Raw results: Chaos reigns as The Shield attacks Cena, Team Rhodes Scholars reunites
Dolph Ziggler addressed his Ladder Match against John Cena
NEWARK, N.J. — Never one for subtlety, Dolph Ziggler kicked off Raw in Newark, N.J.'s Prudential Center atop a giant ladder with his Money in the Bank briefcase suspended over his head, proclaiming himself to be "right where he belongs": the top of the world.
But self-aggrandizement wasn't the only thing on Ziggler's mind for once. The Showoff came to Newark armed with a barrage of verbal barbs for his WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs opponent, John Cena. Ziggler had few kind words to say about WWE's resident "golden boy" or their Ladder Match that would see Ziggler's coveted contract up for grabs, but he did issue a bold prediction for the 10-time WWE Champion: "I'm going to be the proverbial coal in your stocking," The Showoff sneered, vowing to outlast the Cenation leader at TLC before cashing in on Big Show and going on to become the greatest World Heavyweight Champion of all time!
There was at least one Superstar who found that statement to be a shameful thing indeed.
Ziggler hadn't even caught his breath when Sheamus' music thundered through the Prudential Center and The Celtic Warrior made his way to the ring. "Congratulations, you're finally taller than everyone else," Sheamus said to Ziggler up on his perch before affirming he would defeat Big Show in their Chairs Match for the World Title, Cena would prevail over Ziggler and the endgame of it all would be Cena vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title.
Enter Big Show, who was clearly in no mood for any of this. "BLAH BLAH BLAH," the giant bellowed. He didn't exactly mince words when he addressed The Celtic Warrior. "I would like nothing better than to come to the ring right now and smear your ignorant, Irish immigrant face all over the side of my hand." Sadly, the No Contact Clause issued by SmackDown General Manager Booker T prevented this from happening, but Show had a few words for Ziggler, should The Showoff prevail against Cena and attempt to redeem his contract against Big Show at TLC: "I'll knock you out, too."
Sheamus, as always, wasn't fazed by Big Show's threats. "Where's your Christmas spirit, fella?" The Celtic Warrior asked, reminding the giant of last Friday's SmackDown when he used Ricardo Rodriguez as a human projectile to — his words — leave Big Show's "chestnuts roasting on an open fire."
And as for that pesky legalese that prevented Sheamus from rumbling with the giant? The Irishman had that covered, too. "Just because I can't have contact with you, doesn't mean I can't have contact with someone else," Sheamus snarled, setting his eyes on The Showoff and tipping over the ladder to send Ziggler crashing, chestnuts-first, into the top rope.
R-Truth def. Wade Barrett; Mr. McMahon forced Vickie Guerrero to make two matches on Raw
Another week, another meeting of the minds between Mr. McMahon and Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero. And like previous weeks, it's safe to say Vickie wasn't exactly thrilled with the results. ( WATCH)
To be fair, this one started out a bit better for Vickie than usual, with Mr. McMahon complimenting her on the night's main event (John Cena vs. Big Show). But in the spirit of making Raw truly "monumental," The Chairman floated an idea before the Managing Supervisor: What if Sheamus were put into action in a second main event? Vickie agreed, but it was safe to say she wasn't exactly thrilled when Mr. McMahon picked this match as an appropriate contest for Dolph Ziggler to be entered into.
All was well and good, but still not monumental enough. What about a third marquee match? Vickie agreed, and devilishly floated AJ Lee as a possible combatant. The Chairman was all for that, but when Vickie drew a blank on a potential opponent, Mr. McMahon got a devilish glint of his own: "Let's make it monumental: VICKIE GUERRERO!!!!" The Chairman bellowed, leaving Vickie stupefied as R-Truth gallivanted out for his contest against Wade Barrett.
With Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro scouting at the commentary booth and sniping at each other when the mood struck (still no love for Cesaro's satchel), Truth and Barrett went at each at a breakneck pace. The Englishman looked to end the contest quickly, trying to make an example of Truth in front of Kofi, who seemed unimpressed by Barrett's relentlessness. And while Barrett seemed to have Truth's number throughout the contest, Little Jimmy's big buddy eventually pulled off a shocker when he rolled up Barrett for the 1-2-3, leaving Kofi to pick the bones by planting Barrett with a crossbody for good measure.
Team Rhodes Scholars def. The Prime Time Players, The Usos, and Primo & Epico to earn the right to face Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara at WWE TLC
What's a little shoulder injury between friends? Pundits questioned the fate of Team Rhodes Scholars following Cody Rhodes' nasty-looking shoulder injury at the hands of Kane a couple of weeks ago, but it turns out that was just a little road bump for the braniac buddies. Rhodes made his triumphant return to the ring Monday alongside Sandow, shaking hands like old school chums and showing off a glorious new mustache to boot.
The duo had even more reason to crow when all was said and done, as Team Rhodes Scholars found themselves sitting pretty yet again after outlasting three other tag teams to earn the right to face Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara at WWE TLC in a Tables Match for the No. 1 contenders' spot to the Tag Team Championships. Vying for the honor alongside Rhodes & Sandow were The Usos, Primo & Epico and The Prime Time Players.
The Usos struck first, systematically dismantling Primo & Epico and sending the former champs to the showers with a dynamic, coordinated attack. Primo & Epico's dismissal from the contest brought in Titus O'Neil, who wasted no time going to town on Rikishi's freewheeling progeny with his signature power strikes. The Players' dominant streak was short-lived, though, as The Usos rallied back, eventually pinning Darren Young to send the mouthy musclemen packing.
This brought in a fresh Team Rhodes Scholars, who went back to their time-honored strategy of divide and conquer by splitting the twins up. Sandow in particular was on the warpath, unleashing the Elbow of Disdain and summoning Cody to finish the job. The Usos rallied quickly, though, flooring Cody and setting him up for a frog splash. But Cody countered the move with knees to the midsection, executing Cross Rhodes to punch his and Sandow's tickets to WWE TLC.
Divas Champion Eve def. Alicia Fox
Divas Champion Eve didn't exactly seem concerned going into her match against Alicia Fox in the Prudential Center. But the first lesson of competition is to never sleep on your opponent, and Eve's cavalier attitude nearly led to a shocking upset at the hands of the fantastic Miss Fox.
Alicia attempted to take advantage of Eve's cockiness by unleashing a slew of wild cartwheels and headscissors that used Eve's own momentum against her. The strategy culminated in an acrobatic back-bridge suplex into a two-count and a bone-crunching backbreaker that nearly put Eve down for the count. The champion rallied nicely, though, knocking Alicia off the turnbuckle when she went for a top-rope strike and planting her with a neckbreaker to seal the victory. And to the victor, as always, go the spoils. In this case, it was a photo op, with Eve summoning the ringside photographer to snap a portrait of the champion mugging over what was left of her fallen challenger.
WWE Champion CM Punk addressed his knee injury
386 days and counting, and WWE Champion CM Punk is still all about realness.
Specifically, the realness of his knee injury and subsequent surgery, which Punk and his pal Paul Heyman addressed onstage at the Prudential Center. "This injury is 100 percent real," The Second City Saint insisted, bemused at the idea he would fake an injury to avoid giving Ryback another title opportunity. Punk wasn't ready to concede anything of the sort to Ryback, instead insisting the injury was the result of the heavy workload that came along with defending the WWE Title for 386 days and, despite the setback, he would be at WWE TLC.
Paul Heyman echoed his champion's statement, slamming the authenticity of other, lesser champions who would refuse to defend his title as often as Punk did. He also had particularly venomous words for The Rock, who he claimed lost his edge and would instead summon a stunt double ("some poor schmuck" as Heyman so loquaciously put it) to go through the table in his stead. The injury was a testament to Punk's fortitude and his continued status as the WWE Champion and The Best in the World.
As for the "vocal minority" who insisted Punk should be stripped of the title, The Voice of the Voiceless cried foul on that, too. Rattling off a laundry list of his vanquished foes as evidence, Punk claimed he earned the right to keep his title and would continue to do so, should he end up facing The Rock at the Royal Rumble. "He will fail," the champion vowed before taking his leave, Heyman in tow and his title safe, at least until day 387.
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler via Disqualification
Nobody but nobody tosses Dolph Ziggler off a ladder and doesn't have to answer for it.
That, at least, seemed to be The Showoff's mentality heading into his grudge match against Sheamus on Raw. Ziggler came out swinging in the bout's opening moments, battering The Celtic Warrior about the ring and unleashing a series of wicked strikes and elbows to the Celtic cranium of the World Title No. 1 contender. Sheamus shook off Ziggler's opening volley quickly, forcing Ziggler into a corner and hitting Mr. Money in the Bank with a series of uppercuts. The Celtic Warrior looked to capitalize on the taped-up leg of The Showoff, but Ziggler gamely withstood the Irishman's onslaught before Sheamus forced the fight to the outside and knocked Ziggler to the ground with a running axe handle.
Ziggler found an opening when he hit Sheamus with a leg drop face driver off the steel steps, bouncing The Celtic Warrior's head off the ground before forcing him back into the ring and locking Sheamus up in a sleeper hold. The Celtic Warrior wouldn't go — although a brutal strike from Ziggler sent him tumbling outside the ropes nearly seemed to do the trick when Sheamus came up looking wobbly and punch-drunk. Despite a late-game rally by Sheamus, Ziggler kept the advantage, attempting to score a cheap win by using the ropes for leverage before the referee stopped the count.
The unsportsmanlike maneuver seemed to light a fire under Sheamus, who snatched Ziggler out of the air and strung him up in the ropes, hailing forearm clubs on The Showoff's chest and setting up for the battering ram. A winded Ziggler rallied yet again, trading blows with Sheamus atop the turnbuckle before hauling The Celtic Warrior off the post and planting him with a top-rope facebuster that somehow failed to keep him down for three. What followed was a non-stop flurry of the two Superstars' signature moves, with Ziggler writhing free of White Noise and the Cloverleaf, Sheamus dodging the leg drop face driver and finally going for the Brogue Kick ... which Ziggler ducked in a display of veteran quickness. The Showoff rolled outside the ropes with Sheamus in hot pursuit, bringing the contest to an unceremonious conclusion when he nailed Sheamus in the gut with a steel chair.
Looking to end the bout with a statement of his own, Ziggler rolled Sheamus back into the ring and prepared to go to town with the chair, but The Celtic Warrior sprang up and let loose with a furious Brogue Kick that Ziggler blocked with the chair before making himself scarce. In the end, The Celtic Warrior stood tall in victory, but it seemed as though, to a certain degree, the damage had been done.
Alberto Del Rio def. Zack Ryder
Rolling in a set of bright blue wheels that would cost a less opulent man his annual salary, Alberto Del Rio strolled into Newark with victory on his mind. But The Mexican Aristocrat didn't exactly waltz away with a notch in the win column, as he met a tough test in the form of a Broski from just across the river: Zack Ryder.
Only a quick drive from his native Long Island, N.Y., and with his dad and broskis watching from the front row, Long Island Iced-Z came out swinging against Del Rio, who he's had several matches with over the months. The Ultimate Broski drew on his experience to put an early hurting on The Essence of Excellence, pounding the former WWE Champion with forearms and locking him up in a headlock. Del Rio found his rhythm quickly, though, stringing Ryder up in the ropes and unleashing an enzuigiri on the back of the "Internet Champion" that swung the momentum of the contest back in his direction. Del Rio continued to work on Ryder's back and arms, hitting the "Internet Champion" with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and landing a second enzuigiri on Ryder's arm.
Long Island Iced-Z would not be felled quite so quickly, though, escaping from each of Del Rio's pinfall attempts and withstanding The Mexican Aristocrat's vicious submission attacks before sending Del Rio over the ropes and creating separation to catch his breath. The respite was enough to get Ryder back in the match, but Del Rio was ready when Ryder attempted the Broski Boot. Del Rio dodged the kick and rolled The Ultimate Broski over into the Cross Armbreaker, forcing him to submit and sending Del Rio home happy.
Vickie Guerrero def. AJ Lee
How could AJ Lee vs. Vickie Guerrero have gone better for the former Raw General Manager? Let us count the ways:
For starters, the guest referee for the highly hyped bout was none other than Brad Maddox, who donned the zebra stripes yet again despite going rogue while officiating the WWE Title Match at Hell in a Cell. That didn't exactly kick things off on a positive note for AJ, who seemed to think the fix was in before Maddox even called for the opening chime of the ring bell.
Number two: Vickie came to play in this match, and what her wrestling style lacked in form, it certainly made up in ferocity. The Managing Supervisor unleashed a straight-up mugging on AJ, raining stiff punches on AJ with extreme prejudice and leaving the former GM reeling for the first half of the contest. Just as the abuse was reaching its fever pitch, AJ stormed back, making mincemeat of the Managing Supervisor and finally leaving her staring at the lights before making the cover ...
Only Maddox refused to make the count, leaning nonchalantly against the ropes while AJ fumed over Vickie's prone body. The former GM's attempt to confront the rogue ref led to disaster, as Vickie rolled AJ up from behind and Maddox sprang into action, counting three and handing Vickie the victory.
Needless to say, AJ did not take this well, melting down in the middle of the ring before dismantling the announce table, tossing chairs about the ringside area and, as a final point of emphasis, slapping Justin Roberts square in the face.
Like we said, AJ's night (not to mention Justin's) could have gone better.
U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston
As it turns out, Kofi Kingston and Antonio Cesaro sniping at each other on commentary can't hold a candle to the damage they can do to each other in the ring. Before defending their respective titles at WWE TLC, Cesaro and Kingston put on a Champion vs. Champion clinic in the Prudential Center, unleashing a barnburner of a contest that culminated in a hard-fought win by the Star-Spangled champion.
After a few opening words for the denizens of New Jersey (he was about as complimentary as you'd expect), Cesaro took it to Kingston early on with a flurry of mat-based wrestling attacks that looked to tire "The Wildcat" early on. Kofi countered with his own high-flying offense, but Cesaro answered back with raw strength, grounding the Intercontinental Champion and attempting to strong-arm him into defeat. Cesaro countered nearly every single one of Kofi's offensive sequences with brutal efficiency, dodging the Boom Drop and reversing a turnbuckle charge by Kofi with a boot straight to his face.
Kofi bounced back with a highlight-reel-worthy attempt at a rollup pin, but Cesaro made the champion pay with a brutal double-leg takedown followed up with a spinebuster and a very European uppercut to the back of Kofi's head that nearly turned "The Wildcat" into a smear on the canvas. But Kofi finally found his separation when the U.S. Champion reverted to showboating. Kofi took flight with a top-rope crossbody and nearly earned the pinfall with an SOS before Cesaro reached the ropes to break up the count. With Cesaro reeling, Kofi climbed the turnbuckle to take flight again, but Cesaro caught Kingston in midair, spinning the Intercontinental Champion into a backbreaker before executing the Neutralizer for the win.
The Miz interviewed Team Rhodes Scholars on "Miz TV"
First off: that suit. Loving it. Nicely done.
Second, The Miz certainly came to play for the latest installment of "Miz TV," unleashing his most provocative barrage of questions yet in no less an endeavor than an attempt to drive a wedge between the newly reunited Team Rhodes Scholars.
Damien Sandow kicked off the interview with his typical smarminess, condemning Miz's foray into the world of late-night TV. "The only thing worse than you having your own talk show is the ignoramuses that actually watch it!"
"Team Rhodes Scholars is a shining beacon of light," Rhodes said, having lost none of his swagger in his time off. "Amidst a sea of Neanderthals, Damien Sandow and I are a revelation."
Miz wasn't buying it.
"I'm sorry, I 'mustache' you a question," Miz said, eying Cody's controversial new scruff. "Did you really grow that piece of fur on your upper lip or did Damien's beard rub off on you?
"I've heard of hugging it out, but kissing it out? That's team unity right there."
Miz wasn't done yet, though. Like any true provocateur, The Awesome One went straight for Cody's jugular, implying Sandow claimed to be the better of the two who carries Cody on his back. The controversial line of questioning nearly led an apoplectic Sandow to put hands on The Miz, but Cody defused the situation nicely, damning Miz, his TV show and his outfit ("dressed like Colonel — damn — Sanders" were the exact words) before putting "Miz TV" to its end and storming off.
We can't even begrudge Miz for getting in a few extra words at Team Rhodes Scholars' expense after they vacated the stage because there wasn't a single bit of physicality and both Miz and his set managed to escape unharmed throughout the entirety of "Miz TV." We know. It's a miracle.
John Cena def. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show via Disqualification, The Shield attacked
Resuming their brutal rivalry from the summer, John Cena and World Heavyweight Champion Big Show collided in an earth-shaking contest in the Prudential Center that saw the Cenation leader notch a disqualification victory amid a scene of unimaginable chaos.
With Dolph Ziggler sitting at commentary, Cena came out swinging against The World's Largest Athlete and that strategy worked about as well as you'd expect, with the giant showing no ill effects after the Cenation leader's opening sequence. The two strongmen took turns slugging each other for the majority of the contest before Cena made his big play, reversing Big Show's chokeslam into a DDT and showing off his agility in an attempt to slow down the giant's momentum. Big Show countered with a power move of his own, wrapping the 10-time WWE Champion in an iron-tight bear hug and forcing Cena toward the mat.
The Cenation leader kept his footing, however, breaking Show's lock and looking to lock in the STF before Big Show booted him through the ropes. The giant continued his onslaught on Cena, hauling him into the barricade and nearly earning a win by count-out. Cena stormed back into the ring at the last minute but found himself immediately cut down by a Big Show clothesline. Show eventually forced Cena into a corner with bad intentions on his mind, and the giant gleefully pancaked a prone Cena with a top-rope splash. Unwilling to stop at just one, though, Show dragged Cena across the ring and attempted an encore, but Cena rolled out of the way and executed the Attitude Adjustment to put Big Show on his back.
Before he could make the cover, though, catastrophe struck.
Seth Rollins stormed the ring from cover of the crowd, swarming Cena (and giving him the win via disqualification in the process) as his Shield cohorts Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns quickly followed suit. As Big Show joined in the onslaught, fire erupted from the stage and Team Hell No sprinted down to the ring to even the odds. Dolph Ziggler was next in the fray, tilting the scales back away from Cena and company and bringing out Sheamus to level the playing field yet again. The Celtic Warrior made a beeline for Ziggler, accosting The Showoff out of the ring and into the crowd while Cena speared Big Show through a table propped up against the turnbuckle.
The Shield, however, continued their mangling of the Tag Team Champions, but the Newark crowd seemed to know salvation was close at hand. As chants of "FEED ME MORE!" boomed through the Prudential Center, Ryback's music hit and the beast himself marched down to the ring, tossing a ladder into all three members of The Shield and joining in the chaos as Raw faded to black off a scene of unimaginable chaos: bodies, boots, fists, kicks, punches, monsters, goat faces, Irishmen, champions, contenders, showoffs, thugs and, of course, tables, ladders and chairs. Oh my.