WWE

Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus def. The Hardy Boyz (30-Minute WWE Iron Man Match)

DALLAS — Cesaro & Sheamus don’t just set the bar, they are the bar — and after WWE Great Balls of Fire, that bar is officially forged in iron.

The Raw Tag Team Champions denied The Hardy Boyz in the most grueling of contests, a WWE Iron Man Match, by scoring more victories (four) than their challengers (three) over a 30-minute span. And they made their intentions known almost instantly: Cesaro distracted Matt Hardy to tee him up for Sheamus’ Brogue Kick just 16 seconds into the match, putting Team Xtreme into an 0-1 hole right out of the gate.

Jeff Hardy suffered the second fall around the 10-minute mark following a protracted 2-on-1 attack that ended with The Swiss Cyborg booting Matt off the apron and aiding Sheamus in a White Noise for the pinfall. The Hardys repaid Cesaro in kind three minutes later, however, as The King of Swing was felled by the trifecta of Poetry in Motion, the Side Effect and a Twist of Fate to cut the titleholder’s lead to 2-1.

The champs answered right back, handing the Hardys a count-out fall after Cesaro threw legal man Matt Hardy into the ring post at the end of a brawl on the outside. At Cesaro’s insistence (“All the time in the world!”), they isolated Matt and chewed up as much time as they could, whittling the clock down to around 7:13 before Jeff snuck a tag in on Matt and pinned an unsuspecting Cesaro to cut the champions’ lead to 3-2. After Cesaro narrowly saved Sheamus from a three-count off a moonsault, Matt administered a top-rope Twist of Fate to the Irishman to tie it up at 3-3 with under three minutes to go.

The maneuver left Sheamus out on his feet and it fell to Cesaro to singlehandedly save the match. First, he broke up a pinfall after both Hardys splashed Sheamus at once. Then, he blind-tagged his way in and pounced on Jeff for the quick 1-2-3 after The Charismatic Enigma hit the Swanton Bomb on Sheamus, whom he thought was legal. The ensuing pinfall gave the champs a 4-3 edge with 29 seconds left, and The Swiss Cyborg attempted to protect the lead by running laps around the ring while The Charismatic Enigma pursued. Back in the ring, Jeff finally managed to catch Cesaro in a Twist of Fate, but the clock ran out right as he made the cover.

It took a moment for the wreckage to sort itself out after the match. The WWE Universe roared in agony, the champions celebrated up the ramp, and a busted-open Matt Hardy processed it all with a wide-eyed look of insanity. Cesaro & Sheamus earned their jubilation, but make no mistake: While they may be the proverbial bar, both teams unquestionably raised it for anyone who dares to follow.