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One vs. All is all well and good as Roman Reigns’ mantra in his ongoing crusade, but The Big Dog found himself in a Two vs. Two predicament not long after he opened Raw by addressing his current situation alongside — and against — Daniel Bryan. The budding rivalry between the two wasn't without its barbs but remained, all in all, friendly. That turned out to be ideal, though, as The Authority soon emerged to test the chemistry between the two fan favorites by pitting them against Big Show and the risen Kane in an impromptu tag team contest.
This could have gone better. Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns’ unsteady partnership against The Authority got off to an inauspicious start when their tag-team bout against Kane & Big Show dissolved into an all-out brawl in Raw’s opening moments. The melee came about when Bryan had Kane trapped in the “Yes!” Lock, after which Show came to The Big Red Monster’s rescue and tossed The Beard through the barricade, cementing the disqualification conclusion of the bout.
This development brought out Reigns, who literally came out swinging — a steel chair, that is, clubbing the giant across the body with the implement until Kane snagged him in a Chokeslam. Bryan’s attempted interference on his partner’s behalf ended poorly, though, as he accidentally dropkicked Reigns in the face, sending all goodwill out the window. Sensing blood in the water, The Authority announced that Reigns and Bryan would team up again later in the evening to face the entirety of their ranks: Kane, Show, Seth Rollins and J&J Security all at once.
Even at the peak of their powers, The Authority doesn’t usually kick off nights on such a positive note as this. Moments after The Authority tossed Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns into the fire, Seth Rollins laid Ryback out over the flames, toasting The Big Guy with a healthy side of J&J Security in Mr. Money in the Bank’s first contest of the evening. That Rollins technically lost the bout via disqualification was beside the point. Ryback rallied from an early mugging to hoist Rollins up for Shell Shocked, but J&J’s disqualification-inducing interference literally took The Big Guy out at the knees. Rollins then pounced with a Curb Stomp to punctuate the corporate power’s early, suffer-no-enemies message for the evening. Touché, Seth.
Hell hath no fury like a Diva who’s been spray-tanned in shame. The Bella Twins’ flesh-darkening exercise in humiliation came back to haunt them when Paige, who’d been the target of their mean-girl mind games, knocked off Brie Bella in singles competition on Raw. Bearing tribute to the late wrestler Drew McDonald on her arms, Paige proved she’s not so easily unmanned when Brie set about with a ground-and-pound strategy designed more to humiliate her foe than to beat her. That, of course, just spurred Paige to kick it into the next gear,and that she did, tossing Brie straight into Nikki on the apron and administering a match-ending Ram-Paige to seal the deal. Somewhere, Drew McDonald is smiling.
It’s unlikely that anybody thought Rusev’s tribute to John Cena was going to be genuine. That said, even the most cynical among the WWE Universe likely didn’t expect the degree the quickness with which things escalated between The Super Athlete and the No. 1 contender for his U.S. Title. The Russians’ tribute to Cena was appropriately demeaning (really just a highlight reel of the Cenation leader’s most debilitating injuries). The implication, of course, being that 13 years of battle has left Cena a shell of his former self. When Cena emerged to toss verbal barbs Rusev’s way in response, The Hero of the Russian Federation sprang into action, thumbing Cena in his inflamed eye and ramming him face-first into the TitanTron’s LED screen.
Among last week’s revelations was the unexpected realization that Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt make fantastic opponents. So it was practically a matter of destiny that the two would clash in a rematch seven days later on Raw, though a stronger, more calculated game plan wasn’t enough to reverse The Showoff’s fortunes against The Eater of Worlds. Ziggler’s early reliance on his quickness and amateur background briefly left his enemy befuddled and bloodied when a dropkick turned Wyatt’s nose to mush.
Some struggles aside, in fact, victory seemed in hand when Ziggler pounced with a Famouser and, having learned his lesson, followed with a superkick. Wyatt escaped at two, though, and rolled outside the ring for cover. Ziggler’s enthusiasm got the better of him when he gave chase right into a battering ram clothesline. With Ziggler all but unconscious, Wyatt had plenty of time to carry The Showoff back to the ring, spider-walk into position and execute Sister Abigail for the win, though WWE officials mercifully stopped his planned post-match attack. #Smallvictories.
As expected, trouble in the stars has led to a new day. (See what we did there?) The tumult between Gold & Stardust reached new levels of strangeness when Stardust — suffering from a bit of an identity crisis already — left his brother Goldust high and dry right in the middle of a match against The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Big E. With The Bizarre One stranded, all Big E had to do was tag in and finish him off to end the match, though it looks like this family spat is just beginning.
That’s one way to say “Yes.” Since his humiliation last month at Sting's hands, Triple H has been calling the WCW veteran out for weeks now for a face-to-face showdown at WWE Fastlane, and the most elusive vigilante this side of Starling City has thus far remained mum on his answer. Well, The King of Kings’ latest missive prompted a response from the former WCW Champion. In the middle of Triple H’s in-ring address to the vigilante, the lights cut out and several imposters (followers?) of Sting appeared, including one who ambushed The Game in the middle of the ring. By the time the lights returned, an image was displayed across the TitanTron: “Triple H, I accept.” Showtime.
Looks like the new induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is the one bit of good news The Usos will get today. Following two weeks of pain (and one really bad double-date) at the hands of Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, the brothers suffered a tandem loss to the self-proclaimed “Professionals” on Raw thanks to a well-employed bit of misdirection by The Swiss Superman himself. With both teams stuck at a dead heat, Cesaro ditched his signature power moves for some traditional chicanery, distracting a turnbuckle-perched Jey Uso by tossing Jimmy into the line of fire. Cesaro then shoved Jey down to the mat to a waiting Kidd, who snagged the win. In other words, Cesaro & Kidd beat the WWE Tag Team Champions. Fact.
The rumbles that Damien Mizdow is a better Miz than The Miz got a big boost of credibility on Raw when the former stunt double took Sin Cara to the limit on Raw. Unfortunately for the onetime Mr. Money in the Bank, however, his boss’ micromanagement cost him the bout against The International Sensation, specifically a mid-match water run and Miz’s demands that Mizdow not use his moves. It was Mizdow’s impending application of the Figure-Four Leglock that truly raised The Awesome One’s ire. Once Mizdow released Sin Cara at Miz’s command, the luchador struck with a roll-up and pinned him, ensuring he enters his NXT Tag Team Title rematch alongside Kalisto with some steam. As for Mizdow? Well, a Hollywood ending that was not.
The #AxelMania movement to reverse the outcome of the Royal Rumble Match and send Curtis Axel to WrestleMania is alive and well. Less so are the former Intercontinental Champion’s ongoing efforts against Dean Ambrose, though it looked like the onetime Paul Heyman disciple would finally get one over on the pesky Lunatic Fringe for a good stretch of their latest contest. Ambrose’s rally to Dirty Deeds and victory shut Axel down, yet that still wasn’t enough to convince Bad News Barrett to emerge from the Bad News Zone — that’s BNZ — and grant Ambrose an Intercontinental Title opportunity.
Turnabout, as they say, is fair play. And if The Authority can bring in a few friends to even the odds, there’s no reason Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns can’t do exactly the same thing. The 5-on-2 Handicap Match between Bryan, Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show & J&J Security didn’t even get off the ground before The Beard and The Big Dog were swarmed by the numbers game and left to the mercy of a rope-a-doping Jamie Noble.
Once Big Show KO’d Roman Reigns, the cavalry quickly arrived to bail Bryan out of the fire in the form of Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Erick Rowan, who took out The Authority’s heavy hitters and left J&J alone with The “Yes!” Man. A few kicks later and Mercury was all lined up for the Running Knee … until Reigns roused himself, tagged in and finished the job with a Spear. Bryan, of course, wasn’t all too pleased about this, and his post-match shove of The Big Dog led to the unthinkable: Reigns bounced off the ropes and Speared The Beard. That face-to-face on SmackDown should be very interesting. Believe that.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns defeated Kane & The Big Show (w/ Stephanie McMahon & Triple H) by Disqualification (12:02)
- Ryback defeated Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security) (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) by Disqualification (2:55)
- Paige defeated Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) (3:18)
- Bray Wyatt defeated Dolph Ziggler (11:34)
- The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) defeated Goldust & Stardust (1:38)
- Brass Ring Club (Tyson Kidd & Cesaro) (w/ Natalya) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (w/ Naomi) (10:32)
- Sin Cara defeated Damien Mizdow (w/ The Miz) (3:47)
- Dean Ambrose defeated Curtis Axel (2:30)
- Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins, Kane, The Big Show, Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury in a Five On Two Handicap Match (7:38)
Other on-screen talent