On this daaaayyy, I see cleeeaaarrly...
Ahem. There are homecomings, and then there are homecomings, and so it was that WWE and the nation of Canada bid a fond “welcome back” to The Rated-R Suuuuuperstar himself, Edge, for a special edition of “The Cutting Edge” in Toronto. Edge had been asked by WWE COO Triple H to interview WWE Champion Randy Orton, but being an Ultimate Opportunist, the 11-time World Champion instead bumped his intended guest for someone he felt was "good for business": Daniel Bryan.
Edge's interview with Bryan hadn't gotten far before The Viper and Triple H decided to drop in on the festivities. When Edge questioned The Game's ability to evaluate talent, Triple H calmly replied that Bryan would have the chance to prove his misgivings wrong by battling U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose, with Big Show in his corner. And, just to drive the point home for the ever-defiant Edge, The King of Kings displayed his might by having The Shield drag out a beaten-down Christian as a warning to all those – retired or otherwise – who might cross him.
Kofi Kingston grounded Curtis Axel on SmackDown with an upset victory, and with Paul Heyman's Intercontinental Champion heading into a do-or-die situation at Night of Champions, the harangued-looking, unshaven mad scientist needed a strong showing from his personal prodigy. What he got instead was another potential preview of the disaster that may await him on Sunday.
Though Axel had been hanging tough with The Dreadlocked Dynamo, the champion ultimately got a little carried away when he forced Kofi into the turnbuckle and started whomping him with impunity, earning Axel a DQ loss. This sent Heyman into a panic, and he quickly expressed the importance of Axel avoiding elimination of any kind on Sunday to keep CM Punk from fulfilling his infamous promise. But no sooner had the champ absorbed his lecture than Kofi regained his strength, bashing Axel with a Trouble in Paradise when Heyman's disciple attempted to cheap-shot him some more. In other words, not the most perfect night for Heyman and his champion.
The Eater of Worlds feasted on blonde ambition in Toronto when Bray Wyatt defeated Dolph Ziggler in what was just the “Man of 1,000 Truths’” second match on Raw. Wasting no time after making his already-iconic entrance, the eerie holy man displayed athletic prowess to match The Showoff’s own when he decimated the former World Champion with a lightning-quick burst of offense to start the match.
Hurling his full frame into Dolph like a human cannonball, Bray dominated early on until Ziggler found his second win, roaring back to the advantage and nearly sealing the bout with the Famouser. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan didn’t let Dolph get too far, though, climbing the apron and setting him up for a body-crushing corner splash by “The Pastor of Pain.” With Dolph out on his feet, Bray hauled his opponent to the center of the ring and dispatched Dolph to his personal hell with Sister Abigail.
Paul Heyman might not be a fan of socialized healthcare, but thanks to the accompaniment of his personal physician Dr. Kirshenbaum the (conveniently) suddenly injured mad scientist had all the support he needed to withdraw from competition at Night of Champions ... or so he thought. Not about to let Heyman off so easily, Raw GM Brad Maddox soon emerged with WWE doctor Michael Sampson in tow to give Heyman the live medical evaluation of the gimpy leg that would, potentially, clear Heyman from competition on Sunday.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Sampson proclaimed Heyman a healthy man, and this was the proverbial cue for CM Punk to arrive, Kendo stick in hand, and commit some medical malpractice of his own by decimating Kirshenbaum while Heyman watched. Or while Heyman would have watched, anyway, had he not sprinted away on his inexplicably healed leg. It's a miracle!
Interesting things tend to happen when AJ Lee sits at the commentary table, and this week was no exception. And while no “pipe bombs” were dropped, the Black Widow did get a glimpse of the fate that might await her when the “Total Divas” cast showed their mettle against a trio of opponents in Layla, Aksana & Alicia Fox. Naomi started things off and was forced into the defensive early on, yet despite AJ's repeated proclamations of superiority, she was left in stunned silence when Natalya tagged in and made quick mincemeat of Alicia Fox, tapping out the former Divas Champion with the Sharpshooter. Will AJ suffer the same humiliation on Sunday?
What's up? A victory for Alberto Del Rio, for starters. Six days away from a title defense against Rob Van Dam, the World Heavyweight Champion made an example of R-Truth on Raw. Things were looking tough for the champion at first when the “Suntan Superman” took flight and left Del Rio splayed on the outside of the ring. Truth's advantage was short-lived, though, after The Essence of Excellence knocked the former U.S. Champion loopy with an enziguiri, following up with a second, jaw-rattling kick to Truth's face and a Cross Armbreaker that left him tapping for mercy on the mat.
It truly was a night of many returns in Toronto when Santino Marella joined Edge and Goldust in the parade of homecomings and knocked off an old foe in the process.
The Canadian faithful were more than happy to see The Italian Stallion gallop back into action, but their happiness was short-lived when his opponent, Antonio Cesaro, mercilessly manhandled the Superstar he once took the United States Championship from. Things looked particularly bad for Santino when Cesaro administered a 30-second Giant Swing that had even Cesaro's detractors standing and cheering, which he followed up by removing The Cobra from Santino's arm. The mighty American got a little too cocky, though, and Santino took advantage of Cesaro's preening to take him down with an old-school hip toss that he stuck for a surprise three-count. Victory is his!
With a string of recent losses, the “Uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion” has been a man without a throne to sit on of late, but Damien Sandow got himself a much-needed win on Monday Night Raw to give his famous talk some backup ... even if he needed a bit of help to do it. The Enlightened One's victim was none other than The Miz, whose hot start hit a brick wall early on when Sandow countered his opening burst with an Elbow of Disdain that shifted the momentum of their match back his way.
Miz quickly reclaimed the advantage, booting Sandow in the face and going to work on the contract holder's leg to prepare him for the Figure Four Leglock. Alas, Miz's famous hold would go un-applied when the ostentatious entrance of Fandango threw him off his game. With the dancing devil occupying Miz's attention, all it took was a fast roll-up and a fistful of tights for Sandow to snag an ill-gotten win.
The WWE Universe will never forget the name Goldust, but their memory of him in Toronto will, sadly, be one of failure after the former Intercontinental Champion failed to defeat Randy Orton and get his brother Cody Rhodes’ job back. With that said, The Apex Predator hardly walked away with the win in Toronto. In fact, the early indication was that Orton might be staring at the lights when all was said and done.
The Bizarre One came out so strong in the instant-classic confrontation that Orton – no stranger to battling the Rhodes family – had to take multiple breathers, slithering out of the ring each time Goldust seemed to have the match in hand. Orton's strategy wasn't enough to throw Goldust off, though a backdrop onto the barricade and a series of brutal stomps did finally swing the match back in The Viper's favor. Goldust took a page out of his brother's book by reversing the RKO into Cross Rhodes, yet Orton's kickout at two left The Bizarre One reeling with frustration. It was the sudden RKO moments later, however, that truly shattered Goldust's dreams and body in equal measure.
Rob Van Dam may be going into Night of Champions with a win, but it was hardly a dominant one when Ryback willingly took a disqualification loss for the sake of embarrassing Mr. Monday Night. The No. 1 contender was all over Ryback for the majority of the match, letting loose with his famous feet and leaving the Human Wrecking Ball stumbling about the ring.
Things only went sour when the battle spilled to the outside and RVD attempted to take flight and collided face-first with the barricade when Ryback dodged the attack. Having had enough of Van Dam, Ryback brought the match to an end by ramming the ECW Original crotch-first into the ring post, following up with Shell Shocked. Say hello to “The Big Guy.”
It's main event time for Daniel Bryan, and with Big Show's presence neutralized by Stephanie McMahon's latest ruling – touch The Shield and he's fired – the submission master flew solo and battled U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose with surgical precision. Ambrose, no stranger to technical wrestling himself, gave it right back in equal measure, though the presence of Rollins & Reigns certainly gave him a leg up over the No. 1 contender. Still, Bryan proved such a stiff challenge that Rollins & Reigns had to run interference, though Bryan quickly defused the Tag Champs’ efforts and scored the win with a (Mr.) small package.
Never one to let Bryan go uninterrupted, Randy Orton quickly made his entrance and, with The Shield blocking Big Show, struck Bryan down with an RKO. Before the giant could leave, Triple H reappeared and ordered Show to, once again, knock Bryan out. But Show's hesitance while Orton berated him gave the No. 1 contender time to recover and blast The Viper with a running knee to the face, leaving Orton down and Bryan triumphant for the first time in a month. What's that expression about shoes and feet?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Kofi Kingston defeated Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) by DQ (2:17)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Dolph Ziggler (6:29)
- Brie Bella, Naomi & Natalya defeated Aksana, Alicia Fox & Layla (2:56)
- Alberto Del Rio defeated R-Truth (4:48)
- Santino Marella defeated Antonio Cesaro (w/ Zeb Colter) (3:43)
- Damien Sandow defeated The Miz (3:48)
- Randy Orton defeated Goldust (14:51)
- Rob Van Dam (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Ryback by DQ (2:58)
- Daniel Bryan defeated Dean Ambrose (w/ Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) (14:08)
- Dark match: CM Punk defeated Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman in a Two On One Handicap No disqualification Match
Other on-screen talent