The lesson, as always, is that it pays to be in good with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. After The Authority put aside weeks — months? — of squabbling to reunite and drop Brock Lesnar in Raw’s closing moments last week, Kane and J&J Security received their due reward for coming to Seth Rollins’ aid. First, The Architect bestowed a trio of brand-new Apple Watches on his squad, with a special shout-out to Jamie Noble for suffering three broken ribs in the course of his duty. Kane — already scheduled to team with Rollins against Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns in the main event — got an all-expenses paid trip to Maui, which left Noble & Joey Mercury empty-handed by comparison. They needn’t have worried, for Rollins had a coup de grace in his back pocket: A brand new car!
The relationship between Big Show and Mark Henry has always been touch and go, and after last week’s tense showdown between the largest and strongest men in the world, a bit of unfinished business needed to be settled. Preparing for a Triple Threat opportunity at the Intercontinental Title at WWE Battleground, it was Big Show who came out on top in this latest tussle among titans with The Miz scouting at commentary.
The Awesome One’s presence would prove to be fateful: Moments after Big Show had KO’d Henry, the Intercontinental Champion himself, Ryback, thundered to the ring to put more hurt on the giant. Right as The Big Guy had Show where he wanted him, however, Miz rushed the ring and gave The Human Wrecking Ball a boot right to the face, proving he doesn’t have to beat Ryback or Big Show at Battleground, just wait until they take each other out and swoop in for the win. The downside to his brilliance, of course, was that The Big Guy quickly demanded Miz return to the ring for a proper fight.
Perhaps it’s serendipity that, as a new crop of competitors vie to become the next WWE Superstar and Diva on WWE Tough Enough, two of the reality show’s original success stories found themselves toe-to-toe in the squared circle. Perhaps it’s bad luck for The Miz, though, that his opponent happened to be Ryback, who’s roughly twice the size as The Awesome One and, following Miz’s hit-and-run moments earlier, about five times as mad.
In fact, minus some timely — and, admittedly, effective — offense from Miz, The Human Wrecking Ball was in complete control of the contest. Miz had one out, though, and he decided to take it, rolling out of the ring and scurrying away right as the Intercontinental Champion was revving up for the Meat Hook Clothesline. Consider feeding time cancelled. For now.
Add a long-in-the-making tally in the loss column for “Team Bella,” who suffered their group's first defeat when Paige toppled Alicia Fox. The match, two weeks in the making since Alicia took Paige out on SmackDown, was initially a one-sided affair In Paige’s favor; it wasn’t until Alicia retreated into the Bellas’ orbit following a Thesz Press that the tide started to turn.
Paige wouldn’t go so easily, though: The former Divas Champion escaped a brutal tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and went to work on The Foxy One, peppering her with knees in the corner and kicks to the face. A late-game attempt at distraction from the Bellas at ringside opened Paige up to a rollup from Alicia, but Paige used Fox’s on momentum against her and reversed the rollup for a pin.
These truths are held to be self-evident in the WWE locker room: Everyone is endowed to life, liberty, and an opportunity at John Cena’s United States Championship. How fitting, then, that Cesaro, a man who was once called a “Real American,” answered The Champ’s challenge with the applied endorsement of NXT Champion Kevin Owens, who observed the contest from the commentary table.
Owens may have in fact underestimated the challenger’s abilities: Cesaro took the fight to Cena in astounding fashion, executing the Cesaro Swing and transitioning into the Sharpshooter in an homage to Tyson Kidd that had The Champ all but finished. Just when it looked like we’d be getting Cesaro-Owens II at Battleground, though, KO rushed the ring and Pop-up Powerbombed The Swiss Superman into a DQ win. The implication, of course, is that Owens will allow limitless beatings on the Cenation leader, but he’ll be the one to take the title when all is said and done.
A new day has turned into a recurring nightmare for Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods. The former WWE Tag Team Champions reunited with Bo Dallas to take on The Prime Time Players & The Lucha Dragons in a SmackDown rematch, but the song remained the same for the four positivity-preaching Superstars, right down to Bo being off-rhythm on the New Day clap.
The New Day’s power of positivity did help keep them in the match when their clap therapy fueled Bo to a comeback against D. Young, who eventually suffered a barrage of stomps to the chest from Dallas and all three members of The New Day. Mr. No Days off eventually managed to reach Titus O’Neil and, despite the efforts of a fresh Kofi, The Big Deal ran roughshod over everyone in his path. Pausing only to join Sin Cara & Kalisto in a “Lu-cha!” chant, O’Neil trampled The Dreadlocked Dynamo and caught him off the turnbuckle for a punishing Clash of the Titus to end the match.
After hours of teasing and rumors, Dolph Ziggler and Lana’s big announcement revealed them to be a true-blue, Facebook-official couple. Rusev and Summer Rae weren’t about to let The Showoff’s big moment with his new GF go uninterrupted, but even The Super Athlete’s assertion that Lana kisses like the ring post — and Summer’s insults of “gold digger” and “phony” — were enough to derail the festivities. Lana got the better of Summer in an impromptu catfight, and, with Rusev in no condition to support her, they had no recourse but to beat a hasty retreat from the happy couple.
Neville demanded a match with Sheamus, and a match with Sheamus he got. Of course, given that The Celtic Warrior is the current, conniving Money in the Bank contract holder, that includes a healthy dose of kicks, fists and dirty play. Specifically, a never-ending series of stomps to The Man That Gravity Forgot that nearly got Sheamus disqualified before Neville cut him off with a superkick.
The Irishman recovered for an array of Irish Curses, but Neville wouldn’t be grounded so easily: The former NXT Champion battled his way into position for the Red Arrow, but before he could go up, up and away, Mr. Money in the Bank kicked the ropes out from under him and, moments later, put his big boot to its signature use with a Brogue Kick to the airborne marvel.
During the Revolutionary War, the United States rose up to overthrow the rule of the British crown. That is not what happened in Washington, D.C. when King Barrett, fresh off a decree that all opponents must “pay homage,” squared off against patriotism made flesh, Jack Swagger. Unfortunately, in what turned out to be a debilitating defeat for The Real American, Swagger’s gutsy effort was cut short by the Englishman, and the former World Heavyweight Champion was felled by the Bull Hammer for the three count. Bow down.
As the mind games escalate between Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt, The Eater of Worlds had yet to make his physical presence felt (though he did send a dispatch) up until The Big Dog’s main-event tag team contest alongside Dean Ambrose against Seth Rollins & Kane. That streak of peace ended for Reigns in epic fashion, however, when Wyatt made his move in Raw’s final moments.
The New Face of Fear picked his moment perfectly in the No Disqualification contest, materializing out of the dark and laying waste to the former WWE Tag Team Champion. That left The Lunatic Fringe to suffer a Pedigree and pinfall and, when Reigns came to the aid of his fallen friend, The Authority pounced with a group beatdown of The Big Dog. Then, and only then, did Wyatt finish the job, administering Sister Abigail to what was left of Reigns as Raw crashed to black.