This week’s episode emanates from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA.
We’re getting a rematch from Fastlane, as Erick Rowan, Ryback and Dolph Ziggler face the Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins in the main event.
Daniel Bryan comes out, and he’s got a somber look on his face. A “Yes!” chant starts, but Bryan puts a stop to that by screaming “No!” He says, a couple years ago, that’s what he used to say instead of “yes”. He was frustrated, he didn’t feel like he had opportunities, or anyone in his corner. But, he was wrong, because the fans were in his corner. Because the fans gave him opportunities. We gave him so much opportunity, in the main event at Wrestlemania XXX, he finally, after scratching and clawing for 14 years, won the WWE World Championship. A big “Yes!” chant breaks out on this note. Back to Bryan, he says that, due to injury, he lost the title. At Fastlane, he got something most never get: a second chance. He got an opportunity to get everything back…and he failed. That means, this year, for Daniel Bryan, there’s no main-eventing WM, there’s no WWE World title match, and without that hope or dream, there have been a lot of people backstage asking him this: is the Yes! Movement dead? A big “No!” chant breaks out, and Bryan joins in. He will not give up or back down, and despite not being in the main event, he’s got big plans. This year, at Wrestlemania XXXI, he plans on going…
Bad News Barrett interrupts, sans IC title, and marches down to the ring. BNB asks how much longer Bryan is going to carry on with this nonsense. No one wants to here his sob story. It just so happens he’s got some bad news for Bryan, because Bryan won’t be getting a WM moment this year. Losers like him don’t deserve the spotlight, and there’s someone else who doesn’t deserve the spotlight, that being the “lunatic thief”, Dean Ambrose. Ambrose has stolen his IC title. He is still the champion. He has a warning: if Bryan doesn’t get out of the ring, he’ll show everyone exactly what happens when you step on his toes.
We’ll get an exclusive interview with Roman Reigns later.
MATCH 1: DEAN AMBROSE VS. THE MIZ
Miz comes out solo. He looks over his shoulder for Damien Mizdow, but Mizdow is nowhere to be found. Ambrose applies a side headlock, then hits a shoulder off the ropes. The two crisscross until Ambrose rolls through with a schoolboy for 2. He hits a bodyslam and a power-drive elbow for another 2 before throwing the Miz to the corner for some shots. Miz gets corner-whipped, hits a boot out of the corner and lands the Reality Check for 2. Miz rakes at Ambrose’s face, then applies a rear chinlock. Ambrose fights out, hits a boot off the ropes and lands a series of strikes. Miz eats a forearm off the ropes, then another. Ambrose throws him to the corner, stomps him down, slaps him in the face, hits a running forearm and a bulldog. Ambrose heads up top for the flying elbow, but before he can connect, Bad News Barrett runs down and grabs the IC title from the corner. Ambrose sees him, hits the floor, and lays him out with a clothesline. He grabs the belt and climbs back into the ring, where Miz hits a boot and tries for the SCF. Ambrose escapes and goes into a standing switch. Miz hits him with a back elbow, sending Ambrose into the ropes, leading Ambrose to hit the rebound clothesline. Meanwhile, BNB has grabbed the IC title once more and is heading up the ramp. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and gets 3.
WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE.
Renee Young tries to stop BNB in the back for some questions, but he cuts her off and says he reclaimed what is rightfully his from Ambrose. As everyone knows, Ambrose cannot hold a candle to him in the ring, and neither can that disgusting goat, Daniel Bryan. Now that the title is back in his clutches, he’s never letting it out of his sight.
MATCH 2: NAOMI (W/THE USOS) VS. NATALYA (W/CESARO AND TYSON KIDD)
Nattie starts off with a hip throw, into a side headlock. Naomi fights out, but then gets shouldered off the ropes. The two crisscross after a staredown until Naomi applies a sort-of crucifix for 2. Nattie comes back with a trip, but Naomi kips up and hits an armdrag. Nattie hits a double-leg, which Naomi counters into a headscissors from her back, which she then turns into a submission hold. Nattie powers her way back to her feet and goes into a modified airplane spin. Naomi counters that into a sunset flip, but Nattie rolls through. The two then crash in the middle of the ring off simultaneous cross-body attempts. Nattie is up first, but Naomi quickly kicks her in the leg she injured on Monday. Kidd jumps on the apron to check on her, so Jimmy jumps up and takes him down with a superkick. Cesaro pulls Jimmy down and looks to send him into the ring post, but Jimmy reverses, sending Cesaro into a superkick from Jey. Back in the ring, the ref pulls Naomi away from Nattie to see if Nattie can still continue. As he gets Naomi back, it turns out Nattie was suckering Naomi in, as she quickly drops Naomi with a discus clothesline for 3.
After some commercials, we are back, and Rusev & Lana are in the ring. Rusev holds the US title over his head and says this is a symbol of a true champion, a real champion, your American champion. Lana says an American champion is someone who stands tall, full of pride and above everyone else. Rusev stands above Americans that are beneath him. Far beneath him. And do you know what a champion does not do? Rusev pipes in says he doesn’t have to agree to anyone’s terms. Lana then cuts to the TitanTron to show a still of a pre-match Cena at Fastlane. She says he’s so sure and full of himself there. Look at your American hero, rising above all obstacles as always, except this time (we see Rusev putting him in the Accolade, which won the match). She says this is your American reality, slipping into unconsciousness. Rusev says when it gets tough, all Americans just give up. Lana says they were surprised when Cena begged for a rematch. Rusev is a champion. He answers to no one, especially someone who is falling asleep on the job. Anyway, they’re going to talk about something more important than Cena. Rusev has received emails from the greatest president on earth, Vladimir Putin (a shot is put up on the Tron), then a picture of what appears to be a letter in Russian. She translates it, and it’s supposedly a letter from Putin, saying how proud he is of Rusev for everything he’s accomplished, as well as refusing Cena’s demands. Rusev says he’ll have a great match at WM, against someone worth his time, who he’ll defeat like everyone else. However, that opponent won’t be Cena, because “Mr. Never Give Up” has been beaten, broken and crushed.
Oh, for sh*t’s sake. Here comes Jack Swagger. Please don’t tell me they’re going to do this feud for a third time. He asks if Rusev is scared to give Cena a rematch. If he’s scared to fight, he came to the wrong city. Rusev is surrounded by real America and real Americans. He climbs into the ring (looking kind of pudgy lately) and does his catchphrase. Rusev goes for a clothesline, but Swagger ducks and goes on the attack, hitting a series of knees in the corner before landing a forearm to the back of the head. Rusev rolls to the apron, where Swagger knocks him to the floor with a clothesline. Swagger rolls him back into the ring, but Rusev slides back out to the floor. Swagger tries to grab him through the ropes, but Rusev nails him in the face. He hits his thrust kick from the floor, then climbs back in the ring to nail Swagger with more kicks to the legs and body before putting him down with another thrust kick. Rusev then locks in the Accolade. Swagger taps out, apparently forgetting this isn’t a match. Rusev lets him go anyway, but then reapplies the hold as the Russian flag drops from the ceiling. A referee comes out to break the hold. Rusev does, only to reapply it again.
MATCH 3: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION BAD NEWS BARRETT VS. DANIEL BRYAN (NON-TITLE)
R-Truth is on commentary, due to a non-title win over BNB last week. He calls Byron Saxton “Coach”. The match starts, and the two exchange several quick holds before BNB looks to make sure the IC title is still in the corner. He then boots Bryan in the gut before throwing him to the corner for an assault. Bryan gets whipped across the ring, but he hits a drop toehold on an incoming BNB into the middle buckle. Bryan nails a pair of European uppercuts, then begins to work on BNB’s left leg before going for a surfboard. BNB tries to power out and grab the ropes, so Bryan just stomps him in the back of his knees. BNB recovers and nails a headbutt before snapping off a suplex for 2. Bryan comes back with another pair of European uppercuts, then starts firing up the Yes! Kicks. Bryan comes off the ropes, and BNB catches him with the Winds of Change for 2. BNB throws Bryan to the floor, then grabs the IC title for a little celebrating as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, BNB has Bryan hung up in the ropes and is nailing him with kneelifts. BNB then drops Bryan to the apron with a running boot. BNB pulls him in for the pin, but only gets 2. He then applies a rear chinlock, but Bryan escapes after some elbows. BNB nails him with an elbow to the back of the neck and goes for a corner whip. Bryan flips out of the corner, ducks a clothesline and nails one of his own. He fires up the Yes! Kicks again, then drops BNB with one of the ropes for 2. Bryan continues hitting kicks in the corner, then lands a running corner dropkick. He tries it one too many times though, as BNB avoids a second attempt. He asks where his title went, as it’s missing from the corner. It dropped to the floor, so BNB goes out to put it back in the corner. Bryan hits him with a baseball slide near the announce desk, then wipes him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Bryan goes up top. BNB recovers and crotches him, then goes for Wasteland. Bryan escapes and pulls him down into the Yes! Lock. Meanwhile, Truth gets up from the announce desk and steals the IC title belt, shoving it under his shirt. In the ring, BNB manages to get a rope break as Truth heads back to commentary. BNB hits a mule kick, then sends Bryan shoulder-first into the ring post. BNB sets up the Bull Hammer, but Bryan explodes out of the corner with the running knee for 3.
WINNER: DANIEL BRYAN.
After the match, BNB looks around for his belt and notices it missing from the corner once again. He looks around the floor and cant find it, then asks the referee to help him look. He asks everyone at the announce desk if they’ve seen it. Truth stands up and lifts his shirt up, where the belt was earlier. However, it’s gone now. BNB just slumps against the announce desk, looking distraught.
We go to an interview recorded earlier between Byron Saxton and Roman Reigns. Saxton congratulates him on his win over Bryan at Fastlane, calling it the most hard-fought match of Reigns’ career. Reigns agrees and says that’s the type of competitor Bryan is. Bryan knows what it takes to get where Reigns is going, and that is Brock Lesnar. He’s going to beat Lesnar at WM. Saxton cuts to what Paul Heyman said to Reigns on RAW, where Heyman more or less kisses Reigns’ ass, only to turn around and say Reigns still can’t beat Lesnar. Back to Reigns in the interview, he says Heyman talks nonstop. Reigns hates the word “can’t” and being told he can’t do something. He can and will beat Lesnar. Saxton asks how he’s preparing for this match. Reigns says maybe he’ll get back on his boat and take a cruise (jokingly). He says he has to train harder and faster, as well as watch old tapes of Lesnar. However, it won’t be athleticism that beats Lesnar. This is a man who has done it all before, including WM main events. Reigns hasn’t been there yet. Normally, he wants to do it on his own, but he’s not a fool. He needs to tap into his resources, talk to his family, get advice and prepare him. Where he’s at right now, he can be cocky, but this opportunity is once in a lifetime. The rug can be pulled any moment. He’s had to fight to keep this opportunity. He hopes Lesnar is cocky and confidence, bouncing around, staring at Reigns with his arrogant eyes. Through those eyes, he’ll look at a man fighting for a proud family, trying build a future for his family. That’s a scary combo. He’s going to beat Lesnar at WM, and he doesn’t care if anyone believes it; he knows it, and he’ll prove it.
It’s announced that the Bushwhackers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
We see R-Truth celebrating with the IC title in the back, when he’s stopped by Dean Ambrose. Truth makes up a lie about beating Bad News Barrett for the title, and Ambrose says he wants the belt back. Truth then hands it over before running away.
MATCH 4: FANDANGO (W/ROSA MENDES) VS. CURTIS AXEL
Apparently, Fandango will also be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year. Before the match, Axel says not to turn the channel (I should point out he’s now wearing an “Axelmania” shirt that looks similar to a “Hulkamania” shirt). Everyone knows, at the Royal Rumble, he was attacked from behind and didn’t get the opportunity to get in the ring. Therefore, he was never eliminated, therefore, he’s still in it. He set the longest record for time in the Rumble ever. He’s been in the match for 32 days, 7 minutes and 20 seconds (Axel stupidly says “32 hours”). Sorry, but Maven’s been in the Rumble match for over 13 years now, Axel. No superstar has eliminated him from the Rumble, just like no one will eliminate him from the Andre battle royal at WM. He then fails at an “Axelmania” chant attempt.
The bell sounds, and Fandango applies a waistlock. Axel elbow out, then stomps Fandango down before tossing him over the top and to the floor. He points up at the WM sign, and the temporary distraction allows Fandango to roll him up for 2. Fandango ducks a clothesline and hits a standing suplex before coming off the top with the Last Dance for 3.
We see Damien Mizdow in front of a green screen with two women, apparently shooting a commercial. The Miz tells them to cut, and says he hasn’t seen acting this bad since Michael Keaton in Birdman. Mizdow points out that Keaton was nominated for an Oscar for that. Miz then does an impression of Mizdow, mocking Mizdow, calling him useless and whatnot. Miz tells the director to ditch Mizdow in favor of an “A-lister”. The director didn’t know Miz was interested, and says he’d love to have Miz in the commercial. He hands Miz a script, which Miz tosses, calling his face a script. They start to roll as Mizdow looks on, angry.
We get a special video package for Sting.
Adam Rose comes out for his match, but before that, we get an inset promo from him, surrounded by his Rosebuds. He says this year’s WM will be the ultimate party, because for the first time ever, he’ll be crashing that party and walking out the winner of the Andre battle royal. To the other competitors green with a jealousy, don’t be a lemon; be a Rosebud.
MATCH 5: ADAM ROSE (W/THE EXOTIC EXPRESS) VS. GOLDUST
Rose nails Goldust from behind, then throws him into the corner for some kicks. Rose hits a forearm and throws Goldust to another corner for a chop. Goldust comes back with a drop-down uppercut, then unloads on Rose in the corner. Rose reverses a whip, but then runs into a powerslam for 2. Rose comes back with a couple boots in the corner, then comes off the top with a dive. Goldust moves, and Rose lands on his feet. It’s all for naught, however, as Goldust quickly drops him with the Final Cut for 3.
Goldust heads to the back through the Rosebuds, only to have one dressed like a sock monkey attack him. The Rosebud throws him into the ring apron, only to strip off the top half of the suit, revealing himself to be Stardust. At least he’s back in his less goofy-looking gear. Stardust rolls Goldust into the ring and throws him around like a ragdoll before hitting what used to be called Cross Rhodes. Not sure if he’s changed the name of it yet.
The screen cuts to black, which means it’s time for Bray Wyatt. Do his words mean anything to you, “Dead Man”? Sometimes, he wonders if you can hear him at all. Or maybe you’re just to busy clinging to whatever life you have left, that you can’t even heed his call. He needs you to know this: he is not just a man; he’s is the serpent. Even the bravest rat can only outrun the snake’s fangs for so long before fate calls them by name. Your ignorance mocks him, Undertaker. How wrong is it you think can hide from him? Hell is his playground, and he would go through the deepest, darkest depths just to see your face. Time is ticking. Wrestlemania approaches. So come on, “Dead Man”. Show yourself. Find him. Find him.
Rowan and Kane start, with Kane applying an arm wringer. He turns it into a side headlock, then collides with a shoulder off the ropes, only to leave Rowan still standing. Kane hits a boot and sends Rowan into the corner. Rowan comes back with a shoulder that takes Kane down. Rowan hits a headbutt, then catches Kane off the ropes, hitting him with a fall-away slam. Rowan mounts the middle buckle and hits a spinning European uppercut for 1. Rowan rams Kane head-first into the top buckle, then tags in Ziggler. Kane drops Ziggler with a knee, then goes for a suplex. Ziggler lands on his feet and trips Kane, sending him into the buckles. Ziggler then hits a dropkick for 2. Kane backs Ziggler into the heel corner and tags in Rollins, who lands a punch, then sends Ziggler into the ropes. Ziggler knocks him into the corner with a kick, hits a corner splash and follows up with a neckbreaker before hitting the Shot to the Heart. He misses the rocker dropper, and Show makes a blind tag. Ziggler drops Rollins with a dropkick, then goes after Show. Show shoves him down, then swings Ziggler onto his back out of a cobra clutch. Haven’t seen him do that in about 9 years. Commercials.
Back from the break, Kane is now legal for his team, and he’s got Ziggler in a rear chinlock. Ziggler gets to his feet and punches his way out before Kane whips him down by the neck. Kane misses an elbow off the ropes. Ziggler turns around and misses a rocker dropper, then runs into a big boot. Rollins tags in and covers Ziggler for 2, then gets another 2 off a punch. Show tags in after Rollins throws Ziggler into Show’s boot. Show drops Ziggler with a big boot and goes to the middle rope for his version of the Vader Bomb, which connects for 2. Show picks Ziggler up by the face and throws him to the corner. Ziggler blocks a charge, then takes Show down with a rocker dropper. Kane tags in as Ziggler crawls to Ryback. Kane knocks Rowan down with an uppercut, then turns around into a leaping DDT from Ziggler. Ryback and Rollins tag in, and Ryback dominates before hitting a Thesz press. He then bounces Rollins’ head off the mat before hitting an overhead belly-to-belly. Rollins blocks a corner splash and comes off the ropes, only to be caught in a gorilla press, which Ryback then turns into an over-the-shoulder powerslam. Ryback signals for the Meat Hook, which connects. Jamie Noble jumps on the apron, and Ryback wipes him out. Joey Mercury enters the ring, and Ryback bounces his face off the mat. He picks Rollins up for Shell Shocked, then looks at Mercury and decides to pick him up as well. He gets them both up, but then drops them when Show tries to enter the ring. Show puts Ryback down with a boot, so Rowan comes in and clotheslines Show to the floor. Rollins wipes Rowan out with a suicide dive, then comes back in, looking for a blockbuster from the middle rope. Ryback catches him upside-down in mid-air and looks for Shell Shocked again. Rollins escapes as Kane looks for a chokeslam, only to have it broken up when Ziggler takes him down with the Zig-Zag. Rollins tosses Ziggler to the floor, then hits a thrust kick on Ryback. He goes for the curb stomp, but gets distracted when Rowan tosses Noble into the ring through the ropes. Mercury gets dropped on the outside. Rollins goes for the curb stomp anyway, but Ryback sees it coming, moves and sends Rollins right into a Ziggler superkick. Ryback then hits Shell Shocked for 3.
WINNERS: ERICK ROWAN, RYBACK AND DOLPH ZIGGLER.
Even when Rowan wins a match, he’s barely a factor.
End of show.