Monday’s “RAW” was broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., and finally gave WWE fans a main event for Hell in a Cell on Oct. 28. WWE Champion CM Punk will defend his title against Ryback, along with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Big Show for the title, Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio, and Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. the winner of the tag tournament.
Punk was originally set to choose between John Cena or Ryback for his Hell in a Cell opponent, but Vince McMahon decided that the arrogant champion was taking too long and made the decision for him. McMahon chose Ryback, despite the rookie powerhouse’s inexperience.
Ryback got the best of Punk at a contract signing at the closing of the show. The crowd chanted Ryback’s catchphrase “Feed me more!” as Punk was lifted to the big man’s shoulders and slammed down with Shell Shock.
Earlier in the night, Ryback also defeated Dolph Ziggler and David Otunga in a handicap match. The two men lost after Ziggler left the ring mid match, forcing Otunga to fend for himself.
Big Show opened the program by beating Daniel Bryan. The Giant demanded the match so he could justify his 45 second loss to Bryan in late 2011, when Show lost a World Championship match to the submission specialist.
After the match, Kane came out to aid Bryan and the dysfunctional tag team banded together before returning to bickering. It was announced that Kane will face Big Show next week on “RAW,” less than a week before Show faces Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title and Kane teams up with Bryan to defend their Tag Titles.
Kane was in action on last night’s “RAW,” but against commentator Matt Striker. Though Striker is an ex-wrestler, he hasn’t performed in years and was quickly defeated by the Big Red Monster.
The tag tournament finals were delayed this week because Rey Mysterio is reportedly ill with a bad flu, but finalists Rhodes Scholars were still in tag team action, defeating Primo and Epico. Former tournament contenders the Prime Time Players beat Co-Bro (Zack Ryder and Santino Marella) before being attacked by Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and McIntyre, now going by the group name 3MB (Three Man Band).
Kofi Kingston and the Miz will meet in a match for Miz’s Intercontinental Title on Wednesday’s “Main Event,” but the two faced off last night with Kingston coming out on top. This puts Kofi in a dominant position before he attempt to take the IC Championship from the Awesome One, who has held the belt since RAW 1000 in July.
There is a good chance that officials will put the mid-card championship on Kingston. He just left a long-time tag team run with both Evan Born and R-Truth, and WWE officials could use the title switch as a way to legitimize “Main Event.”
The World’s Largest Athlete returned to the ring to interfere in Sheamus and Wade Barrett’s match, causing Sheamus to win by disqualification. The feud between the Celtic Warrior and the Bare Knuckle Brawler was a long, back-and-forth style match that could have headlined a pay-per-view, confirming that the company is high on both men involved in the bout.
Another man with nothing but upward mobility in the WWE is Antonio Cesaro who has an impressive match the Justin Gabriel. The reigning United States Champion managed to counter a 450 Splash from Gabriel, and once again finished the match with a Neutralizer.
Alberto Del Rio, who is confirmed to face pseudo-rival Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell, defeated Brodus Clay. The Orton-Del Rio feud is a bit perplexing; it hasn’t been developed or given any reason.
When the Viper and the Mexican Aristocrat meet at Hell in a Cell, there won’t be any meaning to the match. Both men are former World Champions and can both put on a show, but with now drama behind the bout, it could be a dry match.
Eve Torres successfully defended her Diva Championship against former champion Layla. This is the long-running continuation of the seemingly phoned in storyline that Eve sabotaged Kaitlyns chances to fight for the title at Night of Champions last month, but the angle and the matches surrounding it aren’t given airtime, so it hasn’t resonated.