A happy return it was not for Daniel Bryan, who returned to the site of his first WWE Championship victory – and loss – looking for a fight, only to be denied by the same forces that took the title away from him in the first place. It wasn't Randy Orton Bryan wanted, though, having dealt with him handily last week. Instead, Bryan wanted a piece of Kane, who's made a point of tormenting his former tag team partner over the past week despite his capacity as WWE Director of Operations.
As is the norm, though, The Authority didn't have much love for the former WWE Champion, giving him an unrequited “night off” while seemingly placing some renewed faith in Orton, whose apologetic, pro-“business” rhetoric showed a shocking departure from his recent rebelliousness. Bryan, on the other hand, was left to stew on his own, looking like he'd like to channel beloved guest star Betty White and “kick some a--.”
The buzzards feast again: A trio of former Intercontinental Champions wasn't enough to stop The Wyatt Family's rampage en route to Elimination Chamber, as Bray Wyatt and his flock made handy work of Cody Rhodes, Goldust & Rey Mysterio as their six-man collision with The Shield draws nearer. “The Brotherhod” came out swinging in an effort to exact some payback from last Friday's SmackDown and initially got some against Erick Rowan & Luke Harper, culminating in Cody tossing Rey like a fastball special onto a prone Harper outside the ring.
The Wyatts circled the wagons quickly and fought back to the advantage, raining (literally) paint-chipping blows onto Goldust's head. Mysterio stormed in to keep his team alive and even struck Harper with the 619, though Bray kicked off a brawl that threw The Ultimate Underdog off and left bodies strewn everywhere. Mysterio rallied to attempt a second 619 on Harper. Thanks to a sneak tag, The Eater of Worlds was waiting to hook Mysterio mid-sprint into Sister Abigail, and that was all she wrote.
Fandango's record in dance-offs is oddly scattershot; that said, few can argue with his results in the ring. The dancing sensation defeated his on-and-off foil Santino Marella one week after The Italian Stallion's new protégée, Emma, embarrassed Summer Rae in a dance competition. Fandango's win came about in fairly decisive fashion as well; he smothered Santino from the jump-off point and – despite some more pointed words from The Miz – cut the former U.S. Champion's head of steam short and flattened him with the top-rope leg drop.
Proving that irony is alive and well in WWE, Zeb Colter's border-guarding Real Americans found themselves on the short end of the stick – or, technically, Kick – when they fell to a pair of foreign former champions, Christian & Sheamus, on Monday Night Raw. The returning former World Champions continued to make waves in their first weeks back from injury, giving The Real Americans all they could handle. Christian's resilience in particular shone through after Cesaro, riding an assist from Swagger, tenderized him with both the Very European Uppercut and a ten-rotation Cesaro Swing.
It was Swagger, though, who once again ended up in the doldrums once Captain Charisma reached his fighting-mad partner, eating the Irishman's famous boot after Christian freed Sheamus from the Patriot Lock, falling to the subsequent Brogue Kick for three. Shameful thing, that.
It's been a while since these two fought with the World Heavyweight Championship at stake, but the bad blood between Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio has certainly not cooled in the interim. The Showoff used the love of the L.A. crowd like jet fuel and blasted his way to an early advantage, putting Del Rio down with the Famouser. “Mexico’s Greatest Export” knew exactly how to stop the former World Champion, though, knocking Ziggler to his knees and all but decapitating him with a superkick to the head.
Del Rio locked in his Cross Armbreaker after the bell to make a statement, though he quickly let up when Batista stormed the ring to get a piece of his newfound rival. Which he did in emphatic fashion, finally sending Del Rio to the pit of danger – straight through the announce table, that is – with a Batista Bomb. Oh, and the best part is: He's not quite finished yet.
After months of circling the WWE Tag Team Title picture, have The Usos made their strongest case yet for a run at the gold? The Samoan brothers disposed handily of “Rybaxel” on Raw with current titleholders The New Age Outlaws seated at commentary, putting on a display that's sure not to go unnoticed when the time comes for the Attitudinal champions’ next title defense.
Even though the Outlaws were less than impressed by The Usos’ maneuvers, the tag veterans let their moves do all the talking for them, roughing up Curtis Axel before rallying through Ryback's offense – thanks to a spinning corkscrew elbow from Jimmy Uso – and sealing the win with a Superfly Splash to the former Intercontinental Champion Axel while Road Dogg lost it at the commentary table.
As if that wasn't enough, Billy Gunn apparently suffered the gastrointestinal effects of a reversed prank on guest star Betty White, sprinting up the ramp clutching his famous caboose with the Road Dogg in hot pursuit. He may not be off his rocker, but he'll definitely be sitting on something else soon.
Somebody's gonna get their you-know-what kicked ... and thanks to The Shield, that someone is not Dean Ambrose, who suffered a DQ loss to his first U.S. Title defense in months – granted under duress – in an open challenge that ended up being answered by Mark Henry. Despite failing to capture the title, though, the former World Heavyweight Champion looked every inch his dominant self, battering the titleholder about in his first match since suffering an injury from Brock Lesnar.
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins didn't exactly hate watching the increasingly cocky Ambrose catch an early beating at Henry's hands, though the champion caught a brief break by exposing Henry's wrapped-up elbow. The “lunatic fringe” of The Shield briefly brought the big man to his knees, but Henry rallied to strike with the World's Strongest Slam. Thanks to Rollins’ timely attack at the two-count, though, the match ended in disqualification and The Shield resorted to ganging up on a prone Henry in order to make their escape.
The Wyatts didn't give The Hounds of Justice the luxury of a clean getaway; they skulked down the ramp and stared down their Elimination Chamber opponents from across the ring, taunting them in a (still unanswered, for now) challenge to make a move.
The bad news first: Naomi's on the sidelines for the time being thanks to catching a knee in the eye from Aksana last week. The good news? Cameron carried The Funkadactyl flag just fine in her stead, not only picking up a win for her three-Diva squad on raw but personally pinning the Lithuanian powerhouse in the process.
It took a while for both those competitors to enter the fray, though. The match kicked off with Nikki Bella mangling AJ Lee across the ring until the champion tagged Aksana in for relief. Brie tagged into help her sister and was duly punished by Aksana (who dropped a knee in Brie's ribs) and Alicia, only reaching Cameron at the last minute. The Funkadactyl's offense sent Miss Fox reaching for Aksana and Cameron seized her opportunity for payback, pummeling Aksana into the mat with her self-dubbed “Girl Bye” DDT.
Ain’t no hugging it out here: Director of Operations Kane – currently on one-week administrative leave – was all set for a public act of contrition following his repeated attacks of Daniel Bryan, insisting he acted of his own volition and not on Authority orders. If only the former WWE Champion was in the mood for his old buddy's lip service. Kane was all of two words into his apology when Bryan made a beeline for The Devil's Favorite Director of Operations, who mixed it up handily with “Yes!” man before a running knee sent him tumbling into the WWE Universe itself. The message – as displayed by the “YES!” chants that showered Kane as he withdrew to his corner office – was clear: You can run, but you can't hide.
John Cena vowed to set “the future” in motion with his bout against Randy Orton tonight, but his grueling slugfest with the Champion of Champions was also a handy reminder of what made the two Superstars great in the first place. Cena came out in full force against The Apex Predator and Orton responded in kind, stomping the Cenation leader into the corner and using his own momentum against him with a timely dodge of Cena's shoulder block.
The crowd had no love for The Viper and he gave them no reason to, proudly striking his pose before he hauled Cena up the turnbuckle for a hanging DDT. Much as he did on SmackDown, The Viper saved his greatest venom for the WWE Universe, but his miniature meltdown left him vulnerable to an STF. Orton hauled himself to the ropes and replied with an RKO; Cena quickly answered with an Attitude Adjustment that turned Orton into a rag doll, though wasn't enough to pin him. A top-rope leg drop to the back of Orton's head knocked The Viper loopy, and another AA sent him home. If Cena did, indeed, close his decade-spanning rivalry with Orton as he said he would, that's not a bad way to shut the book.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) & Rey Mysterio (10:25)
- Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeated Santino Marella (w/ Emma) (2:17)
- Christian & Sheamus defeated The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) (14:26)
- Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler (1:32)
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) (4:22)
- Mark Henry defeated Dean Ambrose (w/ Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) (c) by DQ in a WWE United States Championship Match (8:01)
- Cameron & The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) (w/ Eva Marie) defeated AJ Lee, Aksana & Alicia Fox (w/ Tamina Snuka) (4:42)
- John Cena defeated Randy Orton (20:42)
Other on-screen talent