What you need to know
The Authority made their best pitch to new WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, but even Stephanie McMahon lip-synching his theme song and a video game cover wouldn't sway the champ. As always, Triple H had back-up plans. One is a Fatal 4Way at Battleground against Randy Orton, Kane and Roman Reigns, and a kick-off to the build for that with a tag main event on Raw. Another is new Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins.
But Rollins still has problems of his own. His nemesis Dean Ambrose may have a banged up shoulder coming out of Money in the Bank, but he also has a personal mission: to make sure Seth doesn't cash-in his contract to win the WWE WHC. He made that clear after the traitor picked up a nice clean win over Rob Van Dam...and it would factor in later in the show, too.
Some characters swapped alignment on us. Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter came out to defend America against Lana & Rusev. Damien Sandow's Mr. McMahon impersonation put him at odds with Steph. And Divas champ Paige showed a little bit more of her petulant side even before she lost that belt to...
...a returning AJ Lee! Mrs. Brooks skipped back into our lives, and brought CM Punk chants with her. Too early to tell if she's going full-blown babyface or just receiving the cheers most returns do.
Except for The Miz. Hartford was not excited to see him, especially since they were expecting someone else. But after a few minutes of trolling, the man everyone wanted to see showed up and rocked the WWE Universe, and Miz's world. We barely had time to enjoy our first Codebreaker of the year before The Wyatt Family showed up to surround Chris Jericho, and for Bray Wyatt to lay him out with Sister Abigail. It was a good night for The Wyatts all around, as they won a six-man tag earlier in the night, defeating United States champion Sheamus and tag team champs The Usos.
Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae locked lips, which pissed off Fandango and allowed The Show Off to steal a win. Dolph is headed to the Battleground battle royal to determine who will replace the injured Bad News Barrett as Intercontinental champ. He'll join Cesaro and Kofi Kingston (who dueled to a Kofi win, a villainous eye patch for the Swiss and a post-match beatdown for the Ghanaian-American), plus an as-yet-undetermined number of others in that match on pay-per-view (PPV).
Bo Dallas wants to be an insBOration to Daniel Bryan, and the prinicipal owner of the company is still taking her frustrations about being slapped by Bryan's wife out on her sister, twice serving her up to the feuding Funkadactyls in handicap matches. Meanwhile, Stardust named his new finisher but probably wants to wrestle someone other than Rybaxel.
The big tag match went to a disqualification, with Reigns brawling to the back with Orton, allowing Kane to decimate Cena with the steel steps and a tombstone piledriver. The Game directed Rollins to take his shot at the wounded champion, but Ambrose intervened to kick his ass into the crowd before he could officially cash in. Hunter than told Kane to inflict more punishment, but The Demon ate a spear from Roman and the champ survived to hustle another day.
What to look out for
WWE celebrated American independence a few days early when they taped this show in Newark, New Jersey. We try to keep the previews as spoiler-free as possible, but if you're anti-surprise, you can find them here.
It's the Fourth, and even though Sheamus isn't American, he is the United States champion. And he wants to celebrate his red, white and blue belt by fighting somebody. On Main Event, the Mexican Aristocrat answered his challenge, so tonight, they'll square off for The Celtic Warrior's belt.
How will Jericho and AJ follow up on their big splashes from Monday? Who else will be added to the battle royal for the IC strap? What will Damien Sandow be wearing? Will Bo make it 11 and Bo?
Just because it's a holiday in the States doesn't mean we don't want answers WWE!
(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing. We still don't want to risk spoiling anything, but as WWE.com releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, I'll update it here)
What they should do
Any regular reader of these previews (all three of you) knows where this is going...
Jack Swagger is a face now. You know what every red-blooded American babyface needs? An animal mascot! Kids love the El Torito, right? Imagine the pops Jack will get when he rescues his best friend the Eagle from that evil Russian!
It will be like Ricardo Rodriguez and George Steele all rolled into one! Say, Ricardo's not doing anything right now, is he? Do you think he'd fit in a bird costume?
What we're afraid they will do
Hot dogs, apple pie, fireworks and fights with pre-determined outcomes...Happy Birthday, 'Murica!
If you're taking a break from you celebrating to watch tonight at 8PM Eastern on SyFy, or are just one of those fuhreners that Zeb Colter used to hate before Monday night, enjoy the show along with your fellow Cagesiders in our open thread!