Perhaps it was safer for Seth Rollins in the cage. One night after The Architect retained the WWE World Heavyweight Champion by escaping the confines of a steel cage, his enemies and frenemies crawled, one by one, out of the woodwork to box him right back into a proverbial prison. First there was Kane, whose issues with the impudent Rollins clearly are not at an end. Randy Orton followed, crying foul over Rollins’ use of the banned RKO in the title contest. Roman Reigns rounded out the posse by bragging over his conquest of Big Show and reinserting himself into the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture the giant temporarily removed him from nearly a month ago. The result of the brouhaha was a tag-team main event — set for later in the evening — that would unite Rollins & Kane against Orton & Reigns, with the WWE Universe itself deciding Rollins’ opponent at WWE Payback.
God save the … King? Bad News Barrett took the first step toward crowning Great Britain’s next great monarch when he knocked off (and knocked out) his longtime foil Dolph Ziggler to advance to the semifinals of WWE’s storied bracket. It wasn’t quite as simple a thing as a Bull Hammer that sent Ziggler to the showers, though. The Showoff was in a fighting mood after Extreme Rules and had an answer for everything Barrett threw at him, from a crucifix rollup reversal of the Winds of Change to a superkick that hit home after a Bull Hammer went wide left.
Sheamus made his appearance right when Ziggler had Barrett on the ropes, throwing up an image of the “full Irish moon” that shone over Chicago at Extreme Rules and throwing Ziggler into a fluster. No arses were kissed, thankfully, but Barrett had more than enough of an opening to kick Ziggler’s, pouncing with an unceremonious but effective Bull Hammer to bring him one step closer to the throne.
It is, indeed, a New Day, but the newly crowned WWE Tag Team Champions aren’t free of those pesky fact-droppers just yet. Which is probably why Big E, one of The New Day’s two titleholders, found himself across the ring from Tyson Kidd one night after the clap-happy trio relieved Kidd & Cesaro of the twin titles at Extreme Rules.
Despite the non-title nature of the contest, Kidd seemed hell-bent on humiliating The New Day’s resident punisher, chasing Big E about the ring with kicks and aerial attacks that put the tag champion on his heels. Until, that is, Xavier Woods gift-wrapped the win, holding Kidd’s foot to the mat after Big E struck with a clothesline to keep him down for three. Next up? The title rematch on SmackDown.
There might be something yet to the power of Bo-lief, considering how it keeps Bo Dallas coming back again and again when tasked with some of WWE’s most powerful Superstars. Having been Shell Shocked into a puddle by Ryback at Extreme Rules, Dallas made his return to Raw, proclaiming himself The Bigger Man to The Big Guy and demanding The Human Wrecking Ball forfeit the match. Despite an impressively aggressive showing that busted The Big Guy’s lip, Bo got Shell Shocked and pinned instead, though Ryback’s celebration wasn’t long for this world as Bray Wyatt struck, blacking out the arena and putting Ryback down with Sister Abigail.
For the second week in a row, Heath Slater has been denied his U.S. Title Match against John Cena and for that, America weeps. Not that Rusev cares much about appeasing Old Glory; in fact, he torpedoed John Cena’s latest open-challenge defense of the U.S. Title by taking out would-be challenger Slater. The Super Athlete didn’t throw his hat into the ring, however. Instead he took hold of the mic to forecast the imminent end of Cena’s reign — a stint that has handed The Fist of Russia his sole pair of decisive defeats — in their “I Quit” Match at Payback.
KingStardust had a nice ring to it, but the ascension of Cody Rhodes’ spacey split personality to the highest throne in the land may have to wait in favor of KingTruth. The former U.S. Champion was the second Superstar to advance to the King of the Ring semis, shaking off a rabid Stardust in his bid to eradicate all spiders from WWE by royal decree. The bout started as a technical affair and quickly morphed into a battle of right hands as Truth and Stardust walloped each other across the ring. Stardust got fancy in the end and it cost him, taking flight for the Disaster Kick and soaring straight into a Lie Detector that advanced Truth to a Round Two showdown against Bad News Barrett. Note to all arachnids lurking around the locker room: Winter is coming.
Like Fandango ditching his reinvention to dance with the people, Rosa Mendes taking her place as a Rosebud is an idea that has a slight air of destiny about it. In any case, the “Total Diva” wasn’t about to let Fandango two-step his way out of her life after kicking her to the curb, so Rosa decided to trip ’Dango up the only way she knew how. She posed as a Rosebud during the Fandango-Rose rematch from SmackDown and distracted her former flame with some moves in the heat of the bout. Rose pounced on Fandango with the Party Foul, and Rosa officially threw in her lot as the First Lady of The Exotic Express, sealing the union with a steamy lip-lock.
If not for a kick to the head by Brie Bella, Naomi might not have wandered into a Rack Attack and come up empty-handed in her bid for the Divas Championship at Extreme Rules. So while the former Funkadactyl’s chances at the Divas Title may have been shuffled to the backburner, Naomi still took out her frustrations on Brie in a grudge match on Raw that quickly got physical after Naomi jumped the former Divas Champion backstage. Brie came out swinging, lighting Naomi up more than her shoes with a spear and a “Brie Mode” dropkick, but Naomi got the win with an inside cradle and a handful of hair.
The King lives. Thanks to Dolph Ziggler’s long memory, Sheamus’ defense of his King of the Ring mantle was not a one-and-done affair. The Showoff wasn’t about to let The Celtic Warrior plunk his freshly kissed caboose on the throne anytime soon without a few bruises to show for it. All this was to the detriment of Dean Ambrose, who battled the Irishman in a tough-as-nails quarterfinal match and had just eaten a Brogue Kick when “Zig-Man” charged at the Irishman, handing the irate Ambrose a disqualification loss.
Silence! Damien Sandow has returned to the WWE Universe after spending the better part of the year under the tutelage/influence/control of The Miz, and the world is wide open for the onetime Intellectual Savior of the Masses. Addressing the WWE Universe for the first time as a fan favorite under his own name, Sandow expressed optimism for where the future might take him, only to be interrupted by none other than … The Ax Man.
Curtis Axel, himself a bit of a grassroots cult hero of late, was quick to run down Sandow’s promise of reinvention and to extol the virtues of AxelMania in response. Powerful stuff, though the former stunt double happily dusted off one of his oldest tricks to counter. He drove The Ax Man into a blind rage by mimicking him word for word, dropping the Elbow of Disdain and a Hulk Hogan–esque leg and expelling Axel from the ring when all was said and done. Hallelujah.
When Neville eventually descends from his perch in the skies, the drop zone may well be a throne. The Man That Gravity Forgot climbed one echelon higher into the stratosphere, sending Luke Harper down to the dregs from whence he came and advancing to a King of the Ring semifinal against Sheamus, live Tuesday at 8/7 CT on the award-winning WWE Network.
The New Sensation certainly had his work cut out for him. Fitting enough for a man who defies Newton’s Laws, he had to climb up from the bottom against the larger Harper, who quite literally tossed his foe around like a rag doll, unleashing a powerbomb that shook Green Bay to the core. Neville, of course, is no weakling, and hauled Harper over his head for a German suplex and a sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope. His resilience paid off; the powerbomb left Harper laid out and Neville followed by unleashing the Red Arrow for the victory. Up, up and away.
With friends like these, right? Seth Rollins & Kane’s fraying alliance unraveled even further in the main event of Raw. The Authority’s chosen champion and his protector fell to a pair of their greatest threats, Randy Orton & Roman Reigns, to set up a situation from which even a self-styled Architect may not be able to design an escape.
The businesslike handshake between Rollins & Kane at the match’s start turned out to be less than ironclad. Even though the partnership held strong through a lengthy neutralization of Reigns, Orton’s late-game entry into the match threw The Authority off its groove, especially when Rollins accidentally struck Kane with both a dropkick and a suicide dive. The Devil’s Favorite Demon erupted at the misfires, taking out J&J Security and, in his frustration, feeding Rollins to the tandem attack of a Superman Punch and an RKO for three. It might not be the last time Rollins feels that combo, either. Per the WWE Universe, in the main event of Payback, Rollins will have to face both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Bad News Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler in a King Of The Ring 2015 Quarter Final Match (8:17)
- Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated Tyson Kidd (w/ Cesaro & Natalya) (1:22)
- Ryback defeated Bo Dallas (2:06)
- R-Truth defeated Stardust in a King Of The Ring 2015 Quarter Final Match (3:47)
- Adam Rose defeated Fandango (1:49)
- Naomi defeated Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) (3:40)
- Sheamus defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ in a King Of The Ring 2015 Quarter Final Match (12:33)
- Neville defeated Luke Harper in a King Of The Ring 2015 Quarter Final Match (10:11)
- Randy Orton & Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins & Kane (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) (18:40)
|Quarterfinals (Raw 4.27.15)||Semifinals (4.28.15)||Final (4.28.15)|
|Bad News Barrett||8:17|
|Bad News Barrett||Pin|
|Bad News Barrett||Pin|
Other on-screen talent