True to Randy Orton’s prediction, the squabbles between the infighting Authority (Jamie Noble quit! Triple H threatened his protégé!) turned out to be little more than a ruse to lull Orton into a false sense of security before his match against Seth Rollins. No sooner had Rollins made his entrance than the corporate crew reformed and closed ranks around Mr. Money in the Bank, leaving The Viper thoroughly outfoxed. What happened next, however, really was surprising.
Before Orton could be sent packing to the emergency room, the lights cut out and Sting came to the aid of The Apex Predator, clubbing Kane with the baseball bat and Stinger Splashing J&J Security before dispatching Noble with the Scorpion Death Drop. Orton followed suit with an RKO to Joey Mercury, and The Authority, duly rebuked, backed off from the scorpion-snake tandem. Unfortunately for Rollins, his WrestleMania fate may already be sealed anyway. Thirteen days till, well, showtime.
With Daniel Bryan officially throwing his beard into the ring in the mad dash for the Intercontinental Championship, the seven-man Ladder Match for the storied title has officially become one of the most must-see contests of WrestleMania 31. In advance of the surefire showstopper, six of the competitors involved teamed up for a Six-Man rumble on Raw, while the seventh, R-Truth, took up his now-customary post at the commentary table with the ill-gotten Intercontinental Title clamped onto his back.
A common goal made enemies out of supposed teammates early on. Despite a strong opening, tensions rose quickly between Bryan, Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose, though the three still managed to put their squabbles aside to stop a furious rally by the ne’er-do-well trio of Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper & Stardust. Even though Ziggler accidentally superkicked Bryan on the apron, Ambrose picked up the slack by reversing Barrett’s Bull Hammer into Dirty Deeds for the three. Of course, it wasn’t long before Truth’s deception was uncovered and yet another brawl erupted over the title, the upshot of which was Barrett Bull Hammering everyone in sight and finally getting his Intercontinental Championship back. Good news all around.
The furious orations of Paul Heyman have been must-see TV over the last two weeks. He’s all but set fire to the curtain separating the WWE Universe from the behind-the-scenes action of sports-entertainment, while simultaneously hyping the WrestleMania main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to near-biblical proportions. But the advocate for The One in 21-1 may have finally bitten off more than he can chew. His newest missive brought Reigns himself to the ring with his latest mantra emblazoned across his chest and fire in his belly as he sent a message to Lesnar that, despite whatever Heyman says, he can and will dethrone The Beast Incarnate at WrestleMania. The best part is, next week, Reigns will have the chance to say that to The Conqueror's face.
In other action… Mark Henry declared for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal… Big Show vs. Erick Rowan never happened… WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd def. The New Day… Rusev and John Cena signed their WrestleMania U.S. Title Match contract… Ryback def. The Miz… Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee… and Seth Rollins called out Randy Orton.