Just six days before WWE Payback live this Sunday on the WWE Network, this week’s Monday Night RAW emanated live from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio — Dean Ambrose’s hometown.
And Dean Ambrose added himself to the main event at Payback!
What happened when the WWE’s power couple returned to television to settle the nonsense that is the Authority that has been plaguing WWE television in the following weeks since Wrestlemania? Also, how did Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Ambrose prepare for the fatal-four-way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? (Hint: it was good)
Here is what happened on Monday Night RAW:
Triple H Kicked Off the Show By Affirming His Power Within the Authority
The Authority kicked off Monday Night RAW and with them included the King of Kings Triple H. Triple H declared that if WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins doesn’t walk out of Payback with the WWEWHC in tact, then Kane is NO LONGER the Director of Operations. (In the promo, there is clearly tension within the Authority, which teases a Kane or even Rollins face turn at some point down the line.) Triple H later set up the main event for RAW, Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins and Kane vs. Roman Reigns.
Throughout the entire promo the Cincinnati crowd was chanting for their hometown guy, Dean Ambrose, which drowned out some of what Triple H was saying. Later in the promo, J&J interrupted Triple H, which led to Triple H making a 2-on-1 handicap match — J&J vs… the Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose, who came out to a thunderously loud ovation.
To continue the start to RAW, Ambrose fed off the crowd to get the 1-2-3 over the Authority’s cronies. Ambrose remains one of the most over superstars on the entire roster, and a good way to kick off the show tonight.
King Barrett Defeats Ziggler With Help From Sheamus Interference
Before the match between Ziggler and Barrett got underway, Sheamus made his way down to the ring for commentary. King Barrett came down to the ring and cut a promo on Neville before the match started, too.
Sheamus eventually made his way to the ring apron to cause a distraction for Ziggler, which led to him eating a huge Bullhammer Elbow from Barrett for the win. After the match Sheamus attacked Ziggler and continued to yell at Ziggler and towards the WWE Universe while toying with him. Sheamus also hit a Brogue Kick. Both superstars will go 1-on-1 Sunday at Payback.
Rusev Interrupts the Ending to John Cena vs. Neville
John Cena came out serenaded by more cheers than he usually gets in front of the Cincinnati crowd. Cena spoke to the crowd that he was encouraged and asked to not do the United States Championship Open Challenge this week before Sunday’s “I Quit” Match with Rusev at Payback. Cena put the decision up to a vote with the fans who decided he hold it anyway.
“The Man That Gravity Forgot” Neville answered Cena’s challenge. In one of the best RAW matches of the year, Neville went toe-to-toe and back and forth with Cena; Neville rolled over out of an STF and landed on his legs after Cena tried to hit an Attitude Adjustment. After Neville countered Cena attempting a top-rope AA with a powerbomb, he then hit a Red Arrow.
Neville attempted a cover, but was immediately attacked by Rusev who kicked him out of the ring and then focused his attack on Cena. Rusev kicked Cena in the face and applied the Accolade on Cena. Lana was nowhere to be found despite the crowd chanting “We Want Lana!”
Roman Reigns vs. Kane Never Got Started & They Winded Up Brawling at Ringside
Kane attacked Reigns before he even had an opportunity to make it over the barricade for their match. After each traded blows on the outside — and Reigns narrowly avoided the steel steps twice — Reigns ended up hitting a spear on Kane over the announcer’s table.
Reigns then did his usual spot where he stands on top of the table and plays to the crowd. the crowd supported Reigns up to 75%.
Daniel Bryan Relinquishes the Intercontinental Championship
In an incredibly powerful and sad moment, Daniel Bryan revealed to the WWE Universe that the results of an MRI showed that there is no timetable for his return. Because of this, he can’t compete.
Bryan then vacated the Intercontinental Championship, claiming that the WWE fans deserved to have great superstars competing over the championship.
Kane Made It Hard for the Authority to Trust Him Heading into Payback
When J&J came out and interfered in the main event on Seth Rollins’ behalf getting him disqualified and giving Orton the win, Rollins presumed that Kane was going to follow and help them out. Kane did follow, but after he came down to the ring and went to the timekeeper’s area to get a chair, he just stood there and never entered the ring.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns ran down to the ring and disposed of J&J, leaving Rollins in the ring all alone with his three adversaries this Sunday at Payback. Each superstar then hit their finishing maneuver on Rollins, as Kane watched from the outside with a blank expression on his face. Then Reigns speared Orton and Ambrose hit a Dirty Deeds on Reigns.
For the second consecutive week, Ambrose stood tall in the middle of the ring to close Monday Night RAW.
In case you missed last week, here is what you missed:
Heavy’s Preview & Three Things to Watch For This Week on RAW
John Cena & Rusev Prepare to Do Battle in Sunday’s ‘I Quit’ Match for the U.S. Championship
In one of the WWE’s most awesome surprises in a long time, Montreal native Sami Zayn surprised the WWE Universe last week when he accepted John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge.
Despite Cena narrowly avoiding defeat, it was actually Zayn who lost the battle when he was diagnosed with a shoulder injury that could keep him out up to six weeks.
For Cena, Sunday’s match with Rusev doesn’t involve a pinfall or submission, but will force him to get rusev to say “I Quit,” a tall task. Cena has actually never uttered “I Quit” either. It’s Cena’s trademark match. How will Rusev and Cena interact just six days before Sunday’s final encounter in their ongoing feud?
The Eater of Worlds Is Coming to Try & Feast on the ‘Big Guy’
Ryback responded to Bray Wyatt last week, and is clearly not entertained and not intimidated by the bearded, mysterious cryptic cult leader. Just six days before Payback, what will Wyatt do in response to Ryback’s words, and will the New Face of Fear attack Ryback once more to send a message to the near 300-pounder heading into Sunday?
How Will Each of Rollins’s 3 Challengers Try & Get the Advantage On Each Other
Each of Sunday’s challengers to Seth Rollins and his WWEWHC should expect to be in action on Monday night, possibly against each other.
Last week Orton and Reigns began the show losing a 2-on-3 handicap match to the New Day, then learned that they would face each other in the main event. After the authority came down to the ring, Ambrose evened the odds and disposed of J&J and Kane …until Orton hit the RKO on Reigns and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds on Orton…
…Then the contract signing happened on Smackdown
Each men can’t expect to trust each other nor should they. It will be every man for himself on Sunday. The question of how that will impact Monday Night RAW this week is still to be determined.
The Best of the Rest
– Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler continue their feud heading into Payback.
– King Barrett, in all of his glory, should continue to reign over RAW until Daniel Bryan comes back. Will the King target Neville again before Sunday’s Payback PPV?
– How will the Bella Twins respond to the newly formed duo of Naomi and Tamina Snuka?