Each week, Mary “Queen of the Busted Open Nation” Grater reviews WWE Monday Night Raw. This week, Mary gives her take on the triple-threat tag-team title match scheduled for Hell in a Cell.

Monday night’s Raw was one of the better go-home shows for a pay-per-view (Hell in a Cell is this Sunday at 8 pm ET) that we’ve seen in a while. A lot transpired and there was TONS of good wrestling.

Raw opened with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon giving a rundown of the card for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Trips started getting into how Shawn Michaels is the guest referee for the WWE title match because the fans trust Michaels. Triple H added that he also trusts Michaels and respects him more than any other man in the WWE.

Enter Big Show via satellite to interrupt Triple H and start lecturing him on the use of the word respect.

A back-and-forth between the two continued until Stephanie managed to pull the plug on Show’s feed. (How at this point does the fired Big Show still manage to get on Raw’s air? Someone has to be helping him out; who it is and when we will find out is the question.)

After that decent opening promo, we were treated (for the most part) to some excellent wresting matches.

The early rundown:

  • Daniel Bryan opened the show with a win in another fantastic match against Dean Ambrose.
  • Sporting an Elvis costume — they were in Memphis, after all — Santino Marella beat Heath Slater.
  • Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler in a match that showed why they are two of the best in the business … and why Dolph could sell me that the sky is green.
  • AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka suffered a loss to The Bella Twins in a match that featured the return of Nikki Bella.
  • Once again, there were several John Cena-is-returning promos.
  • The Wyatt Family (Harper and Rowan) defeated Kofi Kingston and The Miz in a great match. It was a nice departure from the usually dominant wins for the Wyatts.
  • The Real Americans continued their winning streak by beating Tons of Funk.

Later, Paul Heyman cut one of his best promos of the year about his upcoming Hell in a Cell match, where he’ll team up with Ryback vs. CM Punk. This segued into Big E Langston confronting Heyman, Ryback and Axel, addressing Heyman’s comments toward Big E from last week’s Smackdown. (Heyman referred to Big E as a rookie.) Big E challenged Axel to a match later in the night, which turned into a two-on-one attack by Ryback and Axel. Big E held his own until CM Punk came to his aid, returning Big E’s favor from Smackdown. The four then had an impromptu tag-team match, which Big E and Punk won.

At the end of the show, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan met to sign the contract for their upcoming match. Triple H continued to belittle Bryan, while Michaels wondered what happened to the Triple H who raged against the machine with Michaels in their DX days. Triple H took most of the heat and responded nonchalantly, saying Michaels will do what’s best for business. (Leading us to believe he has Shawn in his pocket.)

Orton then started to bully Bryan, and just as the two were about to come to blows, Big Show showed up in a big rig truck (STONE COLD! STONE COLD!) for the distraction. Bryan then hit Orton with “the knee that defeated John Cena,” met Show at the truck and led the crowd in a thunderous “YES!” chant to close out the show.

But for the third week running, it was an earlier program featuring the new tag-team champion Rhodes Brothers — they need a tag team name — that stole the show.

During the main event of The Shield vs. The Usos for a shot at the tag-team title at Hell in a Cell, the Rhodes Brothers were ringside on commentary. The match itself was phenomenal, with The Usos finally getting some of the love they rightfully deserve, and The Shield showing why they were the tag champs for so long. Cody and Goldust on commentary with JBL was also gold. In the end, though, Dean Ambrose, who was also at ringside, shoved Cody, setting off a brawl between all three teams, ending the match in a no contest.

It was pandemonium at its finest, giving the program an old-school rivalry feel, and resulting in a scheduled triple-threat match for the title at HIAC.

As I wrote a couple of weeks back, Cody and Goldust are the spark the tag-team division so desperately needed. And now, suddenly, the tag-team division may currently be the best TV the WWE has to offer.

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