On the heels of Fastlane on pay-per-view, WWE Raw hit the airwaves from Nashville, Tennessee. Bleacher Report's Erik Beaston kept us up to date with the latest news and action.
Roman Reigns, the undisputed No. 1 contender, not only defeated Daniel Bryan at Sunday's event but also earned his respect, something the juggernaut parlayed into a stint as Bryan's tag team partner for his main event match against The Authority's Randy Orton and Seth Rollins.
Speaking of The Viper and Mr. Money in the Bank, their ability to set aside ego for the betterment of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's vision for WWE was tested by the evening's main event. Whereas Bryan and Reigns proved an ability to coexist, Rollins' ego got the best of him and ultimately cost the heels the match.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, the new WWE Tag Team champions, defended their titles against former champions The Usos in a Fastlane rematch, the Prime Time Players reunited to battle The Ascension, Dolph Ziggler was in action and a few Superstars tossed their names into the field for the Andre the Giant battle royal.
What went down as the Superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into Music City, U.S.A. for a night of hard-hitting action on the road to WrestleMania?
Take a look for yourself.
Randy Orton returned to Raw for the first time since November to kick off this week's show.
He wasted no time in demanding that Seth Rollins come to the ring, but was cut off by The Authority, who came to the squared circle.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon offered to forgive Orton, then offered him his spot back.
After a testimonial by Big Show, Orton offered to listen to The Authority's proposal at a business meeting later that night.
It was there that he opted to rejoin forces with the group that had left him for dead last fall.
Dolph Ziggler battled the man who defeated him for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Bad News Barrett, in a non-title match Monday night. R-Truth, who pinned Barrett on SmackDown, sat in on commentary as the match unfolded in front of him.
Ziggler, as he has so many times, overcame the champion's onslaught, including the bone-crushing Winds of Change finisher to deliver the Zig Zag and pick up the pinfall victory after 11 minutes of action
Dean Ambrose came to the ring after the match and stopped to exchange a look with Ziggler. He taunted Barrett with his own title.
Last week, Darren Young and Titus O'Neil shockingly reunited the Prime Time Players in hopes of combating Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension. This week, the two teams waged war—a war the former NXT Tag Team champions undoubtedly expected to win.
But they did not.
After just three minutes of action, Young scored a fluke rollup win on Viktor for the win.
Determined to have the final word, the heels tossed O'Neil out of the ring and delivered the Fall of Man to Young.
On the heels of one of his biggest wins to date, Roman Reigns took to the ring to address the WWE Universe.
He brought up the Royal Rumble, where he was booed mercilessly, then talked about Fastlane. He knew full well that the fans, for the most part, were cheering "the other guy," but he proved his doubters wrong.
This brought out Daniel Bryan, who cut a phenomenal promo that saw him put over the heart and determination of his opponent, something he demonstrated the night before during their huge main event match.
The Superstars exchanged a handshake, and Bryan recruited Reigns to be his partner against Randy Orton and Seth Rollins later in the show.
Paul Heyman interrupted the festivities and made sure to repeat the promise that Reigns could not slay the seemingly unbeatable Brock Lesnar.
Reigns thought otherwise and ended with his "believe that" catchphrase.
Just 24 hours removed from their tag team championship victory, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defended their titles against former titleholders The Usos on Monday night.
The heels were reeling early, but Kidd used wife Natalya as a shield to not only halt Jimmy Uso's momentum but also gain the edge for his team. The champions wore down the challengers until a hot tag turned things back in the twin brothers' favor.
The surging Usos took the champions down at ringside and had them reeling as we headed to the first break of the contest.
Champions Kidd and Cesaro regained control during the break and appeared to have a win in-hand following the swing/legdrop combination. Jimmy broke up the pin saving his brother and his team's championship aspirations.
The action picked up considerably as Kidd broke up a pinfall attempt. He tried to score one of his own, using a rollup with his feet on the ropes, but Naomi shoved Kidd's feet off, igniting a confrontation between she and Natalya.
Natalya crotched Jimmy on the top rope, drawing the disqualification and ensuring that her husband and his partner retained their titles.
After a disappointing loss to brother Goldust at Fastlane, Stardust returned to the squared circle to battle "Real American" Jack Swagger in singles competition.
Stardust attacked Swagger, pummeling him with series of rights about the body. Stardust controlled the bout but threatened to come unglued when the fans showered him with chants of "Cody."
Swagger caught Stardust in the Patriot Lock but escaped. Moments later, Goldust's music played, providing a distraction that allowed Swagger to reapply the submission and pick up the win.
A distraught Stardust stared his brother down after the match.
John Cena made his way to the ring to discuss his match with Rusev last night at Fastlane.
He gave Rusev credit but then stated that he came closer to pinning Rusev than anyone else. He talked about refusing to give up while trapped in the clutches of The Accolade.
"Last night at Fastlane, I lost," Cena said, drawing some scant cheers.
This brought out both Rusev and Lana, the latter of whom had no problem reminding Cena that he let his country down by losing the way he did Sunday night. She referred to Rusev as the superior human being before turning the microphone over to the United States champion.
"John Cena, I broke you," he started before claiming that Cena embarrassed his friends, family and country.
Cena warned Rusev about running down the United States, then stated that he would get back up, because that's what Americans do. He vowed to bring the U.S. title back to the country.
Rusev refused Cena's challenge for a rematch at WrestleMania.
Paige had the opportunity to make up for her disappointing night at Fastlane as she teamed with Emma to battle Nikki and Brie Bella in Divas tag team action.
Brie knocked Paige off the ring apron, then delivered the face-buster to Emma for the win, just seconds into the match.
The Bella Twins left the babyfaces lying to a chorus of boos.
Curtis Axel warned fans not to turn the channel, claiming that he had not been eliminated from the Royal Rumble and that his #AxelMania movement was still going strong. He entered himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, then was interrupted by Ryback.
The Big Guy officially added himself to the battle royal, then threatened to take Axel to "Smashville."
The former Heyman Guys and tag team partners battled it out one-on-one action.
Ryback ran over Axel, finishing him with Shellshocked in a match that certainly killed any chance the second-generation star has of succeeding come March 29 at WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns put their differences aside to battle Seth Rollins and Randy Orton, who also had to set aside personal issues if they wished to emerge victorious.
Bryan looked to take out his disappointment and frustration on Rollins, delivering a surfboard submission hold and tagging in Reigns. Moments latter, the juggernaut found himself standing across the squared circle from "The Viper" Orton, whom he defeated back at SummerSlam.
The heels attempted to isolate Bryan but the babyfaces had the heels, most notably Rollins, reeling heading into the break.
During the commercial, the heels regained control, working over Reigns, whom they had sent crashing into the guardrail.
A tilt-a-whirl slam by Reigns to Rollins allowed the second-generation star the chance to make the hot tag to Bryan.
The leader of the Yes Movement unleashed with his fiery, fast-paced offense on Mr. Money in the Bank. He countered a rollup into the Yes Lock but had the hold broken by Orton. He dumped The Viper, then delivered the suicide dive onto Rollins.
Bryan tried for the diving headbutt later in the match but missed. Tags to Reigns and Orton led to a spirited exchange, including a snap powerslam and the DDT from Orton.
Rollins tagged himself into the match, drawing the ire of the Apex Predator.
Meanwhile, inside the squared circle, Reigns blasted Rollins with the Superman Punch. Bryan tagged himself in, delivered the running knee and scored the pinfall win.
Dolph Ziggler DEF Bad News Barrett by pinfall
The Prime Time Players DEF The Ascension by pinfall
The Usos DEF Tyson Kidd and Cesaro by DQ
Jack Swagger DEF Stardust by submission
The Bella Twins DEF Paige and Emma by pinfall
Ryback DEF Curtis Axel by pinfall
Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan DEF Randy Orton and Seth Rollins by pinfall
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