Thirteen nights before Night of Champions, the 1058th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. Just under two weeks before he defends the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, what will the self-proclaimed “face of the WWE” Randy Orton, as well as WWE COO Triple H, have in store for the #1 Contender for the WWE Title, not to mention Big Show, The Miz, & Dolph Ziggler, who have all spoke out against the regime in recent weeks?
- The Miz def. Fandango (with Summer Rae) by submission to the Figure-Four Leg Lock.
- Ryback def. Dolph Ziggler by pin following Shell Shocked.
- The Prime Time Players def. Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal (with Drew McIntyre) by Titus O’Neil pinning Jinder Mahal following the Clash of the Titus.
- Career Threatening Match: Non-Title: Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes by pin following the RKO. As a result, Cody Rhodes’ career is over.
- #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match: Naomi, Natalya, & Brie Bella fight to a No Contest after AJ Lee interferes.
- Rob Van Dam def. Damien Sandow by pin following the Five-Star Frog Splash.
- Daniel Bryan def. Big Show by DQ after The Shield attacks Daniel Bryan.
RAW opens with WWE COO Triple H in the ring and The Shield at their designated spots at ringside as Triple H says that he would like to introduce the “face of the WWE”, the WWE Champion Randy Orton, who makes his way to the ring. Orton says that he will not let the image of the WWE be “tarnished” and anyone who goes against him is going against the entire WWE and they need to be “dealt with”. The WWE Champion then says that, last week, Daniel Bryan defaced the Cadillac Escalade that was gifted to him from Triple H and that is why he “defaced” Daniel Bryan on SmackDown, showing his assault of the #1 Contender as he and The Shield decimated Daniel Bryan before spray-painting the word “no” on the helpless Bryan. Orton says that Daniel Bryan has no chance of beating him for the WWE Title at Night of Champions and Bryan will never amount to anything, saying Bryan should give up his title match at Night of Champions. Triple H says that, as the COO, he has to ensure the best show possible, saying that the fans deserve the “best”. Triple H continues, saying that he also has to have the best interests of the WWE Superstars and Divas in mind and the fans have been encouraging Daniel Bryan’s ego, saying that “popularity” has nothing to do with “business”. The COO cites Doink The Clown as an example, saying that Doink was insanely popular, but Doink never held the WWE Title or any other championship in the WWE. Triple H continues, saying that, much like Doink, Daniel Bryan will never be the WWE Champion, saying that he could bring back the Cruiserweight Title or the European Title and either one of those titles would be better suited for Daniel Bryan.
This brings out the #1 Contender for the WWE Title, Daniel Bryan, saying that he is “thrilled” to be compared to Doink The Clown, but there was never a Doink The Clown chant in 1992. Bryan then says that the only “clowns” that he sees are in the ring right now before addressing Triple H, saying that the COO gave up “being a man” when he cut his hair, put on a suit, and became a “corporate sell-out”. Bryan then tells Randy Orton that Orton gave up being in the WWE Title picture until someone decided to just “hand it” to him, saying that the answer to the question of should he give up his WWE Title shot is the same answer to the question of “is Randy Orton more masculine than Stephanie McMahon?”, to which Bryan and the fans give a resounding “no”. Bryan continues, saying that he loved “every horrible thing” that he had to endure to get to the WWE and Orton will never understand that because the third-generation Superstar has been handed everything, saying that he “knows” that he can defeat Orton for the WWE Title and, not only does Orton know it, but Triple H knows it as well. Bryan then says that Orton may have the genetics of a champion, but Orton does not have the “heart of a champion”. Triple H then cuts Daniel Bryan off, calling Bryan a “grumpy old troll”, saying that the man that Daniel Bryan should be directing his anger toward is Big Show who, despite an “iron-clad contract”, has refused to help Bryan in recent weeks. Triple H then announces that the main event will see Daniel Bryan going one-on-one with “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show!
Backstage, WWE COO Triple H and WWE Champion Randy Orton pass Cody Rhodes and Rhodes stops to greet the COO, visibly afraid to say the wrong thing to his boss. Rhodes says that tonight’s main event will be great, as long as nobody gets involved, which leads Triple H to ask why anyone would get involved. Not making any progress with the boss, Rhodes decides to question his former mentor, asking Orton why does not want to defend the title against Daniel Bryan, saying that Orton cannot be “scared” of Bryan. Rhodes then tells Triple H that having Orton face Bryan is what is “best for business” and Triple H takes issue with Rhodes, saying that Rhodes must have a lot on his mind, saying that Rhodes is getting married soon. Triple H then says that, even though Rhodes did not invite neither Triple H or Orton, he is going to give Rhodes an “early wedding present”, revealing that Rhodes will go one-on-one with Orton later tonight. Rhodes thanks Triple H for the huge opportunity and Triple H says that it is a huge opportunity, an opportunity for Rhodes to stay employed! Triple H elaborates, saying that, if Rhodes fails to beat Orton, then he knows that Rhodes will not be around for long.
The opening match of the night would see the culmination of a feud stemming from SummerSlam as The Miz went one-on-one with Fandango, with Summer Rae in his corner. Despite some interference from Summer Rae, The Miz would prevail, forcing Fandango to tap out to the Figure-Four Leg Lock to pick up the win.
Backstage, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T confronts Daniel Bryan, saying that a fight against The McMahon Family is a fight that Daniel Bryan cannot win, advising Bryan to give up his title match against Randy Orton at Night of Champions. Bryan says that it is not about money or even the WWE Title, it is about his life and Booker warns that the power of The McMahon Family travels far from the confines of the arena, advising Bryan to “tread lightly”.
“The Show-Off” was in action on RAW, but Dolph Ziggler would not be told who he would be competing against, but when Ziggler was attacked from behind by The Shield’s Dean Ambrose, Dolph’s opponent seemed apparent. Ambrose would not let the match begin as the United States Champion stomps away at Dolph Ziggler, tossing Ziggler into the steel ring post and telling Dolph to “respect the business”. However, it is then revealed that Ambrose was not even Ziggler’s opponent, it was Ryback! Despite his weakened state, Dolph Ziggler would insist on competing, so the referee reluctantly rings the bell for the match to begin. Ziggler would manage to get a few good shots on Ryback, but, in his injured state, Dolph didn’t stand a chance against the bully as Ryback puts Dolph down with the Shell Shocked en route to picking up the win.
Backstage, RAW General Manager Brad Maddox confronts WWE COO Triple H and his wife, WWE Executive Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon, informing them that Big Show has refused to compete against Daniel Bryan in the main event. Triple H starts to say something, but Stephanie halts her husband, saying that she can handle it and, when Maddox tries to direct Stephanie to Big Show’s locker room, Stephanie says that it is not going to be a “private conversation”.
Opting to handle Big Show’s refusal to compete against Daniel Bryan herself, the Executive Vice President of WWE Creative Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the ring. Stephanie says that she grew up backstage and there was one man who helped her and guided her, bringing out “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show. After a brief hug, Stephanie tells Big Show that he taught her a long time ago that it is okay to not do something you don’t want to do as long as you’re willing to “pay the price”. Stephanie then says that she is going to just cut to the chase, revealing to the world that Big Show is “broke”, saying that Big Show made some “bad investments”, loaned family members some money, and took a beating in the stock market! Stephanie continues, saying that they both know that Big Show’s iron-clad contract states that, if Big Show does not compete, he does not get paid, saying that Big Show does not have much of a career left in him. Stephanie then says that Big Show does not have any other options, saying that there is not much demand for leading men in movies who are seven feet tall and weigh 500 pounds, asking if Big Show is going to be “the world’s largest gas station attendant”. Stephanie says that Big Show is giving his career up all to avoid one match against Daniel Bryan. Stephanie then gets unnecessarily personal and dark with her former father figure, saying that Big Show’s biggest fear is that, medically speaking, giants do not live as long as “regular people”. Stephanie continues, saying that it is about Big Show’s family and that is why he is going to make the right decision and face Daniel Bryan tonight. Stephanie says that the only person that is “hurting” more than Big Show right now is her, hugging Big Show before she exits the ring.
The Prime Time Players were in action on RAW as Darren Young & Titus O’Neil faced two-thirds of 3MB, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal, with Drew McIntyre in their corner. In the end, it was Titus O’Neil hitting the Clash of the Titus on Jinder Mahal, picking up the win for The Prime Time Players.
Backstage, Paul Heyman confronts RAW General Manager Brad Maddox, saying that, with the 2-on-1 Handicap Elimination Match that the GM made pitting Heyman and Curtis Axel against CM Punk at Night of Champions, put him in a situation where he is pretty much guaranteed to be on the wrong end of a beating from CM Punk. Heyman asks Maddox if that is what the GM thinks is “best for business”. Triple H then interrupts, asking Maddox to give him a second alone with Heyman and Maddox complies. Triple H then informs Heyman that he is the one who actually approved the 2-on-1 Handicap Elimination Match and Heyman nearly shouts at the COO, but decides to take a calmer approach, asking Triple H why the COO decided to approve the match. Triple H claims that it has nothing to do with their “sorted past”, saying that he has been a “big fan” of Heyman’s for years, saying he liked how Heyman would “weasel” his way out of countless situations. Triple H continues, saying that he cannot see a way that Heyman can weasel out of the match at Night of Champions, saying that CM Punk is likely going to give Heyman the beating that he so richly deserves, saying that, either way, he wins, concluding that is what is “best for business”.
With his career put on the line by WWE COO Triple H, the soon-to-be-married second-generation Superstar Cody Rhodes would go one-on-one with WWE Champion Randy Orton in a non-title match. With his young and promising career on the line, Cody Rhodes would go above and beyond to keep the job that he was born to do, coming within an eyelash of pinning the WWE Champion on several occasions, but one misstep would cost Cody Rhodes everything as, when Rhodes went for the Disaster Kick, Randy Orton would move out of the way. As a result, Rhodes would tweak his knee and “The Viper” would take advantage, kicking the knee to hobble Rhodes before dropping his former protégé with the RKO, pinning Rhodes for the win, abruptly ending the promising young career of Cody Rhodes just days before Cody’s wedding. After the match, Triple H meets Randy Orton on the stage before the WWE Champion heads to the back. The COO tells Cody Rhodes that Rhodes fought like his life was on the line, saying that Rhodes fought with heart and Rhodes has no idea how much he respects Cody. Triple H then says that he needs “winners” in the WWE and that is why he cannot let his “personal feelings” cloud his judgment, saying that he needs to do what is best for everyone in the company. Triple H then deals Cody Rhodes’ sentence out, saying that, with deep regrets, he has no choice but to fire Cody Rhodes. With that, Cody Rhodes exits the ring, fighting tears as he makes the walk to the back for the very last time.
After enduring a savage beating from Paul Heyman & Curtis Axel on last week’s RAW, CM Punk would appear on RAW with kendo stick in hand. Punk says that he has never promised anyone anything before, but he is making a promise right now that there will be no more “empty threats” and no more “talking”, saying that he is having a hard time coming up with what is he is supposed to say next. Punk says that everything that he has wanted them to hear, they have heard and everything that Heyman wants them to believe, they’ve heard. Punk continues, saying that he is dressed to compete, but he is not looking for a match, he is looking for a “fight” and he wants to fight Paul Heyman, saying that, if he has to go through Curtis Axel, he will. Punk then says that he is in a “dark place” right now and he doesn’t blame Axel or Heyman for not wanting to fight him right now. Punk says that he is there to say something to his friends and family and the fans that bought a t-shirt or made a sign to support him, guaranteeing that he is going to go through Curtis Axel and he guarantees that he will get his hands on Paul Heyman. Punk continues, saying that, at Night of Champions, they are going to see a side of CM Punk that they may not like and some people may be very uncomfortable with what he is going to do to Heyman at Night of Champions, vowing that he is going to break Paul Heyman’s face!
Backstage, Big Show confronts Daniel Bryan, saying that he did not want to fight him tonight, but he is under a lot of pressure. Bryan says that what Big Show wants does not matter to him, saying that he has got to do what he has got to do. Big Show says that he is in a “no-win situation”, but Daniel Bryan has no sympathy for the giant, saying that he is going to beat Big Show tonight.
After berating the stars of Total Divas with a brutally honest promo on last week’s RAW, Divas Champion AJ Lee would be a guest on commentary as Natalya, Naomi, with Cameron and Jo-Jo in her corner, and Brie Bella, with Nikki Bella and Eva Marie in her corner, would face-off in a Triple Threat Match with the winner becoming the #1 Contender for the Divas Title. Naomi would hit the Rear View on Natalya, but AJ Lee would rush the ring, breaking up the pin and this sparks a multi-Diva brawl between AJ, Naomi, Natalya, & Brie Bella. The brawl quickly breaks down into a three-on-one attack on the Divas Champion as Natalya, Naomi, & Brie Bella leave AJ Lee beaten down in the ring.
In a rematch from Friday’s SmackDown, the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions, “Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam, with Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner, would go one-on-one with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Damien Sandow. During the match, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio would make his way to the stage. In the end, it was Rob Van Dam landing the Five-Star Frog Splash on Damien Sandow, pinning “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” for the win.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon informs Naomi, Natalya, & Brie Bella that, at Night of Champions, AJ Lee will defend the Divas Title against all three of them in a Fatal Four-Way Match.
Backstage, the now unemployed Cody Rhodes is being escorted out of the building by security when Josh Mathews asks Rhodes for some parting words. A visibly upset Rhodes says that he should not be surprised, saying that, for over twenty years, the McMahon Family has hated the Rhodes Family. Rhodes says that his father, Dusty Rhodes, had a Hall of Fame career in Florida, lighting up the wrestling scene, but when he arrived in the WWE, he was dressed in polka dots and forced to dance. Rhodes continues, saying that his brother, Dustin Rhodes, was a second-generation stud as “The Natural” and he loved Dustin, but the WWE put him in gold paint as Goldust and he has never been the same. Rhodes then says that he has a wife to provide for and when asked about his wife, Rhodes does not comment as Rhodes leaves the building, crushed and distraught.
In what has become a weekly tradition under the Triple H regime, every available WWE Superstar and Diva is sent out to the stage as the likes of Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Ricardo Rodriguez, Ryback, Fandango, Summer Rae, Big E. Langston, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, Tons of Funk, The Prime Time Players, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy & Jey Uso, 3MB, Brad Maddox, Vickie Guerrero, Layla, The Funkadactyls, Jo-Jo, Eva Marie, The Real Americans, Zeb Colter, Damien Sandow, & The Great Khali would be forced to stand on the stage to watch the main event as “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show would be forced to go one-on-one with the #1 Contender for the WWE Title, Daniel Bryan. Early on in the match, Big Show would try to reason with Daniel Bryan, but Bryan would insist on fighting the giant, ultimately angering Big Show into fighting back. Later on in the match, Big Show would wind up for the Knockout Punch, but the giant would have second thoughts, deciding to leave the ring.
However, no sooner does Big Show step over the ropes to the ring apron does Triple H make his way to the ring with The Shield in tow, ordering Big Show to get back in the ring and finish the match. Big Show refuses and starts to leave the ring and that is when The Shield enters the ring to attack Daniel Bryan, but Big Show slides back into the ring, ready to help Daniel Bryan. However, Triple H cuts Big Show off at the pass, getting in Big Show’s face and telling Big Show to “do what’s right” for Big Show’s family and what is right for Big Show. Triple H tells Big Show to step back and, with Big Show forced to watch, Triple H instructs The Shield to use the three-man powerbomb on Daniel Bryan, which breaks Big Show down completely as the giant erupts in tears in the corner. However, the humiliation was not over as Triple H orders Big Show to ball up his fist and knock Daniel Bryan and, while Big Show gets close to doing so, Big Show ultimately screams “no”, exiting the ring. Stephanie McMahon then comes out to confront Big Show, telling Big Show to think about his family, saying that she is giving Big Show one last chance. At the behest of Stephanie and, with Triple H & Stephanie watching, Big Show nearly knocks out Triple H, but Stephanie steps in front of Big Show, again telling Big Show to think of his family. Having no alternative, the broken giant does the deed, blasting Daniel Bryan with the Knockout Punch and leaving Bryan knocked out. Big Show then collapses on the second rope in tears as Triple H & Stephanie commend Big Show on doing the “right thing”. As Triple H, Stephanie, Big Show, & The Shield exit the ring and stand on the ramp, WWE Champion Randy Orton heads towards the ring, putting his foot on the chest of an unconscious Daniel Bryan and raising the WWE Title above his head.
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