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That rumbling you hear from the upstate New York region wasn’t just the anticipation for Survivor Series — although that’s certainly there — but the shaking of the earth itself beneath Mr. McMahon’s mighty strut. That’s right, the enigmatic Chairman made his return in Raw’s opening moments to deliver a blockbuster announcement regarding the (free) November classic. Good as it was to see him, though, Mr. McMahon's homecoming was far from ceremonial. The Royal Rumble Match–winning CEO (seriously, check it out) returned to his flagship show to add what he felt was some much-needed stakes to the Team Cena–Team Authority clash at Survivor Series. Mainly, if the corporate power failed to prevail in the five-on-five fracas, then Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would be stripped of their power.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Cesaro. The former U.S. Champion has yet to get his swing back, so to speak, since falling short of the Intercontinental Championship at WWE Hell in a Cell, and it’s all thanks to Dean Ambrose. Excessive beatings and goofy novelty-themed brawls aside, however, this was The King of Swing’s big chance at Ambrose and he milked it for all it was worth, powerbombing The Lunatic Fringe from the top rope after Ambrose’s offense left him with a cut on the side of his head.
Bray Wyatt’s appearance left The Lunatic Fringe at something of a 2-on-1 deficit, though Ambrose overcame both Cesaro’s physical power and Wyatt’s mental one with a backslide reversal into Dirty Deeds for the win. His planned post-match attack of The Eater of Worlds didn’t go nearly as well, however. Wyatt disappeared just as mysteriously as he arrived once Ambrose went to make his move, leaving The Lunatic Fringe’s desire for revenge temporarily unsatisfied.
Two consecutive defeats via Twin Magic apparently didn’t sit well with The Miz, who left Damien Mizdow on the sidelines and went solo against Jimmy Uso on Raw. For all Mizdow’s folk-hero momentum, that turned out to be the best move the former Intercontinental Champion has made in weeks, as the crossover sensation reversed his run of bad fortune with a lucky bit of irony. After a dive to the outside flattened Miz, The Usos turned their attention to the ever-present Mizdow long enough for Miz to capitalize with a knee to Jimmy’s face and, moments later, a Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
Dealing with a neighbor from the North while preparing for a foe from the East proved to be too much for Sheamus. The nigh-unbeatable U.S. Champion who suffered a technicality-coated loss to Tyson Kidd — he of the cats and facts — thanks to a questionable if effective strategy by the former WWE Tag Team Champion.
After a lengthy back-and-forth battle wherein Irishman adapted Kidd’s submission-style game and Kidd responded with hard-hitting kicks in the vein of the Celt, Kidd used his wife, Natalya, as a human shield to capture a last-second count-out victory following a brawl outside the ring. A Brogue Kick immediately following the bell ensured swift comeuppance, but the loss still ensured Sheamus would go into his WWE Network title defense at a deficit. Regardless of track record, that’s hardly an enviable position to be in.
The Intercontinental Champion's audacity has long kept him in The Authority’s crosshairs, but Dolph Ziggler’s zingers nearly cost him the “purist’s title” when his latest bit of jaw-jacking landed him in a title match against Seth Rollins. A matchup with the dynamic Money in the Bank contract holder was intended to be a death-knell for the battle-worn Showoff. But Ziggler instead turned it into an opportunity to show his resilience, countering Rollins at every turn to prove to The Authority that his solidarity with John Cena’s cause would not be quelled so easily.
Sadly, all that heart turned out to mean little when J&J Security got involved to set Ziggler up for a Curb Stomp. However, that turned out to mean less when Randy Orton stormed the ring and RKO’d Rollins from — yep — outta nowhere to bring the bout to a disqualification halt.
With Ryback having begun his feeding frenzy anew last week, it seems only a matter of what Superstars are bold enough to present themselves as fodder for The Big Guy’s rampage. To be fair, this week’s victim, Titus O’Neil, certainly presented more of a physical challenge than Bo Dallas and Heath “The Scarecrow” Slater, and The Human Wrecking Ball did not exactly coast to the third consecutive victory of his comeback. But an earth-shattering spinebuster still cut O’Neil’s (admittedly impressive) audition for Team Authority short, followed quickly by a Meat Hook Clothesline and Shell Shocked.
It’s often said that the best friends make the bitterest enemies, so it’s no surprise that the first clash between Big Show and his traitorous “brother from another mother,” Mark Henry, all but wiped Buffalo clean off the map in its monstrosity. With Show’s big heart turned to stone thanks to Henry’s about-face the previous week, there was little stopping the giant from what amounted to a manhandling of his old running buddy.
Henry only got into it when Show got creative, tossing The World’s Largest Athlete off the top rope when he tried to catch some air. From there it was a short distance to outside the ring, where Henry slammed Show in the face with the steel steps to incur a disqualification but not at the expense of making a point. With no more rules to contain him, Henry made his point by laying Show out on the steps with the World’s Strongest Slam and draping his T-shirt over the fallen giant as a symbolic re-induction into the Hall of Pain.
Having an assistant seems to suit Nikki Bella in a way having a sister never quite did. The “Total Divas” star has not only been a villainess of the highest order since forcing her sister into servitude, but she’s also found a way to get inventive with the power she holds over poor Brie Bella. Nikki didn’t force Brie to interfere in her match against Emma like she did last week; her contest was sewn up in short order with a Rack Attack to the feisty Australian beauty.
But the No. 1 contender to the Divas Championship did force Brie to do some dirty work for her nonetheless and slap reigning titleholder AJ Lee, who was seated at commentary, across the face. The champ didn’t exactly split hairs over why Brie laid hands on her; instead, she simply laid waste to the subservient Bella and gave chase to “Cinder-Bella,” who, with Brie in her corner, may just get her glass slipper yet.
As if the ignominy of being superkicked by his own bro wasn’t enough for Zack Ryder, the Internet Champion also found himself eating an Accolade for good measure in his return to WWE’s main stage. Considering Ryder possibly found himself facing Rusev on Raw as a result of a tweet in support of John Cena, The Ultimate Broski had a bit of extra oomph in his fight. He found himself ensnared in The Super Athlete’s submission, though, after a gusty but ineffective campaign against the Russian. Is the U.S. Title Rusev’s next conquest?
The race for the WWE Tag Team Championship really is getting interesting. Not only have Gold & Stardust incurred the wrath of Los Matadores (and El Torito), but also now The Miz & Damien Mizdow seem to have thrown their hats into the race for WWE’s twin titles. As Stardust took on Fernando in an attempt to even the score for Los Matadores’ lopsided SmackDown win over the champions, The Mizzes inadvertently got involved when El Torito nearly kicked off a brawl, the upshot of which was Fernando executing the Backstabber on a distracted Stardust for the pin.
The onetime “Face of WWE” found itself rearranged both metaphorically and literally as Randy Orton received the most brutal breakup of all time when The Authority closed ranks and forcibly banished the rebellious Viper from the crew during the closing moments of Raw. That Triple H & Co. finally severed ties with The Apex Predator may have been no surprise — Orton’s recent dissention required he be punished — but they certainly let The Apex Predator get a big piece of Seth Rollins before they chose to make their fateful statement.
Given that he had initially been promised one opportunity at Mr. Money in the Bank, Orton came at the young Superstar — much to Triple H’s horror — with everything he had and then some. So it was truly a shock when Rollins pinned Orton with a backslide outta nowhere, though not as much when Orton refused to give Rollins his promised handshake, instead replying with an RKO. That was followed by a beating from the entire Authority, punctuated by a Curb Stomp to The Viper atop the table and the steel steps, ordered by a reluctant Triple H at Stephanie McMahon’s behest. The future, it seems, has come early.
Vladimir Putin himself likely couldn’t have dreamed up a better night for Rusev. The Super Athlete not only displayed his dominance over one former U.S. Champion, but he also relieved current titleholder Sheamus of the championship in a post-Raw match that aired exclusively on WWE Network. A victory over The Celtic Warrior is as rare a commodity as any in WWE, yet Rusev didn’t flinch one bit from Sheamus’ famous fists, rendering the Irishman’s brawling style ineffective as the contest wore on.
It was only when Rusev went to the ground that Sheamus was able to create separation and mount one final offensive burst, countering the Accolade into White Noise and setting up for a Brogue Kick. Sheamus’ signature kick not only missed his mark, but it also left Sheamus vulnerable for two kicks to the head and a second Accolade attempt. Sheamus kept his perfect no-tapout record intact, though his loss of consciousness handed Rusev the stars-and-stripes title all the same.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Cesaro (12:25)
- The Miz (w/ Damien Mizdow) defeated Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) (4:38)
- Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya) defeated Sheamus via countout (5:14)
- Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Champion ended in a no contest (16:18)
- Ryback defeated Titus O'Neil (2:29)
- Big Show defeated Mark Henry by disqualification (6:29)
- Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) defeated Emma (2:24)
- Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Zack Ryder via submission (1:18)
- Fernando (w/ Diego & El Torito) defeated Stardust (w/ Goldust) (2:40)
- Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) defeated Randy Orton (13:15)
- Dark Match: Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Sheamus (c) to win the United States Championship (12:00)
Other on-screen talent