Here’s a rundown of the August 12 edition of Monday Night Raw:
The go-home edition of Raw came to us live from the Sleep Train Arena (haha) in Sacramento, Calif.
Right off the bat we get the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan.
He walked down to the ring with a white towel that had his “Yes!” chant on it and the entire crowd has them as well. It seems as though that WWE is now forcing the “Yes!” chant on to the fans, which could backfire in the long run.
Anyway, Bryan doesn’t grab microphone because he’s out there for the opening match.
Match 1 – Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett was already in the ring with zero facial after Bryan shaved half of his beard off last week, which forced Barrett to cut the other half for fear of looking like a fool.
Before the match started, however, Justin Roberts announced that Brad Maddox was going to be the special guest referee for the contest.
Bryan landed the first big blow of the match with a dropkick. Barrett recovered quickly and managed to toss Bryan out of the ring.
Barrett tried to follow Bryan out of the ring, but was thwarted as Bryan grabbed his ankles and slammed his knee into the ring apron twice.
Once Bryan got back into the ring, he began working on Barrett’s left leg by hitting him with those hard kicks of his.
Bryan continued to go to work on Barrett’s knee until Barrett rolled out of the ring. Bryan then hit a suicide dive and attempted to follow it up with high knee from the ring apron.
But Barrett ducked under it and then hit Bryan with a big boot. Barrett then tossed Bryan into the guardrail before tossing him into the ring where he assumed firm control of the match.
After Barrett beat on Bryan for a minute or two, Bryan tried to mount a comeback, but was cut off by Barrett via a knee to the mid section.
Barrett’s momentum didn’t last much longer as Bryan began landing his big comeback, which included a second suicide dive.
Bryan then went to the top rope where he hit a sitting drop kick, nipped up and began hitting his big kicks to the chest of Barrett.
Barrett countered the last kick and rolled up Bryan for a pin to which Maddox pulled a fast count, making Barrett the winner.
Winner: Wade Barrett
After the match, Bryan was none too pleased with the outcome as Maddox tried to explain his actions.
Bryan was hearing none of this as he tired to attack Maddox, but Maddox managed to duck out of harm’s way and scurried to the back.
Match 2 – Damien Sandow vs. Randy Orton
Sandow came to the ring sporting his new (and awesome) Money in the Bank briefcase. He walked past his former tag team partner Cody Rhodes, who was doing commentary for the match, and handcuffed the briefcase to the turnbuckle so Rhodes could not make off with it again.
As for the match, Sandow and Orton started off going back and forth until Orton gained the initial control.
Sandow used kicks and punches to back Orton into a corner and tried to suplex him. Orton countered and landed a suplex of his own.
Orton maintained control with a series of punches, a clothesline and a chin lock. Sandow countered Orton’s chin lock with a back body drop.
Orton then threw Sandow onto the apron where he hit a dropkick that sent Sandow to the arena floor as the telecast went into a commercial break.
After the commercial break, Sandow was in control inside the ring. Orton tried to mount a comeback, but was pushed out of the ring by Sandow.
Sandow assumed control once Orton was back in the ring. After taking a lengthy beating from Sandow, Orton finally got some offense in to build some momentum.
Orton even went for a power slam, but Sandow countered and hit a neck breaker. Sandow went for a pin, but only came away with a two-count.
Orton quickly recovered from the neck breaker and hit his power slam. Orton then hit his DDT to set up the RKO.
Sandow broke out of the RKO and rolled out of the ring. Once out there, Sandow pushed Orton back-first into the ring post.
Once Sandow rolled Orton back into the ring, Rhodes went after Sandow’s briefcase. Sandow saw this and told Rhodes to put the briefcase down.
When Sandow turned back around, he was met with an RKO from Orton, who picked up the win.
Winner: Randy Orton
After the match, Michael Cole announced that later in the night Rob Van Dam and 19 other men would take part in a battle royal to determine the No. 1 contender for the United States Championship, currently held by Dean Ambrose of The Shield.
We are then abruptly sent to a promo by The Shield, where Seth Rollins said that the old guard in WWE has to go.
He said that it is time for a new generation of stars rise up and that The Shield are the leaders of that generation.
Roman Reigns then said that The Shield has delivered justice all around the world and it seems as though no one can compare. He said that he isn’t going to beg, but he will ask nicely that if anyone wanted to take on Rollins and himself for the tag titles, make a move.
Ambrose took control and said that he is the champion of champions in WWE. He said CM Punk is merely a catchphrase and that he is really the best in the world. Ambrose said that Cena carries a trophy because as far as he is concerned, he is the WWE Champion because he is the champion everyone runs from.
He then said unless Andre The Giant’s ghost is in the battle royal, it doesn’t matter who wins it because he isn’t going to lose to them at Summerslam.
After the break, we are shown a vignette that was shown on Smackdown! of Brock Lesnar.
In the vignette, Lesnar talked about his opponent at Summerslam, CM Punk. Lesnar said that the match is not just about Punk and Heyman. He said it is indeed personal between Punk and himself.
He said that the only reason why he let Punk exist this entire time is out of respect for Heyman.
Lesnar then said that the “corporate idiots” are touting the match as “The Best” (CM Punk) versus “The Beast” (Brock Lesnar).
According to Lesnar, however, he is the beast and the best. Punk. He then said that Punk believes because he tapes his hands, has a bunch of tattoos and takes some MMA classes for beginners at his local gym that he’s a tough guy.
Well he’s not in Lesnar’s eyes. Lesnar also said that there couldn’t possibly be any professional jealousy between the two. What would he have to be jealous of Lesnar asked.
Lesnar said that he was an NCAA champion, UFC champion and was WWE Champion when Punk was wrestling in high school gyms in front of 100 people (IWA Mid-South I would assume).
Lesnar did credit Punk with holding the WWE title for 434 days, “especially for a guy like.” But he then said that Punk has never faced anyone like him in his entire life because there is no one like him.
Lesnar then ended his promo by saying, “Size does matter.”
After that great video package, Punk is being interviewed backstage by Josh Matthews.
Matthews asked Punk about his match that night against Heyman and why he would take it six days before Summerslam.
Punk answered “Why not?” and said that he doesn’t think there is a man alive that is afraid of Heyman in a one-on-one fight.
Punk said he knows that Heyman isn’t that dumb to fight him and he certainly hasn’t suddenly mustered up the courage to go through with it.
Punk said he knows that Heyman had something up his sleeve for the match.
Match 3 – The Great Khali and Natalya vs. Big E Langston and A.J. Lee
Oh goody, The Great Khali is going to wrestle. I cannot wait (extreme sarcasm).
Langston started in the ring with Khali, but immediately tagged out in favor of Lee. Lee then began to skip around Khali while the referee explained to him that he could not touch Lee.
Lee suddenly stopped and slapped Khali. Natalya jumped in the ring and took control of Lee.
Natalya tried to body slam Lee, but was pushed into the turnbuckle and was then by a spinning heel kick.
Lee took control of the match and got a near fall on Natalya. Natalya briefly mounted some offense, but was met by a shining wizard from Lee.
Lee then turned her attention to Hornswoggle, who accompanied Khali and Natalya to the ring, and told him to “Shut up, little man!” She tried to kick him, but thwarted by Natalya, who locked Lee in the sharpshooter.
Lee seemed to have tapped out, but the referee simply didn’t pay it any mind as if it never happened.
Natalya then walked to the official and inexplicably grabbed the official’s hand before working over Lee some more.
My guess is that official was supposed to be distracted by something, but wasn’t, which would explain Lee tapping out so quickly. When the referee turned around and saw nothing there, he turned back around, but saw Lee tapping out, which wasn’t supposed to happen.
Natalya put Lee back in the sharpshooter to which Lee tapped out a second time and referee had no choice but to see and give Natalya and Khali the victory.
I don’t who would be to blame for the mess. Either someone badly missed a spot and put the referee in a bad position or the official completely loss control of the situation.
Winners: The Great Khali and Natalya
After the match, Langston hit Khali from behind and chased down Hornswoggle before he could get out of the ring.
Langston then threw the pint-sized wrestler out of the ring, but was met by a big chop from Khali. That segment was quite the cluster you know what.
After the break we were told that Shawn Michaels, Booker T and Natalya would be apart of the pre-show panel for Summerslam.
It was also announced that Ambrose would defend his United States title during the pre-show.
We then got an appearance from Vincent Kennedy McMahon. McMahon said that everyone was due an explanation for what Maddox did during Bryan’s match earlier in the night.
McMahon asked Maddox why he appointed himself as the special guest referee in that match.
Maddox answered by saying that matches that involve Bryan tend to get a little out of hand and that WWE fans would appreciate someone who had the guts to make the right decision no matter how unpopular it would be.
He also said that his count was fast only because he was a little excited and that it was not intentional.
McMahon said that there was no reason to apologize and that everyone makes mistakes. Maddox then asked if he could be the official at Summerslam for Bryan’s match against Cena.
McMahon asked the fans in Sacramento if they wanted to see Maddox be the special guest referee in that match and they gave a resounding “No!”
McMahon asked Maddox if he would be impartial and call it right down the middle to which Maddox said, “Yes” to all of the above.
After Maddox convinced McMahon that he would make a great referee, including taking a scout’s honor, McMahon announced that Maddox would be the referee at Summerslam. Triple H had something to say about this as he made his way to the ring.
Triple H said that although he and McMahon had not been seeing eye-to-eye lately, he agreed that they needed someone to take control of the match who would be impartial.
He did not think that Maddox was the right guy for the job. Triple H thought that he was the right guy for the job and showed everyone so by hitting Maddox with the pedigree.
McMahon threw his microphone to the ground and left the ring, leaving Triple H in the ring as the special guest referee for the John Cena-Bryan match at Summerslam.
Match 4 – Kane vs. Titus O’Neil
Before the match, it was clearly explained by Cole that Kane’s match against Bray Wyatt at Summerslam will take place in a Ring of Fire match.
He said that the match was not intended to burn anyone, but will be used a deterrent to keep anyone from interfering in the match.
As for the Monday's match, Kane got the initial upper hand on O’Neil. O’Neil used some punches to mount some temporary offense on Kane.
O’Neil’s momentum was stopped by a big boot from Kane. Kane attempted to choke slam O’Neil, but was momentarily distracted by O’Neil’s tag team partner Darren Young.
The distraction wasn’t enough as Kane still hit O’Neil with the choke slam for the quick win.
After the match, The Wyatt Family ominously made their way to the ring. When the lights came on, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper were in the ring prepared to beat on Kane, but Kane wasn’t there with them.
Kane was standing in the middle of the ramp and avoided another beating by The Wyatt Family.
After WWE paid some bills, Matthews was backstage again, this time interviewing the Bella Twins.
The Bellas said that they control the Divas division one of them being slapped in the face by Natalya last week.
Natalya interrupted the stirring interview and challenged Brie Bella to a match at Summerslam. She also referred to Eva Marie, who apparently just so happen standing off camera, to stand ringside.
Natalya had friends of own, in the Funkadactyls. Brie Bella then returned the favor by slapping Natalya in the face.
Honestly, the “Total Divas” show was better than this segment.
Match 5 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Del Rio and Kingston began the match by exchanging some punches and kicks. The pace didn’t slow down as Kingston Del Rio with an elbow and got a near fall.
Del Rio assumed control of the match after he countered Kingston as he was climbing the ropes. Del Rio then hit Kingston with a suplex of the rope and went for a pin, but only landed a two-count.
Kingston mounted some momentum, however, dodging another big move from Del Rio. Kingston hit a series of chops and clotheslines.
Kingston capped off his run of momentum with a boom drop. He set up the Trouble in Paradise kick, but Del Rio countered it into a back breaker.
Del Rio tried to Kingston with a super kick, but Kingston countered it into the S.O.S, but only got a two-count. Kingston tried to hit Del Rio with the Trouble in Paradise again, but Del Rio managed to crawl out of the ring.
Kingston gave chase, but Del Rio got back in the ring tried another super kick. Kingston countered that into a pin, but Del Rio kicked out at two.
Kingston attempted a spring board, but Del Rio countered that into by putting his up into Kingston’s chest. Del Rio then slapped on the cross arm breaker to which Kingston tapped out.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
After the break, we were treated to a video package chronicling the career of Christian, who will face Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam.
After the package, Christian was backstage with Renee Young for an interview. Christian kept it simple by saying that he was going to beat Del Rio and become a three-time world champion.
Del Rio interrupted the proceedings by laughing at Christian and then said something that I couldn’t understand because he said it in Spanish.
Apparently he said that there will be no more matches for Christian after Summerslam. Gripping stuff.
Match 6 – The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro) vs. The Usos
Zeb Colter took the microphone and said that California is no longer the Golden State and that it looks more like a rusted piece of scrap iron that someone left in the junkyard.
He then asked what happened to the California dream. He then gave his California dream, which was an earthquake hitting the state, making break off from the continental United State and floating into the Pacific Ocean.
The match started with Cesaro in the ring with one of the Usos. Cesaro gained the upper hand tagged in Swagger in an effort to cut off the ring.
The Real Americans maintained control by using a number of different double team moves, including Swagger throwing on the Usos in the air with Cesaro hitting a European uppercut on the way down.
After taking a long beating, the one Uso was finally able to make hot tag to the other. The legal Uso cleaned house and hit a Samoan Drop on Swagger
The Uso brother followed that up with a pin attempt, but Cesaro pulled Swagger out of the ring. The Usos stayed on top of the Real Americans, however, by performing dives to the outside of the ring.
As the teams were getting back into the ring, one of the Usos went to the top rope to hit a move onto Swagger. Cesaro tried to thwart the move, but was super kicked by the other Uso brother.
The Usos then performed a blind tag and managed to roll up Swagger to gain a big win.
Winners: The Usos
After a commercial break, we are treated to another edition of Miz TV, which will include Bryan and Cena.
The Miz opened the segment by asking both men how they felt about Triple H inserting himself into their match at Summerslam as the special guest referee.
Bryan answered by saying that it’s great someone finally stood up to Vince McMahon and that he’s happy that he and Cena can have the match they and all of the fans want.
Before Cena answered he decided to let The Miz know that this was the most exciting edition of Miz TV and they are usually train wrecks.
Cena then answered the question by saying that there couldn’t be a better person to ref the match.
The Mz then asked what his real issues with Bryan. Cena answered by saying that there are no issues between the two besides the WWE title.
Cena also said that he respects Bryan and that he will put up one hell of a fight. The Miz chimed in by saying that it’s obvious Cena doesn’t respect him.
Bryan cut Miz off by saying that it was obvious that if he didn’t shut up that he was going to have to do bodily harm to The Miz.
Bryan took the floor and said he doesn’t get why Cena believes all Bryan can do is simply put up a fight.
Cena tried to clarify his words, but Bryan ordered Cena not to interrupt him. Bryan went on to say that Cena is the reason why he doesn’t watch television.
He said it’s because of Cena and people like him that have more style than substance and have love for wrestling.
Bryan went on to say that his T-shirt, that saidå “The beard is here” with the arrow pointing up, is a parody of Cena’s T-shirt because he believes Cena is a parody of wrestling.
He said that he doesn’t want to be a parody. He wants to be WWE Champion for one reason and one reason only: everyone knows that no one is better in the ring than Bryan.
Cena immediately took off his shirt and said that he is not a parody. Cena then said the reason why he is in the ring is because of everything that encompasses the WWE.
He went to say that it’s about the fans cheering for the performers and the performers responding to that feedback.
He also said that saying a T-shirt is silly is like saying the American flag is just a cloth. It’s not about the, but it’s about the message it represents, according to Cena.
Cena then talked about how hard he’s worked over the past 12 years and that he doesn’t for Bryan. But that he doesn’t for the little kids who believe in him.
He then rattled off a list of names of people he’s beaten to which Bryan interrupted said that Cena thinks that all of those guys are better than him.
Cena said that he could be in the class one day, but right now he doesn’t belong. And the only way Bryan can earn his respect is by beating him at Summerslam.
Bryan responded to all of that by saying that Cena doesn’t understand his hunger for holding the WWE title just one time because Cena has won it 11 times.
He said for Cena, this is just another Summerslam, but for him it is the biggest match of his life.
Bryan divulges a tradition he learned while wrestling in Japan where before a big match, the two competitors slap each other in the face.
He went to say that he wished he could do that to Cena, but he isn’t a wrestler and does not deserve the slap.
Cena responded by throwing his belt and the microphone down in a direct challenge for Bryan to slap him.
Cena then slapped Bryan in the face and begged Bryan to follow suit. Bryan laughed and said that he still doesn’t deserve the slap.
Triple H apparently saw enough and came to the ring. Triple H had a smirk on his face, but was still trying to diffuse the situation.
Just as he was doing that, Orton went to the top of the ramp and simply reminded everyone that he is still lurking by raising his Money in the Bank briefcase in the air.
Match 7: Fandango vs. R-Truth
R-Truth came to the ring did some funky dancing, which inspired Faaaaandaaaaangooooo to show him some real dancing.
Fandango demanded his music played so he could dance. He was granted his wish and showed R-Truth a thing or two.
No to be outdone, R-Truth his music put back on so he could dance some more. R-Truth began dancing again and even did the Beyonce butt dance. No kidding.
Fandango and Summer Rae looked appalled in the corner of the ring at the site of R-Truth shaking his rump. Fandango had saw enough and broke up the whole charade by hitting R-Truth from behind.
R-Truth quickly recovered and began beating on Fandango. Fandango managed to get out of the ring where he laid on the ground, somehow grabbed a microphone and said, “It’s Faaaaaandaaaaangoooo,” while in a lot of pain.
Winner: R-Truth? I’m beginning to lose track of how many times Fandango has been in a match where there was no finish.
After the break, we see Curtis Axel in a locker room with Heyman as he is taping his hands in anticipation for his match with Punk. The only thing was that he was still wearing his suit.
Axel asked Heyman if he was nervous. Heyman answered by saying that he was having second thoughts about the match.
Match 8: 20-man battle royal to determine No. 1 contender of U.S. title
As how most battle royals begin, all hell breaks loose in the beginning. The first to go was Justin Gabriel after being tossed out by Ryback.
Ryback followed that by tossing Darren Young out of the ring. Ryback made it quick hat trick by eliminating Sweet T. The next to be tossed was one of the Usos as he was thrown out by 3MB.
R-Truth got a little payback on Fandango by eliminating him during the battle royal. Fandango hopped back into the ring and threw R-Truth as we went into commercial break.
During the break, Broadus, The Great Khali and all of 3MB were eliminated. Not long after, The Real Americans eliminated the other Uso brother.
Rob Van Dam tallied his first elimination kicking Titus’ O’Neil and then clotheslining him out of the ring.
Kofi Kingston usually does something amazing in battle royals and Royal Rumbles and Monday was no different as he was almost thrown out by Jack Swagger, but hung on to Ceasro and barely kept his feet off the floor.
He momentarily fought off The Real Americans, but the numbers caught up to Kingston as he tossed out by Swagger.
The Real Americans didn’t last much longer though, as Mark Henry took both of them out after he countered a double-team attempt from them.
The final four came down to Henry, Van Dam, Ryback and Wade Barrett. Barrett was the first to go after he was thrown out by Henry.
It took both Henry and Van Dam to eliminate Ryback, leaving just them two in the ring. Van Dam hoped on Henry’s back, but Henry countered by backing Van Dam into a corner.
Henry tried to squash Van Dam in the corner, but Van Dam by kicking Henry right in the face. Van Dam then went to the top rope, but was knocked off by Henry.
Van Dam fell to the apron when Henry to knock him on to the floor, but Van Dam ducked under Henry and eliminated him.
Winner and the No. 1 contender for the U.S. title: Rob Van Dam
While Van Dam was celebrating, Henry got back into the ring and gave Van Dam a pound.
As Henry was leaving, The Shield’s music hit as they made their way to the ring. Henry jumped back to the ring to help Van Dam.
Before The Shield got the ring, however, we finally got the return of The Big Show, who evened the odds. The Shield wanted no parts of this fight and quickly exited the premises.
Match 9: CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman
Heyman took the microphone when got the ring and said that he doesn’t blame Punk for everything that has happened between them.
Instead, he blamed the WWE fans. He said that Punk used to live his love and respect. According to Heyman, lives for the adulation of the fans and that the fans took Punk away from them.
He then said that he was going to take Punk away from them. Heyman then revealed that it was indeed a trap. That he had no intentions on wrestling Punk that night.
Heyman said that he didn’t come up with this trap all by himself. He had a co-conspirator and that person was Lesnar. Heyman then introduced Lesnar as he made his way to the ring.
The trap that Heyman set on Punk was for Punk to face Heyman and Lesnar before he could get his hands in just Heyman. Heyman then asked if he was going to be the smart coward or the dumb hero. Punk’s music hit, but we don’t see Punk.
That’s because Punk came into the ring from behind Heyman and Lesnar, grabbed a camera from a cameraman and went to town on Lesnar.
Lesnar then rolled out of the ring, but was met by a suicide dive from Punk. Punk then grabbed a chair and went to town again on Lesnar. With Lesnar out of commission, Heyman was left alone with Punk. Heyman managed to escape Axel got in Punk’s way.
Punk easily disposed of Axel by using the chair and hitting the GTS on top of the stage.