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The Game giveth, and The Game taketh away. Less than a full day after Night of Champions, Triple H once again deprived Daniel Bryan of his moment of glory, relieving the submission master of the WWE Title before he’d even notched a full 24 hours as champion. With no Money in the Bank briefcase to remove the title from Bryan’s bearded clutches this time, The Game instead cited referee Scott Armstrong’s conspicuously fast three-count at the end of Bryan’s title match as evidence of a conspiracy to overthrow Randy Orton as champion.
Bryan, of course, had no idea what the COO was getting at, but once The Game produced Armstrong, the referee solemnly (forcibly?) admitted to some kind of plot by saying “They got us, Daniel.” The plot was one-sided if anything, as Bryan still had no idea what was going on, but Armstrong’s apparent confession was enough ammo to allow The Game to strip Bryan of the WWE Title and hold it in abeyance … and Bryan’s frustration was enough to allow Orton himself to administer a cheap-shot RKO to the now-former champion.
Like he was really going to let Dean Ambrose steal his thunder twice in a row.
Humbled by the mad Hound of Justice at Night of Champions, Dolph Ziggler administered a much-needed dose of payback when he scored a long-gestating win over the man who’s made his life hell in recent weeks. Though Ambrose’s championship was not up for grabs, Dolph fought with all the fire of a title contender, trading sleeper holds with Ambrose and sending the champion tumbling over the ropes early on.
Ambrose repaid Dolph with a trip to the concrete and eventually brought the fight to the mat, though the former Kent State standout wasn’t about to let himself lose a battle of mat wrestling so fast. Digging deep, The Showoff battled from behind and finally hit pay dirt when he reversed Ambrose’s bulldog driver and struck with the Zig Zag to get his three-count over the U.S. Champion. Like the T-shirt said, it's not showing off if you back it up.
Make that two for two on Night of Champions rebounds after Fandango avenged his tapout loss to The Miz by defeating The Awesome One’s former tag partner, R-Truth, in singles competition. Shamed by the “Suntan Superman” in a dance-off on SmackDown last Friday, Fandango came out swinging but his still-gimpy leg (courtesy of Miz’s Figure-Four) hindered him in the early goings. Truth took advantage with a flurry of wild kicks, yet Fandango used his agility to knock Truth silly with a kick of his own, following up on the prone former U.S. Champion with a big leg drop for the win. A perfect ten.
To achieve The American Dream, one must play the game, so to speak. So it was no surprise that, when WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes proved less than receptive to Stephanie McMahon’s much-anticipated “proposition,” “The American Dream” suffered dearly as a result. Stephanie’s offer, as it turned out, was reinstatement for one – but not both – of Dusty’s two sons. either Cody Rhodes (harshly fired by Triple H for rebelliousness) or Goldust (who fought bravely if unsuccessfully to reinstate his brother) would receive a WWE contract, and it was up to Dusty which.
But “The Dream,” unwilling to march to a McMahon’s fife, refused (and that’s putting it politely). After The Shield arrived and seemed poised to strike down the son of a plumber for his insolence, Stephanie called off the attack and instead brought out Big Show for a proposal of his own: Watch The Shield tear “The Dream” apart, or KO Dusty himself and spare him the misery. Caught again between a rock and a hard place, the giant chose the bath of brutal mercy and cut his idol down with a swing of his fist, sending him to a local medical facility for overnight observations. Hard times indeed.
Divas Champion AJ Lee forced the “Total Divas” cast to eat their words at Night of Champions, but the stars of E!’s runaway hit got theirs on Raw when Brie Bella & The Funkadactyls stood tall in Six-Diva Tag action … though the tension that’s recently run through the division shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. For one, while it was Brie Bella who scored the deciding pin, Naomi seemed a bit irritated that the Bella Twin forced her way into the match by stealing the tag intended for her.
But the match's thickest tension unfolded outside the ring. With Natalya (whose headset was suspiciously compromised) and AJ Lee at commentary, the war of words between the Hart heiress and black widow continued ominously throughout the match, and ended with Natalya slapping the headset off of AJ after the bell had tolled for her costars' victory. The apparent message from Natalya: AJ bested her once, but it will not happen again.
Damien Sandow left the WWE Universe befuddled when he hesitated to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on a Van Terminated Alberto Del Rio at Night of Champions, and the “Uncrowned World Champion’s” attempts to save face in the ring didn’t quite pan out when he squared off against Rob Van Dam himself on Raw. The former No. 1 contender suffered at Sandow’s hands early on, although Mr. Monday Night found his rhythm by landing a series of kicks on Sandow’s chin. The Enlightened One briefly rallied by blocking Rolling Thunder with his knees and thwarting an attempted Five Star Frog Splash, but a vicious elbow to Sandow’s chin left him floored and vulnerable to a second splash that hit home.
Once upon a time, The Miz defeated Randy Orton to win his first WWE Championship. Alas, luck was not quite with The Awesome One three years later when The Viper used his old rival to exorcise his frustrations over losing the WWE Title at Night of Champions. In fact, the match almost didn’t happen when Orton attacked while hometown hero Miz was hugging his family at ringside, leaving Miz so battered that the referee nearly stopped the match.
Orton, challenged by Stephanie McMahon to unleash his vicious side, did just that when the match did get going, pummeling Miz against the turnbuckle. The former Intercontinental Champion paid Orton right back by slamming him into the barricade. Their outside brawl eventually went past the count of ten to bring the match to a No Contest, but a vicious Orton still made an example of Miz in front of his family, striking him with a hanging DDT off the barrier before trapping Miz’s neck in a chair and pulverizing it with a knee drop that left him with a damaged thorax. Happy homecoming.
Yes, Paul Heyman defeated CM Punk in a match last night, and he’s pretty happy about it. But even better for Heyman was the sudden, unexpected emergence of an apparent new “Paul Heyman Guy” that helped him achieve said victory: Ryback. Confined to a wheelchair, the mad scientist gloated his way through a victory speech before introducing Ryback as his personal savior. Ryback happily accepted Heyman’s endorsement and explained his actions as defending Heyman from the hands of a "bully." Kneeling beside his new steward, "The Big Guy" gave his solemn vow to keep Punk from ever harming Heyman again before accepting a kiss on the cheek from his benefactor. If there was ever the start to a beautiful friendship, this was it.
They're baaack! The Shield’s old rivals The Usos have once again staked their claim to the twin titles by winning a Triple Threat Elimination Tag Team Match on Raw. Facing Tons of Funk and The Real Americans, the Samoan wonders had a tough challenge ahead of them, and a combination of instinct and luck kept them in the game while Tons of Funk dominated in the early goings. Tensai briefly showed up the mighty Cesaro at his own game by hoisting the former U.S. Champion aloft for a stalled double-underhook suplex, yet Cesaro repaid him minutes later with a surprise pin.
With just Zeb’s boys and Rikishi’s sons left, Cesaro gained the advantage with a Giant Swing and left Swagger to pick the bones. Jey Uso eventually reached his brother Jimmy for a last-ditch tag, and while Jimmy was able to power out of Swagger’s Patriot Lock, he still suffered a top-rope belly-to-back suplex that would have finished them off … had Jey not tagged his brother as he went airborne and immediately struck a prone Swagger with a match-ending frog splash. OOS!!!
Daniel Bryan’s mixed it up with both Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in past weeks, but there’s one member of The Shield who’s gone untouched of yet by the submission expert … until now. For the first time, Daniel Bryan battled Roman Reigns in singles action and faced perhaps his greatest challenge among the three champions. Bryan went to work early and attacked the tag champ’s legs to take away his mobility, yet the big Hound mercilessly countered Bryan’s mat game with blunt-force wallops to the body and head.
Reigns’ power gave him the upper hand, but his gritty effort ultimately ended in a DQ when Randy Orton – who was at ringside – got involved after Bryan fought back to apply the “Yes!” Lock on Reigns. Orton next went for a steel chair to send Bryan the way of The Miz, yet before Orton could strike, a small army Superstars poured from the locker room to come to Bryan's aid. While Orton made himself scarce, the Superstars disposed of Ambrose & Reigns before leaving Bryan to turn Rollins inside out with a flying knee, ultimately hoisting the submission master on their shoulders in a symbol of solidarity as Raw went off the air. Now that’s justice.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dolph Ziggler defeats Dean Ambrose (10:00)
- Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeated R-Truth (3:28)
- Brie Bella & The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) defeated Aksana, Alicia Fox & Layla (3:00)
- Rob Van Dam (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Damien Sandow (3:00)
- Randy Orton vs. The Miz ended in a Double Count Out (1:30)
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) and Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai) in a WWE Tag Team Title #1 Contendership Triple Threat Elimination match (12:42)
- Daniel Bryan defeated Roman Reigns (w/ Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins) by DQ (18:15)
Other on-screen talent