Behold the King, and the egg on his face thanks to John Cena’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory at Money in the Bank. The Champ’s 15th ascension to the throne put a damper in The Authority’s plans for supreme domination. WWE COO Triple H did attempt to put a positive spin on Cena’s title victory, extending an olive branch to The Champ in the form of a cover spot on “WWE 2K15,” Cena saw through the subterfuge and called the corporate power out on their “phony” politeness.
To which The Game replied he was willing to live with Cena as champion, provided he did so with the proper “respect.” The Champ (to put it lightly) deferred the request and opted to go for the hard way. His choice was honored in the form of a Fatal 4-Way title defense at Battleground against Randy Orton, Kane and Roman Reigns and a tag-team main event teaming him and Reigns against Orton & Kane later in the evening.
A win over Rob Van Dam hasn’t necessarily put Seth Rollins in the clear where Dean Ambrose is concerned. Still, defeating his forbearer had to feel good for the aching Mr. Money in the Bank, who risked life and limb to claim the coveted contract that may well anoint him as Champion of Champions within the next calendar year.
The Aerialist was slow in his takeoff, as lingering damage from the wild Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match prevented him from getting out of the blocks. RVD capitalized by targeting the small of Rollins’ back, but Rollins responded by targeting RVD’s legs to take away his flight and followed up with a Curb Stomp to escape with the win. As good as Rollins was feeling after the match, though, Ambrose was quick to spoil his party from the TitanTron with a promise “from one scumbag to another” that their conflict was far from over.
It was only a matter of time, really. All of Lana and Rusev’s posturing about the greatness of Russia had led to some beneath-the-surface tension with Zeb Colter and his right-hand Real American, Jack Swagger. And that pressure finally blew up in The Super Athlete’s face when Lana demanded that America’s next “failure” present himself for crushing. Answering Lana’s call for an opponent brought out Swagger and Colter, and despite The Ravishing Russian’s insistence that Rusev not engage the former World Champion, The Bulgarian Brute charged Swagger and got arm-dragged out of the ring for his efforts.
The Usos & Sheamus may be “Uso crazy,” but The Wyatt Family’s good, old-fashioned brand of insanity won the day when the backwoods brawlers faced off against the troika of champions and came out clean (relatively speaking) on the other side. Granted, The Usos one-two punch brought their trio to an early advantage, but The Wyatts turned Jimmy Uso and, later, Sheamus into sharkbait; all three tagged in for brief, brutal stretches of offense against the titleholders, though it was “Sheam-UCE” who caught the worst of it.
The Celt was able to create space by hoisting Harper into the Irish Curse and his heroics brought in Jey Uso, who felled Harper like a wifebeater-sporting redwood and nearly ended the match. The rest of the Wyatts stormed the ring to throw the champions off their game and all hell broke loose, leaving Jey right in the eye of the storm and, thanks to a final fake-out from Bray himself, vulnerable to an earth-shaking discus clothesline from Harper.
It’s a sad day in Bella World, but the skies are getting cloudy in Planet Funk thanks to Cameron’s ballooning – and detrimental – ego trip. Calling herself “the bomb dot com” hasn’t exactly turned Cameron into the second coming of Lita; the Funkadactyl was in fact thoroughly embarrassed by Nikki Bella in a bout designed to punish Nikki for Brie’s insubordination at Money in the Bank. It seemed as though Nikki might pull off the miracle during her manhandling of Cameron, but Naomi managed to save her team’s chances and pin Nikki with the inverted DDT. It was the last bright spot of the evening for the dancing Divas, though, thanks to some mean-mugging and eventual storm-off from a frustrated Cameron.
Could the WWE Universe be looking at the next Intercontinental Champion in Cesaro? The King of Swing certainly proved himself as the first force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Battleground Battle Royal for Bad News Barrett’s vacated (due to injury) Intercontinental Championship. He did so at the expense of Kofi Kingston, who declared for the Battle Royal and promptly unleashed an impressive performance that called to mind his instant-classic U.S. Title defense against Cesaro little more than a year ago.
The surprising thing about all of this was that Kingston actually won the match, shocking a surging Cesaro by reversing the Neutralizer into a sunset flip rollup. The Boom Squad General paid dearly for his quick thinking when Paul Heyman demanded Cesaro “teach him a lesson.” Said lesson consisted mainly of a hellacious mugging after the bell that left Kofi splattered across the XL Center floor, a winner for all the good it did him.
Of all the personas Damien Sandow has adopted, this was perhaps his most audacious: Just a few hours up the road from WWE HQ, The Enlightened One threw on a suit and took on the guise of Mr. McMahon himself. However, “Mr. McMahondow’s” entry of Sandow into the Battleground Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship didn’t exactly endear Sandow in the eyes of a proper McMahon: Stephanie. In fact, The Authority’s resident queen delivered swift justice to the imposter in the form of another contestant in the Battle Royal: The Great Khali, against whom the would-be Chairman had (you guessed it) no chance in hell.
The much-hyped return of a former WWE Champion who remodeled himself into a cross-platform, multimedia superstar turned out to be, in fact, the return of two former WWE Champions who remodeled themselves into cross-platform, multimedia superstars. First up was The Miz, who claimed he had returned to reclaim the WrestleMania main-event spot he believed was rightly his.
The Awesome One’s arrogance was, of course, never going to go unanswered, but even he couldn’t have expected who came out to respond: Chris Jericho re-emerged and shut Miz up with a Codebreaker to the mouth. Before Jericho could cement his return with a hearty “RAW IS JERICHO,” however, the lights blacked out and The Wyatt Family appeared in the ring to tear the former Undisputed Champion to pieces. This time, it might be Jericho who needs saving.
Yeah, it’s pretty good to be Dolph Ziggler sometimes. On top of The Showoff’s genetic gifts, he has a victory over Fandango to his name and a rollicking round of tonsil hockey with Summer Rae on top of everything else. The emergence of Summer came at a crucial point for Fandango in the match; the dancing fiend had The Showoff on the ropes and was all but purring thanks to the adulation of Layla at ringside. Fandango’s happiness turned to horror when Summer snagged Ziggler and initiated an impressive bout of PDA (show the world, indeed), and when the heat rose, Fandango fell to the tune of a Zig Zag from the former World Heavyweight Champion.
Star light, star bright, Ryback & Curtis Axel are looking up at the lights. And yet again, the goonish tandem of The Big Guy and the former Intercontinental Champion came courtesy of Goldust & Stardust, who can seemingly do no wrong since the emergence of the ethereal Stardust a few weeks back. Ryback had seemingly rid himself and his partner of the persistent, painted duo by mauling Goldust across the ring, though The Bizarre One’s reversal of the Meathook Clothesline gave Stardust the opening he needed. Tagging in and flitting around a fresh Axel, Stardust attacked Axel with a springboard Bionic Elbow and, finally, a face-first drive to the mat that scored the 1-2-3.
Grace period’s over: Paige’s meteoric, three-month rise to the top of the Divas division made believers out of almost everyone in the WWE Universe. But she didn’t exactly convince AJ Lee, the very Diva who Paige defeated the night after WrestleMania 30 to claim the title in the first place. The Black Widow’s return to WWE left Paige on the defensive to begin with, and initially The Diva of Tomorrow refused to put her title on the line. By evoking the will of the WWE Universe, AJ managed to goad the champion into a match and, thanks to a surprise roll-up, reclaimed the title for her own. She’s back, WWE Universe.
In three weeks, John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Kane will be bitterest enemies battling over WWE’s ultimate prize. But on Raw, the fatal foursome entered into a pair of uneasy alliances as a prelude to the Battleground main event that will stack the odds higher than ever against Cena’s budding title reign. Oddly enough, it was Reigns who took the brunt of the punishment from The Authority’s foot soldiers on Raw; Orton in particular was looking to balance the scales against the 12 staples he received in his head the previous night.
Reigns was able to beat back Kane long enough for Cena to make his entrance; an ensuing brawl took the big dog and The Viper up the ramp and left The Champ to fend for himself against The Devil’s Favorite Demon. That he managed to do so was owed to a technicality – Kane bashed him in the head with the steps for the DQ and then Tombstoned him – but that he managed to survive a cash-in from Seth Rollins was owed entirely to Dean Ambrose, who took advantage of an argument between Triple H and the officials to chase Rollins from the arena before the bell could ring.
That he managed to survive further punishment from Kane was owed to Reigns, who returned to Spear the demon in two and stare Triple H down until The Game backed off. At least for now, the status quo remains.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Seth Rollins defeated Rob Van Dam (11:43)
- The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Sheamus & The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (13:06)
- The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) defeated Nikki Bella (2:10)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) (8:40)
- The Great Khali defeated Damien Sandow (0:06)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Fandango (w/ Layla) (2:37)
- Goldust & Stardust defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) (3:25)
- AJ Lee defeated Paige (c) to win the WWE Divas Championship (1:04)
- John Cena & Roman Reigns defeated Kane & Randy Orton by DQ (12:05)
Other on-screen talent