An Old Friend.
Six nights before Payback, the 1096th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Thompson-Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Less than two weeks removed from having surgery to fix a compressed nerve in his neck, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan has been ordered by The Authority to appear on RAW and surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship! Despite not knowing how long the champion would actually be out of action, Stephanie McMahon made the decree last week that, regardless of his physical condition, Daniel Bryan must appear on RAW and must surrender the championship in what will, no doubt, be the most difficult night in the career of Daniel Bryan.
While a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title is still up in the air, what we do know is that the rivalry between John Cena and Bray Wyatt is set to come to an end this Sunday at Payback in a Last Man Standing Match. After suffering a beatdown from The Wyatt Family last week, how will John Cena respond to the strange trio’s attack? Will John Cena manage to get the last word in before he faces Bray Wyatt this Sunday?
- Cesaro (with Paul Heyman & Bad News Barrett) def. Rob Van Dam by pin with a bridging German suplex.
- Eva Marie (with Fandango, Layla, & Eva Marie) def. Summer Rae by roll-up.
- El Torito (with Los Matadores) def. Drew McIntyre (with Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, & Hornswoggle) by pin after knocking Drew McIntyre off of the second rope.
- Rusev (with Lana) def. Zack Ryder by submission to the Accolade.
- No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Match: First Fall: Randy Orton elim. Cody Rhodes by pin following the RKO.
- No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Match: Second Fall: Batista elim. Goldust by pin following the Batista Bomb.
- Bo Dallas def. Sin Cara by pin following the Bo Dog.
- Emma def. Alicia Fox by roll-up.
- Adam Rose def. “Davey Crockett” (with Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter) by pin following the Party Foul.
- Non-Title: Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio by pin following the Brogue Kick.
After giving the ultimatum to Daniel Bryan last week to either come to RAW and surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or face the consequences, RAW kicks off with The Authority as WWE COO Triple H & WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon kick off the show. Stephanie welcomes everyone to a “historic” edition of RAW, saying that tonight is all about “choices”. Stephanie continues, saying that Daniel Bryan has a “choice” whether or not he is going to do the “right thing” and surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Title, saying that Daniel Bryan knows that the fans want to see their champion compete night in and night out, but Bryan is physically unable to do that. Stephanie says that they hate being right, but Daniel Bryan’s body is simply “B+” and, while Daniel Bryan wants to defend the title, he cannot do so and that is why he is surrendering the title here tonight. Triple H reiterates this to the fans, saying that Daniel Bryan does not want to forfeit the title, but he has to. The COO then says that every generation has its Superstars and while some competitors, like Daniel Bryan, become a “flash in the pan”, other Superstars become “legends” because they stand the “test of time” and, generation after generation, they remain “dominant” because of their ability to “adapt” while guys like Daniel Bryan “perish” and this is “evolution”. Triple H continues, saying that, in a No Holds Barred Elimination Match at Payback, The Shield will find out that you “cannot stop” Evolution. The COO then announces that there will be a contract signing in the ring tonight and The Shield will have a “choice” to either “adapt” and not show up at Payback or they can sign the contracts to face Evolution at Payback and they can “perish”.
Stephanie McMahon then turns her attention to the man who was apparently bullied into making The Shield’s Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns the guest commentators for last week’s main event, effectively ruining Evolution’s plan to isolating Seth Rollins as Stephanie orders RAW General Manager Brad Maddox to the ring. The nervous GM makes his way to the ring to face The Authority as Triple H explains that, last week, he banned everyone from ringside for the main event match between Batista and Seth Rollins and, doing what was “best for business”, he named himself the official guest ring announcer and Randy Orton the official guest timekeeper. The COO then says that Brad Maddox made a “choice” that was not “best for business” when he made Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns the official guest commentators. Maddox explains that he did not want to make Ambrose & Reigns the official guest commentators, but they didn’t leave him a choice. Stephanie shushes the GM, saying that she heard that Maddox was “roughed up” by The Shield and sent to the trainer’s room and that the GM feels like The Shield did not give him a choice. The Principal Owner then says that the GM’s actions have made them feel like they don’t have a “choice”.
With this statement, “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” Kane makes his way to the ring and, after the initial shock of what is about to happen to him wears off, Brad Maddox tries to plead with The Authority, but instead of words, he is blasted with a right hand from Triple H! The Authority then steps out of the way and, with a big smile on her face, Stephanie tells Kane to teach Maddox a “lesson”. The monster complies, grabbing Maddox by the throat and planting the GM with a chokeslam before picking Maddox back up and spiking Maddox with a Tombstone Piledriver! As if the attack from Kane was not punishment enough, Stephanie stands over the motionless body of Brad Maddox and informs Maddox that he’s fired! Kane & The Authority then leave the ring together as the doctors tend to the now former RAW General Manager as Maddox is fastened to a backboard.
Six nights before their respective title matches at Payback, the opening match of the night would see the #1 Contender for the United States Title, Cesaro, with Paul Heyman in his corner, square off with the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Title, Rob Van Dam, with Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett a guest on commentary. During the match, Bad News Barrett would get in Rob Van Dam’s face on the outside of the ring and the Intercontinental Champion would catch a side kick to the face from RVD! This would lead to a timely distraction from Bad News Barrett that would allow Cesaro to take advantage, hitting a bridging German suplex, pinning RVD for the win. After the match, United States Champion Sheamus would run down to the ring, dropping Cesaro with the Brogue Kick in the middle of the ring!
After fast-counting Eva Marie’s shoulders to the mat as the Special Referee of a tag match on SmackDown, Summer Rae would go one-on-one with Eva Marie, with Nikki Bella in her corner, on RAW. During the match, Fandango & Layla would dance out to the stage, kissing on the stage and the distraction would pay off as Eva Marie surprises Summer Rae with a roll-up to pick up the win.
Backstage, Goldust & Cody Rhodes enter the office of The Authority, looking for answers as to why they were not booked on RAW. However, the brothers find Evoluton’s Batista & Randy Orton and Rhodes explains to his former mentor that he and Goldust are extending an open challenge for any tag team to face them here tonight. Randy Orton reminds Cody Rhodes that he beat him about a year ago and got Rhodes fired, saying that both of them are lucky to have jobs right now. In response, Cody Rhodes reminds Randy Orton that he and Goldust returned and beat The Shield to win the WWE Tag Team Titles, the same Shield that defeated Evolution at Extreme Rules and The Shield will defeat Evolution again at Payback! Orton sarcastically comments that it’s nice to see that the Rhodes brothers took advantage of their “momentum” and Rhodes fires back that, ten years ago, Batista & Randy Orton were Triple H’s “glorified lap dogs” and, ten years later, they still are! Triple H then enters the room and Cody Rhodes explains that they want action and, if that means facing “the skinny jeans sellout” and “RK-blows”, then so be it! Triple H settles the dispute by making a match between Goldust & Cody Rhodes and Batista & Randy Orton! Triple H adds that the match will be “interesting” because it will not be an “ordinary match” and asks Orton & Batista if they are ready for a “workout”.
As the battle continues between 3MB and Los Matadores, the mini bull mascot of Los Matadores, El Torito, with Los Matadores in his corner, would go one-on-one with 3MB’s Drew McIntyre, with Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, & Hornswoggle in his corner. In the end, a battle on the outside would distract Drew McIntyre long enough for El Torito to knock McIntyre off of the second rope, quickly pinning McIntyre for the win.
Before he faces John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match at Payback, Bray Wyatt, with Luke Harper & Erick Rowan in tow, would appear on RAW with a message for the Cenation. Bray says that the world has come to “lean” on him because they know that he only wants what is “best” for them and, every day, everyone makes “sacrifices”. Bray continues, asking the fans if he is the “snake” or if he is the “cure” and saying that he is a “necessary evil”. Bray then says that John Cena is an “enemy” to all of them, saying that Cena is the “king”. Bray then unexpectedly turns his attention to Tennessee native Jerry “The King” Lawler, asking the Hall of Famer to come into the ring and have a word with him. However, Lawler refuses and Bray says that Lawler’s answer is “unfortunate” before Bray sends Luke Harper & Erick Rowan out to ringside to retrieve the commentator as Bray warns Michael Cole and JBL to stay in their seats and not try to play “hero” or else they will be next, even calling JBL a “coward”. This would bring the former WWE Champion out of his seat as JBL takes off his jacket and makes a beeline for Bray Wyatt, but Luke Harper cuts the legend off at the pass, knocking JBL down! Erick Rowan then grabs JBL, tossing JBL to Luke Harper, who levels the commentator with the discus clothesline!
After seeing Harper & Rowan take out JBL, Jerry Lawler decides to get out of his seat as the Hall of Famer cautiously makes his way into the ring, flanked by Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. Erick Rowan then sets up a chair in the center of the ring as Bray Wyatt instructs the Hall of Famer to have a seat. Rightfully afraid of what would happen if he does not comply, Lawler sits down as Bray Wyatt says that Lawler is John Cena’s good friend and has helped John Cena become the “hero” he is today. Bray continues, saying that, for years, Lawler has sat at ringside and “fed” the world about Cena’s heroics, saying that Lawler bought all of Cena’s “garbage” just like everyone else. Bray then says that Lawler has helped feed the “poison” and now the poison is out of control, asking Lawler if he feels “remorse” for being a “liar”. Bray then says that he is “very sorry” for what is about to happen, but this is a “necessary evil”. Harper & Rowan then lift Lawler out of his chair, but fortunately for the Hall of Famer, John Cena rushes out, attacking Harper & Rowan while Bray Wyatt traps Jerry Lawler in the corner. However, Harper & Rowan overwhelm Cena, holding Cena in place and forcing him to look at Bray Wyatt as Bray tells Cena that he is going to “end” Cena at Payback, but first, he wants Cena to see what he does to Cena’s friend, telling Cena that it is all his “fault”. Bray then positions Lawler for the Sister Abigail, but The Usos rush out and, together with Cena, they are able to fight off The Wyatt Family and send them into retreat, saving Jerry Lawler from serious injury. Cena then tells Bray Wyatt then he has just crossed some serious lines, saying that he was excited when Bray Wyatt arrived. Cena says that Bray calls himself a “god”, saying that Bray has had a “taste of power” and it has made him “sick”. Cena then tells Bray that harming an innocent man because he does not think the same way that Bray does is not a “necessary evil”, it is just plain “evil”. Cena continues, saying that he believes in what he does and The Wyatt Family needs to be stopped, saying that Payback is about being the “last man standing”. Cena then says that, at Payback, he will bring Bray Wyatt to “justice”, telling Bray that “justice is a bitch”!
“The Bulgarian Brute” was in action on RAW as Rusev, with Lana in his corner, would go one-on-one with Zack Ryder. Rusev would dominate Zack Ryder, forcing Ryder to tap out to the Accolade to pick up the win. After the match, Rusev would refuse to break the hold and Big E would rush out, taking his shots from Rusev before firing back with a clothesline, tossing Rusev to the outside. As a livid Rusev looks on from the outside, Big E waves the American flag in the ring, angering “The Super Athlete” even further.
In a match made by WWE COO and fellow Evolution member Triple H earlier in the night, Evolution’s Batista & Randy Orton would face Goldust & Cody Rhodes in tag team action. In the end, Cody Rhodes would go for the Disaster Kick on Randy Orton, but Orton would catch Rhodes in mid-air with the RKO before following it up with a second RKO, pinning Rhodes to pick up the win. However, Triple H’s sinister plan would then be revealed as ring announcer Justin Roberts revealed that the match was actually an Elimination Match, meaning that Cody Rhodes is now eliminated and Goldust must go it alone against both Randy Orton and Batista. In addition to that, the match would be contested under No Holds Barred rules! With no rules to abide by, Batista & Randy Orton would beat Goldust down on the outside before bringing the fight back to the ring, where Goldust manages to counter a DDT attempt by Randy Orton, only to be leveled with a Spear from Batista. Orton then follows this up with the RKO to Goldust before Batista picks Goldust back up, planting Goldust with the Batista Bomb, pinning Goldust for the win.
In a rematch from SmackDown, the delusional Bo Dallas would make his RAW debut in a one-on-one match against Sin Cara. In the end, it was Bo Dallas hitting his version of the Dudley Dog, dubbed the Bo Dog, on Sin Cara en route to picking up the win.
Then it was time for a decision to be made as WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the ring, saying that they have already discussed how important it is to have an “active champion”, but before they can make a decision on who that champion might be, they need Daniel Bryan to do the “right thing”. For the first time since undergoing successful neck surgery less than two weeks ago, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan would appear on RAW as the champion makes his way to the ring. Stephanie tells Daniel Bryan that she could simply strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but that would make Bryan a “martyr”, saying that the fans already chant for him enough as it is. Stephanie says that Daniel Bryan knows that WWE needs an “active champion” and Bryan is physically unable to be an active champion, telling Bryan that she knows that he is not a selfish man. Stephanie then says that Bryan needs to do the “right thing” for the fans and surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan says that becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania was the “payoff” for years of hard work and sacrifice. The champion then admits that his neck injury is worse than they originally thought, saying that his neck injury was made worse by an attack from Kane a few weeks ago, saying that Stephanie claimed that she had no control over Kane, but it was proven earlier tonight that Stephanie is a “liar”. Bryan then says that there is “no shame” in handing over the title, healing, coming back, and regaining the title at some point in the future. Stephanie chimes in that she personally guarantees that Daniel Bryan will get a shot at the title as soon as he is well enough to compete again, saying that Daniel Bryan will get to do this all over again.
This brings a smile to the face of Daniel Bryan, amused by the prospect of having to go through everything that The Authority put him through again. Daniel Bryan then turns his attention back to the matter at hand, saying that the fans deserve an “awesome” WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Bryan then says that Stephanie tried to turn the decision around on Daniel Bryan, but it is not about him, it is about Stephanie. Bryan explains that Stephanie has wanted to strip him of the title ever since he beat her husband for the title at WrestleMania, saying that Stephanie is doing this for her. Bryan continues, saying that handing over the WWE World Heavyweight Title to Stephanie would negate everything that he has fought for and everything that the fans have fought for and it would negate all the times that the fans chanted “yes” because The Authority did not give them what they wanted. Bryan then says that, if he handed the title over to her, it would throw everything that the fans have done for him right back in their face. The champion then says that he is going to tell Stephanie a word that she is not used to hearing and has likely never heard in her entire life, telling Stephanie “no” before shouting “no” in the face of the Principal Owner, sparking a “no” chant from the fans. Stephanie says that she was afraid that Daniel Bryan would let his “ego” get in the way and buy into what the fans are doing to him. Stephanie continues, saying that she didn’t bring it up before because she wanted to be “extra sensitive” regarding Daniel Bryan’s condition. Stephanie then tells Daniel Bryan that, two weeks ago, when Bryan was being loaded into an ambulance following an assault by Kane, Bryan’s wife Brie Bella put her hands on Stephanie. Stephanie then shows Daniel Bryan the footage from two weeks ago on RAW before reminding Daniel Bryan that she is not only Brie’s boss, but Bryan’s boss as well and you cannot put your hands on the boss. Stephanie then tells Bryan that she is going to give him one more chance to do the “right thing” because, at Payback, Daniel Bryan will either hand over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or Brie Bella will be fired!
Six nights before she challenges Paige for the Divas Title at Payback, Alicia Fox would go one-on-one with Emma on RAW. In the end, it was Emma capitalizing on the overconfidence of Alicia Fox, catching Fox with a roll-up for the win. After the match, Alicia Fox would attack Emma on the outside, rolling Emma into the ring and hitting a tilt-a-whirl side slam before tossing Emma out of the ring. Alicia Fox then grabs the ring bell, parading around the ring, ringing the bell before shoving a staff member off of the barricade, humiliating the staffer by tearing his shirt off. Fox then grabs a couple of sodas from under the ring, spraying them all over the ringside area, as well as herself.
The Exotic Express would then roll onto RAW as Adam Rose would make his in-ring debut against Damien Sandow, who was dressed up as Davey Crockett. During the match, Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter would come out with the man in a lemon suit from Adam Rose’s entourage. While this would draw Adam Rose’s attention for a moment, the distraction would ultimately fail as Adam Rose hits the Party Foul, pinning “Davey Crockett” for the win. After the match, Jack Swagger would attack Adam Rose, but Rose would fight back, planting Swagger with a spinebuster before leaping at Swagger, pummeling Swagger until Swagger is finally able to escape.
Before he defends the United States Title against Cesaro at Payback, United States Champion Sheamus would go one-on-one with Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. Despite being dominated throughout the match and taking several stiff shots to the head, Sheamus would come out of nowhere with the Brogue Kick to Alberto Del Rio, pinning Del Rio for the win. After the match, Paul Heyman would get on the microphone, drawing the attention of the United States Champion long enough for Cesaro to attack as Cesaro targets the injured head of Sheamus, delivering repeated shots to the skull before planting the United States Champion with the Neutralizer.
Then it was time for the official contract signing for the No Holds Barred 6-Man Elimination Tag Match at Payback as the three members of The Shield, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns make their way to the ring first. As Roman Reigns tosses the chairs out of the ring, Dean Ambrose says that tonight will be the last time that The Shield and Evolution will be in the same ring on RAW because one team will be eliminated from WWE forever. Seth Rollins says that the issues between The Shield and Evolution have gone beyond sitting across from each other in the ring, signing a “silly piece of paper”. Roman Reigns then throws the final pieces of furniture out of the ring as Seth Rollins prepares to sign the contract. Evolution then comes out as Triple H says that, if The Shield signs the contract, then they are ensuring their own demise. Triple H continues, saying that he saw The Shield as the “future”, but they threw it all away and, after Payback, they will be sent back into “obscurity”. Triple H then asks The Shield if they are sure they want to sign the contract. Each member of The Shield then look right at Triple H as they sign the contract before Roman Reigns tosses the contract at the feet of Evolution, who also sign the contract, making the match official.
Triple H then begins to speak, but Roman Reigns tells Triple H, Batista, & Randy Orton to get into the ring and fight. Evolution then gets on the ring apron as The Shield readies themselves for a fight and Evolution tries to catch The Shield off-guard, but The Shield was prepared and an all-out brawl breaks out between the two factions. Dean Ambrose sends Triple H to the outside before Seth Rollins dives to the outside, taking out both Triple H & Randy Orton, but Batista levels Ambrose with a clothesline. Roman Reigns then takes “The Animal” down with the Superman Punch, but before Reigns could take Batista out with the Spear, Triple H grabs a sledgehammer, jabbing the weapon into the mid-section of Roman Reigns! Triple H then climbs into the ring with the sledgehammer, but he is immediately attacked by Ambrose & Rollins. However, Randy Orton pulls Ambrose & Rollins off of Triple H, dropping Rollins with the RKO before Batista hits the Spear on Dean Ambrose. Roman Reigns then tries to get to his feet, but Triple H sizes Reigns up and blasts Reigns in the skull with the sledgehammer, knocking Reigns to the outside! In the ring, Triple H cracks both Ambrose and Rollins with sledgehammer shots to the skull while Batista and Randy Orton take apart the announce table. Triple H then joins Orton & Batista on the outside, delivering the three-man powerbomb to Roman Reigns through the announce table! Evolution then stands over the broken body of Roman Reigns, symbolic of what may await The Shield at Payback.
What did you think of this week’s RAW? Post your comments in the box below.