Vacation's over. One week away from the job cost The Authority dearly thanks to a scramble for control amongst their foot soldiers last week on Raw, and Triple H & Stephanie McMahon wasted no time in rectifying the situation when they strolled into Nashville for Raw Country. While WWE Director of Operations Kane was absent from their impromptu disciplinary session, Raw GM Brad Maddox and SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero were not so lucky: It was decided – after very minimal deliberation – that Vickie would face her old rival AJ Lee, and Maddox would have the honor, so to speak, of battling WWE Champion Randy Orton one-on-one. Godspeed, Mr. Maddox.
Alas, the Brad Maddox upset victory to end all upset victories did not happen on Monday Night Raw. The beleaguered General Manager was all but fed on a platter to a fuming Randy Orton, out for vengeance after the events of last week's power struggle. However – check out the big brain on Brad – Maddox did not go quite so quietly into that goodnight RKO, surprising Orton by bashing The Viper on the head with the microphone and following up with a big DDT, putting the champion on his heels for much longer than anyone probably anticipated from the former referee.
The victory turned out to be both moral and short-lived, though; Orton took about as lightly to the sneak-attack as you might expect, and it wasn't long before he dismantled Maddox and went to town on his head with the very same microphone, leaving the GM so annihilated the match was called and Orton given the victory.
Curtis Axel has long come through in the clutch to retain his Intercontinental Championship, but the former Paul Heyman Guy's luck finally ran dry on Raw Country when he was defeated by one of WWE's fastest-rising Superstars: Big E Langston. Axel had initially been slated to face the former NXT Champion at the WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff, but an injury to the titleholder put the match on the backburner. He had nowhere to hide on Raw, though, falling victim to Langstson's smothering strength almost instantly.
Axel caught a break by bouncing Big E's neck off the ropes and quickly pounced on his challenger to regain control of the match. For a moment, it looked as though the champion would prevail, as Axel kept the bout close by matching Langston's power with his speed. Langston weathered Axel's storm, though, countering his neckbreaker and sending the champion down to Earth with a Big Ending that was truly, utterly perfect.
Somewhere, Chris Jericho is popping champagne: His status as the lone WWE Musical Chairs champion remains intact after a Divas edition of the popular game degenerated into an all-out brawl between the entire women's division. Even the dulcet tones of Florida Georgia Line's “Cruise” weren't enough to staunch the brewing animosity between the “Total Divas” cast and their contemporaries. It wasn't long before all-out bedlam erupted that even moderator Jerry “The King” Lawler was powerless to stop, culminating in the non-“Total Divas” being tossed unceremoniously from the ring.
Big Show followed up on his statement chokeslam of Randy Orton with a big victory on Raw Country, but he's not nearly out of the woods yet when it comes to his rivalry with The Viper. The giant's Raw win was hardly a gimme, though, as his opponent – Ryback – made the most of his first-ever crack at the former World Heavyweight Champion, attacking the big man with surprising confidence considering he was dumped as a Paul Heyman Guy.
“The Big Guy,” however, didn't have nearly as much as luck with Show as he did with The Great Khali a couple of weeks back. Despite a late-game push by The Human Wrecking Ball that included a monstrous Shell Shocked to the giant, Show sealed the deal with a KO Punch. Show wasn't about to amble off to the Grand Ole Opry in peace, though, as The Apex Predator stormed the ring only to be struck down with a giant spear.
The Miz & Kofi Kingston is a pair to be reckoned with, even by the standards of the mighty Real Americans ... at least, it usually is. While the Americans should have faced a big hurdle in their diverse, dynamic opponents, there was more than just the usual trouble in paradise for the former Intercontinental Champions thanks to a surprising move by The Miz. The decisive moment came when Miz – who the Americans had run roughshod over – pulled a decidedly un-awesome move by abandoning Kingston right as he was about to be tagged in. The former WWE Champion's stunt left Kofi high and dry, and Jack Swagger was more than happy to feast on his vulnerable foe with a bone-wrenching Patriot Lock that forced Kofi to submit.
Brad Maddox was devoured by Randy Orton earlier in the night as punishment from The Authority, but even though SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero was defeated by Divas Champion AJ Lee, at least it was quick defeat.
Vickie did nearly manage to stay her own doom by taking a flop backstage, faking a fainting spell that nearly tricked the referees into cancelling the match. Stephanie McMahon wasn't buying it, though, and forced Vickie into the ring. Despite Vickie's repeated attempts to weasel her way out of the match, AJ forced her into the ring and applied the Black Widow for a near-instantaneous tapout, after which point Vickie fainted for real.
Nobody may know what a Broadway Brawl is, but one thing is indisputable: Dolph Ziggler won it. Thrown into an impromptu match against Damien Sandow by WWE COO Triple H, The Showoff rebounded in style from his loss to Curtis Axel last week, prevailing over the “Uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion” in the heart of Music City. Tossed into a ring that was lined with musical instruments, both Sandow and Ziggler made use of the melodic plunder as weapons; The Enlightened One swung a Fender Stratocaster and Dolph took a fall through an electronic keyboard in the opening minutes alone.
Ziggler took the brunt of the musical pain before he found his footing, countering a guitar to the dome by shattering a fiddle over Sandow's back. Sandow answered by throwing Dolph into a bass fiddle, but Ziggler channeled the great Todd Rundgren and banged on the drum all day, trapping Sandow inside a bass drum before finishing him off by bringing a guitar down on his trapped opponent.
Alberto Del Rio has done everything he can to ensure that John Cena walks into Survivor Series as a one-armed man – though for all his deviousness, “Mexico’s Greatest Export” may still not have done enough. Cena seemed to appreciate the gravity of his situation when he addressed the WWE Universe, all the while sporting a sling on his battered arm.
Del Rio was quick to piggyback on Cena's despair, crashing his address and promising further humiliation in The Champ's hometown at Survivor Series. The Cenation leader, though, didn't need two arms to make a statement, throwing off the sling and making a run at The Essence of Excellence. The No. 1 contender barely dodged an Attitude Adjustment and scurried back to safety; all Cena has to do on Sunday is finish the job, but is his body ready for the task?
“The Union Jacks” may have gotten a win in the U.K., but 3MB's latest, Nashville-inspired alter-ego had no such luck when they ran afoul of R-Truth and his new partner, Xavier Woods. The NXT newcomer and PhD candidate got the brunt of the match time, hanging tough against both Drew McIntyre (“nephew of Reba”) and Jinder Mahal. Truth tagged in to reclaim the momentum; the former U.S. Champion set ‘em up and Woods knocked ‘em down, screaming “IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!” before dispatching McIntyre with his one-two signature maneuver punch of the “Honor Roll” clothesline and “Lost in the Woods” boot to the face.
Raw Country got its final dose of country music with an epic performance by Florida Georgia Line, who rocked the WWE Universe with "Round Here," the official theme song for Raw in Nashville.
Chaos erupted between The Shield, The Wyatt Family, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, The Usos & The Rhodes Brothers last week, and the 12 Superstars found a way to exorcise their frustration in Raw Country's epic conclusion. Separated into teams of six, the dozen got down and dirty in a 12-Man Tag Team Match that saw the fan favorites fall to a late disadvantage until a surprise Superstar came to save the day. Dissent between The Shield and The Wyatts nearly threatened to destroy their efforts until Bray Wyatt himself mended the fences, uniting his teammates against Bryan for a plus-sized numbers game.
It took a last-ditch tag to Punk by Bryan to re-ignite his team and The Second City Saint shouldered the burden well, cleaning house and dispatching Dean Ambrose with a Go to Sleep after an epic melee ensued. The victory had only just been counted when The Real Americans joined in for a piece of the action and sent Punk, Bryan & Co. into defense mode ... at which point Rey Mysterio stormed into the ring and struck Jack Swagger and Luke Harper with a double 619. The mask, as they say, is back.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Randy Orton defeated Brad Maddox by referee designation in a No Disqualification Match (3:58)
- Big E Langston defeated Curtis Axel (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship
- The Big Show defeated Ryback (7:59)
- The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Kofi Kingston and The Miz (4:46)
- AJ Lee (w/ Tamina Snuka) defeated Vickie Guererro (1:28)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow in a Broadway Brawl (11:07)
- R-Truth & Xavier Woods defeated The Rhinestone Cowboys (Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal) (w/ Heath Slater) (3:05)
- Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Goldust & The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) & The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) (24:05)
Other on-screen talent