The Champ is here, The Champ has defended, and the U.S. Open Challenge is officially back on the table! And while rumors persisted of Heath Slater finally challenging John Cena for the right to wear Old Glory, The One-Man Band was unfortunately pre-empted by The New Day. The trio had their eyes set on Freebirding the U.S. Title along with their Tag Team Title hardware and sent Xavier Woods in to do the honors. Despite hitting Cena with the Honor Roll and Lost in the Woods, Woods found himself trapped in the STF. At that point, the previously ejected Big E and Kofi Kingston threw decorum to the winds and decided to #SavetheWoods by rushing the ring and cutting the bout off in a disqualification, only for The Dudley Boyz to thunder down and even the odds. Which brought us to …
… A big fat win for the brothers in positivity! But all jokes aside, if The New Day’s title defense against the Dudleys at Madison Square Garden goes awry, at least #POP can say they got a win over their Attitude Era foils and The Champ, John Cena, under the bright lights of primetime. And it’s probably due, in large part, to Big E, who lit Cena up with a spear through the ropes that would have Rex Ryan salivating and took The Champ out of the running. That left Kofi Kingston free to pick up the pieces, but after he missed with Trouble in Paradise, Kingston was left to suffer a Bubba Bomb and a Wassup! before the Dudleys set him up for the 3D. Xavier Woods incapacitated Bubba Ray, Kingston connected with Trouble in Paradise on D-Von and then New! Day won! New! Day won! New! Day won!
Last week it was Cesaro. This week, Big Show paved another step on his road to Madison Square Garden — and a waiting Brock Lesnar — by KO’ing Mark Henry in the latest tilt between the last two great giants of WWE. If the results are any indication, Show must be more than ready to face The Beast Inarnate. After Henry attempted an early World’s Strongest Slam that went nowhere, the giant made surprisingly quick work of his foe with a spear, a trifecta of bodyslams, a big boot to the head and,finally, a KO Punch.
The last time PCB set foot on “Miz TV,” The Miz couldn’t get a word in edgewise. This time, The Awesome One did not even get a word in at all when Charlotte and Becky Lynch swung by his set,swatted the mic out of his hands and called out Paige to settle their brewing score. They got a trash-talking Team Bella instead, and as it turns out, the boasts of the former Divas Champion and her squad were enough to bring Paige out of hiding. Not only that, but it was also enough to ostensibly reunite PCB when fisticuffs broke out, leading once again to …
... A Six-Diva Tag Team Match! Although this one didn’t end so great for PCB since, as it turns out, Paige still isn’t much for being a team player after effectively striking out on her own last week. In a master class of shadiness, the two-time Divas Champion took a hike on her companions in the heat of battle, leading Natalya to make her entrance and take Paige’s place on PCB’s apron. Team NCB didn’t get far, though, as Paige took it upon herself to neutralize The Queen of Harts, and Nikki Bella pounced with a Rack Attack to Charlotte.
On SmackDown, The Prime Time Players effectively served notice to The Dudley Boyz that they’re not to be counted out in the Tag Team Title picture just yet. That’s all well and good, but if Darren Young & Titus O’Neil weren’t leapfrogged by Bray Wyatt’s monstrous men-at-arms, they were effectively trampled under foot by the combined efforts of Luke Harper & Braun Strowman. A gutsy effort by Young kept PTP in the running, but The New Face of Desolation and The New Face of Destruction ultimatelysnuffed out a late-game rally by The Big Deal to put the match to bed with Harper’s discus clothesline and Strowman’s suffocating submission hold.
Stardust just keeps making enemies wherever he goes. In a match meant to settle the score between Neville and The Prince of Dark Matter, a returning King made it a point to reclaim his honor. King Barrett — unseen since the night after SummerSlam — made his entrance right as Neville was about to fly with the Red Arrow. Stardust briefly thwarted His Grace by shoving Neville straight into a Bull Hammer elbow to get himself disqualified. Match result aside, Stardust’s fellow former Lord of Darkness clearly had someone else set in his sights. Still smarting from Stardust’s treachery, Barrett uncorked a second elbow that knocked The Prince of Dark Matter into another dimension. Boom.
Of all the recent revelations about Kane, the fact that he can be subjected to a corporate performance evaluation has to rank among the most surprising. Even more so was the fact that the jovial Director of Operations passed his exam with flying colors despite the underhanded attempts of Seth Rollins to sabotage the big man’s rapport with his evaluator, Ashley from Human Resources. Less surprising was that Rollins — who received a dirt-poor write-up — reacted to this news by beating Kane up, causing him to be carted out in an ambulance. Nor was it surprising that said ambulance was derailed before it could leave the arena by Kane’s transformation into his demonic form. Nor, once again, was it surprising that said demon returned to the ring and beat the holy hell out of Rollins before laying hands on the WWE World Heavyweight Title. To be fair, he did say he was great at conflict resolution.
Did Jim Kelly lose four Super Bowls because he didn’t Bo-lieve? Debatable. Hot takes aside, Randy Orton certainly put on a show for the Buffalo Bills players in attendance by defeating Bo Dallas after the former NXT Champion’s misguided attempt to convert the #BillsMafia into Bo-lievers. To his credit, Dallas began the match on the offensive, but Orton was near-unstoppable once he got rolling, mangling Dallas while the Bills cheered on and unleashing an RKO (RK-Bo?) outta nowhere (outta Bo-where?) to claim the win.
You would think that the enemy of one’s enemy would be one’s friend. But then again, Kevin Owensobliterated his last friend, and the only guys Rusev seems to like are The New Day, so yeah, it’s fair to say these two have no use for each other. They got to throw down in a match, however, based off theirscuffle on SmackDown. It didn't get very far, as Ryback’s presence at commentary led to a two-on-one beatdown that was ultimately broken up by Dolph Ziggler’s timely arrival.
Brock Lesnar is back in action Saturday, which means Paul Heyman is back to herald the coming of The Beast Incarnate once again. And while the WWE Universe was certainly enraptured by the mad scientist’s Go to Hell–themed homily, Big Show was not. The already victorious giant confronted Heyman and clearly had no intention of going to Suplex City, let alone hell, come bell time at Madison Square Garden. With Heyman uncharacteristically subdued, Show unveiled a new mantra for Saturday — Eat, Sleep, Beat Brock Lesnar at Madison Square Garden, Repeat — that even the advocatecouldn’t muster up a response for.
Roman Reigns promised to end the war with Bray Wyatt, one-on-one on Raw. Through no fault of his own, he reneged on his word — although he certainly gave The Eater of Worlds a sizable beating before everything went to hell. With The Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton nowhere to be found at ringside, Reigns struggled out of the gate. A few strings of offenses aside, it seemed that months of mind games from The New Face of Fear had taken a toll on The Big Dog. What began as a match soon turned into a fight outside the ring, and even after the double count-out had been recorded, Reigns attempted to finish Wyatt in the literal sense by beating him throughout the arena. The Eater of Worlds — after using a WWE sound technician as a human projectile — gained the upper had by pounding Reigns through the barricade, but The Big Dog had the last word by spearing Wyatt through the announce table. Yes, Universe, that was awesome. But is it over? Unlikely.