the WWE against the man he cashed in on and took the title from at SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan. What will happen between the champion and challenger? What will Orton and The McMahon Family have in store for Daniel Bryan?
- Cody Rhodes (with The Miz & Rosa Mendes) def. Fandango by roll-up.
- The Miz & Cody Rhodes def. Fandango & Damien Sandow by The Miz pinning Damien Sandow following the Skull Crushing Finale.
- Non-Title: CM Punk def. Curtis Axel by pin following the GTS.
- Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella & Eva Marie) def. Natalya (with The Funkadactyls) by pin following a facebuster.
- Non-Title: Rob Van Dam (with Ricardo Rodriguez) def. Alberto Del Rio by roll-up to earn a title shot at Night of Champions.
- Non-Title: Randy Orton def. Christian by pin following the RKO.
- Titus O’Neil (with Darren Young) def. Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter & Antonio Cesaro) by pin following a modified chokebomb.
- Gauntlet Match: Match #1: Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins (with Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns) by pin following the running knee.
- Gauntlet Match: Match #2: Daniel Bryan def. Dean Ambrose by DQ after Roman Reigns interferes.
- Gauntlet Match: Match #3: Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns fight to a No Contest after Dean Ambrose interferes.
RAW kicks off with United States Champion Dean Ambrose and WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns as The Shield stands at ringside, staying at the bottom of the ramp in order to protect the COO of the WWE, Triple H, who makes his way to the ring. After recapping what happened at SummerSlam, Triple H says that what he did to Daniel Bryan was just “business” and there was nothing “personal” about it. Triple H then shows what happened on last week’s RAW, where Triple H invites Daniel Bryan to the ring, only to instruct The Shield to assault Bryan before appearing to let Bryan enter the ring, where Randy Orton immediately puts Bryan down with the RKO. Triple H explains that what happened last week was “personal”, saying that Daniel Bryan is the one who made it personal, saying that Bryan insulted Triple H’s wife, as well as Triple H himself. The COO continues, saying that he is still willing to be a “business man” with Daniel Bryan, but that is up to Daniel Bryan. Triple H then turns his attention to business, touting the ratings for last week’s RAW, saying that “business is booming”. Triple H then claims that the boom is due to the new “face of the WWE” before the COO brings out his hand-picked WWE Champion, Randy Orton, who makes his way to the ring. Triple H then congratulates Randy Orton on “breathing new life” into the WWE and into the WWE Championship, saying that he likes to award people who “excel” and that is why he got Orton a “gift”. The COO continues, saying that he paid for the gift out of his own pocket, bringing out a brand new Cadillac Escalade! The WWE Champion lights up at the sight of his gift, thanking Triple H and saying that the COO realizes that Orton is the only man worthy of being the face of the WWE and the WWE Champion.
Triple H then encourages Randy Orton to go and check out his new ride, but Daniel Bryan interrupts, coming out to the stage and setting his sights on the Cadillac Escalade. Bryan says that the gift is “well-deserved” before he thanks the WWE fans for supporting him, saying that they have no idea how much it means to him. Bryan then again thanks John Cena for allowing him to wrestle for the WWE Title at SummerSlam because Triple H would never have allowed him to be in the main event any other way. Bryan continues, thanking Triple H for ending the “charade” and finally showing his true colors and showing that Triple H’s view of what’s good for business is just as “narrow-minded and misguided” as Vince McMahon’s! Bryan then says that the guy who used to rebel against authority is now a “sellout”. An angry Randy Orton then cuts Daniel Bryan off, saying that Bryan needs to show the COO of the WWE some respect and he needs to show the face of the WWE some respect. Daniel Bryan then declares that he is going to “re-arrange” the face of the WWE, as well as Triple H’s views, because he will be the WWE Champion come Night of Champions! Triple H responds by calling Daniel Bryan “Jiminy Cricket”, saying that, in the “real world”, Daniel Bryan is a “B at best” and Randy Orton is an “A player”. Triple H then says that he is all about “opportunity”, informing Daniel Bryan that he is going to give Bryan the “gift of justice” when Daniel Bryan faces all three members of The Shield, one after the other, in a Gauntlet Match! Triple H then says that he is doing it for Daniel Bryan, saying that he “believes” in Daniel Bryan and he believes that this is what is “best for business”!
With “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Damien Sandow a guest on commentary, the opening match of the night would see Cody Rhodes going one-on-one with Fandango, with Summer Rae in his corner. Early on in the match, Fandango’s music would hit and The Miz, dressed like Fandango, comes dancing out with Rosa Mendes! This distraction allows Cody Rhodes to roll Fandango up for the win. After the match, an all-out brawl breaks out as Damien Sandow rushes the ring as he and Fandango beat down Cody Rhodes before The Miz makes the save. RAW General Manager Brad Maddox then comes out, calling an end to the fight and announcing that Cody Rhodes will team with The Miz to face Fandango and Damien Sandow in a tag team match right now.
After a brawl broke out between the four men, an impromptu tag team match would see the team of Cody Rhodes & The Miz, with Rosa Mendes in their corner, face the team of “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Damien Sandow & Fandango, with Summer Rae in their corner. During the match, Fandango opts to back out of the match, leaving Damien Sandow to fight for himself. In the end, it was The Miz planting Damien Sandow with the Skull Crushing Finale en route to picking up the win for himself and Cody Rhodes.
In a match requested by Curtis Axel himself, it was then time for “The Best in the World” CM Punk to go one-on-one with Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, with Paul Heyman keeping a safe distance by staying on the stage, in a non-title match and, as voted on by the WWE fans, if CM Punk wins, Paul Heyman will be forced to get into the ring with Punk! In the end, it was CM Punk putting Curtis Axel down with the GTS, pinning the Intercontinental Champion for the win, meaning that Paul Heyman must get into the ring with CM Punk!
Not surprisingly, Paul Heyman would try to run to the back, but a couple of referees would stop Heyman. When Punk gets impatient and starts to head towards the stage, Heyman again tries to flee, but security brings Heyman back, giving Heyman to Punk! Punk rolls Heyman into the ring and gets Heyman in the corner of the ring, but before Punk could do any damage, Curtis Axel catches Punk from behind with a low blow. After getting to his feet, Paul Heyman gives Curtis Axel a pair of handcuffs and Axel handcuffs Punk’s hands behind his back, holding Punk while Heyman taunts and even slaps Punk. However, Punk would use his lethal kicks to take down Curtis Axel before knocking Heyman off of his feet, but Axel would again protect his manager, driving a steel chair into the back of Punk. The Intercontinental Champion then grabs a kendo stick and, instead of wailing away on Punk himself, Axel hands the weapon to Paul Heyman, who smacks Punk on the back with the stick. Heyman then has Axel hold Punk in the ropes while Heyman uses the kendo stick to ravage the unprotected mid-section of Punk. Axel then takes Punk to the outside of the ring and decks Punk with a right hand. The insane Paul Heyman then comes to the outside with the broken kendo stick in hand, using the splintered weapon to crush the already broken Punk, shouting at Punk that Punk broke his heart. WWE’s ringside physician and a referee then tend to Punk as Axel and Heyman leave the ringside area.
With Jo-Jo serving as the Guest Ring Announcer, Natalya, with The Funkadactyls in her corner, would face Brie Bella, with Nikki Bella & Eva Marie in her corner. In the end, it was Brie Bella hitting the Bella Buster on Natalya en route to picking up the win. After the match, Divas Champion AJ Lee comes out, saying that Total Divas was crazy last night, feigning enthusiasm about the show. AJ Lee then says that, when she looks at the ring, all she sees is a “bunch of cheap, interchangeable, expendable, useless women”, saying that they had to turn to reality television because they are not “gifted enough to be actresses” and are just not “talented enough to be champions”. AJ continues, saying that she has done more in “one year” than all of them have done collectively in their entire careers! The Divas Champion then says that she has saved the Divas division and she has “shattered glass ceilings”, saying that they cannot look her in the eye because they know that she worked her entire life to get to the WWE and they were just handed “fifteen minutes of fame”. AJ says that she did not get to the WWE because she was “cute” or because she came from a famous family or because she “sucked up to the right people”, she is in the WWE because she is “good” and she earned the Divas Title and they will never be able to lace up her Chuck Taylors! AJ continues, saying that they are all “worthless” and they will never be able to touch her and that is “reality”.
In a non-title match, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio would go one-on-one with “Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam, with Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner. During the match, Rob Van Dam would find himself in trouble, so Ricardo Rodriguez would get on top of the announce table, starting an “RVD” chant, distracting Alberto Del Rio long enough for RVD to catch Del Rio with a roll-up, pinning the World Heavyweight Champion to earn a shot at the gold at Night of Champions!
In the renewal of an old rivalry, “Captain Charisma” Christian would go one-on-one with the self-proclaimed “face of the WWE”, the new WWE Champion Randy Orton, in a non-title match. During the match, Randy Orton would sneak in a thumb to the eye of Christian behind the back of the referee, allowing the WWE Champion to put “Captain Charisma” down with the RKO en route to picking up the win. After the match, Daniel Bryan would appear on the Tron as Bryan is in front of Orton’s gift from Triple H, the brand new Cadillac Escalade. Bryan calls the vehicle a “pretty car for a pretty man” before Bryan shows his ‘custom paintjob’ of Orton’s Escalade as the #1 Contender took to spray-painting “yes” all over the expensive gift, which enrages the WWE Champion!
Backstage, WWE Champion Randy Orton is with WWE COO Triple H and RAW General Manager Brad Maddox as all three men set their sights on Orton’s damaged Escalade. Triple H tells Brad Maddox that the Escalade was his personal property and he gave it to Randy Orton and he considers the WWE Title his personal property, saying that he allows Orton to hold it. The COO then tells the GM to go and round up the entire locker room and march them out to the stage for the main event, telling Maddox that, if any of the Superstars even think of interfering in the main event, he will personally enjoy firing them!
In the ongoing rivalry between The Prime Time Players and The Real Americans, Titus O’Neil, with Darren Young in his corner, would go one-on-one with Jack Swagger, with Zeb Colter & Antonio Cesaro in his corner. In the end, it was Titus O’Neil hitting a modified chokebomb on Jack Swagger en route to picking up the win.
Backstage, CM Punk barges into the office of RAW General Manager Brad Maddox, demanding a match with Paul Heyman. Maddox gives Punk what he wants, and then some, as the GM makes a match for Night of Champions that will see CM Punk facing both Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman in a 2-on-1 Handicap Elimination Match! Maddox then says that, if Heyman backs out of the match, then Punk will never see Heyman again. Punk agrees, but adds that, if Heyman backs out of the match, no one will ever see Brad Maddox again either!
With every available Superstar standing on the stage, interviewer Renee Young would ask Big Show and Dolph Ziggler for their opinions regarding the main event, but both men would refuse to comment, fearing for their jobs. Renee would then move on to ask The Miz the same question and, while The Miz began to comment, he decided not to finish what he had to say, also fearing for his job.
With Rob Van Dam, Ricardo Rodriguez, Big Show, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, AJ Lee, Cody Rhodes, Tons of Funk, The Miz, Big E. Langston, Ryback, 3MB, The Prime Time Players, The Real Americans, Damien Sandow, R-Truth, and Alberto Del Rio, among others, standing on the stage as ordered, it was time for the main event as the #1 Contender for the WWE Title at Night of Champions, Daniel Bryan, would be forced to face each member of The Shield, one after another, in a Gauntlet Match. The first leg of the Gauntlet Match would see Daniel Bryan face one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollins, with his Shield cohorts in his corner. In an incredible match between the two former ROH stars, it was Daniel Bryan hitting the running knee on Seth Rollins en route to surviving the first leg of the Gauntlet Match.
The second part of the Gauntlet Match was set to be Daniel Bryan facing United States Champion Dean Ambrose and the match would get underway and Daniel Bryan would immediately lock in the Yes Lock on Ambrose, but Roman Reigns would interfere, resulting in the disqualification victory for Bryan. The #1 Contender would then lock his third opponent, Roman Reigns, in the Yes Lock, but Dean Ambrose would break the hold as the entire match breaks down into chaos. The three members of The Shield would then beat down the #1 Contender before Roman Reigns blasts Daniel Bryan with the Spear. With Daniel Bryan down in the ring, WWE COO Triple H walks out to the staging area, cautiously standing in front of the WWE roster, nodding to The Shield, instructing the trio to put Daniel Bryan down with their three-man powerbomb. The Shield complies while the COO gazes at Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, and the rest of the roster, almost daring them to step up and stop the proceedings. WWE Champion Randy Orton then comes out and Triple H pats the “face of the WWE” on the back, letting Orton head to the ring. Then, as The Shield holds Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton drops Daniel Bryan with the RKO while the WWE roster, namely Big Show, struggles to keep themselves from stepping in. Orton then heads back up the ramp as Triple H ‘parts the seas’ to allow himself and his champion to leave.
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