PITTSBURGH - Break out those Booty-O’s, The New Day are still your (cue Xavier Woods’ voice and hip gyrations) Double U. Double U. E. World. Tag. Team. Champiooooonnnns … which isn’t to say they didn’t face some payback from the twice-humiliated League of Nations. This time, it was Alberto Del Rio & Rusev who battled New Day, following Sheamus & King Barrett’s failed attempt to add the Tag Titles to their (ahem) accolades at WWE Roadblock.
Despite the change-up in New Day’s lineup — Woods & Big E held down the fort while Kofi Kingston played hype man — the champions held tough against their foreign foes, particularly Woods, who had to carry the match after Del Rio stomped Big E face-first onto the apron. A distraction from Kingston helped Woods get the rollup on Rusev, but “the lads” didn’t take their loss lying down, dispatching Kingston with a Bull Hammer, Big E with a Brogue Kick, and Woods with the big stomp and Accolade.
For better or worse, Dean Ambrose is out of the roadblock. But he’s still got a date in the street with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, which Paul Heyman and The Beast made an explicit point of reminding Ambrose of when he attempted to address his WWE World Heavyweight Championship loss against Triple H over the weekend. Ambrose, of course, doesn’t exactly shy away from fights these days, so he was all ready to throw down with The Anomaly at a moment’s notice. Despite Heyman’s objections, Brock seemed game himself — that is, until Ambrose produced a hidden crowbar to drive Lesnar away. Touché, lunatic.
Big guys deserve big opportunities. And Ryback has one particular opportunity in mind. Using Sin Cara as something of a sample opponent, The Big Guy unleashed the full scope of his own human highlight reel on the solitary Lucha Dragon, dispatching him with the greatest of ease and Shell Shocked him twice before laying down a challenge to Kalisto for the U.S. Title at WrestleMania.
Dolph Ziggler loves to poke the bear. For a while now, The Showoff has been butting heads with The Authority backstage, but the former World Heavyweight Champion took his defiance to another level by stepping to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the middle of the ring. Interestingly, despite the interruption The Game seemed, well, game to offer Ziggler a spot in The Authority’s ranks to help reverse his fortunes. And even though Ziggler turned him down and insulted Stephanie, he was still lucky(?) enough to receive a devilish deal from The Authority: a spot in any WrestleMania match he desired, minus the WWE World Heavyweight Title contest, if he defeated Triple H later in the evening.
Sami Zayn is fast turning WWE into his own personal playground: One week after returning to Raw and beating up Kevin Owens, The Underdog From the Underground has defeated Owens & Miz on SmackDown and Stardust at WWE Roadblock. This week he got Miz one-on-one and despite attempted interference from KO at commentary, he added another win to his record by dispatching The Awesome One with a Helluva Kick. Interestingly enough, however, it wasn’t Sami who thwarted Owens’ attempted breakup of the match, but Miz. Of course, that ironically set Miz up for his own defeated, but the message seems to be clear: Owens doesn’t just have one enemy on The Road to KO-Mania.
The WWE Universe wants Lana. Brie Bella, however, has likely had enough for a while. The Ravishing Russian’s continued torment of the former Divas Champion left both Brie and her teammate Alicia Fox in ruins on Raw. First, the mere presence of Lana threw Team Bella off its game against Naomi & Tamina, then, her attempted intrusion into the match itself allowed Naomi & Tamina to pin Brie with a double-team maneuver. When Alicia Fox attempted to repay The Ravishing Russian, she got dropped as well with a pair of superkicks straight to the chin from the B.A.D. veterans.
Good news for The Social Outcasts: They got some free Burger King Grilled Dogs. Bad news for The Social Outcasts: The Usos dispatched Bo Dallas & Adam Rose in a hail of superkicks, despite the presence of The Dudley Boyz at commentary. Granted, The Outcasts got a couple of licks in, but the fired-up Samoan twins wasted no time in turning on the jets, putting the boots to their challengers and finishing Dallas off with a big splash, all while staring those damn Dudleys the whole way up the ramp ... and onto WrestleMania.
And the Internet broke: Not only did Triple H defeated Dolph Ziggler to deny The Showoff a WrestleMania blank check, but Roman Reigns returned to unleash hell on The Game and reinforce his position as The King of Kings’ potential usurper at The Show of Shows. Truth be told, The Game’s first match on Raw in three years was a bit of a rough night all around: Ziggler’s mix of mat game and explosiveness landed him a Famouser, a big DDT and a superkick before Triple H nailed a Pedigree out of nowhere to pin him.
That’s when Reigns made his entrance (from the ramp, no less), and he gave no quarter to the man who sent him into surgery, busting The King of Kings open as he battered him about the arena. Reigns even shoved aside referees and security who attempted to stop the madness. The beating only stopped after Reigns had broken a television across The Game’s back, and it took The Usos, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry to finally do it. It’s on.
This whole AJ Styles thing has Chris Jericho way more out of sorts than everybody seems to have thought. Not only did The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla all but foam at the mouth insulting The Phenomenal One, but he was also so flustered during his match with Neville that he shoved the official and got himself disqualified against The Man That Gravity Forgot. That led to more vitriol from Jericho, and ultimately, the arrival of AJ Styles, who swooped down with one of his jaw-shattering “Phenomenal Forearms” to Jericho’s face. All together now: A-J-STYYYY-LES!
Three weeks from WrestleMania and here we are. For the first time, all three of the players in the battle that will determine the future of Monday Night Raw — Shane McMahon, Mr. McMahon and The Undertaker — were together in the ring. It was predictably tense, particularly when Shane insinuated The Deadman was little more than The Chairman’s puppet. That was enough for The Phenom to throw hands, though Shane held his own against The Demon of Death Valley until The Chairman quite literally threw Shane-O-Mac gullet-first into a chokeslam. Mr. McMahon narrowly avoided The Deadman himself, and even though he left the night with a smile on his face, it appears the McMahons, with their dueling agendas, have woken the dragon … the big, dead dragon. And now, no one is safe.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (w/ Kofi Kingston) (c) defeated The League of Nations (Rusev & Alberto Del Rio) (w/ Sheamus & King Barrett) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (13:38)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated Social Outcasts (Bo Dallas & Adam Rose) (w/ Heath Slater & Curtis Axel) (2:10)
Other on-screen talent