Here’s a rundown of the September 16 edition of Monday Night Raw:
This edition of Raw came to us live from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
We started the show with the NEW WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan.
The new champion grabbed the microphone and told the crowd in Cleveland that they were awesome.
Before Bryan could celebrate any further, WWE COO Triple H interrupted the proceedings and wasted little time marching to the ring.
He grabbed the microphone and addressed the blatant fast count from referee Scott Armstrong at Night of Champions.
Triple H said that Bryan’s victory was tainted and that he wanted to get to the bottom of the matter. He then ordered Armstrong come to the ring. Armstrong obliged.
Triple then showed footage of Armstrong’s normal counting cadence and compared to the cadence he used to give Bryan the victory.
After showing each video twice, Triple H even had them put side by side. He then asked Armstrong to explain.
Armstrong simply said that he made a mistake. Triple H said that he didn’t believe that he merely made a mistake. Triple H said he’s never seen Armstrong make such an egregious mistake in the ring.
He then asked Armstrong to spit out the truth. Armstrong leaned over to Bryan and apparently whispered, “They got us, Daniel.”
Bryan didn’t have any idea what he was talking, but it was too late. Triple H noticed what Armstrong said and told him to leave the ring.
Triple H said that he was ashamed of Bryan and that he embarrassed the company. Bryan categorically denied everything.
Triple H said that Bryan he left him no choice, stripped Bryan of the title and left it vacant.
Triple H said the he was going to investigate the matter further and that there is currently no WWE Champion.
He then asked Bryan to return the title belt. He told Bryan to either give to him or he would have to take it from him. Bryan refused to give it to him, but then Randy Orton, the former champion, walked out.
Triple H told both parties that there was not going to be any fighting and asked Bryan to be reasonable.
Bryan said no once again refused to give Triple H the title belt before being RKO’d by Orton. While he was being RKO’d, Triple H managed to take the title away from him and walked backstage.
After the commercial break, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were discussing the situation backstage when Orton rudely interrupted them.
Orton wanted to know why Triple H didn’t give the title back to him. Stephanie McMahon stepped in between the two and told Orton that as far as she was concerned he deserved to lose the title.
She then asked Orton, “What happened to the old Randy Orton?” She told him to find the sick, demented Orton that terrorized the McMahon family a couple of years ago.
She then said until he finds him, maybe they need to find a new face of the WWE.
Match 1 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose
This was rematch of Sunday night’s United States title match where Ambrose retained his title in surprisingly clean fashion.
Ambrose and Ziggler started the match by trading punches and slaps before Ziggler gained the initial upper hand by using a cross body and clotheslined Ambrose out of the ring.
Ziggler then hopped on Ambrose’s back and locked in a sleeper hold. Ambrose shook Ziggler off and put on a sleeper hold of his own.
Ziggler quickly fought out of it to create separation. Ziggler attempted to Irish whip Ambrose into the corner, but Ambrose reversed it and tossed Ziggler all the way out of the ring as the telecast went into a commercial break.
The match picked up with Ambrose in firm control of Ziggler. Ambrose locked in a series of submissions to slow Ziggler down.
Ziggler eventually fought his way of the grasp of Ambrose and attempted to pick up the pace, but was quickly thwarted by Ambrose.
Ambrose then put Ziggler on the top rope and hit a suplex. Ambrose went for a cover, but Ziggler kicked out at the count of two.
Ambrose remained in complete control until Ziggler hit a big DDT to stop the onslaught.
Ziggler kept his momentum going with a big splash in the corner and 10 consecutive punches. He followed up his 10 punches with his 10 consecutive elbows, which apparently was big reason why Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered his heart attack last year.
Ambrose quickly recovered by hitting a spine buster to Ziggler. He covered Ziggler again, but only came away with a two count.
Ambrose looked to keep his offense going, but Ziggler put him in a back slide and almost gained a pin fall. Ziggler went for another splash, but Ambrose moved out of the way.
Ziggler landed on the ropes, but Ambrose knocked him back onto the mat. He picked up Ziggler in an attempt to finish him off, but Ziggler wiggled out of it and hit the zig zag.
Ziggler went for a cover and picked up his first victory in what seems like a month.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
For some reason, after the match Justin Roberts announced that Ambrose was still United States champion, which was unnecessary being as though everyone knew it was a non-title match.
We then cut to Big Show’s massive head as he was staring down Raw general manager Brad Maddox in his office.
Maddox said that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would meet with him in a moment.
After the commercial break, Big Show was still staring, but this time it was at Stephanie McMahon who was staring right back at him.
Meanwhile, Maddox was kissing up to Triple H and told Stephanie McMahon that “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was in the building.
Stephanie McMahon then rubbed it in Big Show’s face that he was suspended without pay from Smackdown! last week. She went on to say that she knew it hurt him because he apparently doesn’t have the money he used to have.
Stephanie McMahon then essentially grounded Big Show by telling him to sit down and stay in the office unless she told him not to. This segment brought back painful memories of my childhood.
Big Show even threw in a, “Yes, Miss McMahon” for good measure.
Match 2 – Fandango vs. R-Truth
Fandango and R-Truth started the match with a little dance contest before R-Truth landed a big slap to take control.
R-Truth eventually tossed Fandango out of the ring just to toss him back in. Fandango then landed some offense onto R-Truth while he was getting back into the ring.
Fandango landed a couple of hard Irish whips to take control of the match. Fandango’s control didn’t last very long, however, as R-Truth landed a heel kick to regain control.
R-Truth eventually went for a pin, but Fandango kicked out after two. Fandango managed to recover in time to hit his big leg drop from the top rope to pick up the victory.
After the match, the broadcast cut backstage to Dusty Rhodes as he was talking to a random collection of WWE superstars.
We saw “Big Dust” backstage and after commercial break we saw him in the ring. Dusty Rhodes didn’t look like his normal celebratory self as he somberly walked to the ring.
Dusty Rhodes started his promo by saying that he wasn’t “The American Dream” tonight. He said that he came to Raw as merely Virgil Runnels, which is his real name.
Dusty Rhodes said that he’s been down the bad road before. He said he’s been down the road where he couldn’t pay the bills, but reached down because of the love of his two sons.
He then said that it wasn’t about him. It was about his son Cody Rhodes, who Triple H fired a couple of weeks ago.
Dusty Rhodes said that firing his son was not best for business.
He then got down to the brass tax of why he was in Cleveland. He said that he wasn’t there to beg for Cody Rhodes’ job back. He merely wanted him to have a chance to get it back.
Dusty Rhodes said that Stephanie McMahon offered him a business proposition and he wanted to hear it. He asked her to come to the ring. She did.
She said that Dusty Rhodes’ speech was touching and gave Rhodes a wedding gift for Cody Rhodes. It was a gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Dusty Rhodes didn’t seem impressed and threw the card to the side and asked to get to business.
In reality, Cody Rhodes was apparently registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond for his wedding.
She got to business and told Dusty Rhodes that the WWE would like to offer Cody Rhodes’ job back.
Dusty Rhodes said that’s all he wanted to hear, but it came with a caveat. Stephanie McMahon also offered a job to Cody Rhodes’ older brother Dustin Rhodes, a.k.a. Goldust.
Only one of them can have the job, however, and Stephanie McMahon left that choice up to Dusty Rhodes.
Dusty Rhodes said he wasn’t going to make the choice. Stephanie McMahon reiterated that he could give the job to Cody Rhodes, the son who did everything right or to Dustin Rhodes, the son who ran into his fair share of trouble.
Stephanie McMahon then said that she knows that Dusty Rhodes blamed his road schedule on why he wasn’t always there for Dustin Rhodes and that’s why he got into trouble.
Dusty Rhodes then asked Stephanie McMahon if she chose favorites among her children.
Stephanie McMahon then said that Dusty Rhodes always puts himself first and that he should think about his sons.
Dusty Rhodes wasn’t having any of that and told her to go straight to Hell.
Stephanie McMahon wasn’t too happy about that and all of a sudden The Shield came to the ring.
Before The Shield could put Dusty Rhodes in the hospital, Stephanie McMahon took the Big Show off punishment and told him to come to the ring.
(At this point, the segment is beginning to drag on way too long.)
Stephanie McMahon then gave Dusty Rhodes another choice: to either be taken apart by The Shield or to be knocked out by Big Show.
Dusty Rhodes didn’t make a decision and Stephanie McMahon made it for him: Big Show delivering another knockout.
Big Show refused so Stephanie McMahon ordered The Shield to beat down Dusty Rhodes. Big Show told The Shield to back off. The Shield then picked up steel chairs to help make up Big Show’s mind.
Big Show cried once again and gave Dusty Rhodes a big hug before knocking him out. Big Show caught Dusty Rhodes on the way down and carefully laid him down in the ring while doctors tended to him. All of this begs the question: When do the babyfaces ever get over on this show anymore?
After the break, Dusty Rhodes is being stretchered into an ambulance with Big Show by his side.
Match 3 – Layla, Aksana & Alicia Fox vs. Brie Bella, Naomi & Cameron
Divas Champion AJ Lee joined the commentary team once again to brag about her retaining her title at Night of Champions. Lee wasn’t alone this week as Natalya joined as well.
Naomi started the match with Layla and took control early. She then tagged in Cameron.
Layla gained the upper hand on Cameron and tagged in Aksana. Aksana and Layla tagged in and out and kept the beating going on Cameron.
Alycia Fox was eventually tagged in and kept the momentum going.
During all of this, Natalya’s headset wasn’t working while Lee was running her down. It eventually began to work.
Meanwhile, all six of the Divas jumped into the ring and started brawling. In the midst of all of that, Brie Bella pinned Aksana.
Winner: Cameron, Brie Bella & Naomi
Before the commercial break, Cleveland native The Miz was seen backstage talking to Maddox.
Match 4 – Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam
Sandow started the match by backing Van Dam into a corner and laying some stomps to him.
Sandow kept the pressure on by backing him into another corner and landing some shoulders to Van Dam’s midsection.
Van Dam briefly landed some punches before Sandow took back control of the match.
Van Dam shook off Sandow with a standing hurricanrana and a flying cross body. Van Dam then went for rolling thunder, but Sandow blocked it by putting his knees up.
Van Dam eventually hit the five-star frog splash to win the match
Winner: Rob Van Dam
After the match, Sandow’s music was initially played by accident, but it was eventually changed to Van Dam’s music.
Sandow then took the microphone and announced himself as the next World champion because of his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Michael Cole then announced what The Miz was talking to Maddox about backstage. The Miz was granted a match against Orton later in the night.
After the commercial break, Triple H was standing in his office pondering another way to bury the entire locker once again when Armstrong walked in.
Triple H told him that WWE officials have to be the model of integrity and without that, the WWE is nothing. He then told Armstrong that he has been a great employee for 20 years and that he was going offer him a generous severance package.
Armstrong seemed confused, but it was cleared up when Triple H told him that he had to let him go. He then told Armstrong that he was going to take care of him.
Match 5 – Randy Orton vs. The Miz
While The Miz was making his entrance, he greeted his parents, who were sitting at ringside.
Orton didn’t want the feel-good moment to drag on, so he jumped on The Miz right in front of his mom, which was indeed awesome (pun intended).
Orton proceeded to beat the crap out of Orton and laid him out as we went into commercial break.
After the break, the officials were trying to get The Miz to receive medical attention to his shoulder because Orton threw him into the steel steps. The Miz refused and went right after Orton to officially start the match.
Orton quickly turned the tables and began beating on The Miz once again. Orton went for his DDT through the ropes, but The Miz countered and knocked Orton out of the ring.
The Miz then began beating on Orton in front of his parents until Orton managed to throw him into the ring post.
Apparently Orton and The Miz were outside of the ring too long and were counted out.
The fight didn’t end there, however, as Orton kept beating on The Miz. The Miz fought back, however and stunned Orton.
Orton regained control of the fight and beat on The Miz right in front of his parents. Orton then hit his patented DDT off the barricade outside of the ring, which brought The Miz’s mother to tears.
Orton still wasn’t done as he tossed The Miz back into the ring. Orton then grabbed a steel chair and hopped back in the ring.
Orton then put The Miz’s head inside the chair. He thought about stepping on it, but thought twice.
He then backed into a corner and delivered a knee drop right to The Miz’s head. Officials came out to tend to The Miz. It looks as if the Orton from 2009 is back. I’m happy about that.
After the break, Paul Heyman was wheeled out by Curtis Axel alongside Ryback. Heyman told Axel to head back to the locker room while he stood next to what looks to be his charge in Ryback.
Heyman told the crowd in Cleveland that they were heathens for being jealous of him beating CM Punk.
He went to say that record books would forever show that he indeed pinned CM Punk at Night of Champions Sunday.
Heyman then said that he wished he could say that his victory was all a part of some master plan, but he said it wasn’t.
He admitted that CM Punk had him dead to rights and gave him a brutal beating. He said the only reason why he was in the arena was because one man stood up while others sat down. And that man was Ryback. He then said that he owes his life to Ryback.
Ryback then took the microphone said that there’s one thing he can’t stand and that’s a bully.
Ryback then said he doesn’t like anything about CM Punk. He said that CM Punk is a bully that he is here to stop him.
Ryback then got on one knee and told Heyman that as long as he’s around, CM Punk will never put his hands on him.
Heyman thanked him by giving him by giving him a kiss on the cheek. That’s right, a kiss on the cheek.
Cole then said, “This is one of the strangest nights that I can ever remember.”
John Bradshaw Layfield replied by saying, “Yes it is.”
Lawler then asked, “Did Heyman just kiss Ryback?”
JBL answered by simply saying, “Yup.”
Then the segment ended.
Match 6 - Tons of Funk vs. The Usos vs. The Real Americans — No. 1 contender’s match
The match started off with Broadus Clay going against Jack Swagger. Clay gained the early upper hand on Swagger by overpowering him.
Swagger then got out of the ring to regain his composure. Once he got back in the ring, he tagged in one of the Usos brothers.
The Uso actually took it to Clay until Clay hit a landed a couple of big body slams. Before he could do more damage, Antonio Cesaro blind tagged Clay out of the ring.
The Usos quickly reversed their fortunes by taking control of Cesaro. Cesaro eventually mounted some offense, but Sweet T made his way into the match and began to overpower him.
One of the Usos did a blind tag and got into the match only to be laid out by Sweet T. Cesaro snuck back into the ring and scored a quick pinfall to Sweet T to eliminate Tons of Funk as the telecast went into commercial break.
After the break, Swagger was in control of one of the Usos.
The Real Americans used double team moves to continue the beating to the Usos. One of the Usos eventually fought back and managed to tag in his brother.
The other Uso began to clean house and even hit a Samoan drop. The Usos went for a pin, but Cesaro broke it up.
The Usos eventually cleared the ring of the Real Americans and hit double suicide dives to their opponents.
Swagger somehow locked in the ankle lock to one of the Usos, who fought his way out of it. The Uso then hit a super kick and laid Swagger out. He then went to the top rope to hit a big splash, but Swagger thwarted the efforts and tossed him off the top rope.
Before doing so, the other Uso recorded another blind tag and hit the big splash onto Swagger when hit the mat to pick up the victory.
The Usos are now guaranteed another shot at the tag team titles in the future.
Winner: The Usos
After the commercial break, we received another cryptic promo from Bray Wyatt. I would tell you what he said, but I had no idea what he was talking about. It looked cool though.
Meanwhile, Bryan was seen walking backstage and was being patted on the back by the other WWE superstars. He even received a hug from his real life girlfriend Brie Bella.
Match 7 – Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reins
Before the match started, Orton made his way to the ring to get a better view of the match.
He came to ringside and gave some instructions of Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
As for the match itself, Bryan started it off by laying in some kicks to Reins’ lower body. He then landed a leg drag and began working on the big man’s legs.
Reins eventually powered out of Bryan’s numerous submissions and began to use his strength advantage to take over the match.
Reins’ run of offense didn’t last long as Bryan went right back to his legs by using kicks, a leg drag and another submission move.
Reins fought off Bryan again by using a hard Irish whip and a clubbing blow to the back of Bryan’s head. Reins then assumed a firm control of the match.
Bryan managed to pick up the pace and get the big man back on the ground again. Reins and Bryan went back and forth until Bryan locked in another submission to Reins’ legs.
Reins powered out of it again and regained the momentum. Bryan eventually fought his way back into the match and kicked the turnbuckle into Reins’ face.
Bryan then went to the rope and hit a missile drop kick, knocking Reins out of the ring.
Bryan then went for a suicide dive, but was caught by Reins, who then backed Bryan into the ring apron and tossed him into the barricade as we went into commercial break.
After the break, Reins was once again in firm control of the match. He put Byran on the top rope and hit him with a few uppercuts.
Reins then climbed to the top rope and attempted to suplex Bryan. Bryan punched his way out of it and knocked Reins off the ropes. He then went for a diving head butt, but Reins moved out of the way.
Reins went for a cover, but Bryan kicked out at a count of two. Bryan landed some kicks to create some distance and went for a cross body, but was caught by Reins who proceeded hit him with a version of the black hole slam.
Reins went for another cover, but Bryan kicked out once again. Reins then locked in a submission move to slow the pace.
Bryan fought his way out of the submission and quickened the pace once again, by hitting a running elbow.
He got to his feet and began laying in his big kicks to the chest of Reins. Bryan went for the final kick to Reins’ head, but Reins ducked under it and hit a Samoan drop, which got him a near fall.
Reins then went for a power bomb, but Bryan countered it into a pin. Reins kicked out, but was quickly met with big kick to the head from Bryan. Bryan went for a cover, but Reins kicked out.
Reins then rolled to the corner where Rollins consoled him. Bryan wasted little motion as he hit a big kick to Rollins, which knocked him into the announce table.
Bryan then hit a kick to Reins in the corner. He turned right around and hit a kick to Ambrose when he got on the ring apron.
He turned around again, but was met by a big clothesline from Reins, which brought Orton out of his seat.
Reins attempted to pick up Bryan, but was put in the Yes! Lock. Orton jumped in and broke up the hold.
Winner via disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Bryan then put Orton in the Yes! Lock when The Shield began laying the boots to him.
Orton grabbed another chair and put it around the neck of Bryan, much like he did to The Miz earlier.
Before Orton could do more damage to Orton, the entire WWE locker room came out to make the save. The crowd in Cleveland went absolutely nuts.
Orton bolted through crowd, but The Shield was not quick enough as the superstars beat the crap out of them.
In the midst of all of that, however, Reins was still able to hit Kofi Kingston with a spear.
After hitting a series of finishing moves, the superstars lifted Bryan onto their shoulders to end the show.