WWE Raw is coming at you LIVE from Hartford, CT, starting at 8pm EDT. We will have live coverage of the show as it airs. Raw will focus on the fallout of Money in the Bank, including our new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena, plus the winner of the Money in the Bank contract, Seth Rollins.
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- Show opens with a recap of John Cena's win at Money in the Bank. Still pictures highlighting the AA to Kane, then Randy Orton, then the climb to the top.
- We go live to the arena. Triple H's music kicks in. It's time to play the game. Steph and Triple H walk out, and they look far happier than they should, considering how upset they seemed at the end of the pay-per-view. Jerry Lawler mentions this as well, so I'm not the only one wondering. Huge boos for the pair in the ring. Steph calls it an amazing homecoming. She says she was actually born in Hartford. She says she knows the fans feel privileged, but they're privileged to celebrate Money in the Bank. Huge CM Punk chant at this point.
- Steph talks about Daniel Bryan. She says his recovery is going to take longer than hoped, and they're in the business of making history, not looking back. She puts over Seth Rollins' win last night.
- Triple H talks about how they've always believed in Seth Rollins, and then transitions into John Cena's win. He says he's an A+ player, and an unbelievable 15 time World Champion. They introduce John Cena. His music hits, and he comes out to the ring with the two belts intertwined, hanging from his neck, one on each shoulder. It looks terrible.
- Cena steps in and looks awkward across from them. Steph starts to speak, and he cuts her off. Cena talks about Daniel Bryan's return. He says they won't give him an opportunity, but he will. When Daniel Bryan is back, if Cena still has the belt, he gets a championship match. Steph calls it "special." She segues in to asking the audience if they're gamers, because he's going to be featured on the cover of the new video game, WWE 2K15. The cover drops from the ceiling. "It looks beautiful, doesn't it?"
- Cena seems somber and thanks them, but he says "this ain't right." He says they're being too nice, too soon. Cena says last night he saw a different look on their faces (he shows a picture). Steph says it was taken out of context, they were concerned about Randy Orton. Cena says they're concerned because they don't control him. Triple H mocks him and his slang. Cena threatens to kick his ass.
- Triple H says he doesn't have a problem with him - he's never had a problem with him, as long as he does it with some respect. He says all of this can go away "like that." He says you can do things the easy way, or the hard way. Cena says he'd rather not be a stooge - he'll do things the hard way. Triple H says if he wants things the hard way, he's got it. At Battleground, he's going to defend the title in a Fatal Four Way. Triple H says two of the guys in the match he'll face tonight: Randy Orton and Kane. Tonight, he'll have a partner, but that partner will be the fourth participant: Roman Reigns.
- John Cena says it's gonna be tough, but almost as horrible as swimming in a pool of crap. He says this three times while staring at Stephanie McMahon. Cena walks out of the ring. Triple H stops him at the top of the ramp. He reiterates the Fatal Four Way, and says "There's always a Plan B."
- On cue, Seth Rollins music hits, and he walks out with the Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. He heads down to the ring to pose with The Authority. Later tonight we've got a six-man tag matchL The Usos & Sheamus vs. The Wyatt Family. Seth Rollins has a match next, after the break.
Good exchange from Cena and The Authority, setting the stage for the next pay-per-view. They've given themselves plenty of time to promote it, which is smart. Cena playing the skeptical role is wise.
- Running significantly behind due to technical difficulties...
- After break, RVD is on his way to the ring.
- Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins
- The two lock up, and Seth hits a shoulder, but RVD sends him tumbling over. Seth bails out of the ring. Back in, Rollins kicks the legs. RVD kicks out of a leg takedown. Rollins looks frustrated. Rollins goes for the legs again, RVD kicks him in the head. RVD hits some shoulders to the back. Standing moonsault and a pin attempt for two. Rollins grabs the leg of RVD, but RVD stretches him out. Rollins struggles to keep up his shoulders. Action spills out of the ring as we go to break.
- When we return, RVD trades punches. Rollins takes him down and rolls it into a single-leg Boston Crab. RVD gets the ropes. Rollins drags him back in. RVD misses a scissors takedown, but gets the advantage after a kick. He sets up a split-legged moonsault and lands it on his back. Rollins teases a piledriver, but his back is a little weak. He goes for a bucklebomb, and RVD reverses it into a hurricarana. RVD goes up top. Seth Rollins rolls out of the ring. RVD jumps outside the ring instead. Both men are laid out. They climb back into the ring. RVD on the apron, Rollins hits a dragon screw through the ropes. Looked pretty nasty. Rollins runs the ropes and hits the curb stomp as RVD recovers. It's over. Seth Rollins wins.
Competitive match between these two. RVD is a good match for Rollins and both men worked well together. Their styles compliment each other. Rollins needs wins to look like a credible threat when he cashes in.
- After the match, Renee Young interviews him in the ring. He cuts her off - he wants to be announced properly as "Mr. Money in the Bank" Seth Rollins. He says it's not arrogance if you can back it up. He says we're all just bitter that he was right and we were wrong (sounds like my compadre, Matt Hester). He says he's got a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, anytime, anywhere.
- Dean Ambrose cuts him off from the big screen. He says he thinks he won last night, but he really didn't win. He says he's not really upset about what happened at Money in the Bank, because this might be more fun. Every time he thinks about cashing in, he'll be there to haunt him. Ambrose says the contract is loaded with TNT and every time he tries to cash in, it'll blow up in his face. "Believe that."
- After break, highlights of the finale of the last match.
- Rusev comes out to the ring, Lana wearing a lovely shade of blue. She enters the ring and says Rusev's last opponent was a failure, but that's ok, because America is used to failure. The fans chant USA, she tells them to shut up. She criticizes Americans for teaching their children it's not about winning or losing - it's about participating. She says there's only one superpower in the world, led by Vladimir Putin. No one can stop the onslaught of Russia, of Rusev. She beckons the next failure to compete against Rusev.
- Rusev grabs the mic and cuts a promo in Russian, then says "Rusev crush." The fans start chanting USA. Jack Swagger's music kicks in, and he walks out, flanked by Zeb Colter. This could be good. Pretty good pop here. Colter enters the ring and says he is sick and tired of them coming out every single week, slamming our country. He wans them to shut the hell up. He says they can say what they want to say because of freedom of speech, but so can he. He calls them "Natasha and Boris" and says he can't go to Russia and speak his mind because of their ways, but they can do it here and they're taking advantage of it. Colter makes note of her saying "Nothing can stop the Rusev Crush" but he thinks Jack Swagger can stop it. Colter beckons everyone in the building to rise and chant with him "We the People." Everyone does it. Everyone.
- Swagger and Rusev eye each other across the ring. Lana holds Rusev back. Rusev is ready. She says no. The fans are chanting "Let's go Swagger." Do we have a face turn here? Seems that way. Rusev and Lana step back, but Rusev charges Swagger. Swagger hits a pair of arm drags on his, and Rusev ducks out of the ring. Lana holds him back again. Swagger is ready. He and Colter stand tall as Rusev and Lana retreat.
A really cool segment, and probably the most over Jack Swagger has been in a long, long time. The fans were totally behind him, and this could be a step in the right direction... if they don't screw it up. Rusev and Lana were great in their roles, as well.
- Back from break, it's time for our six man tag match! Sheamus in the ring first, then The Usos. The Wyatt Family intro cuts off The Usos' intro. Bad form, Bray. Bad form. It's quite a sight in the arena as thousands of cell phone flashes light up for The Wyatt Family.
- The Usos & Sheamus vs. The Wyatt Family
- Erick Rowan and Jey Uso start it off. Early blind tag to Jimmy. Stereo kicks to the gut and Rowan goes tumbling outside. We go to a break.
- When we return, Erick Rowan is in charge of things, wrenching Jimmy Uso's face. Tag to Bray Wyatt. Quick tag to Harper. Jimmy Uso catches him with an elbow and hits a desperation corkscrew moonsault. Tag to Rowan and Sheamus. Sheamus is fired up. He ties Rowan up in the ropes and slams his chest about twelve times. Sheamus hits a top rope shoulder block to the outside, taking out Harper and Rowan. Slam to Rowan inside the ring. Sheamus gets fired up, but Wyatt distracts him, and Rowan sends him flying. Tag to Harper, who boots Sheamus' face off outside the ring. Tag to Wyatt, who hits a running senton for a near fall. Wyatt works over Sheamus' back, tag to Rowan. Bodyslam and a splash for two. Rowan tries to crush Sheamus's face. Sheamus is cornered and The Wyatts hit rapid tags. Sheamus catches Bray with a kick to the face and heads up top, but Wyatt catches him with a slap to the face, sending him out and over the ropes. Tag to Harper.
- Harper chops Sheamus by the announcers table. They brawl outside. Back in the ring, Harper gets a near fall. Sheamus struggles and makes the hot tag. Jey Uso in and on fire. He sends Harper outside the ring and dives on top of him. Impressive height. Enzuigiri to Harper, kick to the face. Rowan breaks up the pin. Sheamus nails a Brogue Kick, and Jimmy Uso leaps onto Rowan as well. Bray Wyatt slams Sheamus to the mat, then ducks a kick to the face. Luke Harper nails Jey Uso with a lariat and scores the pinfall victory. The Wyatt Family wins.
Exciting tag match. The Wyatts seem like they may have The Uso's number after that win. I imagine the feud continues.
- Backstage, Tom Phillips interviews Nikki Bella. He asks her about Brie Bella's removal from the building last night. Nikki says Brie was her guest. Stephanie interrupts her and says Nikki and Brie have a tag match against The Funkadactyls. Oh wait, Brie's not there, guess it's a handicap match. And it's next, so go get changed. Well then.
- An onimous limo pulls up backstage. It's a returning champion. Who is it? No clue!
- When we return from break, Bo Dallas comes out to inspire us all. He's holding a microphone. He thanks everyone. He is here to ask everyone to join him in 60 seconds of silence for Bad News Barrett and Daniel Bryan, two superstars that are unable to compete these days. Dallas drops to a knee and holds it on the ramp. Pretty sure he gave it a full sixty seconds. Maybe 120. Fantastic. He stands up and says he was the voice of inspiration for Daniel Bryan, and he was also the bigger man. They recap Daniel Bryan's return on the preshow last night, and Bo Dallas' interruption. Back in the arena, Dallas tells the audience "Don't stop Bolieving." Nikki Bella's music hits, and she flies past Dallas. Cue her opponents, The Funkadactyls.
- Nikki Bella vs. The Funkadactyls
- Cameron is heeling it up immediately, and she pushes Nikki and pulls her hair. Nikki gets a brief advantage, but Cameron kicks her off. Naomi tags herself in, looks conflicted, then kicks Nikki in the face. Top rope splash, and Naomi hits her finisher. It's over. The Funkadactyls win.
- After the match, Naomi and Cameron start bickering. Cameron pushes Naomi, then flips the hand at her and walks away.
All story here. Didn't really care about either aspect of it.
- Up next, details on Bad News Barrett's shoulder injury.
- We're back from break, the announcers highlight Bad News Barrett's shoulder injury at the Smackdown tapings last week. Barrett will be out for a number on months. They announce a Battle Royal to determine a new Intercontinental Championship, and that will occur at Battleground.
- Paul Heyman comes out, and says he's "The One behind 21-1." He says he earned that distinction when his client, Brock Lesnar conquered... well you know. He says he's also the recipient of some magnificent news, and that Wade Barrett requires surgery, and the championship is vacant. He says that's great because he's behind the one that won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. He states his client, Cesaro, is the Number One Seed, and he introduces Cesaro. Cesaro comes out wearing a lovely robe. He's facing off against Kofi Kingston. Kofi has a bit of a limp in his step.
- Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro
- Cesaro with an early takedown, but Kofi rolls through. Cesaro picks him up and tosses him like it's nothing. He slaps Kofi in the face, nails him with an uppercut. Kofi tags him in the corner with a kick to the face and a springboard cross body for two. Kofi tosses Cesaro out of the ring, then dives on top of him. Kofi rolls him in for two. Kofi springs up and Cesaro catches him, nailing a backbreaker. He unloads on Kofi with punches and a suplex. Two-count. Cesaro stomps Kofi in the gut. Kofi fights out, but Cesaro slams him to the mat. He sets Kofi up for the swing, and decides against it for massive heat. Paul Heyman cackles in the corner.
- Kofi hits an impressive tilt-a-whirl hurricarana in for a near fall. Cesaro catches Kofi in the head and sends him out of the ring as we go to break.
- We return from break, and Kofi Kingston just won. Seriously. He won the match during the break. Kofi Kingston won. Cesaro is not amused, and he attacks Kofi after the break. He catches Kofi with a European Uppercut and tosses him over the announcer's table. Cesaro tosses chairs, then tosses Kofi. He picks Kofi up and presses him, tossing him over the barricade. He follows Kofi over and into the audience. He drags Kofi by his hair and tosses him back into the ringside area. Paul Heyman is sitting in the announcer's chair, enjoying himself. Cesaro repeatedly slams Kofi into the ringpost. He nails Kofi with a clothesline as a few referees come out to stop him. They recap Kofi's surprise roll-up victory, then highlight the beatdown. Near the ramp, Paul Heyman whispers something to Cesaro, who listens and smiles. They head back up the ramp.
A vicious attack that really made Cesaro look impressive.
- Backstage, Santino is talking to his cobra, and he's upset noone came to his barbecue. Not even Emma showed up. Out of nowhere, someone pours Twisted Tea into his drink. Holy product placement, Batman! It's Adam Rose, and they're literally advertising Twisted Tea. And it's terrible.
- Michael Cole is back in the chair again and he's ok. They talk about Hulk Hogan being pleased to see Cena win the title again. A plug for the match later tonight, and we go to break.
- After break, we hear music we haven't heard in quite some time... Mr. Vince McMahon! Nope, just kidding. It's Damien Sandow. He walks out in a suite, a wig, and has the walk and everything. Fantastic. Sandow does a pretty good impression, welcoming us to Monday Night Raw. He calls himself the genetic jackhammer. He talks about how he's turned WWE into a juggernaut with talent like Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the most talented individual to ever step foot in the ring, Damien Sandow. Funny. He says he's officially entering Sandow into the Battleground Battle Royal, and if you have a problem with that, "You're fired!"
- Stephanie McMahon shows up on the Titantron and she's pissed. She wants to know who he thinks he is by making fun of her father. She talks about how they built WWE from the ground up. She says they're toppled giants, and tonight he'll have the same opportunity when he faces another contestant in the Battle Royal. The Great Khali's music hits.
- The Great Khali vs. Damien Sandow
- Khali chops Sandow in the head immediately. It's over. Kahli wins.
- The limo is still there, the door is opened. We'll see who it is, next.
- After break, Justin Roberts introduces a former WWE Champion and "cross-platform multimedia superstar." It's The Miz. He's dressed to the nines, and looks pretty good, actually. It's been a while since he's been in the ring, so it'll be interesting to see if he's heel or face. If I had to guess, heel. He takes a microphone and says "I'm back." He asks the audience if they missed him. He says he's been gone for four months shooting The Marine 4. He says he was tempted to stay and film more films, and perfect the art and craft that is acting. He says they told him he'd be Hollywood's biggest moviestar. He says he fans must be asking why he's back. The answer is all of us, because while Hollywood appreciates him, the fans take him for granted. "The guy to main event Wrestlemania only to stop main eventing. He calls the fans wrong. He says he won't leave until he main events again and the fans show him the respect he deserves. He won't leave until... well until he gets cut off by fireworks.
- Chris Jericho's music kicks in out of nowhere, and Jericho stands on the ramp, glowy jacket and all. The audience goes crazy. The Miz looks pissed. Jericho milks his return and enters the ring. His music fades and a solid Y2J chant breaks out. The Miz asks him if he's got something to say. "Did you come out here to give me a lifetime achievement award." He calls him 2012 Jericho where he comes back for three weeks and doesn't talk. "How dare you Chris?" He asks him if he knows how important he is. Mid sentence, Jericho hits The Miz with a Codebreaker, laying him out. Huge pop. "Damn that felt good." Jericho is in rockstar mode. He says he's been waiting a long time to say these words: "Welcome to Raw is Jer." He doesn't get to finish. The Wyatt Family's music interrupts. The lights go out.
- When the lights come back up, all three members of The Wyatt Family are in the ring. Jericho stares them down,and they attack him viciously. Wyatt waits for his moment, then nails Sister Abigail on Jericho in the middle of the ring. Wyatt poses above Jericho, selling the attack in the middle of the ring. We go to break.
Not really sure where to go with this. Everyone assumed it was Brock Lesnar returning, so The Miz was a surprise for me. Then, to see Jericho interrupt, I'd be lying if I said I didn't pop at the idea of Jericho facing a rejuvinated Miz. But to scrath that for a feud with The Wyatt Family? I'm all over that.
- After break, we get a recap of the attack just moments ago. In the ring, Fandango and Layla. The announcers recap the ending of Layla vs. Summer Rae, and Summer's crying. Anyhow, more importantly, Fandango is facing Dolph Ziggler, who is wearing a generic WWE shirt tonight. New lows.
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango
- Quick dropkick from Ziggler. Fandango sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Fandango attacks with kicks to the head. He dances instead of finishing Ziggler, and Ziggs takes advantage. Fandango reverses it. Layla climbs up onto the apron to kiss Layla. Ziggler amps up after that, and gets in quite a bit of offense. Neckbreaker in the center of the ring. Jumping elbow. Out of nowhere, Summer Rae just walks right into the ring. She looks at Fandango, then makes a move to Ziggler, kissing him right in the middle of the ring. Ziggler isn't done and he puts a big kiss on her. Fandango is confused and calls for her. Ziggler nails a Zig Zag out of nowhere and gets the pin. Dolph Ziggler wins. Layla doesn't look amused.
While I'm not opposed to Ziggler and Summer Rae teaming up, I hope it leads somewhere other than a lover scorned angle, which is exactly what it appears to be right now.
- Recap of last week's WWE Raw, with Vickie Guerrero getting fired, and Stephanie promptly getting tossed into a pool of muck.
- Rybaxel come out to the ring for a match. Looks like they're facing Goldust and Stardust. Again.
- Goldust & Stardust vs. Rybaxel
- Thank god I covered this match last night. I get to see it again! Anyhow, Goldust and Curtis Axel start it off after Rybaxel attack immediately. Goldust hits an atomic drop. Blind tag to Ryback, who sneaks up behind Goldust. Headlock by Ryback. He slams Goldust into the corner, hits him with chops. Ryback tosses Goldust across the ring with a fallaway slam. He rolls the shoulder with the "Feed Me More" chant, which the audience joins in on. Tags to Axel and Stardust. Stardust hits some rapidfire offense, sending Axel into the corner. Springboard chop to the head. Nice DDT. Clothesline from the second rope. Axel cuts him off, but Stardust reverses it and faceplants Axel for the win. Stardust and Goldust win the match.
Another good tag match from these four, but it's been par for the course for a feud that has good matches but no real point. The audience seems to be getting behind Rybaxel, finally.
- Our WWE Divas champ, Paige, is on her way to the ring, up next!
- We are back from break, and Paige's music hits. She comes out to the ring, title in hand. She kisses her title before grabbing a mic. Paige says she's a woman of few words. Usually she lets her actions speak for her, but she knows there's a few out there that felt like she didn't deserve to be champ, that she should go back to NXT. She says she's proven she deserves to be here and she is here to stay. Before she can finish, AJ Lee's music kicks in! AJ skips around the ring. She's been missing since she lost the title to Paige. AJ steps into the ring, skips over and grabs a mic of her own. The fans chant CM Punk at her. Great. Anyhow, AJ says to Paige she's right. AJ says she did no woman in nearly a year could do: she proved AJ wrong. She proved everyone wrong. AJ says she let success go to her head, and she was the longest reigning Divas champion of all time. However, she shouldn't have rubbed it in everyone's face like she did. She thought she was untouchable, and Paige gave her the slap of reality she needed. She wanted to return the favor, and say Thank you, and congratulations.
- Paige says she's not as stupid as she thinks she is. She says AJ is trying to do to her what she did to AJ, like it's some kind of poetic justice. "Noone wants to see me defend my title here tonight." AJ asks the audience if they want to see a championship rematch right now. Naturally, they say yes. Paige says "Ok." The referee slides in and it's official.
- Paige (c) vs. AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Championship
- AJ jumps on Paige immediately, but Paige pushes her off and kicks her in the face. Paige hits a number of headbutts. She's kind of wrestling like a heel, actually. AJ fights out of the corner, but Paige slams her back. Cover for two. Paige tells AJ it's "my house now." AJ rolls Paige up out of nowhere, and gets the surprise victory on Paige. AJ Lee wins back her WWE Divas Championship!
- After the match, AJ skips up to the ramp as Paige cries in the middle of the ring. AJ clutches the belt like she's found her long lost prized possession.
Well, it was extremely short, but it was designed to be. I guess these two are flip-flopping roles. The fans are definitely into AJ as a face and Paige hinted turning heel both during her promo, and her actions during the match. Paige as a heel can be money, so I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. As a side note, I suppose this smashes rumors that AJ Lee is pregnant.
- Triple H is at ringside for the Main event. Kane's music hits first, Randy Orton next. John Cena third, then Roman Reigns. Interesting order, eh?
- Kane & Randy Orton vs. John Cena & Roman Reigns
- Cena and Orton start things off. Headlock from Orton early on. Hip toss, and Cena tags in Roman Reigns. Orton tags in Kane. Kane and Reigns trade punches. Reigns tosses Kane over the top rope. We go to break.
- Back from break, Orton and Reigns are legal. Orton yanks the hair to slam Reigns to the mat. Tag to Kane. Both men attack Reigns and Kane goes for a cover. Two-count. Reigns fires up and gets some nice offense in. He sets Orton up for the running kick on the apron, but Kane stops him. Reigns attacks Kane, Orton recovers and takes him out. Tag in to Kane. Roman Reigns takes out Kane and teases a hot tag to Cena. Kane tags in Orton, who stomps him out.
- Kane back in the ring, he gets Reigns in the corner. Reigns kicks out and powers out of a chokeslam attempt. Samoan Drop to Kane, hot tag to Cena. Orton is in. Cena goes crazy and takes out Orton. Five Knuckle Shuffle. He sets Orton up for the AA, but Orton gets free and tags Kane. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Kane too. Orton sneaks in the ring and hits an RKO. Reigns sends Orton out of the ring, nails Kane with a Superman Punch, then goes out after Orton. They brawl up the ramp and backstage. Ringside, Kane slams John Cena into the steps. Kane assaults Cena and the referee calls for the DQ. John Cena & Romain Reigns win via DQ.
- Triple H tells Kane to finish Cena off. He rolls Cena back into the ring and sets him up for a Tombstone Piledriver. He nails it. Triple H looks quite pleased. He walks over to the apron as the fans chant "One more time." Funny. A couple of doctors tend to Cena, and Triple H steps into the ring to check on John Cena. He kneels by him, then beckons towards the ramp. Seth Rollins walks out with a referee and the briefcase. He tells the ref to cash it in! As Triple H sorts things out, Dean Ambrose flies down to the ring and attacks Seth Rollins! They fight into the audience. Triple H calls the referee an idiot. Kane grabs a chair and eyes up John Cena. Roman Reigns runs out and spears Kane! Reigns and Triple H have a staredown. The place is going bananas. Triple H backs away a bit on the apron, Briefcase in hand. Triple H points at something (John Cena?) then drops off. Reigns still eyes him cautiously. Roman Reigns' music hits as Triple H walks away.
Technical issues on the website cooled off what was a really exciting show. The kicker? I live in Connecticut, about an hour from Hartford. I nearly bought tickets, but money issues kept me from doing so. I missed out on a really hot show. Very disappointed there.
Lots of returns tonight - The Great Khali, The Miz, Chris Jericho, AJ Lee. Lots of new stories set up. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Paige from here, as well as Jericho and The Wyatt Family. And, The Miz seems to have a clear-cut direction for the first time in forever. Will they stay the course?
Lots to talk about on this week's Ring Rap Audio. We will be recording Wednesday night. Keep an eye open for the show! Thanks for reading, folks!