Raw results: The Rock brawls with Punk, Cena survives the cage and Kaitlyn wins big on Raw's 20th anniversary
Big Show interrupted Mr. McMahon’s address to the WWE Universe
HOUSTON — Monday Night Raw officially bid its teenage years goodbye in the Lone Star State when the longest-running episodic show in TV history kicked off its 20th anniversary spectacular with an address from none other than The Chairman, Mr. McMahon. Looking spiffy in his suit, Mr. McMahon bade the WWE Universe welcome to Raw’s latest milestone and began to announce the evening’s events — a Steel Cage Match between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler among them — when he was unceremoniously interrupted by a most un-jolly giant: recently deposed former World Heavyweight Champion Big Show.
Still stewing over his last-minute title defense against Alberto Del Rio last Friday on SmackDown, The World’s Largest Athlete crassly demanded Mr. McMahon strip The Essence of Excellence of his hard-won mantle. The Chairman remained unbowed, but Del Rio himself wasted no time in making his presence known and even gave Show a chance at a title rematch later in the evening. The giant declined, instead evoking his rematch clause for the Royal Rumble and vowing to take his championship back from Del Rio.
Del Rio wasn’t done, though, as he and Ricardo Rodriguez presented Big Show with a “gift”: a plus-sized spittoon filled to the brim with suspect-looking contents. And despite the giant’s warning to the twosome, 20 years of tradition dictates that when such a bucket is introduced, it must be emptied. Ricardo fulfilled this time-honored duty and dumped the canister’s contents (which turned out to be red, white and green confetti) on the fuming giant, instigating a brawl between Del Rio and Show, kicking Raw’s big 2-0 off on a rather chaotic note.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Randy Orton
In his biggest battle yet as Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett clashed with his longtime rival Randy Orton on Raw’s 20th anniversary and, to the shock of the WWE Universe, scored a ruthless win over a Superstar who’s been not only a nine-time World Champion but also Barrett’s own persistent, personal foil through the years. Orton drew on his pas t clashes with the Englishman for their bout in Houston’s Toyota Center, but Barrett had learned a thing or two as well in his past collisions with The Apex Predator. A strong opening sequence from Orton put the bout squarely in his control, but “The Prince,” as Barrett refers to himself on Twitter, showed why perseverance is essential to victory.
Barrett absorbed Orton’s blows and waited the contest out, choosing his moments carefully as he slowly, surgically reclaimed the momentum from The Apex Predator. Barrett ensnared Orton in the ropes and locked his foe in submission holds to slow Orton down. After a last-minute attempt at a rally from Orton, Barrett evaded the RKO and finally put The Viper down with a thunderous Bull Hammer to Orton’s cranium, notching the three-count and ensuring The Barrett Barrage will, indeed, live on.
Team Hell No underwent their four-month evaluation with Dr. Shelby
What a difference four months makes. When last we left Dr. Shelby, the good doc was left exasperated on a weekly basis by the continuous bickering of his star patients, Team Hell No. But in their first evaluation of 2013, the mad duo seemed to be finally cured of their anger demons when Shelby sat them down for one final session. And while Kane and Bryan might have twisted the truth a bit when asked to describe their favorite things about each other just to make Shelby happy (depending whom you ask, Kane is quite the dancer and Daniel Bryan dabbles in women’s clothing), it was Shelby's foray into “immersion therapy” that brought the wheels off the proceedings.
To see how Kane and Bryan functioned in the presence of an anger trigger, Shelby summoned Team Rhodes Scholars into the session to help Kane and Bryan find their “happy place.” It didn’t quite work, as Shelby was summarily subjected to a barrage of distasteful comments by the immaculately groomed twosome. To his credit, Shelby didn’t bit when Rhodes and Sandow peppered him with insults (he is an anger management therapist after all), but when Sandow insinuated Team Hell No would be better suited with Dr. Phil as their therapist, the good doc kind of lost it. Channeling his students’ own explosive anger (irony, thy name is Shelby), Dr. Shelby sicced Team Hell No on Team Rhodes Scholars, driving them from his session and causing Kane to declare that he and Bryan had finally found their happy place. And then, they all yelled “YES!”
In our humble, not at all medical opinion, we deem it a breakthrough. Congratulations, Team Hell No.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kane def. Damien Sandow
It appears the battle between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars will come to a head at the Royal Rumble, (MATCH PREVIEW) but before the two tandems battle with the titles on the line, Kane and Damien Sandow took to the ring in Houston to settle a personal matter one-on-one. With the Scholars having interrupted and derailed the champions’ four-month evaluation with Dr. Shelby earlier in the evening by insulting the good doctor (and with Team Hell No having finally made their breakthrough in unifying to defend Shelby), Kane stepped into the ring against The Enlightened One, looking to build upon his and Bryan’s discovery of their “happy place.” The sentiment seemed to work, as Kane scored a resounding victory over “The Lord of Literacy” in singles action. Sandow was rolling early on but Kane’s veteran wiles won out in the end. Snatching Sandow out of the sky when The Enlightened One attempted a top-rope strike, Kane sealed Sandow’s fate with a Chokeslam that left “The Duke of Decency” counting the Toyota Center lights as the ref counted to three.
Ryback, Sheamus and Randy Orton rescued Mick Foley from The Shield
Well, that’s one way to celebrate a Hall of Fame induction, we suppose. The first announced member of the WWE Hall of Fame’s 2013 class, Mick Foley arrived in Houston with the intention of addressing the WWE Universe who supported him throughout a storied, legendary career. But before The Hardcore Legend could even get a word in, The Shield emerged from the crowd with the apparent intent of swarming the three-time WWE Champion in the ring. Happily, the cavalry arrived in the form of Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus. The mighty trio drove The Shield back from their ambush and forced the men in black into retreat, ensuring that Foley’s first Raw as a Hall of Fame Superstar did not end in chaos.
Ryback’s night did not end there, though, as he promised that The Shield would pay for costing him the WWE Championship down the line, demanding “FEED ME SHIELD!” as the mayhem finally died down.
Kaitlyn def. Eve to win the Divas Championship
You know what they say: Good things come to those who wait. And Kaitlyn’s persistence in pursuing the Divas Title finally paid off on Raw’s 20th anniversary, when the beautiful NXT veteran finally dethroned Eve as Divas Champion, capturing the butterfly-emblazoned title in a hard-fought match with an interesting stipulation. While Eve had largely retained the title due to chicanery and an exploitation of technicalities, SmackDown General Manager Booker T decreed the title would change hands if Eve got herself counted out or disqualified again, as she had done in recent bouts between her and Kaitlyn.
The stipulation worked entirely to the challenger’s advantage, as Eve found herself with nowhere to escape Kaitlyn’s relentless onslaught. The champion looked as though she might pull off the victory after a rough start, but couldn’t close the door on the contest to notch a three-count or submission. The two Divas matched each other shot for shot, as Eve kicked out of Kaitlyn’s reverse DDT, Kaitlyn escaped the neckbreaker and Eve withstood the gutbuster in a vicious sequence of signature maneuvers. Kaitlyn inevitably proved herself the wilier of the two when Eve tossed Kaitlyn over the barrier and assumed the win was in hand. While Eve called for a count-out, Kaitlyn snuck back into the ring and rocked the champion with a spear, bringing Eve’s reign to its crashing close.
But that's not all: One Diva's triumph was another one's final downfall as, moments later, a furious Eve quit WWE during an WWEActive interview.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. Brodus Clay
Call your mommas and lock up the fine china, Brodus Clay and CM Punk have beef. Taking The Straight Edge Superstar’s snide remarks the previous week to heart, The Funkasaurus stepped into the ring against the reigning WWE Champion to see if Punk could back up the tough talk of his “pipe bombs.” The champion obliged Clay and then some, earning a gritty victory over a raging Brodus in the Toyota Center on Raw’s 20th anniversary. The big man came out swinging with a vicious array of power moves that left Punk reeling, but The Straight Edge Superstar proved his mettle by toughing it out through the big man’s attacks and felling Brodus with several neckbreakers and a flying elbow. With The Funky One down, Punk quickly wrenched his foe into the Anaconda Vise, forcing Clay to tap out.
3MB def. Sheamus in an Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge
It’s a hit! 3MB defeated Sheamus on Monday Night Raw, using their numbers to overpower The Celtic Warrior in an Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge that served as a precursor to the Royal Rumble Match at the end of the month. Sheamus likely wasn’t all that pleased with the outcome, however, when the reigning Rumble Match winner found himself expelled from the ring by his eccentric foes.
It didn’t look like 3MB would be quite so lucky for a while, though, after Sheamus eliminated Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre in quick succession, leaving Heath Slater alone in the ring with The Celtic Warrior. The band had Slater’s back, though, capitalizing on a missed Brogue Kick to haul Sheamus over the top rope and earn the threesome a big upset win. The Celtic Warrior wasn’t about to leave till he got his own licks in, so to speak, dragging Mahal from the ring and felling Slater and McIntyre with a pair of Brogue Kicks that brought their encore to a screeching halt.
Antonio Cesaro crashed “Miz TV” with Ric Flair
Come on, you didn’t really think Ric Flair was going to miss the 20th anniversary of Raw, did you? The Dirtiest Player in the Game shocked the WWE Universe with his return at the Slammys a few weeks back, and “The Nature Boy” certainly picked a dynamic stage for his follow-up: an episode of “Miz TV.”
The Miz was more than accommodating to the 16-time World Champion as well, egging “Naitch” on to repeat his famous catchphrase while recalling some of the great verbal calling-cards of Superstars past in the process. But just as Flair got to the good part, the celebration was marred by the presence of U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro, who had a few choice words for the mouthy twosome. The Swiss Superman stopped just short of tussling with Miz and Flair, however, announcing he would take the “opportunity” to be the bigger man and walk away.
Of course, “The Nature Boy,” refused to afford Cesaro that opportunity, administering his signature chops to the mighty champion and setting him up for a Skull-Crushing Finale. But “Naitch” gave Miz the final honor, allowing The Awesome One to administer Flair’s signature Figure-Four Leglock on Cesaro, leaving the champion writhing in pain beneath the bright lights of “Miz TV.”
WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan def. Cody Rhodes
Call it a clean sweep, folks: Team Hell No finished Raw’s 20th anniversary two-for-two against Team Rhodes Scholars in singles competition after Daniel Bryan knocked off Cody Rhodes in a quick, vicious bout following Kane’s victory over Damien Sandow. Rhodes had Bryan at an inherent disadvantage thanks to the submission technician’s injured knee, but Bryan took advantage when “The Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” (Rhodes’ words, not ours) stopped to preen for the Houston crowd and took his eye off the ball. With Rhodes distracted, Bryan struck and torqued Cody into the “No!” Lock, forcing the mustachioed one to submit to Bryan’s talented hold. Now that’s certainly worth a “YES!” or two.
John Cena def. Dolph Ziggler
Chalk up another win for John Cena, who continues to get the best of Dolph Ziggler and his entourage in the long-running rivalry that has consumed Cena and The Showoff over these past several months. The duo’s latest confrontation found them encased inside a steel cage on Raw’s 20th anniversary, where despite The Showoff’s best efforts — and the interference of Big E Langston — Cena achieved victory yet again.
Ziggler didn’t initially look too interested in a straight up fight, as he made several early escape attempts in the contest and paid dearly for them when Cena took control. It didn’t last long for the 10-time WWE Champion, though, as Ziggler quickly changed his tune and let loose with a lightning-fast flurry of offense that left his muscle-bound foe struggling to regain momentum. It took a while, but Cena eventually did turn the tide against Mr. Money in the Bank and nearly escaped the cage, but Big E Langston stopped the Cenation leader from dropping to the ground and kept Dolph in the hunt as a result.
The bout reached a fever pitch when a hysterical AJ Lee attempted to interfere, scaling the cage after a top-rope leaping DDT from Ziggler was not enough to notch the pinfall. With the referees distracted, Big E stormed the cage and mixed it up with Cena. Ziggler attempted to capitalize by swinging the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Cena ducked and Big E took the full force of the strike. Cena followed up quickly, catapulting Dolph into the air with an enormous Attitude Adjustment and scoring the pin in the process.
The Rock performed a “Rock Concert” and brawled with CM Punk
It’s time for The Rock to sooth his soul, WWE Universe. As Raw turned 20, The People’s Champion strolled to the ring, guitar in hand, to perform his signature sing-along for the WWE Universe. And The Great One had an audience of two in mind for his latest ditties: Paul Heyman (in absentia) and Vickie Guerrero (in person). The Brahma Bull eviscerated them in song, spinning vicious tunes that left the WWE Universe rolling in the aisles to the tune of his dulcet strumming.
But Rock changed his tune just as he finished it, calling out CM Punk when the concert reached its end. The champion who The Rock snidely dubbed “Cookie Puss” last week obliged and The Great One let loose with a little “pipe bomb” of his own.
“You said that facing you would be like boxing with God. Well you ain’t God. But God as my witness, in 13 days I will beat you for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble.”
That was enough for Punk to drop all pretense of civility, sending the champion sprinting down the ramp. He swarmed The Great One, instigating an all-out brawl between the two that only stopped after scores of referees and WWE officials stormed the ring to separate the warring Superstars. So Raw turns 20 with a knock-down, drag-out fight. In the end, could it really ever have happened any other way?