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Contrary to popular belief, Daniel Bryan is a good sport when it comes to corporate makeovers. Suit? Fine. Hair gel? Why not. Just don't touch the beard.
The submission master had gamely submitted to Stephanie McMahon’s proposed renovation, rocking a spiffy-looking suit en route to his grand unveiling. And despite Bryan's rebellious attitude ("John Cena is an entertainer. I am a wrestler!"), Mr. McMahon himself seemed pleased enough with the results. However, things quickly south when McMahon summoned former Intercontinental Champion (and apparent descendant of barbers) Wade Barrett to administer the final touch that would firmly earn Bryan some corporate support ... shaving off the No. 1 contender’s precious beard.
Needless to say, Barrett’s attempt to raze Bryan’s famed follicles ended in disaster. At the moment of truth, the submission expert seized the clippers and cleaved Englishman’s own stubble in two before departing the scene, ripping the pricey threads from his body and revealing a new T-shirt bearing the message “THE BEARD IS HERE.” At least this time, The Chairman didn’t kicked in the crotch. Hooray for small victories?
Clearly a four-week layoff has not been kind to Ricardo Rodriguez, whose instincts aren’t quite what they were before he was El Kabonged onto the DL by Dolph Ziggler two months ago. Making his grand return after licking his wounds, Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer instead ended up the World Champion’s personal whipping boy when he failed to help The Essence of Excellnece repeat his ill-gotten victory over Rob Van Dam from a few weeks ago on SmackDown.
Facing the former WWE Champion, Del Rio was on the receiving end of RVD’s offense and in a tight spot, so Ricardo attempted to diffuse the situation by setting up his bucket against the turnbuckle. The dirty play backfired, though, and Ricardo’s beloved patron ended up taking a header into the spittoon instead. One roll-up later handed Del Rio his second defeat in as many weeks, though that was nothing compared to the fate of Rodriguez himself, who was subjected to a ruthless beatdown by Del Rio as punishment for his inefficiency.
Who says Cody Rhodes holds a grudge? Just two weeks after consigning Damien Sandow’s Money in the Bank contract to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, the “Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” retrieved his former pal’s precious cargo and invited Sandow out so he could to return it to him in Green Bay. Of course, the presentation turned out to be a trap for The Enlightened One, who not only caught a beating from Cody but suffered an even greater loss when Rhodes pocketed the actual contract from inside the Money in the Bank briefcase. Happily for both men, they'll soon have a chance to, shall we say, vent their frustrations. You're welcome.
Same result, different circumstances: Mark Henry left Green Bay with another win over Ryback in a rematch of their WrestleMania 29 collision, but the "Human Wrecking Ball" was hardly humbled – or put off at all, really – by the count-out loss he suffered. The two titans picked up exactly where they left off, pounding each other with five-megaton strikes that would send smaller Superstars into a stupor. Ryback's agility gave him a brief leg up on Henry, but the big bully seemed content he'd made his point when The World's Strongest Man regained the advantage. Pre-empting Henry's next onslaught, Ryback rolled out of the ring and backed up the ramp, talking trash for the count of 10 and beyond.
Daniel Bryan had some strong words for John Cena earlier in the evening, yet The Champ certainly didn’t pull any punches when it came time for him to take his turn on the mic, turning Bryan’s entertainer-vs.-wrestler comments on their head and daring the submission master to underestimate the challenge that awaits him at SummerSlam. Cena was soon joined by Randy Orton, who reiterated his long-standing promise to strike when The Champ least expected it … and then The Shield’s entrance music sounded and things began to get truly complicated.
Orton and Cena seemed destined for calamity at a 3-2 disadvantage until Daniel Bryan arrived to even the odds, though physicality never erupted thanks to some quick thinking from Raw GM Brad Maddox. Channeling his inner Teddy Long, Maddox decided to make the best of a bad situation and made an impromptu main event for the evening: Cena, Orton & Bryan vs. The Shield in six-man combat.
Can Tons of Funk get down to a little “Dueling Banjos?” The boogieing big men met their match on Monday when they stepped into action against Luke Harper & Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family and ended up with a vicious thrashing from the backwoods brutes. Despite Brodus Clay’s attempt to save Tensai from Harper and Rowan, the Wyatt disciples overwhelmed the big men and scored a particularly brutal win.
Bray Wyatt himself, as always, went for the last word by pulverizing Brodus with his signature STO and another eerie pontification. But the preacher was denied the pleasure of a clean exit when Kane appeared on the TitanTron and issued an ominous promise to trap "The Eater of Worlds" inside a "Ring of Fire," setting the ring posts ablaze to prove his point. Looks like anger management is out the window, then.
After nearly a year on the side of the angels, Layla rediscovered her vicious side on SmackDown when she joined forces with AJ Lee to cost Kaitlyn a Divas Title victory, and the former Women’s Champion followed her shocking turnabout up with a similarly underhanded win over the “Hybrid Diva” on Raw. Kaitlyn made it a point to get Layla back for her treachery and had been building to a spear that would put her former friend out for the night. The interference of AJ, however, occupied Kaitlyn’s attention and gave Layla the opportunity to strike, putting Kaitlyn down for three with a kick to the head and sauntering away with a truly flawless victory.
Any rocker worth his salt has to have charisma and Heath Slater is certainly not lacking in this department. But 3MB’s flame-haired front man got a big dose of Captain Charisma on Monday when he faced the World Contender No. 1 contender in a match on Raw. Slater brought his A-game to the bout, giving Christian a stiff challenge and tossing the former World Heavyweight Champion to the ground with impunity. But the rocker took a bit too long to play for the crowd, and no sooner had Slater turned around to administer the final blow than he walked straight into a Spear from Christian that hit the lights on his evening.
Curtis Axel has proven a thorn in CM Punk’s side for some weeks now, but the long-gestating bout between the Paul Heyman defector and his wunderkind replacement devolved into catastrophe when a beastly interloper decided to get himself involved. Driven by unbridled rage, Punk seemed intent on decimating both Heyman and his acolyte, targeting the mad scientist before the bout even started and attempting to hobble Axel when the contest finally got going.
Despite a strong showing from the Intercontinental Champion and a reappearance by Heyman that robbed Punk of his focus, The Straight Edge Superstar had the Perfect progeny dead to rights … until Brock Lesnar appeared to menace his SummerSlam opponent. For all the fearlessness of the former WWE Champion (Punk even took Brock down for a moment), The Anomaly still submitted Punk to a beating that went very much the same way as the first … right down to The Second City Saint’s refusal to stay down against his monstrous opponent, until a series of chair strikes and an F-5 forced him to do so.
As if that weren't enough, Heyman had a final challenge to his former friend after the match: a one-on-one fight next week on Raw. And guess what? Punk said yes.
Ryback and Mark Henry may have gotten the WrestleMania rematch, but Kofi Kingston & Fandango got a reprisal of their own of their memorable confrontation from the legendary post-WrestleMania Raw. Whereas that match represented a banner moment for Fandango, though – despite an indecisive conclusion, it birthed the chant that bears his name – the encore was all Kofi, all day long.
Making his return from injury and sporting a new look, The Dreadlocked Dynamo looked like a man reborn. The former Intercontinental Champion shook off the rust of a three-month siesta and unleashed the full scope of his arsenal on Fandango, who was clearly expecting a lesser opponent than the one he got. The dancing king fought back and attempted to score a dirty win with his feet on the ropes yet it still wasn’t enough to stop Kofi, who took flight with a lateral press and clocked Fandango with Trouble in Paradise to cement his homecoming. Welcome back, Kofi.
The Usos have been riding a wave of success ever since they battled their way into contention for the WWE Tag Team Championships, taking on all comers in their surge up the ranks of the tag division. However, the Samoan brothers found themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum on Raw thanks to The Real Americans, who have been hungry for a victory after falling individually to Daniel Bryan two weeks ago.
The Usos’ signature offense gave them an advantage over the ground-and-pound favoring Real Americans, but the self-proclaimed patriots would not go quietly, muscling their way back into contention and keeping The Usos on the defensive. It looked as though Jimmy & Jey would ultimately prevail until some well-timed interference from Swagger swung the tide back in the border-patrollers’ favor and allowed Cesaro to strike with the Neutralizer and notch the win. Don’t tread on them, and don’t count them out.
Chivalry may be alive and well, but Dolph Ziggler’s valiance cost him a victory on Raw when he attempted to diffuse a situation during his match with Big E Langston and ended up looking at the lights as a result. The reprisal of their match from last week’s Raw unfolded much as the last one had left off, with Langston using his brute strength to stop The Showoff from picking up steam.
Some patience and solid scouting from Dolph allowed him to stay in the game, though sentimentality got the better of him when Kaitlyn returned to attack AJ Lee at ringside. The Showoff attempted to make the save for the former Divas Champion when the brawl spilled into the ring and got a monstrous clothesline from Langston for his troubles. One Big Ending later and it was sayonara, Showoff.
Hours after The Shield attempted to attack John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, the three champions suffered a rare defeat at the hands of the troika of Superstars who banded together to battle them in six-man tag action. Despite the fact that Bryan, Cena and Orton are all rivals in the WWE Title picture, they displayed strong teamwork against the “Hounds of Justice,” beating The Shield into the defensive early in the contest.
The Shield eventually isolated Bryan and tossed him into an unsuspecting Orton (more on that in a bit) before Bryan applied the “Yes!” Lock to Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns quickly stormed the ring to suffer the DQ loss, though Cena and Orton quickly drove them out. The Viper struck with RKOs to both Cena and Bryan and seemed ready to cash in his Money in the Bank contract until the “Hounds of Justice” returned. Orton, thinking better of his cash-in, left the ring altogether while Cena was felled with a spear, and Bryan by a Triple Powerbomb. In the unmitigated chaos that surrounds the WWE Title right now, it may not necessarily be the best entertainer, the best wrestler, or even The Apex Predator who captures the prize, but whoever is simply left standing when the dust finally clears.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) (6:20)
- Mark Henry defeated Ryback by Count Out (1:45)
- The Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai) (w/ Cameron & Naomi) (1:20)
- Layla defeated Kaitlyn (3:00)
- Christian defeated Heath Slater (w/ Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal) (3:10)
- Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated CM Punk by DQ (10:20)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) (3:45)
- The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (4:50)
- Big E. Langston (w/ AJ Lee) defeated Dolph Ziggler (4:20)
- Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Randy Orton defeated The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) by DQ (5:20)
Other on-screen talent