Having conquered the East over the weekend, it’s safe to say Brock Lesnar has gotten his groove back since Seth Rollins and The Authority left him in a heap two weeks ago. If anything, The Beast Incarnate seemed more fighting mad than usual when he returned to Raw. With Kofi Kingston left in tatters as a show of his power, “The God of Violent Retribution” loomed large in Raw’s opening moments, while Paul Heyman did not mince his words in a message to the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He said Rollins, and anyone who stands alongside him, is a marked man, and Lesnar would not leave the Allstate Arena before dealing with the champion accordingly.
In two weeks, two of WWE’s most imposing big men will go to war over the Intercontinental Championship, with The Miz playing potential spoiler. But on Raw, reigning titleholder Ryback and original challenger Big Show gave the WWE Universe a preview with a good old-fashioned monster mash while The Awesome One pestered them with running commentary at ringside.
Miz’s verbal meddling quickly turned to physical interference when he rushed both men in the ring — Show took the first punch, which means he got the disqualification win. That maneuver unfortunately put him square in the sights of both the giant and The Human Wrecking Ball, though. With each man having deduced that the enemy of his enemy is, in fact, his friend, Big Show and Big Guy joined forces for a two-sided stomping of The Most Must-See Superstar of All Time. Once Miz was disposed of, it was Ryback who got the last word, taking the fight to Big Show with a Meathook Clothesline that took the giant clean off his feet.
She may have managed to chip the armor of Team Bella last week, but Paige isn’t exactly back, back, back on top of the world just yet. The Diva of Tomorrow got a crack at Brie Bella on Raw, and with no Divas yet to join her cause against the Divas division’s resident queen bees, she summarily fell to Nikki Bella’s numbers game even as she had Brie exactly where she wanted her.
After Brie missed the mark with her second-rope dropkick, Nikki and Alicia Fox climbed onto the apron, each absorbing a strike from Paige that allowed Brie a moment to recover and plant her opponent with a facebuster. The deed done, Fox and Nikki took turns administering their finishing maneuvers to a fallen Paige before posing over their foe with the Divas Title aloft.
Seeing as he’s Mr. Money in the Bank and all, can Sheamus afford to put Bray Wyatt on retainer? The New Face of Fear has been The Celtic Warrior’s guardian angel for weeks now, specifically in contests against Roman Reigns. Wyatt didn’t disappoint on Raw when it came time for his latest bailout of the Money in the Bank contract holder. The Big Dog had beaten Sheamus into the ropes when The Eater of Worlds made his move, distracting Reigns with a well-planned bit of theater in the form of a decoy Wyatt. He only revealed his true self once Reigns had been sufficiently distracted from his task.
The diversion took Reigns out of the ring and handed the win via count-out to Sheamus, though the Irishman was hardly out of the woods yet as Randy Orton picked that moment to strike from outta nowhere. The Viper’s return ended horribly for Mr. Money in the Bank; Orton hunted his enemy across the ring and finally finished him off with a long-awaited RKO.
It’s crushing time, again. Having been confined to a walking boot for two months now, Rusev took to the ring in what seemed like his latest attempt to run down Dolph Ziggler and Lana’s burgeoning relationship. But it turned out to be a trap for The Showoff that The Bulgarian Brute executed to perfection. With some help from Summer Rae, who Rusev has clearly claimed as his new companion following Lana’s defection, the former U.S. Champion suckered The Showoff and his lady love out into the open, removing his walking boot to reveal his healed-up leg. He put it to good use, stomping The Showoff into the mat and slamming Ziggler throat-first into his crutch while Summer disposed of Lana and paramedics swarmed to the former World Champion’s aid.
You’d have to be a lunatic to mistake Dean Ambrose for a Bo-liever, but Bo Dallas certainly had his supporters in the Second City who spurred him on during a strong, if doomed, effort against the former U.S. Champion on Raw. With dueling, deafening chants of “Let’s go Ambrose!” and “We Bo-lieve!” spurring him on, the onetime NXT Champion muscled Ambrose to the ground and treated himself to a victory lap that turned out to be both ill-advised and premature as Ambrose roared back from his deficit with a flying elbow, rebound lariat and Dirty Deeds in short order. Forget the Ambrose Asylum, somebody book Bo a room at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and fast.
Have the trials of King Barrett finally come to an end? After weeks of torment at the hands of R-Truth — aka the self-proclaimed “King What’s Up” — the 2015 King of the Ring finally Bull Hammered his way toa much-needed victory over the usurper on Raw. All this despite an effort from Truth that seemed like it was bound to end in another miracle win for the would-be king. But the former U.S. Champion mistakenly took to the air after evading a first Bull Hammer that landed him square in the path of a second elbow to the face. And now his match has ended.
Despite the best efforts of Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins managed to escape the Second City without a scratch to his name. J&J Security? Not so lucky. Despite encouragement from Triple H, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble were the proverbial lambs that The Beast Incarnate feasted upon when Lesnar stormed a trash-talking Rollins in the ring. Given that J&J both sported ax handles as equalizers, Lesnar tore J&J’s beloved Cadillac apart with axes of his own to lure J&J out of the ring. He followed with a beating on the overmatched enforcers that put his decimation of Kofi Kingston to shame.
Not only did The Anomaly shatter Jamie Noble’s arm in the Kimura Lock, but he also inducted Mercury into Suplex City by belly-to-bellying the former Tag Team Champion through the windshield of the Caddy. Rollins, meanwhile, got out of dodge while the getting was good, fleeing Lesnar through the crowd and taking the stairs two at a time to the safety of the concourse. The horror. The horror.
If there’s anything The New Day needed after their encounter with The Beast in the East, it was a morale-boosting win to carry them to WWE Battleground. They got just that on Raw, knocking off The Lucha Dragons while The Prime Time Players watched from the commentary table. With Titus O’Neil taking over commentary duties in style to match his suit, the Dragons confounded Big E & Kofi Kingston from the word “jump,” pausing only to swat away would-be interloper Xavier Woods.
It was Woods who ended up being the deciding factor in the match when Sin Cara & Kalisto took flight with synchronized suicide dives against all three members of The New Day. Kalisto hit his mark with Big E, but Woods moved Kingston out of harm’s way and The International Sensation crashed to the ground. As Big E rid himself of Kalisto, his teammates helped him haul Sin Cara back into the ring for the Midnight Hour that would end the match.
Having run afoul of a demon in war paint, Kevin Owens came back from Japan a few pounds of hardware lighter thanks to his NXT Title loss in the Far East. So in a reversal of last week’s fake-out, the fuming brawler attempted to jump the line and answer John Cena’s Open Challenge in Raw’s final bout. But turnabout’s fair play, and it was The Champ who demurred until WWE Battleground this time, offering the match instead to a jilted Cesaro in the first ever U.S. Open rematch in the institution’s history.
The King of Swing seized the opportunity like the proverbial brass ring, relocating Cena to Uppercut City as he blasted The Champ with every variation imaginable on the maneuver, including a spinning springboard European variation that knocked Cena loopy for minutes on end. The two titans traded bone-rattling maneuvers for minutes on end, though a trifecta of crossfaces from Cesaro seemed to give him the advantage. As the near-falls began to pile up, Cesaro went high-risk for a second-rope Neutralizer, which Cena barely countered into an airborne Attitude Adjustment for the win. After the bell, Owens made his return to ambush the weakened Cena and ate an AA of his own. The Champ is still here, and by God, did he earn it.