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Raw: The Rhodes brothers get their big chance
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Well, the poop kind of hit the fan last week, with a fired Big Show knocking out Triple H. That's not going to sit well with the COO or his wife, so we'll see what the next domino to fall will be as Raw goes live on this holiday Monday on USA.

St. Louis welcomes a legend as WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels is the first person to make an appearance tonight. Even JBL admits that having HBK as the special referee for the Daniel Bryan-Randy Orton rematch at Hell in a Cell. Shawn thanks everyone for not forgetting about him and speaks about helping to train Bryan. Along with the facts that he has always disliked Orton and Triple H is still his best friend, he understands why people are concerned about his various conflicts of interest. But Michaels assures the fans that what happened at Battleground was a crock, and it will not happen again. Hometown boy Orton comes out next, his arrival taking the smile off Michaels' face. He wants to make it quick since he has a match with The Miz, saying that the people in St. Louis aren't that bright, but he's able to see through HBK's resentment of him. Randy bristles at Shawn's assertion that he needs to worry about Bryan, and he threatens vengeance if Michaels screws him over in any way. HBK says he's going to kick Orton's head off his shoulders if the attempted intimidation continues, but both an RKO and Sweet Chin Music go wanting. As Orton attempts to retreat, Miz has other ideas, attacking him from behind. Extra officials need to restore order during the commercial break so we can get on to the night's first match.

Match 1 - Randy Orton vs. The Miz

This fight quickly returns to the floor, where Miz meets the steel steps up close and personal. It's not enough for a pinfall of course, so The Viper stomps away with his opponent on the mat. Miz is sent out to the floor yet again, though he manages to counter his way out of an attempted DDT off the barricade. Miz builds momentum back between the ropes, even delivering a double ax handle off the top. He's thinking Skull Crushing Finale but ends up trying for a Figure Four instead. He's interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Wyatt Family, which distracts Miz enough to leave him easy prey for an RKO that ends things. Bray Wyatt calls Miz "the epitome of everything I loathe about this world." He doesn't want Miz to suffer, so Bray's just going to put him down. #FollowThe Buzzards

Match 2 - Fandango vs. Santino Marella

Looks like we'll be getting some comedy with our wrestling in this one. Santino gets in a burst of offense that allows him to summon The Cobra, but Fandango craftily uses Summer Rae as a distraction and rolls up Marella to get the three count.

Paul Heyman has something to show Brad Maddox. Specifically, he shows how CM Punk cheated to defeat Ryback last time they met, and he thinks he should be able to pick the stipulation at Hell in a Cell - and he wants it to be a two-on-one handicap match with Ryback and Curtis Axel. Maddox proposes a game of beat the clock: Ryback versus R-Truth and Punk versus Axel, and whoever wins faster gets to pick the stipulation.

JBL doesn't think much of Xavier Woods' online petition to get Big Show reinstated. Then we see a video package promoting the impending return of John Cena.

Match 3 - Los Matadores vs. 3MB (Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre)

Apparently El Torito has his own Twitter feed. Follow him now! Slater doesn't mess with the bull but still gets the horns in the form of the team's double team finisher. Jinder Mahal also takes a move from the team's mascot after the bell.

Highlight time: we flash back to last week to see exactly what got Big Show fired. Yeah, punching the boss in the face usually does end with you on the unemployment line. Well, technically he was fired before that, but you get the point.

Presenting a united front as always, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come out hand-in-hand. Steph says she learned a valuable lesson last week, which is to never allow her kindness to be mistaken for weakness. Despite the ways they helped Big Show, including taking over his mortgage, he still betrayed them. She gets angry about the fans chanting "You got knocked out!" to her hubby, and she reports that they are selling Show's house and charging him with trespass and assault. Stephanie also addresses reports that HHH had a broken jaw or a concussion by reminding the fans that The Game ruled the Attitude Era and isn't so easily dispatched. For his part, Triple H claims he took the job as COO knowing that no one likes the boss, but he was pushed past the breaking point last week. He claims anyone chanting "Yes!" like everyone was last Monday will soon be begging for their jobs. Bryan comes out to put this edict to the test right away, but any fun he might have at the expense of The Authority is brought to an abrupt end by an attack from Alberto Del Rio. Oh, and he just happens to be Bryan's opponent tonight.

Match 4 - Ryback vs. R-Truth - Beat the Clock Match

Truth takes his sweet time getting in the ring, adding precious seconds to the time. Jerry Lawler says he loves it when the rants chant for Goldberg during a Ryback match, and conveniently, the WWE probably feels the same way since there is a new Goldberg DVD out. Heyman grimaces as Truth scores several near falls, which would make this whole thing pretty pointless. But Ryback catches Truth with a Shell Shock and gets the pin at the 5:44 mark, giving Punk some work to do later.

Stephanie congratulates Brie Bella on her engagement, but methinks it might be sarcastic. She tells Brie about her match tonight against Tamina Snuka and that AJ will have a great view of the action while Nikki has to wait backstage. Yep, definitely sarcastic.

Match 5 - Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans

Here's a shocking development: Zeb Colter has a problem with Los Matadores. I never saw that coming. {Sarcasm mode off.} If this match seems like a set-up for Cesaro to do the giant swing to a really big guy, you're probably right. He does manage to pick Tensai up off the mat and suplex him, which is impressive in its own right. Cesaro nails Brodus Clay with the Neutralizer, which is also impressive, and that's sufficient to get the win. After the bell, Jack Swagger takes out Tensai, allowing Cesaro to give him the giant swing.

Match 6 - Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella

Brie comes out aggressively, looking to take out Tamina before she settles into the match. That doesn't work, but she proves resilient enough to hang with the stronger woman... for a while. AJ looks on happily as Tamina gets the win, then punishes Brie with a Samoan drop and some other fun stuff after the bell. How about a Superfly Splash for good measure? Sure. AJ locks Brie in the Black Widow after all of that, forcing referees to step in and break the hold. Nikki Bella comes out to tend to her sister, but the damage has already been done.

An agitated Bryan confronts McMahon and Maddox, but Stephanie plays innocent when it comes to what just happened to Brie.

Match 7 - CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel - Beat the Clock Match

The question here is whether Axel will be on his bike just trying to let the clock expire or if he's going to try beating Punk. Looks like the latter, despite Heyman calling out the time left on the clock from ringside. Punk drops the elbow off the top with about 2:20 left, but Axel kicks out. The IC champ gets his own near fall, and the clock ticks down to under 90 seconds. Axel gets two more near falls, and Punk's roll-up attempt fails. But the Second City Saint manages to find the mark with the Go To Sleep right after that, and he gets the three count with 12 seconds to spare. Heyman is livid, as you can imagine, and he can't be feeling any better after he hears that Punk's stipulation is... a handicap match. It'll be Ryback and Heyman versus Punk inside the Hell in a Cell! No running for the Paulrus.

Match 8 - Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio

Bryan gets right down to business, but it's Del Rio with the first legit near fall after a Backstabber. He stomps Bryan in the corner but soon finds himself under the same kind of duress. Bryan's corner move misses, and ADR is in control as we go to commercial. Bryan rallies in the interim, rocking his foe with European uppercuts until a tilt-a-whirl back breaker puts a stop to them. Del Rio goes back to grinding out holds on the mat, pausing to smile after he puts Bryan in trouble in the corner. Daniel explodes out of the corner for a clothesline, trying to get in position to the Yes Lock. Del Rio answers with a big flying dropkick that gets him another two count. ADR misses an enzuigiri, leaving both men down on the canvas. Bryan rises first, flips out of the corner and scores with another clothesline. He dashes from one corner to another to score a dropkick and almost gets the pinfall when he covers. Del Rio's answer comes via another stiff kick, but Bryan dumps h m out to the floor and connects with a suicide dive. Bryan comes off the top rope but can only manage another two, at which point Orton appears on the big screen. Randy graciously offers to check on Brie, and her screams give Del Rio a big opening. Bryan shrugs him off to connect with a kick to the head, and he hurries off to the aid of his fiancÚ. It turns out Bella is okay, but Orton is waiting in ambush. A referee (those guys are everywhere tonight) tells Orton to stop after a quick but vicious attack. Oh, and Bryan lost the match too.

The Shield laughs at Bryan's misfortune, and they look even more pleased when Triple H informs them that the gloves are off, and their match with the Rhodes brothers is now no disqualification. He tells the trio to finish the job before turning and making out with Steph. Fun times!

It's another Cena video package, this one detailing his return from injury. This kind of stuff just feeds the anti-Cena trolls, but I suppose that's part of the point.

Main Event - Goldust and Cody Rhodes (challengers) vs. The Shield (champions) - No Disqualification Tag Team Championship Match

The debate goes on between JBL and the other announcers over the actions of Stephanie and Triple H. Meanwhile, Rhodes gets himself into some trouble in the Shield corner that gets slightly worse on the outside. Seth Rollins rocks Cody with kicks and punches as he tries to respond in kind. Rollins covers for two, and Goldust urges the fans to show their support for his little brother. Rhodes finally makes the tag, and the Bizarre One nails Rollins with a bulldog for two. Goldust misses a cross body and flies out to the floor, which is a perfect place for more ads. He tries a sneaky pin on Rollins that doesn't work, and Roman Reigns makes sure he can't crawl within range of Cody. A reverse elbow finally slows down Reigns, but a Rollins cheap shot is on target. Goldust catches Rollins in a power slam and makes the tag to Rhodes. Cody almost pins Roman with a moonsault, and his jumping kick knocks a lurking Dean Ambrose off the apron. Rhodes scores with a missile dropkick, but the pin is broken up. Order breaks down as all three Shield members get in on the action. Rhodes may be in trouble, but Goldust saves the day with a steel chair. Reigns bails out his stable and grabs the chair himself, but he misses and eats a cross body from Goldust. Rollins hurls Rhodes into the barricade on the floor while Goldust unleashes atomic drops for all. Everyone ends up on the outside, where Reigns spears Goldust through the barricade near the timekeeper's area. The Shield looks to have the upper hand, though that changes in a hurry when big Show comes out of the crowd. He hits Reigns with the KO punch, and Rhodes covers and gets the three count. In a thriller, the Rhodes boys are the new tag team champs. Triple H is incensed as Show celebrates with the fans up in the stands, the brothers hold their new gold on the stage, and Raw runs out of time. See you in seven!