WWE Raw results, February 16, 2015: Ambrose forces Barrett's hands, Stardust goes nuclear and Bryan and Reigns throw down in epic brawl
U.S. Champion Rusev confronted John Cena
ORLANDO, Fla. — With all the tumult surrounding the saga of Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns lately, the WWE Universe can be forgiven for turning its eye (no pun intended) away from the simmering rivalry of John Cena and Rusev. The 15-time World Champion remedied that within minutes of Raw’s opening on Monday, brawling with The Super Athlete for the second time in as many weeks. The difference was that this time, Cena got the upper hand on the formidable U.S. Champion, tossing him with reckless abandon into the LED screen on the TitanTron and hammering the Russian with 10 punches to the head.
Dean Ambrose def. Luke Harper
Dean Ambrose’s mad quest to get his face on WWE’s “Wall of Champions” has carried him through a current and past Intercontinental Champion, which typically would cement him as No. 1 contender to the prize. Unfortunately, Bad News Barrett’s stinginess when it comes to title opportunities has held The Lunatic Fringe back. The wily Ambrose found a way to keep his dream alive on Raw by defeating another former champion Luke Harper, though.
And the meeting of the two madmen did not disappoint. Ambrose not only withstood Harper’s mauling offense, but he also welcomed it, daring the swamp-dweller to attack him on more than one occasion and turning the pain into fuel to power his retaliation. A superkick and swinging slam from Harper gave way to a ricocheting clothesline that knocked Harper silly, and a Dirty Deeds moments later to the big man guaranteed the 1-2-3.
The New Day def. Gold & Stardust
Even despite the sage words of Dusty Rhodes, it was hard times come again for the sons of “The American Dream” when the efforts of The New Day snapped a tentative truce between Gold & Stardust in half. Part of that loss surely had to do with Xavier Woods, who was fresh in his first match back after a leg injury, alongside Kofi Kingston. But what ultimately decided the bout was a miscommunication between the brothers that left Goldust open to Trouble in Paradise. Stardust didn’t take the miscue lightly. After an initial embrace with his weary brother, Stardust struck when Goldust was at his lowest, planting him into the mat with you-know-who’s old signature maneuver: Cross Rhodes.
Roman Reigns def. Kane via Count-out
Advantage: Roman Reigns? In advance of The Big Dog’s battle with Daniel Bryan at WWE Fastlane, the two potential No. 1 contenders were set to battle The Authority’s resident giants on Raw. Reigns did his part by knocking off Corporate Kane, though he owes an assist of sorts to Daniel Bryan, who kept instigating “Yes!” chants from the commentary table each time the 2014 Royal Rumble Match winner got his momentum going. Reigns ultimately got the win with a count-out ruling when Kane ate a Spear on the outside at a nine-count. But Bryan’s post-match antics — he set off another barrage of chants to distract from the victory and danced around an irate Reigns in the ring — proved The Big Dog wouldn’t be allowed to rest on his laurels quite so easily.
Paige def. Summer Rae
Paige as a Rosebud?!?!? It happened — believe it. The Diva of Tomorrow was forced to borrow the outfit off one of Adam Rose’s coterie when The Bellas (having clearly taken their cues from The Dudley Boyz) stole her clothes and hid them in an attempt to embarrass Nikki’s No. 1 contender. The joke ended up being on them, as Paige not only beat an incredulous Summer Rae, but also looked good doing it and got twice as many bragging rights. After all, a PTO is that much more demoralizing when Paige is wearing a Lollipop Guild outfit.
Dolph Ziggler def. Seth Rollins via Disqualification
Real talk for a moment, Dolph Ziggler might want to change his mantra. The Showoff has claimed he flaunts what he’s got better than anybody else, every single night, but what he’s really become adept at doing is flustering the flunkies of The Authority at each and every turn. Not only was “Zig Man” the first out of the gate to toss some shade Seth Rollins’ way before tussling with Mr. Money in the Bank, but he also gave the contract holder a run for his cash in the process.
Photos: Rollins and Dolph go toe-to-toe
He even got the win, although there were some shenanigans involved when the previously ejected J&J Security interfered to save Rollins after a superkick–Zig Zag combo, getting the match thrown out in the process. Even then, however, Ziggler managed to get the last word with the assistance of Ryback & Erick Rowan, who came to their former teammate’s aid and bum-rushed the corporate trio back to the showers. And that's where J&J will stay, at least, when Dolph and Rollins clash again on SmackDown with the hired hands banned from ringside.
Ric Flair warned Triple H about the dangers of facing Sting
To be The Man, as they say, you have to beat The Man. Sting beat The Man. Beat him a lot, in fact. So much that the original Man Ric Flair (WOO!) made a rare appearance on Raw to offer a word of warning to his former protégé, Triple H, about going face-to-face with the vigilante in six days at WWE Fastlane. The King of Kings, alas, was less than receptive to the wisdom of “The Nature Boy.” The COO shoved his idol to the mat and promised Flair that Sting would be sent back into hiding by the time The Cerebral Assassin was through.
Titus O’Neil came to Darren Young’s rescue
Darren Young is back! And by the looks of things, he was headed straight into a buzzsaw in the form of The Ascension, which disposed of Young’s local-competitor tag-team partner, before surrounding the former tag division stalwart in the ring. Happily, Young had an old running buddy waiting in the wings who seemed to have buried their old hatchet: Titus O’Neil. The Big Deal was quick to the side of his former ally, beating back the former NXT Tag Team Champions and cementing what appeared to be a reunion of The Prime Time Players. Millions of dollars, baby. Millions of dollars.
Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett def. Damien Mizdow
The Miz has already made it his mission to knock Damien Mizdow down a few notches the last couple of weeks. This time, the former WWE Champion just decided to use a Bull Hammer to do the job for him. Poor Mizdow didn’t stand a chance against Bad News Barrett, who accepted an offer from The Miz to dole out some punishment to his protégé in exchange for Miz running interference from Dean Ambrose. Despite a solid effort from a game Mizdow, Miz kept stopping his personal assistant short with outrageous demands. With Mizdow oblivious to Barrett's recovery, the Brit sprang with a Bull Hammer and took him down for the count.
Photos: Ambrose makes it legal-ish
Less game was Miz, who ran scared at the first sign of The Lunatic Fringe and allowed Barrett to get himself ensnared by the would-be No. 1 contender. Would-be, that is, for only a few minutes longer, as Ambrose zip-tied Barrett's hands around the ring post and forced him to sign the contract that makes their title match official. Good news, everyone!
WWE Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso & Naomi def. Tyson Kidd & Natalya
One team is on “Total Divas”; one team was on “Total Divas.” One husband’s a champion; one’s the No. 1 contender. One wife’s a former champion; one wife’s fallen short of the prize. All of that’s to say, the Mixed Tag Team Match between Jimmy Uso & Naomi and Tyson Kidd & Natalya — that’s husband & wife vs. husband & wife — was way more intense than the WWE Universe might have expected. That’s partly because Kidd kept baiting Jimmy and tagging in Natalya before he suffered the wrath of “Uso Crazy.” Kidd’s unwillingness to mix it up (he won’t have that luxury Sunday) ultimately cost him and his wife. Naomi reversed the Sharpshooter into a baffling series of rollup and counter-rollup attempts, ultimately claiming the upper hand and pinning Natalya to win it all.
Big Show def. Daniel Bryan via Disqualification
Who says Daniel Bryan can’t hold his own against a big man? The “Yes!” Man not only fought Big Show on Raw, but he also likely would have beaten him if not for some untimely, if not entirely unforeseen, interference from Roman Reigns. The giant tenderized Bryan with chops to the chest that brought a smile to Reigns’ face at ringside, and The Big Dog repaid Bryan’s distractions from earlier by signing autographs for the “Yes!” Movement right as Bryan snared Show in a sleeper hold. He did it again when Bryan managed to throw Show over the top rope with a triangle hold, but The Beard got the better of that scenario when he caused Show to accidentally spear Reigns, taking him out of the equation. From there it was relatively clear skies to the Running Knee, only Reigns stormed the ring and Superman Punched Show, ending the bout in a disqualification and handing Bryan the loss.
One would have hoped that clearer heads would prevail, but the tension between Bryan and Reigns boiled over and civility broke down in chaotic fashion. An all-out brawl ensued, and it took every ref in the joint (even the hardcore ones) to keep the two apart, while the crowd chanted for the zebras to “let them fight.” No worries, guys. Six more days and they will.