Happy Labor Day. Can we interest you in a complete dissolution of law and order? Chris Jericho’s planned interview with Randy Orton on “The Highlight Reel” quickly turned into a cluster of the highest caliber when the entire Authority emerged looking for trouble, only to get it when John Cena and Roman Reigns were provoked into joining the gathering moments later. Although the insults and threats flew left and right, Triple H did manage to maintain order — or at least delay the inevitable Pier-Six brawl — by orchestrating a Six-Man Tag Team main event of Cena, Jericho & Reigns vs. Orton, Seth Rollins & Kane later in the show. Not just because it's best for business, but to determine whom truly deserves to be No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Title.
Maybe it was having Damien Sandow and his own personal makeup artist at ringside. Maybe it was an extra burst of aggression. Maybe it was just luck. Whatever it was, The Miz proved he’s more than a prissy movie star in a tag match that teamed him and Cesaro against Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus, coming through for his team when it mattered most.
And he certainly has the bruises to prove it, thanks to Sheamus unleashing a Beats of the Bodhrán that defied count on The Awesome One. A particularly ingenious use of Sandow sealed the deal for Miz; after Sheamus and Cesaro briefly beat the hell out of each other and tagged in their partners, Miz attempted to activate his stunt double against a surging Ziggler. Despite Sandow not being cleared to enter the match, Dolph Zig-Zagged him anyway, and Miz pounced with a Skull-Crushing Finale to the Intercontinental Champion. Lights, camera, victory.
The drama cannot be contained by E! and E! alone. It appears the Divas division can’t even hold their catfights until this Sunday’s “Total Divas” season premiere, as five cast members plus Layla took to the ring. But the match quickly devolved into an all-out melee when Cameron broke up an attempted pin of Rosa Mendes by Layla. The rest of the Divas swarmed the ring after the interference, and a brief brawl ensued before Eva Marie, Rosa and Cameron were sent packing from the ring.
Technically, yes, Rusev just won Mark Henry a match. It’s doubtful The World’s Strongest Man will be sending his Russian rival a basket of chocolates anytime soon, though. It was a disqualification win brought on by a burst of aggression from The Super Athlete in the midst of a titanic clash that had the WWE Universe on the edge of its seat. The participants — all combined 1,427 pounds of them — were Henry & Big Show and Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, who were still hungry for a win over the two giants.
The Wyatts were, in fact, controlling their enormous opponents when Rusev made his presence known atop the ramp, adding a general feeling of unease to the match. By the time Henry tagged in against Harper in the match’s final moments, Rusev had grown restless and kicked the former World Champion square in the face right when Henry had Harper up for the World’s Strongest Slam.
Stand at attention, WWE Universe: The advocate for the destructor himself is on the scene. In advance of Brock Lesnar’s rematch with John Cena at Night of Champions, Paul Heyman returned to Raw to lecture the Universe on the former champion’s “over-compensatory behavior” leading up to Round Two. In Heyman’s reasoning, Cena’s blazing confidence over the last couple of weeks isn’t simply bravado; it’s Cena attempting to save face following his “emasculation” at the hands of The Beast at SummerSlam. And as far as Heyman is concerned, nothing less than further victimization awaits the false confidence of the Cenation leader when he faces the Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Has Jack got his swagger back? Looks that way after The Real American — flanked once again by Zeb Colter — posted an impressive victory over Curtis Axel, who’s looking for steady footing of his own since losing his buddy Ryback to injury. Axel looked great even by his lonesome, taking advantage of Bo Dallas’ appearance to beat Swagger into the defensive. The former World Heavyweight Champion rallied quickly after some words of wisdom from Colter, locking in the Patriot Lock when Axel’s block of the Swagger Bomb left him exposed to the ruthless hold.
Before Swagger could properly celebrate, however, Dallas paraded out a group of Americans — a downtrodden, bankrupted farmer, a skinny tailor facing deportation and a woman whose son now idolizes Vladimir Putin. All three’s dissolution with their country allegedly stemmed directly from Swagger’s losses to Rusev. And all of them were offered salvation by Dallas in the power of (what else) Bo-lief.
Mess with the bunny, and you’ve got to go. The WWE Universe found the one thing that turns Adam Rose from a party animal into a rabid dog. And they found out at the expense of Titus O’Neil when the big man abandoned his match with Rose altogether thanks to Heath Slater laying hands on the bunny at ringside. O’Neil, who had been enjoying a commanding advantage over his opponent, was all but toast as Rose rolled The Big Deal up moments later. Slater suffered the final indignity of the evening when Rose and the bunny teamed up to hurl him headfirst into the steel steps.
A Broski and a Bulgarian walk into a ring. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it was in fact the beginning of Rusev’s latest conquest — this time a victory over Zack Ryder that nearly segued into a post-match confrontation for The Super Athlete. Ryder, looking resplendent in new gear, did have a strategy in his back pocket: He went right for Rusev’s feet and attempted an early victory with the Rough Ryder, but Rusev immediately countered that into a fallaway slam and, moments later, followed up with the Accolade. Mark Henry rushed the ring in a bid for payback from earlier in the evening; however, Rusev wasn’t biting. Even Henry’s invitation to join the international wing of the Hall of Pain didn’t provoke The Bulgarian Brute into a fight. Perhaps more convincing is required.
Nikki Bella’s tales of growing up alongside a supposedly wicked sister have seemingly moved Stephanie McMahon, and one of WWE’s principal owners finally found a gift powerful enough to make Nikki whole: A Divas Championship Match. Nikki, of course, found this to be a great plan and was excited to be part of it. Brie Bella was less of a fan, though, to say nothing of AJ Lee and the Divas Champion herself, Paige.
As tensions mounted, Nikki offered Brie one final chance to mend the fence between The Bellas: to quit. Brie chose physicality instead, shoving Nikki into Paige, who lost hold of her title in the process. That led to a tense staredown between AJ and Stephanie when the former nearly absconded with the title, but a last minute command from Stephanie seemed to restore order among the Divas division, at least for now.
No apologies this time: Gold & Stardust’s new rude, crude ’tude left the WWE Tag Team Champions smarting yet again when The Bizarre One took on Jimmy Uso. Thanks to some timely subterfuge from sneaky Stardust on the outside, Goldust came out on top when all was said and done. Not only did Stardust save Goldust from a pin by placing his leg on the ropes, he also goaded Jimmy into an over-the-top-rope dive that took enough out of him for Goldust to capitalize with the Final Cut. The cosmic duo then put a beating for the ages on the champions, taking a chair to Jey Uso’s injured leg and leaving the titleholder writhing on the ground.
Perhaps this display was convincing enough. Since Triple H was seemingly on the fence about John Cena remaining No. 1 contender to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the COO orchestrated a Six-Man Tag between his Authority henchmen and three fan favorites to determine The Beast’s best-for-business opponent.
Each man in the match acquitted himself well, particularly Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins was no slouch either, working in tandem with Kane to keep Reigns at bay. Jericho nearly tapped Rollins out with the Walls of Jericho in the midst of the evening’s first six-way brawl (another would follow moments later). And Cena, of course, was the X-factor, tagging in late in the game and felling Kane with the Attitude Adjustment. The Cenation leader was so confident in his display that he allowed Reigns to finish the job with a Spear, promising Triple H face-to-face moments later that he was ready for Lesnar at Night of Champions.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Cesaro & The Miz (w/ Damien Sandow) defeated Dolph Ziggler & Sheamus (11:18)
- Summer Rae, Layla, & Naomi vs Eva Marie, Rosa Mendes, & Cameron ended in a no contest (1:30)
- Mark Henry & Big Show defeated Luke Harper & Erick Rowan by DQ (11:13)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Curtis Axel by Submission (2:35)
- Adam Rose defeated Titus O'Neil (w/ Heath Slater) (1:52)
- Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Zack Ryder by Submission (0:52)
- Goldust (w/ Stardust) defeated Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) (2:12)
- John Cena, Roman Reigns, & Chris Jericho defeated Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, & Kane (22:52)
Other on-screen talent
‘The Highlight Reel’ descended into chaos
Cesaro & The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler & Sheamus
Naomi, Summer Rae & Layla vs. Eva Marie, Rosa Mendes & Cameron
Big Show & Mark Henry vs. The Wyatt Family
Paul Heyman addressed the WWE Universe
Jack Swagger vs. Curtis Axel
Adam Rose vs. Titus O'Neil
Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
Stephanie McMahon met with Nikki Bella in the ring
Goldust vs. Jimmy Uso
John Cena, Chris Jericho & Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins & Kane