This was a highly anticipated show in that, not only is it the final Raw before the Battleground PPV this Sunday, but speculation about the return of WCW legend Sting has been rampant.
The show opens with John Cena talking about his title defence at the fatal four way, and how he doesn’t need to be pinned to lose. Roman Reigns hits the ring. They exchange words back and forth about how the other one will see ‘how good they really are’. Dean Ambrose appears on the Titantron, calling on them to put aside their differences for the night and prepare for their 6 man tag match with Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins. Cue an attack by the aforementioned trio on the Lunatic Fringe backstage. There’s a brutal spot with Rollins hitting his Curb-stomp finisher on a production crate. Ambrose is laid out.
The first match of the night sees the returning Miz against the United States Champion, Sheamus. The so called ‘moviestar’ tells the Celtic Warrior to stay away from his face or, as he now calls it, ‘The Moneymaker’. Sheamus proceeds to do just that. The 2 trade blows with the Irishman getting the advantage early on. A couple of near falls ensue amid a flurry of signature moves. The finish comes as Sheamus reverses the Skull Crushing Finale, misses the Brogue Kick and gets rolled up by The Miz for 3. Huge win!
The Authority make their return to Raw, appearing backstage with Kane, Orton and Rollins. Triple H tells them they need to take care of business tonight and bring back the title this Sunday. Stephanie enters and throws herself at her husband.
Fandango faces off with Dolph Ziggler next. The Show Off uncharacteristically misses his usual picture perfect dropkick and is set upon by the dancing superstar. Fandango looks confident and in control until music hits mid-match, and Summer Rae and Layla are dancing on the announce table. That causes enough of a distraction for Ziggler to rally and lay out Fandango with the Fameasser for the win.
Damien Sandow and Adam Rose are backstage with an advert for American fast-food. Nothing to see here.
The tag champs are in action next. The Usos are set to take on the slapdash team of Titus O’ Neil and Heath Slater. The purpose becomes clear however as Luke Harper and Erick Rowan assault the Samoan duo. The Wyatts stand tall as the announcers hype their PPV return match.
It’s a replay of Rocky IV next as The Real Americans meet with Rusev in the middle of the ring. Zeb Colter demands an answer to the challenge for a match at Battleground between Jack Swagger and the Bulgarian Brute. Lana runs down American as a land of violence and asks for an apology. They then compare how good looking Vladamir Putin and Barack Obama are on the big screen. Zeb tells Rusev to step out from behind Lana and accept the challenge. He does. Swagger and Rusev trade blows, and The All American American catches a side kick into an ankle lock. Massive U.S.A chants. Looks to be a tasty encounter.
It’s the battle of the double barrelled surnames next as Alberto Del Rio goes in against Rob Vam Dam. The Mexican Aristocrat takes control with a couple of vicious kicks, before Van Dam fights back. The ECW original builds momentum with a hurricanrana, superkick and Rolling Thunder. The end comes when Del Rio gets the knees up for the 5-Star-Frog-Splash and locks in the Cross-armbreaker for the win. Post-match, Del Rio poses with the Intercontinental title he fights for at the Battleground Battle Royale.
Divas handicap action next. Cameron and Alicia Fox team up to bully the remaining Bella Twin with a job. Nikki gets a bit of offence in but is eventually beaten when Alicia gets the pin.
An awesome advert for the new 2K15 video game hypes the inclusion of Sting. I guess we’re not getting that appearance tonight, then?
2 other participants in the Battleground IC title match are in action as Big E face Cesaro. The Swiss Superman slams his opponent into the outside barrier, and knocks him down with a clothesline on entering the ring. Big E rallies and begins to get in some offence. Cesaro tries to grab a car but is caught by Kofi Kingston at ringside. This allows Big E to hook in the Big Ending for the win.
Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt are next, in a ‘who can talk the best’ contest. Y2J says things are going to get crazy between them at Battleground. Wyatt laughs and blows out his lantern. His family appear in the ring when the lights come up. Jericho manages to escape up the entrance ramp, but is blindsided by Bray. He hits Sister Abigail on the ramp and poses to close the segment.
The Divas champion is next and makes quick work of Eva Marie. AJ manages to hook in the Black Widow for the submission win. Paige is at the announce table and she stares down her rival.
The inspirational Bo Dallas faces his next challenger as he aims to continue his unbeaten run. His opponent is The Great Khali. He makes surprisingly quick work of the giant. Bo ducks a chop, throws the Punjabi Playboy to the outside and kicks his leg out. Khali can’t make it back into the ring in time. I guess he’s now something and Bo?
Ric Flair appears backstage for an interview segment to put over John Cena. He then comes out on the entrance ramp to give him a hug ahead of the main event. Even the WWE World Heavyweight Champion needs encouragement, I guess.
Cena and Reigns are without Ambrose after the attack at the start of the night. Cena gets beat down the early going, getting a hot tag to Reigns, who cleans house. Cena gets back into the fray and hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle on Rollins. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment but is ganged up on. Cena is then beat down before getting the second hot tag of the match. Reigns darts about the ring hitting his usual spots. He’s about to spear Kane for the finish when he’s beat down by Orton until the referee calls for the bell. It all breaks down with an all-out brawl. Orton side steps a Reigns spear which hits Cena, before tossing out Reigns and hitting Kane with an RKO. Orton poses in the corner, allowing Reigns to slink back in and catch him with a spear. Rollins is on the floor after apparently picking up an injury to his knee. Reigns poses to close the show.
Decent Raw ahead of the PPV on Sunday. The IC battle royale should be fun, Y2J/Wyatt will be a blast and the title match could be interesting.
The Miz Def. Sheamus via pinfall
Dolph Ziggler Def. Fandango via pinfall
Alberto Del Rio Def. Rob Van Dam via submission
Cameron & Alicia Fox Def. Nikki Bella via pinfall
Big E Def. Cesaro via pinfall
AJ Def. Eva Marie via submission
Bo Dallas Def. The Great Khali via count out
Roman Reigns & John Cena Def. Kane, Randy Orton & Seth Rollins via DQ