SEATTLE - Can two brothers and a beast get through a contract signing in civil fashion? As it turns out, they can, but the fireworks began afterward. Dean Ambrose spent the entirety of this week’s Raw-opening confrontation between the WWE Fastlane main-event competitors trying to goad The Beast Incarnate into another fight, despite suffering an F-5 from The Conqueror last week. It ended about as well as last Monday’s brawl did, with Ambrose eating another F-5 and Reigns taking the contract table full blast to the face. Fastlane awaits, gentlemen. Good luck.
Last week, Dolph Ziggler scored a hard-earned victory over Kevin Owens after being blanked in almost all of his previous bouts with the former Intercontinental Champion. Owens, as we know, does not like being upstaged, which meant there was no way Ziggler was getting through this week’s rematch without taking some serious punishment.
Unfortunately for Owens, there was no way he was getting through the match without taking a beating of his own. Even though KO played fast and loose with the rules, Ziggler fought him to a dead heat, finally pulling ahead with a Famouser off the ring apron. Owens’ wobbly attempt at a Cannonball moments later went horribly awry when The Showoff reversed it into a rollup and employed a little cheating of his own, using the ropes as extra leverage to pin his opponent. Again.
It’s fair at this point to say that Charlotte was more than a little peeved over Brie Bella getting a Divas Title Match at Fastlane on the strength of her upset win last week. How else to explain the Divas Champion doubling down on victories over Brie’s BFF Alicia Fox following a first win on SmackDown? This week’s victory was swift and vicious; Charlotte seized control early and never let up, eventually shaking off a do-or-die effort from Fox in the waning moments to ply the Figure-Eight Leglock and win the day. The message: Stay away, Brie.
Now this is a late-night war. The Miz was originally scheduled to host Chris Jericho on “Miz TV,” but literally having his teeth knocked out by AJ Styles meant the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion spent more time complaining about The Phenomenal One than properly introducing Y2J. That led Jericho — already slated to face Styles on SmackDown — to hijack “Miz TV” and turn it into “The Highlight Reel” on the spot.
Sound confusing? Don’t worry, it all got wrapped up in a tidy bow when Styles arrived and the three Superstars viciously threw hands against each other. A flustered Y2J was the last man standing against Styles, but, perhaps haunted by his previous shortcoming, didn’t seem quite ready to mix it up with the Georgia pitbull just yet.
The buzz on SmackDown was all about Ryback’s minimalist new look, but Bray Wyatt seemed to have paid more attention to The Big Guy’s victory over his sheep-faced henchman Erick Rowan. And judging by what happened on Raw, Wyatt was none too pleased, as The Eater of Worlds made a meal of the former Intercontinental Champion, despite an eye-opening effort from The Human Wrecking Ball. An expanded moveset kept The New Face of Fear occupied, but it was only when Ryback went back to the well with the Meat Hook Clothesline that Wyatt pounced, catching him mid-sprint in Sister Abigail before setting the entire Wyatt Family on his downed foe.
Can a “Radical Mongoose” take down a barking gator? Indeed, he can! The Social Outcasts’ resident wild child Adam Rose seemed destined to come up short against a rolling Titus O’Neil, but it turns out that best friends really do make the best trends. As The Big Deal began to bounce back from a sleeper hold, the rest of the Outcasts intervened on their buddy’s behalf and Rose pounced with a rollup, keeping the mighty, former WWE Tag Team Champion down for the count. Perhaps the foursome's fortunes are trending upward?
Unsurprisingly, getting shut down by Brock Lesnar during the opening of Raw did not endear The Beast Incarnate to Dean Ambrose, so the Intercontinental Champion dared The Conqueror to come get some once again. Lesnar obliged with an unholy beating, but The Lunatic Fringe refused to stay down, which was enough to begrudgingly impress The One in 22-1. Roman Reigns’ arrival as Ambrose’s would-be savior (despite a backstage promise he’d stay out of it) seemed to spell trouble. But it turned out to be just what The Lunatic Fringe needed to finally leave The Conqueror down, albeit from an octave-altering low-blow that he might not have hit had Lesnar not been preoccupied with Reigns’ intrusion.
Sin Cara is back, but that was the only good news for The Lucha Dragons in a tag team bout against League of Nations heavy-hitters Rusev & Alberto Del Rio on Raw. Not only did The Bulgarian Brute and The Pride of Mexico take advantage of Sin Cara’s absence by isolating him from Kalisto, but the U.S. Champion also took the loss at the hands of his No. 1 contender Del Rio. He whipped The King of Flight with a running enzuigiri to the back of the head — thanks to King Barrett for the distraction — and followed up with the Tree of Woe stomp for the win.
What’s an Irish Lass Kicker to do when she can’t decide who to kick? Becky Lynch, who’ll team with her rival Sasha Banks at Fastlane, out-and-out came to The Boss’ aid instead of closing out a match with Tamina that she’d dug deep to stay in. Tamina’s insistence on antagonizing Banks at commentary — along with Naomi’s out-and-out attack — brought Maiden Ireland to Sasha’s side, but Becky inadvertently ran headfirst into a torpedo of a superkick by Tamina after saving her partner’s skin, costing her the match in the end.
One does not simply compete in a Tables Match without including The Dudley Boyz, so it’s unsurprising that The Usos agreed to take the Attitude Era veterans onto their side against The New Day in a match that carried the extreme stipulation. What happened after the match? That was surprising.
Mark Henry rounded out New Day’s numbers to make it an even four-on-four, but The New Day’s attempts to control The World’s Strongest Man led him to ditch the unicorns. Big E took a trip through a table moments later to end it, though the Dudleys weren’t done. After the match was over, Bubba Ray & D-Von turned their attention to The Usos and put both twins through a table apiece for trespassing in their territory in the first place.
When Daniel Bryan announced his retirement on Twitter earlier today, nobody really knew why or how the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion had arrived at his decision. After all, rumors of his imminent return have swirled since he vacated the Intercontinental Title last year. In his official retirement speech to the WWE Universe, Bryan revealed that the cumulative effects of several concussions throughout his career had taken its toll, and he would have to hang up his boots as a result.
Far from a maudlin goodbye, however, The “Yes!” Man’s farewell was a joyful affair. A “grateful” Bryan ran down the things he loves, the sum of his experience, and the gratitude in his heart for the WWE Universe’s support — specifically for “hijacking” the 2013 “Championship Ascension” ceremony that his late father was there to see — before the “wrestler’s wrestler” finally said his goodbye. It’s been said by many that the WWE career of Daniel Bryan should never have happened. But it did, and for that, at least, we can all be grateful.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Kevin Owens (11:03)
- Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) defeated Alicia Fox by submission (5:19)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Braun Stowman, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) defeated Ryback (6:51)
- Adam Rose (w/ Heath Slater, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) defeated Titus O'Neil (3:15)
- The League of Nations (Alberto Del Rio & Rusev) (w/ King Barrett) defeated Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) (6:00)
- Tamina (w/ Naomi) defeated Becky Lynch (3:40)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) & Mark Henry in a Four on Four Tag Team Table match (7:30)
Other on-screen talent