Match 4 – Natalya def. Divas Champion Nikki Bella in a non title match
Never underestimate the power of “Total Divas” solidarity. While Natalya and Paige seemed to be on the outs at the end of last night’s midseason premiere, The Diva of Tomorrow extended an olive branch to Natalya that was even better than a gift for little Makaveli. After The Queen of Harts rode a distraction from Paige and defeated Nikki Bella in a reverse of last week’s result, Paige then ran to her castmate’s aid and saved Natalya from an after-the-bell ambush by the champ.
Match 5 – Luke Harper def. Erick Rowan
The Authority’s belated tour of revenge got off to a boffo start when they finagled Dolph Ziggler out of the Intercontinental Title yet again, and their follow-up was equally impressive. Nothing less than the mental and physical railroading of Erick Rowan. Not only did the corporate power worm their way into “Big Red’s” formidable cerebellum by pitting him against his former Wyatt Family brother Luke Harper, but they also stacked the deck physically by appointing J&J Security as the guest referees.
The strategy paid dividends almost instantly. Despite a smothering attack by Rowan, J&J bailed the former Intercontinental Champion out at every turn, blocking his attacks and intentionally bungling the pinfall count. That is, until Harper unleashed his discus clothesline on an exasperated Rowan and J&J hit the canvas for a fast-count and assisted in a post-match humiliation of the sheep-masked giant.
Match 6 – Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose in an Ambulance Match
Somebody dial 911! In a trip to Happy New Year Hell he certainly didn’t expect, The Lunatic Fringe was wheeled out of Corpus Christi, Texas, in the back of an ambulance, taking the decisive loss in his and Wyatt’s epic rivalry. Blame a solid plan of attack by The Eater of Worlds for the loss. Wyatt went to town on the former U.S. Champion’s knee in the early stages of the sprawling brawl and Ambrose was slowed to a crawl for a long slog of the bout.
But a plunder in the match restored life to The Lunatic Fringe. Chairs and tables stored in the bed of the ambulance provided him last-ditch escapes and a stretcher backboard to his enemy’s throat (turnabout is fair play) plus an elbow off the top of the ambulance to a table-prone Wyatt seemed gave Ambrose some much-needed breathing room. His relief was short-lived, though, as a pair of Sister Abigails to the ambulance doors left Ambrose out on his feet, and it was Wyatt who finally shut the door, literally and figuratively, on the contest. So Ambrose is headed to the hospital. Now, just pray for the poor orderlies who have to restrain him.
Match 7 – The Miz, Damien Mizdow & Alicia Fox def. WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos & Naomi
The Miz & Damien Mizdow have yet to declare their rematch for the WWE Tag Team Titles, but in the meantime, The Awesome One and his rising-star stunt double got themselves mixed up in yet another professional rivalry: that of former and new “Total Divas” cast-members Naomi and Alicia Fox. With the two Divas uniting alongside The Usos and The Mizzes, respectively, the ensuing Six-Person Mixed Tag Team Match immediately took on an intensely personal air.
Naomi and Alicia started things off – unsurprisingly given the incident before the match – but the bout quickly reverted to Miz, Mizdow and The Usos. Mizdow, sadly, was denied entry into the match yet again by his mentor, but Miz proved to have learned his lesson from last week. A timely bit of misdirection employed to a rolling Uso gave Miz the opening to seal the bout with a roll-up. Awesomely done.
Match 8 – Seth Rollins & Kane def. Ryback
The hits keep on coming for the veterans of Team Cena. After Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan were served their payback by The Authority, Ryback was the next to face the brass-knuckled bruise of the corporate power couple when his bout with Seth Rollins was turned into a Handicap Match pairing Mr. Money in the Bank with Kane. Needless to say, The Devil’s Favorite Director of Operations hadn’t quite exorcised his lingering beef with Ryback over their concession-stand fracas from a couple months ago, and despite The Big Guy’s positivity-fueled counter-attack, The Authority’s synergy was too strong. Interference by Kane stopped Ryback from hitting Shell Shocked on Rollins, and when The Big Guy answered by administering his signature slam to Kane, Mr. Money in the Bank pounced with one – no, two – Curb Stomps to finish it.
Match 9 – Big E def. Adam Rose via Disqualification
Adam Rose, it seems, has fashioned himself less a party leader than a deity among his Rosebuds. He certainly had some kind of higher power on his side in a match against Big E, who was well on his way to steamrolling Rose when two masked Rosebuds interfered and disposed of the former Intercontinental Champion on their benefactor’s behalf. The hooded bandits turned out to be none other than Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, who have been making waves in the tag division of late and appear to have served notice of their own to one of the WWE roster’s more beloved entertainers.
The Authority held ‘John Cena Appreciation Night’
The authority came out to the arena. Stephanie McMahon welcomed everyone to the John Cena appreciation night. John Cena knew what best for business was, John Cena gave what WWE Universe wanted to see, and he brought the authority back. Stephanie McMahon introduced who brought the authority back, John Cena.
John Cena was already standing inside the arena who made is entrance previously. Triple H showed the footage from last week before starting off. The footage showed how Seth Rollins forced John Cena to reinstate The Authority. What should have been a celebration for Edge, Christian and the WWE Universe turned into a nightmare of the highest order. Seth Rollins seized the ultimate opportunity on “The Cutting Edge Peep Show” and exploited the neck injury that ended Edge’s career to force John Cena to do the unthinkable. With the assistance of Big Show and J&J Security, Rollins incapacitated Christian and threatened to administer a potentially life-endangering Curb Stomp to Edge unless Cena caved in and reinstated The Authority. Having no choice, Cena made the sacrifice for his former rival and agreed to bring Triple H & Stephanie McMahon back to power. The couple made their return then and there, watching with glee after Rollins gave Cena the beating he’d intended for Edge and raising a glass to 2015 in WWE. It was a development, it must be said, that sat quite well with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, who celebrated Cena’s destruction alongside The Authority atop the ramp.
Triple H admitted that they had a lot of problems before, when he first faced him Shawn Michaels asked him how he was and he said he sucked. Then something happened, Cena changed faster than anybody ever changed before. He had seen the greatness in him that Cena himself did not see yet. Triple H saw last week Cena finally might be able to see what was beyond hunstle, loyalty and respect and see what was real. Triple H said that he would like to see a new john Cena, but if not, he would appreciate it.
Triple H brought Cena’s pals from Survivor Series. He told them that they great admiration for John Cena when they joined his team at Survivor Series and they won. But then John Cena threw all it away as he brought the authority back. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon individually addressed the three superstars where they fired all three men, Rowan, Ziggler and Ryback. Stephanie told them that they could thank John Cena for that.
“John Cena Appreciation Night” took a sinister turn particularly fast, as The Authority’s would-be celebration of the man who brought them back turned into a systematic dismantling of the Superstars who helped oust them in the first place. Less an appreciation than a public humiliation of the Cenation leader’s closest allies, The Authority went from a disingenuous “praising” of Cena’s perseverance to making him watch as they subjected his Survivor Series teammates to their long-promised punishment. For their insubordinate actions at Survivor Series, Erick Rowan, Ryback and Dolph Ziggler were all fired. So say the king and queen.