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Ladies and Gentleman began to play, Jake Carter walking out in his jean jacket with a microphone in his hand and his music cutting almost as soon as it started, “From the basement to the main event, ya’ll.”

He kept walking down the ramp, pursing his lips just so, “Not that it’s any surprise… Did you see last week’s show? ‘Course they needed me to work the big match. God forbid Ziggles defend that hunk o’ metal, eh?”

Jake laughed as though he thought that was just the funniest thing anyone had said in the history of ever, and continued to walk to the ring, pausing only to climb between the ropes.

“The Authority saw last week’s ratings and they were like, yannooo… This Carter kid, this is the reason it was so bad. Mhmm,” he made his voice squeak and the crowd booed, “You think they don’t have these kinds of meetings? I forget, I’m sorry, I’m sorry… It’s still real to you, right? Aheh,” he smirked to himself and brought the mic back to his lips to finish his thought but Sami Callihan’s music cut him off. He rolled his eyes skyward, passing the microphone off and shrugging out of his jacket, mocking Sami as he lumbered out to the ring.

Callihan was much more able than his last few matches, it seemed. Gone were the trappings of his injuries gotten at the hands of Danny Havoc, his nose finally having healed to the point that he didn’t have to wear a guard anymore. The lingering cuts and bruises had also healed up, and he appeared to be a new man as he made his way down to the ring, a WWE network beanie pulled over his usually wild hair and what looked to be one of Jessie McKay’s merch shirts cut into a workout shirt over his gear. Of course, the Intercontinental Championship belt was draped over his shoulder. He snatched up the mic Jake had disposed of, using the ropes to hop onto the apron.

“You talk too fuckin’ much, man,” he told him flatly, and the crowd roared. Jake’s smirk fell and he pointed at Sami, who ignored him, “No, man, really. You talk. A lot.”

Again, the crowd went wild, Sami taking the chance to climb between the ropes as they died down, “I mean, when we hung out and shit, I just tuned you out cuz that shit’s not hard to do, but fuck me if you don’t just run your head all the damn time…”

Jake pouted, looking around as the crowd laughed, and a picture came up on the titantron of Sami sitting with a spit bottle in his hand and Jake not far off, obviously talking a mile a minute.

“And I can handle that, too, bro, but the biggest problem I got is that all you do is speak in tongues, and not even biblical ones. Buzz words, how fuckin’ great you are, how you’re my girlfriend’s favorite… Dude, I did some diggin’, and the last chick you was with was in the ‘E was Eve,” Sami looked at him super serious, shaking his head, “Eve, Jake. Eve motherfuckin’ Torres. It’s time to stop. I thought DJ Hyde was the biggest douchebag in the world, but you’re starting to catch up to him.”

Jake grabbed the microphone from Sami, “You think you’re bein’ funny right now, bro?”

Sami nodded, looking pretty please with himself. Jake only fumed harder.

“You wanna talk about the past, Callihan, okay. I’ll bite. At least I didn’t have to roll around in glass for five years before the WWE wanted to sign me. How’s it feel knowin’ you had to be a garbage wrestler before you got anywhere? And even then, the Authority dropped you the moment you got them what they wanted, and that was the belt off the druggie…”

Callihan didn’t seem offended, he just looked around at the crowd before shrugging.

“Or what about the real Sami Callihan, the punk ass bitch who used to hide in closets and make gay passes at Danny Havoc, wishin’ he’d just be friends with you again after you fucked up your relationship a second time? What about him? What about all those friends you had, Sami, the ones that left when shit got a little tough? I don’t see Tony out here vettin’ for you anymore,” Jake knew he’d struck a nerve as Sami popped his neck and rolled his shoulders, so he kept going.

“But you know who I feel the most sorry for? Jessie. She’s a nice girl, but she must always be waiting for the other boot to drop considering how long it took for your marriage to fall ap—”

Jake didn’t get to finish his sentence, Sami had dropped all pretense of cool and was on him, raining blows over. Jake fought back just as hard, the two brawling in the ring and forgetting about the match they were supposed to have, the referee somehow separating them and getting Jake to the far corner while Callihan paced in the opposite one.

Sami motioned for Jake to come at him again, but more referees were streaming into the ring as both men had bloody mouths. It seemed that neither had pulled a punch, neglecting to care about a main event or a title after the gloves came off.

King of Kings began to play, Triple H jogging out into the ring to get between the two. He picked up the fallen microphone and gestured for them both to stand down, getting in Callihan’s face when he refused to at first, then Carter’s when he did the same.

“You two— You’re gonna have a sanctioned match, if it kills you, do you understand me? I won’t have that belt’s image tarnished anymore than it already has been. If it means the two of you beating each other bloody to elevate it, then so be it, but you’re going to do it in a sanctioned match, you hear me?!” Hunter roared, but neither seemed to respond. Instead, he threw his hands up in frustration and stomped back up the ramp, but not before ordering them to take both of them out of the ring and keep them separated as RAW came to a close.

After the last commercial break of the night, the camera switched its view to the ringside area. The ring was empty at the moment and the arena was silent. The silence was broken with shouts of “I’m here to show the world, I’m here to show the world!” over the speaker system. Dolph’s music filled the air and the fans reacted with mixed cheers and boos again. The WWE Champion, dressed smartly in casual, revealed himself on the stage and looked like he was about to deliver a serious matter. He already had a microphone in his hand. He fixed the title belt on his shoulder and started walking down the ramp. When he raised the microphone to his lips, the music stopped for him.

“Introducing at this time, from Hollywood, Florida, your WWE Champion, Dolph Ziggler, yadda yadda,” Dolph said as he introduced himself the way Lilian Garcia would. He entered the ring after taking the steps and stayed in the middle of the ring. “You can have your photo-op Kodak moments of me with my title later, people. Let me just lay this down real quick to you guys.”

He began to pace back and forth across the ring, looking down at the mat. “I had my lawyers check out that phantom clause Taylor was talking about in my Money in the Bank contract and I have no idea why but it turns out he was right.” Dolph shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “I have no idea how it got there in the first place but I have my guesses.” Dolph looked up at the crowd and continued, “In behalf of Chuck, I apologize that you have to deal with that, as Chris Jericho would put it elegantly, that assclown on a regular basis. Like a fatal disease you just can’t get rid off. But rather than cowering away from the competition… as your champion, as your fighting champion… I’m gonna stand my ground.”

Dolph walked towards the ropes and faced the titantron. “Chuck.. Chuckster… Chuckie Cheese… I know you don’t like me… And it’s totally cool ‘cause I don’t like you either. Like, at all… But you don’t know who you’re dealing with here, buddy. If you think this is gonna be like your mind games with Cody, if you think you can get away with all this legal mumbo-jumbo.. you better think again, pal. This is Dolph Ziggler’s world, and you’re just living in it. But hell, what am I doing here talking to air? Why don’t you come out here to the ring so I can tell you exactly what I feel about your shenanigans? Preferably with my fist to your face.”

Dolph leaned across the ropes, waiting for a response. Rather than hearing Chuck’s music, he heard Triple H’s. Dolph was disappointed but he wasn’t intimidated. He doubled back to the center of the ring, straight-faced, and waited for the General Manager of RAW to make his way down to the ring. The Game entered the ring and requested for a microphone from the crew.

“Hey, hey, hey! Welcome to The Dolph Ziggler Show, Hunter! You’re just in time for the cast goodbyes!” Dolph said playfully with a grin on his face. Hunter smirked and started chuckling to himself.

Hunter raised the microphone to his lips and replied, “Actually, kid, I was just in the back, listening to your speech about you being a fighting champion and… you know what? I wanna help you out in that cause.”

Dolph clapped his hands together and pleaded, “Please, Hunter! Please! Are you going to do that Battle Royal idea of mine? Please, please do!” He lightly patted Hunter on the arm and added, “Come on, you and I know it’s best for business. My ideas are best for business. Please don’t listen to anyone else but me. Not even foxy redheaded lawyers.”

“Uh, no. We are not doing your Battle Royal idea,” Hunter began, and Dolph reacted with disappointment. The General Manager continued to speak, “I do however believe you mean what you say when you’re a fighting champion. So you probably won’t mind if I booked you a match in the next RAW for your first title defense.”

Dolph had mixed feelings about this but he let out a smile. “Fantastic, absolutely fantastic,” he replied. “You know I’m totally cool with that Hunter. So who am I going up against?”

Hunter looked like he was about to reveal a name but after a short pause, he ended up saying, “Where’s the challenge for our fighting champion if I already told you beforehand who you were going to face? No, your opponent for your first title defense is for me to know and for you to find out… Hey.” He reached out and lightly patted Dolph on the arm, mimicking the champion from earlier. “You and I know that’s best for business, right?” Hunter started chuckling but Dolph was not amused by this development. “Good luck on your match, champ,” Hunter added before leaving the ring while “Bow Down to the King” blasted the speaker system. Dolph was left in the ring to deal with this information. He stared at Hunter blankly and scoffed to himself, shaking his head.

“Whatevs,” Dolph muttered under his breath, loud enough for the camera to pick up. He looked down at his title belt and shuddered at the thought of possibly losing it on RAW. But he was a man of his word. He shook off the thought as RAW ended with Dolph looking determinedly at the stage and focusing back on his title.

Maryse, Summer and Candice were out first, strutting down to the ring arm in arm as they smirked, already assured of their victory after having secured the three on two handicap tag against BitchCraft. As all three got into the ring and took possession of the corner nearest the announcers’ booth to play to the crowd, looking resplendent in matching blue and gold versions of their respective gear.

Don’t you mess with a little girl’s dream, cuz she’s liable to grow up mean,” the lights went out and the titantron began again, though the surprise that had reigned before in the wake of BitchCraft’s entrance didn’t happen this time as the house lights came up. Candice, Maryse and Summer all stood waiting for Buggy and Britani to enter. The red clad divas made their way out, still lacking their third tag partner. As they got to the ring and Britani shrugged off her leathers, Summer crossed her arms, pleased with herself. They’d succeeded in keeping BitchCraft from recruiting anyone else to their cause.

The two women entered the ring and the referee went to check with them to be sure they were the only two. Neither looked back toward the ramp as though they expected anyone to show up. He rang the bell and Maryse named herself to go first, Britani and Buggy still standing in the opposite corner as they whispered between themselves. Maryse took a step forward only to stop in her tracks as new Allysin Kay’s music began to play, Ms. Money in the Bank walking out with the briefcase in hand. She hopped onto the apron and held up the case, pinkie out, then wiped off her boots before setting it to the side and joining BitchCraft in tag team action.

The stable of blondes were simpering with rage, Maryse screaming in French for either Buggy or Britani to hurry up and choose, Britani stepping up and letting Buggy go to the apron. Britani cracked her knuckles as Maryse got in her face, all fast and angry French that she more or less ignored until Maryse pushed her forehead against hers. Knight’s grin was positively unhinged as she reared back and headbutted the French-Canadian beauty, letting loose a scream as Maryse stumbled backward.

Britani began to stalk the blonde in earnest, whipping her around and locking up with her, getting her in a headlock and bringing her down to the mat, intending to wear her down. She groped behind her as she got Maryse flat, looking to hook her leg and torque her back some, but Maryse struggled free, breaking the headlock and scrambling for the ropes near her corner. She got her feet beneath her and came running for Knight, taking her down hard, but the dark haired diva managed to used the momentum to flip them, turning the offensive move against her. As she crouched over Maryse on all fours, she grabbed for her hair with one hand and began to bash her head against hers, three headbutts in rapid succession until the ref forced her to get off and she back into her corner, getting the blind tag to Ally.
Allysin was in pulling Maryse toward their corner, keeping her in enemy territory for as long as possible as she put her in a full nelson, again intent on wearing her down and keeping her breathing uneven. Thrashing her around a bit, Maryse began to falter, weakly reaching for her teammates across the ring who were dying to get into the match. Kay teased leading her over there, still in the hold, but then took her up in a full nelson bomb, laying her out and going for the pin.

One!
Two!

Summer ran in and broke the cover, causing Buggy to practically dive between the ropes and spear her as she stood up, the two divas rolling out of the ring in a catfight of epic proportions. The referee watched as Maryse rolled to her corner, getting the hot tag to Candice, who came in and grabbed AK from behind, both hands on her chest. As Candice suplexed her, Ally rolled away, but LeRae was on her again, this time with a dropkick that had her back down long enough for Candice to climb the turnbuckle and hit her with a hurricanrana on the way down.

Meanwhile on the outside, Buggy and Summer continued to brawl, eventually making their way to the announce table where Summer slammed Buggy’s head against the top of the booth. It rang Buggy’s bell enough that she was dazed, but the Candyland native was still with it enough to lash out at Rae, grabbing and echoing the slam. Summer stumbled away holding her face with Buggy on her tail, grabbing her around the waist and going to suplex her on the hard floor, but a recovered Maryse put a stop to it, grabbing both of Summer’s hands and pulling her toward the corner.

LeRae noticed the distress on the outside and went to kick at Nova until she let go of Summer, but as she was distracted by her teammates’ peril, Allysin snuck up behind her and rolled her up for a pin.

One!

Tw—

Candice managed to power out, kicking off Kay until she let her go. Kay made for her corner, tagging in restless Knight who watched as LeRae hurriedly tagged in a still recovering Summer. Summer looked exasperated as she was tossed into the ring by her two partners, LeRae pulling her and Maryse pushing her through the ropes, the two blondes hugging each other close as they sat on the apron, while Nova stumbled back to their corner to check on Ally. Summer turned to see Knight standing over her, the once professed First Lady of the Nation of Intoxication sizing up the First Lady of NXT. Burying her hands in Summer’s hair, she hauled her to her feet only to whip her across the ring by it seconds later. Summer banged her hand against the mat, frustrated by the lack of offense, the indignity of everything after all her careful planning, when suddenly Knight’s boot was on top of her opposite hand, ready to crush her fingers.

Summer yanked her hand back and got to her feet, holding it to her chest and glaring at Knight. Things had changed. Hadn’t Britani said as much when they first got there? Well, if Britani had changed, then maybe Summer needed to adapt to that as well. She charged the Norwich native with all her strength and whipped her into the ropes, leapfrogging over her on the rebound, then catching her with a scissor kick on the second when Britani when to duck under her again. With Knight down, Summer locked in a brutal inverted indian deathlock, causing Knight to sit up sharply. The look of fury and pain was clear in Britani’s eyes as she turned to Rae, snatching for her hair and wrapping it around Summer’s neck, not letting up until Summer broke the hold.  The referee pried Knight off of Rae and separated the two, Knight limping as she got to her feet and Summer catching her to whip her into the ropes again, but Britani turned it into a short-arm lariat. Keeping her grip on Summer, she went for another, but Summer countered it into an Irish whip, coming around with a roundhouse kick to the head as Knight bounded off the ropes.

Britani went down, clutching at her temple where Summer’s heel had caught her and fighting to get to her corner. Summer wasn’t far behind her though, going to grab her around her middle as she made it to BitchCraft’s side, only for Kay to drop down to the floor in what seemed like a show of disrespect to the two women she’d joined. Buggy made a big show of tagging Britani in, keeping the ref’s attention as Kay discreetly cracked Rae against the side of her head with the briefcase as she got back up on the apron, sending her stumbling out of the corner with Buggy on her heels. Buggy hit the Plan B on a dazed Rae and went for the pin, Kay already stepping between the ropes to contain Maryse and Candice.

One!

Two!

Three!

The ref didn’t have time to raise her hand as Buggy slid under the ropes, pulling Allysin out of harm’s way with her. She grabbed a recovering Britani as Maryse and Candice checked over an out Summer and began the trek up the ramp, nothing but knowing smirks on their faces as the show continued on.

 

As the camera came into view on what appeared to be right outside of the arena building, capturing sight of the doors but then laughter could be heard as it motioned over towards the right to see none other than the boys of The Nation of Intoxication. All three of them laughing amongst themselves while all holding their own bottles of beer and seemingly just joking around with one another. “Yo cuz you know when you get better I ain’t holding you back from killin’ that fat fuck,” Moore’s voice heard over all of them suddenly as Danny acknowledged him with an approving nod with a simple raise of his hand which held his beer. “Boys don’t you worry about me because when I do return, if I decide this company is worth all of one’s precious time, I will handle up on Callihan. But you two dumbfucks got your own shit to deal with and trust me I don’t see it being hard. A worn out vet, a munchkin of a man, a broken weird homosexual relationship between the two that they are trying to fix. You basically have it all in the palm of your hands….”

During the last sentence his words seemed to space out as his attention had shifted over towards the doors after they could be heard sliding open for someone to walk in or out. The Nation’s leader now having a shit eating grin slowly appear on his lips, “Speaking of homos…” speaking up loudly as he then turned to both Lucky and Devon. “Go on you two have a few more and go do…well whatever you two do. Just make sure you don’t do something fucking stupid because I’m not bailing you out tonight goddamnit.” The pair looked at each other and then at him before giving a shrug as they made their way out of camera view just as the other voice spoke up. “I’m not in the mood for you tonight Havoc, in fact why don’t you take your own advice and go occupy yourself with something.” The man’s voice being none other than Cody Rhodes who was seen as he came up on the other man in attempts to pass him up and keep walking so it seemed but the Deathmatch Drunkard had other plans as he snatched his crutch up and held it out to keep the other man from passing. “Hold on just one goddamn second.”

Rhodes stopped in his tracks completely just staring a hole right through the other man, looking clearly unamused and it was more than obvious just by looking at him that he wasn’t in the mood. “Havoc I’m not going to te-…” Cody attempted to calmly speak to the other but was cut off by Danny dropping the end of the crutch right on top of his foot causing him to yell out as he jumped back, jumping on one foot for a second before he angrily looked over to the former intercontinental champion with hatred. “Does it look like I’m in the fucking mood to play your little games?!” blurting out as he snatched the crutch right out of Havoc’s hands and receiving nothing but laughter from him as he shrugged his shoulders a bit. “Nah man cause you look like fucking shit, like life just dragged you out of the dark after beating your ass stupid. Which one would have thought you liked something of that nature but I’m guessing it wasn’t quite the adventure you were looking for. Su’s dominatrix attempt go bad or something?”

There was a pause for a moment then suddenly it all came crashing down as Cody tossed the crutch down to the ground now getting right in the Iowa native’s face, snatching the aviators right off his eyes as the serious stare of Havoc was returned while the two stood there. After a few seconds the once former WWE champion shoved the shades back into the other mans hands before speaking up in a low but serious tone. “I repeat, I’m not in the mood Havoc.” Both men seemed rather serious for another second before Danny once more bust out in laughter before shoving the shades into his shorts with one hand while reaching up to violently smack the other man on the shoulder before gripping it tightly. “I have just what you need.” he replied back while releasing his hold on Rhodes’ before shoving that hand in the other pocket now removing a cigarette pack, popping it open in slight amusement as the apparent grin remained on his face as he slowly pulled out both a lighter and what appeared to be a joint.

Not even hesitating Danny put it between his lips and began to light it, inhaling as he did while he shoved the lighter back into the pack and then into his pocket. “Uh…” there was hesitation in Cody’s voice as he took a step back now holding out his hands while the other offered him a hit. “Yeah that’s not my thing, you go ahead and enjoy yourself.” All of the anger having escaped so it seemed as none could be heard in the Georgian’s voice. But it was clear that Havoc was disappointed as he shook his head, leaning forward to allow all of the smoke escape up from his lungs and right into the other mans face as he went to speak. “Don’t be such a goddamn pussy all of the fucking time. You know this will help you feel better and not look like someone went out and ran your ass over a few fuckig times. Don’t tell me you don’t know how to fucking smoke it or some shit.” the Deathmatch Drunkard again urging the other man on with his words and his actions as he held it out again for Cody Rhodes to take it. “Take a fucking hit.”

Coughing in reaction to the smoke blown into his face, one of Cody’s hands waved the offending substance away, but his agitation appeared to have returned at Havoc’s provoking words. Glaring, his gaze moved from the Deathmatch Drunkard’s face down to the lit joint. “Of course I know how to smoke, I just don’t—” He was interrupted by Havoc as the man pushed the joint at him again, just about forcing it to his lips and prompting the automatic reaction of Cody to reach up and snatch the joint from his fingers. Clearly exasperated by the persistence, he took an over zealous hit, promptly starting to choke on the smoke he’d inhaled a little too quickly. Shoving the joint back as Havoc, he coughed out a puff of smoke himself, cursing as the other man just laughed and slammed his hand down on his back.

“Some good shit, isn’t it? You’re looking better already, faggot.” Cody shrugged off his hand, scowling at Danny. “Whatever, Havoc. My goal coming outside to give my head two seconds of peace, not to be bothered by a pest, so you can go off and entertain yourself somewhere else.” The Deathmatch Drunkard only appeared to be more amused than ever. Taking a final hit from the joint he ignored the confused protest as he pushed it back into Rhodes’ hand before turning to walk away. “You go ahead and keep that, Rhodes, free of charge. I’ve got plenty more where it came from and your bitchass obviously needs it.”

Cameras focused in on Cody as the leader of the Nation of Intoxication walked away, his features were twisted into a scowl as he watched Havoc leave. The expression quickly changed to a more unsure one as he looked down at the still-burning joint between his fingers, brow furrowing. He stayed frozen in place as the scene faded out.

Devon Moore was out first, leaning casually against the ropes as he waited for Chris Jericho to appear. Jericho’s music started, there was pyro, but curiously, no Jericho.

Moore scowled, but they started Chris’ music again, did his pyro again, just in case he’d missed his cue, and still… No Jericho.

Looking all around the arena and expecting a trap, Moore caught the attention of the referee, asking if he knew what was going on. He shook his head no, and Devon laughed then glanced around again, deciding if nothing else, he would wrestle himself.

Dev took a back bump suddenly, then got up and whipped himself into the ropes, only to be clotheslined onto his back again, by nobody. Finally, as it looked like he was going to mime a liontamer on himself, Lucky came out and escorted him back to the locker rooms.

“Britani and Buggy, I was wondering if I could get your reaction to what just happened?” Renee called after the pair as they made their way down the hall. “It’ll just take a second of your time, ladies, please?”

“You’re really lucky I love the sound of my own voice, Renee,” Britani forced a smirk, though her voice told it all. She was nearly speaking through clenched teeth, she was so angry. It seemed like BitchCraft was in the process of finding somewhere to hide and lick their wounds and the interviewer had interrupted that, “It’s what’s best for business, yeah?”

Renee bounced on her toes, cautious, “That seems to be the motto around here, but I want your thoughts, girls. You’ve never been anything if not honest.”

“My thoughts?” Buggy asked, blinking and tilting her head innocently at the camera, “You want my thoughts? I think this is a witch hunt. How are we supposed to find a partner in twenty minutes? Brit’s been sick for the last two weeks, so it’s not even a fair fight, but those little blonde bubble heads think they’ve finally got us! Well, newsflash, girlies! It’s not over until it’s over, and whether you bring three people or you bring the whole locker room, all you’re doing is picking the bones and so what if you win? It won’t mean a damn thing!”

Renee sucked on her teeth, eyes wide. Buggy’s demeanor grew more and more volatile by the day, it seemed, “What happened, Buggy?”

“I got tired, Renee,” she spat. “I got tired of everyone writing me off and thinking I was nothing but a pretty face with a cutesy gimmick who liked to eat candy, who was meek and you could walk all over, because I’m not! I’m not a doormat! I’m sick of everyone here taking advantage of me every chance they get, and I’m just through with everyone, starting at the top!”

“I don’t suppose you have anything to do with this,” Renee asked wryly as Buggy stormed off, earning a shrug from Knight, “Well, let’s hear it.”

Britani feigned hurt, “Really, Renee, you act like I have control over her. Buggy’s her own person, and I’m sure if she heard you imply as much, you’d get a lot worse than what you just heard. But anyway, what? What do you want to hear? I already told you. Senile Steph’s doing what’s best for business— So she can’t count, so what?”

“Do you always have to be so flippant?” Renee narrowed her eyes at her, getting another shrug. Renee pushed her bottom lip out and Britani sighed deeply, rubbing her temple and acting very put out for her opinion, but she began to give it nonetheless.

“As I see it, Maryse fancies herself business savvy as she now shacks up with Punk— Been there, done that. It might make you feel smarter to knock boots with him, but in the end, you’re just spouting the same tired rhetoric he does, and it gets old fast. Summer’s always had a mind that she’s some great genius with elaborate plans and goings on. Called herself the First Lady of NXT for a while, chased her tail a bit with that little group of hers, the BFFs. Ever notice she always needs a little group? Then they get tired of her shit and send her packing and she goes off searching for a new one. Wonder how long it’ll take for that to happen here, Summer-darling,” Britani’s smile was icy as she arched her brow at the camera, “And LeRae, since Stephanie likes to talk about being taciturn, weren’t she and Buggy best friends when they trained in California? Tsk, all these stones being hurled from ivory towers, Renee. It’s disheartening, really.”

“Nothing if not honest,” Renee looked at the camera dubiously as Britani brought her hands to either side of her head, seeming greatly disparaged.

“And now, we have to find a tag partner after we’ve alienated and ridiculed and betrayed our way through the divas’ roster. How will we ever go on, Renee?! I fear this might spell the end for BitchCraft, actually. How ever will we face three women as confident as Summer, Maryse and Candice?! Oh, god!” She wailed dramatically, turning from the camera with the back of her hand pressed to her forehead and stumbling down the hall, leaving Renee to turn back with a sour look on her face.

“I don’t think we can use any of that… We can? Oh, well, okay. Can I take my shoes off now?”

 

A replay of the “main event” was shown on the screen to give context for tonight’s match. Veiled as a beer-drinking contest, the tag team champions delivered a beatdown on the team of Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho. Now the two teams will be facing each other off in individual matches. We begin with Daniel Bryan who led the crowd into a “Yes!” frenzy while he galloped down the ramp. He is poised to face Lucky tHURTeen, one-half of the tag team champions, the Nation of Intoxication. Lucky strutted out on the stage with the title around his waist. As soon as he got to the ring, he was taunting Bryan with the title to rile him up or intimidate him. Bryan hid any emotion as he didn’t seem fazed by this. The title was cast off to ringside. Soon, it was only Bryan, Lucky and the referee in the ring. The bell signalled the start of the match.

Bryan held out his hand for the code of honor handshake which Lucky simply looked down at. “How do I know you’re not gonna start hammer-locking me with that shit?” Lucky questioned him. “It’s the code of honor! It’s the sign that I won’t!” Bryan barked back, still holding out his hand. Lucky looked at his hand and looked up at Bryan in hesitation. He accepted the handshake and as Bryan promised, he did not do anything sneaky during it. Lucky, however, took advantage of the situation. He threw in a cheap shot at Bryan while they were locked in with the handshake. He punched Bryan in the jaw and released himself from the handshake.

Lucky doubled back and hit the ropes, bouncing off to launch himself at Bryan. He wrapped his legs around the superstar and threw more punches into Bryan’s head. He started to stumble backwards and lean against the ropes. He shifted all the weight towards his upper body. He grabbed Lucky by the legs and used this shift to slam him down with some sort of Spinebuster technique. He didn’t let go of Lucky’s legs and looked to lock him in a Figure Four position but Lucky scrambled desperately for the rope. He reached for the bottom rope and waited for Bryan to comply, which he did. The referee started to count Bryan out while Lucky clinged on to the ropes for dear life.

Before Bryan could do anything else, Lucky rolled out of the ring to recuperate at ringside. He was walking around at a normal pace until he saw Bryan going after him. Bryan chased him around the ring and back inside it. Lucky entered the ring and as soon as Bryan entered, he rained stomps on Bryan’s back. He dragged Bryan to the middle of the ring and left him there while he walked over to one of the corners. He hopped up to the top turnbuckle and launched himself off with a Moonsault, landing on Bryan. He hooked Bryan’s leg for the first pin attempt of the night but Bryan broke the attempt when he kicked out at two. Lucky picked Bryan up to his feet and whipped him across the ring. Bryan did the same and started whipping Lucky across the ring. They went back and forth until Lucky broke the cycle and jumped on to the middle rope. He launched himself off with another aerial attack, looking to strike Bryan with the back of his elbow but Bryan caught him perfectly around the waist and released him with a thunderous German Suplex.

The two men were both down on the ring and Bryan was the first to get up. Bryan dragged Lucky along by the arm and went for the Yes Lock but Lucky buried his face into the mat and fought hard not to give in. Bryan struggled with Lucky but he wouldn’t budge. Bryan “gave up” and let go of Lucky, getting up to change his strategy. Lucky poked his head up from the mat and saw that Bryan was gone so he thought the coast was clear but then Bryan launched a blitzkrieg attack on him, locking his legs and placing his hands around Lucky’s neck, locking him in a Regal Stretch. Lucky didn’t tap right away but eventually he did, banging his palm on the mat. As soon as the referee signalled for the bell and Bryan’s music played, the vegan superstar released his hold on Lucky and celebrated in the ring. He led the crowd to “Yes!” chants at the turnbuckle corner like a maestro leading the orchestra, to the outside and all the way up the ramp. Vengeance for what happened in the past.

The camera came upon Summer Rae as she pounded on the door to the Authority’s office, Maryse and Candice beside her. It opened after a few seconds, her hand still poised in mid-knock, as Veda Scott arched a brow at all three women, “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, we do, Veda!” Summer told her, her voice thinly concealing her anger as she tried to don her First Lady persona as best she could, reminding herself she needed to be professional, no matter how furious she might be. “I need to talk to Stephanie. Now.

Vite, vite, mon petite chaperon rouge,” Maryse broke in, pushing past Veda and dragging Summer and Candice with her to stand before the Billion Dollar Princess’ desk. Stephanie didn’t bother looking up from her work as Veda closed the door behind them and came around the side of Stephanie’s desk, picking up a clipboard and looking it over.

“Yes, well, you can make an appointment—”

“We want BitchCraft.”

Stephanie looked up, blinking as if surprised to see all them there, “Are you telling me or asking me?”

“Tell—” Summer began, but Candice cut her off.

“Asking, with cupcakes and sugar and sprinkles and—”

“Cut the crap,” Stephanie said flatly, and all three girls noted that Veda smirked to herself while their smiles faltered. “You’re lucky that Knight and I have creative differences or I’d throw you out of here for demanding anything from me, understood?”

“Yes, ma’m,” Summer and Candice both bowed their heads, but Maryse tossed her hair, a trite smile on her face.

Pardon, but as the senior advisor of this group, we’re within our rights, Madame McMah—”

Stephanie sighed, “Didn’t I just tell you to cut the crap? You got your match. You three against—”

“Bloody what? Really?!” Britani Knight’s sharp accent cut through the room as the door banged open, causing Stephanie to stand, “Stephanie, darling, you’re getting senile. Three on two does not a match make.”

“Really, Britani, you’re the last person I’d expect to be in here with a sob story,” Stephanie McMahon waved off the raven haired diva without a second thought, rolling her eyes when she scoffed loudly, “But I’m sure you’ll play the victim, or are you going to let Buggy do that for you?”

Buggy had the good sense to look insulted, “Just because your botox appointment got canceled this morning doesn’t mean you have to take it out on us, Stephanie. Really.”

Britani looked to her friend and gave her an approving look, “God, I’m just so proud of you.”

“Well, it doesn’t!”

“How dare you insult one of the most influential women in wrestling today!” Summer crowed, pointing an accusing finger, and it only broke down further from there. Insults began being lobbed between the two factions like grenades, the cacophony overtaking quiet of the office as the cameras turned to McMahon-Helmsley, who looked to be grinding her teeth. She motioned to Veda who stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly, silencing the war between the Blonde Ambition and BitchCraft long enough for Stephanie to get a word in edgewise.

“The match is going to be Candice LeRae, Maryse and Summer Rae vs Britani Knight and Buggy Nova. If you two can find someone who’s both stupid and masochistic enough to tag with you, then I’ll allow it, but considering how you’ve managed to alienate nearly every diva on this roster at least once, Britani, and your taciturn ways, Buggy, I doubt you’ll have much luck. Now…” She paused to seemingly collect herself, clearing her throat, but she only ended up snarling and looking every bit like her father, “Get the hell out of my office!

The three blondes scurried past Britani and Buggy, sticking their tongues out at them as they passed. Bitchcraft sent a lingering glare toward Stephanie and Veda.

“Can I help you?” the redhead asked, eyes narrowed.

“Only wanted to tell you how much your new position suits you, pumpkin,” Britani winked and Buggy mock curtsied and they were gone, leaving Stephanie to sit in a huff and Veda to sigh heavily.

As the cameras turned to ringside, “Cult of Personality” blared over the arena, being greeted with an uproar of cheers from the crowd as C.M. Punk strut from the back with Maryse alongside him. The beautiful French Canadian was carrying the Superstar’s Money in the Bank briefcase, proudly displaying it for all to see as Punk went through his normal routine on the ramp. The pair made their way down to the ring and between the ropes, Punk taking the briefcase from the blonde in order to pose with it on the top turnbuckle before hopping down and assisting Maryse in getting out of the ring. There he remained by himself, stretching out calmly and circling his wrists in preparation for the upcoming battle.

As C.M. Punk stretched, “Written in my Face” played out to a widely booing audience. It was obvious who the fan favorite was in this match. Sheamus walked out, a look of determination on his face. He was ready for this match. Sheamus brushed off the fans’ hands as he passed by, giving glares to the occasional one. Once he arrived to the ring, he climbed in and smirked at the French Canadian beauty standing ringside.  He almost wished she had stayed backstage. He always did hate fighting in front of a lass. Going to the other side of the ring, Sheamus motioned for a microphone, his music dying down as he spoke. “Oi Fella, better send that young lass back to the lockers if ya know what’s good for her. Hate to see her cry when I send you out of here on a stretcher. Or would ya like her to see that?”

The words made Punk straighten up from his relaxed position, raising an eyebrow at Sheamus before looking out of the ring at Maryse. Needless to say, the blond appeared unimpressed by the Celtic Warrior and could be seen doing her own form of trash talking in French as she waved a hand in the Irishman’s direction. Satisfied with what he saw, Punk shook his head and turned back to Sheamus with a trademark smirk. Getting a microphone of his own, he made a show of debating the words.

“You’ve gotta change your expectations, Shamu,” he finally spoke up, raising a hand near the level of his height in example, “they’re about here. When they should be somewhere around… Here.” He lowered his hand to waist height. “I’m not like the little shrimps you’ve been working out with to get rid of the ring rust, I’m the guy with the harpoon gun… So, Maurice isn’t going anywhere. She’s too much like me. Headstrong. Doesn’t back down. All the good shit that makes a gal worth—”

Not even bothering to finish his statement, Punk shot forward to slam the microphone directly into Sheamus’ head. There was a soft boom at the collision then again as Sheamus’ hit the mat with the Irishman as the men hit the mat. Punk kept his own mic in-hand, slamming it into Sheamus’ head repeatedly until the referee managed to force him off and to his feet. As the Straight Edge male backed into the corner to let his opponent climb back to his feet, he could be seen tossing the mic out of the ring and winking at a pleased looking Maryse.

Sheamus started getting up, grinning as if he enjoyed the hits. Well, okay he did but that wasn’t the point. Once he was fully standing, Sheamus snapped at the referee to have the bell rung. He wasn’t wanting to take any cheap shots like C.M. Punk did. No, he was going to put the lad’s teeth in a bag for the tooth fairy. Hopefully it would be the Rock picking them up. The moment the bell rung, he was went after Punk, locking up with him.

The two struggled for a moment, but it was clear that in a battle of strength Sheamus would come out on top and he did, forcing Punk back into the corner. Not hesitating, he started landing punches to Punk’s midsection while the referee words to pull him out of the corner. He took a step back finally, but only enough to get the official out of his hair before starting forward again. That was when the Chicagoan made his move, ducking under and around the Celtic Warrior and shoving him face first into the corner from behind.

Sheamus gave a growl and shook his head, the impact actually hurting and angering the great white superstar, before slamming his elbow behind him into the superstar’s face. He then turned around and rubbed his face. Locating Punk, Sheamus smirks and walks over, and pulls the smaller man onto his shoulders planning to executing his “White Noise” maneuver. As Sheamus prepares for his role, Punk begins to shove his elbow into the Irishman’s face, then slipping out of the hold.

Once he had both feet back on the mat, Punk didn’t hesitate to break out a high spinning kick to the back of Sheamus’ head. As the Irishman stumbled forward toward the ropes, he kicked the back of the other’s knees in hopes to take him down from his vertical position a bit.  It was easier said than done, however, as the Great White was smart enough to grab the top rope to help keep himself standing, predicting Punk’s next move as he managed to turn around and dropping to the mat himself as the Straight Edge superstar came at him for a clothesline. Sheamus pulled the top rope down with him, resulting in Punk toppling over it to the outside of the ring and giving him a chance to shake his legs out and recover from the harsh kicks. He didn’t get long, however, as Punk recovered about the same time he decided to reach over the rope to drag the other back up onto the apron for one of his signature moves. Instead he was met with Punk gripping either side of his head and dragging him into a Hangman as Maryse was seen distracting the referee on another side of the ring with a string of angry French.

As Sheamus reeled back from the ropes, Maryse suddenly calmed down and turned to hop neatly back to the ground. Flipping her hair back over her shoulder, she blew a kiss toward Punk as he shook off his fall and rolled back into the ring to try and take advantage of his newly gained momentum. Landing a running bulldog on his opponent, Punk quickly went for a cover only to have the other kick out just after one. There was no hesitation in his next move as Punk got back to his feet. Grabbing Sheamus, he pulled him up in front of him as well and hooked the man’s arms behind his back before lifting him up in preparation for his next move, yelling out as the crowd immediately got riled up. “Welcome to Chicaaaago—” Bringing Sheamus right back down so his back slammed into Punk’s raising knee, the Straight Edge male didn’t have to say anything as the entire arena exploded with “Motherfucker!” thanks to the hyped up crowd. Wasting no time, Punk once again dropped to the mat to go for a pin, this time receiving a two count as Sheamus refused to be beat that easily.

Once again getting to his feet and starting to drag the other up, Punk was caught off guard as Sheamus surged up with him. With a burst of energy seemingly out of no where, the Irishman lifted Punk straight into the air and brought him back down hard in a front powerslam. It was an abrupt halt to his opponents momentum and the crowd immediately seemed to express their displeasure. Sheamus ignored them, however, his full attention on Punk as the man smartly rolled away toward the ropes in attempt to keep him from taking advantage.

A frown crossing his face, Sheamus took a few steps back to the other side and kept his eyes on his opponent. As Punk stood up, Sheamus rushed at him and slammed his forearms into Punk’s face, knocking over the top rope. Punk grabbed on and landed on the apron. Slowly, Punk pulled himself and shoved his shoulder into Sheamus’s abdomen, causing the larger man to stumble back. Right when Punk was about to pull himself in over the top rope, Sheamus punched Punk and forced him to turn around. Pulling the smaller superstar’s behind him, all the while Punk fighting and trying to get away. Sheamus pulled the man back against the rope, and started beating on the man’s chest, the crowd counting the hits.

Once he’d reached ten, Sheamus released his hold on his opponent to turn and take a few steps away from the ropes and Punk immediately leaned forward, one arm gripping his abused chest while the other held onto the top rope to keep himself from falling from the apron. As he straightened up he got a visual of the Irishman coming at him with a Brogue kick that was intended over the top rope, immediately dropping to a sitting position on the apron to avoid the attack and leaving Sheamus to get hung up on the ropes by his leg. Rolling back into the ring, Punk took the opportunity to rub the bright red marks on his chest one more time before grabbing Sheamus and yanking him back off the ropes to hoist up onto his shoulders for another attempt at his finisher, clearly wanting to put an end to the match.

Sheamus elbowed Punk to the point where he was able to wiggle out of the smaller man’s grasp, then spun Punk around, quickly performing the Irish Curse on the man. While Punk was on the ground, attempting to roll away once more to gain his breath, Sheamus caught him and pulled him up, then set him up for the Irish Cross.Sheamus then ran across the ring and threw Punk,  going straight for the pin. Once the three count was hit, Sheamus jumped up and grinned looking around. Something was going through his mind, and it wasn’t how many pints he was going to have later.

Sheamus slowly walked over to Maryse, and squatted down to talk to her better, “Lass, I think you may want to close your eyes for this. It isn’t going to be pretty, your fella is going to fly,” he said to her, so low that the camera’s didn’t catch it. He then stood up and went over to the recovering Mr. Money in the Bank, and slammed his foot in the man’s back, before setting him up for another Irish Cross. “See here Fellas! This is why you don’t step into the ring with me,” he yelled and gave a big, evil grin before hoisting him up on his back and backing up to the other side of the ring. He then ran forward till he almost touched the ropes and threw Punk. The smaller man, rolled and came to a stop near the ramp, a small groan coming out of him. “Ey! You see, I’ve grown more dangerous in my time off. You see, I came here not only to dominate, and reclaim the gold; but to also destroy any puny little competitors that come near me. So you better-,” Sheamus stopped as Barrett’s music began to play. Sheamus’s arms crossed as he rose an eyebrow, unsure what to think yet on the intrusion.

The Bearer of Bad News, Wade Barrett, made his way out to the stage with a shit-eating grin on his face. He was all suited up, not ready for action at all so don’t expect a tussle with him tonight. “I came out here tonight to congratulate you on your win to night, mate,” Wade began. “What a statement to make on Mr. Money in the Bank. And on your return match, too. I also came out here to thank you for proving to the world just how pathetic Punk is and how unworthy he is of holding that briefcase.” Wade took a short pause and smirked. “But I’m afraid I’ve got some baaaad news!” The words have become so frequent that the crowd has begun to chant along to it. “You see, I still believe I deserve that briefcase more than that wanker and while you did make a statement with how you’ve dispatched of him, I’m here to tell you that your statement is absolutely meaningless. You’re gonna wait in queue, just like the rest of us, and you’re at the very almost end of the line. It’s Bad News Barrett first and Sheamus second so stay on your lane, mate, or there’s just going to be more bad news ahead of us. Thank you very much!” Wade raised his microphone in the air triumphantly with a wide grin on his face. His music blasted through the speaker system and Sheamus was feigning amusement with this development.