In case you were somehow unaware that Seth Rollins retained the WWE World Heavyweight Title all by his lonesome at Money in the Bank, allow him to remind you. Again, and again, and again. The Architect turned Raw’s opening moments into a lofty perch from which to crow about his grueling victory over Dean Ambrose. The champion channeled Chris Jericho by rechristening the show“Monday Night Rollins” and whipping out a laundry list of people to thank — and all of them happened to be some variation of Seth Rollins.
And yet, every great, preening villain needs a foil to keep him honest, and Ohio hero Ambrose, who eloquently channeled Dusty Rhodes after the show last night, wasn’t about to let Rollins style and profile his way into the sunset without a fight. The Lunatic Fringe crashed the champion’s self-coronation, chased him away and sat himself in a chair until he got the fight he came for.
Winning the golden ticket was all well and good, but Sheamus’ first night as Mr. Money in the Bank was about as rough an outing as a fella could ask for. First, The Celtic Warrior had to deal with a fighting-mad Dean Ambrose, who he was pitted against in lieu of Seth Rollins on The Authority’s orders. The Lunatic Fringe made an example of Sheamus, gimpy leg and all, by unleashing a fight so strong the Irishman decided to exercise his rights as Mr. Money in the Bank and ditch the match altogether.
If only it were that simple, though. Sheamus made it halfway up the ramp only to be intercepted by Randy Orton. The Viper’s appearance stopped Sheamus short and allowed Ambrose to put him away with a pin, after which Orton beat the Irishman just short of an RKO (Sheamus escaped that move). So to recap: Sheamus tried to walk out in protest, got stopped by Orton, lost the match 1-2-3 and got beat up some more. How did the old shirt go? Oh, yeah. Tough laoch, fella.
Call it The War of Two Kings: R-Truth beat King Barrett at Money in the Bank Kickoff; ergo, he believes he himself is now king — King What’s Up, to be exact. Perhaps looking to extract some kingly payback against the Superstar who would be king, Barrett got another crack at Truth and His Grace was defeated yet again. The feat was doubly impressive, as Truth initially thought he was on commentary and came to the ring in street clothes and makeshift royal garb, yet managed to win anyway with a schoolboy out of nowhere. At that point, nothing short of The Many-Faced God could save Truth from a royal punishment. Following a Bull Hammer that knocked Truth cold, Barrett denounced the would-be monarch for making a “mockery” of the Brit's own, hard-won regal title. Boom.
Kevin Owens lost to John Cena last night, but did he really lose? Given that the NXT Champion powerbombed Cena into the ring apron and a diagnosis of lower back contusions, severe muscle spasms and bruising, it’s safe to say KO was — literally and figuratively — standing tall when all was said and done. And now he’s spoiling for a U.S. Title Match to boot. Despite all that, only a win can pay for a loss, and Owens got his rebound victory on Raw thanks to a non-title open challenge that was answered, passionately if somewhat hastily, by Dolph Ziggler.
Looking to make his hometown crowd proud, The Showoff fared worse in the endeavor than fellow Ohioan Dean Ambrose earlier in the night, which isn't to say Dolph didn't keep it close. "Zig Man" kept pace with the NXT Champion and even reversed the Pop-up Powerbomb into a Zig Zag, but the fight took so much out of Ziggler that he couldn’t make the cover in time. Owens answered with a superkick and a Pop-up Powerbomb for the win.
You ruin my match, I ruin yours. Just an hour after Randy Orton cost Sheamus his contest against Dean Ambrose, The Celtic Warrior’s presence — and Kane’s powers as Director of Operations —helped stack the deck against The Apex Predator in his own tilt against The Devil’s Favorite Demon. Right as Orton began to turn the match into a rout, the Irishman made his way to ringside and the writing appeared on the wall. Kane used his power to turn the bout into a No Holds Barred Match and Mr. Money in the Bank took his cue, Brogue Kicking The Viper almost immediately and handing the win to the corporate monster.
It would appear the dance of giants over the Intercontinental Championship now has a third member. The Miz, still clamoring for the Intercontinental Title Match he never got, crashed Ryback’s title defense against Big Show at Money in the Bank and got a match with The World’s Largest Athlete on Raw as a result. What started as a literal chase between the two turned hostile after Show suckered Miz in with a fake injury. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner then went to town in a hurry. After Show tossed Miz into Ryback’s lap at commentary, however, Miz seized his opening while the two big men argued and escaped with a count-out win.
The reason, as it turns out, was simple. Rather than shower Roman Reigns in riddles and half-truths when ordered to explain his actions at Money in the Bank, Bray Wyatt gave it to The Big Dog short and sweet: Reigns cost him his chance to enter the Money in the Bank Match. So he had to go. “Anyone but you,” was The Eater of Worlds’ elaboration. Then he followed with some thinly veiled threats against Reigns’ daughter. For once, Reigns might want to actually consider that age-old command of “Run.”
Paige’s one-woman crusade for change in the Divas division isn’t exactly panning out the way she’d probably like. First, her town-hall meeting with the women’s locker room was met with crickets, and then, when none of the ladies answered her call for a tag partner against The Bella Twins, Nikki & Brie handily dismantled the two-time Divas Champion in a Handicap Match. Even after Paige briefly caused the twins to take each other out with a miscommunication, Nikki rescued Brie from the Ram-Paige and sealed the match with a forearm to the face and the Rack Attack. The empire lives on.
New rule for future musical guests: Don’t dedicate your performance to John Cena while Kevin Owens is around. After Machine Gun Kelly & Victoria Monet decided to pay homage to The Champ in musical form with a performance of MGK's hit “A Little More,” the NXT Champion made his second appearance of the night with a hit of his own. His attack of the celebrated emcee culminated in Owenspowerbombing MGK off the stage.
Today is … not a New Day. Despite the promises of the now-former WWE Tag Team Champions to reclaim their glory in short order, Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods found their plans spoiled by the trio of Neville and the new titleholders, The Prime Time Players. Even though they were restored to “full strength” — i.e. all three of them were there — and they put an impressive hurting on Darren Young, The New Day had one flaw in their strategy: targeting Titus O’Neil instead of Neville.
Once The Man That Gravity Forgot tagged into the contest against Woods, it was pretty seamless sailing from there. After attempts to thwart the proceedings from Kingston & Big E — both thwarted by O’Neil — Neville hung tough and Mr. No Days off came through in the clutch with a fireman's carry gutbuster to Kingston’s battered ribs. Neville tagged in, swooped in for the Red Arrow, and it was goodnight, nurse.
He’s baaaaack. After a whole night of The Authority teasing a mystery opponent for Seth Rollins’ next title defense — and Rollins himself baiting his tenuous allies into accepting the position — Triple H and Co. made a hard left in Raw’s final moments. He summoned Brock Lesnar from exile, naming The Beast Incarnate as The Architect’s No. 1 contender for WWE Battleground. Despite Rollins’ eagerness to live up to whatever “pressure” came his way, The Authority’s decision to un-shutter Suplex City (as a potential punishment for Rollins' recent attitude?) left The Architect literally shaking in his boots. That is, at least until he beat a terrified retreat. Is the decision best for Rollins’ personal health? Probably not. But for once, The Authority and the WWE Universe are on the same page in saying it is definitely best for business.