Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
WrestleMania season came and went pretty darn quickly there, didn’t it? I hate to say this, but I have lost complete interest in WWE programming lately. It’s only been three weeks, and I feel like I haven’t watched in forever. I read the results and everything, and yet I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, either. In recent history, shows like Extreme Rules tend to deliver a solid night of entertainment, but I’m not so sure this year. Everything screams even more like filler than it did before.
– Live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL and courtesy of the WWE Network. We immediately open the show on a down-note, as recent undisclosed injuries to Daniel Bryan (cough:concussion!:cough) has forced the cancelation of his Intercontinental Title defense against Bad News Barrett. If it’s anything more serious than that, then maybe WWE was right in not putting him in the spotlight of the WrestleMania Main Event. In other news, Bad News did a clean job to Neville on the Kickoff Show.
Chicago Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper:
I’m sure this one was set up by random chance a few weeks back when Harper “injured” Ambrose by powerbombing him through a table on SmackDown. Ambrose deserves so much better than this kind of filler angle, considering his skill set as a worker and promo. They brawl in the aisle before the bell rings. Ambrose hits a suicide dive and sends Harper into the steps. He pulls out a bunch of toys and lays into him with a kendo stick. Ambrose makes funny faces at him, and takes a suplex onto a chair for his efforts, damn near impaling himself on one of the legs. Now it’s Harper’s turn to have fun with a kendo stick. He wedges a chair between the turnbuckles and uses Ambrose’s face as a battering ram. Ambrose comes back, slamming Harper onto another chair, followed by a Tornado DDT. Flying elbow drop gets two. Harper counters Ambrose’s springing clothesline with a boot to the face. They fight to the floor, with Harper blocking the suicide dive, throwing Ambrose into the ring apron, only for Ambrose to twirling beneath the bottom rope and come back with the big clothesline. That was pretty cool. They start fighting backstage, with Ambrose randomly throwing stuff until Harper car-jacks someone, Ambrose jumps through the passenger window… and they drive off. Fast forward to later in the show (right after the Tag Title Match), and they’re back, with Ambrose behind the wheel. Ambrose does his diving elbow off the top of the car, onto the celebrating New Day. They stumble their way through the backstage area and back to the ring. Harper with a super-kick, and Ambrose comes back with the big clothesline. They litter the ring with chairs to draw a chant of “ECW” from 3 people. Sit-out Powerbomb onto a chair gets two. Harper buries Ambrose under the chairs and heads to the top rope. Ambrose escapes the predicament and slams Harper onto the pile! Dirty Deeds connects to end the Marathon Match at 55:42. ** Cute intentions aside with them leaving mid-match and coming back later to finish it, this was just a garbage brawl to fill time on the card.
Kiss Me Arse Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus:
Sheamus returned the night after WrestleMania, a bullying heel, and has been targeting Dolph Ziggler for being a small person and an underdog. How that translates into kissing each other’s ass, I have no idea. Sheamus with trash talking, so Ziggler unloads with a flurry of rights and lefts. Ziggler with a dropkick before tackling Sheamus through the ropes. Sheamus tries throwing him into the steps, but Ziggler comes back with a Tornado DDT. Back inside, Sheamus takes over with knees to the face. He slows things up, grabbing a chinlock. Ziggler fights free by stepping on the toes, but a Fameasser is countered with a sit-out Powerbomb. Sheamus with a short-arm clothesline and more trash talking. Ziggler with another hope spot, unloading with rights and forearms. Splash into the corner, but a neck breaker is countered and Sheamus lays him out with a double axehandle. Ziggler escapes a Cloverleaf attempt and goes for the Super-Kick, but Sheamus blocks that, sweeps the legs, and hooks the Cloverleaf on attempt #2. He counters with a roll-up, then lays Sheamus out with a Super-Kick for a near fall. Sheamus side-steps another Fameasser attempt and connects with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker for two. Sloppy suplex drop. Ziggler avoids the Brogue Kick and rolls him up for two. Sheamus with another back breaker for two. Ziggler counters a suplex with the small package, and it’s good for three at 9:16. After stalling forever and teasing doing it, Sheamus hits Ziggler with a low blow and Brogue Kick, then rubs Ziggler’s face on his ass, thus killing the stipulation. **3/4 Good match and hot crowd, but the lack of commitment to the gimmick means DON’T DO THE GIMMICK IN THE FIRST PLACE. It’s stupid and doesn’t sell tickets or subscriptions. Does anyone really want to see two grown men kissing each other on the ass?
– A whole bunch of new shows and specials are on the WWE Network this week, including the return of the King of the Ring Tournament! Other highlights: Mick Foley’s Cheap Pops stand-up routine, a special on the Mayweather/Big Show match from WrestleMania (24?), and Stephanie McMahon will be on Talk is Jericho.
– Not to sound like an asshole, but why do Eden Stiles and Jojo sound exactly the same? Does Vince McMahon instruct them to talk like newscasters and weather reporters of different ethnicity than Caucasian?
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd © (w/ Natalya) vs. The New Day (w/ Xavier Woods):
The original intention was to have the Lucha Dragons in the role as challengers, but the Champions got over huge as babyfaces on the European tour, so Vince McMahon had another one of his sudden change of hearts. Good to see New Day having new life as obnoxious faces who are really heels. Kingston and Kidd with a hot start, with Woods overly obnoxious about it on the floor. They fight over a wristlock until Kidd wraps Kofi in the ropes. Deep arm drag and back slide for two. Cesaro and Big E. have their turn. Cesaro actually catches Big E. in a leap frog attempt, slams him down, and lands on his chest with a double stomp for two! That was an awesome sequence. “New Day Sucks” chants frustrate Woods further. Kidd gets tossed to the floor, but runs back in to prevent a suicide dive, knocks Kofi out of the ring, and goes flying over the top with a somersault plancha! Big E. with a clothesline to lay Kidd out and Woods continues to shine as the corner-man. Kidd with a slingshot basement dropkick for two. Big E’s Big Splash meets nothing but canvas. He tries to tackle Kidd through the ropes but finds nothing but the floor. Cesaro wth the hot tag and press slams Kofi into the turnbuckle! Running uppercuts into the corner, followed by a short-clothesline for two! Cesaro catches a twisting cross body and counters with a back breaker for two! Cesaro with the Super-Plex, and Kidd with a springboard elbow for two. Kofi fights out of a Sharpshooter attempt, Big E. gets the blind tag, and tackles Kidd to the floor! Back in the ring, the Big Ending double team spot only gets two! Cesaro and Big E. go flying over the top rope, leaving Kofi and Kidd. Trouble in Paradise is countered with the Sharpshooter! Big E. returns and throws him into the corner with a belly-to-belly suplex. Cesaro tags in and it’s the giant swing into the dropkick! Woods with a distraction, but he gets punked by Natalya. Kidd and Big E. end up on the floor, and Kofi rolls Cesaro up (with a handful of tights) for three and the Titles at 9:28. ***1/4 Really good match with some hot action and an even hotter crowd. Not a fan of yet another roll-up finish, but this will probably end up being Match of the Night, so you can’t complain too much.
WWE United States Championship; Russian Chain Match:
John Cena © vs. Rusev (w/ Lana):
I’m sure I’m not alone, but I hate the over-produced idea of “flashing lights” in the corner. In my day, we paid attention to the count and the referee without added bells and whistles. I also hate Chain matches, strap matches, or any other variation of “pulling opponent around the ring” gimmicks. Fantasy booking idea: Have Zack Ryder accept the Open Challenge, turn heel and beat the crap out of Cena for years of frustration and blaming Cena for his lack of success. You can tell, the more I gab, the less likely the PBP will be long. They start by having a tug-of-war. Riveting. Rusev with kicks and headbutts. They take it to the floor, with Rusev being rammed into the post. Rusev breaks Cena’s momentum with a spinning heel kick. Rusev with pathetic shots to the midsection with the chain. Rusev to the top rope for an epic fail. Rusev with a fall-away slam and jumping side kick to the head. “We Want Lana” chants, and she actually acknowledges it, so Rusev sends her back to the dressing room. Poor Lana! Cena with the back suplex and Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Rusev counters the AA with an Alabama Slam(a). Cena counters an Accolade attempt with the STF. Cole says Cena’s using the chain… HA! Not in this era. Rusev comes back and hooks the Accolade, but Super-Cena powers to his feet and rams Rusev into two corners. Cena prevents Rusev from going to #4 and hits the AA. They do the standard “both guys touch the corners” spot, which should mean their progress is constantly broken. They make a big show of going for the 4th, and Cena Wins, LOL at 13:35 to a surprisingly decent pop. *1/2 I can say I’ve only seen maybe 2 or 3 really good “strap matches” in the last two decades: Savio vs. Austin from Beware of Dog, Eddie vs. JBL at Great American Bash ’04, and I can’t remember for the life of me which card Cena vs. Umaga was on. The difference is in those days, excessive violence, blading and choking was allowed.
WWE Divas Championship Match:
Nikki Bella © (w/ Brie Bella) vs. Naomi:
Wrap your head around this one… the Bella Twins are the faces of this match. Naomi turned heel to write Paige off T.V. to film another crappy WWE Film, and with the lack of the Usos due to Jimmy’s injury, I guess it makes sense. It also means… NO MORE SOMEBODY CALL MY MOMMA! It’s a NEW DAY! Lockup into the ropes. Nikki with a forearm and a snapmare. She goes for the cross armbreaker, but Naomi makes it to the ropes. What’s up with Naomi’s color changing boot bottoms? Naomi with a snap suplex for barely a one count. Brie actually tries to rally the crowd while Nikki is trapped in a chinlock. Naomi with a slam and elbow drop for another one count. Nikki with a surprise roll up for two. Naomi bulldogs Nikki face-first into the middle turnbuckle for two. Nikki avoids the Rear View and sends Naomi to the buckle. Naomi quickly takes over, sending Nikki to the floor, and taking a cheap shot at Brie. Nikki comes back with clotheslines and a one-foot dropkick. Alabama Slam gets two. Naomi misses a split-legged moonsault. Nikki with a hard knee to the face for two. Naomi escapes the Rack Attack and hits the Bubba Bomb for two! Nikki springs off the ropes with a kick to the face, Alberto del Rio style. Brie with a cheap shot behind the back of the referee, and the Rack Attack finishes at 7:18. ** Perfectly acceptable wrestling, but what the hell bizarre-o World did I enter for this match? I stop watching for two weeks and nothing makes sense. In a bit of a surprise, Nikki wasn’t insufferable playing the role of baby face.
Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show:
How many matches between these two can one man sit through?! History has always been kind to Big Show in Last Man Standing matches, but the crowd was pretty deflated by that last match. Slugfest to start. Show over-powers with shoulder tackles. Reigns battles back, sending Show over the top rope with a clothesline. He pulls out a table, but Big Show knocks him silly and puts the table back to big heel heat. Reigns avoids snake eyes, sending Show into the post, and follows with the jumping forward dropkick. Show throws Reigns into the security wall and smashes a table with his hands. He no-sells kendo stick blows and throws Reigns into the post. Reigns tries to rally but gets swatted down from the top rope. Reigns with a flurry of chair shots to put Show down and caps it off with a DDT onto the chair. Reigns whips out two more tables but walks right into the KO Punch. He’s up at 8. Show sets up a table and goes for the Chokeslam, but Reigns counters and puts him through with a Samoan drop! Both are up by 8. Show catches Reigns off guard with a Spear. He climbs the ropes and comes down with a really bad Vader Bomb, but Reigns is up at 8. Show climbs to the top rope(!) but gets crotched along the buckle. Reigns to the floor, setting up two tables side-by-side. Show is still trying to come off the top and gets slammed off. Reigns with two Superman Punches, but a third is countered and Show chokeslams him over the top rope, through the tables! He’s up at 9.95. Show heads to the floor to rearrange the ring steps, his weapon of choice, and undresses the English announcers table. In a cute spot, he thumbs through someone’s note pad and asks “who wrote Big Show needs to lose weight.” Back in the ring, Reigns goes for another Spear, and puts himself through a table. Reigns hits the ropes and connects with his Spear, but Show is up at 9. Reigns follows him to the floor and Spears him through the barricade, a spot that needs to go away for being over-used. They make their way onto the English table, and it HOLDS THEIR WEIGHT. Reigns gets knocked off, but he jumps back up and Spears Show off and through the Spanish Table! Show is up again, so Reigns tips the English table on top of him and stands tall over top of him for the victory at 21:13! **** Roman Reigns delivers another outstanding performance on PPV. That’s three consecutive PPV’s with varying opponents to hit 4-stars or more, and the best thing about it is that the crowd was actually behind him for this and popped for all of his big spots.
– We waste time by having Bo Dallas come out to bad mouth Chicago, and Ryback makes the save on their behalf by beating him down and giving him the Shell-Shock. I almost expected them to make this an impromptu match, but it was just a filler segment.
– Less than an hour later, and we already know Rusev will be challenging Cena, AGAIN, this time at Payback in an I Quit Match. I guess Lana’s skills of persuasion are pretty good.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match:
Seth Rollins © vs. Randy Orton:
Stipulations du jour: The RKO is banned and Kane is the keeper of the door, and he may or may not have conflicting feelings about what he should do. Rollins puts the boots to Orton in the corner. Whip across the ring, Orton comes back out with a clothesline. Orton with uppercuts and a headbutt. Whip to the corner, flipping Seth upside down. Slingshot to the corner, Seth grabs the cage and tries to escape, unsuccessfully. Seth with the running Powerbomb into the corner for two. He goes for the door, but Orton keeps him in. Orton gets sent into the cage, but without blading, what’s the point? The crowd is surprisingly flat for this. Rollins wastes time yakking at Kane and ends up tasting the steel. Orton with clotheslines, but the snap Powerslam doesn’t hit. Rollins comes off the top rope with the knee to the face for two. Both climb to the top of the cage and trade blows. Rollins knocks Orton down, but jumps into the Powerslam. Rollins counters the DDT with a roll up for two. Super-Kick gets two. Here comes J & J Security as Orton brings Rollins back in from the top with a Super-Plex. They try to tell Kane what to do, but he just scares them off. Orton uses Rollins to knock them off the cage and takes him over with a T-Bone Suplex. Orton teases going for the door, but opts to lay Rollins out with the hanging DDT. Orton teases an RKO, but hits the Pedigree instead! That only gets two. Orton sets up for the Punt, but he’s 0 for the Century on FG Attempts since 2012. Rollins with an enziguri, but Orton cuts off his escape with a back breaker. Orton goes for the door, but Kane shuts it on him. DOUCHE! Rollins charges with a dropkick, accidentally knocking the door into Kane! They give each other a look and both make a go for the door. Kane recovers and slams the door on both their heads! Kane undresses and enters the Cage to go after Rollins. Mercury and Noble intervene and eat a Double Chokeslam! He teases going for Rollins, then grabs Orton and Chokeslams him, too. Rollins is up, and guess what… Chokeslam for Rollins! Then he throws Rollins on top of Orton for a two count. Orton avoids a Tombstone and gives Kane an RKO! Seth with the RKO on Orton, and he’s out the door to retain at 21:00. Does the RKO banning only to apply to Orton, or both? **1/2 Crap finish to what was just a standard second-tier quality Cage Match. I think expecting a bull crap finish lead to a lack of excitement, both in the live crowd and myself.
Final Thoughts: Everyone and their mother should’ve seen a garbage finish for the Cage Match, but taking away that nonsense, the rest of the show under-delivered, with the exception of Big Show vs. Roman Reigns, which probably exceeded most people, and the Tag Title Match, which was a given to be good with more than 4-minutes. Unfortunately, the rest of the show is just forgettable Raw material. Cena/Rusev delivered an even bigger let-down than at WrestleMania, although it should’ve been expected with the stipulations. The Divas Title situation is a confusing mess, and what to do with guys like Ambrose and Harper? This is one of those shows that happens and nobody will remember any of it, unless you’re a die-hard Roman Reigns or Big Show fan.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.