The old saying says that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Apparently nobody told Roman Reigns this, because the former WWE Tag Team Champion – and potential WWE World Heavyweight Champion – hasn’t made any bones about keeping the current titleholder, John Cena, in his sights despite having two Authority members in the Fatal 4-Way title match as well.
Tensions between the two seemed ready to boil over before their Six-Man Tag Team Match against Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins, and even some peacekeeping from their partner, Dean Ambrose, didn’t seem to do the trick. Unfortunately, their problems increased exponentially when Ambrose – addressing his partners from an undisclosed location – was jumped by The Authority. The Lunatic Fringe was unimpressed with his initial beating, daring the corporate goons to give him their best. He got a Curb Stomp to a crate courtesy of Rollins, and was sent to a local medical facility shortly thereafter.
Competing with “The Moneymaker” plastered across the TitanTron, The Miz not only avenged his loss to Chris Jericho last week by beating Sheamus, he also ensured he goes into the Battleground Battle Royal with some momentum. Beating the Superstar some fans may call the most dominant World Heavyweight Champion of all time is a tall order at best, but the cross-platform icon Miz was more than up to the challenge.
Even though his precious face took its fair share of kicks, The Awesome One displayed some impressive strategy by targeting Sheamus’ knee to neutralize the Brogue Kick. He did get caught in Ten Beats of the Bodhrán and the Irish Curse in quick succession, but a Brogue Kick missed “the Moneymaker” by a country mile and Miz capitalized when Sheamus caught himself on the turnbuckle, rolling up the Irishman from behind for three.
Hell hath no fury like two women scorned. Fandango’s harem of dance partners turned against him when Summer Rae and Layla joined forces on SmackDown, and they handed the dancing Superstar another embarrassment on Raw, causing a distraction that led to Dolph Ziggler rolling up the ‘Dango from behind after a short but energetic match. If that wasn’t enough, “Lay-Rae” embraced The Showoff in a post-match celebration, departing to parts unknown with the former World Heavyweight Champion on their arms.
UCE-WHOOOAAA! The WWE Tag Team Champions’ latest match on Raw didn’t even happen after the brothers were brutally attacked by their No. 1 contenders, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, before the contest could begin. They caught a hell of a beating in any case; the Wyatts spared no effort in brutalizing the titleholders into a stupor as their final “message” before their latest and greatest test at WWE Battleground.
The World Cup may be over, but there are many ways to achieve international harmony. Michael Cole did his part on Raw, presiding over a détente between the United States – represented by Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter – and Russia, represented by Rusev and Lana. Alas, Josiah Bartlet himself couldn’t calm the mounting tension between these two superpowers; Lana’s demands that the U.S. “apologize” for its behavior threw Colter into a rage and it wasn’t long before Colter goaded Rusev into declaring “war” against the U.S. in a de facto acceptance of Swagger’s Battleground challenge.
It was Lana who fired off the first shot, slapping Colter across the face and provoking a skirmish between Rusev and Swagger. The latter came out on top, countering The Super Athlete’s leaping superkick into the Patriot Lock to send him hobbling away.
Turns out some grudges can’t be contained by Raw: Animosity boiled over between Battleground Battle Royal contestants Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio on WWE Network’s Raw Pre-Show, and the two former World Champions hashed out their differences the old fashioned way on Raw itself. Del Rio turned out to be the more wily of the two by a hair, using the ring apron to trap Rob Van Dam just as he did Dolph Ziggler last week, and later countering the Five-Star Frog Splash with knees to Mr. Monday Night’s rapidly descending sternum. Del Rio transitioned seamlessly into the Cross Armbreaker and that was that. He won’t have that luxury on Sunday, but might it be time for The Essence of Excellence to seize destiny once again?
The hits keep on coming for Nikki Bella, who evidently hasn’t finished paying for her sister’s rebelliousness by a long shot. Forced last week to compete with one arm tied behind her back, this week the former Divas Champion found herself placed into a 2-on-1 Handicap Match by Stephanie McMahon. The fearless Diva did pretty well against her two opponents, Alicia Fox & Cameron, breaking out a surprisingly diverse arsenal – La Magistral! Alabama Slam! – but it wasn’t enough to stop Alicia from overpowering her in the end in the latest embarrassment of the Bella Twin. And the worst part is, it's unlikely that Stephanie is done by a long shot.
Could Cesaro be in a bit of a slump? The man anointed by Paul Heyman as the future of WWE had his third rough Raw in a row, suffering a loss to Big E to go along with his two upsets at the hands of Kofi Kingston. Conspicuous by his absence was Heyman himself, who did not accompany his client to ringside amid rumors of being fired or quitting. Cesaro seemed to be doing just fine on his own nonetheless, double underhook powerbombing the colossal former Intercontinental Champion before plying a vise-like sleeper hold that nearly put the big man out on his feet.
E’s speed and power gave him much-needed separation when he belly-to-belly suplexed Cesaro clean across the ring, though it was Kofi, perched at ringside, who saved E in the end: When The King of Swing produced a chair from beneath the apron, Kofi wrenched it clean out of Cesaro’s hands to send him wandering straight into a Big Ending.
Bray Wyatt has been making life hell for Chris Jericho since his return, periodically materializing from his house at the end of the world to taunt The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla with his signature sermons. And the former Undisputed Champion has had quite enough of that, thank you very much. Y2J dared The Eater of Worlds to “get crazy” at Battleground, and while Wyatt didn’t outright accept, he did leave Jericho laying yet again, dispatching Harper & Rowan to chase Y2J from the ring. Wyatt himself was lying in wait, though, attacking Jericho from behind and administering Sister Abigail to the nine-time Intercontinental Champion atop the ramp.
The All Red Everything movement has stalled, though not for lack of effort: Eva Marie put on a strong display in her second match against AJ Lee, nearly notching a surprise win over the Divas Champion after their inaugural rumble on SmackDown. AJ showed her stripes as champion, though, tapping a game Eva out with the Black Widow while Paige scouted her from commentary in advance of their Divas Title rematch. The endgame of AJ and Paige’s evening was a post-match encounter filled with pure tension simmering beneath a façade of mutual respect … at least for six more days.
Bo Dallas has done the impossible and conquered the human mountain known as The Great Khali. Granted, he did it via a technicality almost as big as The Punjabi Playboy himself, rebounding from a series of chest-caving chops by taking Khali’s knees out from under him and hitting the running Bo-dog off the ring steps to the arena floor. Bo made it back to the ring by the count of 10 to notch his 15th straight win. The streak lives.
Two can defeat three, as it turns out, but at a cost. Operating at a disadvantage and with no small amount of internal tension, John Cena & Roman Reigns found themselves mired in an uphill battle against Randy Orton, Kane & Seth Rollins from the word go of Raw’s main event. The most dire moment came when Cena – Ric Flair’s personal pick in the Fatal 4-Way – suffered a sleeper hold and the Three Amigos from Seth Rollins in short order. That he managed to tag Reigns was a minor miracle, but the good luck ended there as quickly as a black cat crossing: After a nasty spill that tweaked Rollins’ knee and removed him from the match, Orton and Kane rounded on Reigns and beat him to the point of disqualification.
The attack kicked off a four-way brawl that ended with Orton’s tension boiling over via an RKO to Kane and Reigns spearing both Cena and Orton to end the show on a high note. So, to recap, as Battleground approaches, alliances are tenuous at best, Plan Bs and Plan Cs are in play, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion has nothing to count on but the endorsement of a Hall of Famer. May the best man win.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Miz defeated Sheamus (10:45)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Fandango (3:02)
- Alberto Del Rio defeated Rob Van Dam (4:30)
- Alicia Fox & Cameron defeated Nikki Bella in a Two On One Handicap Match (3:35)
- Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston) defeated Cesaro (4:35)
- AJ Lee defeated Eva Marie (2:22)
- Bo Dallas defeated The Great Khali by Count Out (1:46)
- John Cena & Roman Reigns defeated Kane, Randy Orton & Seth Rollins by DQ in a Three On Two Handicap Match (14:36)
Other on-screen talent