The days of polite handshakes in the Raw Tag Team Title race are over.
With the battle lines drawn once again between The Hardy Boyz and the new-attitude Cesaro & Sheamus, the Raw Tag Team Champions and their challengers deployed half their respective ranks — Jeff and Sheamus, to be exact — for a singles competition that lacked any of the tentative sportsmanship of their last cycle of matches.
In fact, Hardy started like a house on fire against The Alabaster Gladiator, only to find his aggression turned against him when Sheamus tossed Jeff into the barricade minutes into the match.
The Charismatic Enigma eventually clawed his way back after kicking out of a knee to the face that miraculously didn’t knock out any more of his teeth. When The Celtic Warrior Brogue Kicked Matt Hardy off the apron (an unsuspecting Cesaro broke his fall), Jeff caught his opponent with the Twist of Fate and administered the Swanton Bomb. Hardys, one. Challengers, zero.
The Miz’s tendency to get people riled up to the point of a blind, frothing rage didn’t just land him on the wrong end of a Dean Ambrose beating — it cost him the Intercontinental Championship.
Granted, Miz technically won the match, but The Lunatic Fringe’s excessive aggression was such that the ref was forced to throw out the contest, handing Miz the disqualification victory but allowing Ambrose to retain the title via champion’s advantage.
It was a surprising ending to a match that had been a dead heat from the word jump, and things only took a turn when Maryse distracted the ref while Miz wound up for a massive low-blow on The Lunatic Fringe. Ambrose intercepted the attack and replied in kind with a Charlie Brown boot to The A-Lister’s nether regions, only this time the ref was watching, and Ambrose was disqualified as a result.
Luckily for Miz, Kurt Angle was willing to give him another opportunity at the title at WWE Extreme Rules, but The A-Lister demanded, and received, further consideration, cajoling The Olympic Hero into adding the stipulation that the title can change hands via disqualification. The confrontation got a bit more heated than expected, but the reappearance of Elias Samson was enough to diffuse the tension.
There aren’t many more effective ways to rile up Seth Rollins than by calling him “gutless,” but that’s exactly what Bray Wyatt did in advance of their first-ever singles match in Raw’s main event, and The Kingslayer was out to make sure The New Face of Fear would regret it. Rollins won the match … but not in the way he would have liked.
Rollins put Wyatt on his heels almost immediately in the show-closing clash, forcing The Reaper of Souls to fight from underneath and wear The Architect down with his unorthodox, punishing offense. Rollins hung in tough, escaping Sister Abigail and swooping down on Bray outside the ring with a cross body, at which point Samoa Joe stormed in from the crowd and attacked The Kingslayer as payback for injuring his knee earlier in the night.
The Samoan Submission Machine’s interference didn’t sit well with the disqualified Wyatt, who suckered Joe into a tentative alliance before hitting Sister Abigail on the unsuspecting big man. The Eater of Worlds then turned his attention to Rollins, also administering the maneuver to The Kingslayer.
So, this is where we leave five of Team Red’s top Superstars: Primed to clash in the first-ever Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way match in a battle that could potentially reshape the New Era with an opportunity to challenge Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at stake. With it being every man for himself, there will truly be nowhere to run.
In other action … Raw General Manager Kurt Angle announced an Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way Match to determine who will challenge Universal Champion Brock Lesnar … Alicia Fox def. Sasha Banks … Raw Tag Team Champion Jeff Hardy def. Sheamus … Bayley confronted Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss … WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville & TJP def. Austin Aries & Gentleman Jack Gallagher … Roman Reigns def. Finn Bálor … Goldust attacked R-Truth … and Big Cass def. Titus O'Neil.