Below are my notes from this week's Monday Night Raw in Denver, Colorado:
John Cena opened the show and talked about Randy Orton's recent losses. He explained the odds were there would be a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion on Sunday. Zeb Colter interrupted with Cesaro and told Cena he was looking at the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Cesaro said Cena wasn't the only one to beat Orton and he's not just going to become the new face of WWE but the new face of America. Sheamus interrupted and said he was going to kick both their teeth in. He started on Orton but Christian cut him off. He talked down Sheamus before Orton's music played.
Orton came out and thanked The Authority for the ability to beat everyone at the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. He admitted to underestimating Cesaro and said it's not going to happen again. Orton said they both know Cena can't beat him when it counts. He told Christian they've had some of the best matches of his career but he's won them all because he's the face of the WWE. Orton said the Brogue Kick isn't going to get anywhere close. Daniel Bryan, decked out in his new white t-shirt, cut him off.
Bryan said they've come out and done a lot of talking but the crowd is talking for him. He said the Elimination Chamber all leads to that and pointed to the Wrestlemania XXX logo. No one is going to be talking about any of them but there will be an entire arena chanting the word Yes. Kane came out in a suit.
Kane said The Authority has given him the chance to rectify certain mistakes he's made recently by leaving him in charge tonight. The crowd loudly chanted "You Sold Out." He announced Cesaro vs. Cena and Christian vs. Daniel Bryan in addition to Orton vs. Sheamus. He announced Bryan and Christian were up next.
It was announced after the segment that Mark Henry will face Roman Reigns later in the night and Los Matadores would team up with Sin Cara to face The Wyatt Family.
Daniel Bryan beat Christian in 11 minutes. Christian was a complete heel. He attacked Bryan before the match started and largely worked his left shoulder. Christian used a shoulder-driving inverted DDT to take Bryan to the mat in a spot they replayed. The finish saw Bryan counter the Kill Switch and roll Christian up for the three count. Kane got back on the mic and told Bryan that he had another match tonight -- one against him.
Daniel Bryan beat Kane via disqualification in a quick match. Corporate Kane, in his wife beater, continued where Christian left off and focused on Daniel Bryan's left shoulder. The match started on the WWE App, which gave Michael Cole an opportunity for a plug. JBL put it on heavy as the heel, putting Kane over throughout. Referee Charles Robinson threw the match out when Kane wouldn't release a hold on Bryan on the outside. Kane continued to work over Bryan's left shoulder after the match. He got on the mic and said, "Yeah, I know. I'm disqualified." They showed a replay of Kane tossing Bryan head-first into the barricade and said he would be less than 100% on Sunday.
Backstage, the dissension amongst The Shield continued in a segment with Renee Young. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns argued about Mark Henry, with Reigns saying he can do a better job than Ambrose did last week. Seth Rollins said they would be OK for their match on Sunday against The Wyatt Family.
Fandango beat Santino Marella in 3 minutes. Fandango had Summer Rae with him and Emma was with Santino. When Summer Rae tried to distract Santino, Emma shouldered her and spun her around. She fell down because she was dizzy and Santino got out of the ring to help her. They went to kiss and Fandango used the distraction to pick up the win.
Roman Reigns beat Mark Henry in 2 minutes. There wasn't much to this other than a cool spot where Reigns hit a Samoan Drop on the World's Strongest Man. Reigns hit a spear to get the win and Dean Ambrose vowed to prove a point by beating up on Henry after the match. The Wyatt Family came on the screen and Bray said he can't help a childlike excitement building up in him. Luke Harper asks The Shield if they're willing to die for this. If they're not, they've already lost. Reigns interjects and tells them to come out and talk that noise. Bray said they were thinking the exact same thing.
The Wyatt Family came to the ring and they stood directly opposite The Shield. Reigns stepped up to them first before Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins stepped forward as well. The Wyatt Family got out and backed down, much to the crowd's chagrin.
Backstage, Cody Rhodes and Goldust were playing with the new WWE Stack Down toys when Bad News Barrett came in with some bad news. He kicked over the toys.
Jack Swagger beat Kofi Kingston via submission in 4 minutes. This was about what you would expect for a comedown bout. Neither got their entrance televised. There was a cool false finish where Kofi hit SOS but Swagger had his foot on the ropes. Swagger ended up locking in the Patriot Lock to make Kofi tap. Immediately after the match, Big E, who will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Swagger at the PPV, came out.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E beat Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal in a 2-on-1 handicap match in 4 minutes.Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter remained at ringside for the bout with Zeb getting a live mic. Remember when Abraham Washington had a live mic during a Prime Time Players match and made a lame joke about Kobe Bryant and got fired for it? Big E had some nice belly-to-belly suplexes on the 3MB members and hit the Big Ending on McIntyre for the win.
John Cena beat Cesaro in 19 minutes. This was a Raw Match of the Year candidate and you need to make sure you see it. Cesaro stepped up when given an opportunity and is sure to get a lot of credit for this. Cena is a good worker and anyone that thinks otherwise can add this bout to the one of many outstanding matches he's had. There were some insane counters, too many to note. One spot saw Cena run the ropes and Cesaro catch him in a backbreaker. Cesaro's European uppercuts are outstanding and he had one uppercut where he knocked Cena from the top rope. Cesaro's strength, which is phenomenal, was on display as he suplexed Cena back in the ring from the middle rope.
Backstage, Randy Orton thanked Triple H for all he's done for him in the past and all he's going to do him in the future. He told Hunter that they both know they carried Batista in Evolution. Batista walked up about that time and told Orton he's not the face of WWE, he's the ass. Alberto Del Rio, in a neck brace, told Batista he's going to break his arms and rip them off. Batista shoved Del Rio into a cart and Hunter checked on him.
Backstage, Renee Young announces that Titus O'Neil will face Darren Young at Elimination Chamber. O'Neil cut a promo about the program, with the same claim that Young has held him back from being champion.
The Wyatt Family beat Los Matadores & Sin Cara in 5 minutes. There were some cool Lucha Libre spots and I have to give Hunico credit for coming in and not only transitioning to Sin Cara but not having near the problems the original had in adapting. The finish saw Bray hit Sister Abigail on Sin Cara for the win. They played it that Cara was a sacrifice after Luke Harper had already destroyed him with a clothesline.
Jey Uso beat Billy Gunn in 3 minutes. Their tag team partners were on commentary and this was more about building to the WWE Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber. The crowd wasn't into it, as I heard the dreadful "CM Punk" chants light up during that one. The finish saw Jey steal one off a roll-up and a post match attack between the tag teams.
Backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Sheamus where he said he never had a problem with his aggressive side and plugged his match against Randy Orton.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Sheamus was thrown out at 15 minutes when The Shield came out.John Cena came out and the lights went out and The Wyatt Family came out. When the lights came back on, all of the Chamber challengers were in the ring as well as both The Shield and The Wyatt Family. They brawled to end the live broadcast.
This week's show was all about building towards Elimination Chamber and at some points it was very blatant. However, that had to be the case with the pay-per-view on Sunday and the company's last traditional pay-per-view. There was enough good on this show to make it a really strong two-hour broadcast but the extra hour resulted in some material that fell flat.