For 20 years now, WWE "Monday Night Raw" has thrilled and entertained fans like no other program in history. This week, WWE chose the Toyota Center in downtown Houston as the spot for the "Raw: 20th Anniversary" special on the USA Network.
Kicking things off, Vince McMahon stood in the ring and talked about the history of "Monday Night Raw." He was soon interrupted by The Big Show, who lost his World Heavyweight Championship a few nights earlier on SmackDown to Alberto Del Rio. Show said they needed to address the "travesty" that occurred on Friday night.
Show suggested that Del Rio be stripped of the belt This brought out the new champion, who came down to challenge Show to a rematch. But Show said that like SmackDown, he wasn't prepared for an immediate match. He countered with an offer for the Royal Rumble in two weeks, on a bigger stage.
After the two traded words, Del Rio's personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez grabbed a bucket. Show warned him that if he got water on his suit, he would break Ricardo's spine in half. So Ricardo emptied the bucket on Show, but it only contained pieces of confetti.
Show started to chase Ricardo, but Del Rio cut him off and sent him crashing out of the ring. Del Rio was clearly ready for a fight, but Show wanted no part of it.
In the first match of the night, WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett stepped into the ring for a tough challenge from Randy Orton. This match spilled outside early, as the two brawled around the ringside area. Back in the ring, Orton threw everything he could at Barrett, including a vicious DDT through the ropes. But it was Barrett scoring with the Bull Hammer elbow smash for the win.
WWE Divas champion Eve Torres was preparing for her title defense against Houston native Kaitlyn, but she was approached by another Houston star...Booker. He informed her that if she intentionally got counted out in her match, she would be stripped of the title and it would be awarded to Kaitlyn. Eve tried to get out of the match, but Booker and Teddy Long both laughed at her. Eve slapped Teddy in the face and walked off.
Earlier in the day, the WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) met with their anger management counselor Dr. Shelby. The duo agreed that they needed to lie to Shelby in order to get released from their counseling. Shelby brings in Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow to assist in a final training technique, but things got ugly.
The idea was to have Sandow and Rhodes antagonize the champions, but they ended up correcting Shelby instead. After suggesting that Bryan and Kane would be better served going to Dr. Phil, Shelby snapped and ordered the champions to attack Sandow and Rhodes. These two two teams would meet, but in separate singles matches.
The first of which was Kane and Sandow. This was a relatively quick match, but it did have a few moments on the outside of the ring. Back in the ring, Sandow dropped his signature Elbow of Disdain and then went to the top rope. It turned out to be a huge mistake, as Kane caught him with a chokeslam and picked up the pinfall victory.
The first inductee of WWE's 2013 Hall of Fame class was revealed to be the hardcore legend, Mick Foley. He made his way to the ring to great ovation. He started to address the crowd, but was almost immediately interrupted by renegade group The Shield. The trio, comprised of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, came out and surrounded Foley.
But before they could do any damage, the monster known as Ryback sprinted to the ring to make the save. They start to beat him down, but he gets some help from Randy Orton and Sheamus. Ryback dispatched Rollins and Reigns from the ring, before delivering his Shell Shocked finisher to Ambrose.
After everything settled down, Josh Matthews interviewed Ryback. He said he won't rest until he gives back to The Shield what they took from him. Then he started a "Feed Me Shield" chant.
The WWE Divas Championship was on the line next, as Eve defended against hometown girl Kaitlyn. This was back and forth all the way through, with both Divas nearly getting the win on several occasions. The match spilled outside briefly, where Eve tossed Kaitlyn hard into the ringside barrier. After a reverse DDT didn't work, Kaitlyn nearly speared Eve out of her boots. It was enough for the win, as Kaitlyn becomes the new champion.
Up next, WWE Champion CM Punk faced off with Brodus Clay. Last week, Punk mentioned Clay as part of a tirade on why certain superstars are stuck in a situation while others are getting top billing every week. Clay dominated early, until Punk shut it down with a clothesline and then mocked Clay's dancing.
Punk would finish off Clay after hitting a signature top rope elbow drop, shades of the legendary "Macho Man" Randy Savage. He then locked in the Anaconda Vice and forced Clay to tap out. Afterwards, Punk stated that The Rock will not leave the Royal Rumble as champion, and that it was a fact.
Backstage, The Rock walked up to Mick Foley and congratulated him on his Hall of Fame induction. While having a little fun, they were approached by Raw managing supervisor Vickie Guerrero. She said she couldn't hear herself think with them being loud, and that this was her show. The Rock said he had nothing further to say, and she walked off. When Foley asked why he didn't go off, he responded by telling to just watch his concert later.
Former World Champion Sheamus came to the ring for a special Over The Top Rope challenge, where he would take on all three members of 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal). Sheamus eliminated Jinder and then McIntyre. He went for the Brogue Kick on Slater, but missed and ended up straddling the top rope instead. Jinder and Drew came back to the ring and helped Slater eliminate Sheamus to win the match.
Afterwards, Sheamus interrupted the celebration, as he delivered the Brogue Kick to Slater and McIntyre.
Up next, The Miz came out for his Miz TV segment. His special guest was none other than former 16-time World Heavyweight Champion "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. It was a generally fun segment, as the two traded catchphrases back and forth. Flair talked about his best moment was the night after WrestleMania 24, after he was retired by Shawn Michaels. He said other than his kids being born, that was the best moment of his life.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro had heard enough of the festivities, and came out to interrupt. He said he doesn't need catchphrases, and that Flair has nothing to show for his career except for a bar tab he can't pay. His mouth got him into trouble, as Flair started delivering chops, and gave Miz the honor of applying his own signature figure-four submission. Miz and Flair pose in the ring as Flair's music plays.
Cody Rhodes came to the ring for a match against Daniel Bryan. This was a very short match, as Cody let his arrogance get the better of him. While he was in control of the match, he started wasting time and taunting the crowd. This allowed Bryan to lock in the Yes Lock submission for the victory.
After losing the Divas Championship earlier in the evening, Eve Torres started complaining about being a victim and being tired of everybody's verbal abuse on her. She then dropped the announcement that she doesn't need the WWE, and proceeded to QUIT! She blames her decision on people like Matt Striker and the fans before walking off.
The main event featured a steel cage match between Money In The Bank winner Dolp Ziggler and former WWE Champion John Cena. Ziggler came to the ring with AJ Lee and Big E Langston. This was undoubtedly the highlight match of the night, as both men beat each other senseless inside the cage.
Both AJ and Big E tried to get involved during the course of the match. At one point, Cena was trying to climb out of the cage but Big E was waiting with a steel chair and forced him back in the cage. Ziggler nearly put Cena away on several occasions, flooring him with his Zig Zig finisher and a crushing DDT from the top rope.
Big E found his way inside the cage, while AJ climbed to the top. Thinking they had the upper hand, Ziggler swung his briefcase at Cena's head. But Cena ducked and the briefcase slammed into Big E's head. Cena hit the AA on Ziggler and pinned him for the win. AJ was left screaming on top of the cage, as the plans of interference had been unsuccessful.
With all that said, it was time for The Rock to come out for his Rock Concert. He came out to a huge ovation from the crowd, as he noted that he remembers the very first time he appeared on "Monday Night Raw" several years back. A picture is displayed on the big screen of his "Raw" debut, when he was still known as Rocky Maivia. He made fun of himself for a few minutes, before he started the concert.
The first song he sang was to the tune of "Heartbreak Hotel," and it was about Paul Heyman. He sang about how Paul had "floppy breasts," and about Paul's genitals, which he hadn't seen in years. Then he pointed out that pointed out that Dusty Hill from the legendary ZZ Top was in attendance. Rock noted that Dusty is a Texas native.
Rock then turns his attention to the ladies, and says that his favorite curve on a woman is her smile. He then sings an Eric Clapton song to Vickie Guerrero, buttering her up and making her smile. Just as she was feeling good, Rock turned around and called her a "biotch" and said she looks horrible tonight. Vickie threw a fit onstage as the fans sang her out of the building.
Rock then says he has something to say to CM Punk and calls him out. With their WWE Championship match just two weeks away, Rock tells Punk he will become champion. He went on to say that Paul Heyman had "Twinkie t-ts." He told Punk that as God as his witness, he will defeat him for the title. Punk then sprinted to the ring and they started brawling. WWE officials had to pull them apart as "Raw" went off the air.
After the cameras stopped rolling, Punk got in the ring and said to forget 13 days and told Rock to bring it on. Rock came back to the ring and they started brawling again. Rock would deliver a Rock Bottom to Punk, and celebrated as the fans erupted.
It was also announced during the show that WWE will be returning to Toyota Center for a special "SmackDown!" event on July 25. Fans can get special access to tickets before they go on sale, as they can click HERE and enter special code HOUSTON to purchase tickets early. These tickets will only be available until January 23.
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