Since Triple H & Co. spent last week filling up their Survivor Series ranks, John Cena made his return to Raw hoping to beef up his own squad (which had apparently received a commitment from Jack Swagger) in advance of the bout that could decide the future of The Authority itself. What he got was an impromptu bidding war over Ryback's soul when The Big Guy joined the Cenation leader in advance of their main event match and found himself fielding pitches from both The Authority (who had already brought Mark Henry into the fold) and Cena. While one side promised fame and the other glory, the decision came down, as always, to dollars and cents: Specifically, Ryback's checks aren't authorized by John Cena. So, it was a “Thanks but no thanks” for Cena, in the form of a spinebuster and a handshake with The Game, sealing The Authority’s newest addition.
In keeping with The Authority’s trend of eliminating their would-be enemies, what should have been a defining moment for Jack Swagger turned into his martyrdom at the end of a brutal, tightly-contested bout with Seth Rollins. The Real American can take some solace in the fact that his losses to Rusev haven’t robbed him of his strength; even the English crowd gave props to the way Swagger tossed Rollins about like a rag doll, forcing Mr. Money in the Bank to seek refuge outside the ring.
The good news for Swagger ended at a moral victory, however: A pair of Patriot Locks brought J&J Security to Rollins’ rescue and the former WWE Tag Team Champion capitalized, shoving Swagger headfirst into the ring post and following up with two Curb Stomps. One to defeat Swagger formally, and one as a word of warning to anyone who would pledge allegiance to Team Cena alongside him.
Happy homecoming! Paige returned to her native soil with a surprise heroine’s welcome and a victory to boot, stepping into the ring against her estranged “bestie,” Alicia Fox. Despite the groundswell of support from the WWE Universe, a proper home field advantage didn’t exactly come as a given for The Diva of Tomorrow, however. Miss Fox controlled the majority of the bout, and it was only a pitch-perfect reversal of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that gave Paige her first bit of breathing room. A textbook superkick put Alicia on her heels moments later, and a Ram-Paige put her away. God save the Queen.
Sheamus' calling card has always been his boldness, so in hindsight, perhaps new U.S. Champion Rusev should have expected the Irishman would respond to last week's historic loss by crashing the Russian's coronation ceremony and evoking his rematch clause on the spot. Sheamus' strategy seemed well on its way to paying off, too: Not only did the sneak attack throw Rusev off at the outset, but Sheamus’ hooligan-style street fighting carried him through the ensuing slugfest en route to an outside-the ring brawl that left Rusev all but out on his feet.
Alas, the Irishman's famous luck ran dry before he could reap the benefits, as J&J Security once again intervened, thwarting Sheamus and ending the match in a count-out in Rusev’s favor. The good-faith gesture did not go unnoticed, either: despite their insistence that The Super Athlete would have pulled off the win anyway, Lana and Rusev agreed to repay The Authority by joining their team at Survivor Series.
Even the English arm of the WWE Universe loves Damien Mizdow: The WWE Universe’s favorite stunt double joined forces with his mentor in their latest bid to enter the Tag Team Title race, taking on Los Matadores in a winning effort (Hornswoggle rounded out the Mizzes’ ranks as “Mini-Miz” to counteract El Torito). Unfortunately for Mizdow – and the WWE Universe – The Miz didn’t really give his understudy the spotlight, keeping the glory for himself and taking on both Matadores by his lonesome. It was Mizdow who sealed the win for his boss, though, pinning Diego’s foot to the ground behind the referee’s back while The Miz covered him for the three-count.
Dolph Ziggler’s steady transformation into The Authority’s punching bag of choice continued on Raw with yet another seemingly unwinnable match, this time against Mark Henry in what The Authority certainly intended to be a David-vs.-Goliath bout that would all but eradicate The Showoff from the face of the earth. Miraculously, The Showoff managed to both defy The Authority and the laws of natural selection by giving The World’s Strongest Man a hell of a fight, employing a stick-and-move strategy that served him well until Henry bashed him in the face with a chair.
The attack disqualified Henry but the former World Champion didn’t care, bringing the steel steps into the ring to pulverize Dolph in the same manner he had Big Show the previous week. Coincidentally, the giant himself stormed the ring looking for some payback at that moment, and while Henry’s escape denied Show for the time being, the giant’s declaration to join Team Cena certainly seemed to promise further battles with his former buddy down the line.
Nikki Bella’s deviousness is growing by the week; having used her subservient sister to provoke AJ Lee into a fight last week, she further set about weakening the Divas Champion by instructing Brie Bella to do everything to AJ she wanted to do to Nikki. The strategy brought out the grittiest performance Brie’s put on in months, though it wasn’t enough to block a fateful Black Widow that gave AJ the win. Nikki got the last word anyway, dropping AJ with a Rack Attack after the match and posing with the – potentially her – Divas Title.
Only has The Bunny’s growing fame threatened to overshadow that of Adam Rose himself, but the party animal has found himself thrown off his game by the continued presence of his most notorious Rosebud. Last week it was a post-match spat that led Rose to put hands on the rabbit, this week it was an ill-timed interference by The Bunny (though, surprisingly, not an inexplicable appearance by Erick Rowan) that cost Rose a bout against Tyson Kidd. The ringleader of The Exotic Express administered swift discipline with a superkick to the furry fellow’s gut after the match, leaving The Bunny in agony as the party rolled on without him.
So much for The Big Guy’s collusion with The Authority: Only a few hours after pledging his skills to the corporate power for Survivor Series, overwhelming micromanagement led Ryback to switch his stripes and apparently ditch Team Authority altogether. Lucky for Cena that he did: The Human Wrecking Ball made mincemeat out of the 15-time World Champion (a man with whom he has had several issues) for the majority of their main event match.
It was only when The Authority got involved that The Big Guy found himself in trouble. Specifically Kane, who took inadvertent physicality from both competitors and punched Cena out in frustration as a result. Following the DQ loss, Ryback made what could be called a business decision by laying out the various Authority members alongside Team Cena stalwarts Big Show and Sheamus. Conspicuous by his absence in the brawl was Dolph Ziggler, though his whereabouts were revealed soon enough when he was laid unconscious at The Authority’s feet by a self-proclaimed “team player” … Luke Harper.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Seth Rollins (w/ Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble) defeated Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) (11:20)
- Paige defeated Alicia Fox (2:15)
- Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Sheamus by Count Out to retain the WWE United States Championship (15:25)
- The Miz & Damien Mizdow (w/ Hornswoggle) defeated Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) (4:45)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Mark Henry by disqualification (2.50)
- AJ Lee defeated Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) by submission (2:20)
- Tyson Kidd defeated Adam Rose by submission (2:40)
- John Cena defeated Ryback (w/ Kane, Seth Rollins, Mark Henry, Rusev, Jamie Noble, & Joey Mercury) by disqualification (15:10)
Other on-screen talent
The Authority recruited Ryback to their Survivor Series team
Seth Rollins v Jack Swagger
Paige v Alicia Fox
Rusev and Lana celebrate their title conquest
Rusev v Sheamus
Damien Mizdow & The Miz v Los Matadores
Dolph Ziggler v Mark Henry
AJ Lee v Brie Bella
Tyson Kidd v Adam Rose
John Cena v Ryback
|WWE 2014 Tour|
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