Another short step in the career of the jobber for Fandango, as he was very quickly squashed on the latest episode of RAW. Within one minute into his match with Erick Rowan he was pinned to the mat. And, instead of being allowed to scurry away with his tail between his legs, he was then crushed by Rowan and his partner Luke Harper after the match.
Bo Dallas is another that has simply capitulated to the bottom of the card and exploited to give others a simple victory. He was pulled out on the most recent episode of SmackDown against Neville, a man he once feuded with for the NXT Championship. But these days have long since ended, with The Man Gravity Forgot soaring and Dallas staying rooted with another loss.
If the rankings were based on match quality, Stardust would certainly be higher up due to the excellent contest he shared with Dolph Ziggler on Main Event. Yet, this doesn’t count for much when the losses keep piling up. Ziggler earned the win over Stardust that night, and then on the Payback pre-show, his mini-feud with R-Truth appeared to end with a loss for the unhinged superstar.
The dominance of the Bella Twins at the summit of the Divas division might be coming to an end to another tandem if this week is any indication. On RAW, Brie Bella was beaten soundly by the returning Tamina Snuka. Then, when both Nikki & Brie combined to face Naomi and Tamina at Payback, the Divas Champion was pinned by Naomi.
One of the most bizarrely retro moments of the week was the unification of Curtis Axelmania and Macho Mandow to confront the Ascension after contesting a match against one another. This unlikely pairing of the New Mega Powers then headlined the Payback pre-show, but their combination proved to be a little shy of the results wrought by Hogan and Savage in the 1980’s.
After weeks of teasing dissension within the Authority, Kane’s behavior at Payback was sadly quite anticlimactic. On RAW, he and Roman Reigns began brawling so early in their match that it was deemed a no contest, leading to a No-DQ rematch on SmackDown. On that occasion, Reigns won. But Kane had a big hand in the result of Payback’s main event, interfering numerous times to help Seth Rollins retain his WWE Championship.
The Big Guy demonstrated that he was looking to out-eat the Eater of Worlds on RAW with an attack on Bray Wyatt. But, Ryback did not enjoy the most positive of weeks, as Wyatt provided his own sneak attack on SmackDown, which contributed to his subsequent loss to Seth Rollins. Then in a brutal match at Payback, Ryback could not overcome the crafty power of Wyatt, losing their first encounter.
A loss is one thing, but when you are forced to quit, that is especially embarrassing. Rusev and John Cena gradually built up an exceptionally violent encounter at Payback, which did a great job in making both look powerful. Yet, despite knocking Cena unconscious in the Accolade, Rusev would be the loser, forced to say “I Quit” in his native Bulgarian, which Lana translated to cause the match to end.
If there was one man extremely intent on Payback at the latest PPV, it was Dolph Ziggler. In the lead up to his bout with Sheamus, Ziggler had both a win and a loss, falling to King Barrett on RAW and then besting Stardust on Main Event. Ziggler then was able to earn a measure of revenge against the Irishman by making him kiss the Show-Off’s backside. But, the rage that followed was too much for Ziggler, who ended the night bloody and defeated.
The current King of the Ring has been in bullish mood since his crowning, and most of his bile has been directed towards his Payback opponent Neville. Barrett secured a victory over Dolph Ziggler on RAW to build momentum heading into the event, and the two Brits produced an impressive encounter. But, the King seemed to lose interest in a victory when he voluntarily got counted out and assaulted Neville from behind. Yet, he got his just desserts with a post-match Red Arrow from the enraged Geordie.
R-Truth continues to mill around the mid card, being brought out where necessary to fill a spot when others are unavailable. This is the role he took on the Payback pre-show, continuing his mini-feud with Stardust. And the hip-hop performer produced a solid performance, ending with a victory over his younger opponent.
It has not been the most promising first six months on the main roster for the Ascension, but they were still able to secure a rare victory on the Payback pre-show. Prior to this on RAW, they had looked to decimate the jokes that were the New Mega Powers, only to have the tables turned on them. Although, their greater experience as a team paid off with a win over the odd tandem on Sunday night.
It appears a family reunion has been secured, as Luke Harper and Erick Rowan officially reunited on RAW. In a short contest that saw Rowan destroy Fandango in a matter of seconds, the pair then combined to add further injury to the dancer. Then on Main Event, they competed in their first tag team match since September 2014, beating Jimmy Uso and Zack Ryder.
The Celtic Warrior left Payback with the blood of his rival Dolph Ziggler marking his boot, but it was a week of mixed fortunes. On SmackDown, Sheamus was matched up against Dean Ambrose, and came up short against one of the WWE Championship contenders. But, the Irishman returned with a vengeance at the PPV, as although he left with the taste of Ziggler’s backside on his lips, the rage this produced helped him towards a crushing victory.
Randy Orton was the odd in the WWE Championship fatal four-way against the former Shield members, but still backed his chances for victory. On RAW, Orton technically earned a win against champ Seth Rollins in the main event when the Authority got involved, but ended the night speared by Reigns. Then at Payback, after being triple powerbombed through a table, Orton would suffer the pinfall following a Pedigree by Rollins.
Whilst the pairing of Cesaro and Tyson Kidd enjoyed success in singles competition this week, they did not capture the prize that mattered the most to their team. Cesaro started well on RAW with a win over Big E, and was swiftly followed up by Kidd forcing Kofi Kingston to tap out. When they won the first fall of the 2-out-of-3 falls Tag Team title match, they seemed to be heading for a perfect seven days. But, thanks to some shady teamwork, they could not regain the belts at Payback.
In a battle between WWE’s two prominent eaters, Bray Wyatt would prove the definitive victor. He and Ryback traded words and fists on RAW and SmackDown leading up to their contest, with the New Face of Fear getting a good shot in on Thursday. This produced an aggressive and violent fight at Payback between the heavyweights, and Wyatt would stand tall thanks to an exposed turnbuckle and Sister Abigail.
The WWE Tag Team Championships remained part of a New Day’s realm of positivity, albeit thanks to some very cheap tactics. Both Big E and Kofi Kingston would lose separate singles matches against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd respectively on television leading into the title match. And, in an impressive 2-out-of-3 falls match that came down to the final pin, Xavier Woods snuck into a pinfall with his head ducked to steal the crucial win.
Naomi’s pursuit of the Divas Championship took a step up at Payback, as her alliance with Tamina Snuka is reaping immediate benefits. She stood back and enjoyed her new partner defeat Brie Bella on RAW, and then had their first tag team match together in a triumph over Natalya and Alicia Fox. But, the biggest impact was at the PPV, as Naomi secured a potentially significant pin over Nikki Bella in their tag team battle.
A man who was hugely determined to get his revenge on Seth Rollins by taking his WWE Championship at Payback, Roman Reigns had his hands full with Kane the majority of the week. The behemoths battled on RAW and SmackDown, the first ending in a No Contest and Kane laid out on the announce table, and the second with Reigns standing tall at the conclusion. However, he could not complete his plan of vengeance at Payback, in no small part due to the Authority’s interference, and was forced to watch Rollins retain.
The United States Championship remained in the hands of a patriot on Payback, but John Cena came close to surrendering the title on a pair of occasions this week. On RAW, his traditional Open Challenge was accepted by Neville, who looked set to claim the belt if not for some unwanted interference from Cena’s rival Rusev. Then, when the heated enemies fought in a vicious I Quit match at Payback, Cena was able to get the Bulgarian to submit in his native tongue, at least according to Lana.
The popular underdog was the outright crowd favorite heading into the fatal four-way at Payback, but was unable to ride this support into a WWE Championship win. Dean Ambrose would earn a pair of victories on the road to the PPV, defeating J&J Security in a handicap match on RAW, and then standing tall over all his opponents at the end of the show. Sheamus then suffered a loss to the Lunatic Fringe on SmackDown, but Ambrose could not push this momentum when it mattered most, as Seth Rollins took home his gold.
After close to a year out with injury, Tamina Snuka has made a significant impact on her return to the ring. On RAW, her strength and powerful superkick was enough to floor Brie Bella, and then with her new ally Naomi in tow, the pair won a Main Event tag team contest against Natalya and Alicia Fox. However, the big prize would be a win over the Bella Twins at Payback, which they secured in impressive fashion. Clearly, thanks in large part to Tamina, the Divas division is in the midst of a power shift.
Neville maintains his course to superstardom, and was unfortunate not to end the week with a title around his waist. The Brit answered John Cena’s Open Challenge on RAW, and if it were not for the interference of Rusev, he could easily have become the new United States Champion. Neville had a pretty flawless week as that victory (albeit by DQ) was then followed by wins over Bo Dallas on SmackDown and King Barrett by count out at Payback. And he even gave his highness a post-match Red Arrow for good measure.
In a match where he was given virtually no chance, Seth Rollins once again beat the odds with plenty of helping hands to keep hold of his WWE Championship. Rollins started the week on a bit low, as he lost by DQ to Randy Orton on RAW, before being decimated by all his Payback challengers with Kane standing idly by. Some assistance from Bray Wyatt allowed him to get back to winning ways on SmackDown over Ryback. But, the crucial coup came on Sunday night, as with the help of his Authority cohorts, including Kane, Rollins connected with a Pedigree on Orton to maintain a firm grasp on his precious belt.
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