The rankings this week kick off with the WWE Tag Team Champions, who had some shows to forget following their successful title defense at Elimination Chamber. With Kofi Kingston entered into the Money in the Bank ladder match, he suffered a disqualification loss to Dolph Ziggler on RAW, and then all members of the trio fell in a six-man tag involving the Prime Time Players. Then on SmackDown, another ladder match combatant overcame Kingston, that being Neville.
It is not often that a superstar has the luxury of competing in a match with an opponent that has already fought through two grueling contests. But Bray Wyatt was fortunate to receive a worn down Roman Reigns on RAW, the Eater of Worlds looking to feast on some wounded prey. But, in no small part thanks to ringside shenanigans involving the Authority and Dean Ambrose, Wyatt could not make this monumental advantage count as he suffered a woeful defeat.
Another week, another sad look into the cosmos for Stardust. The abyss of a black hole is a fitting metaphor for his current career trajectory, as he spirals to loss after loss without meaning or consequence. On SmackDown he stood in the path of the new Intercontinental Champion, Ryback, and proved nothing more than a mere morsel for the Big Guy’s hunger.
Making his return to the ring, the Miz didn’t exactly receive an A-List welcome when he stepped out on RAW. He was thrust into a shot at the Intercontinental Championship, but this was as good as his week got. His match with Ryback never came to fruition thanks to the presence of the Big Show, who proceeded to knock Miz out of commission.
Mark Henry also made his homecoming at Elimination Chamber, and was set by the Authority as a seemingly reluctant pawn to stop Roman Reigns getting to Money in the Bank. Henry was the second roadblock for the Samoan, but would not stop his drive. Following a count out loss however, Henry once again chose the dark side, flooring Reigns with a post-match World’s Strongest Slam and big splash.
Inspiration continues to be short-lived for Bo Dallas, as his Bolievers are dwindling in numbers with every substantial loss. Already reeling from a defeat to Neville at Elimination Chamber, Dallas was once again on the receiving end of a failure as a result of his Geordie rival. Neville seems to have his number on lockdown.
The Ascension made an impression on their fellow tag team competitors in the Elimination Chamber with their strongest performance to date. But, they could not ride this momentum into a positive result in SmackDown’s number one contender match. In a triple threat bout, they would be on the losing end alongside the Lucha Dragons, as the Prime Time Players took their spot as the title challengers.
Sheamus was selected as another combatant in the upcoming Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and the Irishman sent messages to his opponents, but not through victory. On RAW, the Celtic Warrior’s unrelenting assault saw him get disqualified against Randy Orton during their encounter. Then on SmackDown with Roman Reigns the foe, Kane’s late interruption ended the contest and left Sheamus laid out by the Corporate Demon.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion was metaphorically naked this week, as he stood as a champ without his belt. After Dean Ambrose requisitioned the title following his disqualification win at Elimination Chamber, Seth Rollins was left moaning and complaining for the majority of both RAW and SmackDown. But, he manned up enough to accept Ambrose’s challenge of a Ladder match for the coveted belt at Money in the Bank.
The Lucha Dragons have been one of the most popular tandems in WWE since their move to the main roster, but have yet to turn that fan reaction to tangible success. The former NXT Tag Team Champions were given the chance to become number one contenders to the New Day on SmackDown. Yet, in a triple threat match also featuring the Ascension, they could not overcome the Prime Time Players.
A couple of weeks removed from unsuccessfully challenging for the United States Championship, Zack Ryder looked to add a belt to his waist on SmackDown. With an open challenge for the NXT Championship, Ryder stood toe-to-toe with Kevin Owens and produced a gutsy performance. But, it was not to be as he suffered an expected loss.
After missing out on the Divas Championship at Elimination Chamber, Paige was given an immediate second chance on RAW one-on-one with Nikki Bella. However, some undesired Twin Magic cost the Anti-Diva her chance at history, as she was rolled up by a disguised Brie. The anger of these happenings fuelled her victory over Alicia Fox on Main Event, and then a passionate promo on SmackDown calling for a revolution in the Divas Division.
King Barrett was once again employed as a part-time tool of the Authority on RAW, as they tasked him with knocking Roman Reigns out of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. However, the royal superstar could not do their bidding, as he unsurprisingly was flattened by a Spear. Things improved somewhat on Main Event with a victory over Jack Swagger, but this result was partially overshadowed by the antics of R-Truth at ringside with his sticky fingers.
After a short break from competition, Randy Orton was thrown straight back into the limelight as part of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. A former winner of the pivotal bout, Orton had a chance to build some form heading into it with a match against Sheamus on RAW. And although the win is against his name, Orton wouldn’t have felt great after the brawl, as the Irishman’s assault caused a DQ, and then he Brogue Kicked to the floor.
Although his primary concern has been keeping the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Seth Rollins and the Authority, Kane made a significant step for himself on SmackDown. In the main event between Roman Reigns and Sheamus, the Corporate Demon interfered, laying out both competitors with chokeslams, and then announced himself as another participant in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
The United States Champion was walking with a purpose when he stepped out on RAW to confront his Elimination Chamber conqueror, Kevin Owens. John Cena began with an intention of giving Owens his title due to his loss at the event. But Cena then produced one of his epic promos that screamed his passion and justified everything he stood for. He sold their rematch in some explosive words, and their confrontations are proving the most epic moments of any show they partake in.
Making an unexpected reemergence onto the scene on RAW, Big Show walked with a purpose to the ring prior to Ryback’s Intercontinental Championship against the Miz. The Giant confronted the Big Guy, before knocking out Miz with one punch. Show then informed Ryback that he would be the one to take his newly won belt, before walking away with an impression made.
The Lunatic Fringe has the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt hostage, and is using that to full advantage. Dean Ambrose was not around early on RAW, but with his friend Roman Reigns as messenger managed to cajole Seth Rollins in putting his title on the line in a ladder match at Money in the Bank. He then returned the favor by helping Reigns keep his place in the battle for the briefcase with a surprise appearance in his match with Bray Wyatt.
The newly crowned Intercontinental Champion was thrown in the deep end for his first full night as champ, forced to defend against multi-time titleholder the Miz on RAW. But this match never took place, as Big Show announced himself as the man who intends to take the belt from Ryback. The Big Guy though did get a win under his belt, as he rapidly squashed Stardust on SmackDown to show all comers he will be tough to overcome.
Neville is undoubtedly a dark horse in the upcoming Money in the Bank Ladder Match, as his rapid rise in popularity will capture the fans’ imagination in the innovative bout. On RAW, an Elimination Chamber rematch took place, as Neville battled Bo Dallas and earned a consecutive victory over him. Then in a contest opposite one of his ladder match rivals, Neville gained more momentum with a win over Kofi Kingston.
Fresh off her successful title defense at Elimination Chamber, it was no rest for the wicked as Nikki Bella was forced to put her Divas Championship on the line again. Her challenger was Paige alone this time, and following a solid back-and-forth encounter, Nikki retained in controversial fashion. Rolling out of the ring, a disguised Brie Bella used Twin Magic to slide in and score the victory for her sister.
The man whose name is on the lips of the WWE Universe after his victory at Elimination Chamber, Kevin Owens did not shy away from touting his accomplishments on RAW and running down John Cena. The US Champion did not back down, and set his firm stance to pay Owens back in the rematch at Money in the Bank. But before that, Owens had an Open Challenge title defense to contend with, as he retained his NXT Championship on SmackDown against Zack Ryder.
Another component of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Dolph Ziggler was able to build form heading into the crucial contest with a flawless week. This began with two linked matches on RAW, as he first overcame Kofi Kingston in solo action, and then paired with the Prime Time Players to best all three members of the New Day. Then on Main Event, the Show Off quickly dispatched of Adam Rose.
Following their tremendous effort at Elimination Chamber, the Prime Time Players set their sights on a fair and even fight for the Tag Team Championships. On RAW, they came to the aid of Dolph Ziggler in his match with Kofi Kingston, leading to all three being victorious in a six-man tag against the New Day. Then came their moment on the following SmackDown, where a victory over The Lucha Dragons and The Ascension secured their spot as number one contenders.
The outcome of RAW alone essentially secured this top spot for Roman Reigns this week. Due to his alliance with Dean Ambrose, the Authority placed a target on the Samoan’s back, making him jump through hoops to keep his spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. After overcoming King Barrett and Mark Henry in singles bouts, his clustered main event with Bray Wyatt resulted in another win and his place secured. Then Reigns closed SmackDown in a brawl with Sheamus, that Reigns won thanks to interference by Kane, who chokeslammed both competitors.
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