Daniel Bryan started things off on Raw this week, joined in-ring by new wife Brie Bella to celebrate his return to the WWE, after a short break.
Bryan, who had been on his honeymoon, was present on the show despite learning that his real-life father had died while he was away. Clearly full of emotion, the WWE World Heavyweight champion fought back the tears to appear for the WWE Universe.
Stephanie McMahon then came out to reveal that Bryan would face-off with Kane, before ‘the monster’ emerged back in his iconic mask to attack Bryan, Tombstoning him outside the ring and on the steel steps. Bryan required ‘medical attention’ but was once again confronted by Kane, who delivered a third Tombstone, onto the announcers table. The Big Red Machine has well and truly returned.
There was much concern for the state the champion was left in, but after a fiery and explosive start, Raw moved onto to the Intercontinental Championship Number One Contender’s tournament, which started on last week’s show.
Last week decided the semi-final matches, and the first competitors to try and get to the final match were Sheamus and Bad News Barrett.
The pair put on a great show, trading blows throughout the match and avoiding being finished by each other’s signature moves. Barrett nearly won it with a Winds of Change, while Sheamus hit a huge Irish Curse as he looked to grab the win. Chants of “this is awesome” echoed throughout the arena, and despite the brutal barrage of abuse created by Irish superstar Sheamus, Barrett hit the Bull Hammer elbow from outside the ring to clinch the victory.
Bray Wyatt then appeared on Raw with his family to deliver another eerie monologue, directed at the WWE Universe and their power to choose John Cena’s match on Raw. The match was left to the WWE App, and would see Cena either face Luke Harper, Harper and Erick Rowan or Harper, Rowan and Wyatt.
This was followed by a six-man tag match, which saw Los Matadores with El Torito take on Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal of 3MB with Hornswoggle.
The match begun with Hornswoggle and El Torito squaring off, before El Torito (with the help of his team-mates) managed to take out McIntyre to claim the win.
Re-Evolved on Raw
Evolution’s appearance then grabbed the attention on Monday Night Raw, with Randy Orton, Batista and COO Triple H coming out. Last week’s show saw the trio attack The Shield, making it clear their dominant faction had reformed in order to sort out business.
A promo video was then shown, that highlighted the supremacy of Evolution when they originally ran riot in the WWE, reminding everyone in the WWE Universe how powerful they were and still can be.
Their appearance was a warning for The Shield, who they would face at Extreme Rules, but the Hounds of Justice soon made their presence known to confront Evolution.
Triple H, Orton and Batista, however, would not face them and walked away from the ring before a battle could ensue. The Shield took to the microphones to make their intentions clear before attempting to confront Evolution once again, but would be prevented by an army of superstars standing to protect and divert chaos.
The night then moved on to tag-team action, with The Rhodes Brothers taking on the Tag-Team Champions, The Usos. Earning a hard-fought victory, The Usos claimed the win before being attacked by the commentary guests RybAxel. The match also highlighted tension between the Rhodes Brothers, with Cody Rhodes shrugging off Goldust after their defeat.
This was followed by Emma dancing her way to ring to take on Layla, who won via her own version of The Cobra, much to the delight of Santino Marella who was present at ringside.
The 2nd match of the evening in the number one contender’s tournament then took place, with Cesaro, accompanied by Paul Heyman (who once again reminded the crowd that Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker’s streak), taking on Rob Van Dam.
Van Dam controlled the early stages of the match, as his pace and athletic brilliance gave him the upper hand, and his resilience proved to be a huge problem for Cesaro throughout the match. Cesaro then, on the verge of his trademark big swing, was interrupted by the appearance of former partner Jack Swagger. Swagger attacked Cesaro without the referee noticing, pushing him against a ring-post.
As a result, Cesaro was counted out and lost the match, meaning Rob van Dam advances to next week’s final, where he’ll face Bad News Barrett for the chance to fight Intercontinental champion Big E Langston at Extreme Rules.
Cesaro got his revenge, however, hitting Swagger with a big swing.
Divas Champion Paige was next in action, taking on Aksana in singles action. The English diva grabbed the victory via the Scorpion Cross lock, in a win that will prepare her for the challenge of Tamina Snuka at Extreme Rules.
Alexander Rusev’s rise in the WWE continues to roll on, and the Bulgarian Brute made an appearance on Raw to take on Sin Cara.
Sin Cara’s agility proved to be a problem for Rusev at times, but he eventually overcame his opponent, taking note of his assistant Lana’s instructions to ‘crush’, winning with the Accolade.
Eater of Worlds
Raw concluded by announcing the outcome of the WWE App vote, and John Cena appeared to find out his fate for the evening’s main event.
It was predictable that the WWE Universe would give Cena the toughest test possible, and the vote revealed Cena would face the entire Wyatt Family in a three-on-one handicap match.
Before the match could even begin, Cena was attacked by the Wyatt Family, giving him an indication of the pain he would suffer throughout the match.
Harper and Rowan begun the assault, before Bray Wyatt was introduced who mocked Cena by ‘dancing’ with his lifeless frame. He continued to toy with his opponent, and refrained from attacking Cena when he was tagged in, leaving Harper and Rowan to do all the damage.
Cena began to fight back to try and get back in the match, but such a display encouraged Bray Wyatt to finally start attacking against his struggling and outnumbered adversary.
But it was Cena who started to build momentum, hitting Wyatt with a five-knuckle shuffle before hitting the Attitude Adjustment as he looked to grab a surprise victory.
The match ended in DQ, however, when Cena’s pin was interrupted by Harper and Rowan to decide the outcome of the match. Their encounter ended with Wyatt delivering the Sister Abigail, followed by an unnerving rendition of “He’s got the whole wide world in his hands” as he cradled Cena.