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WWE RAW live results: John Cena returns & makes some new enemies

After sitting on the sidelines since January recovering from shoulder surgery, the Memorial Day edition of Raw from Green Bay, WI, will feature the return of former WWE Champion and top draw John Cena to action.

Unlike the return of Seth Rollins last week, Cena's reemergence has been hyped for weeks with vignettes and an appearance on the Today show this morning. (Also, remember that we just saw him do a run-it at Wrestlemania.) With the brand split coming up in July, it will be interesting to see if they will start the buildup to the July 11th draft show tonight, or give it time to build and wait after the Money in the Bank PPV.

If this show does a poor rating, expect blame to be placed on Game 7 of the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA playoff series. There is also Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between San Jose and Pittsburgh that kicks off tonight -- more of a regional ratings hit.

Our coverage starts at 8 ET. Join us!


The Big Takeaway: A.J. Styles reunited with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in what may be the angle of the year. It happened during John Cena's return. Styles came out to put over Cena and welcome him back to Raw. Anderson and Gallows came out to accuse Styles of kissing Cena's ass. Just when it seemed they were gearing up for a tag team match, Styles jumped Cena, and the Club joined together for a collective beatdown. Styles repeatedly left the ring, then ran back in to beat up Cena some more. Only other news of note was Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon acknowledging Smackdown's move to Tuesdays starting in July and the upcoming brand extension. 

Shane & Steph Open The Show

They opened with a 10-bell salute in tribute to the soldiers for Memorial Day with all of the roster's superstars lined up on the ramp. Vince, Stephanie and Shane McMahon were out there, but there was no HHH. They replayed a speech that Ronald Reagan gave on Memorial Day in 1982 with various personalities reciting the address. 

Shane came out, but was cut off by Stephanie. They were more antagonistic towards each other this week. Stephanie was wearing shorts so brief, they wouldn't have been able to wipe up a small amount of milk spilled on your kitchen floor. Shane announced that Smackdown would go live every Tuesday in July. Stephanie announced John Cena's return, which got mostly cheers. 

The New Day showed up. They all put over Smackdown going live. Then they mentioned the brand extension, showing mainstream news publications about the looming split. Kofi Kingston said he was new era,  which Big E. and Xavier Woods laughed at. Woods said Kingston was his favorite wrestler in middle school. Kingston asked where is the New Era going?

Stephanie said they didn't know yet. Kofi accused her of dodging the question. New Day asked to not be split up. Shane said nothing is off the table. Big E. was worried. Woods didn't want Francesca the Trombone to be raised without her three fathers, and said trombones raised without a father don't have as good a track record. 

Kingston said Shane and Stephanie hadn't decided who will run which brand, but Big E. sensed there was a sibling rivalry brewing. So Big E. called for a dance contest. Shane started dancing to the New Day's music while Stephanie stood back in the corner and laughed at him. Stephanie acted like she was going to dance, which she did to the New Day's music last year with HHH watching on. Before she could begin, the Vaudevillains came out for a match with the New Day. Michael Cole said going into the break that Smackdown live would return. JBL busted his chops over later. 

WWE Tag Champs The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E.) defeated the Vaudevillains by DQ in a non-title match (8:50)

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came through the crowd and jumped New Day for the DQ. Gallows threw Woods into the dasherboards, then Anderson gave Kingston a Yakuza Kick. While this was going on, Simon Gotch kicked Big E. from behind. Vaudevillains left Big E laying so Gallows and Anderson could deliver the Magic Killer on him. Crowd is already dead and we're only 35 minutes in.

Anderson and Gallows were backstage. Renee Young asked them what that was all about. Anderson said that was to show they could inflict as much damage without A.J. Styles than with him. He said they were just getting started. 

Apollo Crews met with Big Show backstage. Show said he liked Crews and told him Sheamus was a bully. Show said he didn't mind the New Era because he's been knocking out guys since the Jurassic Era and it didn't matter to him. Show said Sheamus is in desperation mode and he jumped Crews last week because he wanted to see if Crews would back down. Show told Crews the question is whether Crews will back down. 

The Usos defeated Breezango (1:43) 

Jey Uso pinned Fandango with a crucifix. Goldust and R-Truth were at ringside. Truth was all the place, calling Byron Saxton "Coach." To which JBL shouted "Byron's not Coach. Coach has talent!" Tyler Breeze and Fandango started jawing off to the Golden Truth and the two sides brawled. Truth threw Fandango into the barricade. Goldust gave Breeze a powerslam on the floor. The gimmick with the Golden Truth is they've lost both matches to Breezango so far, and JBL makes fun of them for being a babyface tag team that loses. 

Roman Reigns came out before the Warriors-Thunder game could tip off.

He got his usual reception. He talked about how Seth Rollins sold out two years ago when he broke up the Shield. Rolins said he was calling himself "The Man", but how can he be The Man when he's running from The Guy? He challenged Rollins to come out. 

Rollins came out to noticeably more cheers, even after his heel promo last week. He teased getting into the ring, came down the ramp, then went back up the ramp. He acted like he was going to speak for about a minute, but stopped before he could utter a word. He threw the mic down like he was going to fight, but then held up. He kept starting and stopping. I was getting flashbacks to the Sheamus-Reigns angle from last December. Some fans chanted "boring." Then he picked up the microphone again, threw it down and left. Reigns music played. Rollins ran down again, but stopped when Reigns turned his back and caught his eye. Not a great segment.

The most newsworthy thing of the night happened during the commercial after this for 2K17. In an ad you can see here, Goldberg appeared walking with security to his WCW theme music, looking in great shape for a 49-year-old. The setting, scenery and placement after that abysmal Reigns-Rollins angle made him look like more of a star than anyone so far tonight. 

U.S. Champion Rusev defeated Zack Ryder via submission in a non-title match (2:33) 

Rusev won with the Accolade, which looks more like a rear naked choke now than a Camel Clutch. Ryder had just hit the Broski Boot and went for the Rough Ryder, but Rusev tossed him over and Ryder landed on his ass. Lana's outfits get skimpier by the week. She's now relegated to just introducing Rusev, but didn't even get in the ring for his postmatch promo. 

Rusev cut an anti-American interview afterwards where he called the Green Bay fans "Cheese gobbling cheese...whatever you call yourselves." Titus O'Neal walked out and did a robotic promo about the nerve of Rusev running down America on Memorial Day. O'Neal said he comes from America, where they fight. O'Neal decked Rusev with one forearm to send him out of the ring. 

Primo and Epico did another interview putting over Puerto Rico. 

There was a piece reviewing the Charlotte-Ric Flair breakup from last week. Various wrestlers weighed in on Charlotte. Dean Ambrose said he felt Charlotte wanted to humiliate her father. Dolph Ziggler said he felt Charlotte kind of told the truth. What? Becky Lynch said Ric always wanted the best for him. Ambrose got another quip saying Flair may have taught Charlotte everything she knows, but not everything he knows. Cole, JBL and Saxton read off various tweets. Then they showed an angle from earlier today where Stephanie dressed down Charlotte, saying she was embarrassed to have her as champion and screamed how Charlotte was spoiled and privileged. Basically, the entire segment was to get Charlotte over as a heel. Then in the last minute of said angle, they made the entire thing moot by having Stephanie berate her and she came off as another wounded pup under the Authority's rule.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass came out to the biggest pop of the show. Enzo said since they were in Green Bay, they reeled off a list of cheeses. Cass scrolled them off one by one while making a double entendre about you know what. 

Enzo and Cass defeated The Dudley Boyz (9:16) 

Third tag team match in two hours. I thought the Jim Crockett Cup had broken out. Enzo pinned Devon Dudley after the Rocket Launcher. Just a month after suffering the concussion at Payback, Enzo got the heat after falling off the top rope. Bubba Ray got slammed off the top rope by Cass, but had to wait forever for him to get up. Match had the most heat of the night. 

The main event will be a six-man tag involving the known participants in the Money in the Bank match, with Ambrose, Cesaro and Sami Zayn facing Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Ambrose, Cesaro and Zayn talked privately backstage. Ambrose said you couldn't trust Owens because he was a Canadian. Zayn started to point out he was a Canadian, then Cesaro said Jericho was also dangerous. Ambrose derided Jericho as also being Canadian. Zayn spoke up and asked Ambrose if he knew he was Canadian. Ambrose looked like that was a revelation and said "That explains everything." Zayn looked confused. 

John Cena Returns

John Cena returned to a nice pop. He got a short "welcome back" chant, but it was surprisingly very brief. Of course, he got his usual share of boos. He started very serious reciting the Ronald Reagan speech earlier, then said there were many brave heroes who had fallen. Memorial Day was a celebration of that sacrifice and he was very thankful to be back home. On this day, it was with the utmost respect that he honored the heroes who helped keep liberty intact. Cena said liberty was freedom, and freedom was our lifeblood. It enabled pople to dress how you want, listen to whatever music you wanted, stand on your chair and scream at the top of your lungs.

Now, the question was whether he still belonged on Monday Night Raw? Cena said a new era arrived in his absence. That means new names and new faces. All of those people had the same thought: that Cena's best days were over. Cena said he wouldn't go quietly into the night. And if the future is upon us, then the future must go through him. 

Styles came out. Cole put over seeing Styles and Cena in the same building was something many thought we would never see. At first, the crowd seemed quiet. Then it turned into a lengthy battle of dueling chants. Styles and Cena just let the fans take over the show for a few minutes. It built and built to where it was really loud and made this potential program feel like something special.

Styles said he had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Cena said, judging by this crowd, so has everyone else. Styles said Cena has kind of a bad rep. Styles said he always heard Cena was the first guy to get to the building and the last to leave. Styles said they have been in two different worlds, but he respected Cena's hard work. Styles said he wanted to be the first one to say "Welcome back." They shook hands. 

Gallows and Anderson then walked out. Gallows told Styles they agreed to go their separate ways, and he saw what they did with the New Day. He accused Styles of sucking up to Cena. Anderson said he thought that was beneath Styles, but apparently not. Anderson said, unlike Styles, they were not there to kiss ass, but to kick it. That included Styles. 

Just as Anderson and Gallows were ready to square off and an impromptu tag match was about to take place, Styles jumped Cena. Anderson and Gallows then jumped in and they all put the boots to Cena. Styles, Gallows and Anderson stood over Cena and gave each other Clique signs to some real heat. A fantastic angle to turn Styles heel. Styles ran back in to pound on Cena some more while Anderson said that's the A.J. they love. Styles left, then ran back in again to lay the punches in some more. Crowd was incensed. After the referees came in, Styles came back in to pummel Cena some more. Styles screamed he was doing the world a favor and "You're welcome, world." 

Dana Brooke defeated Natalya (1:20)

Brooke won after Charlotte distracted Natalya, which led to Brooke winning with a Samoan Driver. Cole called it a Michinoku Driver. Charlotte and Brooke put the boots to Natalya. Lynch ran down for the save. For someone who was supposed to be a heavy heel after last week, Charlotte got a disappointing response, probably because the star of the show stole her heat last hour. 

Ziggler did a promo saying he was going to outwrestle Baron Corbin tonight. He brought up Jericho's 1004 holds promo from 1998 Nitro. To show how badly it bombed, Ziggler bragged he had 1006 holds and starting naming them just like Jericho did 18 years ago. He listed armbar 3 times. He stopped after seven and said "He's Dolph Ziggler and Corbin isn't." 

Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ (:33)

The announcers built up Ziggler's amateur record, including a school record 121 wins at Kent State University. When the bell sounded, Ziggler put on amateur wrestling headgear. So the first thing he did was kick Corbin in the balls for an immediate DQ. Ziggler announced he had been disqualified, but the loser of the match was still Corbin. JBL mentioned the original man of "1,000 holds" was Earl Caddock, who wrestled Joe Stecher in 1920 in the oldest known pro wrestling match that has footage.

Maryse introduced the Miz, who is on location shooting the Marine 5. He talked about how he'll return soon to his adoring public to defend his Intercontinental Championship.

Jericho, Del Rio and Owens argued in the back over who should start their match tonight. Jericho finally got them to agree they should make sure Zayn, Ambrose and Cesaro don't make it to Money in the Bank. After they left, Jericho called his teammates "idiots." 

Cesaro, Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn defeated Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio (17:51) 

Good match with an excellent finishing sequence ending with Ambrose pinning Owens after Dirty Deeds. Jericho hit a codebreaker on Ambrose, but Owens made a blind tag trying to get the pin. That led to Owens and Jericho arguing, which they had done throughout the match. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Del Rio, moments after Del Rio caught Cesaro with the Back Stabber.

Earlier, Ambrose hit a tope as the heels bickered with each other some more. Felt like a house show match just thrown out on live TV because the company knew they were going to get creamed by the NBA Finals, but the main event slot hasn't felt like the true main event of the show lately. 


It says a lot for Cena's presence that frequently has memorable swerve angles. Mark Henry's career highlight was the angle in 2013 where he teased a retirement speech, but jumped Cena instead. Styles' heel turn tonight could be every bit as memorable. It was extremely well done and the only thing worthwhile in an otherwise forgettable 3 hours.