It’s official: Daniel Bryan’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign is no more. Despite optimistic reports of the Champion of Champions’ recovery heading into WWE Money in the Bank, Dr. Joseph Maroon, the Vice-Chairman, Dept. Of Neurological Surgery of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the surgeon who performed Bryan’s neck surgery, relayed news of a slower-than-expected recovery. In response, Stephanie McMahon immediately stripped Bryan of his title. Triple H then entered Randy Orton into the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, now to be
With that bit of business concluded, The Game took the opportunity to address the fate of The Shield’s remaining two members: having convinced Seth Rollins to turn from the fold, Triple H immediately placed Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns into a Six-Man Tag Team Match against The Wyatt Family. The catch? They could choose their own partner, a task that – given all the enemies they made in the locker room – might prove difficult at best.
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow might be two titles for Sheamus, who prevailed over Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett to secure a spot in the Money in the Bank Match to determine the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Barrett asserted on his way to the ring that he would scale the heights to the supreme prize and “never come back down,” but he was met with stiff resistance from the Stars-and-Stripes-sporting Irishman in the form of an early Ten Beats of the Bodhrán.
Despite the brawling offense of the fighting Irishman, the Intercontinental Champion Barrett was able to muscle his way back into contention with a wild Winds of Change and the back-catalogue resurrection of Wasteland. Barrett took a leaf out of Sheamus’ book with a flurry of fists and a headbutt that knocked the Celt loopy. Thankfully, it only takes one burst to connect with the Brogue Kick and a punchy Sheamus was able to do just that, putting the boot to Barrett’s mug to book his ticket to Boston.
The Ultimate Broski is no match for the Hero of the Russian Federation. Looking for some payback after being stomped by Rusev two weeks earlier, Zack Ryder hit the ring for a fight and was hit back in short order by The Super Athlete. Fresh off being anointed a Hero of the Russian Federation, Rusev was in fine form and Ryder was simply outmatched from the word go. Sporting the Gold Star around his neck, The Bulgarian Brute turned Ryder into a black spot with a kick to the face that reverberated all the way to Long Beach, and a backbreaking Accolade that sent Long Island Iced-Z home cold.
The search continues. Cody Rhodes’ latest attempt to find a tag-team replacement for his brother Goldust went much like the last attempt did after The Bizarre One’s thrown-together tandem with R-Truth ended in yet another notch in the loss column for the former Intercontinental Champion. It also gave another reason for RybAxel to crow; the former Paul Heyman Guys have certainly used the Rhodes’ misfortune to their advantage, gelling like never before in the speedy dismantling of their mismatched opponents. The only opening Goldust & Truth had came from a miscommunication between their foes, and Ryback took advantage of a hot run by The Bizarre One with a timely distraction so hometown hero Curtis Axel could steal the win with a roll-up and a handful of tights.
The Shield may be one man down, but The Hounds of Justice still have plenty of bark left. After disposing of would-be party crashers, 3MB, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns seized the microphone to address the traitor Seth Rollins and the state of their rivalry with The Authority going forward. As it turns out, neither Ambrose nor Reigns was in the mood for explanations, just retribution. “When I get the opportunity to rearrange your face, which I will … I’m gonna rip your dirty, stinking hair out by the roots,” promised Ambrose. “You’re the scum of the earth,” followed Reigns, who also promised to get his hands on Randy Orton. But he saved his final warning for Triple H, promising his own “Game of Thrones” for The King of Kings.
Even though The Usos have stumbled of late in their tangos with The Wyatt Family, the Samoan brothers found their footing in a successful tag-team two-step against the re-formed duo of Fandango & a body-sock-clad, streamer-sporting Damien Sandow, who tagged into the match and unleashed an interpretive dance routine that won the heart of the WWE Universe. While Sandow’s antics would have won them the Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance contest hands down, it didn’t do him much good across the ring from the reigning WWE Tag Team Champions. A pair of superkicks spelled an unceremonious end for “San-dango” – one to Damien in the ring and one to an interfering Fandango on the apron - and a Superfly Splash splattered Sandow for the 1-2-3.
All the PhDs in the world aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on … if you don’t BO-LIEVE. That, at least, was the lesson learned by Xavier Woods as the latest Superstar to go toe-to-toe against the former NXT Champion, Bo Dallas. Woods didn’t need much motivation to come out swinging against the most inspirational Superstar in WWE today, jacking Dallas’ jaw and leaving him reeling for the majority of the match. Dallas knew just when to make his move, though, knocking Truth out of the air and whirling him around for the Running Bo-dog and the extension of his debut winning streak. Call him 6-0 Bo.
In three weeks, Paul Heyman might just be introducing his client as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. For the benefit of the people of Minnesota – the very state where Brock Lesnar competed as a collegiate wrestler – the mad scientist’s latest charge, Cesaro, defeated Rob Van Dam to earn his way into his second consecutive Ladder Match at WWE Money in the Bank. Granted, the stakes are much higher for this contest, and The King of Swing fought with the appropriate intensity to ensure his passage to Boston.
RVD didn’t exactly hold back in his pursuit of the victory either, kicking Cesaro in the head all the way across the ring. The Swiss Superman countered by reversing Rolling Thunder into the Very European Uppercut and didn’t let up from there, cranking RVD’s legs against the turnbuckle to ground the former WWE Champion and following with a Neutralizer that was, well, money.
Well, enough about the poor Mr. Ambrose and Mr. Reigns, onto the rich and prosperous Mr. Rollins. Breaking his silence with a sit-down interview alongside Michael Cole, the Hounds of Justice’s resident turncoat did just that. With a demeanor as snug as the black-on-black suit he wore to the ring, Rollins defended his right to destroy his own creation and denounced the “lunatic” Ambrose and “golden boy” Reigns as inferior competitors who rode his coattails to success.
Rollins also revealed he subscribed wholeheartedly to Triple H’s “adapt or perish” philosophy, and hadn’t so much sold out as bought into a better opportunity than the “business relationship” he’d had with The Shield. Having said his words, Rollins then dared The Shield to make good on their earlier promise to make him eat them, but The Aerialist took flight when the timely arrival of The Wyatts provided him cover for a quick escape. It took none other than John Cena to even the odds and send The Wyatts scurrying, which led to the upside: Looks like The Shield found themselves a partner for later in the night.
Think Paige is scared of the big, bad Miss Fox? Think again. Even with Aksana flanking her rival of the last several months, Paige proved she’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon with another victory over the increasingly manic Alicia Fox on Raw. Alicia, to her credit, ran roughshod over The Diva of Tomorrow for a good portion of the match until Paige found her footing, shrieking in Alicia’s face and neutralizing Aksana at ringside with a timely bit of misdirection before locking in the PTO for the win. For once, though, the commentary team wasn’t the target of Alicia’s post-match tantrum. Instead, it was Aksana who got a face full of water and popcorn before a truly bizarre make-up hug. What’s a little freakout between friends?
Once upon a time, Jack Swagger and Santino Marella butted heads over the U.S. Championship. Now, it seems like Swagger will be satisfied with nothing less than expelling The Italian Stallion from the United States itself. For his part, Santino’s inclusion on Zeb Colter’s deportation list had him fighting mad as well; he frustrated Swagger to such a degree that The Founding Father had to deliver not one but two slaps to his charge to get him back in the game. The good news was that it was all gravy from there for the former World Champion, who punched Santino in the face to stymie The Cobra and unconventionally – but effectively – finish the deed with a gutwrench powerbomb.
Maybe the Cenation and The Hounds of Justice should have joined forces sooner. Despite the stiff resistance The Wyatts met from the impromptu team of their most recent enemies, the unlikely allies proved every bit as dominant as the original-recipe Shield had been not two weeks ago.
Dean Ambrose shouldered the majority of the load early on, starting against Erick Rowan but throwing punches at Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt as well. The Eater of Worlds and his brood wisely let The Lunatic Fringe punch himself out and held strong once Cena finally entered the fray. Bray Wyatt, no longer the shepherd in the valley of darkness but rather “reborn” as a destroyer, all but feasted on the Cenation leader, but it was Roman Reigns – as ever – who proved to be the equalizer when he cut Luke Harper down with a massive Spear. If the victory served as a warning to Seth Rollins, it’s safe to say The Architect – observing on a monitor with Triple H backstage – got the message loud and clear.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sheamus defeated Bad News Barrett to qualify for Money in the Bank 2014 (13:10)
- Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Zack Ryder (1:00)
- RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) defeated Goldust & R-Truth (2:17)
- The Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) defeated Fandango & Damien Sandow (w/ Layla) (2:19)
- Bo Dallas defeated Xavier Woods (2:33)
- Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Rob Van Dam to qualify for Money in the Bank 2014 (10:53)
- Paige defeated Alicia Fox (w/ Aksana) (4:57)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Santino Marella (1:56)
- Dean Ambrose, John Cena & Roman Reigns defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) (20:22)
Other on-screen talent