Having been brutalized by Brock Lesnar, John Cena faced, perhaps, his second-worst challenge of the past month: a grilling from a council of WWE Hall of Famers. In the midst of preparing for his rematch against The Beast Incarnate at Night of Champions, Cena was forced to listen to less-than-favorable analysis from Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels – Hulk Hogan was his lone advocate of the forum. When the Cenation leader did make his entrance, he offered a respectful but forceful rebuttal to the Hall of Famers’ hot take. When all was said and done, Cena left the Legends with a promise that he would return the beating he was given at SummerSlam.
We, the people, were left saddened yet again when Jack Swagger clashed with Rusev in what may have been the greatest of their international conflicts two weeks after their previous battle at SummerSlam. Swagger certainly came out swinging, decking The Super Athlete with an elbow to the jaw and applying an early Patriot Lock that sent Rusev scurrying for the safety of the outside.
The Bulgarian Brute caught a break by targeting Swagger’s still-tenderized ribs, though The Real American bounced back with a belly-to-belly that left the Russian beached and vulnerable to a second Patriot Lock. Rusev escaped the hold as well as a third Patriot Lock, and later pounded Swagger’s ribs and lower back with a flurry of kicks so severe that the referee stopped the match for fear of Swagger’s safety, declaring Rusev the winner in the process.
Might the United States Title be coming home to Switzerland? Two years after previously holding the star-spangled title (and two months since last challenging for it), Cesaro found himself once again at the front of the line to challenge Sheamus for Old Glory after defeating Rob Van Dam to claim the opportunity.
He certainly had to pay for the honor, though; a superkick early on from RVD nearly sent The King of Swing’s bicuspids shooting up the ramp. Despite a brief recovery by Cesaro, RVD rallied enough to set his opponent up for the Five-Star Frog Splash, though The Swiss Superman rolled out of the way and bounced RVD neck-first off the ropes when Van Dam chased him. One Neutralizer later and Cesaro was No. 1 contender.
No AJ, no problem. During a rematch of the previous week’s tilt on Raw, Paige picked up a win over Natalya when The Black Widow failed to make an appearance. Paige continued to imitate the deposed champion throughout her initial thrashing of the Hart Dungeon graduate, though a German suplex and Sharpshooter combo forced her into survival mode. She did so by attempting to apply the PTO, and Natalya eventually forced the champion to revert to the Paige-Turner to claim the win. AJ then chose to make her appearance, a development that not only left Paige vulnerable to a discus clothesline from Natalya, but also an unusually unnerving display of affection from AJ when she kissed the champion on the hand.
It’s been a week since Dean Ambrose was Curb Stomped through a pile of cinderblocks and there’s still been no sign of the former U.S. Champion, so of course Seth Rollins and Kane took a moment on Raw to proclaim no less than Ambrose’s untimely demise at their hands. Proclaiming himself as the ultimate destroyer of The Shield proved a tad premature for Rollins, however, as Roman Reigns was quick to step up to the plate, attacking both his former “brother” and The Devil’s Favorite Director of Operations in an attempt to finish what Ambrose started. That Kane saved Rollins at the last second says a lot about how close Reigns came to doing so.
The Usos faced the strange, all right, and the WWE Universe got a taste of Gold & Stardust’s aggressive side when a technicality robbed them of the vaunted the WWE Tag Team Championships. The cosmic brothers went to unearthly limits to dethrone the Samoan twins, taking the fight to the skies and mat in equal measure. The Usos met with resistance just as swift, with Jey in particular taking the lion’s share of the load against Stardust.
The effort cost him, though; Jey tweaked his knee on an over-the-ropes dive that flattened Stardust and was unable to return to the ring by the count of 10. That The Usos remained champions drove Gold & Stardust to madness, and the painted warriors all but tore Jey apart in frustration.
One perk of being a Hollywood star: You get to have a stunt double. And rather than face Dolph Ziggler yet again, The Miz dispatched just such a man – Damien Sandow in The Awesome One’s guise – to throw off the Intercontinental Champion. It didn’t quite pan out that way initially. Ziggler pulverized Sandow’s moneymaker and was repaid in kind with some thunderous elbows and a Figure-Four Leglock that targeted Ziggler’s previously tweaked knee. The Showoff replied with a vengeance, shaking off the effects of the hold and giving Sandow the hard goodbye with a Zig Zag. Zig Man!!!
Blood may, indeed, be thicker than water. It might just take a little more than that to mend the rift between The Bella Twins, though. Not even moderation by Jerry “The King” Lawler could salvage the “Family Reconciliation” that had been planned between the “Total Divas” stars, as Nikki shrugged off Brie’s apology as “the biggest load of crap she’d ever heard.” She then battered Brie across the ring before finally departing, leaving Brie weeping in The King’s arms.
Contrary to the song, authority doesn’t always win. But Authority certainly won on Raw when Seth Rollins & Kane teamed up to decimate Roman Reigns in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match for which The Big Dog found himself unexpectedly overmatched. Despite an early burst that sent Kane tumbling and Rollins all but begging for mercy, Reigns didn’t exactly take away The Authority’s two weapons. A double-team from Kane & Rollins (shades, ironically, of The Shield) put Reigns on the defensive. The former Tag Team Champion reclaimed enough momentum to drop Kane with a Spear, but Rollins’ subsequent attack with his Money in the Bank briefcase ended the match via disqualification.
The subsequent two-on-one beating softened Reigns up for a potential Curb Stomp through another pile of cinderblocks – yeesh – but Reigns fought back to escape, narrowly crushing Rollins’ head by throwing one of the cinder blocks straight at The Aerialist’s head. He missed. He might not next time.
Not even the surging momentum of The One Man Band could carry Heath Slater & Titus O’Neil to a victory over the reformed Los Matadores. But it almost did. Even the return of Fernando to the bullfighting fold wasn’t enough to help Los Matadores against “Slater Gator,” particularly when O’Neil got involved. What did get the job done, however, was a last-minute reversal that pinned Slater and let Los Matadores escape (barely) intact.
If the WWE Universe feels extra inspired this evening, it’s because Bo Dallas has won again. The Superstar who is an inspiration to us all came out on top when he defeated Kofi Kingston in a tightly contested battle of wills. Bo pulled out the victory after a lengthy beating by Kofi when he tripped The Boom Squad General up on the ropes and quickly executed the running Bo-dog. His post-match celebration – wherein he insulted Jack Swagger yet again – was cut short, though, when The Real American repaid the insults with an astounding double-leg takedown that left Bo uncharacteristically speechless.
Perhaps John Cena’s shell isn’t as cracked as Bray Wyatt thinks. The longtime rivals met on Raw and despite The Eater of Worlds’ promise to finish Cena off once and for all, the 15-time World Champion made Wyatt eat his words. Sending a message to the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Cena sent Wyatt airborne with several suplexes and laid such a beating on him that Luke Harper & Erick Rowan had to interfere. Reinforcements for Cena soon arrived in the form of Big Show & Mark Henry, and by the time order was restored, the match has been reconfigured into a Six-Man Tag by The Authority.
The Wyatts do not go quietly into defeat, but when faced with the largest team on the planet and a former World Champion looking to send a message, defeat is all but inevitable. For the majority of the match, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan continued their rivalry with Big Show & Mark Henry, with the swamp giants teeing off in tandem against the two former World Heavyweight Champions.
Bray Wyatt seemed more interested in celebrating his magnificence than capitalizing after Big Show was all but dispatched, and suffered a chokeslam in response. Cena entered off Show’s tag and quickly tapped out Harper with the STF, though he had time for a few more messages. Specifically, Attitude Adjustments to each member of The Wyatt Family.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Rusev defeated Jack Swagger by K.O. (12:33)
- Cesaro defeated Rob Van Dam to become the #1 Contender for the WWE United States Championship (3:34)
- Paige defeated Natalya (2:50)
- Stardust and Goldust defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) by Count Out (7:33)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Mizdow (2:22)
- Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins & Kane by DQ (2:39)
- Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) defeated Slater Gator (Heath Slater & Titus O'Neil) (4:00)
- Bo Dallas defeated Kofi Kingston (1:35)
- John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt (w/ Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) by DQ (4:18)
- John Cena, Mark Henry & Big Show defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) (6:42)
Other on-screen talent