WWE Raw results (06/30/14): Nine observations from this week's episode

To say WWE Raw was eventful would be a gross understatement.

A ton of things occurred at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Monday night, so let’s not waste any time. Let’s get right into the match results:

- Seth Rollins def. Rob Van Dam

- The Wyatt Family def. Sheamus & The Usos

- The Funkadactyls def. Nikki Bella

- Kofi Kingston def. Cesaro

- The Great Khali def. Damien Sandow (Vince McMahon)

- Dolph Ziggler def. Fandango

- Goldust & Stardust def. RybAxel

- WWE Divas Championship – AJ Lee def. Paige

- John Cena & Roman Reigns def. Randy Orton & Kane via disqualification

Now let’s get into the details of what took place on Raw. We have a lot to sift through:

Chris Jericho makes surprise return, gets beat up by Bray Wyatt

I listen to Chris Jericho’s podcast every week. He’s stated on numerous occasions that the only reason why he would come back to the WWE is if he was in a featured role and the storyline was going to be fun for him to sink his teeth into.

It looks like he got his wish, as Y2J made a surprise return to the WWE Monday. After dispatching of The Miz (we’ll get into him next), Jericho took the microphone and talked about how good it was to be back.

Before he could get out his “Raw is Jericho” catchphrase, however, The Wyatt Family popped up in the ring and dismantled him.

I must say that seeing Bray Wyatt in the ring with Jericho was a pretty cool sight. What’s even cooler is the potential feud these two could embark on. According to PWInsider.com, Jericho is figured into the WWE’s plans until at least Night of Champions in September.

What that means is we could get an entire summer of great verbal exchanges between Jericho and Wyatt. I’m very much looking forward to this.

Seth Rollins nearly cashes in Money in the Bank contract

The main event involving John Cena, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane ended in disqualification. Kane, who has no regard for rules, tombstoned Cena, which apparently rendered him unconscious.

Triple H, who was seated at ringside, had warned Cena earlier about a potential cash in from Seth Rollins. Triple H, along with WWE doctors, checked on Cena and saw that he was out cold.

Triple H, seeing an opportunity right in front of him, gave the signal for Rollins to come down with the briefcase. For whatever reason the officials took too long in ringing the bell to start the match, but this allowed Dean Ambrose enough time to thwart Rollins’ cash in attempt.

I legitimately thought for a second that Rollins was going to somehow cash in the briefcase and win the title, but when I saw the officials being hesitant to start the match, it became very clear that it wasn’t going to happen in some way, shape or form.

I do like the element of the Authority looking to get the title off Cena at every turn. It puts him on constant notice that he has to be wary of Rollins. If Brock Lesnar is indeed looming in the distance for Cena, the WWE doesn’t necessarily have to create this type of intrigue, but I think it’s the right way to go. An air of unpredictability never hurt a wrestling show.

Roman Reigns, Triple H have a long stare down

If there was someone out there who didn’t think Reigns was in line for a match with Triple H at Summerslam, that thought had to be out of the window by the end of Raw Monday.

After all of the chaos involving Rollins and Ambrose, Reigns came back to the ring after fighting to the back with Orton, speared Kane and locked eyes on Triple H. The fans ate up every second of this stare down, which has got to make the WWE happy.

I think Triple H is a great opponent for Reigns at this point. As good as Reigns is, he is still unproven as a singles competitor. Why not put him with a guy with more than 20 years of experience, who can help him along in his maturation and lend him more credibility at the same time? It makes perfect sense to me.

Whether or not Triple H could get the best out of Reigns is debatable, but he’s definitely in good hands with The Game.

The Miz returns to television, gets beat up by Chris Jericho

Before Raw, the WWE hyped up the return of a former WWE Champion. Most people figured that it would be The Miz. Some even speculated CM Punk, which was foolish, let’s be honest.

The Miz did return, however, to a very lukewarm reception from the fans. The Miz came out with a new movie star persona after filming The Marine 4: Moving Target a couple of months ago.

The good news was that he returned as a heel, which is his natural role. He never should have been made into a babyface. I think it literally set his career back two years. The problem was that there’s nothing really likeable about him as a wrestling babyface.

On the other hand, it’s very easy for him to be disliked as a wrestling heel. His time in the spotlight was short-lived though, as Jericho made his surprise return and hit him with the codebreaker.

AJ Lee returns, wins WWE Divas Championship

You thought that was the end of the surprise returns, didn’t you? There was one more and it was rather significant.

Mrs. CM Punk, better known as AJ Lee, returned to Raw Monday and essentially played the same ploy on Paige that Paige used on her the night after WrestleMania.

After Paige cut a promo talking about how she can be longer be labeled a fluke, AJ Lee skipped to the ring to congratulate her. Paige said that she wasn’t going to fall for the same trick she pulled a couple of months ago, but inexplicably did anyway, as she lost the Divas Championship.

The interesting part of this angle was that AJ Lee and Paige essentially switched roles. Although AJ Lee was always a bit of a fan-favorite, she was always supposed to be the heel. Paige has been a white-meat babyface (no pun intended) since the day she debuted on the main roster. She’s been as vanilla (again, no pun intended) as one could get as a babyface champion.

But on Monday she showed some heel tendencies, which I think is the best move for her going forward. She didn’t do anything special as a babyface other than win matches. But her being a heel could give her some much-needed depth. It may give her, wait for it, a character. She badly needs it. I am very intrigued with where this goes moving forward.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship match announced

Speaking of moving forward, the Authority announced Monday that Cena would defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground in a fatal four-way against Orton, Reigns and Kane.

I fully expect Cena to come out of this with the titles still in hand. Even if there wasn’t a Lesnar main event at Summerslam, I seriously doubt the WWE would put the title on Cena just to have him lose it a month later.

Bad News Barrett stripped of Intercontinental Championship, battle royal announced to determine new champion

For the second time in less than a month, the WWE has been forced to strip a champion of his title due to injury.

The unlucky lad this time is Bad News Barrett, who was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship after suffering a bad shoulder injury during last week’s Smackdown taping.

The injury forced him to miss Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view and will reportedly sideline him for several months.

The title has been declared vacant until Battleground where there will be a battle royal to determine the new champion.

There are four participants as of Monday: Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Kofi Kingston and The Great Khali.

If Cesaro isn’t the prohibited favorite to win this match then I don’t know who is. He’s been on a roll lately and he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania in impressive fashion.

Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter confront Rusev, Lana

How about this segment? This was pretty cool and, more importantly, it made sense.

Lana and Rusev made their way to the ring and ripped on the good ol’ United States of America again, which drew a chorus of boos.

It also riled up a couple of real Americans as well. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger went to the ring and told the Russian duo (I know, Rusev was Bulgarian at one point) that they were tired of them talking trash about our country.

They then put their hands over their hearts and said in a loud, clear voice, “We, the people!” It was probably the biggest “We, the people” chant ever as the entire crowd stood up in unison to say it.

The fans even started chanting Swagger’s name. The only problem I had with this segment was that Swagger and Rusev touched each other. I don’t think they should have. I think that should have been saved for a later date. Building up anticipation is never a bad thing.

Damien Sandow becomes the genetic jackhammer

Vince McMahon’s music suddenly blared across the XL Center Monday, making many, including myself, think that the chairman of the board was making a surprise appearance.

It made sense after all since they weren’t that far away from the WWE’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn.

Instead, it was merely another gag played by Damien Sandow. Sandow, as he usually does, did a good job with this. He did a pretty good impersonation of Vince McMahon.

Unfortunately, Stephanie McMahon didn’t find it so funny and put him in a match with The Great Khali. Khali hit one move and won. Poor Sandow.