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Out of the honeymoon, into the fire: Daniel Bryan’s time off the grid with Brie Bella came to an unceremonious end when an old friend gave him a brutal, belated gift that surely wasn’t on the registry. Bryan’s former fellow Tag Team Champion Kane proved to be the walking “something old” when the demon crashed the Champion of Champions’ homecoming on Stephanie’s orders. Clad in his signature red mask (“something new”), Kane administered something borrowed – his brother’s Tombstone Piledriver, three times over – to Bryan as Brie looked on in horror, leaving the WWE Universe feeling collectively blue … though in a few weeks’ time, it’ll be Bryan who sees red when, per Stephanie McMahon's decree, he defends his title against The Devil's Favorite Demon in East Rutherford.
Bad news travels fast, and the luck of the Irish ran dry on Raw when Bad News Barrett elbowed Sheamus out of the running to face Big E for the Intercontinental Championship in the semifinals of the No. 1 Contender’s Tournament that began last week. The Irishman had promised his hooligans a “Big Bad Brogue Kick” to shut Barrett’s famous mouth and he rolled out of the gate strong to set the Brit up for just that, clobbering Barrett’s sternum with the Ten Beats of the Bodhrán and following up with the Irish Curse.
Barrett’s fighter’s reflexes saved him from doom when he dodged the Brogue Kick and scooped up a ricocheting Sheamus into the Winds of Change. Sheamus didn’t let the move slow him down, which turned out to be his downfall: The three-time Intercontinental Champion chose to use Sheamus’ momentum against him, unleashing a springing Bad News elbow to the Irishman’s head as Sheamus ran to chase him out of the ring. #BOOM.
Following up the “match of the century” is a tall order, but Los Matadores & El Torito somehow managed to come up huge on Raw when they united against Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre & prospective fourth-MB Hornswoggle in Six-Man Tag Team action. In fact, the two teams didn’t even stand on ceremony before summoning ‘Swoggle and Torito into the ring to resume their rivalry.
What ensued was a magnificent clash of wills, and if not for Jinder Mahal’s timely interruption, Torito might have stood tall with the “Bull-sault.” Drew McIntyre – smarting for some payback of his own against the bull – tagged in to exact revenge, but all he got was yet another strike to the nether regions and a triple-pronged attack from Torito and his toreadors that forced “The Chosen One” to fall short.
Depending on what you believe, evolution continues forever. But so does justice. And with Evolution reunited to battle The Shield at Extreme Rules, the time has come for the WWE Universe to choose their sides. Triple H, Randy Orton & Batista – clad in their old-school suits under the Evolution banner – certainly made a strong case for themselves as the biggest dogs in the yard.
The Hounds of Justice didn’t let the veterans gloat for too long before they hit Evolution with some truth of their own: That The Game had hired them for their ruthlessness in the first place, and now that they’d made The Shield his enemy, he and the rest of Evolution would have to – as one of their members likes to say – deal with it. Given that The Game still had eleven Superstars in his pocket, that promise would have to wait. With their battle at Extreme Rules two weeks away, however, the wait is thinning rapidly.
It was a tale of two brotherhoods on Raw – one unified and one less so – when the current WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos, faced off against Cody Rhodes & Goldust, the siblings who formerly held the titles (a third brotherhood, the bros of Rybaxel, was content to snark their way through the contest on commentary). Goldust showed himself to be every bit as spry as The Usos with an aggressive opening burst against Jey, and a timely tag-in by Cody brought The Brotherhood to the cusp of victory.
Cody found himself seeing double when he missed a tag by his opponents, though, and ate a match-ending superkick from one Uso while he had the other set up for Cross Rhodes. Of all the tandems involved, it was Rybaxel who got the last laugh. First, Cody shoved Goldust away as The Bizarre One attempted to console his brother, and then “The Big Guy” and his buddy stormed the ring to lay waste to the unsuspecting champions. Rybaxel rules? Seems so.
And the dance continues between Santino, Emma, Fandango and Layla, though the bubbly Diva from NXT got the latest leg up in the rivalry by defeating Fandango’s “flawless” better half in a match on Raw. “Fand-ayla” led off in a brutal way when Fandango tripped Santino up on the apron and set Layla up for an opening blitz against Emma. The tide quickly turned when Santino struck Fandango with The Cobra on the outside and Emma laid out Layla with a clothesline, producing a pink “Queen Cobra” moments later to fell Layla for the win.
With Paul Heyman at his side, Cesaro was surely a presumptive favorite to defeat Rob Van Dam, swing his way to Extreme Rules and face Big E for the Intercontinental Title. As it turns out, we, the people, were mistaken to think so. Mr. Monday Night’s unpredictable style kept The Swiss Superman on his heels in their semifinal bout; each time Cesaro would have Van Dam in position for a power maneuver, the former ECW Champion would switch up his strategy and send him back to square one.
A European uppercut knocked RVD loopy while he was trapped in the ropes, but just as Cesaro got ready to send Van Dam a-swingin’, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter interfered and threw The Swiss Superman into the ring post moments after he rolled Van Dam into the ring. The attack cost Cesaro the match via count-out, though Swagger got the brunt of “The King of Swing’s” fury when he was scooped up by his former partner after the bell and hit with a mammoth Cesaro Swing
Nothing short of a knee to the eye was going to stop the new Divas Champion’s ram-“Paige” throughout the ranks of the women’s division. And given that Aksana didn’t break out that secret weapon, it was business as usual from Paige as her first title defense approaches at Extreme Rules. Any jitters the “Diva of Tomorrow” has had since her debut win over AJ Lee seemed to have long since evaporated. She all but tore Aksana to pieces – the Lithuanian even got a taste of her own medicine with a series of knees to the face – and despite a brief comeback by the femme fatale, Paige locked in the modified Scorpion Crosslock for a tap out win.
They say elephants harbor a secret fear of mice. Apparently someone forgot to tell that to the mammoth Alexander Rusev, who all but swatted Sin Cara flat in the latest contest between the two Superstars on Raw. With The Super Athlete set to battle R-Truth & Xavier Woods two-on-one at Extreme Rules, Rusev put on a display of his power against the outmatched Sin Cara while Lana observed at ringside. The Mexican Icon actually managed to knock The Bulgarian Brute off his feet at one point, but Rusev rallied with pure brute force and, at Lana’s command – “CRUSH!” – locked in the Accolade to put Sin Cara to bed.
Bray Wyatt may have the whole world in his hands, but when the WWE Universe was given control of John Cena’s destiny in the main event of Raw, they all but tossed the Cenation leader into the wolf’s den by commanding him to face all three Wyatts in a WWE App vote.
The match began as little more than a ravaging, with all three Wyatts feasting intermittently on Cena – Bray himself danced with his foe’s unconscious body like a rag doll – while the Cenation leader got in his hits where he could (he couldn’t get in much). Bray left his disciples to do most of the heavy lifting, saving his own strength for the final burst. That came when Cena planted Luke Harper with a tornado DDT, though the Cenation leader found daylight after a lengthy scrap with The Eater of Worlds. Rowan & Harper interfered at the moment of truth to hand the bout to Cena via DQ, but thanks to Bray’s post-match mauling, it’d be a reach to call Cena a winner by any stretch of the imagination.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Bad News Barrett defeated Sheamus in a Intercontinental Title #1 Contendership Tournament Semi Final Match (10:33)
- Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) & El Torito defeated 3MB (Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal) & Hornswoggle (w/ Heath Slater) (2:48)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) (3:20)
- Emma (w/ Santino Marella) defeated Layla (w/ Fandango) (2:20)
- Rob Van Dam defeated Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) in a Intercontinental Title #1 Contendership Tournament Semi Final Match by Count Out (13:13)
- Paige defeated Aksana (4:42)
- Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Sin Cara (3:01)
- John Cena defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) by DQ in a Three On One Handicap Match (14:01)
Other on-screen talent