Raw results: Big Show returns, but suffers The Authority's wrath
CM Punk def. Luke Harper
GREENVILLE, S.C. – As last week showed, CM Punk vs. The Wyatt Family is hardly a fair fight. Happily for the former WWE Champion, he had some help when the buzzards came circling seven days later. Punk avenged his beating at the hands of The Wyatt Family by defeating Luke Harper in a singles match on Raw, despite a commanding effort by the backwoods hulk. With Bray Wyatt observing at ringside, Harper mangled The Straight Edge Superstar within an inch of defeat, though a missed discus clothesline allowed Punk to pounce with a roll-up pin for the victory.
This, needless to say, did not go over well with the Family. Erick Rowan initiated a post-match attack on Punk and the master himself quickly joined, though the trio was immediately thwarted by the arrival of Daniel Bryan. With chair in hand, the submission expert charged down the ramp to save Punk from certain doom and avenge his own attack the previous week. Judging by what ensued next – the two former WWE Champions pummeled their opponents into retreat with the steel – it’s safe to say Bryan succeeded in both endeavors … at least for the time being.
Ryback def. The Great Khali
Even a mean dog has his day, and Ryback finally had reason to smile after he conquered The Great Khali just eight days after suffering his second consecutive loss inside Hell in a Cell. Granted, Khali had his way with The Human Wrecking Ball at the outset, repaying “The Big Guy’s” bullying of Santino & Hornswoggle by slapping and chopping Ryback raw.
It was Ryback’s mobility that saved him when Khali blocked Shell Shocked and “The Big Guy” turned up the speed, pounding The Punjabi Playboy with a running Meathook Clothesline that turned Khali inside out for the 1-2-3. Ever the one to rub it in, Ryback got a few hits on Santino after the match as well.
Alberto Del Rio def. Kofi Kingston
Alberto Del Rio’s comeback tour to a World Title rematch kicked off with a bang in Greenville when The Essence of Excellence scored his first victory after losing “Big Gold” to John Cena. The former champion’s win came at the expense of Kofi Kingston, whose “skillz all day” kept him in the game until Del Rio struck the former Intercontinental Champion’s arm and cut his momentum down. Mocking Kofi’s signature gesture, The Essence of Excellence muscled Kofi into the defensive and sealed his win by countering the S.O.S. into a vicious Cross Armbreaker.
WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Big E Langston
The WWE Universe was asked to vote for Randy Orton’s next opponent on the App. What they ended up choosing was The Viper’s latest meal, though considering it was Big E Langston, the win was hardly a gimme for the WWE Champion. Orton, who was expecting a stroll in the park, instead got a waking nightmare when the former powerlifting champion trucked the champion into a daze by hurling his considerable frame into The Viper’s body.
A combination of veteran instinct and a lucky break gave Orton separation when a missed shoulder sent Big E painfully tumbling to the outside, and The Apex Predator quickly took control from there. Langston briefly powered his way back into contention, but “The Face of WWE” was left smiling when he writhed free of the Big Ending and administered the RKO to avoid, by the smallest of margins, the upset.
Tyson Kidd & Natalya def. Fandango & Summer Rae
Nearly a year after being sidelined by injury, Tyson Kidd stormed back onto Monday Night Raw and immediately made his mark, teaming with his wife Natalya to defeat Fandango & Summer Rae in mixed-tag action. An early shellacking by Kidd sent Fandango scurrying to Summer Rae, who picked up where she left off by locking Natalya in a series of submission holds. The Queen of Harts tagged Kidd back in after a double clothesline left both Divas down, and despite a timely distraction by Summer, the Dungeon-hardened duo won the day when Kidd dodged Fandango’s leg drop and locked in the Sharpshooter to leave the dancing fiend tapping a different tune.
World Heavyweight Champion John Cena & WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust def. Damien Sandow & The Real Americans
They did it again: Three days after conquering The Real Americans & Damien Sandow on SmackDown, John Cena & The Rhodes Brothers doubled-down on victories over their rivals by defeating them again on Raw. The three champions’ teamwork was well-honed by the time they took the ring, and coordinated strikes giving them the early advantage.
Sandow & the Americans isolated Cena and evened the odds, weakening The Champ with the Very European Uppercut and Patriot Lock. The double-team gave Sandow a window to tag in and attack Cena’s vulnerable arm. A free-for-all ensued when each combatant stormed the ring, and even Zeb Colter felt the pain when Cena hauled Antonio Cesaro into The Founding Father at ringside. Despite a massive Ceasro Swing to The Bizarre One, though, the Tag Team Champion planted Cesaro with the Final Cut to earn his team the win.
Dolph Ziggler def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel
Ryback walked out of Greenville with a spring in his step. His fellow Paul Heyman Guy, Curtis Axel? Not so much, thanks to the flashy precision of one Dolph Ziggler. In all fairness, the champion had Ziggler well-scouted and used Dolph’s show-offishness to his advantage, wrenching him to the mat during an ill-advised leap atop the turnbuckle and wrestling Ziggler to the mat. The Showoff fought back from the deficit and, despite some timely reversals by Axel, Dolph put the match away with a Famouser-Zig Zag one-two punch. How's that for showing the world?
The Usos def. 3MB
The good news for 3MB? They didn’t have to deal with Los Matadores for the first time in several weeks. The bad news for 3MB? They had to battle The Usos instead, and the sad song remained the same when the Samoan brothers scored the win over Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre. McIntyre himself took early control of the bout but things spun out of control when Slater tagged in and a brief fracas ensued. An attempted top-rope strike from The One Man Band was cut short by a superkick, and The Usos took advantage of the felled axe man with a Superfly Splash for the victory.
The Bella Twins & Eva Marie def. Divas Champion AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka & Aksana
Despite the strong run AJ Lee has had of late, the “Black Widow” was left seeing #allredeverything when her main muscle, Tamina Snuka, was pinned by Eva Marie in Six-Diva Tag Team action on Raw. Flanked by The Bella Twins while AJ boasted a team of Tamina & Aksana, Eva Marie didn’t enter the bout till late in the game, after her opponents had ganged up on the recently-returned Nikki Bella. Brie Bella turned the tide but nearly succumbed to Tamina’s Superfly Splash before dodging it at the last minute. Eva Marie tagged in and finished the job, rolling up Tamina for her very first win in WWE.
Big Show met with The Authority
A little persistence and patience go a long way: After months of abuse at the hands of The Authority, Big Show finally got his job back, plus a few more perks to boot, thanks to a summit that Stephanie McMahon herself called. Given that Show’s counter-suit apparently had enough legs to – per the WWE Board of Directors – merit a settlement, Stephanie caved to the giant’s demands and reinstated him, despite the intense disapproval of Triple H. He even got a cherry on top in the form of “The World’s Largest Bonus”: A WWE Title Match against Randy Orton at Survivor Series.
Watch: Big Show gets his due
However, Triple H wasn’t about to let Show leave without getting his own personal pound of flesh, and he quickly put his employee to work in a 4-on-1 Handicap Match against The Shield … and Randy Orton.
Big Show def. WWE Champion Randy Orton & The Shield via Disqualification
As far as rough first days back go, Big Show can certainly lay claim to an all-timer after Triple H pitted him against The Shield & Randy Orton and the giant found himself overwhelmed by the entire Authority before the bout could end. Despite the swarm of foes that attacked him, the giant fought back at each turn and refused to let his four foes overwhelm him, and it was only the reappearance of Kane – now in a suit and tie – that spelled his doom.
Without saying a word, The Devil’s Favorite Demon tossed a batch of steel chairs to Orton & The Shield, and though Big Show won via DQ when they went to work, the ensuing mugging – culminating in a Triple Powerbomb through the commentary table – was anything but a victory. In fact, with the odds even higher than ever before for Big Show, getting his job back might prove to be The World’s Largest Mistake.