Refresh this page throughout the night for LIVE ongoing results and analysis! Coverage starts at 8 p.m. ET!
With less than one week until WWE’s newest Pay-Per-View ‘Battleground,’ the flagship show should be on high alert tonight. Expect Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton to kick into high gear as these two sell their match-up this coming Sunday. Also, CM Punk looks to get revenge after his beat-down on last week’s show, and Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio look to promote their No DQ World Heavyweight Championship match. Plus, Dusty Rhodes is being advertised.
LIVE SHOW COVERAGE
Raw kicks off LIVE with ‘Cult of Personality…’
Opening segment featuring CM Punk
Punk took a mic and said that this show “thrives on unpredictability.” He said it was predictable when Heyman gloated about his victory over CM Punk from Night of Champions… it was also predictable last week that CM Punk would go after Heyman when he got stranded. Likewise, it was predictable that Curtis Axel and Ryback would attack him. CM Punk said it’s okay, though, because he knows how this story ends. “This story ends when I finally get my hands on Paul Heyman.” A ‘Ryback Sucks’ chant broke out. He said the story could end next week… or it could end LIVE tonight on Monday Night Raw! A ‘C-M Punk’ chant broke out. He promised not to leave the ring until he gets a fight…
Brad Maddox came out and told Punk to take it easy. Punk chided the fact that Maddox had no entrance music. Maddox told Punk that an “ultimate showdown” with Ryback and/or Paul Heyman was not going to happen right now – it’s not what’s best for business. Instead, since he’s the GM of Raw, he offered to give Punk a match tonight. Punk said he’s looking for an outlet for his aggression… when, Big E’s music hit.
Big E said, “You want aggression?” then attacked Punk…. Maddox called for a referee and made it an official match.
CM Punk vs Big E Langston
Show returned from commercial break with both men brawling outside the ring. They fought back in. Big E Langston laid Punk out with a tremendous clothesline, then landed a huge splash on Punk’s back. Langston attempted a weird crab-lock, but Punk fought back out with a few kicks. Langston followed up with a standing splash, but only earned a TWO count on the resulting pin attempt.
Big E Langston continued the assault. He hit Punk with a belly-to-belly suplex, then kicked Punk around on the ground. Punk stood back up and matched Big E blog-for-blow, and eventually scored with a big kick to Langston’s head. He went for a pin attempt… 1… 2… Langston kicked out. Punk tried to put Langston up on his shoulders, but Big E Langston dropped off and hit Punk with a huge clothesline. Punk rolled out of the way when Langston went for another splash. He finally “out-quicked the big guy” (according to Jerry Lawler), and put Langston down with a swinging neck-breaker. Punk caught Big E with a high-knee in the corner. He went to the top rope, called for the elbow drop, and landed it from across the ring. He signaled for the GTS. Punk put Langston up on his shoulders, dropped Langston’s face onto his knee, and scored the pinfall. 1…2…3!
Winner: CM Punk
Rating: Good – I’m glad CM Punk opened the show, because it gave us somebody OTHER than Triple H. I’m also happy he earned a solid victory heading into Sunday. I’m not, however, happy that Big E Langston does a job his first night back… #sigh
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
JBL said that “Fandango is like Usher mixed with Randy Couture.” Ugh.
Fandango started off in control, but eventually succumbed to a spinning elbow from Kingston. Fandango fought back out of the corner. He hit Kingston with a massive clothesline, but only earned a TWO count on the resulting pin attempt. Fandango continued to work over Kingston’s head and back. He locked Kingston in a sleeper hold, but Kofi Kingston fought out, and countered with a DDT. He hit his signature slaps against Fandango, but Fandango dropped Kingston square on the turnbuckle.
When Fandango went to attack Kofi Kingston in the corner, Kingston dodged away, and hit money with the Trouble in Paradise. He covered Fandango for the win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Suddenly, The Wyatt Family’s music hit. Bray Wyatt took a microphone, in the dark, and talked about the horrible things that have happened to him. He said that he understands what he must do, and that “one by one they will all fall down.” RAW went to commercial…
Dolph Ziggler vs Damien Sandow was announced for the Pay-Per-View pre-show! Because your former World Champion and your future World Champion should be on curtain-jerking duty… right…
Randy Orton walked up to The Bellas backstage and congratulated Brie on her engagement. But then he told her that she better plan the wedding for sooner than later because of what he plans to do at Battleground.
Backstage, Renee interviewed Paul Heyman. Heyman said that Punk is descending into madness, and said that Punk is a “nobody” who became a Paul Heyman guy, then WWE Champion, but who forgot what made “us” the best in the world. Renee then pointed out that Ryback and Curtis Axel were hiding around the corner like a trap for CM Punk. Heyman said some garbage about his entire life being a trap for CM Punk… then challenged Punk to try and do something tonight.
Rating(s): Mixed – Kingston and Fandango put together a fun, short match. Question, though – what’s the point? Where are these two guys heading? And what was the point of Bray Wyatt in it all? Following that, I’m okay with the Paul Heyman interview, as long as he does something tonight. I’m sick of empty threats in pro wrestling.
Back from commercial… It’s time! OLE!
Debut match: Lost Matadores against 3MB
Lost Matadores came out with some tiny dude dressed in a bull outfit. They had jazzy Latin entrance music. Michael Cole put over their new names (Diego? and something else?), but c’mon, we know who they are…
A sloppy match between Los Matadores and 3MB ensued. Heath Slater got very little offense before tagging Jinder Mahal in. Mahal dropped a few knees on one of Los Matadores before tagging back in Heath Slater. Slater went for a quick pinfall, but only earned a two-count. Slater went for a scoop slam. Fernando rolled out and tagged in Diego, who scored with a high level of offense against Heath Slater. Fernando tagged himself back in, then both men engaged in a tag-team finisher against Slater for the win.
Winners: Los Matadores
Rating: Mediocre – Okay, that entrance was… uh, something… and the match was… something else. It’s okay, because I think Los Matadores still have room to grow on me. I’ll take it for a debut.
Top of hour two, and it’s time for the big guns…
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon make an offer to the Rhodes Family
Triple H invited the Rhodes family down to the ring. He promised to guarantee their safety like he does “every” WWE Superstar. Cody Rhodes, Goldust (in a suit, no less), and Dusty Rhodes walked down to the ring.
Stephanie McMahon welcomed them to RAW. She congratulated Cody Rhodes on his wedding. Triple H asked, “why the angry look?” He discussed all the different opportunities they’ve given Cody, Goldust, and Dusty. They made fun of Dusty Rhodes inability to get over with a national audience. Stephanie said that Dusty has the most important job in the company, helping train the new superstars down at the WWE Performance Center.
Stephanie offered to give Cody his job back, and give Goldust a new contract… if both men can beat Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns this coming Sunday at WWE Battleground. They said yes. Then, Triple H said, “there’s always a but…” He said that if Cody and Goldust lose, they would NEVER be allowed to fight in the WWE again. Also, Dusty Rhodes would be fired from the company. Dusty said they’d agree under one condition – that he gets to stand in the corner of his boys come Sunday. Stephanie accepted the offer.
Suddenly, The Shield attacked the Rhodes family from behind. They performed a triple power bomb on Cody Rhodes. Dusty and Goldust were left lying in the ring.
Rating: Great – I loved the intensity here. While I don’t quite understand what inspired Triple H and Stephanie to offer The Rhodes Family another shot, I like how Triple H sells it like he’s toying with them. Also, the moment between Triple H and Dusty Rhodes felt almost a little bit too real. All in all, I liked it.
R Truth vs Curtis Axel
Nice to see Axel in action again. He maintained an early lead against R Truth, but R Truth regained control with a vicious kick to Axle’s legs that literally sent Axel spinning head over heels. Axel fought back in the corner, and kept Truth down with a series of punches and kicks. He scored with a drop-kick against Truth.
After a quick Irish-whip to the corner, R Truth hit Axel with a reverse suplex into a stunner. He went for a pin attempt 1… 2… KICKOUT. Just as Axel made his way back to his feel, CM Punk’s music hit. Paul Heyman went on high alert. During the distraction, R Truth got up and grabbed Curtis Axel, and hit his finisher. This gave R Truth the pin, and the ensuing victory.
Winner: R Truth
Rating: Meh – The match was fine, and the distraction was clever I guess. But does Punk really earn that much by making sure Curtis Axel loses in a flukey fashion against R Truth?
WWE aired a vignette celebrating the engagement of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella.
Alicia Fox vs. Brie Bella
Alicia Fox was dressed up in green camo, and Brie came out in her dazzle red. Fox maintained control throughout the early part of the match. She eventually locked Brie in a head-scissors, but Brie fought out. She got up and put Brie in a headlock. Both ladies scuffled around a bit longer, before Brie hit her finisher and scored the win.
Winner: Brie Bella
In a backstage segment, Paul Heyman talked to Axel about how thankful he is for Ryback. Ryback went out to the ring, and Paul Heyman said that maybe it’s time to “propose” to Ryback. Weird?
Backstage, Renee interviewed Big Show about his recent dealings with Triple H. Big Show said that when people tell him to “do the right thing,” it’s a lot easier to say when their necks aren’t on the line. He’s being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. He said he’s done everything he’s been asked to do. Show said that there’s only so much he can take. He said he can’t take it anymore. He got intense, balled up his fist, and promised to knock Triple H “the hell out.”
Rating: Weird – Both of those segments were just a little bit… bizarre. Paul Heyman was acting goofy in the worst possible way, and Big Show was doing some of the worst overacting I’ve ever seen in pro wrestling. And did anybody else notice that he walked away with his shoulders hunched funny? Hm.
Back from commercial break, R Truth demanded an Intercontinental Championship match. Suddenly, Big Show broke in the room and demanded to see Triple H. He sent Maddox to go find him.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder and Del Rio locked up early. Del Rio hit Ryder witha shoulder tackle off the ropes, but Ryder fought back with blows to the back. Zack Ryder missed an attack over the top rope against Alberto Del Rio to the outside. This let Del Rio take back control of the match, and beat Ryder back into the ring. Ryder tried to punch back in. However, Del Rio blocked his attacks – at least, until Ryder got back up and hit Del Rio with a dropkick from the top rope. He connected with the broski boot. Ryder attempted the pin 1… 2… KICKOUT
Del Rio got back up and countered with a German Suplex. He locked in the cross-armbreaker, forcing Ryder to quickly tap.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Rating: Good – The match had an obvious outcome, and was over rather quickly, but I still enjoyed it. Nothing to write home about. Still, not bad, either.
Paul Heyman with Ryback segment
Paul Heyman claimed to be a world renowned expert in political science. That’s why he squashed the insurgent, CM Punk, on his own turf last week in Chicago. He claimed that Ryback is the one who stopped CM Punk’s bullying of his own choice. Ryback took the mic and said the one thing he hates in this world “is a bully.” He hated seeing all that Paul Heyman had done for Punk thrown back in Heyman’s face. Both men touched cheeks. Heyman said that, in this modern society, it’s important that people are “open and honest” about who they are. He said that he wants something more meaningful. He feels liberated and free, and wants to feel that way for the rest of his life.
Heyman told Ryback that this needs to become an official commitment. Heyman claimed he even ran this by his children. “Ryback, I want to make an honest man out of you…” and he got down on one knee. Huh? “Ryback… will you become a Paul Heyman guy?” Ryback had a goofy smile on his face. Heyman had a scary smile on his face. Suddenly, CM Punk’s music hit… (thank goodness)
Both men looked around for Punk, who entered from the audience. As Punk was vaulting over the barricade, he landed awkwardly on his knee, and acted like he was in a lot of pain. Heyman and Ryback just stood there staring at him. Punk walked over to the ring apron and tried to climb in, but failed to make it up. One of the doctors came over to help Punk out. Just as Heyman and Ryback came over to see Punk, CM Punk pulled out a kendo stick and unloade on Heyman, Ryback and Axel. He hit Axel square in the face with the stick, then tossed him up on his shoulders, and put him down with the GTS.
Rating: Bad – I really didn’t care for this segment. The “will you be a Paul Heyman guy?” proposal was terrible. I guess they were trying to be cute, or funny. But it just came across as unnecessarily corny. Also, Punk and Ryback looked like complete goofs for biting on Punks injured knee bit. Remember a month ago with this rivalry was the most intense thing on WWE TV? What a difference time (slash Ryback) makes…
The Shield vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler and Ambrose started things off and exchanged blows, before Ambrose tagged in Rollins, and Zigger tagged in Jimmy Uso. Michael Cole reminded us that The Usos are still number one contenders for the Tag Team Titles. Rollins and Ambrose tagged each other in-and-out, focusing on the mid-section of Jimmy. At one point, Ziggler took Reigns over the top rope, while The Usos went flying over the top rope onto Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. RAW went to commercial…
Back from the break and The Shield was in firm control. The pace quickened with Ziggler exploding in with a tag. He landed a few elbows on Ambrose, and drop-kicked Rollins to the outisde. After a quick fameouser, he went for a pin attempt on Ambrose, but Roman Reigns broke it up after a two count. Things broke down after that. In all the confusion, Reigns tagged himself in and hit Ziggler with a spear out of nowhere. He covered Ziggler for the pin… 1…. 2… 3!
Winners: The Shield
Rating: Good – Solid tag-team event here. I’m really confused about the battle lines – why are The Usos being dropped if they’re the number one contenders? Plus, why are they being completely ignored on the Pay-Per-View? Should we expect the Ambrose v. Ziggler mini-feud over the US Championship to continue, or not? All that being said, this group makes for an exciting match-up. I’m also impressed by The Usos more and more every week.
After the commercial break, Big Show was shown hanging around Triple H’s locker room. A squad of rent-a-cops showed up ready to take Big Show away for threatening a WWE Superstar. Stephanie stepped in and offered to vouch for the Big Show. She said that Show has just been under a lot of stress lately, and it’s not his fault. She then added that his wife said Show “has not been measuring up at home, either.” Show looked angry and punched a hole in the wall…
Renee interviewed RVD backstage about his match Sunday against Alberto Del Rio. Rob Van Dam said he prefers to show instead of talking… and a brief video from YouTube showed Van Dam’s top-10 hardcore moments. RVD said that Del Rio doesn’t even know what hardcore is. He said the perfect translation for Hardcore is… “Rob. Van. Dam.”
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro
Zeb Coulter cut a promo, but I couldn’t pay attention because I was in awe of the pink “We The People” shirts. Awesome!
Santino took control with an early hip toss, but Cesaro fought back with a European uppercut. Both men struggled back-and-forth before Santino called for the cobra. Cesaro swung Santino around with his new signature spin-move. Santino tried another hip toss, which got blocked, but Santino was able to lay down on Cesaro and score the win.
Winner: Santino Marella
Rating: Uhhh - Sorry, I’m too busy looking at the clock thinking, “it’s already 10:55 and I haven’t seen Daniel Bryan yet.” I’m over this filler stuff.
Final Segment featuring Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton
Back from commercial, Jerry Lawler was in the ring. He showed a picture from Daniel Bryan’s proposal, before introducing the great bearded one. Daniel Bryan made his way down to the ring. Randy Orton was introduced next.
Jerry Lawler said that this is intended to be a ‘verbal confrontation only.’ He discussed Triple H stripping Bryan of the WWE Championship. Randy Orton said he’s glad it happened because it let him return to being the viper. He said he will beat Bryan for the WWE title because he is genetically superior to a “…goat-faced troll like yourself.” Lawler said “those are some pretty strong comments.” Thanks for the insight, Jerry.
Bryan got on the mic and asked Orton why Triple H felt the need to inspire, or motivate, Orton. Maybe it’s because he knew that “You (Orton) can’t reach your full potential without it.” Bryan said he’s never needed anybody elses motivation to reach his full potential. This Sunday, at Battleground, Bryan promised to regain the WWE Championship. A “Yes!” chant broke out across the coliseum. Orton told the fans to shut-up. He asked what could be so wrong with Brie Bella that she has to settle for the likes of Daniel Bryan. “One day, she’s going to wake up and realize… she’s sleeping with a barn-yard animal.”
Daniel Bryan couldn’t handle it any longer, and punched Orton square in the face. Both men fought outside the ring as Orton tossed Bryan into the barricade, into the steel stairs, and then shoulder-first into the steel post. He dropped Bryan straight onto the barricade. Just as Orton was about to DDT Bryan onto the floor, Brie Bella ran out. Still, Orton went through with the DDT. Brie got down to check on her fiancee. Orton ran her off and ripped up the announce table. He picked Bryan up on top of it, and RKOed him straight down, as Brie watched on from ringside. Some guy yelled “Randy kiss her!” Brie and some referees tended to a lifeless Bryan as RAW went off the air…
Rating: Good – Solid closing segment. I’m glad WWE ended the show with these two (and not Triple H) because the focus SHOULD be on the WWE Championship above everything else right now. The reaction from Bryan seemed genuine, and Randy Orton’s beat-down was as vicious as it needed to be. Still, this came a little too late in the show for me to be really excited about it…
Overall Show: Check back next week after I’ve seen the Pay-Per-View. Actually, don’t. The build for Battleground has been lackluster at best, and tonight just seemed all over the place. Punk and Heyman took a step back, Bryan and Orton went on last but were given no time, and there was way too much filler for a go-home show. Sorry, folks, three weeks just isn’t enough for a PPV build.
Thanks for watching along with me! Are you buying Battleground now? Give me your thoughts on tonight’s RAW in the comments below!