– Tonight’s WWE RAW opens with a limousine pulling up to the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Michael Cole welcomes us and he’s joined by JBL and Booker T. Triple H steps out of the limo and makes his way into the arena as we go to the RAW opening video.
– Eden introduces Triple H and out he comes to a mixed reaction. Triple H takes the mic and fans boo. He says “daddy’s home” and says that’s the same thing he says to his kids when he’s been gone on a trip. He says his kids behave better than apparently Kane and Seth Rollins. Triple H says he left for a few weeks to run a billion dollar company but Kane and Rollins couldn’t even do what he asked them to do. He’s not about to let this all unfold due to someone’s unchecked ego. Triple H says we’re going to clear the air once and for all. He calls out Kane and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins is out first with Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble.
Rollins welcomes Triple H back and says they missed him. Rollins want to be the first to say he agrees with Triple H and they are on the same page. Fans chant for Dean Ambrose, the hometown star. Rollins says he can’t function at the top of his game with a 7 foot cancer trying to poison The Authority from the inside. Fans chant “you sold out” and Rollins says he’s trying to talk to his boss here. Rollins feels like Kane has made it his personal mission to make Rollins lose the title. Another Ambrose chant breaks out. Rollins goes on but is cut off by fans loudly singing Ambrose’s name. Rollins says Kane is broken and can’t be fixed, maybe it’s time they put the old dog out of his misery. Kane’s music hits and out he comes to a pop.
Kane gets hype and threatens to chokeslam Rollins straight to hell. They start arguing and Triple H gets in between them. Rollins tells Triple H he needs to do something about this. Ambrose chants start again but Triple H doesn’t let them interrupt him. Triple H admits Rollins can annoy you to the point that you want to punch him but Kane can’t do that because Rollins is what’s best for business. Triple H says if Rollins doesn’t leave Payback with the title, maybe Kane’s services as Director of Operations are no longer needed. Kane says it’s a shame Triple H feels that way because as much as he respects Triple H, it might be worth it to eviscerate Rollins. Rollins runs his mouth and Triple H gets in his face, telling him to shut up. Triple H says Kane needs to let him know right now if they need to amicably part ways. Triple H extends his hand and says Kane’s silence shows that’s not what he wants, to part ways. Triple H says he needs to know that they’re all on the same page. He announces the Payback main event participants will be in action tonight. He announces Kane vs. Roman Reigns and Rollins vs. Randy Orton. Noble gets in Triple H’s face and isn’t happy about Rollins having to wrestle tonight. Triple H mocks J&J and announces a handicap match with Ambrose vs. Mercury & Noble. Triple H mocks their height and keels down to get in Noble’s face. He says since they both stack up to one man, they’ll do just fine in a handicap match. The crowd pops. Triple H tells Rollins and Kane to come with him. They leave the ring.
Handicap Match: Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble vs. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose comes out to a big hometown pop as Triple H, Rollins and Kane walk past him on their way to the back. Ambrose hits the ring as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Mercury starts off with Ambrose. Ambrose strikes first and unloads in the corner. Ambrose stomps away and is told to back off by the referee. Ambrose with more strikes and a scoop slam. Ambrose sends Mercury to the floor and brings Noble in. Noble begs for Ambrose to take it easy and they shake hands but Ambrose kick him for Dirty Deeds. Noble dodges the move and goes to the floor. Ambrose follows and J&J takes control, sending him into the barrier and the announce table. Ambrose bounces back from the apron and clotheslines them both over the announce table. They come back in and distract Ambrose, pulling him from the top for a 2 count by Mercury.
Noble comes in and keeps Ambrose down, dropping a leg for 2. They keep control and Mercury comes in for some double teaming as fans boo. Mercury keeps Ambrose grounded with a headlock now. Ambrose turns it around with a shoulder but goes down after they butt heads. Ambrose comes back and unloads on Noble. Mercury pulls Noble to safety, avoiding a bulldog. Ambrose runs the ropes and leaps out onto both of them. Ambrose brings it back in and hits a big double clothesline. Noble eats Dirty Deeds for the win.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
– After the match, Ambrose celebrates as we go to replays.
– Still to come, Daniel Bryan will address the WWE Universe. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and out comes Sheamus for commentary.
Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett
Dolph Ziggler makes his way out to a nice pop followed by Bad News Barrett with a mic. He cuts a promo and reveals he will face Neville at Payback. Sheamus vs. Ziggler was also announced. The match immediately starts with a superkick from Ziggler for a close 2 count. We go to commercial with Ziggler in control.
Back from the break and Barrett is covering Ziggler for a 2 count. Barrett beats Ziggler down with elbows and fans boo him. Ziggler kicks his leg out and hits the Fame-asser for a 2 count. Barret catches a superkick but Ziggler blocks Wasteland. Barrett with a big kick to the gut. Barrett readies for the Bullhammer but runs into a dropkick. Ziggler rolls him up for a 2 count. Barrett runs into the ring post. Sheamus gets on the apron and distracts Ziggler. Ziggler turns around to a Bullhammer for the win.
Winner: King Barrett
– After the match, Barrett puts his crown on as Sheamus applauds. Barrett leaves and Sheamus comes into the ring where Ziggler is still down. Sheamus bullies him and tells him to get up. Sheamus kicks Ziggler around and talks some more trash. Sheamus take Ziggler to the corner and slaps him around. Ziggler jumps on him but gets nailed by a Brogue Kick. Sheamus stands over Ziggler as fans boo.
– Still to come, Reigns vs. Kane. Back to commercial.
Erick Rowan vs. Fandango
Back from the break and out comes Luke Harper with Erick Rowan. We see what happened on SmackDown. Fandango is out next.
The bell rings and Rowan unloads on Fandango, squashing him in 37 seconds.
Winner: Erick Rowan
– After the match, Harper comes in the ring and they double team Fandango.
– Still to come, another John Cena US Open Challenge. Back to commercial.
– We get a look back at Sami Zayn vs. John Cena from last week.
WWE United States Title Match: Neville vs. John Cena
We go to the ring and out comes WWE United States Champion John Cena. Cena comes out for a promo about the US Title, saying the fans have given it a life of its own. He talks about how some Superstars never get a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Title but everybody’s got a chance at his United States Title. Cena says one man doesn’t have a chance – Rusev. Cena says he’s going to win at Payback because he never gives up. Cena goes on and kicks off his US Open Challenge. Out comes Neville to answer the challenge.
We get formal ring introductions from Eden. The bell rings and they lock up with Cena taking it to the corner. They go to lock up with fans doing dueling chants. Cena grabs the arm and works on it instead. Neville turns it around and hits a suplex, then puts Cena in an armbar. Neville keeps control and sends Cena to the floor for a breather. We go to commercial with Cena saying, “not bad kid, not bad.”
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Neville with a German suplex for a 2 count. Cena goes back to the floor and Neville kick him back towards the barrier. Neville with the big moonsault from the apron. They come back in and Neville misses a right hand. Cena slams him and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment but it’s blocked. Cena runs into a big boot. Neville goes up for Red Arrow and hits it for a close 2 count. Cena with right hands now. Neville fights back and drops Cena with a kick. Cena comes back but Neville hits more kicks. Cena catches him in a big Taka driver for a 2 count.
Cena goes for an AA again but Neville turns it into a roll up for 2. More back and forth. Neville goes for a crossbody from the second rope but Cena catches him and rolls through. Cena lifts Neville for the AA but Neville lands on his feet and drops Cena with a kick for a 2 count. Fans chant “this is awesome” as Neville gets up. He tries to drag Cena into position for Red Arrow but Cena pulls him into the STF. The hold is eventually broken and Cena nails a huge clothesline out of frustration. More back and forth. Cena hit an AA out of nowhere but Neville kicks out at 2. They get up dazed and Cena takes Neville to the second rope for a super AA. Neville blocks that and turns it into a sitdown powerbomb for 2. Neville goes for Red Arrow again and nails it but Rusev runs in and stomps on him.
Winner by DQ: Neville
– After the bell, Rusev tosses Neville and focuses on Cena as fans boo. Cena gets up and Rusev levels him with a big kick to more boos. Rusev stomps on Cena’s back and puts him in The Accolade. Fans chant for Lana but she’s not out. Rusev breaks the hold and stands over Cena with the US Title as the Russian flag drops down and we go to replays.
Kane vs. Roman Reigns
Back from a commercial and out comes Kane. Roman Reigns is out next through the crowd and he gets a pop.
Reigns barely makes it over the barrier before Kane attacks him at ringside and starts beating him up. Reigns finally fights back but Kane whips him hard into the barrier. Reigns leaps off the steps for a Superman punch but Kane fights back. Reigns comes back and nails one, then spears Kane over the announce table. Reigns stands on top of the announce table as his music hits and we go to replays.
Brie Bella vs. Tamina Snuka
Back from the break and out comes Brie Bella with WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella. Naomi and Tamina Snuka are out next.
We get a sidebar video with Tamina and Naomi talking about The Bellas. They say Payback comes early tonight. Brie turns it around on Tamina in the corner and they go at it. Tamina with a big kick. Tamina works Brie over as Naomi cheers her on. Nikki rallies the crowd for Brie as Tamina keeps her down on the mat.
Tamina keeps control and hits a big clothesline for a 2 count. Brie counters and makes a comeback with a dropkick. Tamina stops her. Brie goes to the second rope and hits a missile dropkick for a 2 count. Brie unloads but Tamina blocks her and nails a superkick for the win.
Winner: Tamina Snuka
– After the match, Naomi and Tamina celebrate up the ramp as Naomi checks on Brie.
Curtis Axel vs. Damien Sandow
Back from the break and Curtis Axel waits in the ring. Damien Sandow as “Macho Mandow” comes out using Randy Savage’s theme song. JBL says Savage is spinning in his grave. They go at it until The Ascension’s music hits. They come out to the stage and Konnor rips them for trying to jump start their careers by impersonating two old relics from the past. Viktor also speaks before they rush the ring but get taken out by Mandow and Axel. Axel hulks up and drops the big leg on Viktor. Mandow goes to the top for the big elbow but Konnor pulls Viktor to safety. Macho’s music hits again and they try to recreate the Mega Powers handshake but the announcers crap all over the segment.
– Still to come, Daniel Bryan will speak. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get hype for the return of Tough Enough.
– We go to the ring and WWE Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan makes his way out to a big pop.
Fans chant “yes” as Bryan heads to the ring. Bryan has a serious look on his face but smiles as fans chant his name. Bryan finally speaks and says he’s been in and out of doctors appointments the past few weeks. He says he’s had a lot of downtime and doesn’t do well with downtime. He says he needs to be where excitement and energy is. Fans pop and start another chant. Bryan says he needed to be standing backstage waiting for his music to hit so he could come out and be part of a reaction like the one he just got. Bryan asks how long fans have been treating him like he’s special and says it feels like years. Bryan says that’s why it was so crushing to him last year, almost one year ago, when he was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Fans boo. Bryan says he felt like he let fans down then and credits fans for getting him the title shot.
Bryan says it’s hard for him to admit that Stephanie McMahon was right to strip him of the title last year because nobody knew when he would be able to perform again. Bryan says fans deserve a fighting champion, which is why he asked to come out tonight. He says he had a MRI done and doctors don’t know when he will return – weeks, months or he may never wrestle again. Bryan says we deserve a fighting champion and that’s why he’s relinquishing the title. A huge “thank you Daniel” chant breaks out and Bryan says we have it all wrong – he thanks the fans. Bryan leave the title sitting in the ring and walks up to the stage as fans chant “thank you Daniel” some more. Bryan’s music hits and he starts a big “yes”! chant before walking to the back. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcer talk about Daniel Bryan.
Big E vs. Cesaro
We go to the ring and out comes WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day. Xavier Woods says we need to rejoice in the positives, not the negatives, with Daniel Bryan being gone. They try to get a chant going but fans chant “New Day sucks” instead. Kofi Kingston says one of these days fans will get that chant right. Kofi says they’re all about giving second chances. Big E takes a shot at Cincinnati Red Pete Rose. Kofi announces a 2 of 3 Falls Match for Payback against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. Cesaro and Kidd are out next with Natalya.
Big E catches Cesaro in a big slam gut Cesaro comes back with an uppercut. Cesaro with more offense and a shot from the top then stomps in the corner. Cesaro sends Big E to the floor as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Big E catches Cesaro in an abdominal stretch. Cesaro with a big throw to break the hold. Cesaro with strikes until Big E slams him with a Rock Bottom. Big E misses a splash as Cesaro rolls out of the way but Big E comes back and levels him for a close 2 count. Big E with a big clothesline off the ropes for another 2 count. Cesaro fights back with uppercuts and a corkscrew uppercut off the ropes. Cesaro hits two German suplexes and a huge belly to belly throw. Cesaro with a running uppercut in the corner. He whips Big E back and forth from corner to corner with uppercuts. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing and Kofi jumps on the apron. Kidd pulls him off and nails a huge kick to the face from the apron. Woods takes out Kofi and distracts Cesaro. Cesaro turns around and tangles with Big E. Cesaro pins him with a nice move for the win.
– The announcers reveal WWE Elimination Chamber will be a Network exclusive pay-per-view this month on May 31st from Corpus Christi, Texas.
– We come back and The Ascension vs. Sandow and Axel is set for the Payback pre-show.
– Bray Wyatt comes out and say he feels sorry for all of us because of how we’re constantly being sold fear – fear about the economy, a dying Earth and more. Wyatt cuts a promo on Ryback. Wyatt is sure Ryback is asking himself “why me?” but the answer is simple – he was in Wyatt’s way. Wyatt says our parents won’t tell us this but sometimes the nightmares don’t stop and the bad guy just wins. Wyatt drops to his knees and yells out but Ryback’s music hits and here he comes to the ring.
Wyatt waits and starts brawling with Ryback as soon as he hits the ring. Ryback nails a spinebuster but Wyatt manages to escape the ring. Ryback gets a big “feed me more” chant going as Wyatt looks on from the floor. Ryback’s music hits and he stares Wyatt down.
– Still to come, Orton vs. Rollins. Back to commercial.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Back from the break and out comes Randy Orton to a pop. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins is out next by himself for this non-title main event.
They lock up and trade holds. Orton takes Rollins down with a headlock. They run the ropes and Rollins drops Orton with a shoulder. They run them again and Orton drops Rollins with an elbow. Rollins with a kick to the face and one to the gut. Rollins with strikes now. Orton turns it around and drops Rollins with an uppercut. Fans cheer as Orton stands tall. Orton stomps on Rollins now. Rollins dodges a knee drop but misses a clothesline. Orton with a backbreaker. Rollins catches Orton and drops his face into the turnbuckle. Rollins sends Orton to the floor with a knee as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re locked up. Orton breaks it but Rollins drops him coming off the ropes and covers for a 2 count. The referee warns Rollins as he keeps control. Rollins with a big forearm in the corner, sending Orton to the mat. Rollins charges again in the corner but Orton backdrops him to the apron. Rollins goes to the top but gets crotched. Orton leaves Rollins sitting there as fans cheer. He climbs up for a superplex and nails it. They get up and trade strikes in the middle of the ring.
Rollins gets the upperhand and runs the ropes but Orton comes back with clotheslines. Rollins avoids a powerslam and hits Orton with a boot. Rollins come off the top but Orton catches him in a powerslam for a 2 count. Rollins comes back and connects with a kick to the head. Rollins springboards in from the apron and hits a knee to the jaw for a 2 count. More back and forth. Rollins blocks the backbreaker but Orton connects with a t-bone suplex. Orton ends up on the floor and Rollins dives through the ropes, sending Orton into the barrier.
More back and forth in the ring now but Rollins has control. Rollins nails a big superkick with Orton on his knees but Orton kicks out at 2. Orton takes Rollins to the apron and hits the second rope draping DDT. The crowd gets hot as Orton calls for the RKO. Orton goes for it but J&J Security rush the ring for the DQ and stop the RKO.
Winner by DQ: Randy Orton
– After the bell, Mercury and Noble beat Orton down as Rollins looks on. Orton fights them both off but Rollins nails him from behind. Rollins beats on Orton now. Fans chant for Dean Ambrose but Kane’s music hits and out he comes. Kane grabs a steel chair and stares Rollins down. Rollins and J&J continue the beatdown on Orton. Ambrose runs out and hits the ring to a big pop. Roman Reigns is also out. They brawl with J&J, tossing them from the ring. Reigns, Ambrose and Orton have Rollins cornered now. Kane just looks on from the floor as Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. They check Kane again and Reigns hits a spear as Ambrose lifts Rollins. Kane still hasn’t moved as Reigns and Ambrose hold Rollins up for a RKO from Orton. The crowd pops and Kane still looks on with the chair in hand. Orton turns around to a spear from Reigns. Ambrose takes out Reigns with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose’s music hits and he begins the celebration to a big pop. The announcers hype NXT on the WWE Network as Ambrose looks down at Rollins, Orton and Reigns. Ambrose gets another big pop as RAW goes off the air.