The WWE is intent on spreading its popularity across the world, and as such, Monday's Raw episode live from Calgary figured to be a scintillating one.
Inside the ring, John Cena returned not only to set up an unexpected stipulation with Ryback, but to take on up-and-comer Curtis Axel.
Alberto Del Rio and Big E Langston were also in action in a rubber match, while the The Shield, Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston continued their spectacular, entertaining battles and Sheamus and Randy Orton teamed up once again.
Outside the ring, legends were in abundance.
Bret Hart was in front of his home country to give advice to several different wrestlers, while Shawn Michaels also made an appearance.
Oh yeah, and we found out who CM Punk's feud would be with upon his return.
Let's take a look at the complete action from the busy night.
John Cena sets stipulation for WWE Payback match with Ryback: 3 Stages of Hell.
Alberto Del Rio defeats Big E Langston.
United States championship: Dean Ambrose defeats Kofi Kingston.
Tag Team championship: Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins defeat Team Hell No.
Fandango defeats Wade Barrett with The Miz as special guest referee.
Khali and Tons of Funk defeat 3MB.
Chris Jericho challenges CM Punk to a match at Payback. Paul Heyman accepts.
"On behalf of my client @CMPunk, I accept!" - @HeymanHustle confirms it'll be @IAmJericho vs. @CMPunk at #WWEPayback in Chicago! #RAW5/28/2013, 2:08:31 AM
The Bellas defeat Natalya and Kaitlyn.
Sheamus and Randy Orton defeat Rhodes Scholars.
Curtis Axel defeats John Cena via countout.
John Cena Does Double Duty
After an extended absence following his epic, stretcher-filled Last Man Standing match with Ryback at Extreme Rules two weeks ago, John Cena made his return.
His first order of business had to do with Ryback, the man he will be defending his WWE title against at Payback next month.
It was widely assumed that the two were destined for an Ambulance Match since Mr. Feed Me More had been spending the last two weeks tossing gobbers into an ambulance, but Cena came forth with a bit of a remix:
Some fans will undoubtedly continue to joke about this feud:
WWE Creative Humor @WWECreative_ish
We assumed the third stage of hell would be forcing @JohnCena & Ryback to rewatch stages one and two. #RAWTonight5/28/2013, 12:10:36 AM
Others, however, are enthralled with the idea of the unique stipulation:
Three Stages of Hell for Ryback and John Cena. I like the sound of that.5/28/2013, 12:09:54 AM
I probably could have done with something different than a Lumberjack match for the first fall, but this is still an enticing wrinkle in the feud.
Cena would then return for the night's main event to take on up-and-coming Paul Heyman guy, Curtis Axel, who is getting the push of a lifetime by taking on Triple-H and the WWE champ in consecutive weeks.
Unsurprisingly, the match ended the only way that really made sense—with neither wrestler earning a pin.
After Axel controlled a majority of the match, an ambulance drove out, distracting Cena, who was disqualified via countout.
It turned out that Ryback wasn't actually in the ambulance, but he ran out from the back and challenged the champ. Neither did much damage before Ryback eventually departed.
It was a pretty underwhelming finish to an otherwise entertaining show.
The Shield Defend Their Titles
Another night, another clean sheet for The Shield.
First up, Dean Ambrose once again defended his U.S. title against Kofi Kingston, the man he took the belt from. And once again, it was a terrific match that proved these two work incredibly well together inside the ring.
Take a look:
Up next was Team Hell No against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. As with the previous match, the champions retained.
And while Ambrose vs. Kingston received a ton of acclaim, this one was at another level. First, legend Mick Foley had some kind words:
Mick Foley @RealMickFoley
I interrupt my final night of writing the upcoming set of 2013 Topps @WWE cards to say great stuff from @TheShieldWWE @WWEDanielBryan & Kane5/28/2013, 1:16:02 AM
Jim Ross followed it up with another compliment:
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
Enjoyed the wrestling action in the @WWE Tag Title match. @TheDeanAmbrose @WWERollins @WWERomanReigns @WWEDanielBryan Kane old school good.5/28/2013, 1:21:07 AM
Some fans may be getting tired of both of these feuds, but as long as matches continue to be this fantastic, complaining should be kept at a minimum.
Of course, Daniel Bryan seems headed towards a singles push, which would also be welcomed:
Jared Hawkins @PWCritique
Judging by the reaction, I'd say @WWEDanielBryan is the most popular guy in @wwe right now, and it's not really close. #raw @WWEUniverse5/28/2013, 1:05:32 AM
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