After a few week absence from RAW and with problems abound within The Authority, RAW kicks off with WWE COO Triple H. After proclaiming that “daddy’s home”, Triple H says that he says the same thing to his children when he returns home after being gone a couple of weeks and when he says that, his children “immediately behave better”. The COO then says that it sounds like that is just the thing he needs to say to The Authority’s Director of Operations Kane and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Triple H continues, saying that he’s not asking Kane and Rollins to get along, he’s asking them to do what he tells them to do, saying that he is not going to watch the whole thing unfold because of someone’s “unchecked ego”. The COO then says that they are going to put an end to the fighting and bickering between Seth Rollins and Kane and they are going to end it tonight. With that, Triple H asks both Kane and Seth Rollins to come out to the ring and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is the first to come out as Rollins makes his way to the ring with J&J Security in tow.
The champion is all smiles as he shakes the hand of Triple H, welcoming the COO back to RAW, saying that he completely agrees with Triple H and they both want what is “best for business”. Rollins continues, saying that Kane is trying to “poison” The Authority from the inside and he doesn’t know if Kane is “jealous” of him because Rollins is the “man” and Kane has never been the “man”, but he feels like Kane has made it his “personal mission” to make sure that he loses the WWE World Heavyweight Title. The champion then says that Kane is the one who put together the WWE App vote that put him in a Triple Threat Match at Payback that was ultimately turned into a Fatal 4-Way Match last week. Rollins continues, saying that the Fatal 4-Way Match is like putting him in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match and he does not even have to be pinned to lose his title. Rollins then says that he does not think that Kane is fit to be the Director of Operations anymore, saying that Kane is “broken” and he cannot be fixed, suggesting that Triple H take the “old dog” out back and put him out of his “misery”.
Having apparently heard enough from Seth Rollins, Director of Operations Kane makes his way to the ring, saying that his many years of experience and expertise are telling him to grab Rollins and chokeslam him straight to “hell”. This leads to a shouting match between the two Authority members before Triple H calls order to things. The COO then says that Kane knows that he respects him, but Kane needs to get on the “same page” as the rest of them. Triple H continues, saying that he knows that Seth Rollins can be a “little irritating” and sometimes you just want to “punch him in the face”, but Kane will not do that because he says so and Kane will not do that because he says that Rollins is what is “best for business”. Triple H then drops the bombshell on Kane that, if Seth Rollins does not walk out of Payback as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, then maybe Kane’s services as the Director of Operations are “no longer needed”. Kane responds by saying that he respects Triple H, but it might just be worth losing his job to “eviscerate” Seth Rollins!
This brings the WWE World Heavyweight Champion back into the conversation as Seth Rollins starts shouting “insubordination” at Kane, sparking another argument that ends with Triple H getting in the champion’s face and telling him to “shut up”. The COO then turns his attention back to Kane, telling the Director of Operations that Kane needs to let him know if this is something that Kane cannot do, saying that, maybe, this is the part where they “amicably part ways”. Kane does not speak and Triple H says that he takes Kane’s silence to mean that the Director of Operations does not want to part ways with The Authority, saying that he needs to know that they are all on the “same page”. The COO then announces that all four participants in the Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback will be in action tonight. Triple H then says that he is going to give Kane a reason to be “invested” in The Authority as Kane will go one-on-one with Roman Reigns! Triple H then informs Seth Rollins that Rollins will go one-on-one with Randy Orton in the main event! Clearly outraged, the champion takes a step back before J&J Security inexplicably mouth off to the COO as, with Triple H not even looking at either man, Jamie Noble tells Triple H that it’s easy for the COO to roll into the arena in his limousine and put Rollins in a match. Noble then tells Triple H that Seth Rollins is the “man” around here. Triple H then finally turns his focus to J&J Security, saying that he didn’t even realize they were still there before saying that there is another man in the Fatal 4-Way Match that needs to see competition. The COO continues, saying that he thinks this Superstar needs to see competition right now before crouching down to J&J Security’s level and saying that, since it looks like the two of them combined are equal to one man, they are going to face Dean Ambrose in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match right now! Triple H then orders Kane and Seth Rollins to come with him to the back as J&J Security reluctantly prepare themselves for battle. Triple H, Kane, & Seth Rollins then stand to the side as the hometown boy makes his way to the ring.
Six nights before he, along with Randy Orton and Roman Reigns, challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match at Payback, Cincinnati’s own Dean Ambrose would face J&J Security in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match per the orders of WWE COO Triple H. In the end, it was Dean Ambrose spiking Jamie Noble with Dirty Deeds, pinning Noble to pick up the win in front of his hometown crowd.
With his Payback opponent Sheamus a guest on commentary, Dolph Ziggler was in action on RAW as “The Showoff” would go one-on-one with the 2015 King of the Ring winner, King Barrett, who will face Neville at Payback. During the match, Sheamus would leave his seat at ringside, distracting Dolph Ziggler long enough for King Barrett to take advantage, scoring with the Bull Hammer Elbow, pinning Ziggler for the win. After the match, Sheamus would enter the ring to prey on “The Showoff”, bullying and taunting Dolph Ziggler before slapping Ziggler in the corner. This would fire Ziggler up and Dolph would get a few shots in on “The Celtic Warrior” before Sheamus puts Ziggler down with the Brogue Kick, standing over Dolph and screaming “are you not entertained?”.
Apparently reunited as a team, former Wyatt Family members Luke Harper & Erick Rowan would come down to the ring together as, with Luke Harper in his corner, Erick Rowan would go one-on-one with the man he attacked on SmackDown, Fandango. In a quick match, it was Erick Rowan hitting his full nelson slam, pinning Fandango for the win. After the match, the reunited ‘brothers’ would work together as Erick Rowan would splash Fandango in the corner before Luke Harper levels the dancing Superstar with the Discus Clothesline.
Before he collides with Rusev in an “I Quit” Match for the United States Championship this Sunday at Payback, United States Champion John Cena would be on RAW for the U.S. Open Challenge. Cena says that the fans have given the United States Championship a life of its own, saying that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is so “guarded” and so “protected” that there are a lot of Superstars in WWE who will work their entire lives to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and will never achieve it. Cena continues, saying that the United State Title is what he “believes” in and the championship is what the United States of America is “all about”, saying that, each and every week, everybody has a chance to become the United States Champion. Cena then says that one man who does not have a chance is his Payback opponent, Rusev, saying that he “never” gives up and, even though Rusev has called him out for a face-to-face confrontation, he is still going to defend the United States Title in the U.S. Open Challenge here tonight. Cena then declares that the U.S. Open Challenge starts now, asking for his challenger.
Despite his upcoming title defense against Rusev in an “I Quit” Match at Payback, John Cena would insist on defending the United States Championship in the U.S. Open Challenge, defending the gold against “The Man That Gravity Forgot” Neville. Throughout the match, Neville would prove himself to be an unmatched competitor in the ring, surviving John Cena’s STF and the Attitude Adjustment. Both men would then manage to pull themselves to their feet before Neville is able to deliver a sit-down powerbomb to John Cena. Neville then follows this up with the Red Arrow, but just when it looked like “The New Sensation” would pick up an epic upset, Rusev enters the ring and attacks Neville, ending an incredible match by disqualification before Rusev takes Neville out with a big kick to the face. Rusev then stalks a weakened John Cena and, as soon as Cena is on his feet, Rusev blasts the United States Champion with a kick to the face. Rusev then locks in the Accolade on John Cena, ignoring the referee’s orders to release the hold until Cena is rendered unconscious. Rusev then further taunts John Cena by holding up the United States Title belt as the Russian flag flies overhead.
Six nights before he is one of the three challengers for Seth Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match at Payback, Roman Reigns was scheduled to go one-on-one with the conflicted Director of Operations Kane. However, Kane would not let the match begin, attacking Roman Reigns on the outside and sending Roman back-first into the steel ring post. The Director of Operations then rolls Reigns into the ring, but Reigns would fight back and a brawl would break out on the outside before Kane would gain the advantage, repeatedly tossing Reigns into the ring apron and ringside barricade. Kane then blasts Roman in the face with a big boot before exposing the announce table, but Roman would again battle back, scoring with the Superman Punch before delivering a Spear to the Director of Operations that sends both men careening over the announce table! Roman Reigns then stands tall on top of the announce table, having vanquished Kane’s destructive plans.
After they were both assaulted by Naomi and the returning Tamina last week, The Bella Twins were on RAW as Brie Bella, with Divas Champion Nikki Bella in her corner, would go one-on-one with Tamina. In the end, it was Tamina scoring with the super kick to the face of Brie Bella, pinning Brie for the win.
Doing his best impersonation of WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Damien Sandow would pose as Macho Mandow to face the Hulk Hogan impersonator Curtis Axel on RAW. Early on in the match, Macho Mandow would go for the big elbow drop off of the top rope, but that is when The Ascension would come out. Viktor says that Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow are imitating “two old relics” in a desperate attempt to kick-start their “pathetic careers”. Konnor then adds that dressing like a legend does not make someone a legend. Viktor then declares that this is the “age of total destruction” before The Ascension rushes the ring. Macho Mandow tosses Konnor out of the ring before Sandow actually helps Curtis Axel to his feet, convincing Axel to hit the big Hulk Hogan leg drop on Viktor! Macho Mandow then climbs to the rope to go for the big elbow drop, but Konnor pulls Viktor out of the ring as The Ascension retreats from the ring. Meanwhile, in the ring, Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel do their best reenactment of the uniting of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage into The Mega Powers in the ring, apparently turning their bizarre rivalry into a bizarre partnership.
After nearly a month of being out of action with an aggravated shoulder injury, Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan would return to RAW to address his health, the Intercontinental Championship, and his career. The Intercontinental Champion would make his way to the ring to a huge response from the Cincinnati crowd and, after soaking in the response from the crowd, Daniel Bryan’s face would take on a more serious demeanor. Bryan says that, for the past couple of weeks, he’s been in and out of doctor’s offices and having a lot of “downtime”, saying that he doesn’t do very well with downtime. Bryan continues, saying that he needs to be somewhere where there is some “excitement” and “energy” and that is in the ring in front of all of the fans. The Intercontinental Champion then asks how long they have been treating him like he is “something special”, saying that it seems like it’s been years that they’ve been treating him better than anyone in the back has been treating him. Bryan then says that it was so “crushing” to him last year when he was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, saying that he felt like he let the fans down because they are the ones who gave him the opportunity to win the title in the first place. Bryan then admits that it was “right” of Stephanie McMahon to strip him of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, saying that the fans deserve a “fighting champion”.
Bryan then explains that he had an MRI done last week and the doctors don’t know how long he will be out of action and, as he fights back tears, Bryan says that the doctors told him that it may take weeks or months for him to recover or he may never be able to wrestle again. Bryan then says that, with all of the “uncertainty” surrounding his future, he knows for a fact what needs to happen with the Intercontinental Championship. Bryan continues, saying that the fans deserve to see Superstars fighting for the Intercontinental Championship and saying that the title does not deserve to be sitting on a physical therapist’s chair, it belongs in a WWE ring and that is where he is going to leave it. Bryan then solemnly announces that he is officially relinquishing the Intercontinental Championship, sparking a “Thank You Daniel” chant from the crowd. Bryan then says that, for everything that they have done for him, he has just one thing to say and that is “thank you”. As the crowd continues to chant “Thank You Daniel”, Daniel Bryan lays the Intercontinental Championship in the middle of the ring before walking up the ramp to the stage and leading the Cincinnati crowd in a “yes” chant before walking to the back, possibly having stepped into a WWE ring for the last time as a champion.
Before WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day defend the WWE Tag Team Titles against Cesaro & Tyson Kidd in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at Payback, one-third of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Big E, with Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston in his corner, would go one-on-one with Cesaro, with Tyson Kidd & Natalya in his corner. During the match, a fight would break out between Tyson Kidd and Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston on the outside, but the distraction would backfire for The New Day as Cesaro would employ a unique roll-up, keeping Big E down for the three-count as Cesaro picks up the win.
A bombshell announcement was made on RAW by commentator Michael Cole that the month of May will be home to a surprise second WWE pay-per-view as WWE Elimination Chamber will air exclusively on the WWE Network on Sunday, May 31 from Corpus Christi, TX and will feature the return of the demonic Elimination Chamber structure!
After attacking Ryback on a few different occasions in recent weeks, The self-proclaimed “New Face of Fear” Bray Wyatt would appear live on RAW. Bray would say that the fans refuse to “accept this new power of fear” as they have bought into the idea of being able to overcome the odds. Wyatt continues, saying that Ryback must be an “inspiration” to each and every one of them as Ryback has overcome past injuries to continue to compete. Bray then says that Ryback has overcome a lot of odds, but he hasn’t seen anything like Bray Wyatt before, saying that he chose Ryback because Ryback was in his way. Wyatt then says that, sometimes, the “bad guy just wins”, but Bray is then interrupted by Ryback as “The Big Guy” make his way to the ring. A brawl then breaks out between the two big men with Ryback getting the better of Bray Wyatt, blasting Wyatt with the Meat Hook Clothesline before Bray makes a quick retreat from the ring.
Then it was time for the main event as, six nights before they are two of the four Superstars competing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match at Payback, “The Viper” Randy Orton would go one-on-one with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins in a non-title match. At the end of a hard-fought match, Randy Orton was about to hit the RKO on Seth Rollins when J&J Security rush to the ring, attacking “The Viper”. However, Randy Orton is able to fight back against J&J Security before Seth Rollins takes Orton down. The champion then helps J&J Security to their feet before Director of Operations Kane comes out, grabbing a steel chair from ringside as Seth Rollins and J&J Security begin to stomp away at Randy Orton.
This brings out the other two men in the Fatal 4-Way this Sunday, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, who dispose of J&J Security, leaving a face-off between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, & Seth Rollins in the ring. With nowhere to go for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Kane looking on from ringside, Dean Ambrose would plant Seth Rollins with Dirty Deeds before Orton, Reigns, & Ambrose glare at Kane. With Kane not making a move to help Rollins, Ambrose picks Rollins up as Roman Reigns delivers a Spear to the champion before both Ambrose & Reigns pick Rollins up, serving Rollins up to Randy Orton, who strikes with the RKO! Without missing a beat, Roman Reigns charges at Randy Orton, delivering a Spear to “The Viper”, which is followed up by Dean Ambrose spiking Reigns with Dirty Deeds! With Kane still standing stoically at ringside with steel chair in hand, Dean Ambrose would stand tall in the ring, again ending RAW as the only Fatal 4-Way Match participant standing.
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