CHICAGO -- When Raw took place in the Windy City, the WWE Universe was ecstatic to welcome back Mr. McMahon after more than six months away, and our fans in attendance were just as enthused to watch their hometown hero, CM Punk, become the new Intercontinental Champion. Not everyone on the Raw roster was happy about the manner of Mr. McMahon's return, however, as was evidenced by Randy Orton assaulting the Chairman, laying him out with a slap and an utterly vicious punt to the skull.
Mr. McMahon returned to Raw, approving of how his daughter runs the show; Chris Jericho rehired; Randy Orton interrupts and attacks Mr. McMahon with a punt to the head (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Making his much anticipated return to Raw, Mr. McMahon announced to the WWE Universe that six months after his life-threatening accident, he is totally recovered and feels better than ever. After allowing Chris Jericho to speak his peace about Stephanie McMahon and the way she's run the show, Mr. McMahon allowed his daughter to make the decision whether to rehire Jericho and place him back in the Royal Rumble. The Executive Vice President decided that she would reinstate the first-ever Undisputed Champion, but only on the condition that he apologize to her as well as the entire WWE Universe. Eating humble pie, Jericho apologized, rendering himself as hypocritical as he claims our fans are.
The McMahons were then interrupted by Randy Orton, demanding an apology from Stephanie for slapping him, and continuing to treat her with extreme disrespect. The Executive Vice President attempted to slap Orton, but Mr. McMahon stopped her, insisting that he deal with the Legend Killer himself. The Chairman then demanded that Orton treat his family with respect and apologize right then and there. The third-generation Superstar refused, and when Mr. McMahon attempted to fire him, Orton responded with a slap and his vicious punt to the head, forcing the Chairman to be carried from the ring by EMTs.
Melina def. Jillian; Women's Champion Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes both attacked Melina (PHOTOS)
Melina picked up momentum going into her Women's Championship Match this Sunday by defeating Jillian. But after putting Raw's tone-deaf songstress down, Melina was once again attacked by Rosa Mendes, this time at Santino Marella's suggestion. Before The Glamazon's potential "intern" could do much damage however, Women's Champion Beth Phoenix herself entered the ring, casting Mendes aside in order to get some licks in on her Royal Rumble opponent. Though Phoenix's beau, Santino Marella was clearly expecting a thank you from the Women's Champion, he got no such thing as she refused to hug him after stating that she doesn't need anyone's help to defeat Melina.
Cryme Tyme def. World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison to earn a title opportunity (PHOTOS)
World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison came to the ring, hoping for one of them to challenge "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, the winner of the first Royal Rumble. The "Dirt Sheet" duo's plans to commemorate this year's Royal Rumble by defeating Duggan were scrapped however, when it was Cryme Tyme that joined them in the ring. Intending to honor Martin Luther King Day, and Barack Obama's imminent inauguration, Shad & JTG challenged Miz & Morrison to a match. Raw's Robbin' Hoods stipulated that if they win, they would earn a title opportunity at some point in the future, and to sweeten the deal, promised that if they were to lose, then the self-proclaimed "chick magnet" and the Shaman of Sexy wouldn't have to deal with them again. Luckily for the "Word Up" duo, however, they were victorious over the World Tag Team Champions, earning themselves a future title opportunity.
Rey Mysterio def. Mike Knox by disqualification; Chris Jericho is appearing on Raw at the request of Mr. McMahon (PHOTOS)
For weeks, Rey Mysterio has been ambushed and assaulted by the sadistic Mike Knox, for reasons unknown to the WWE Universe. Though Raw saw the two Superstars face off one-on-one for the first time, we are no closer to understanding the Desert Destroyer's intentions, as Knox stated that he has no problem with the Master of the 619, and doesn't even have a reason for his attacks. The massive ring warrior continued to put his brutality on display against Mysterio, however, and was disqualified on account of it, giving the Ultimate Underdog the win.
Following the match, Stephanie McMahon walked into her office to find none other than Chris Jericho, whom she had fired the week before, waiting for her. The first-ever Undisputed Champion revealed to the Executive Vice President that her father, Mr. McMahon was allowing him a chance to speak his peace after the Chairman's much heralded return, and that he didn't plan on holding anything back regarding his treatment at Stephanie's hands.
World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and JBL signed the contract for their Royal Rumble match, afterward the Longhorn Loudmouth and his employee, Shawn Michaels, attacked The Champ (PHOTOS | WATCH)
In order to make their scheduled Royal Rumble match official, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena met his challenger, JBL and the self-made millionaire's employee, Shawn Michaels, in the ring for a contract signing. After both competitors signed the document, an argument broke out between The Champ and HBK, regarding the role Michaels might play in Sunday's World Heavyweight Championship Match. Though The Showstopper admitted that he was as disgusted by JBL as anyone, he admitted that he planned on working for the self-proclaimed "wrestling god," in order to provide for his family. Then, at the No. 1 contender's signal, HBK attacked Cena and attempted to hit him with Sweet Chin Music. Though The Champ avoided the kick, he was besieged by JBL, who dealt out his vicious Clothesline from Hell.
CM Punk def. Intercontinental Champion William Regal in a No Disqualification Match for the title (PHOTOS | WATCH)
For the third week in a row, CM Punk faced William Regal with the British brawler's Intercontinental Title on the line. As a result of their previous match-ups ending inconclusively, their contest on Raw was a No Disqualification Match. The Straightedge Superstar went on to prove that he's as capable of thriving in a no-rules environment as the devious Regal, defeating him to begin his first-ever Intercontinental Championship reign in his hometown of Chicago. In addition to his new title, Punk was also awarded a position in this Sunday's Royal Rumble Match.
Randy Orton confronts Stephanie McMahon, who slaps him for his insolence
While celebrating his earlier victory with his "Legacy," Randy Orton learned from Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes that former potential "Legacy" members Manu and Sim Snuka were seen speaking with Stephanie McMahon, and that there were rumors that she might fire the Legend Killer as she did Chris Jericho the week prior. Intending to hedge his bets, Orton went to suck up to the Executive Vice President, who promptly saw through his brownnosing. The third-generation Superstar then let loose on Stephanie, saying that she hasn't done anything worthwhile, and that after her father returns, she'll be out of a job, causing the woman who runs Raw to slap the insulting Orton.
Women's Champion Beth Phoenix def. Kelly Kelly; Santino Marella suggested "Glamarella" take on Rosa Mendes as an intern (PHOTOS)
Though it's been clear that Kelly Kelly has greatly improved her in-ring ability in recent weeks, her quickness and agility just weren't enough when she stepped into the ring with Women's Champion Beth Phoenix. The Glamazon used her immense strength and power to put down the blond bombshell, lending credence to her claim as the most dominant Diva. Following the match, Phoenix met up with her beau, Santino Marella, who had a special surprise for her: The Glamazon's crazed No. 1 fan, Rosa Mendes. The Italian Superstar was eager to bring Mendes on as an intern, but Phoenix reserved judgment. After the Women's Champion took her leave, Marella told Mendes that he knows how she can impress The Glamazon.
Randy Orton won a Six-Man Over-the-Top Rope Challenge Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Raw kicked off with a huge match intended to give the WWE Universe a taste of what they can expect from this Sunday's Royal Rumble Match. Six Royal Rumble competitors took to the ring in an Over-the-Top Rope Challenge that included Kofi Kingston, Kane, Santino Marella, Randy Orton and his "Legacy": Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Showing their allegiance to their mentor, DiBiase and Rhodes assisted Orton, working to eliminate all their competition. The humongous Kane provided the most difficulty, eliminating Rhodes and nearly tossing out Orton before DiBiase sacrificed himself to get rid of Kane, allowing the Legend Killer to pick up the win.