Here’s a rundown of the June 18 edition of Monday Night Raw:
Raw this week comes from Van Andel in Grand Rapids, Mich. the night after the WWE Payback pay-per-view in Chicago.
The night starts with a montage recap of Sunday’s pay-per-view.
After the vignette, new World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio makes his way to the ring with his championship belt in tow.
Del Rio cuts a promo that firmly cements him to turning back into a heel, which is a welcome move in my opinion. Del Rio rips the fans for not showing him the respect he feels he deserves and says the were hypocrites for booing him, but cheering former champion Dolph Ziggler when he took advantage of him while he was hurt.
CM Punk, who returned to the ring Sunday after taking time off after Wrestlemania, interrupted Del Rio.
Punk comes out to rousing ovation from the fans in Grand Rapids, which firmly cements him as turning back into a babyface, despite walking next to the always-hated Paul Heyman.
Punk says that he disagrees with Del Rio on the notion that he is the best and challenged him to a match later in the show. Del Rio turns down Punk, as does Heyman, who said Punk is banged up and shouldn’t compete.
Punk tells Heyman that he can handle everything and not to worry. Del Rio still refuses until managing supervisor Vickie Guerrero came out and decided to make the match official as the main event.
After the commercial break, Punk is in his locker room with Heyman and tells him that he doesn’t want him at ringside during his matches anymore. Punk said he’s still and always will be a “Paul Heyman guy,” but needs to separate himself from him; pretty interesting stuff.
Former Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett heads to the ring as he is expecting a rematch for the title he lost to Curtis Axel Sunday.
Guerrero came back out on to the stage and announced her big surprise: the return of Christian. She announces that Christian will take on Barrett.
Match 1: Christian vs. Wade Barrett
These two put on a solid match and the crowd was into the return of Christian. After some back and forth, Christian hit the Kill switch to pick up the victory in his first match in almost a year.
Match 2: Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) vs. Sheamus – handicap match
Sheamus held his own against the Rhodes Scholars, but the numbers eventually caught up with him. Sandow pinned Sheamus as Sheamus was attempting to hit the Brogue kick on Rhodes.
Winner: Rhodes Scholars
After the break, WWE COO Triple H meets with Vickie Guerrero and tells her to keep The Shield in check. He told her that if they got involved in anything that she should make an example out of them and to take whatever length possible to punish them. Guerrero concurs.
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan is in his locker room getting ready for his match later in the night against Randy Orton. His tag team partner Kane cuts his preparation short.
After the two bicker for a little bit, Bryan tells Kane that he wants to focus on winning the WWE Championship. Kane said he wants the title, too, meaning that the entertaining tag team essentially parted ways.
Match 3: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton – No disqualification match
This contest was made a no disqualification match after the fans voted for the stipulation via the WWE app. This was a good back and forth match, but it was cut short.
Bryan attempted a suicide dive from inside the ring to the outside onto Orton. Orton sidestepped Bryan and he went flying head first into the guardrail.
Bryan seemed to recover from that just fine, but once the action went back into the ring, he seemed to be in some trouble.
Bryan hit a missile dropkick off the top rope. He has a unique way of doing a dropkick because he lands flat on his back and it haunted him Monday night.
After Bryan hit the mat he didn’t move. He didn’t seem to be selling anything either.
Once he got up, he began to kick Orton across the chest, but his arms looked limp and numb.
It looked like he kind of got feeling in them, but it was still noticeable that his arms looked limp.
The doctors at ringside checked on Bryan on multiple occasions, but he wanted to keep going. But the doctors eventually rung the bell to end the match and declare Orton the winner because of Bryan’s injury.
Winner: Randy Orton
I don’t know if Bryan is really hurt or not. I could tell something was wrong with him though. I do know that much. If he’s not really hurt, he did a heck of a job selling the injuries because I was convinced he really was hurt. He didn’t seem to be just selling injuries.
Orton shook Bryan’s hand after the match.
After some commercials, new Divas Champion A.J. came to the ring and grabs a microphone. She began to brag about her big win at WWE Payback and how good she was at making the former champion, Kaitlyn, look bad.
A.J. then said she was the strongest women in WWE, which prompted Stephanie McMahon to make her way to the ring.
McMahon and A.J. traded barbs, which included McMahon telling A.J. that she could take all of her success away from.
Kaitlyn and the rest of the Divas interrupt the two in the ring and stand at the top of the ramp. McMahon then makes her way to the top of the ramp where she cuts off Kaitlyn mid sentence to tell her to never interrupt her again.
A.J. and Kaitlyn then have an exchange that ended in the two fighting each other. A.J.’s heavy, Big E Langston, dragged her out of the ring and literally carried her to the back kicking and screaming.
Match 4: Dean Ambrose (The Shield) (c) vs. Kane – United States Championship match
This match barely gets out of the gates before Ambrose’s running buddies from The Shield interfered, which stopped the match. The Shield laid a beat down on Kane and left him lying in the ring.
Winner: Kane via disqualification
After the break, Guerrero confronts The Shield. They essentially blow her off, which almost prompted her fire them. But before she could get the words out of her mouth, Vince McMahon cuts her off and congratulates The Shield, ending her chance to make an example of them like Triple H said to do.
Zeb Colter then enters the arena with a microphone. He cuts his usual promo about how people are threatening the country’s boarders, but then brings out his new charge Antonio Cesaro.
Colter said that although Cesaro is not American born, he still embodies his beliefs.
Match 5: Antonio Cesaro vs. William Regal
Not much to speak of here besides Cesaro winning and being given another chance to become a star with Colter.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
After a commercial break, the champ entered the arena as WWE Champion John Cena came out tell everyone that he feels as good as he’s ever felt and that anyone who wishes to take the title from him will have to earn it.
This brought out Mark Henry, who was sporting a blazer (a very bright one I might add) and a shirt and tie. He also has his wrestling boots in hand and left them at the top of the stage, to signify he was going to retire.
Henry proceeded to cut the best promo of his career. He shed many tears during his retirement speech and the crowd showed him a lot of love, which he deserves. Henry insisted that Cena stick around to hear everything.
At one point, Cena gave the WWE title to Henry to cut the promo with.
After a long and emotional farewell, Henry tells his family that he is finally coming home and ends his speech. Cena enters the ring to pose with Henry.
When Cena went for a hug, Henry picked up Cena and hit him with the World’s Strongest Slam — swerving everyone in the audience and at home.
Henry then told Cena that he has a lot left in the tank and that he was going to challenge Cena to a title match at Money in the Bank July 14 in Philadelphia.
Henry really had the crowd going with that retirement speech and showed what was thought to be genuine emotion. This was a great segment.
Match 6: Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater (3MB)
Apparently, Slater asked Jericho if his band, the Three-Man Band, could open for Jericho’s real-life band, Fozzy, during their tour this summer.
All of this happened on the WWE app so no one solely watching the show saw this. Jericho insulted Slater, which brought about this match.
Slater had a good match with Jericho, but Jericho prevailed.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Match 7: Curtis Axel vs. Sin Cara
The new Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel defeated Sin Cara with a nasty looking DDT.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Backstage, Guerrero is talking to Vince McMahon who applauded her effort on the night. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H enter and have different gripes with Guerrero.
Both McMahons and Triple H tell Guerrero that they should listen to what they say, which leaves her very confused. It also showed that the McMahons are in the midst of a power struggle.
We’re almost set for CM Punk against Del Rio in the main event when Heyman stopped Punk on his way to the ring. Heyman offered Punk words of encouragement before the match.
Match 8: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
This was a solid match between the two, but it ends when Del Rio walks out and gets counted out on purpose.
Winner: CM Punk
As Del Rio is making his exit, Ziggler comes out of nowhere to attack Del Rio from behind. The crow loved every second of it, adding to the babyface turn of Ziggler.
Before Punk gets to celebrate the victory, Brock Lesnar’s music hits and Grand Rapids went crazy.
Lesnar walked to the ring and picked up a microphone. He looked as if he’s going to talk, but picked up Punk for an F5 to his fellow “Paul Heyman guy” to end the show.