One night after what had to be a banner night for The Authority at Payback, RAW kicks off with the reunited Authority as, for the first time since WrestleMania, WWE COO Triple H & WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon would make their way to the ring together. Stephanie says that it feels good to be back, saying that life is so much sweeter when you’re a “winner” and, after his victory over Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, & Dean Ambrose in a Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback, Seth Rollins truly is the future of WWE and the “future is strong”. Triple H then says that Rollins proved at Payback that he is everything that The Authority says that he is, saying “I told you so”. The COO continues, saying that Seth Rollins is the “future of WWE” before Stephanie says that they are going to “pay tribute” to their “investment” as they present “Seth Rollins: Architect of a Dream”. Stephanie continues, saying that Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, & Dean Ambrose will have the “honor” of acknowledging their “inferiority” as all three Superstars go to the “back of the line”. Triple H then says that Orton, Reigns, & Ambrose could not get the job done, saying that championships are reserved for those who can “rise to the occasion”.
Triple H & Stephanie then unveil the Intercontinental Title belt, which was vacated by the injured Daniel Bryan on last week’s RAW. Stephanie then says that Daniel Bryan does not own a TV, saying that Bryan is probably out “picking berries or chopping wood”. Stephanie continues, saying that it took a lot of “courage” for Daniel Bryan to admit that Stephanie was right before saying that, unlike Daniel Bryan’s career, the show “must go on”. Triple H then says that, in two weeks at WWE Elimination Chamber, they will crown a new Intercontinental Champion as the demonic Elimination Chamber will determine who will win the vacant championship. Triple H says that he can tell them from firsthand experience that “bones will be broken and careers will be shortened” inside the Elimination Chamber and only one Superstar will leave as the Intercontinental Champion. Stephanie then begins to speak further on the subject, but The Authority is interrupted by the arrival of “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus. Sheamus makes his way to the ring, apologizing for the interruption before saying that they don’t need to have an Elimination Chamber Match to determine a new Intercontinental Champion. Sheamus continues, claiming that he was the one who “finally ended” Daniel Bryan’s career, showing his match against Daniel Bryan from last month on SmackDown. Sheamus then says that they can forget about the Elimination Chamber Match because what is “best for business” is for The Authority to award him with the Intercontinental Championship.
This brings out “The Big Guy” Ryback with his ribs taped up following his hard-fought match against Bray Wyatt at Payback. Ryback tells Sheamus that Daniel Bryan has more “heart” and “determination” than Sheamus could ever have and more of a “man” than Sheamus could ever be. Ryback continues, saying that Sheamus likes to pick on “little guys”, so why doesn’t Sheamus try to pick on “The Big Guy”, saying that he doesn’t like “bullies” and he doesn’t like Sheamus. With Ryback and Sheamus ready to fight right then and there, Stephanie intervenes, saying that the two Superstars can wait until WWE Elimination Chamber when they will be two of the six Superstars battling for the Intercontinental Championship inside the Elimination Chamber! Triple H then decides that he and Stephanie should leave the ring because Ryback will go one-on-one with Sheamus right now!
In an impromptu match set up by The Authority, two of the six Superstars in the Elimination Chamber Match for the Intercontinental Championship at WWE Elimination Chamber would square off as “The Big Guy” Ryback would go one-on-one with “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus. During a hard-hitting match between the two big men, Ryback would continue to fight through the pain of his injured ribs, even managing to lift Sheamus up, tossing Sheamus on top of the announce table! Shortly after this, Ryback sends Sheamus face-first into the steel ring post, apparently injuring his eye in the process. The referee would then pull Ryback off of Sheamus in the corner and this is when “The Celtic Warrior” would spot his opening, catching Ryback with the Brogue Kick, pinning “The Big Guy” for the win before revealing that his eye injury was a farce.
Backstage, a joyous Seth Rollins interrupts a conversation between Director of Operations Kane and Triple H & Stephanie McMahon, offering champagne to everyone in the room before saying that, after he saved Kane’s job at Payback, Kane finally has something to celebrate. Dean Ambrose then crashes the celebration, saying that Rollins did not pin him at Payback and, the last time they faced each other one-on-one, he came out as the victor. Ambrose then says that he is going to grant Seth Rollins a rematch at WWE Elimination Chamber with the WWE World Heavyweight Title on the line. Triple H & Stephanie then leaves the decision to Kane and Kane decides that Seth Rollins should decide his own future and, naturally, the champion decides that Ambrose should go to the back of the line with Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. After Rollins and J&J Security exits, Dean Ambrose refers to Kane as Seth Rollins’ “lap dog” and asks what Paul Bearer or Kane’s brother The Undertaker would think of Kane being a servant for The Authority, calling Kane a “glorified butler”. Kane then gets in Ambrose’s face, telling “The Lunatic Fringe” to never talk about his family again, putting Ambrose in a match against Bray Wyatt! However, Ambrose does not appear bothered by the match, drinking Kane’s champagne before telling the Director of Operations that he shouldn’t “drink on the clock”.
Following his count-out victory over King Barrett at Payback, “The Man That Gravity Forgot” Neville would appear live on RAW for an exclusive in-ring interview with Renee Young. Renee asks about Neville’s main roster debut the night after WrestleMania and Neville says that there is nothing he loves more than proving his doubters wrong. Renee then asks about Neville going from being the longest reigning NXT Champion in history to being on the main WWE roster. However, Bo Dallas interrupts the interview, making his way to the ring as he says that he would say that Neville’s career is “looking up”, but that would be a lie, saying that he doesn’t say things that he doesn’t “bo-lieve”. Neville responds by saying that he “bo-lieves” that Bo Dallas was the man he beat to win the NXT Championship in the first place. This rubs Bo Dallas the wrong way and Dallas attacks Neville, targeting the injured knee of the high flyer. However, Neville would fight back and Bo Dallas would retreat to the outside.
In a rematch from Payback, “The Man That Gravity Forgot” Neville would go one-on-one with 2015 King of the Ring winner King Barrett with Bo Dallas a guest on commentary. The story of the match would be the injured knee of Neville and, with King Barrett targeting the knee, it wasn’t long before Neville’s knee would give out and Barrett would deliver the Royal Bull Hammer to Neville, pinning the high flyer for the win. After the match, Bo Dallas would attack a helpless Neville, relentlessly targeting the knee of Neville, repeatedly slamming the knee into the steel ring post. As Neville writhes in pain in the corner, Bo Dallas celebrates his actions with a big smile on his face.
One night after the conclusion to his “I Quit” Match against John Cena for the United States Championship at Payback ended with Lana claiming that he was saying “I Quit” in his native Bulgarian, “The Super Athlete” Rusev would address the controversy on RAW. After coming to the ring by himself, Rusev says that there is “no Lana”, saying that Lana needs to “learn her place” and she does not speak for him. Rusev continues, saying that he is fluent in their “stupid American language” and he knows how to say “I Quit”, claiming that he never said “I Quit” at Payback. Rusev then says that he beat John Cena so bad last night that he left Cena unconscious in the middle of the ring, saying that Lana quit because she is “weak”. Rusev then calls out John Cena for a Payback rematch right now, but Lana comes out instead, which angers Rusev. Despite Rusev’s protesting, Lana would make her way to the ring, saying that Rusev is “misunderstood” and saying that she was “positive” that Rusev would be the first man to make John Cena say “I Quit”, but it didn’t happen.
Lana continues, saying that it’s “disappointing”, but that is life, saying that she was just trying to “protect” Rusev because she cares for him. Rusev scoffs at Lana’s show of emotion, calling Lana “pathetic” and “disgusting”. Lana argues that she did the “right thing” for both of them, saying that she couldn’t just stand by and watch Rusev in all of that pain. Lana then reveals that what Rusev was screaming in Bulgarian was indeed “I Quit”! Even more enraged, Rusev screams that Lana is a “liar” before saying that he does not need anyone, saying that Lana is “weak” and she makes him “weak”. Rusev then screams at Lana to go back to wherever Lana came from, saying that “nobody” needs Lana. Trying to put on a brave face, Lana leaves the ring and walks to the back as Rusev continues to scream in the ring.
Per the orders of Director of Operations Kane, Dean Ambrose was in action on RAW as “The Lunatic Fringe” would go one-on-one with the self-proclaimed “New Face of Fear” Bray Wyatt, fresh off of Bray’s victory over Ryback at Payback. At the end of a hard-fought match, Dean Ambrose would climb to the top rope, but J&J Security would rush out and, as Joey Mercury distracts the referee, Jamie Noble knocks Ambrose off of the top rope, allowing Bray Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail, pinning Ambrose for the win. After the match, J&J Security joins WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins on the stage as the trio looks pleased with costing Dean Ambrose the match.
After their 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Payback ended with Xavier Woods illegally rolling up Cesaro to keep the WWE Tag Team Titles with The New Day, the rematch would take place on RAW as The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston would defend the WWE Tag Team Titles against Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, with Natalya in their corner with Xavier Woods being banned from ringside. However, once Big E & Kofi Kingston refused to listen to the referee and continue to beat down Tyson Kidd in the corner, the referee had no choice but to call for the disqualification, keeping the WWE Tag Team Titles with The New Day. After the match, a brawl would break out between the two teams with Cesaro setting Kofi Kingston up for the Cesaro Swing, but Xavier Woods would rush out for the save and the brawl would resume. The Lucha Dragons would then rush out, using their high flying offense to take out Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston, delivering a double dropkick to Big E as well. Los Matadores then join the fight, diving to the outside and taking out Big E before The Ascension comes out to get in on the action. The Prime Time Players then come out, clearing house of everyone in the ring before The Lucha Dragons come back into the ring, diving over the top rope, taking out Big E, Kofi Kingston, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, The Ascension, & Los Matadores! The Prime Time Players then pull Xavier Woods into the ring as Darren Young hits the gutbuster on Woods, leaving The Prime Time Players standing tall in the ring!
One night after a grueling “I Quit” Match against Rusev at Payback, United States Champion John Cena would be on RAW for the U.S. Open Challenge. John Cena says that they all have their differences, but at the end of the day, they are all Americans so they can understand his “passion” for carrying the United States Title into battle each and every week. Cena declares that the United States Championship is “our” championship before declaring the start of the U.S. Open Challenge, asking for his challenger. However, no one could have expected who would answer the challenge as none other than reigning NXT Champion Kevin Owens makes his RAW debut to challenge John Cena for the United States Championship! Before the match gets underway, the NXT Champion congratulates John Cena on his victory over Rusev, saying that he would introduce himself, but Cena already knows who he is. Not endearing himself to the fans, Kevin Owens says that if the fans do not know who he is, then they are not worth his time. Owens then says that Sami Zayn was injured before Zayn answered the U.S. Open Challenge, saying that he was the one who injured Zayn and this Wednesday on NXT TakeOver, he will finish the job. John Cena says that some of them may not know who Kevin Owens is, but none of them are a “waste of time”, telling the NXT Champion that the fans are the reason that they are even there.
The United States Champion then begins to offer Owens some “veteran advice”, but Owens corrects Cena, saying that he may have not been in WWE for as long as John Cena, but he has been wrestling for fifteen years. Owens continues, saying that he has been in the wrestling business as a whole longer than John Cena, saying that the only difference between the two of them is that he did not get his break until now. The NXT Champion then says that Cena does not get to ever give him advice. Cena responds by saying that, when he looks in Kevin Owens’ eyes, he sees a “scared kid”, saying that Owens has bitten off way more than he can chew, telling Owens to be careful this Wednesday because Sami Zayn is not to be taken lightly. Cena then tells Kevin Owens that, if he wants some, come get some, but Kevin Owens says that, while he is a “prize fighter”, he already has a prize, holding up the NXT Championship. Owens then says that they are going to fight someday, but it’s going to be on his terms, not Cena’s. The NXT Champion then cheap-shots the United States Champion with a kick to the mid-section, following it up with the Pop-Up Powerbomb! Kevin Owens then picks up the United States Title belt, throwing it on the mat and stomping on it, having made an emphatic statement in his RAW debut at the expense of John Cena.
After losing a bloody battle against Sheamus at Payback, Dolph Ziggler was in action on RAW as “The Showoff” would go one-on-one with Stardust. Despite his injury, Dolph Ziggler would preserve, hitting the Zig Zag and pinning Stardust for the win. After the match, Dolph Ziggler is interviewed in the ring by Michael Cole as Cole reveals to “The Showoff” that Ziggler will join Ryback, Sheamus, Rusev, R-Truth, & King Barrett in the Elimination Chamber Match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship at WWE Elimination Chamber! Shortly after this, Lana comes to the ring with a smile on her face, planting a kiss on Dolph Ziggler! With the crowd chanting “one more time”, Lana plants another kiss on “The Showoff” and Dolph Ziggler looks around, awaiting Rusev. It would not take long for an angry Rusev to make his way to the ring, taking Dolph down with a big knee. Rusev then looks wide-eyed at Lana, yelling at Lana in Bulgarian before Lana slaps Rusev across the face! This sends Rusev over the edge, but before Rusev’s temper could make him do something he might regret, Dolph Ziggler catches Rusev with the Zig Zag! Dolph then exits the ring, walking to the back with Lana by his side, leaving a livid Rusev in the ring.
The newly reformed team of Luke Harper & Erick Rowan would face two of their victims on RAW as Harper & Rowan face Fandango & Zack Ryder. In the end, it was Luke Harper hitting a super kick on Zack Ryder with Erick Rowan following it up with the full nelson slam, pinning Ryder for the win.
Backstage, The Bella Twins are on their way to the ring when they are stopped by WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon. Given their history, The Bella Twins are less than thrilled to see Stephanie, but Stephanie offers her “sincerest sympathy” for Brie Bella’s husband Daniel Bryan. Stephanie continues, saying that she is “worried” about Brie, so she has scheduled Brie for some “counseling”, saying that she doesn’t know what’s going on in the head or the heart of Brie. Stephanie then uses this reasoning to forbid Brie from accompanying her sister to the ring for her Divas Title match! Stephanie says that Nikki is “tough” and she knows that she wouldn’t want to put Brie “at risk”.
With Stephanie McMahon not allowing Brie Bella to accompany her sister, Nikki Bella would have to go it alone as Nikki would defend the Divas Championship against Naomi, with Tamina in her corner. During the match, Nikki Bella would go for the Rack Attack on Naomi and this is when Tamina would get involved, blasting Nikki with a super kick, ending the match by disqualification and, as a result, Nikki Bella retains. After the match, Naomi & Tamina would have their sights set on beating down Nikki Bella, but that is when Paige would make her return! Paige would rush the ring, attacking Naomi & Tamina and getting a measure of revenge for Naomi’s attack on her last month. Naomi & Tamina would then retreat up the entrance ramp as Paige sets the Divas Title belt down near Nikki Bella. However, when Nikki goes for her Divas Title belt, Paige strikes, hitting the Ram Paige on the Divas Champion before standing tall in the ring, holding the Divas Title high above her head, making an emphatic statement upon her return.
Backstage, NXT Champion Kevin Owens is having a conversation with WWE COO Triple H and, after Triple H exits, Renee Young asks the NXT Champion about the nature of his conversation with Triple H. Owens then reveals that, in two weeks at WWE Elimination Chamber, he will be going one-on-one with United States Champion John Cena!
Then it was time for a celebration that The Authority dubbed “Seth Rollins: Architect of a Dream” as WWE COO Triple H, WWE Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon, & Director of Operations Kane stand in the red-carpeted ring. Stephanie says that one of the greatest things about growing up in WWE is seeing Superstars reach up and grab the “brass ring” and refuse to let go, calling it “inspirational” before saying that no Superstar represents inspiration like Seth Rollins, introducing WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. With a big smile on his face, the champion makes his way to the ring with J&J Security by his side, all while Triple H, Stephanie, & Kane applaud their hand-picked champion. Triple H tells Seth Rollins that they have believed in Rollins since his days in NXT, saying that Rollins has lived up to “every claim” that Rollins has made throughout his career. The COO then says that, when he looks at Seth Rollins, he sees the “reflection” of another Superstar, saying that when he looks at Rollins, he sees himself! Triple H continues, saying that it gave him “goosebumps” to see Seth Rollins use the Pedigree to pin Randy Orton in the Fatal 4-Way Match at Payback. Triple H then says that they are there to “celebrate” Seth Rollins before asking for the fans to applaud the champion. Triple H then says that each of them would like to say something to Seth Rollins. The COO then hands the microphone to Kane as the Director of Operations says that they have not always seen “eye-to-eye” because he is a “foot taller” than Rollins. Kane then says that they would not be out there without each other before saying that he is “glad” that Rollins is still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Rollins is truly “best for business”.
Despite the generous comments from the Director of Operations, Seth Rollins seems surprised by how brief Kane’s address was, asking if there is something else that Kane wants to say to him. Visibly struggling to keep his temper under control, Kane thanks Seth Rollins for saving his job before showing a video package that he had made as a way of thanking Rollins. Jamie Noble then addresses the champion, saying that it’s been an “honor” to protect the holder of the most important title in WWE before handing the microphone over to Joey Mercury, who tries to collect his emotions enough to speak. However, the celebration is then interrupted by “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose, who, despite the entire Authority standing in the ring, steps into the ring. Showing no fear of The Authority, Dean Ambrose again offers to face Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Elimination Chamber. However, the champion says that he told Ambrose earlier that he is at the “back of the line”, but Ambrose says that he is a “notorious line jumper” before saying that he is going to get his title shot “or else”.
Stephanie then steps in, saying that Ambrose had his shot at Payback and he lost before saying that Rollins is a “fighting champion” and Rollins will not be “intimidated” by Ambrose’s threats. Stephanie then tells Rollins to “get him” before The Authority steps back. After taking off his jacket, Rollins would charge at Dean Ambrose and the brawl would spill to the outside with J&J Security getting involved. After taking out J&J Security, “The Lunatic Fringe” would toss the champion on top of the announce table before Ambrose would uncover a familiar pile of concrete blocks next to the announce position. With steel chair in hand, Ambrose would threaten to do to Rollins what Rollins did to him last year if The Authority does not give in to his demands. With the “future of WWE” about to be eradicated right before their eyes, Stephanie gives into Ambrose’s demands, granting Ambrose a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship! Despite getting what he wanted, Ambrose was planning to take Rollins out anyways before J&J Security makes the save.
“The Lunatic Fringe” would fight off J&J Security, tossing them over the barricade and into Kane before Ambrose leaps off of the barricade onto Kane and J&J Security, taking out all three men. Ambrose then sets his sights back on Rollins, but the champion escapes into the ring as Ambrose tries to keep Rollins in the ring while Triple H tries to pull Rollins out of the ring. J&J Security would then get involved again, which would aid in Seth Rollins’ escape and Ambrose would again take out J&J Security before Kane takes control with a big boot to Ambrose. Kane then goes for the chokeslam, but Ambrose counters, nearly planting Kane with Dirty Deeds before Seth Rollins comes back into the ring, attacking Ambrose from behind and hitting the Pedigree on “The Lunatic Fringe”. Seth Rollins then stands tall in the ring with the WWE World Heavyweight Title over his shoulder, having again taken advantage of chaos to assert his spot at the top.
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