In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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The Card: Winners from last night’s Hell in a Cell PPV will compete in a series of singles matches – the winners will advance to a Fatal Four-way match to determine the new #1 contender to the WWE World Title held by Seth Rollins. Plus, a PPV Losers match of Ryback & The Dudleys vs. Sheamus & King Barrett & Rusev in a six-man tag.
WWE Raw TV Report
October 26, 2015 – Episode #1,170
Live in San Diego, Calif.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with Michael Cole introducing the show before Triple H’s theme music played. Out came Hunter and Stephanie McMahon representing The Authority. As Hunter and Steph made their way to the ring, Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton talked about last night’s Hell in a Cell main event of The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the HIAC structure. The video package went through the highlights of the match and the Wyatts’s post-match attack on Taker. Cole wanted to know why Bray targeted Undertaker. “Why did no one help Taker?” was not asked.
In the ring, Hunter and Stephanie hyped last night’s HIAC PPV. Hunter said it started with Alberto Del Rio returning to WWE and beating John Cena for the U.S. Title. Plus, the next wave of WWE Superstars. Stephanie said the leader of that group is “The Man,” the WWE World Hvt. champion Seth Rollins.
Rollins strutted down to the ring and hugged Hunter and Stephanie as the announcers gloated about Seth conquering Kane last night, causing Corporate Kane to be fired. Hunter said they lined up opponent after opponent, and he is still champion. “You proved us right!” he said. Steph said they hand-picked Seth from The Shield to lead the next generation of stars, finding ways to overcome the odds, just like Hunter did throughout his career.
Hunter said that not only did Seth win last night, but he made The Authority and WWE better by ousting Kane. “We’re proud of you, man,” Hunter said. Hugs all around. That will look nice in a future video package when Hunter and Seth feud. Seth celebrated defeating Big Red Kane, but he wanted to pause to reciprocate by thanking two visionaries for seeing his talent.
Stephanie said this is all great, but they’ve left him in an awkward spot having no one left to face Seth for the WWE Title. So, now they have to find out who earns a future title shot by scratching and clawing and digging for the “privilege” of facing Seth for the title. Hunter announced tonight’s format where HIAC winners will have singles matches, then advance to a four-way contender match to earn the right to “get beaten by Seth Rollins.”
Rollins said that sounds like – that sounds like what’s best for — suddenly, The Shield’s music interrupted. Out came Roman Reigns through the crowd with something to say about this celebration. Reigns slowly entered the ring, then stared down Rollins. Reigns told San Diego that this whole thing has made him sick.
Reigns said Rollins doesn’t belong in the WWE Hall of Fame. And, after tonight, Seth is looking at the #1 contender. “I’m taking that championship,” Reigns said in Seth’s face. “Believe that.” Big mid-ring stare down. “Well then, let the games begin!” Stephanie shouted in the background. Hunter, Stephanie, and eventually Seth left the ring as Reigns hung back in the ring. Cole hyped Reigns kicking off the title series tonight.
[Commercial Break at 8:13]
[Q2] Back live, Roman Reigns continued to hang out in the ring. Big E.’s voice came over the P.A. system telling San Diego to be on alert because New Day is here. Reigns kept hiding his face when WWE cut back to the ring as New Day made their entrance. On the mic, Big E. and Kofi Kingston walked and talked about Reigns’s hair being booty, his look being stale, and Reigns not being a champion. Reigns sold amusement over this speech. Big E. talked about putting the Dudleys in their past, Xavier Woods in their hearts, and their opponents in the ground. Kofi Kingston vowed to go inside the ring and make some magic. Surprisingly, no sports-related heel promo from Big E. for tomorrow night’s SportsCenter segment.
1 — ROMAN REIGNS vs. WWE tag champion KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E.) — Winner advances to #1 contender main event
As the bell sounded, the announcers talked about Reigns not being 100 percent after wrestling Bray Wyatt in the Hell in a Cell last night. Cole added that Xavier Woods is still on the “injured list” after being put through a table by the Dudleys last week on Raw. Once the match started, Kofi got in early offense, but Reigns cleared him to the outside. Big E. tried to regroup with Kofi as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:21]
Back on Raw, Reigns executed a super vertical suplex from the ring apron back into the ring. Reigns knocked Kofi out of the ring again, then Reigns and Big E. had a staredown ringside. Big E. hip-thrusted toward Reigns, distracting him, which allowed Kofi to blindside Reigns with a dropkick through the ropes.
Back in the ring, Kofi worked over Reigns with a headlock. Reigns fought out against the under-sized tag champion, but Kofi used his quickness to leg-sweep Reigns to the mat. Kofi and Big E. celebrated on the outside, then Kofi came off the top turnbuckle with a double axehandle for a two count. Kofi again went for a headlock, but Reigns dropped Kofi to the mat for a breather.
[Q3] Reigns fired off a round of standing lariats into a flying clothesline to knock down Kofi. Reigns then wanted a Powerbomb Kevin Nash-style, but Kofi slipped out. He then took an uppercut from Reigns, who followed with slow, count-along, repeated clotheslines in the corner. Reigns then tried a roll-up pin, which he transitioned into a lift-up powerbomb, but Kofi kicked out of a pin.
Reigns caught his breath, regrouped, ignored Big E. yelling at him, and warmed up for the Superman Punch. He decided to Superman Punch Big E. when he got on the ring apron, then he ducked a clothesline from Kofi and nailed a big spear. Reigns covered Kofi for the win.
WINNER: Reigns at 12:43 to advance to the main event. Overall, this was a nice, refreshing match-up, complete with Big E. doing great work at ringside. As for Reigns, though, he really got winded at the end. It was more than just selling, as he struggled to execute moves in sequence until getting to the finish. It’s not as big of a deal if he’s in the mid-card, but if he’s going to be a main event leading man, these things are going to stand out more and more.
Backstage: WWE showed The Miz standing around with some random people in the background. Miz said he asked everyone to witness him play the new WWE video game. He vowed to do a better version of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin than Austin himself. Cole started playing the game.
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped this week’s video game release.
Video Package: WWE re-visited last night’s HIAC PPV when Alberto Del Rio returned to WWE, won the U.S. Title from John Cena, and formed an alliance with Zeb Colter.
Still to come: Big E. vs. Dolph Ziggler and Neville vs. Alberto in two other #1 contender qualifying matches. Plus, Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens up next.
[Commercial Break at 8:36]
In-ring: Cesaro was introduced to the ring back from break. IC champion Kevin Owens was out next as his opponent in the #1 contender series. In an inset promo, Owens vowed to stand in the ring as both WWE World champion and IC champion.
2 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS vs. CESARO — non-title match — Winner advances to #1 contender main event
As soon as the bell sounded, Owens looked down to ringside to yell at Cole to call his match right. Cesaro nearly ended the match with a roll-up, but Owens escaped. Owens then went to work on Cesaro before pausing again to yell at Cole to stop laughing and watch this. Owens went for a suplex, but Cesaro blocked and delivered a big delayed suplex, popping the crowd.
The match moved to the floor in front of the announce table. Owens and Cesaro traded blows, then knocked each other down with a double clothesline. The referee kept counting, bringing his count to six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Owens made it back into the ring and Cesaro just barely got in before ten. It was a judgment call by the ref on whether to count Cesaro out, but he decided the match should continue. “Dammit,” Owens muttered as Raw cut to break.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]
Back from break, Cesaro lit up Owens, who decided to bail from the ring. He decided he wanted to leave with his IC Title, but Cesaro tracked him down on the outside and roughed him up. Back in the ring, Owens rolled out of the ring. So, Cesaro smashed him with a flying clothesline from the ring apron.
Back in the ring, Cesaro hit a cross-body block for a two count. He wanted to follow with the Big Swing, but Owens reversed into an implant DDT for a two count. Owens’s mouth took over again, giving Cesaro an opening to come off the ropes with a huge springboard twisting uppercut. He then put Owens in position for the Big Swing, but Owens wiggled to the bottom rope for a break. Owens continued to hold onto the ropes, killing Cesaro’s momentum. Cesaro lost focus, allowing Owens to smash him with a superkick. Owens followed right up with the pop-up powerbomb for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Owens grabbed his IC Title belt and left the ring to yell at Cole and try to intimidate him.
WINNER: Owens at 10:20. Fine heel work from Owens playing a coward and bully, setting up Cesaro for more awesome offense, and sneaking out a win when he was clearly over-matched by Cesaro. Owens and Reigns mixing it up with two others in the main event will be interesting.
Backstage: Paige was lounging on a couch talking on the phone. She hung up when Divas champion Charlotte and Becky Lynch walked in. Paige talked about how much her phone is blowing up since appearing on Conan last week. Paige kept talking herself up, then stopped when she realized she was over-looking Charlotte and Becky. Paige tried to act nice, then Charlotte replied that she is trying to believe Paige right now. But, if she finds out that she attacked Natalya, there will be consequences. Paige denied the allegation yet again, then said they need to team up again. Becky was reluctant, but agreed.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
In-ring: Divas champion Charlotte, Paige, and Becky Lynch were introduced to the ring for a six-Divas tag match. Cole introduced a video package on Charlotte thwarting Nikki Bella in the Divas Title match last night at HIAC. The Bella Twins’s music then played to bring out the Bellas to some cheers in their home market along with Alicia Fox.
[Q5 — second hour]
3 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE & PAIGE & BECKY LYNCH vs. ALICIA FOX & THE BELLA TWINS (NIKKI & BRIE BELLA) — six-Divas tag match
When the bell sounded, Nikki tried to get in Charlotte’s face, angry over losing to her last night, but Paige stepped up and protected Charlotte. So, Paige and Nikki started the top-of-the-hour match with a hard-hitting opening exchange. Tags to Charlotte and Fox. Fox got the best of the champ by attacking her soft spot from last night’s match.
After Team Bellas worked over the Champ, Becky tagged in. Chaos broke out in the ring, leaving Becky and Nikki. Becky took a kick to the head, then the Rack Attack. Nikki covered and Paige had a chance to break up the pin, but she pretended to be just a step too slow.
Post-match, Team Bellas celebrated, then bailed from the ring. Charlotte checked on Becky, who tried to shake off Nikki’s finisher. Suddenly, Paige attacked Charlotte from behind and smashed her with Ram-Paige, popping the crowd for a heel turn. Paige took out Becky, then she returned to Charlotte and slapped on the PTO, stretching the champ in the middle of the ring. Paige eventually dropped the hold and made it all about herself.
WINNERS: Team Bellas at 5:25. The big post-match heel turn explains the top-of-the-hour placement. Well done setting up Paige as a viable threat to Charlotte as her next challenger.
Announcers: Cole and Co. reacted to Paige’s actions, then introduced a video game version of The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar.
Up Next: Video review of Taker-Lesnar, in real-life, from last night’s HIAC PPV.
[Commercial Break at 9:10]
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped WrestleMania 32 next year in Texas, with tickets going on-sale next month. This led to a discussion of Taker vs. Lesnar at last night’s HIAC PPV, followed by Bray Wyatt and the Wyatts taking out Taker. Cole hyped a word from Bray about their actions later in the show.
[Q6] Backstage: Renee Young brought in U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter for an interview. Renee wanted to know how this alliance happened. Zeb, speaking in a normal voice with no hint of vitriol, said he gets it that it seems strange to see a great Mexican joining forces with a Real-American. He told Renee to imagine the U.S. and Mexico as one country without walls. Zeb said he is here today to form a new country – Mex-America.
Renee turned to Alberto Del Rio to discuss his match against Neville tonight. Alberto said he’s not going to let a selfish immigrant like Neville take away his chance to become WWE Champion again. Alberto pictured his victory as Raw faded to the arena, where Neville made his entrance heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:19]
Back live, Alberto Del Rio made his ring entrance as Zeb Colter quietly scooted down to ringside sporting a “divided house” U.S. and Mexican flag. In this case, it’s a “united house” flag.
4 — U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. NEVILLE — Winner advances to #1 contender main event
Alberto and Neville felt each other out as the announcers discussed John Cena being surprised by Alberto’s return last night. Alberto took control of the match as the announcers went through Alberto’s WWE history and lucha background, including being the AAA Mega Champion. Interesting. Alberto suddenly walked into a wheelbarrow bulldog from Neville, who followed with a springboard cross-body for a two count. Alberto bailed to the outside looking for a breather and conversation with Zeb heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:27]
[Q7] Back live, Alberto was working on Neville in the ring. Colter was shown ringside watching intently. Cole labeled Zeb as Alberto’s “manager,” to which JBL said he’s more like a coach. Cole brought up Zeb managing JBL back in the day (20 years ago during the Blu era). Back in the ring, Neville fought back against Alberto, then cleared him to the floor. Neville nailed a big flip dive right next to Zeb, wowing the crowd.
Back in the ring, Neville walked right into a pin attempt by Alberto for a close two count. Alberto followed right up with a step-up enziguiri to the head for another nearfall. Alberto decided it was time to end the match with the cross arm-breaker, but Neville blocked. Alberto shook him off and nailed a big inside-out clothesline. Alberto missed a corner attack, but then trapped Neville in the corner. Neville, hanging upside down, took a double foot stomp to the chest. Alberto covered for a three count. Afterward, Alberto and Zeb celebrated at ringside.
WINNER: Alberto at 12:03. A bit lengthy for Alberto’s first Raw TV match back on the roster. They had the crowd early on, but seemed to lose momentum during the second-half. Also surprising to see Alberto’s first attempt at the cross arm-breaker blocked when there was a chance to re-establish Alberto’s finisher after being off TV for over a year.
Up Next: The losers from Hell in a Cell face off when the Dudleys and Ryback face the PPV pre-show heel trio.
[Commercial Break at 9:37]
Back from break, WWE ran footage of Lucha Dragons and a heel, The Miz, leading a B.A. Star rally at James Madison Middle School.
In-ring: Ryback was introduced first for the babyface loser trio. The Dudleys were out next as their tag partner. Rusev’s music followed to bring out Rusev waving his Bulgarian flag. King Barrett was out second, followed by Sheamus still holding on to the MITB briefcase.
5 — FACE LOSERS (RYBACK & THE DUDLEYS) vs. HEEL LOSERS (SHEAMUS & KING BARRETT & RUSEV) — six-man tag match
Before the bell sounded, chaos broke out in the ring. JBL acknowledged this as the “loser’s bracket,” so everyone is mad tonight. He added that all six men are furious about losing last night. Nice job turning a negative into positive for this match. Things eventually settled into a one-on-one situation to get the opening bell.
To the shock of no one, Devon was isolated by the heels. Ample in-and-out tags, then Devon received encouragement from a “Get the Tables” crowd chant and tagged in Ryback. Eventually all six men found themselves in the ring. The Dudleys and Ryback stood on their feet chanting “Feed Me More,” then all three smashed the heel opposition. Barrett got the worst of it taking a What’s Up diving headbutt to the crotch as Ray and Ryback held open Barrett’s legs.
The Dudleys called for the tables, which turned out to be their downfall, as Devon and Ryback left the ring looking for tables, leaving Bully vulnerable. After Rusev and Sheamus distracted Ray, Barrett rolled him up from behind and scored a three count with a hook of the tights.
Post-match, Bubba Ray sold shock when his team had the match in the bag. The European Trio celebrated on the stage.
WINNERS: Team Barrett at 6:11.
Up Next: Bray Wyatt addresses taking out The Undertaker at HIAC.
This Wednesday: Samoa Joe is on NXT. And now Joe has a problem with Tyler Breeze.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Story Time with Brother Bray
Back live, Bray Wyatt’s interruption flashed on the screen. Bray was sitting alone in the ring leaning forward in a rocking chair. “For 25 years, The Undertaker has walked among the darkness and the light,” Bray opened. Bray said everyone feared Taker. But, last night, destruction, desolation, vengeance, and fear carried out the soul of the mighty Undertaker. Bray leaned back. Can you feel it?!
After a few readings from Revelations, Bray said he wants to make one thing perfectly clear. He brought up Roman Reigns. He said they will dance once again, but not until he is properly revitalized. And his resurrection will be The Undertaker. Bray said when you’ve had a taste of that kind of power, there is no turning back. “You are addicted!” he shouted. Bray said he is feasting on the soul of Undertaker and he wants more. “I have to have more! I need more!” he shouted. Bray said he will not stop until he vanquishes Undertaker and turns him into mere bones on the ground so that he can ascend to his throne.
[Q9 — third hour] Bray paused and chuckled. He said that right now, somewhere, Taker’s soul is being ripped to shreds piece by piece. So, tonight, he wants to ask everyone in this arena to bow their heads. Because he wants to have a moment of silence for the man who has lost his soul to him. Bray removed his hat, looked down, and said, “Rest In Peace. Phenom.” Bray shook as his eyes remained closed.
Suddenly, Kane’s pyro shot off. The crowd popped as Big Red Kane marched down to the ring, having heard enough. Cole noted that Kane is Taker’s brother. “What is he out here for?” Cole wondered aloud. Suddenly, Bray’s video interruption played. The lights came back on and all four Wyatts were in the ring. Kane fought off Harper and Rowan, then went face-to-face with Braun Strowman. Kane got in some offense, but Harper cut him off from behind. Kane then low-bridged Strowman out of the ring.
Kane was alone in the ring with Bray Wyatt. Bray charged Kane and walked right into a chokeslam, but Harper and Rowan made the save. Strowman then attacked Kane from behind, leading to Harper & Rowan delivering a big double chokeslam. The announcers talked about Kane walking into a trap from Bray as the foursome continued to beat down Kane. Saxton chimed in with a note about Bray revealing something about himself that he is consumed by power. Bray’s music then played as the Wyatts hoisted Kane in the air and carried him out of the ring in the position of a cross, like Taker last night. Bray’s interruption flashed again, sending Raw to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:06]
Backstage, cameras followed the Wyatts as they dragged Kane down a smoky portion of the backstage area. Bray was singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” as they continued to remove Kane from the premises.
In-ring: New Day’s music played to bring out Big E. and Kofi Kingston for the second time tonight. Kofi and Langston danced in the ring, then Dolph Ziggler’s music played to bring out Big E.’s old friend for a high-stakes singles match.
Before the bell sounded, The Miz – check that, Tyler Breeze’s theme interrupted. Their pre-music intro noises sound too similar. Breeze, joined by Summer Rae, marched out on-stage making his Raw TV debut. Breeze and Summer snapped a few selfies on the stick before Breeze posed on the announce table while glaring at Ziggler. A replay from Breeze’s debut on Smackdown was interrupted by a technical glitch, so they cut back to ringside for Breeze and Summer being set up for “VIP seating” at ringside.
6 — DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. WWE tag champion BIG E. (w/Kofi Kingston) — Winner advances to #1 contender main event
Ziggler was thrown off by the presence of his ringside enemies, allowing Big E. to take control of the match. Big E. worked an abdominal stretch to the beat of “New … Day Rocks,” which Ziggler escaped before flinging Big E. to the floor. Kofi suddenly tried to get involved, throwing off Ziggler again. Big E. smashed Ziggler with a clothesline for a nearfall, sending Raw to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:17]
Back on Raw, the match was ongoing while Summer Breeze shared food and conversation at ringside. Big E. continued to wear down Ziggler as Kofi played Xavier Woods talking trash at ringside. Big E. delivered a powerbomb to counter the Fameasser, but only got a two count. Big E. went back to the abdominal stretch, drawing a “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant. Ziggler escaped, but Big E. sent Ziggler flying out of the ring with a slingshot.
On the outside, Big E. smashed Ziggler again, then he took a drink from the Summer Breeze VIP section. The drink slowed him down, though, as Ziggler surprised Big E. with a Fameasser for a two count. Big E. shook it off and dropped Ziggler to the mat again before landing a big running splash. Big E. tried to follow up with a big corner attack, but Ziggler avoided, then grabbed Big E. from behind to hit the Zig-Zag. Ziggler covered for the win.
WINNER: Ziggler at 13:53. Good win for Ziggler overcoming the presence of four enemies and Big E., who was impressive in singles action. Big E. is really clicking right now. The only drawback was the match was too busy with Summer Breeze down at ringside, which took the crowd out of the action early on.
[Q11] Backstage: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose were shown lounging in the locker room watching TV. Ambrose gave Reigns a pep-talk about being “this close” to the WWE Title until Seth Rollins showed up, then Bray Wyatt showed up. He’s back to that same position now. Ambrose told Reigns to go take it. “I’ve got this,” Reigns said before leaving the locker room.
[Commercial Break at 10:31]
Back on Raw, Titus O’Neil was in the ring standing with breast-cancer survivors. Behind him were various heels and faces, plus Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, for an in-ring speech. Titus said that tonight they become one team rising above cancer. The Prime Time Players’s music played, bringing in Darren Young for a celebratory dance.
Backstage: The Miz did not join the fight against breast cancer, as he was too busy playing the WWE video game. Or, he already got in his p.s.a. quota for the day appearing at an anti-bullying event. Or, he’s just a wishy-washy heel. Odd timing regardless. Miz, playing as Stone Cold, won his video game match and celebrated. Suddenly, there was a voice in the background. Suddenly, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the flesh walked into the shot, stunning Miz. Austin hyped the video game coming out tomorrow, then the glass broke and Austin turned serious. His eyes had Stunner written all over Miz, but WWE cut away to a graphic promoting the video game release.
Back in the arena, Seth Rollins’s music played to bring out the WWE champion for a closer look at the main event #1 contender match.
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
[Q12] Smackdown plug: It’s the Halloween edition.
In-ring: Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio completed their ring introductions for the main event. Kevin Owens was out next as Cole plugged The Miz appearing on ESPNews SportsCenter tomorrow night with Jonathan Coachman. Roman Reigns was out last as Rollins welcomed the challenge of facing Reigns if he wins this match because he will beat him just like everyone else he’s faced.
7 — ROMAN REIGNS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. IC champion KEVIN OWENS vs. U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO — four-way #1 contender match to the WWE Title
The match quickly moved to the floor, where Reigns and Alberto paired off. Reigns smashed Alberto face-first into the announce table right in front of Rollins. On the other side of the ringside area, Owens roughed up Ziggler. Owens then smashed Reigns from behind, targeting Reigns’s worn-down body. Back in the ring, Owens continued to work on Reigns’s mid-section. Reigns then got a burst of energy to fight back against all three opponents in the ring. But, Alberto suddenly smashed Reigns from behind and landed kicks . Reigns shook him off and clotheslined Alberto out of the ring to the floor.
Down at ringside, Reigns stalked Owens for his running double foot dropkick. Same for Alberto as he rested on the announce table. But, Ziggler surprised a worn-out Reigns with a superkick. Ziggler was the last man standing on the outside heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:52]
Back from break, Ziggler was now getting roughed up by the heels in the ring. Alberto and Owens took turns working over Ziggler, then WWE showed Reigns selling on the outside. Reigns, exhausted, kind of slumped down to the mat for a brief nap. Rollins had a good chuckle on commentary. Owens did not like seeing Reigns napping in the main event, so he ran to the outside and kicked Reigns against the ring steps.
Back in the ring, Owens and Alberto had a disagreement. Owens tried to calm him down, telling him to breathe and focus on their foe right now, Ziggler. That didn’t work, so Owens and Alberto started fighting. Alberto suddenly blasted Owens with the swift kick that ended Cena last night. But, Owens rolled out of the ring before Alberto could pin him.
Reigns suddenly woke up and re-entered the ring to bodyslam Alberto for a two count. Reigns followed with corner clotheslines into an uppercut that cleared Alberto from the ring. He didn’t see Ziggler coming, but he did block Ziggler attempting the Zig-Zag. Reigns and Ziggler than had a mid-ring staredown. Reigns landed blows, but Ziggler blasted him with a superkick into a DDT attempt. But, Reigns responded with a sit-out powerbomb.
Reigns wanted the Superman Punch on Ziggler, and he connected, but Alberto shoved Reigns out of the ring and nearly got a three count on Ziggler. Alberto airballed a corner kick, though, and Ziggler hit the Fameasser on Alberto for a close two count. Big gasp in the crowd for the sequence. Rollins said this is what the WWE Title is all about.
[Q13 — over-run] All four men sold in and out of the ring at the top of the hour. Ziggler and Alberto were still in the ring, setting up another exchange. Alberto scored a close nearfall, then Owens returned to the ring to get in the mix. Reigns also got in the mix, but he took a superkick from Ziggler. Owens German-suplexed Ziggler, then nailed the cannonball splash. One for Alberto, combined with Reigns smashing Alberto with his two-foot dropkick from the outside.
Owens and Reigns suddenly had a staredown, and the crowd came unglued. Owens surprised Reigns with a big superkick, then wanted the pop-up powerbomb, but Reigns smashed him with the Superman Punch. Reigns followed right up with the big spear and covered Owens for the pin and the win. Rollins freaked out at ringside, now having to go face-to-face with Reigns for the title.
WINNER: Reigns at 15:01 to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. Exit Cena, Enter Reigns. This was a heck of a main event with some new match-ups and sequences, especially the big Reigns-Owens battle at the end. Ziggler also completed perhaps the best 30 minutes of the year for him, plus Alberto looked inspired in the big match setting. Overall, WWE just created a big money match down the road when Reigns and Owens … I mean Reigns and Rollins … lock up. Yeah, that one. It was also refreshing to see the focus on all five wrestlers (including Rollins) in the mix without The Authority cloud hanging over the proceedings.
Post-match, Reigns caught his breath and soaked in his victory as Rollins sat quietly on commentary. Rollins suddenly snapped out of being stunned and talked confidently about beating Reigns. He vowed to make Reigns his latest victim.
Reigns then left the ring to approach Rollins. Reigns looked down at the WWE Title belt, then Rollins panicked and snatched the belt from the desk. Rollins held it over his shoulder, then Reigns turned his shoulder and patted the belt. Reigns walked off, leaving Seth to check his breathing. They closed with a shot of Reigns half-smiling from ringside six minutes past the top of hte hour.
OVERALL REAX: Easily the best Raw of the fall season. Easily. The show dragged in the third hour due to the girth that is a three-hour Raw, but five matches with title implications, new stars in the mix, fresh match-ups, and stars feeling important made this a good show.
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