Written by: Samoa Rowe from Dawrestlingsite.com
-From Columbus, OH. Our hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler.
-Show opens with the entire WWE roster on the stage for a ten bell salute for the recently passed American Dream Dusty Rhodes. The kick-off show featured a moving video tribute that that left barely a dry eye in the house.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Randy Orton vs. Neville vs. Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler (with Lana) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
Placing this match as the opening further stirs the rumor mill that the winner cashes in on the Ambrose/Rollins winner later on. Aside from Reigns and Neville, I feel like I’ve seen these same guys in far too many of these MITB matches. Bell rings and chaos breaks out, with Kofi trying to sneak his way up for quick win. The rest of the field foolishly attempt an early sprint, despite being surrounded by foes. They transition to the old formula of two guys taking turns alone in the ring while everyone else rests. Kofi is portrayed as a serious threat and keeps teasing a win. I spoke too soon, as Reigns power bombs Kingston through a propped ladder. Roman counters Neville’s rana with a power bomb on top of Kofi! Kane dispatches Roman, but Orton then pulls him down into an RKO. Kingston recovers long enough to also eat An RKO. Neville leaps over Randy onto the ladder but succumbs to the RKO as well. Sheamus and Orton rekindle their snoozer of a rivalry that’s been filling time on TV, and Orton goes down thanks to a Brogue Kick. Dolph and Sheamus duke it out at the very top until crashing down with an inverted DDT. Neville capitalizes with Red Arrow on Sheamus. Neville head butts Dolph off the top and has the case in his hands when Kane pulls him down. Ziggler saves Neville with a super kick to Kane, but their double team attempt backfires as Kane boots the ladder into them. Roman returns from his nap with a Superman punch to Kane. With no ladder available, Roman settles for wiping out the rest of the field with a running dive. Big E and Xavier Woods run in to help Kingston climb a fresh ladder. LOUD “New Day Sucks” chant as they clap Kofi on, but Reigns drops the invaders with his leaping kick. Kofi has the case but Roman power bombs him over the ropes onto everyone else. My feed dies at this point and I reopen the app to find that Bray Wyatt has interfered and prevents Reigns from winning. Sheamus is up and poised for victory, but Neville cuts him off. Sheamus knocks him down via pulling the hair and retrieves the case at 19:57. Honestly had no idea this finish was coming, kudos to WWE for not going with the seemingly obvious Roman Reigns option. It’s a shame that Sheamus had zero momentum leading up to this victory, but I digress. This was an enjoyable stunt show, but frustratingly routine and formulaic, especially considering the high risks the wrestlers are taking, ***¼.
-Renee Young interviews Paige backstage, and Paige feels that the Bella Twins are holding the Divas division back. The Bellas had another phantom heel turn since Elimination Chamber, as they’re starting to give Big Show a run for his money on who turns the most. This isn’t the smoothest promo from Paige, who trips over her words a few times, but she chalks up her inspiration for change to Dusty Rhodes.
Nikki Bella © vs. Paige
Both divas display some aggression in the early going, leading to Nikki rolling to ringside for safety. Paige purses with a clothesline off the apron, but Nikki lifts her off the barricade for a rough face plant. The fans chant “Let’s go, Paige” as Nikki backs her into the ring frame. Paige survives more back punishment before finding an opening for a kick to the face. Nikki bounces Paige off the ropes for a suplex and administers a body scissors. Paige escapes a chinlock but Nikki cuts her off with a spinebuster. Nikki mocks the crowd with a bow and misses a bionic elbow, allowing Paige to make a comeback. Nikki survives the a chinlock and they show the divas locker room reacting to the match backstage. Nikki blocks the PTO and manages to connect with the springboard kick that she botched at Elimination Chamber. Paige surprises with the Ram-Paige, but Nikki kicks out! They fight their way to the top rope and both women take a bad spill. The Bellas attempt Twin Magic, but Paige reverses Brie’s roll-up for the apparent win at 10:29! Brie hilariously points out that she’s not Nikki by pulling out her bra stuffing. It looks like the match is going to continue and Nikki ambushes with the Rack Attack for the win at about 11:00. Wow, that was the best type of screwy finish as now I really want to see Paige get her payback and continue her chase. Also, fitting to have a Dusty Finish on a night like this. Best divas match not held in an NXT ring in forever, ***.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Nikki Bella
-The Miz comes to the stage with a mic. Miz trashes his home state, claiming that if you don’t live in NY or CA, then you don’t count. He promises to make an audio-visual masterpiece as he joins commentary for the IC title match.
Ryback © vs. Big Show
This could be where the show comes to a screeching halt, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised once tonight, so I’m going to stay open-minded. Ryback has a hot start and even has time to attack Miz. This backfires, as Big Show recovers long enough to catch Ryback with a spear upon his return to the ring. Ryback stays in the fight with an armbar. Big time suplex by Ryback and a body splash is good for a 2 count. Ryback runs into a choke slam but manages to kick out. A K-O punch sends Ryback collapsing to the floor. Show hauls Ryback back into the ring, but Miz attacks him for a DQ at 5:31. This wasn’t bad while it lasted, but incomplete due to that sudden finish. Not a great start for Ryback‘s reign, *¼.
Winner via DQ: Big Show
-Chris Jericho is hosting the new Tough Enough. Good for him.
NXT Champion Kevin Owens vs. United States Champion John Cena
I wish they’d waited longer than 2 weeks for this huge rematch to their insta-classic at Elimination Chamber, but I’ll stop complaining and enjoy this for what it is. Columbus is something of an NXT hot-bed thanks to some recent live events, and they are hot and behind Owens at the opening bell. They feel each other out and trade shoulder tackles. Cena’s clothesline seems aggravate Owens’ previously busted nose, but Owens retaliates with a chinlock. Cena looks for his routine comeback, but Owen’s cuts him off and steals Cena’s move set, complete with a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena blocks the AA and locks on the STF. Cena escapes and nails a big time suplex. Owens busts out a Codebreaker for 2. Cena avoids a pop-up power bomb and plants Owens for the real Five Knuckle Shuffle. Owens avoids the AA, nails a German suplex, and running cannonball. They trade jabs and Kevin counters into a crucifix slam for 2. Cena blocks the Swanton Bomb with his knees! Cena drops Owens off his shoulders for a face buster. The AA connects, but Owens kicks out! Kevin escapes a top rope AA and nails an electric chair power bomb! Cena counters the pop-up power bomb with a rana, but Owens nails a super kick for another near fall. Leaping tornado DDT by Cena but Owens kicks out yet again. Cena misses the flying leg drop and Owens nails the package shoulder breaker. The fans have been going crazy with a dueling chant. Owens’ moonsault misses and Cena nails a second AA… but OWENS KICKS OUT! Cena goes for the top rope AA again, but Owens counters into a superplex for a fabulous near fall. Owens survives the STF and Cena almost slips up but manages a flip power bomb for another awesome near fall. Kevin shakes it off and finally hits a pop-up power bomb for only 2. Cena recovers for a springboard stunner and third AA for the win at 19:19. This was every bit as good as the Elimination Chamber match, but with a hotter crowd and higher stakes, ****½.
Winner: John Cena
-Cena graciously hands the NXT title back to Owens and initiates a handshake. Owens accepts, at least before kicking Cena in the gut. Owens dishes out his trademark power bomb onto the ring frame! YES! YES! YES! Owens did not lose one single bit of momentum from this match or angle. Owens poses with NXT and U.S. titles before disrespectfully tossing Cena’s belt back at him.
-Renee Young interviews Dean Ambrose backstage about his recent antics posing with the stolen WWE title around New Orleans. Ambrose reminisces about how Seth Rollins screwed him at this very event last year to take the MITB briefcase, so this year he’s going to pay him back by winning the WWE title. Good, fiery promo from a man eager to make his main event stay permanent.
-The Dusty package from the kick-off show is aired again. Come on guys, I had just finished crying from the first showing.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
The New Day © (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young)
I kind of feel bad for these guys getting stuck in the buffer match position, but maybe they’ll be up for the challenge. The New Day cuts a short promo beforehand whining about Kofi not winning MITB and leading the fans to clap for his recovery. Xavier almost loses his temper over the “New Day Sucks” chants but Big E keeps him on message. The crowd is fairly into the match as New Day cuts Young off very quickly. The prolonged beat down is dull, but the fans enjoy heckling the New Day. Titus finally gets the hot tag and plows through Woods and Big E rather impressively. Woods suffers a Pounce, but Big E makes the save. Big E spears Young off the apron, leaving Woods alone to suffer a sit-out power bomb, giving the win and titles to the Primetime Players at 5:47! Totally surprising outcome here, as the New Day were having a hot title reign. Kind of a nothing match, but title changes are fun, *½.
Winners and new WWE Tag Team Champions: The Primetime Players
-Renee Young, Booker T, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton crow about how awesome tonight’s show is at the live event center.
-Michael Cole announces that Roman Reigns will face Bray Wyatt at Battleground in five weeks. Wait, FIVE WEEKS? That’s an eternity! We just had three pay-per-views in the span of four weeks, we can possibly wait this long! I’m completely serious, there’s going to be some boring-ass editions of Raw in the meantime just filling time.
-Kane approaches Seth Rollins, acting smug that Seth has dug his own grave and is finally getting his comeuppance. Triple H and Stephanie stop by to castrate him some more. And these guys are probably wondering why Seth isn’t drawing TV ratings, it’s not like they embarrass him on TV constantly. Wait, I’m getting word that Rollins lost to J&J Security on the last Raw, so never mind. Triple H has a little more faith in Seth and orders him to show the world what he’s got.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship (Ladder Match):
Seth Rollins © vs. Dean Ambrose
Bell rings and they start off with a wrestling match, as Ambrose dominates with an assortment of moves not involving ladders. Rollins manages a knee to the spine to send Dean to ringside. Rollins heads for a ladder, but Ambrose catches him off-guard with a suicide dive. Ambrose grabs a ladder, but Rollins cuts him off. They play a dangerous game with the ladder leaning against the ropes, as Seth climbs up, tips it onto Ambrose, and then wipes out in a suicide dive. They race for the title, but both men are too healthy for a winner. Ambrose improvises by suplexing Rollins onto a leaning ladder. Dean pays tribute to Dusty with a bionic elbow and climbs for the case, but Seth knocks him down with a chair. Seth injures Dean’s knee and goes to work on it, nice to see some psychology worked into this stunt show. Ambrose shows some fire, so Rollins administers a Figure Four around the ring post. Seth reapplies the Figure Four in the ring and they trade slaps while locked in the hold. Ambrose reverses, but Rollins lifts him into a Tree of Woe for a flying double stomp! Seth makes the climb and Dean knocks the ladder over as the last second. Rollins counters Dean’s off-the-ropes clothesline with a ladder shot. Seth heads to the top rope but Dean throws a chair and crotches him on the ropes for a lariat. The crowd wakes up as they trade shots and clothesline themselves to the floor. Ambrose ducks a flying ladder and hobbles back to the ring to nail his patented clothesline. A brawl in the stands leaves Dean down and out, giving Seth an apparent clear path to victory. Seth only gets as far as draping a new ladder against the announce table when Ambrose charges back for a tackle off the table. A scuffle in the ring results in Rollins suffering a back drop through the bridged ladder! Dean is too slow in his climb and Seth cuts him off. Ambrose nails Dirty Deeds on the Spanish table and it doesn’t break! Dean has another slow climb, but Seth knocks him down with a TV monitor. Pedigree by Rollins! Seth almost grabs the belt but Dean tosses him back to the floor, but gets pulled face-first into the bridged ladder! Rollins nails a disgusting power bomb into the barricade! Ambrose suffers a second, sickening barricade power bomb. Rollins isn’t finished and nails a sit-out power bomb onto a ladder and chairs. Seth leaves Dean buried under the furniture and climbs for the title. Dean crawls up and both men have their arms around the title when it comes unhooked and they both come crashing down. Seth is declared the victor at 35:32! I’d say Dean got screwed, but frankly I’m relieved they aren’t heading in the “double champion” direction. Lengthy match that felt long for the sake of being long, but Rollins looked downright ruthless in the home stretch. I think this hit **** out of pure force of will.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Seth Rollins
-Triple H joins Seth Rollins in the aisle and puts him over. Thankfully, Sheamus and his briefcase are nowhere to be seen. Seth basks in his victory, feeling he’s now proven to be the greatest WWE champion of all time.
Final Thoughts: A thoroughly enjoyable event that has me feeling positive about the WWE product. Can’t ask for much more these days. Thumbs up!