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Raw: Surprise returns lead to a wild night
By NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM Wrestling


John Cena is the most polarizing figure in professional wrestling. With the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in his grasp, the eyes and targets have never been more focused. Tonight on WWE Monday Night Raw. where does the new champion stand with The Authority? Plus, a WWE Champion returns! All that and more on this week's edition of WWE Monday Night Raw!

Recap of WWE Money in the Bank.

We are LIVE from Hartford, Conn. Michael Cole, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and Jerry "The King Lawler" have the call for this week.

WWE COO Triple H and WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon kick us off. McMahon thanks the Connecticut crowd for the homecoming and The Authority is here to celebrate Money in the Bank. McMahon apologizes for Daniel Bryan's injury with tongue in cheek and congratulates "Mr. Money in the Bank" Seth Rollins for making history.

Triple H then talks about more history made at Money in the Bank and introduces WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. Cena wants to tell anyone listening that he will give Daniel Bryan a shot once he returns. McMahon continues and tells Cena to commemorate his fifteenth championship, Cena will be on the cover of WWE 2K15. A banner drops down with Cena on the cover.

Cena thanks and calls it an honor. However, Cena thinks The Authority is being too nice too soon and reminds the pair of the faces they made when Cena won the belts last night. Cena tells The Authority that he will not be controlled by them. Triple H tells Cena that he doesn't care about anything Cena does in the ring, movies, or wherever, as long as he has respect. Triple H warns Cena that he can do things the easy way or the hard way.

Cena says he won't be their stooge and he will do it the hard way. Triple H announces that Cena will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground in a fatal four-way. Triple H says two of the men in the match will face him tonight and one will team up with him tonight. Cena will team up with Roman Reigns against Randy Orton and Kane. Cena pokes fun at McMahon swimming in a pool of waste last week before leaving. Triple H stops Cena at the top of the ramp and reminds Cena that if he wins at Battleground, there's always a "plan B."

Seth Rollins comes out with Money in the Bank briefcase and heads to the ring to celebrate with The Authority as he prepares for his match after the break.

(Commercials)

Match One: Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam

Lockup sees Seth Rollins get the side headlock and shoulder bump. Monkey flip from Rob Van Dam sends Rollins outside to regroup. Rollins and RVD exchanging strikes and Rollins kicked away to the outside again. Back inside, both trade leg kicks and RVD gets an enzuigiri before working Rollins in the corner. RVD with a nearfall.

Strikes landing in every corner for RVD. Monkey flip from RVD caught, but RVD turns it into an abdominal stretch. Banana split off the legscissors takedown from RVD forces a Rollins rope break. Rollins outside and RVD follows right into a clothesline as we break.

(Commercials)

We return with Rollins sending RVD off the ropes. RVD counters a backdrop with a kick. Rollins takes RVD down and flips into a half Boston Crab. RVD gets out and gets a legscissors pin for a nearfall before landing a series of clotheslines. Rolling Thunder connects for an RVD nearfall.

Backbreaker across the knee from RVD leads to a split-legged moonsault for another nearfall. Rollins works the leg with a dragon screw. RVD up on a powerbomb and he hits a hurricanrana that bounces Rollins off the turnbuckles. RVD up top and Rollins moves outside to escape. RVD flies anyway to land a crossbody to the floor. RVD fighting from the apron as Rollins comes back inside and Rollins with the dragon screw on the ropes. Curb Stomp lands for Rollins.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Renee Young with Seth Rollins in the ring. Rollins tells Young to call him "Mr. Money in the Bank" and says it isn't arrogance because he can back it up. Rollins knows people are bitter because he was right and they were wrong and he plans to use his golden ticket.

Dean Ambrose on the screen. Ambrose asks if Rollins thought this was over between them. Ambrose knows that Rollins doesn't think he won. Ambrose says Rollins's briefcase is filled with dynamite that will blow up every time he tries to cash in, as Ambrose plans to haunt Rollins.

(Commercials)

Lana and Rusev make their way to the ring. Lana calls Big E a failure and says Americans are accustomed to it because it is woven into their culture. Lana mocks Americans for cheering participation rather than victories. Lana says no one can stop Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin and no one can stop Rusev. Rusev speaks in Russian and closes with "Rusev crush."

Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter make their way to the ring. Colter is tired of Lana trashing America and she is allowed to do that because of freedom of speech. Colter knows they couldn't say things bad about her country in her country and claims Lana and Rusev are taking advantage of American freedoms. Colter says a "Real American" can stop Rusev and leads the crowd in a "We The People" chant.

Jack Swagger lands two arm drags as Rusev charges and Rusev moves outside to be restrained by Lana.

(Commercials)

Match Two: Sheamus & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family

Jey Uso starts out with Erick Rowan. The brawl and a sneak tag leads to The Usos sending Rowan outside with a clothesline as we break.

(Commercials)

We return with Jimmy Uso and Erick Rowan in the ring. Rowan working the neck crank and yanks Jimmy to the mat. Rowan muscling Jimmy to the mat. Bray Wyatt in with a corner clothesline and stomping Jimmy down before bringing in Luke Harper. Harper lands shots, but runs into a back elbow and a boot from Jimmy. Corkscrew out of the corner lands for Jimmy.

Rowan and Sheamus in. Sledges lead to a running knee after a shoulder in the corner. Rowan on the apron and Sheamus clubbing the chest of Rowan. Battering ram from the top lands for Sheamus on Harper and Rowan. Back inside, Sheamus with a bodyslam and now looking for the Brogue Kick. Wyatt on the apron and Rowan tackles Sheamus to send him outside.

Harper legal and a running boot lays Sheamus out on the floor. Back inside, Wyatt back in with a back splash for a nearfall. Wyatt grinding the face of Sheamus into the mat and stomping. Rowan tags back in and hits a splash off the slam for a nearfall. Rowan grinding the fists in the temples of Sheamus. Rowan with a knee drop to the chest for a nearfall.

Wyatt tags back in and working Sheamus into the corner. Wyatt runs into the boot of Sheamus and Sheamus up top. Uppercut drops Sheamus from the top and Harper now tagged in. Harper brawling Sheamus and brings it back inside for a superkick nearfall. Harper attacking The Usos and Sheamus hits Irish Curse.

Jey in and landing an uppercut. Dropkicks sends Harper out to the floor. Dive over the top lands on Harper. Back inside, Jey with an enzuigiri and a superkick that nearly wins it. Rowan sent out as he breaks up the nearfall by a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Jimmy with a suicide dive out on Rowan. Wyatt sneaks behind Sheamus and hits a uranage, but ducks outside before receiving a superkick. Clothesline lands for Harper.

Winners by pinfall: The Wyatt Family

Tom Philips with Nikki Bella. Phillips wants to ask about Brie Bella being ejected last night. Stephanie McMahon interrupts the interview to tell Nikki that her and Brie will face The Funkadactyls. McMahon remembers Brie quit and tells Nikki she will go it alone in a handicap match next.

A limo is shown pulling up to the arena.

(Commercials)

Bo Dallas makes his way out. Dallas is here to ask the crowd to join him for sixty seconds of silence for Bad News Barrett and Daniel Bryan. Dallas kneels with head in hand for a minute. Dallas calls himself the voice of inspiration for Daniel Bryan last night and also remarks that he was a bigger man.

Recap of Daniel Bryan and Bo Dallas's exchange at Money in the Bank. Dallas closes by telling the crowd,"don't stop Bo-lieving!"

Handicap Match Three: Nikki Bella vs. The Funkadactyls

Cameron and Nikki Bella start. Cameron shoving Bella around and getting a nearfall. Cameron gets beaten as Bella comes back with strikes and tags out to Naomi. Bella with a forearm and Naomi with a crossbody from the top. Falling inverted DDT from Naomi connects.

Winner by pinfall: The Funkadactyls

Post-match, Naomi and Cameron have a shoving match.

(Commercials)

Recap of Bad News Barrett separating his shoulder on SmackDown. Michael Cole declares that the WWE Intercontinental Championship has been vacated and will be determined in a battle royal at Battleground.

Paul Heyman makes his way out with his signature introductions. Heyman declares Barrett losing the WWE Intercontinental Championship is great news because his client is "battle royalty" and introduces Cesaro.

Match Four: Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kofi Kingston

Cesaro with a takedown and Kofi Kingston switches into the front headlock. Cesaro works up to land a gutwrench suplex. Cesaro stomping and landing strikes in the corner. Kingston with a pendulum kick as he ducks outside and lands a springboard crossbody for a nearfall.

Cesaro sent outside by a monkey flip and Kingston with a flip dive that connects for a nearfall back inside. From the apron, Kingston springboards into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Cesaro. Cesaro striking Kingston down and working him in the corner. Double underhook suplex gets Cesaro a nearfall.

Rear chinlock applied by Cesaro. Kingston striking out and gets hit with a Cesaro clothesline for a neafall. Punches landing and a double-foot stomp from Cesaro connects on the chest of Kingston. Kingston working the body, only to be stopped by a Cesaro bodyslam. Cesaro teases the Cesaro Swing and instead stomps Kingston down. Rear chinlock reapplied and Kingston able to come back with a hurricanrana for a nearfall.

Kingston sent into the corner and whipped around by Cesaro to land an uppercut to the back of the head that sends Kingston to the floor as we break.

(Commercials)

We return with Kingston celebrating.

Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston

Post-match, Cesaro attacking Kingston. Cesaro sends Kingston into the steps and Kingston leapfrogs them. Kingston flies into an uppecut from Cesaro and Cesaro slinging Kingston over the announce table. Running military press tosses Kingston to the floor in the crowd. Cesaro lays Kingston out at ringside.

Santino Marella throwing a party backstage with the cobra. Adam Rose comes out and pours Santino some Twisted Tea. The party continues with a Twisted Tea plug.

(Commercials)

Damien Sandow comes out as Vince McMahon. Sandow says he made WWE an entertainment juggernaut on the shoulders of Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Triple H. Sandow says there is also a star that people are too ignorant to appreciate and that is himself. Sandow enters himself in the WWE Intercontinental Championship battle royal.

Stephanie McMahon on the screen. McMahon enraged at Sandow's portrayal of her father and she books him for a match against one of the other competitors in the battle royal.

Match Five: The Great Khali vs. Damien Sandow

The Great Khali lands a chop to the head of Damien Sandow.

Winner by pinfall: The Great Khali

Limo is parked out front and a former WWE Champion and multimedia star is up next.

(Commercials)

The Miz is introduced as the former WWE Champion and multimedia star. Miz says he's back from shooting a film and he considered staying in Hollywood. Miz claims that he had potential to be Hollywood's star but he came back to prove the WWE audience wrong. Miz won't leave the WWE until he main events WrestleMania once again and fans are begging him not to go.

Chris Jericho interrupts. The Miz asks if Jericho has anything to say. Miz asks if this is like 2012 where Jericho will come back with his jacket and not talk. The Miz asks Jericho how dare he interrupt a movie star. Jericho hits him with the Codebreaker. Jericho welcomes us to Raw is...

The Wyatts cut the stream and the arena goes dark. The Wyatt Family beating Jericho down. Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail in the middle of the ring and kneels over the body of Jericho.

(Commercials)

Match Six: Fandango (w/Layla) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler strikes first and Fandango counters by sending Ziggler into the ring post on his shoulder. Fandango stomps Ziggler down and taunts Ziggler with a dance. Ziggler fighting back, but Fandango with a military press that drops Ziggler for a nearfall.

Ziggler with a back elbow and a clothesline. Mounted punches in the corner connect for Ziggler. Neckbreaker and an elbow drop connect for Ziggler.

Summer Rae steps in the ring. Summer Rae walks around and makes out with Ziggler. Fandango dumbfounded and Ziggler engages another kiss. Fandango asking Summer Rae what she's doing and Zig Zag from behind connects for Ziggler.

Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler

(Commercials)

Recap of Vickie Guerrero being fired by Stephanie McMahon last week.

Match Seven: RybAxel vs. Goldust & Stardust

RybAxel starts off on the attack. Curtis Axel working Goldust in the corner and talking trash. Inverted atomic drop and uppercut from Goldust. Goldust landing strikes and Ryback in with a shoulder block from behind. Ryback landing strikes and a suplex gets Ryback a nearfall.

Rear chinlock applied by Ryback. Ryback working Goldust in the corner and Goldust fighting back. Crossbody attempt by Goldust is caught and Ryback hits a fallaway slam. Meat Hook clothesline is countered by a spinebuster from Goldust.

Tags made to Stardust and Axel. Clothesline and uppercuts landing. Springboard elbow to the head by Stardust. Axel pulled into a DDT. Springboard clothesline from Starbust lands on Ryback as he comes in. Stardust with a facebuster.

Winners by pinfall: Goldust & Stardust

(Commercials)

WWE Divas Champion Paige makes her way to the ring. Paige knows a few people wanted her to go back to NXT, but she has proven that she is here to stay.

AJ Lee makes her way to the ring. AJ says Paige is right. AJ was proved wrong by Paige. AJ thought she was untouchable and let success go to her head. AJ thanks Paige for what she did. Paige knows AJ is angling for a rematch and she isn't going to make the same mistake AJ did. Paige says no one wants to see her defend the WWE Divas Championship tonight. AJ asks the crowd if they want to see that and the fans chant their approval.

Match Eight for the WWE Divas Championship: Paige (c) vs. AJ Lee

AJ Lee charges Paige and lands strikes. Paige tosses her away and lands a superkick. Headbutt and a clothesline from Paige land for a nearfall. Paige taunting AJ and AJ slaps her. Rollup from AJ.

Winner by pinfall and new WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee

Post-match, AJ Lee skips around the ring with the title as Paige is distraught in the ring.

(Commercials)

WWE COO Triple H joins the commentary team at ringside.

Match Nine: Kane & Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns & John Cena

John Cena and Randy Orton start off. Side headlock for Orton and a shoulder bump. Side headlock again in for Orton and he gets a hip toss. Cena brings in Roman Reigns and Orton tags out to Kane. Both men exchanging and Kane sent over the top to the floor by Reigns as we break.

(Commercials)

We return with Orton in control of Reigns in the ring. Knee drop connects for a nearfall for Orton. Kane back inside and stomping Reigns down for a nearfall of his own. Uppercut connects and Orton brought back in to work Reigns in his corner. Rear chinlock applied by Orton and Reigns ducks an attack to land a clothesline. Corner clothesline lands for Reigns.

Reigns outside and he knocks down Kane before being dropped by an Orton clothesline. Kane and Orton inside working the double-team offense. Reigns sent off the ropes and he runs into a big boot from Kane that earns a nearfall. Kane with the rear chinlock and Reigns fights to his feet to land a clothesline.

Orton in and he prevents the tag. Orton with stomps and a knee drop for another pin attempt on Reigns before Kane comes back in with an uppercut. Orton with another stomp and Kane with another nearfall. Clothesline from Kane in the corner lands, but he charges into a boot. Reigns walks into a Chokeslam, but he uppercuts his way out. Samoan Drop lands for Reigns and both men down.

Cena and Orton in. Shoulder tackles and a side slam land. Cena with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Attitude Adjustment wiggled out of by Orton and Kane in. Kane gets a side slam and a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena stalking Kane and Orton comes from behind with the RKO. Reigns clears Orton and lands a Superman Punch on Kane.

Orton and Reigns fight all the way to the back. Action spills outside for Kane and Cena. Cena sent into the steel steps. Cena wobbled and Kane grabs a section of the steel steps to crack Cena in the head with.

Winners by disqualification: Roman Reigns & John Cena

Post-match, Kane gives John Cena a Tombstone Piledriver. Triple H waving someone on.

Seth Rollins comes out with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Triple H, Kane, and Seth Rollins calling for the case to be cashed in. Triple H and Kane take the referee outside and Dean Ambrose comes out to take Seth Rollins out. Rollins and Ambrose brawl through the crowd and to the back.

Kane and Triple H angry with the referees and Kane with a chair to finish the job on Cena. Roman Reigns returns and hits a Spear to knock Kane down.

The show closes with Triple H stepping down from the apron with Money in the Bank briefcase in hand in a staring contest with Reigns.

Nolan Howell can be reached at nth993@gmail.com for any questions or comments. Click here to follow Nolan on Twitter.