Embracing the WWE Universe with his dancing hasn’t exactly benefitted Fandango in bettering his status as a jobber. On RAW, despite a surprisingly gutsy effort and getting Lana to boogie with the crowd, he became another superstar to be crushed by Rusev. And things did not improve on SmackDown, as he was defeated by Luke Harper, and then suffered the indignity of a post-match attack by Erick Rowan.
R-Truth might be a little crazy, but he was outshone in that regard in a pair of matches with Stardust. On RAW, the hip-hop athlete got distracted with a bag that his opponent brought to the ring, which was full of plastic spiders. The fear caught Truth out in that defeat, and that result did not improve on Main Event as Stardust scored another victory.
The Bella Twins were flattened before even stepping foot in the ring this week. With Divas Champion Nikki set to battle Naomi with Brie by her side, they were ambushed on the ramp by Naomi and a returning Tamina Snuka. They were downed by a couple of hard kicks from both adversaries, showing that they have huge targets on their backs.
Continuing his dark pursuit of Ryback for reasons that are still vague to most, Bray Wyatt played mind games with the Big Guy, first in the form of a typically eerie promo on RAW. Then on SmackDown, during Ryback’s six-man tag against the New Day, the lighting went out, and its distraction proved enough to cost his side the contest.
The Ascension’s rise has truly failed to materialize ever since they debuted on the main WWE roster, and for all their talk of excellence they have become jokes themselves. On RAW, they added another loss to their collection in recent months, falling to the former tag team champions of Cesaro & Tyson Kidd. This frustration likely contributed to their attack on Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel during their match on Main Event.
The Big Guy has become a Big Target for Bray Wyatt, and was victim of his mind games in the past week. On RAW, in front of a hostile Montreal crowd, his passionate words brought them back on side, before the image of the Eater of Worlds left Ryback frustrated. Then on SmackDown, he teamed with Cesaro & Tyson Kidd against the New Day, only for Wyatt turning the lights out to cost Ryback’s team the victory.
After an extended period of absence from television, Erick Rowan came out and made an impression on the latest episode of SmackDown. Following the match between Luke Harper and Fandango, the sheep-masked brawler appeared to stare down his former Wyatt Family ally. Yet, this proved false as Rowan beat down the fallen Fandango, dropping him with a Full Nelson Slam before departing, leaving a perplexed Harper looking on.
Whilst Randy Orton will be a component of the WWE Championship match at Payback, he did not experience the greatest week in building to that event. He was placed in the opening match of RAW, teaming with future opponent Roman Reigns in a surprise defeat to the New Day. The Viper was then informed by Kane he would also be in the main event, a DQ loss to Roman Reigns. Then on SmackDown, the contract signing for the Fatal Four-Way match saw him cracked by a Superman Punch.
Being King of the Ring has never been a guarantee of future success, and King Barrett will be hoping he does not suffer a similar fate. RAW was a positive outcome, as Barrett teamed with Sheamus to quash Neville and Dolph Ziggler. But, two straight losses followed on SmackDown. When his match with Ziggler ended by disqualification, he was placed in a tag team rematch from Monday, where Ziggler pinned Barrett.
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd are still firmly in the hunt to recapture the tag team championships from the New Day, and maintained momentum in the division with a strong victory over The Ascension on RAW. But on SmackDown the clapping trio got the better of the tandem that speaks in facts, where alongside Ryback they fell to the champions in a six-man tag.
The Man that Gravity Forgot was grounded on Monday, but back soaring by Thursday. In a pair of tag team outings with Dolph Ziggler opposite King Barrett and Sheamus, Neville went 1-1. The match on RAW was a defeat, as he flew into the path of a Bullhammer from Barrett to be pinned. But better was to come on SmackDown, as he supported Ziggler as the Show-Off registered a pin on the King of the Ring in another tag team contest.
Eleven months of injury torment were finally brought to an end for Tamina Snuka on RAW, as she made her return felt in the Divas Division. In a match scheduled between Nikki Bella and Naomi, Tamina supported her family through assaulting both Bella Twins prior to the opening bell. Her bodyguard status was fully confirmed on SmackDown, as she watched Naomi best Emma, before adding her own impetus with a post-match superkick.
With the tag team division’s focus being mainly on the New Day and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, the exciting run of the Lucha Dragons had been reduced to a whimper in recent weeks. But, they returned to full force on SmackDown, as their high-flying tandem battled Los Matadores. And in this bout of masked athletes, Kalisto & Sin Cara proved the better side.
Sheamus had a double serving of tag team action this week, both with King Barrett by his side and opposite the tandem of Dolph Ziggler and Neville. His feud with the Show-Off continues to be at boiling point, and the Celtic Warrior aided Barrett in the match on RAW to a win. But the feat could not be repeated on SmackDown, as following an attack on Ziggler during his match with Barrett, Sheamus’ team with the King ended in a defeat.
The Bulgarian Brute continues to steam toward Payback and a clash with John Cena for the United States Championship, although the subject of his focus might be divided. On RAW, Rusev took on Fandango in what was a short but competitive battle. However, what really drew the Super Athlete’s ire was Lana doing the Fandango at ringside. After sending her backstage, Rusev viciously applied the Accolade to Fandango to earn the win.
Luke Harper has been hanging idly around the mid card for a while now, never threatening to break out into its upper echelons. But, that might be about to change if SmackDown was any indication. Harper competed against Fandango, and pulled out a convincing victory with his discus clothesline. The aftermath was most intriguing though, as Erick Rowan emerged to lay a post-match beating on Fandango, teasing a reformation of their tag team.
Another superstar that is currently treading water without much sight of improvement on the horizon, Stardust partook in two matches with R-Truth this week. Still embittered that Truth took away Stardust’s “rightful” King of the Ring crown, the former Cody Rhodes exploited his opponent’s fear of spiders to win on RAW with a bag of plastic arachnids. And he repeated this triumph on Main Event.
An emotional night for one of NXT’s biggest superstars, as Sami Zayn emerged to a tremendous reception in his hometown of Montreal to challenge John Cena for the United States Championship. Despite enduring an early and genuine shoulder injury, Zayn produced a performance of real guts and desire that nearly upset the champ. But, he would fall short in his efforts, and hopefully this will be the first of many title matches in his future on the main roster.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion had his already difficult challenge at Payback even more treacherous. Kane exploited his position of power to hand Dean Ambrose a chance to make it into the Payback main event, when he had a match with Seth Rollins. A roll-up following the confusion of J&J Security’s interference saw Rollins fall to a crippling loss. With a Fatal Four-Way now on the cards, Rollins at least had the pleasure of standing tall at the end of SmackDown, flooring Roman Reigns with a flying knee to the temple.
Chasing the WWE Championship persists as the aim for Roman Reigns, but he was forced to take a slight diversion on RAW. Teaming with future opponent Randy Orton, their fractious pairing suffered a surprise loss to the New Day. Reigns and Orton were then pitted against each other in the main event by Kane, and Reigns won by virtue of being attacked first by the Authority. In SmackDown’s contract signing, despite punching Kane and Orton out of their boots, Reigns was left cracked by a knee to the head by Seth Rollins.
Naomi remains firmly in the hunt for the Divas Championship, and has now got some support to aid her in that pursuit. On RAW, she allied with the returning Tamina Snuka to ambush and assault the Bella Twins prior to a scheduled match against Nikki. Then on SmackDown, with Tamina in her corner, Naomi registered a convincing victory over Emma, before adding an exclamation point with a post-match attack.
The Show-Off had a mixed bag this week, starting off poorly but ending in triumph. Dolph Ziggler teamed with Neville on RAW, but their combination was unable to overcome King Barrett and Sheamus. However, this was all change on SmackDown, as after Ziggler was awarded a DQ win over Barrett due to interference by the Celtic Warrior, he and Neville made amends for RAW by beating their rivals in tag team action.
The United States Champion entered hostile Canadian territory on RAW, on the road to his I Quit match with Rusev at Payback. However, John Cena first had to navigate his Open Challenge over his title, and was shocked first by the emergence of Bret Hart, and then his opponent Sami Zayn. After a very good match which took a lot out of the veteran Cena, he was able to defend his belt against the upstart and paid him respect afterwards.
The Tag Team Champions have really hit their stride as a unit since becoming self-righteous heels, and their development continued with more success this week. The New Day battled Randy Orton and Roman Reigns in a handicap match on RAW, and pulled off a shock victory due to their opponents’ miscommunication. Then on SmackDown, a second straight triumph followed, as they clapped their way to a win over Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Ryback.
Dean Ambrose sits atop the rankings this week due to going from a directionless spot in the mid card to the main event in an instant. On RAW, he was set to face long-term rival Seth Rollins in a singles match, when Kane added the stipulation that if the WWE Champion lost, his title defense at Payback would become a Fatal Four-Way match. The Lunatic Fringe duly obliged with a roll-up to defeat his former Shield partner, inserting himself into the Main Event of Payback. On SmackDown, Ambrose led the way for the brawl following the contract signing, only to be floored with an RKO later on.
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