The Authority called out Dean Ambrose
For those of you keeping score at home, Dean Ambrose is still AWOL with Seth Rollins’ stolen WWE World Heavyweight Title in his possession. Triple H promised consequences for The Lunatic Fringe should the title go unreturned, and since Ambrose was nowhere to be found, The Game decided to focus his attention on the madman’s accomplice instead. That’d be Roman Reigns, who assisted in Ambrose’s heist and was left to take the proverbial bullet for his “brother.”
It’s not that Reigns minded a chance to laugh in the face of the flustered King of Kings, though, as he was also there to offer Ambrose’s terms. Ambrose would show his face again if, at Money in the Bank, The Authority granted him a Ladder Match for the title. Despite the outcome — a belligerent Rollins accepted and stormed off — The Game soon found a way to wipe the smile from The Big Dog’s face. The COO opted to punishhiminstead of the absentee Ambrose in the form of a match with Reigns’ Money in the Bank spot on the line.
Roman Reigns def. King Barrett
He’s still money: Roman Reigns, faced with an impromptu defense of his Money in the Bank Ladder Match opportunity, preserved his spot in the make-or-break contest by knocking off King Barrett, whom the Authority had matched him against as punishment for aiding Dean Ambrose. It was the second night of, well, bad news for His Majesty, who challenged unsuccessfully for the Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber and seemed hampered by the effects of that match early on against Reigns.
The monarch’s big break came when Reigns collided with the steel stairs on the outside and lost a step of his own in the process. But the Winds of Change and a rake to the eyes still weren’t enough to bring Reigns to a full stop. When Barrett’s match-ending Bull Hammer swung wide, Reigns unleashed the Spear to pin His Grace and keep his contract hopes alive.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback vs. The Miz never happened
Given all the adversity Ryback went through to claim his first title in WWE, it was all but expected The Big Guy (returning to the site of his rebirth last October) would continue to face an uphill battle to defend his hard-won Intercontinental Championship. That said, the first salvo against The Human Wrecking Ball came not from The Miz, who was competing for his fifth go-round as Intercontinental Champion, but from Big Show. The World’s Largest Athlete returned from a lengthy absence and KO’d The Awesome One before the match even started, declaring that if anybody would beat Ryback for the title, it’d be him.
U.S. Champion John Cena confronted NXT Champion Kevin Owens
If the WWE Universe at large didn’t know who Kevin Owens was before, they certainly do now after the NXT Champion did the near-unthinkable by pinning John Cena in his first match in a WWE ring. Owens’ enthusiasm over his star-making victory wasn’t even hampered by the news of an impending rematch against The Champ. If anything, he found his second wind, vowing to defeat Cena, whom his son idolizes, to expose him as a false role model. Cena took exception to the NXT Champion’s fighting words to the point of daring him to an on-the-spot throwdown. Despite being visibly riled by The Champ, Owens declined this time around, choosing instead to meet Cena on his terms (and potentially save his energy for an NXT Championship Open Challenge on SmackDown). You can’t blame him, considering the strategy has worked so far. Wait, Owens. Wait.
Dolph Ziggler def. WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston
They meet again: Longtime rivals Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston clashed on Raw for the latest installment of their never-ending series. Though the scales were slightly flipped this time, as The Showoff went into the bout as a man of the people, fresh off a failed Intercontinental Title bid, and Kingston as one third of the smarmy, Freebird-ruling Tag Team Champions.
The impetus for the bout, of course, was both men’s impending entry into the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Kingston’s promise to win the contract for his entire team got off to a rocky start, though, as Ziggler reversed Kingston’s rollup into a pinfall of his own. The loss instigated a three-on-one beatdown on The Showoff that was mercifully cut short by the arrival of The Prime Time Players, who chased New Day into a hasty retreat moments before …
Dolph Ziggler & The Prime Time Players vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day
The Prime Time Players #ShowedTheirWorth at Elimination Chamber, coming within spitting distance of the WWE Tag Team Titles by eliminating The Ascension and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd before falling to The New Day. Darren Young & Titus O’Neil’s second battle against The New Day — this time with Dolph Ziggler on their side as half of an impromptu Six Man Tag — went much better than last night’s. That’s even after a lengthy period where Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods isolated “Mr. No Days Off” and beat him within an inch of defeat.
Luckily, D. Young saved his skin in the nick of time by blocking a Big E splash with his knees. Once he tagged O’Neil in, it was all she wrote. “The Big Deal” ran roughshod over #POP, tossing Big E aside and feeding Kingston into a Ziggler superkick before finishing Woods off with a pump-handle powerslam. Cue the gator bark.
Roman Reigns def. Mark Henry via Count-out
Yep, he’s still money. Roman Reigns’ second defense of his Money in the Bank Ladder Match spot (The Authority does not employ a light touch in their punishments) again ended in triumph. The margin of victory was a lot slimmer, though, as Reigns needed a technicality to get past Mark Henry in his second bout of the night. After getting manhandled by The World’s Strongest Man, Reigns — still sporting the effects of King Barrett’s rake to his eyes — managed to rip off a Superman Punch that felled the former World Heavyweight Champion outside the ring and kept him down past the count of 10. The win, narrow though it was, kept Reigns’ Money in the Bank opportunity safe. But the price was appropriately steep: A World’s Strongest Slam and splash after the match was over, because that’s still what Henry does.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. Paige
It was always going to take an extreme circumstance to relieve Nikki Bella of the Divas Championship, and as it turns out, a pair of superkicks and a second-rope Ram-Paige were just the ticket. Almost. Paige — who successfully campaigned for the one-on-one title match she had yet to receive — certainly brought her A-game in pursuit of a record-tying third Divas Championship, but all the scouting in the world couldn’t prepare her for Nikki’s ace in the hole.
The champion, already displaying a cockier attitude than usual, proved she’d do whatever it took to secure her reign, resurrecting Twin Magic by switching places with Brie Bella after the brutal Ram-Paige. The fresh twin sprang a rollup on the winded challenger, securing the pinfall and the Bella legacy for another day.
Randy Orton def. Sheamus via Disqualification
Randy Orton’s back, and he’s got a win under his belt and “Money” on his mind. But first, he had to deal with a heaping pile of pain from Sheamus, a fellow entrant in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match that could hand the two men their 13th and fourth World Titles, respectively. The Celtic Warrior, true to his reputation, gave The Apex Predator a hell of a fight, matching Orton shot for shot as the contest wore on, though he resorted to dirty play after Orton hauled him outside the ring.
The Irishman jabbed Orton in the ribs with a steel chair after he’d been chucked into the timekeeper’s area, stopping the contest cold but leaving him ample time to continue beating on The Viper until officials ended the display. Even then, Sheamus would not be denied, obliterating Orton with a Brogue Kick before finally making his exit.
Neville def. Bo Dallas
So much for Bo-lieving. Bo Dallas has abandoned his crusade to improve Neville through his patented philosophy, instead opting to straight up wound The Man That Gravity Forgot. For a while in their latest bout, Dallas did just that, tossing The New Sensation over the ropes like a sack of potatoes and muscling him down to the ground through pure strength. Consider him hurt, but not hurt enough. Neville, once again, would not be denied, though. Dallas attacked with such fury that the former NXT Champion was able to use his own momentum against him, booting Bo into position for the Red Arrow.
Roman Reigns def. Bray Wyatt
He’s still money — what’s left of him, anyway. Roman Reigns, already raked in the face and pulverized in the ribs, was forced to put his Money in the Bank opportunity up for grabs for the third time in a single night. And with Bray Wyatt across from him, The Big Dog had his work cut out for him in a big way. The 2014 Superstar of the Year stepped up in a big way as well, brawling through the pain to keep The Eater of Worlds on his heels, despite the presence of The Authority at the top of the ramp.
The corporate power didn’t wait too long to interfere in the match properly, surrounding the ring after a last-gasp Superman Punch left Wyatt out and Reigns spent. Reigns recovered in time to turn the tide, shoving The New Face of Fear into Kane on the apron and exploding into a Spear on the rebound for three. Dean Ambrose finally made his entrance right as The Authority began to swarm in the aftermath, assisting The Big Dog in beating back Kane, Seth Rollins and J&J Security before escaping, once again, into the crowd. The craziest part? Ambrose even gave Rollins his title back, tossing it into The Architect’s hands before Dirty Deeds’ing it out of his clutches and absconding with the prize once again. Who says Dean Ambrose doesn’t do as he asks?
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