If this is truly Vickie Guerrero's last gasp as the reigning boss lady of Monday Night Raw, let it never be said she went out quietly. With her job on the line thanks to a ruling by Stephanie McMahon, the Managing Supervisor opened what may be her final night in charge by making her case for staying on, climbing each rung of a ladder to symbolize her hard-won ascent to power.
As it turns out, Vickie was wise to appeal to the sympathetic nature of the WWE Universe, because Jerry “The King” Lawler cut her off mid-speech to announce that the WWE Universe would cast a WWE App vote that would factor into her job review. As a final offering to the WWE Universe, Vickie's planned trio of all-star matches (Kane vs. Christian; Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton vs. CM Punk) is a nice start. But would it be enough to save her from the chopping block?
No 18-second sob story tonight for Daniel Bryan, who slew his second Goliath in three weeks and knocked off Sheamus in the first of Vickie Guerrero's three planned bouts between the Money in the Bank All-Stars.
With the WWE Title Contract hanging ominously overhead,The Celtic Warrior didn't seem like he expected to repeat his famous blink-and-you'll-miss-it feat from WrestleMania XXVIII. But even he seemed taken aback by the berserker intensity of the former Tag Team Champion in a bout that was rougher than a scrap on the streets of Hamsterdam. Anticipating Bryan's head of steam, Sheamus countered his running clotheslines into the Irish Curse, but it was Bryan who won out in the end by reverseing the Cloverleaf into a cradle pin. The effort was enough to earn Bryan a hearty handshake from the Irishman himself in a genuine gesture of respect for the beard and the man who wears it, as well.
It'll take more than Tons of Funk to crack the winning ways of The Shield, as Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns rolled through the boogie-happy big men en route to their upcoming Tag Team Championship defense at Money in the Bank Kick-Off.
Despite an up-and-down couple of weeks for the self-styled “Hounds of Justice” and despite an early beating at the hands of Brodus & Tensai, Rollins & Reigns were ultimately in fine form against their funky foes. Rollins took the brunt of the big men's early punishment, but Roman Reigns helped turn the tide and ultimately decided the match after Rollins kicked out of a pinfall attempt from Tensai, tagging back into the contest and cutting “Sweet T” down with a furious Spear to earn The Shield its latest victory.
The last time John Cena and Mark Henry met in the ring, The Champ was left shaken by The World's Strongest Man. But with their WWE Title Match at Money in the Bank only six days away, Cena came to Baltimore with no intention of seeming vulnerable. He even went so far as to back his tough talk up after words gave way to physicality, attempting an Attitude Adjustment on the brazen No. 1 contender.
But to quote Henry himself from a few weeks ago, you think it's that easy? Cena's attempt to punish Henry with the maneuver earned him the same fate as Ryback at WrestleMania when The Champ's legs gave out under the big man's weight. The resulting collapse left Cena splattered beneath Henry's mass on the mat while the No. 1 contender himself scoffed at The Champ from above before unleashing a final World's Strongest Slam. Because that's what he does.
Curtis Axel fancies himself as perfection, but he'll have to be a little bit better than that at Money in the Bank this Sunday after the Intercontinental Champion lost his focus – and his first match as a Paul Heyman Guy – against Chris Jericho on Raw. Axel was crisp in the early goings of the match against Y2J, countering the Codebreaker and successfully executing the Perfect Plex, but it was ultimately a mental error that led to Axel's loss.
With Jericho reeling, Axel took too long to taunt his opponent and Y2J capitalized, locking in the Walls of Jericho and later throwing Axel into the commentary booth. Given that The Miz was scouting the champion from ringside, this proved to be the deciding factor as the champion jaw-jacked with his contender for too long and walked unwittingly into a second Codebreaker once he rolled back into the ring at the beat-up Heyman's frantic behest. Call it almost perfect.
Dolph Ziggler's mind games cost Alberto Del Rio a Champion vs. Champion Match last week on Raw, and The Showoff struck again this week, worming his way into the psyche of the World Heavyweight Champion and throwing Del Rio's match with Sin Cara into disarray.
Though Sin Cara was in rare form against The Essence of Excellence, Del Rio was competing under no small amount of duress. Ziggler (without AJ at his side once again despite her earlier promise) had no intention of leaving the champion six days before their hotly anticipated rematch, aping Ricardo Rodriguez's ring announcing and throwing The Mexican Aristocrat off his game. Del Rio ultimately ditched the match to tussle with Dolph, but Sin Cara quickly pounced on The Essence of Excellence, leaving a World Champion flattened for the second time in one night but concluding the bout in a double count-out.
It's safe to assume that, once Vickie Guerrero's fate was thrown into question, many figured Team Brickie would be dead by Raw's end. As it turns out, they were only half right.
On the one hand, Vickie Guerrero is indeed fired, expelled from the Managing Supervisor's position by Stephanie McMahon herself after a record-setting WWE App vote acted as a tiebreaker between the whims of Mr. McMahon (who wanted Vickie to stay) and Triple H (who voted her gone). While Vickie's emotional pleas to keep her job didn't exactly tug at The Chairman's heartstrings, the impulsive nature of a major business decision did propel him into an executive decision. It just wasn't the one anyone expected.
"You have no idea what the right decision would be," The Chairman roared at the WWE Universe, "[So] I'm gonna make it for you ... you people deserve this." In other words, ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your new Raw General Manager: Brad Maddox, who revealed his qualifications to WWE.com as a former hall monitor, fourth grade class president and captain of JV basketball team in 10th and 11th grades.
Kane had the very definition of a mixed evening on Raw, defeating Christian in the second All-Star confrontation but also becoming the first Superstar to suffer the wrath of The Wyatt Family in the process.
The Devil's Favorite Demon faced a stiff challenge in Christian, who certainly made his case for One. More. Match. by keeping Kane on the defensive for the duration of the bout. Christian's success went to his head, though, and he attempted a too-early Spear that led to a Chokeslam ... and that's when the lights cut out and Bray Wyatt's final dispatch played to the WWE Universe. Moments later, the Wyatts themselves emerged from the darkness and laid siege to The Devil's Favorite Demon.
While Bray Wyatt watched from a rocking chair at ringside, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper decimated Kane with the steel steps, leaving him in a heap before Wyatt knelt beside the fallen form of his first victim ... but most likely not his last.
The claws came out in the Divas division when a tag team bout degenerated into a full-on fight just six days before the Divas Title is defended at Money in the Bank. Kaitlyn's rivalry with Divas Champion AJ Lee has taken up the headlines in WWE's women's division, but they took a backseat in Divas tag action to a whirlwind exchange between Layla (who teamed with Kaitlyn) and Alicia Fox (who allied with AJ) before things took a turn south.
It was Alicia's tag of AJ that set Kaitlyn off, as the jilted former champion stormed into the ring and left her former friend in a heap, giving new meaning to the term "Chickbusting" by unleashing a spear outside the ring that left AJ in the Land of Nod. But can she do it again this weekend?
In a bout between two of WWE's most vicious Superstars, it was CM Punk who came out on top once Vickie Guerrero's final match as Managing Supervisor was said and done, avenging a WrestleMania loss to hand Randy Orton another high-profile defeat. Punk started strong, but Orton steadily dismantled The Straight Edge Superstar by targeting his ribs and back to leave him writhing.
Orton's sadistic tendencies got the better of him as he laid a barrage of punches on Punk's head against the turnbuckle, though, giving Punk time to writhe free and the wind to counter the RKO with a kick to the head. One Go to Sleep later and Orton's night was over. But Daniel Bryan wasn't about to leave without making a statement of his own, dissecting Punk with kicks and bulldozing Orton with a ladder before clutching the coveted briefcase for his own.
Brutal? Yes. Dangerous? Certainly. But when it comes to Money in the Bank, such things are all in the game.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Daniel Bryan defeated Sheamus (14:20)
- The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeated Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai) (w/Cameron & Naomi) (6:20)
- Chris Jericho defeated Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) (11:22)
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara ended in a No Contest (5:34)
- Kane defeated Christian (7:40)
- AJ Lee (w/ Big E. Langston) & Alicia Fox defeated Kaitlyn & Layla by DQ (2:10)
- CM Punk defeated Randy Orton (13:40)
- Dark match: John Cena defeated Ryback in a Tables match
Other on-screen talent