The Authority issued an ultimatum to Dean Ambrose
“Under duress” is a polite way to describe the manner in which Dean Ambrose got his WWE World Heavyweight Title opportunity against Seth Rollins last week, but The Authority, fair sports that they are, decided to honor The Lunatic Fringe’s unique negotiation tactics … provided a bit of formalities were out of the way first. Triple H, Stephanie McMahon & Co., in a Raw-opening address to the WWE Universe, told the former U.S. Champion the match was all his, provided his name was on the official contract by night’s end.
Given that this wasn’t shaping up to be so simple as lending the guy a pen, Roman Reigns stormed to his brother-in-arms’ aid when it looked like Dean was headed for the wrong end of a group beatdown. Which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse; while Ambrose was temporarily saved, the Shield vets found themselves wrangled into a tag-team bout against Rollins & Kane.
Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins & Kane
Everything’s coming up Ambrose! Even though The Lunatic Fringe hadn’t yet put his name on the official WWE World Heavyweight Title Match contract, the No. 1 contender — with some backup from Roman Reigns — showed his mettle with an (wait for it) authoritative victory over Seth Rollins & Kane in a match the Shield veterans controlled handily from the word jump.
The only point it looked like The Authority might win, in fact, was when Rollins bailed Kane out of a Superman Punch-elbow drop combo from his old buddies. The Achitect briefly put Ambrose on his heels after that and nearly pulled his team out of the fire, but he found himself toasted by The Lunatic Fringe when his attempt to reverse Ambrose’s rebound lariat was itself reversed into a backslide for three. Unfortunately for Ambrose, though, a post-match scuffle that ended with the cameraman taking an errant hit ended in an arrest for simple assault by a pair of New York police officers. The Lunatic Fringe is going to jail.
Rusev def. R-Truth
Let’s be honest: There was no way Rusev wasn’t going to destroy someone after getting shucked aside by Lana in favor of Dolph Ziggler last week. It was just R-Truth’s bad luck that it happened to be him (between this and his match the Elimination Chamber, Truth’s got a long week ahead). After The Super Athlete Accolade’d Truth into unconsciousness, however, he managed to coax Lana out for a kind of backhanded apology and an offer to resume their crusade, if Lana retracted her claim that he quit against John Cena in Bulgarian at WWE Payback.
Dealbreaker. Not only did The Ravishing Russian — who seemed to be considering the proposal before Rusev dropped his caveat — refuse the olive branch, she deemed Rusev as “a liar and a quitter,” turned on her heel and kissed Dolph Ziggler some more on the stage. Rusev: Crushed.
Ryback def. King Barrett
King Barrett was the last Intercontinental Champion before Daniel Bryan won the title at WrestleMania — and, in his mind, the true titleholder given that Bryan never beat him one-on-one. Ryback is one of the five men besides Barrett who’ll contend for the vacant prize in the Elimination Chamber. So, does untamed hunger win out over the claim of a king? In this case, it does indeed.
Despite a smart, suffocating game plan by Barrett — target injured ribs, repeat — The Big Guy dug deep and worked Barrett’s own torso like a heavy bag before playing possum as the King wound up the Bull Hammer. Having successfully suckered Barrett in, Ryback sprang up with a spinebuster and Shell Shocked to cap off what was, frankly, a meal fit for a king. Next up? Rusev on SmackDown for the second course.
Neville def. Stardust
After getting his wings (or knee) clipped by Bo Dallas last week, it was a relief to see Neville back to his high-flying ways, leaping and bounding his way to a relatively quick, if not entirely seamless, victory. His foe for the evening was Stardust, who hissed at “Arrow” star Stephen Amell at ringside before promptly failing his city by way of the Red Arrow, despite a gritty performance that nearly got him the win. (suffice it to say, the long-awaited Mr. Sinister-Green Arrow grudge match will have to wait … though maybe not.)
Alas, The Man That Gravity Forgot wasn’t on cloud nine for too long: Dallas, who had taken up a position at ringside during the match, bum-rushed his fellow former NXT Champion — and Elimination Chamber opponent — yet again after the match, delivering a cheap shot to his knee so callous it defies Bo-lief, if not quite gravity.
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler
Getting a kiss from Lana is all well and good for Dolph Ziggler, but The Ravishing Russian’s lip-lock turned out as an inadvertent kiss of death when Rusev interfered with The Showoff’s actual contest on Raw, a rubber match against Sheamus. The Bulgarian Brute picked his moment perfectly, too, stalking down to the match right after Ziggler had superkicked Sheamus into a stupor.
The Showoff saw Rusev coming and intercepted him with a superkick of his own, only to catch a Brogue Kick when he turned his attention back to the Irishman. Dolph didn’t have to kiss anyone’s arse this time; he did, however, eat a faceful of foot after the match when Rusev locked the battered Showoff in the Accolade, all while making sure Lana got a front-row seat to the carnage.
U.S. Champion John Cena def. Zack Ryder in a Title Match
The last WWE event ever in Nassau Coliseum? An open challenge for John Cena’s U.S. Championship? Come on, there was only one Superstar who (woo woo woo) could have stepped up for this one. Zack Ryder — accompanied and endorsed by the cast of “Entourage” — answered Cena’s call in Uniondale, going toe-to-toe with his longtime buddy to reclaim his greatest glory in WWE. For all the gusto with which Long Island Iced-Z attacked The Champ, though, Round 2 of the Ryder Revolution will have to wait.
A timely interference from Kevin “Johnny Drama” Dillon, a Killswitch (props to Captain Charisma), a Broski Boot and a Rough Ryder all weren’t enough to give The Ultimate Broski his second run with the Stars and Bars. Ryder decided to go high-risk, high-reward with a 450 Splash that missed its mark, allowing Cena to execute the Attitude Adjustment for the win. And the emotional celebration afterwards was all Kevin Owens needed to rush the ring and obliterate The Champ with yet another Pop-up Powerbomb. Smart, Owens. Smart.
Tamina def. Paige
With Nikki Bella fielding challenges from Paige and Naomi for her Divas Championship, it’s plain to see that the Divas are making their own chances these days. It’ll be Paige who goes into SmackDown on her heels, though, thanks to some teamwork from Naomi and Tamina during the latter’s match with The Diva of Tomorrow on Raw. In fact, it was Naomi who hand-wrapped the victory for her cousin-by-marriage, cold-cocking Paige on the apron and allowing Tamina to scoop the former Divas Champion up for a match-ending Samoan Drop, all with The Bellas watching at commentary.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, The Lucha Dragons, Los Matadores, The Prime Time Players and The Ascension via Disqualification
The New Day has been spending so much time protesting their title defense inside the Elimination Chamber, they seem to have missed out on the very real possibility they might win the match. That’s more or less how it went down on Raw when Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods — staging a sit-in to dispute their participation in the Chamber — were forced to battle all of their potential usurpers at once.
We say “more or less” because while New Day technically won the match, it was a DQ ruling that gave it to them after Woods hit Kalisto with the Honor Roll and preened so much that the rest of the Superstars in waiting all jumped him at once. And while The New Day survived the ensuing melee, Woods got his when Cesaro & Tyson Kidd sprang and dropped him with the Cesaro Swing-dropkick one-two punch.
Dean Ambrose signed his WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match contract
Turnabout is fair play, and technicalities are a funny thing. With Dean Ambrose temporarily incarcerated (even though Rollins instigated the fracas that sent him away in the first place) and therefore unable to sign his title match contract, Roman Reigns once again came to his friend’s rescue, rushing the ring and taking the fight to all The Authority at once for trying to rob his friend of his title match.
In an inverse of the night’s opening incident, just when it looked like Roman was headed for a world of hurt, Ambrose, exonerated by some cell-phone footage by a backstage worker, made a triumphant return to the arena behind the wheel of the same paddy wagon that took him away, assisting Reigns in clearing out The Authority with a pair of nightsticks as the night came to an end. The best part? He even signed the contract! Signed, sealed and completely legal.