Six nights before he challenges the undefeated Rusev for the United States Championship at Fastlane, RAW kicks off with John Cena. Cena wastes little time in addressing what happened last week where a thumb to the eye from Rusev, followed by Rusev throwing Cena into the LED board on the stage, re-injuring Cena’s eye. Cena says that he is there to say “no more”, saying that Rusev is not “unstoppable” before vowing that, this Sunday at Fastlane, he is going to beat Rusev. Cena continues, saying that, to beat a guy like Rusev, you have to take the fight directly to Rusev. Cena then says that RAW is about “excitement” and “having fun” before saying that he has always believed that he can win his way, with a “smile” on his face. Cena continues, saying that, this Sunday, there will be “no smiles” and he will be the first Superstar in history to beat Rusev and he will fight to win the United States Championship at Fastlane.
Naturally, this brings out the United States Champion, Rusev, along with Lana. Lana says that Cena’s problem is not that he is a “stupid American”, his problem is that Cena lives in a “delusional world” while they live in “reality” and the reality is that Rusev is the greatest United States Champion of all time and that he is “superior” to every WWE Superstar. Lana continues, saying that, this time, there is “no coming back” from the beating that Cena will suffer at the hands of Rusev at Fastlane. Rusev then takes the microphone, saying that he will “destroy” Cena and everything that Cena stands for, vowing to “crush” Cena’s “will to live”. Cena responds by saying that, if Rusev makes one more move, then he is going to have a fight on his hands. The confident United States Champion responds to this by mocking John Cena and Cena slides out the ring with his sights set on Rusev. A brawl then breaks out on the ramp before Cena tackles Rusev to the ground and blasting Rusev with a big clothesline on the stage. Referees then come out to try and break up the fight, but Cena threatens the officials, keeping them back, before Cena throws the United States Champion into the same LED board that Rusev threw him into last week. With an intense look in his eye, Cena again throws Rusev face-first into the LED board before repeatedly delivering right hands to the skull of the unconscious Rusev, standing over Rusev and shouting that “every man can be beaten” before holding the United States Title belt over his head in what may be a sign of things to come this Sunday!
Backstage, in his best news reporter getup, Dean Ambrose says that Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett continues to “duck” Dean Ambrose, refusing to give Ambrose a title match. Ambrose points out that he defeated a former Intercontinental Champion last week when he beat Curtis Axel and, later tonight, he will defeat another former Intercontinental Champion when he faces Luke Harper. Ambrose then holds up a contract for an Intercontinental Title match at Fastlane, saying that, tonight, Bad News Barrett will sign the contract whether Barrett “likes it or not”.
With his contract for an Intercontinental Title match against champion Bad News Barrett at Fastlane in hand, Dean Ambrose was in action on RAW as “The Lunatic Fringe” went one-on-one with Luke Harper. At the end of a hard-hitting match, it was Dean Ambrose blasting Luke Harper with a big clothesline, following it up with Dirty Deeds, pinning Harper for the win.
Backstage, Kane and Big Show are arguing in front of WWE COO Triple H over Big Show knocking Kane out during their tag team match on last week’s SmackDown with both men hurling insults at each other. Triple H yells at Kane and Big Show, telling them to “shut up” and saying that Kane & Big Show represents The Authority, asking if they have any idea how bad they are making him look. Without thinking, Big Show asks if they are making him look as bad as he did when Sting got in Triple H’s head last week, embarrassing the COO. Big Show immediately says “sorry” and Triple H tells Big Show that he will take care of Sting before saying that Kane will be facing Roman Reigns tonight while Big Show will be facing Daniel Bryan. Triple H then tells the two big men that he is looking for “solutions”, not “excuses” before dismissing Kane & Big Show.
From his undisclosed location, Bray Wyatt again addresses a mystery individual, saying what happened to this person was such a “tragedy” and it still “stirs a rage” deep inside of him. Bray then says that the “fear” he used to have for this individual has turned into “pity”, warning that “it’s coming”.
Backstage, Goldust is talking with his younger brother, Stardust, saying that Stardust is going down a road that he does not want to go down. Gold & Stardust’s father, Dusty Rhodes, then enters the locker room to confront his two sons. The Hall of Famer says that the Rhodes family is “broken” and he is there to fix it, but the bizarre Stardust laughs and blows glitter into the air before Dusty says that is exactly what he is talking about. Dusty then tells Stardust that all the “galaxies” and “stars” that Stardust looks up to means “nothing” without family. Dusty then says that, no matter what goes down, he loves them both. Goldust then asks Stardust if he can do this and Stardust shakes hands with his older brother before Dusty encourages his sons to “stand together”.
After the intervention from their Hall of Fame father, Dusty Rhodes, Gold & Stardust would face The New Day’s Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston, with Big E in their corner. In the end, Goldust would hold Kofi Kingston in place for the Disaster Kick from Stardust, but Kofi would avoid the contact and Stardust would nearly hit his own brother with the kick. However, Stardust would stop short, but when Kofi goes for Trouble in Paradise on Stardust, Stardust ducks out of the way as Goldust takes the kick to the head, pinning Goldust while Xavier Woods keeps Stardust occupied on the outside. After the match, The New Day would exit the ring before Stardust tends to his brother, helping Goldust to his feet, but when Goldust is unable to stand on his own, Stardust again helps Goldust to his feet, hugging his brother as Goldust leans on his younger brother. However, as soon as Goldust is able to walk on his own, he tries to leave the ring and that is when Stardust would do the unthinkable by grabbing Goldust and planting his own flesh and blood with Cross Rhodes in the middle of the ring, leaving his brother face down in the ring.
In a backstage interview with Byron Saxton, Roman Reigns tries his best to avoid saying anything bad about his Fastlane opponent, Daniel Bryan, but when Byron starts to fill in the blanks himself, Roman decides to give his honest opinion on the situation. Reigns says that, if he got thrown over the top rope in the Royal Rumble Match, he would have taken it “like a man”, but he cannot say the same for Daniel Bryan. Roman then says that the “only reason” that Bryan even has a chance of going to WrestleMania is because of him because he gave Bryan the “opportunity” and he will be the one to “take it away”, telling Saxton to “believe that”.
Moments after leaving his brother laid out in the ring with Cross Rhodes, Stardust is confronted by his father Dusty Rhodes backstage. After the Hall of Famer calls his son “Cody”, Stardust says that “Cody is gone” before explaining that Cody Rhodes was “destined to live in the shadow” of his “polka-dotted freak of a father” and his “embarrassment of a brother”. Referring to himself in the third person, Stardust says that it was a lot of “weight” to have to sit on the shoulders of Cody Rhodes, saying that it’s a “beautiful disaster”. Calling his own father “Dusty”, Stardust says that space is a “precise balance of forces” that has forced Cody to “explode”. Stardust then says that “Cody Rhodes is dead” and, as far as he is concerned, so is his father. Stardust then walks away, leaving his father heartbroken and in shock.
With his Fastlane opponent, Daniel Bryan, a guest on commentary, the winner of the 2015 Royal Rumble Match, Roman Reigns, would go one-on-one with The Authority’s Director of Operations, Kane. During the match, Daniel Bryan would twice try to cost Roman Reigns the match by leading a “yes” chant at ringside and, later on in the match, Kane would head to the outside with the intent of putting Reigns through the announce table. However, Roman would battle back, blasting Kane with a Spear on the outside before quickly sliding back into the ring just as the referee reaches his ten-count, giving Roman the count-out victory. After the match, Roman would stare Daniel Bryan down from the ring and Bryan would respond by standing on the announce table and leading a “yes” chant. Roman then dares Bryan to come into the ring, but Bryan continues to play mind games with Reigns, leading a “yes” chant around the ring.
With another creepy sermon, Bray Wyatt would appear from his undisclosed location as, with a hammer in hand, Bray says that his unknown target’s hands may have “created” this world, but he will destroy it. Bray then says that “limbo is no place for a soul like yours”, saying that he is “waiting” for this individual.
Backstage, Byron Saxton is outside the Divas locker room waiting for an interview with Paige. However, The Bella Twins come out of the locker room with Paige’s ring gear, telling Byron that, if Paige is going to compete tonight, she is going to have to do it “naked”! After The Bella Twins scurry away, a frantic Paige exits the locker room covered only by a towel, demanding to know what happened to her gear. Paige then runs into Cameron, asking if she can borrow her gear, but Cameron says that she doesn’t think it would look good on Paige before walking away. Paige then frantically looks around the hallway before setting her sights on The Exotic Express, pulling one of the oddly dressed Rosebuds into the locker room.
Decked out in polka dots and looking a lot like a modern day Yurple The Clown, Paige would face Summer Rae on RAW six nights before Paige challenges Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship at Fastlane. Despite the unusual getup, Paige would emerge victorious, locking in the PTO on Summer Rae, making Summer tap out to pick up the win. After the match, Divas Champion Nikki Bella and her sister, Brie, would come out to the stage, calling Paige a “loser”. Before the Divas Champion could explain the “difference” between her and Paige, Paige cuts Nikki off, saying that the difference between her and Nikki is that she does not need an outfit to make her “look good”, she just needs to “win”. Paige then says that she will be wearing something even better this Sunday at Fastlane when she walks out as the new Divas Champion.
Before facing Dolph Ziggler, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins would appear on RAW with J&J Security standing by his side. Rollins says that President’s Day is a holiday in which they “honor the men of the past” and, to him, that feels like a “gigantic waste of time”. Rollins then says that the “live embodiment of the future” is standing right in front of them before saying that he is the “most talented performer in the entire world” and, right now, he is the “most valuable asset in WWE”. Rollins continues, saying that he is “untouchable” and he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, saying that he could even become President of the United States, even though he is under the required age to run for the Presidency. Rollins then says that he can even replace the retired Jon Stewart and become the new host of The Daily Show and actually make that show “watchable”. Rollins then says that what he really wants to do is cash in his Money-in-the-Bank briefcase and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins continues, saying that he should be in the main event of WrestleMania, but instead, he is forced to deal with people who are “so far beneath” him like Erick Rowan, Ryback, and, especially, Dolph Ziggler.
This brings out Dolph Ziggler, who asks Seth Rollins why he’s so mad before saying that it seems like Rollins’ had a “bad Valentine’s Day”. Rollins responds by saying that Ziggler is “nothing” compared to him, but Dolph responds by calling Rollins a “whiny, protected, sellout douche”. Dolph then tells Rollins that, if he cannot get rid of The Authority again, he is going to do the next best thing and take out Seth Rollins. However, before the match can begin, a brawl breaks out between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins before Rollins quickly retreats to the outside.
After an intense confrontation between the two Superstars, RAW would see “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler square off with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, with J&J Security in his corner. During the match, however, J&J Security would try to get involved in the match behind the back of the referee, but the referee would catch J&J Security in the act, ejecting Seth Rollins’ backup from ringside! At the end of a fast-paced match, it was Dolph Ziggler catching Seth Rollins with the Zig Zag, but when Dolph goes for the pin, J&J Security rush back to the ring, attacking Ziggler and ending the match by disqualification. J&J Security would then set their sights on beating Ziggler down, but Ryback & Erick Rowan would rush to the ring and, after J&J Security made sure that Seth Rollins was safe, J&J Security would take the beating. After Erick Rowan knocks Joey Mercury out of the ring, Jamie Noble would try to attack Rowan from behind, but Rowan would not budge and Noble would find himself surrounded by Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler. Noble would then turn around right into a spinebuster by Ryback, taking Noble out as Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, & Erick Rowan stand tall in the ring.
After being embarrassed by the mind games from Sting last week, WWE COO Triple H would appear on RAW to address “The Vigilante” before their face-to-face confrontation this Sunday at Fastlane. Triple H laughs at the notion that he is “afraid” of Sting, saying that it takes more than a few “parlor tricks” to get under his skin. Triple H then says that, this Sunday, Sting is going to do the “unthinkable” when he comes face-to-face with “The Game”, not the COO. However, Triple H is quickly interrupted by a surprise guest as the COO’s friend and former mentor “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair as the two-time WWE Hall of Famer embraces Triple H in the ring. Ric Flair says that Triple H cannot get mad at him because they are in Orlando, which is where the COO inducted Ric Flair into the WWE Hall of Fame. Flair says that he is out there to say how much he “loves” and “respects” Triple H, but Triple H interrupts “The Nature Boy”, saying that Flair is out there to “sing the praises” of Flair’s legendary WCW rival, Sting. Flair tells Triple H to not take Sting “lightly” before quoting Vince McMahon by telling the COO to not put himself into a position to “fail”.
Triple H says that he does not need a “history lesson” on Sting, he knows who Sting is and he knows how good he is. Triple H continues, saying that he saw a “bleach-blonde kid” by the name of Sting go sixty minutes with Flair at WCW Clash of Champions and he watched that same “kid” become the “franchise” of WCW. Triple H then says that Sting “was and is” WCW and, when it became clear that WCW was going to go out of business, countless competitors jumped ship, but Sting went down with the ship that was WCW. Triple H says that he “respected and admired” that, but Sting made a smart decision when he “disappeared” from the wrestling business, saying that if Sting had come to WWE, then he would have ran “The Icon” out of WWE. Triple H then explains that the reason that he would have run Sting out of WWE is because Sting’s “legacy” was built on Ric Flair’s “reputation”, saying that he would have beat Sting down on “principle alone”. Flair comments that Triple H is not acting like “The Cerebral Assassin” right now, but Triple H continues, saying that, all these years later, Sting wants to make it “personal”. Triple H says that Sting wants to take away what he has because while Sting is WCW, Triple H is WWE!
Ric Flair then tells Triple H that Sting is already getting in Triple H’s head, saying that people ask him every day who the “best wrestler alive today” is and Flair tells those people that Triple H is the best wrestler alive today, when he is wrestling. Flair continues, saying that when Triple H was set to face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania last year, Flair told people that Triple H would beat Bryan in “five minutes”, but thirty minutes later, Triple H had lost. Flair then says that there is a popular saying in the wrestling business, “a wrestler’s worst enemy is time off”. Flair says that Triple H isn’t wrestling full-time anymore, saying that Triple H is an executive now and he wants Triple H to be “The Game” and he does not want Sting to “sneak up” on Triple H. Triple H says that Flair has been in the ring with Sting on countless occasions, saying that he is “no Ric Flair”, but when it comes to “kicking Sting’s ass”, Flair is “no Triple H”!
A little taken aback and visibly displeased at the audacity of Triple H, Flair tells the COO that, when he watches Fastlane this Sunday, don’t let him see Triple H sitting on his ass again like he was last week! Triple H would then shove the Hall of Famer down, shouting at Flair that, besides his family, “nothing” is more important to him than WWE and, if Flair thinks that Sting is going to take all of that away from him, he does not care who it is, because anyone who tries to stand between him and WWE is going to get their ass kicked. Triple H continues, shouting at Flair that, at Fastlane, whether Sting leaves on his own or whether he “beats it” out of Sting, Sting will never show his face in WWE again! Triple H then storms out of the ring as Ric Flair gets back to his feet, exiting the ring.
Darren Young would return to action on RAW, teaming with a local competitor to face The Ascension in tag team action. However, The Ascension would not even let the match begin before they assault Darren Young and his tag team partner, first taking the unknown competitor out of the ring before focusing on Young. However, Darren Young’s former tag team partner, Titus O’Neil, would make the save and, together, Darren Young & Titus O’Neil would take it to The Ascension, knocking Konnor & Viktor out of the ring.
Backstage, The Miz is talking with Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, asking Barrett to take The Miz’s personal assistant, Damien Mizdow, down a few pegs and, in exchange, The Miz will keep an eye out for Dean Ambrose. Barrett tells Miz that they can work something out, telling Miz to have his people call Barrett’s people.
After setting up The Miz’s seat for The Miz at ringside, The Miz’s personal assistant, Damien Mizdow, would go one-on-one with Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett in a non-title match. During the match, Damien Mizdow would be in control of the match, but when The Miz rings a bell, telling Mizdow that the bell means that he stops what he’s doing, Mizdow turns his attention to The Miz. Miz then tells his personal assistant that there is a scuff on his shoe, asking Mizdow to come out there and buff it out for him. With no other choice, Mizdow quickly shines The Miz’s shoe and, when Mizdow gets on the ring apron, The Miz distracts Mizdow again, telling Mizdow to “watch out” after Barrett knocks Mizdow off of the ring apron. This trend would continue with Miz claiming that he had a spot on his sunglasses, but when Mizdow starts to exit the ring, The Miz sees that Barrett was about to deliver the Bull Hammer Elbow, so he dismisses his personal assistant, who turns right around into the Bull Hammer Elbow as Barrett pins Mizdow for the win.
After the match, Dean Ambrose would rush the ring and, as The Miz quickly escapes, “The Lunatic Fringe” attacks Bad News Barrett, using a zip tie to tie the Intercontinental Champion’s hands together around the ring post! As Barrett screams for someone to cut him loose, Ambrose grabs his contract and a pen, showing Barrett where to sign the contract. Ambrose then literally forces Barrett’s hand, making Barrett sign the contract to make an Intercontinental Title match between Barrett and Ambrose official for Fastlane!
Hammering a nail into a coffin, Bray Wyatt asks what “shakes the heart of a man” before saying that the answer lives within him and the answer is the “creature” that lives behind his eyes. Bray then says that there is “nowhere left to go” before saying that “the angel with the burnt wings cometh”. Bray then says that it’s “time”, telling his unknown target to “find me” or else “I will find you”!
In a RAW first, it would be husband and wife facing husband and wife as WWE Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso would team with his wife, Naomi, with Jey Uso in their corner, to face Tyson Kidd and his wife, Natalya, with Cesaro in their corner, in a Mixed Tag Match. In the end, it was Naomi and Natalya going counter-for-counter with Naomi getting the better of the exchange, keeping Natalya down for the three-count to pick up the win. After the match, instead of consoling his wife, Tyson Kidd acts appalled at Natalya losing the match, telling the second-generation competitor how she should have locked in the Sharpshooter, even demonstrating how to do the move and asking his wife “is it that hard?”
Then it was time for the main event as, six nights before he faces Roman Reigns with a spot in the main event of WrestleMania on the line at Fastlane, Daniel Bryan would go one-on-one with “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show with Roman Reigns watching closely from ringside. During the match, Daniel Bryan would lock in a sleeper hold on Big Show as Roman Reigns gets out of his seat, signing autographs for fans in the crowd and even taking pictures with fans as Daniel Bryan struggles to keep his focus on the match. Later on in the match, Daniel Bryan would regain the advantage, bringing Big Show to the outside as Roman Reigns continues his mind games, throwing t-shirts to the crowd. However, when Bryan goes for a dive on Big Show, Big Show catches Bryan and shoves Bryan right into Roman Reigns!
This leads to a face-to-face confrontation between Bryan and Reigns with both men shoving the other and, when Bryan spots Big Show heading towards him, Bryan sidesteps as Big Show blasts Roman Reigns with a Spear! Big Show then drops Daniel Bryan with a side kick, bringing Bryan back into the ring as the resilient Daniel Bryan begins to mount an offense against Big Show. Bryan takes it to Big Show before locking the giant in the Yes Lock, but Big Show is able to make it to the ropes, forcing the break. After a barrage of kicks, Daniel Bryan would head to the top rope with the intent of putting the final touches on Big Show, but that is when Roman Reigns would enter the ring, returning the favor to Big Show by blasting the giant with the Superman Punch! However, this act of payback would cost Daniel Bryan the match as Roman’s interference gives Big Show the win by disqualification. As Big Show stands in the entranceway beaming about his victory, a livid Daniel Bryan stands on the top rope, waiting for Roman Reigns to turn around before knocking Reigns down with a very intentional dropkick! All hell then breaks loose as Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns come to blows with Roman tossing Bryan out of the ring, but Bryan comes back into the ring and the Fastlane opponents resume their intense brawl as the fight spills to the outside. Roman then repeatedly tosses Bryan into the ringside barricade as referees rush out to try and stop the fight with Reigns even shoving one of the officials. Reigns then rolls Bryan back into the ring before referees are able to separate the two.
With the fight seemingly over, Daniel Bryan would extend his hand with Roman Reigns shaking his opponent’s hand, but emotions would again get the better of the two competitors as Roman and Bryan start throwing punches at each other again! Bryan then gets the better of the exchange, knocking Roman out of the ring with a dropkick and diving out onto Reigns before Roman and Bryan take the fight into the crowd. The two men would then fight their way into the timekeeper’s area where Daniel Bryan would get a hold of a steel chair, delivering a chair shot to the back of Roman Reigns and Roman responds with a stiff forearm to the face of Bryan. Roman then tackles Bryan over the announce table as both men continue to fight, forcing several WWE agents out to assist the referees in separating Bryan and Reigns, which they are finally able to do as Reigns is forced away from the ringside area, screaming at Bryan that they will finish it this Sunday!
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