Having presumably put Daniel Bryan in his place (twice) last week, WWE COO Triple H was all million-dollar smiles when he and WWE Champion Randy Orton came out to talk business with the assembled Iowa crowd. They never got the chance, though, as The Game's weekly address to the WWE Universe was again cut short by Bryan only moments befoer Orton called for the No. 1 contender to forfeit his title opportunity at Night of Champions. But while Bryan's resolve against The Game holds strong despite the mounting odds (clearly he's been getting some good advice), the COO wasn't about to let him rain on their proverbial parade.
Cutting the submission guru short just as things began to get personal, The King of Kings again evoked the name of “good business” and condemned Bryan to all but certain doom in a bout later in the evening with yet another unwilling pawn: Big Show.
“Miz-dango” may be relegated to a one-time-only appearance, but The Awesome One ensured his tag team defeat of Fandango last week was no fluke, performing a flawless encore in singles competition by taking down the rhythmic upstart in the Wells Fargo Arena. Stewing over the theft of his duds, Fandango came out swinging against the former WWE Champion and was met with harsh opposition when Miz bounced him off the apron and barricade. The dancing king struck back after Miz stole a few moves with Summer Rae, but a big boot to his mug nearly shattered Fandango's nose and momentarily stopped the match.
Thanks to WWE medical staff, the tilt continued as planned, but Miz's quickness paid off when The Awesome One, stuck on the defensive, struck and twisted Fandango's precious legs into the Figure-Four Leglock for a quick and – we'll admit it – awesome tap-out.
Like the Timex he wore when he stole your girlfriend, Dolph Ziggler takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin'. But faced with a mystery opponent, the outspoken former World Heavyweight Champion couldn't “whatevs” his way out of trouble thanks to a sneak attack by U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose that left him hanging like laundry from the turnbuckle. And Ambrose wasn't even the Superstar Ziggler was slated to face. Thanks to the pre-bell mauling by the Hound of Justice, Ziggler was relatively easy pickings for his actual opponent: Ryback. The Human Wrecking Ball feasted on The Showoff's remains with impunity; despite a sudden burst of aggression that momentarily left Ryback reeling, it was lights out for Dolph with a furious Shell Shocked when all was said and done.
Big Show has gone on the record about his feelings toward Triple H's abuses of power, and now Stephanie McMahon has gone on the record about her feelings toward those feelings. Suffice it to say, the First Lady of WWE wasn't altogether thrilled with Show's respectful refusal to face Daniel Bryan in the main event, revealing the loopholes in his ironclad contract (so that's why he doesn't fight back) that basically give the giant no choice but to do as he's told. With no guaranteed money coming his way anymore, Stephanie explained, the choice of whether or not to face Daniel Bryan isn't really Big Show's choice at all.
Looks like Millions of Dollars beats the right to rock ‘n’ roll, as The Prime Time Players followed up their victories over The Real Americans with a similarly dominant win over the lads of 3MB on Raw. Heath Slater started things off by taunting Titus O’Neil but was summarily punished by “The Big Deal,” who quickly called Darren Young to follow up.
The rockers rallied against “Mr. No Days Off,” forcing him into the opposite corner and giving Jinder Mahal a chance to put the boots to D. Young as well. Young turned the tide with a whip-fast belly-to-belly suplex on Slater and tagged in O’Neil to capitalize. The ensuing near-fall led to an all-out melee in the ring, and once the dust settled, “The Big Deal” broke the bank with an earth-shattering Clash of the Titus to Jinder Mahal that sealed the deal.
Once, Dusty Rhodes famously spoke about “hard times,” and it seems that same destitution has now fallen on his son after Cody Rhodes failed to defeat WWE Champion Randy Orton and was duly dismissed from WWE as a result. Warned by WWE COO Triple H that defeat would come at the cost of his job and bolstered by locker-room Twitter support, Rhodes fought for his life in an effort that should set a benchmark for all WWE Superstars present and future.
The grandson of a plumber battled Orton with the heart of a lion, going for early pinfall attempts that smacked of desperation and catching a thumb in the eye as a result. Slowly, Cody settled into a rhythm and began to match The Viper strike for strike, although a top-rope backbreaker nearly put him out before the final bell. Cody roared back to connect with a Disaster Kick and repeated his classic reversal of the RKO into Cross Rhodes, but another attempted Disaster Kick left Rhodes with a tweaked knee, and Orton finally administered the RKO that – per an earnest, contrite, post-match ruling by Triple H – sent the former Intercontinental Champion on his way. Godspeed, Cody Rhodes. You will be missed.
“The Voice of the Voiceless” is done talking. He's also not in the mood to wrestle. What CM Punk wants to do, really, more than anything at this point, is fight. Still sporting the physical and mental marks of Paul Heyman's Kendo stick assault last week on Raw, The Straight Edge Superstar practically foamed at the mouth as he promised a “Biblical” piece of payback to Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel at Night of Champions.
But Punk – who rarely swears anything to anyone– stopped only to level a rare guarantee to the WWE Universe: At Night of Champions, he would get past Curtis Axel in the Triple Threat Elimination Match and unleash his dark side on the mad scientist. It was a guarantee that was sealed with, perhaps, the two most dangerous words Punk has ever spoken: “I promise.”
AJ Lee's “pipe bomb” left the “Total Divas” cast reeling last week, but that was nothing compared to what she did during the Triple Threat Match to determine who her No. 1 contender would be at Night of Champions.
Sitting at commentary as Natalya, Brie Bella and Naomi took each other to the woodshed for the Divas Title opportunity at Night of Champions, AJ's emotions finally got the best of her right as Naomi struck Brie and Natalya with a simultaneous Rear View. The “Black Widow” stormed the ring and broke up the pin attempt but suffered dearly as a result when all three Divas rounded on her for a vicious beatdown. On the bright side: Looks like the “Total Divas” gals can all finally agree on something. Plus, thanks to a ruling by Stephanie McMahon, AJ's not out of the woods just yet ...
Whether Rob Van Dam becomes World Heavyweight Champion remains to be seen, but Mr. Monday Night can safely say he's got the “Uncrowned World Champion” covered after defeating Damien Sandow on Raw. The scholarly Money in the Bank contract holder was feeling pretty good following the firing of Cody Rhodes (understandably so), but the ECW Original was quick to spoil his night with World Champion Alberto Del Rio watching from the ramp.
Del Rio's presence briefly threw RVD off his game and allowed Sandow to take over, hitting the Elbow of Disdain before throttling his opponent's neck against the ropes. A comeback from RVD was nearly spoiled when Sandow attempted a roll-up pin; however, Van Dam retaliated by bouncing Sandow's neck across the ropes (payback!) and connecting with the Five Star Frog Splash to send Sandow home.
The bad blood between Daniel Bryan and Big Show is apparently water under the bridge, but it's still unwise to make a giant angry, even if he is a gentle one. Bryan learned that lesson the hard way when he provoked a reluctant Big Show into action during their main-event match, lacing into The World's Strongest Athlete with elbows and kicks that left him reeling. With the WWE locker room again forced to watch, Show fought back and cut Bryan out of the sky with a gigantic spear, though he stopped short of unleashing the KO Punch.
Having had enough, the giant silently left the ring when – behold the king – Triple H and The Shield made their entrances. While The Hounds of Justice swarmed Bryan again to bring the match to a close, The Game made Show watch Bryan suffer yet another Triple Powerbomb and, finally, with an assist from Stephanie McMahon, forced him to knock Daniel Bryan out. With Bryan dispatched, Randy Orton slithered his way to the ring and posed over Bryan's body in a display of ill-gotten victory that, sadly, may yet be the first of many under Triple H's watch.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Miz defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) (7:25)
- Ryback defeated Dolph Ziggler (3:05)
- The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) defeated 3MB (Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) (w/ Drew McIntyre) (5:30)
- Randy Orton defeated Cody Rhodes (13:50)
- Brie Bella (w/ Eva Marie & Nikki Bella) vs. Naomi (w/ Cameron) vs.Natalya in a Triple Threat #1 Contender's match for the WWE Diva's Championship ended in a no contest (1:45)
- Rob Van Dam (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Damien Sandow (10:05)
- Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show ended in a no contest
Other on-screen talent