NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Is there no one Dean Ambrose won’t fight? One week after taking the beating from hell (and securing a No Holds Barred Street Fight against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in the process), The Lunatic Fringe somehow managed to piece himself together and step to Triple H, laying down a challenge for The King of Kings’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Surprisingly, The Game didn’t turn him down then and there, though unsurprisingly, he repaid the insubordination by placing Ambrose into a one-on-one match with Alberto Del Rio — all but guaranteed to become a massacre with The League of Nations at ringside — while he contemplated his answer.
It seems Charlotte’s WrestleMania forecast may have gotten a lot foggier. The Divas Champion was initially under the impression that the winner of Raw’s Becky Lynch–Sasha Banks bout would challenge her for the gold at The Show of Shows, but clearly she was operating under the impression that a winner would be crowned in the first place.
It turned out that both Sasha and Becky were so evenly matched — each Diva had an answer for literally everything the other attempted in the early moments — that they pinned each other. After a deadlocked duel between the two atop the turnbuckle, Sasha executed a sunset flip that put The Irish Lass Kicker on her back … only The Boss collapsed as well, putting both women’s shoulders to the mat to end the bout in a draw. Hopefully, Thursday's rematch will provide a clear contender.
What looked to be a dream run for Dolph Ziggler turned into a nightmare on a dime: Not only did The Showoff fall to Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane, but he also allowed The Miz to steal one from him, in a bout stemming from a spat on last week’s Raw Pre-Show. Ziggler’s assertion that Miz hasn’t done anything worthy of note since main-eventing WrestleMania XXVII seemed to rub The Awesome One the wrong way, and he responded accordingly, rolling up the former Intercontinental Champion — just as he was getting started — to snatch the victory.
As you may remember, Shane McMahon returned last week to shake up the power structure of Monday Night Raw. Perhaps lost in the shuffle of his return, however, was the fact that Stephanie McMahon had just won the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award. So Stephanie took the opportunity to deliver a belated acceptance speech one week after her initial remarks were interrupted … and she didn’t get far.
The boos of the WWE Universe where so resounding that Stephanie’s gratitude turned to gripes in all of five seconds. By the end, she had cursed the “wastes of life” in the WWE Universe, questioned the foundation of her brother’s claim to WWE, proclaimed herself “Queen” of WWE and promised Shane’s doom at WrestleMania. Hell of a speech.
Looking for some Leap Day shenanigans? How about The Lucha Dragons? Sin Cara and the reigning U.S. Champion Kalisto were looking to pull off a gravity-defying victory over League of Nations members Sheamus & Rusev, but unfortunately, the foreign menaces were not to be denied. The Dragons were able to get Kalisto into the match for the waning moments for the first time in their recent battles with The League and even that wasn’t enough. A timely misdirection allowed Rusev to torpedo the U.S. Champion with a kick to the face for the win, after which Alberto Del Rio added insult to injury (and, perhaps, a warning to Dean Ambrose) with the big stomp to The King of Flight.
Last week, Ryback revealed his strategy with regards to the proverbial glass ceiling and brass ring: “Break it, take it.” The only thing he broke on Raw was Adam Rose in a one-on-one match, and the only thing he took was a resounding victory over “The Radical Mongoose,” delivered without the slightest semblance of mercy.
What began as a match transformed into a one-man demolition, so much so that both the Outcasts and WWE official John Cone were powerless to stop The Big Guy. Ryback wisely didn’t beat on Rose so badly as to get himself disqualified, and the Shell Shocked that came moments later put the Mongoose in a hole from which he could not return.
It would appear that Y2AJ rocks. One week into their run as a tag team, and reformed rivals Chris Jericho & AJ Styles have already maneuvered themselves into contention for The New Day’s WWE Tag Team Titles by defeating the champions for the second bout in a row. Even without Mark Henry to round out the numbers to an even three-on-three, Styles & Jericho did just fine against Big E & Kofi Kingston. Styles’ flying forearmed the interfering Big E into the mezzanine, and Jericho sealed it with a Walls of Jericho to Kingston before the victors demanded, and reeived, a proper opportunity at the titles next week on Raw. Whether they can win again has yet to be determined, but either way, The New Day’s feelings on another rumble with Y2AJ seem to be like the song says: They don’t want none.
If Mr. McMahon thought The Undertaker would show mercy as a blunt instrument to thwart Shane McMahon’s WrestleMania power grab, he was sorely mistaken. The Phenom made as much clear when he confronted The Chairman on Raw, one week after Mr. McMahon named him — out of nowhere — as the opponent Shane would need to defeat at WrestleMania to seize control of Raw.
In fact, right as Mr. McMahon was singing The Deadman’s praises, he snared The Chairman by the throat and served a not-so-gentle reminder that Shane-O-Mac’s blood will be on his father’s hands, not The Phenom’s. The proclamation clearly jarred Mr. McMahon, but he recovered quickly enough to promise that, once The Deadman’s work was complete, Shane’s inheritance would be bestowed on Stephanie and The Boy Wonder would be effectively renounced as the family heir.
Clearly, “no more tables” isn’t as hard and fast of a rule as The Dudley Boyz made it seem. After breaking out the hardwood on SmackDown, those damn Dudleys did it again on Raw during Bubba Ray’s match against Jey Uso. Jey had been surging his way toward a win until D-Von produced a table from beneath the ring, throwing the match into chaos as a result. D-Von thwarted Jimmy’s attempt at interference by fast-balling the table into his shoulder and Bubba took care of the rest, stomping out Jey with a sit-out full nelson slam.
The Road to KO-Mania is paved with count-out victories. After escaping an advancing Big Show with a count-out win on SmackDown, Kevin Owens found himself on the other end of the dreaded technicality during a rematch on Raw. The loss was especially ironic given that Owens was hell-bent on getting Big Show counted out again, only for The World’s Largest Athlete to recover at the last second. When Owens went high-risk, Show gave KO a taste of his own medicine by tripping him crotch-first onto the ropes, which sent Owens tumbling out of the ring and unable to meet the count.
The hits just keep on coming for Brie Bella. After Charlotte denied her the Divas Championship at WWE Fastlane, Brie attempted to right the ship on Raw against Naomi and fell short despite an impressive performance. She went kick-for-kick against the Team B.A.D. figurehead, repaying Naomi’s high-step flurry with “Yes!” kicks to the sternum. Tamina’s interference ended up throwing Brie off, and Naomi was able to lock in a submission win … a fact that Lana, who had thrown shade at Brie backstage before the bell, was quick to gloat over atop the ramp.
Dean Ambrose got what he want, and he will pay dearly for it: First, The Lunatic Fringe’s self-proclaimed indestructability was put to the test by Alberto Del Rio, and later Triple H, in a match that was really little more than a beatdown in waiting. True to form, Ambrose refused to stay down, and he built up enough of a head of steam that Triple H had to arrive and call The League of Nations into action before joining in on the assault himself.
The end result of this beating wasn’t a shattered nose like what happened to Roman Reigns, but something potentially worse: The Game accepted Ambrose’s challenge. And after Ambrose’s nonchalant response of “thanks,” The King of Kings went to work again, beating him to a pulp atop the commentary table. Clearly, the beatings will continue until morality ceases to exist.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch ended in a double pin in a WWE Divas Title #1 Contendership Match (9:50)
- The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler (1:03)
- The League of Nations (Sheamus & Rusev) (w/ Alberto Del Rio & Bad News Barrett) defeated The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) (5:04)
- Ryback defeated Adam Rose (w/ Heath Slater, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (2:25)
- Y2AJ (A.J. Styles & Chris Jericho) defeated The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) by submission (8:58)
- Bubba Ray Dudley (w/ D-Von Dudley) defeated Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) (2:13)
- Big Show defeated Kevin Owens vía count-out (2:40)
- Naomi (w/ Tamina) defeated Brie Bella by submission (4:08)
- Dean Ambrose defeated Alberto Del Rio vía DQ (w/ Sheamus, Bad News Barrett & Rusev) (9:10)
Other on-screen talent