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The Maddox Era is over, cut down in its prime and cast into General Manager infamy thanks to the swift hand of The Authority – not to mention a final exclamation point provided by a former member of the corporate cabal. With Daniel Bryan yet to surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and The Shield’s insubordination growing by the day, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon decided to make a statement by handing Raw GM Brad Maddox his pink slip for allowing The Hounds of Justice to name themselves guest commentators on last week’s show.
Before The Authority could pass sentence on Maddox, however, the onetime Director of Operations, Kane, arrived to provide the final word on Maddox’s front-office tenure. As Stephanie commanded Kane to "teach him a lesson," the demon administered both a chokeslam and a Tombstone on Raw's beleaguered figurehead. And then Stephanie fired him.
When the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, who comes out on top? The No. 1 contenders to the Intercontinental and United States Championships, respectively, Rob Van Dam and Cesaro, dueled to solve that very query on Raw, with Bad News Barrett presiding over the bout from a post at the commentary table.
Throughout the contest, The King of Swing used his famous power to counter RVD’s time-honed aerial attacks, transferring his forward momentum into gut-wrench suplexes and, at one point, snatching Mr. Monday Night clean out of the air and dropping him headfirst on the barricade. Van Dam got his mojo back in a big way, thrust-kicking Barrett in the face for, well, kicks, and setting The Swiss Superman up for a Five-Star Frog Splash. But a second interference by Barrett distracted RVD long enough for Cesaro to claim the win with a German suplex, though Sheamus was on hand to Brogue Kick the Heyman Guy into oblivion and shake his unconscious foe’s hand (finally) for good measure. It’s all about sportsmanship, fella.
“Seeing red” doesn’t quite cut it for Summer Rae, whose rivalry with Eva Marie on E!’s “Total Divas” finally made its way to the ring and ended in a disastrous upset for the golden-haired Diva. To be fair, a third party played a big part in Summer’s embarrassment. Despite Eva’s eagerness to pay Summer back for swindling her out of a tag-team victory on SmackDown, Summer ran roughshod over #AllRedEverything. That is, until Fandango and Layla made their entrance and engaged in another gratuitous round of tonsil hockey, leaving Summer so distraught Eva was able to snag the win with a roll-up.
El Torito may have toppled a former Intercontinental Champion, but Hornswoggle’s still feeling a little bullish towards his horned rival. “The Chosen One” turned Torito into his personal Brawlin’ Buddy for the majority of their contest, and it was only a brawl between Los Matadores and the rest of 3MB that allowed Torito to trip Drew up on the ropes and pin the former champion.
That was when Hornswoggle pounced, cornering Torito with his band mates and ripping his tail off with his bare hands – a show of barbarism that sent Torito high-stepping to the backstage area while Los Matadores, the commentary team and WWE Universe members all looked on in abject horror.
It’s not just a song: According to Bray Wyatt, he truly does have the whole world in his hands. But it’s not enough for “The Man of 1,000 Truths” to control the destiny of his flock; he must also understand his role in it. According to him, that is to be the “necessary evil” that will eradicate the so-called false idol, John Cena. And, evidently, as a judge of sorts for Jerry “The King” Lawler, who Wyatt summoned to the ring to answer for his vocal and unwavering support of the Cenation leader.
Despite Lawler’s reluctance (and an attempt at heroism from JBL that ended – ironically – in a hellacious clothesline from Luke Harper), The Wyatts hauled Lawler into the ring for an impromptu trial that nearly ended in disaster before Cena himself, along with The Usos, stormed the ring to make the save. Cena's final vow to stop The Eater of Worlds left the WWE Universe chomping at the bit, but Wyatt's nonchalant reaction suggested the task may be much easier said than done.
The red, white and blue became the red, white and “bro” when Zack Ryder took up the cause of Old Glory for a Memorial Day showdown against the mighty Rusev. Despite the patriotism of The Ultimate Broski, the endeavor didn’t go all that great for the former U.S. Champion, though Ryder did get a few blows in on The Super Athlete before Rusev powered his way to a match-ending Accolade.
Unfortunately for Rusev, however, Big E has a long memory and the powerlifting champion made a second play to attack The Bulgarian Brute, and this time his strikes found home. E threw his full power into The Super Athlete and, for the first time, sent him tumbling into retreat. Russian dominance will have to wait.
Another week, another rough outing – well, two, really – for Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Just months removed from their inspiring run as WWE Tag Team Champions, the beloved brothers hit yet another roadblock in the form of Randy Orton & Batista, who were given a match against The Brotherhood after some backstage jaw-jacking between the brothers-in-arms and the brothers-by-blood.
Both duos battled to a dead heat for the better part of ten minutes; Batista in particular seemed spurred into action by Goldust’s “skinny-jean sellout” comment earlier in the evening. The Bizarre One found himself isolated with The Animal for a long spell until he reached Cody, though two RKOs put the former Intercontinental Champion down. And then, the match was recast – presumably by The Authority – as an Elimination Match, and a second, immediate 2-on-1 Handicap No Holds Barred Match pitting Goldust against both former World Champions at once. The Bizarre One gave his all, but an RKO and Batista Bomb spelled a quick, brutal end for the brothers’ brave evening.
Say this much for Sin Cara: He certainly Bo-lived in himself during his rematch with newcomer Bo Dallas on Raw, a mulligan that the former NXT Champion awarded the “good sport” he defeated in his debut match on SmackDown. The International Icon certainly fought Dallas like he had something to prove, blasting him in the face with kicks and elbows in equal measure. Yet the crisp Dallas – who celebrated every successful maneuver as if it was a World Championship victory – proved the heartier Bo-liever of the two, luring a rolling Sin Cara into his signature running “Bo-dog” for the victory. Not that he begrudged Sin Cara the second consecutive loss: According to Dallas, success doesn’t begin and end with victory. All you have to do is give your all and Bo-lieve, and you’re a winner in his book.
First things first: “yes,” Daniel Bryan is still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. And “yes,” the Champion of Champions paid dearly for his latest show of insubordination toward Stephanie McMahon. Or, to be precise, his wife did. On Raw, Bryan made his faithful proud by resisting The Authority’s latest attempts to deny him his hard-won glory, yet Stephanie’s firing mood didn’t end with Brad Maddox by a long shot. Unwilling to make Bryan a martyr by stripping him of the title, she instead delivered him an ultimatum: Surrender the title at WWE Payback, or Brie Bella, who put hands on Stephanie two weeks earlier, would be fired. Suddenly, the line between “yes” and “no” just got that much more profound.
If Alicia Fox wins, she goes nuts. But if she loses? That’s when things get really interesting. The No. 1 contender to the Divas Championship was all set for a tune-up en route to challenging Paige at WWE Payback, but Emma put a stop to that quite quickly, striking with a roll-up as Alicia got slap-happy on her foe. Miss Fox was not pleased in the slightest about this, attacking the NXT veteran after the match and unleashing yet another tirade at helpless WWE officials at ringside, including an atomic wedgie (at least he got a kiss afterwards) to one poor guy and a soda bath for the front row. One can only imagine what will happen if she wins the Divas Title on Sunday. Chicago, prepare accordingly.
Unfortunately for Damien Sandow, he was mistaken for a Rosebud in his Davy Crockett garb. Perhaps more unfortunately, Sandow fell victim to the actual ringleader of the party crew, Adam Rose, in the NXT veteran’s debut Raw match. Even though Rose sent “Crockett” back to the Alamo, Jack Swagger spoiled his fun when he emerged with one of the Rosebuds – a human lemon – held hostage. Well, that just brought out the party animal’s claws; Rose sprang into action to save his follower, handing Swagger a hearty beating and rejoining his crew of Rosebuds for a victory crowd-surf back to the locker room.
The gold around Sheamus’ waist is different, yet the song remains the same where Alberto Del Rio is concerned: The Celtic Warrior locked horns with his longtime rival in a non-title match on Raw and once again came out with his Irish eyes smiling, despite some stiff resistance from the U.S. Champion’s most prevalent enemy in WWE. A dominant stretch by Del Rio seemed to only spur Sheamus into barbaric retaliation, although Del Rio’s kicks to the head seemed to have done more damage than he thought.
The Irishman suddenly went loopy right as he had Del Rio lined up for the Brogue Kick, and The Essence of Excellence struck with another boot to the cheek that nearly got the job done. Nearly, though, wasn’t enough, and Sheamus sprang forth with a last-ditch Brogue Kick to finish his foe off. Yet the punch-drunk Irishman was in no state to anticipate a sneak attack, which is just what came from Paul Heyman and Cesaro, who administered a shower of elbows and a Neutralizer to the wounded champion. Conquering The Streak was great, true. But come Sunday, Paul Heyman’s client Cesaro may conquer the United States Champion.
The Shield may not have the combined tenure of Evolution, but they’ve been around long enough to know where contract signings typically lead. So The Hounds of Justice thought they’d taken control of their final sit-down before WWE Payback by dismantling the signing table and demanding Evolution to present themselves. Triple H & Co. obliged, and – once the ink had dried – promised to send the trio back into “obscurity” with a victory at Payback.
The Shield managed to goad Evolution into a brawl, but The Game came prepared and produced a hidden sledgehammer to neutralize The Hounds of Justice, providing the exclamation point by taking out Roman Reigns with a Triple Powerbomb through the announce table. If anything else, The Shield’s payback on Sunday will be swift … if they’re in any condition to deliver it.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Rob Van Dam (9:33)
- Eva Marie defeated Summer Rae (3:00)
- El Torito (w/ Diego & Fernando) defeated Drew McIntyre (w/ Heath Slater, Hornswoggle & Jinder Mahal) (2:26)
- Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Zack Ryder (0:38)
- Evolution (Batista & Randy Orton) defeated Cody Rhodes & Goldust (10:07)
- Evolution (Batista & Randy Orton) defeated Goldust (2:34) in a No Holds Barred Two On One Handicap Match
- Bo Dallas defeated Sin Cara (4:32)
- Emma defeated Alicia Fox (2:13)
- Adam Rose defeated Damien Sandow (1:36)
- Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio (9:17)
- Dark Match: John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt
Other on-screen talent