Written by: Scott Keith
Eh, I’ve got nothing else going on tonight anyway, why not? Plus last year’s show was one of the greatest PPVs in history. My original plan was to watch it live and troll Twitter, but I ended up having to watch the replay.
Live from St. Louis, MO.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Chris Jericho v. Fandango
Sadly, the only extreme here is the color pallet on their tights. Fandango wants to dance, but Jericho puts him on the floor and we get the footrace, which allows Jericho to get an elbow on the way back in. Fandango bails and Jericho follows with a bodypress to the floor, but walks into a knee as Fandango takes over. Jericho charges and hits a boot, as Fandango gets two off that. We hit the chinlock, and Jericho blows a rollup attempt. Fandango with a slingshot legdrop for two off that. Jericho suplexes out of another chinlock and comes back with a double axehandle and bulldog to set up the Walls. No dice there, but he keeps coming with a flying bodypress, which Fandango rolls through for two. He goes up for the legdrop, but it misses and the Lionsault gets two. Fandango with a sunset flip, which Jericho rolls into the Walls, but they’re too close to the ropes. Fandango with an enzuigiri out of the corner and he goes up again, but this time lands in a Codebreaker that finishes at 8:32. Seems early to be beating Fandango, but it was a hot opener. ***1/4
US title: Kofi Kingston v. Dean Ambrose
They trade wristlocks and Kofi tries the big kick early, then goes with a monkey flip instead and pounds away in the corner. Ambrose puts him down with a clothesline and suddenly the Shield fans are vocal. Neckbreaker gets two. Dropkick on the ropes gets two. He hooks Kofi in a crossface chickenwing, but that goes nowhere. Kofi makes the comeback with the boomdrop, but Dean ducks the kick. Kofi with the SOS for two, however. They fight to the top, where Ambrose brings him down with a butterfly superplex for two. Ambrose walks into the corner kick and Kofi follows with a crossbody for two, then hits Trouble In Paradise to knock him to the floor. Back in, that gets two. Ambrose rolls him up for two and ducks another Trouble attempt, and the bulldog driver finishes at 6:43 to give Ambrose the belt. Just a decent short TV match, nothing special. **1/4
Strap Match: Mark Henry v. Sheamus
Sheamus yanks Henry down and they slug it out, allowing Sheamus to get one light. Henry takes him down and ties the legs up, allowing him to get two lights before Sheamus breaks it up. He tries a cute new strategy, running around the apron and hitting three lights, but Henry dumps him to the floor to break that up. Back in, Henry carries Sheamus around and both guys get three lights before Henry breaks that up. This is like a bunch of “how can we book clever ways to touch the corners?” rather than a match. Sheamus beats Henry down and touches three, but Henry stops the fourth. Another problem: The strap is so damn long that there’s no effort required in hitting each corner, so it’s just one guy walking around the ring. It’s not exactly my favorite stip to begin with, but one guy laying three quarters of the ring away while another casually moves around the ring pretty much kills it dead. Sheamus puts him down with the Brogue Kick and touches the fourth for the win at 8:17. So this sucked. *
Meanwhile, Kaitlyn and AJ act all bitchy to each other, and a brawl results. Tamina Snuka, daughter of Hall of Famer Jimmy Superfly Snuka in case you didn’t know, is randomly standing there eating a banana for no adequately explored reason.
I Quit match: Jack Swagger v. Alberto Del Rio
Uncle Zeb goes on a political rant before the match, gets nowhere with that, and then hits paydirt with the cheap baseball heat instead. This promo is longer than the Ambrose title win. ADR dumps him right away and follows with a tope suicida, but Swagger suplexes him on the floor. Swagger chokes him out with a kendo stick, but Del Rio rams his hand into the stairs a few times. Back in, Swagger fires away with a kendo stick and bend him around the post, but no quitting yet. The crowd is so excited that they chant for Ziggler. Swagger pounds him with the kendo stick, but Del Rio grabs the arm from the apron, forcing Swagger to use the microphone to break. About damn time. Del Rio comes back with the enzuigiri and superkick, and not surprisingly Swagger won’t quit after that. Backstabber sets up the armbar, but Swagger escapes with a suplex and hits the Swaggerbomb. Doctorbomb and Del Rio won’t quit, so he hits another one. Another try is reversed into the armbar, but Swagger turns that into the anklelock and adds Angle’s GRAPEVINE OF DEATH, but he still won’t quit. So Zeb steals the towel from Ricardo, throws it in, and that apparently counts as a submission at 10:42. And then we get another referee, who explains the situation, so the first ref watches a replay on the timekeeper’s personal LCD TV and this match MUST CONTINUE. So now Del Rio gets the armbar right away and Swagger quits at 13:45. That was ridiculously overbooked, with no drama until the last couple of submission attempts. **
WWE tag titles, tornado match: Kane & Daniel Bryan v. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
The champs quickly dominate and Bryan gets a bow and arrow on Rollins, and Kane gets two. The Shield stomps Kane down in the corner and Reigns clotheslines Bryan for two, setting up a superbomb, but Bryan counters with a rana to Reigns and Kane dumps them both. Bryan follows with a dive, and back in for more domination from the champs. They do some nice double-teams, including a Sidewinder of all things, and Kane clotheslines Rollins into a Bryan flying headbutt that gets two. No-Lock on Reigns, but Rollins breaks it up and gets chokeslammed as a result. Reigns spears Kane and everyone is out, and we get a slugfest. Rollins flies in with a knee on Kane and Reigns spears him for two. Bryan makes the comeback with the kicks and the No-Lock, but Rollins swoops in again with the flying knee, and the Shield wins the titles at 7:27. Whole lot of nothing there. This really needed an actual heat segment to build up the sympathy for Bryan, instead of just having the big comeback and finish come out of nowhere like that. But hey, the Shield has all the belts now, so that’s the end result that matters. *1/2
Extreme Rules match: Big Show v. Randy Orton
Show quickly overpowers him and they fight outside, where Show breaks a helpless kendo stick to show his displeasure. What did bamboo ever do to him? Luckily, the stick’s brother is hiding under the ring ready for revenge, but Show MURDERS him as well. THAT KENDO STICK WAS TWO DAYS AWAY FROM RETIREMENT! MEEEEEENDOZZZZZAAAAAAAAA! Orton goes under the ring again and finds a ladder this time, but Show kicks that back at him as well. JBL: “If I was Orton, I’d quit bringing out weapons.” Back in, Show chokes away in the corner and goes to an armbar. An EXTREME armbar. No hold is barred here, particularly that one. Orton comes back with a dropkick, but Show chokeslams him out of the corner for two and the crowd goes SILENT. Show gets chairs and a ladder and sets them up, then sideslams Orton for two. Show tries to pump splash Orton through the ladder, but that goes spectacularly wrong for him and Orton gets two. Draping DDT sets up the RKO, but it only gets two. So now Orton gets a chair and beats on Show with that, but gets speared. He comes back with another RKO, but hurts his back on the chair and can’t cover. So instead he wants the punt, and that finishes at 13:00. This was fine. Don’t know why it needed to be on PPV, though. **1/2
WWE title, Last Man Standing: John Cena v. The Ryback
Ryback overpowers Cena as the crowd starts with the Goldberg chant, and he pounds away in the corner. Cena goes up and gets caught in a powerslam, but Cena is up at 6. Ryback with the gorilla press, but Cena is up, so Ryback powerbombs him. Cena is up, so Ryback charges and lands on the floor, allowing Cena to find a conveniently placed table under the ring. Back in, Ryback with the jawbreaker, but Cena fights back until Ryback slams him through the table. Cena comes back again, of course, with the five knuckle shuffle, but Ryback spears him. Cena comes back with his own powerbomb, and that puts him down for 9. So now Cena pulls guard on Ryback, and that goes about as well as you’d expect. What was he expecting to happen there? Ryback with the lariat for 8, but Cena hooks him with the STF. And Ryback passes out from the pain. Or maybe this match just put him to sleep. Cena brings in a table, and Ryback takes the FU into it. He’s up at 9 and comes back with the Shellshock, but Cena is up at 9. To the floor, where Cena spears him through the timekeeper’s cubicle and both are down. And they head into the crowd, where Ryback pulls a door off the rinkboards and puts Cena down with it, for 9. Cena with a sleeper to put Ryback out, but he’s up at 9. So Cena splashes him through a table, and he’s down for 8. Next up, the good old fire extinguisher spray, followed by a shot to the head to put him down, but he’s up at 7. Ryback spears him through the curtain, as they disappear into the ether in a shower of exploding lightbulbs. And that’s apparently the finish, as we cut backstage to both guys getting taken for medical attention at 23:00 or so. The crowd rightly boos that bullshit out of the building. So…Ryback should be champion, right? Cena got taken away in an ambulance and couldn’t answer a 10 count, whereas Ryback walked away mostly under his own power. What a complete waste of time that was. They booked a stipulation match for the first meeting between them, and couldn’t even come up with a FINISH? **1/2
Cage Match: Brock Lesnar v. HHH
HHH attacks before the bell and runs Brock into the cage a few times, but Brock shrugs it off and beats on the COO. HHH bumps into the cage, but comes back with the high knee. Brock suplexes him and runs him into the cage, but charges and runs knee-first into the cage. “Ow, my knee!” he notes to Paul, just in case we missed it. He keeps fighting with a powerslam, but the knee remains in pain. In another universe, Frank Mir runs out of the crowd and puts a kneebar on him right there. HHH goes for the Pedigree, but Brock escapes with the kimura, so HHH hits the knee. He goes for the door, but Heyman slams the door on him, and Brock gets the F5 for two. Heyman delivers a chair and Brock makes use of that. Another F5, but the knee gives out. So now HHH hits him with the chair, avenging his office’s murder, and goes to work on the knee again. Nothing like a cage match focused on one guy going to work on the knee for 10 minutes. Brock keeps trying for the kimura, but HHH puts him down for a figure-four. EXTREME. Brock reverses out and tries to climb out of the cage, but HHH tosses a chir at his knee to keep him in. And he finds a trusty sledgehammer hidden in the cage, painted silver, but now he uses a Sharpshooter. Paul Heyman runs in for distraction, but HHH Pedigrees both guys and gets two. And now he finally reunites with his hammer, but Heyman goes low and Brock puts HHH down with the sledgehammer. And the crowd is like “Yay…? Boo…? Do we care…?” Brock adds another F5 and pins him at 20:05. Another incredibly boring match between two guys who could have been booked to have every shortcut and gimmick they wanted. **
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.