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There can only be one Face of WWE. And although he remains WWE Champion, the odds of Randy Orton reclaiming that symbolic status have just been cut in two by an unlikely challenger: World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. In Raw’s opening moments, The Champ took vocal exception to Orton’s post-victory posturing and offered The Apex Predator a chance to prove his worth in a match that places both World Championships on the line and would name a true Face of WWE. It was a jaw-dropper of a challenge, but the real surprise came when The Authority accepted the Cenation leader’s proposal and decreed the contest would take place with the most unpredictable of stipulations: Tables, Ladders & Chairs.
The Shield marked their one-year anniversary in high style with Roman Reigns becoming the Sole Survivor of the fall classic’s traditional contest, and now their dominance extends to a year and a day at the expense of Rey Mysterio & The Rhodes Brothers. The three fan favorites were clearly hungry for redemption, though The Shield weren’t about to let them get it so easily, mobbing Rey & Cody right off the bat and swarming the lone Goldust.
he Hounds of Justice mauled the former Intercontinental Champion until he reached Rey Mysterio, who subdued Seth Rollins long enough for Cody to take over. Rollins’ teammates rushed the ring at the perfect moment to send the match spiraling into chaos, and the confusion proved to be too much to overcome. After Reigns speared Goldust & Mysterio into Tuesday, Ambrose took advantage of Cody’s preoccupation with Rollins to seal the match with a headlock driver.
When accommodating a Super Bowl Champion, FOX NFL analyst and the co-host of “Live With Kelly & Michael,” only The Most Must-See WWE Talk Show in History will do. That said, The Miz was never going to let Michael Strahan get away without a little good-natured kidding. In this case, it involved producing Titus O’Neil as a fake Strahan (complete with gap) and interviewing him. The real Strahan, who appeared moments later, not only took the gags in stride – evidently, Titus’ suit game is strong, though his gap game is not – but he announced the night’s main event of John Cena & Big Show vs. Randy Orton & Alberto Del Rio.
An argument about whether Strahan can “hack it” led to some good-natured physicality, as Miz challenged the Super Bowl champion to take a hip toss. When both Miz & Titus failed to execute the maneuver, Strahan showed his mettle by sending them both airborne with hip tosses of his own. All in good fun, WWE Universe.
In a tale of two teams, the momentum continued to roll for Big E Langston – still riding the wave of his Intercontinental Championship defense – and Mark Henry – rolling on after his big comeback at Survivor Series – while Ryback & Curtis Axel struggled again after uncoupling with Paul Heyman a few weeks back. The former disciples of the mad scientist kept things surprisingly tight, though, sending out Axel to hack away at his outsized opponents while Ryback tenderized them with power maneuvers. The strategy, while clever, didn’t last for long, and Axel quickly found himself at the mercy of the former World Champion Mark Henry. One World’s Strongest Slam later and it was all she wrote.
It’s not every day a Survivor Series team gets a mulligan the night after suffering a defeat, but the sports-entertainment fates smiled upon “Team True Divas” after their loss to the “Total Divas” crew, allowing Divas Champion AJ Lee & Tamina a chance to avenge their loss against E!’s newest stars. Alas, they could not capitalize, and the “Total Divas” scored a repeat when a slew of fast eliminations (JoJo pinned Tamina!)narrowed the True Divas down to AJ Lee & Summer Rae. Brie Bella dispatched the Divas Champion, and when an overwhelmed Summer attempted to ditch the match entirely – after a dance-off, of course – Nikki Bella not only denied Fandango’s dance partner but put the match to bed with a Torture Rack.
Damien Sandow may have seemingly abandoned his more refined mannerisms, yet The Intellectual Savior of the Masses isn’t above a little quid pro quo when it comes to Dolph Ziggler. One week after a tremendous kabonging led to his ruin in a “Broadway Brawl,” Sandow got another crack at Ziggler in an anything-goes environment and came up strong, toppling The Showoff in what was voted as a "Hamptons Hardcore Match" on the WWE App.
With various white-collar weapons strewn across the ring, Ziggler – sporting both a N.Y. Islanders jersey and a Zack Ryder shirt – and Sandow picked up right where they left off on Broadway. Showing true contempt for stipulation (he Elbow of Disdain-ed said Islanders jersey) Sandow picked up steam when he clocked Dolph with a microphone. Ziggler countered with a spew from a fire extinguisher, though Sandow finally sent him to the showers by shattering an oar over Dolph’s back, planting him moments later with “You’re Welcome” on top of a garbage can.
The confidence of champions and some well-honed teamwork propelled CM Punk & Daniel Bryan to triumph at Survivor Series against Erick Rowan & Luke Harper. With Bray Wyatt himself joining the fray, though, all the braggadocio in the world wasn’t enough to save the two former WWE Champions from suffering the wrath of The Wyatts … and a few others as well.
Bray’s presence quickly galvanized Harper & Rowan into a new level of brutality, and for a while it looked like the former WWE Champions’ gooses were well and cooked until Punk came in to take control. Bryan tagged back in against Harper to reclaim the momentum when things turned sour, but the official lost control of the bout when all three Wyatts stormed the ring and ruled a Disqualification win for the dream team.
The night wasn’t quite over, though, as The Wyatts laid waste to Punk and hauled a beaten Bryan off to parts unknown. The Straight Edge Superstar gave chase but didn’t get far before Roman Reigns trucked him with a massive spear, following up with a Triple Powerbomb from the aid of his fellow Shield-mates that left Punk down for the count and then some.
Some grudges can’t be contained by a Kickoff Match. One night after a tightly-contested match ended in controversy, The Miz & Kofi Kingston resumed their budding rivalry in a fast-paced, unusually emotional bout between two Superstars who are normally all about the pure, unadulterated thrill of it. After both men attempted a simultaneous slap to start things off, Miz and Kofi went move-for-move over the course of 10 exhilarating minutes. Even though Kofi connected with a thumping S.O.S., Miz prevailed again when he struck with another surprise roll-up to plant The Boom Squad General for three.
Top marks yet again for Xavier Woods, who followed up a strong showing in his WWE debut with a one-on-one victory against Heath Slater a week later. Accompanied by The Funkadactyls (courtesy of Brodus Clay), Truth gave his buddy Woods a crack at the former Tag Team Champion and the NXT alumnus delivered in surgical fashion. With the WWE Universe cheering him on (even "The Kosher Butcher" approved), Woods powered his way to an early advantage before Slater responded with some offense of his own. Woods got the last word in, though, and Morphin' Time ensued when he blasted Slater with the Honor Roll and Lost in the Woods to end the contest on a high note. His power level is over 9,000 indeed.
John Cena has taken the first step towards toppling Randy Orton at WWE TLC. However, true to form, The Viper already seems like he won’t allow The Champ to get much further than that, repaying a defeat in the main event of Raw with a resounding post-match statement.
The sneak attack would have to suffice as payback for a match that went south very quickly after Cena’s partner Big Show got his hands on both Orton & his owncompadre, AlbertoDel Rio. Forced into the defensive, Del Rio knocked the giant loopy with a superkick to the face, but victory eluded the twosome when Show struck Orton with a spear. The Champ wrapped the contest up with an STF tapout of the former World Champion Del Rio when the longtime rivals entered the match.
Del Rio’s post-match attack fell short when Cena struck with an Attitude Adjustment, yet Orton’s own cheap shot – a blast to the face with the WWE Title itself –hit home in a big way, especially when The Viper seized The Champ’s World Title and held both prizes high above his head.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins) defeated Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Rey Mysterio (8:26)
- Henry & Langston (Big E. Langston and Mark Henry) defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel and Ryback) (2:30)
- Natalya, JoJo, Eva Marie, The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron) and The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella) defeated Aksana, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Tamina Snuka, and AJ Lee (8:22)
- Damien Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Hampton Hardcore Match (11:34)
- The Beard & The Best (CM Punk & Daniel Bryan) vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) (w/ Bray Wyatt) ended in a no contest (13:32)
- The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston (4:57)
- Xavier Woods (w/ R-Truth & The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi)) defeated Heath Slater (w/ Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre) (3:20)
- John Cena & The Big Show defeated Alberto Del Rio & Randy Orton (15:31)
Other on-screen talent