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Believe this: It’ll take more than a taste of their own medicine to keep The Shield down, let alone shut their mouths. Despite being laid low by Evolution in Raw’s closing moments last week, The Hounds of Justice were all but frothing at the mouth, daring Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista to show themselves for another fight. They seemed to get just that, as an image of an arriving limousine appeared on the TitanTron; instead of giving the veteran trio time to respond, The Shield took the fight straight to their tormentors, sprinting into the back and pouncing on the unsuspecting Evolution, turning them from hunters to hunted in minutes flat.
Rob Van Dam’s a rosebud. Who knew? Apparently Adam Rose had an idea that Mr. Monday Night would be an easy conscription into his party-hearty posse, because the NXT veteran used both his influence and affluence to lead a fellow Superstar to victory, once again at the expense of Jack Swagger. The Real American didn’t even get a chance to mix it up with RVD at all, thanks to Rose and his procession: Swagger was so incensed and distracted, all Van Dam had to do was kick him in the face and follow up with a Five Star Frog Splash for the win.
Paige might not be one for pool parties, but the Divas Champion proved herself quite the Fox-catcher with a decisive win over a former holder of the butterfly title, Alicia Fox, on Raw. Not even a pair of pre-match beatings by Miss Fox could stop the “Diva of Tomorrow” from seizing payback; Paige battled through what was more or less a mugging by Alicia to find her footing and strike with a Paige-Turner out of nowhere and send Alicia packing … though not before the former champion threw a post-match tantrum and stole JBL’s hat. The fox still has claws.
Climbing the mountaintop takes its toll. Despite his torment at the hands of the demon Kane, Daniel Bryan was on top of the world as recently as a week ago, but it turns out the Champion of Champions has hit a hurdle he’ll need a bit more time than usual to surpass: Thanks to the three Tombstones from Kane little more than a month earlier, Bryan was left with a lingering injury to his neck, and even though he pulled through and battled at Extreme Rules, the “Yes!” Man has to pay a steep price: neck surgery. With no timetable for his return, Bryan admitted he was not sure when he would return. But as to the question of whether he would return at all? That answer, said Bryan, is “YES!”
John Cena & The Usos have evened the score against The Wyatt Family, but it looks like The Eater of Worlds is not yet ready to conclude the game. In their second match in four days against The Wyatts, Cena & the WWE Tag Team Champions took their time getting to their promised retribution, pausing instead to put an old fashioned hurting on the backwoods brutes. After Jey Uso was battered about by all three Wyatts, Jimmy took over to turn the tide before he was shut down with authority by Luke Harper.
From there it was Jimmy’s turn to suffer The Wyatts’ collective wrath, and a tag to Cena only instigated a bout of all-out chaos that ended in the most epic fashion possible: Two Uso superkicks to an interfering Bray Wyatt and an Attitude Adjustment to Erick Rowan for a 1-2-3 from the Cenation leader. Instead of his usual post-match sermon, however, Bray only had a few choice words for his rival: A “thank you” for helping him realize what he had to do.
Evolution is not happy. Being subjected to The Shield’s brazen attacks has left a sour taste in the taste of Randy Orton and Batista, but while The Viper and The Animal were chomping at the bit to “put The Hounds of Justice to sleep,” Triple H took a much more measured approach in his response. Specifically, he gave The Shield what they wanted: A rematch of their six-man blitzkrieg at Extreme Rules.
However, The Game’s pontification was cut short by a second ambush by The Shield, although this time the Hounds might have bitten off more than they can chew. Batista – a man of few words throughout the entire evening thus far – grabbed hold of a microphone and challenged Roman Reigns to a one-on-one match. Needless to say, “the big dog” couldn’t have been happier.
Let’s paint a picture: Natalya has a bone to pick with Nikki Bella, all thanks to Nikki’s less-than-warm reception to The Queen of Harts’ housewarming gift on E!’s “Total Divas.” And, as befits a personal grudge, their match on Raw to settle their differences was less a mat contest than a slugfest, all slaps and elbows to the face (with the rest of the “Total Divas” grading the bout at ringside). Nikki showed she could more than hang with the Hart Dungeon graduate when it came to technical competition as well, trading abdominal stretches with her opponent and reversing Natalya’s ill-advised sunset flip for a pin that left the former Divas Champion dejected, furious and hostile towards her fellow “Total Divas.”
Perhaps it’s appropriate that, before facing Sheamus, RybAxel left the choice of who would battle the Irishman up to a little bit of luck. Specifically, the outcome of a coin flip, although Curtis Axel might have been questioning how fortunate his win was when all was said and done: The Celt went a-clobberin’ early and often against the former Intercontinental Champion, forcing Axel to stage a last-minute rally when defeat seemed certain. Axel lived up to his “Perfect” pedigree by beating Sheamus onto his heels, though the new U.S. Champion proved himself worthy of the gold he wears by breaking out the Cloverleaf for a submission victory.
Alas for Sheamus, Ryback didn’t take too kindly to the Irishman’s defeat of his partner. “The Big Guy” pounced on the Irishman and dared him to throw down for a second consecutive time. Like any fighter worth his salt, Sheamus accepted with gusto.
Anyone can win one fight, but can the U.S. Champion Sheamus – a brawler among brawlers – win two fisticuffs in a single evening? As it turns out, yes. The U.S. Champion came out strong against Ryback, although he didn’t account for “The Big Guy’s” own resilience; Ryback suffered the Ten Beats of the Bodhrán but immediately reversed Sheamus’ battering ram into the Boulder Holder.
Back and forth the two bruisers went, and when it came down to who had more in the tank, Sheamus won by a single red hair: Despite a timely interference by Axel that landed the Irishman in position for Shell Shocked, the Irishman escaped Ryback’s signature maneuver and connected with his own, blasting “The Big Guy” into tomorrow with a chin-rattling Brogue Kick.
Something is not sitting right with one of WWE’s principal owners, and it’s the state of affairs surrounding the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. Despite the heartfelt address the “Yes!” Man delivered to the WWE Universe less than an hour earlier, Stephanie McMahon – who’s lately asserted herself as Bryan’s primary front-office foe thanks to Triple H’s preoccupation with The Shield – more or less insinuated Bryan’s injury was proof positive of what she’s been saying all along: That Bryan can’t hang with the “A-plus players” of WWE.
She demanded a face-to-face with the Champion of Champions, but what she got was a glimpse of just how far she’d gone by returning Kane’s mask to him: The former Director of Operations emerged instead of Bryan, dragging the bearded husk of his former tag-team partner and depositing him on the stage Stephanie, who could only look on in horror at her creation’s handiwork.
It’s a win for Dolph Ziggler in his latest dance with Fandango, but the dancing fiend can claim a victory in a far trickier contest than a tussle in the ring: the game of love. His loss to Dolph in the ring was nothing to be particularly ashamed of, either. The two longtime rivals battled with such speed and ferocity that the match was bound to be decided by which workhorse tripped up first. Ironically, the only one who did the tripping was Layla. An attempted distraction backfired when the former Divas Champion caught her foot in the ring apron, and Ziggler capitalized with a Zig Zag on the distracted Fandango.
Happily, Layla’s misfortune only lasted until Fandango took hold of a microphone and professed his feelings: “Dolph may have won, but you have won something much more valuable: My heart. Layla, I love you.” Cue the tango with tongues.
If Rusev is looking to assert his dominance against America, then who better for The Super Athlete to target than the hooting, hollering champion of Old Glory herself, WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan? The inaugural Royal Rumble Match winner was on hand to talk up the first season of “Legends' House” on WWE Network, but Lana and The Bulgarian Brute had a more painful pitch in mind for the squared-circle veteran. Luckily for Duggan, Big E made his presence known before Rusev could finish the job. He took the beating intended for Duggan himself, but in saving "Hacksaw," perhaps the former Intercontinental Champion has made a cross-continental enemy he did not intend.
An asterisk, alas, must be added to Cody Rhodes’ first victory in weeks, because the former Intercontinental Champion notched his first win in weeks thanks to a well-timed bit of dirty play against the one Superstar who might be more frustrated than he is. That, of course, would be Damien Sandow, whose own downward spiral began at the hands of “The Prince” and who seemed dangerously close to the end of his rope on WWE Network’s Raw Pre-Show.
Cody did little to calm his former partner when he cut off a would-be encore of his Pre-Show flare-up, and Sandow responded accordingly by pouncing on his former fellow Rhodes Scholar. The two Superstars fought like desperate men, but Cody’s straits proved the more dire: Thanks to a thumb in the eye while the ref’s back was turned, Sandow was incapacitated and left vulnerable for the Disaster Kick. How’s that for smoke and mirrors?
Batista wanted the big dog, and Batista got the big dog. Roman Reigns wanted a fight, and, well, he got one. Just not the kind of fight he was expecting. The former WWE Tag Team Champion had been more than holding his own against The Animal, despite attempted interference by the rest of Evolution, when Triple H pre-empted the Superman Punch by hauling Reigns out of the ring, ending the match via DQ. Chaos ensued and Stephanie McMahon sent a bevy of Superstars after the Hounds, though the men in black battled their way out of the scrum in high style. Dean Ambrose planted Fandango with Dirty Deeds atop a chair; Seth Rollins sent Curtis Axel onto the same steel with Peace of Mind, and a final Triple Powerbomb to Ryback – “Big Guy” out – put the night to an end. The hunt continues.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) (2:02)
- Paige defeated Alicia Fox (3:53)
- John Cena & The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) (9:43)
- Nikki Bella defeated Natalya (3:40)
- Sheamus defeated Curtis Axel (w/ Ryback) (3:20)
- Sheamus defeated Ryback (w/ Curtis Axel) (5:31)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Fandango (w/ Layla) (4:48)
- Cody Rhodes (w/ Goldust) defeated Damien Sandow (4:53)
- Roman Reigns (w/ Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) defeated Batista (w/ Triple H & Randy Orton) by Disqualification (4:19)
Other on-screen talent