The New Day Defeats The Usos and the Lucha Dragons to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in a ladder match:
This year the ladder match opens the show once again and once again it steals the show right out of the gate. Originally, I thought and expected the ladder would go to the Owens/Ambrose Intercontinental match, which would’ve been great in its own right, but after seeing this I’m glad it went here. I can’t even remember the last time WWE had a multi tag team ladder match and that alone provided a fresh aspect to a match we haven’t seen in awhile. Of course, as expected, this thing was just a gigantic spot-fest with all three groups utilizing their high-flying abilities (+ Big E) for some fantastic moments. Highlighted by the incredible Solina del Sol delivered by Kalisto to *insert name of the correct Uso* off the top of a ladder in the middle of the ring, collapsing down through a ladder wedged in between the ropes. I can’t remember a move in recent memory that made me jump out of my seat like that. Big E also did a pretty cool move where he was trapped under a ladder and bench pressed it off him while the Lucha Dragons were climbing the ladder. I’m always amazed that people still find new and inventive things to do in ladder matches after all these years and this thing definitely delivered.
I think the New Day are getting a bit stale, due in large part to their constant long-winded promos that they deliver each time they’re out, but it was no question they were going to retain. It’s hard to tell when their time will run out with the belts, I’d imagine sooner rather than later, but still expect them to be a major player in the tag division for the foreseeable future. It seems like only a matter of time until the Lucha Dragons get a run with the titles, hopefully only pushing Kalisto’s stock even higher, because that dude has star potential.
Rusev Defeats Ryback:
This is just a dumb, filler of a feud that was pretty meaningless and lacked any teeth whatsoever. They tried to to this whole thing of Lana feigning getting attacked by Ryback and such, but it’s all just so boring and pointless. I remember they tried doing this feud a few months ago and nothing happened to it, unfortunately they actually went forward to this. I find Ryback pretty boring and he’s pretty much lost in the shuffle nowadays after his Intercontinental reign went down in flames. Rusev on the other hand is a better worker than he’s given credit for on the card, and has been wallowing in sub-standard stuff to what he’s capable of since he got run over in the Cena feud from earlier this year. It wasn’t a noticeably bad match or anything, just wildly forgettable and unnecessary.
Alberto Del Rio Defeats Jack Swagger to retain the United States Championship in a chairs match:
Del Rio obviously was going to retain over Swagger, who only got this title match because of the connection of his former manager Zeb Colter being Del Rio’s manager now. Except for the fact that Del Rio broke things off with Zeb the previous week, possibly hinting of interference or an appearance by Zeb in this match to return to Swagger’s side, except nope, none of that happened. Del Rio won in this chairs match (which might be the dumbest gimmick match currently used) with little fanfare, with the most noticeably dumb thing to happen in the match was when Swagger had Del Rio in his ankle submission Patriot lock move where Del Rio proceeds to get out of the move and no-sell it, walking around perfectly fine, but not only that it leads directly into the finish where Del Rio’s does his stomp off the top rope, driving his supposedly injured foot into Swagger, but showing no effects, and getting the 1-2-3. So, Del Rio keeps the belt, until presumably Cena comes back in the ensuing months and takes it back. You don’t just get to keep your win over Cena.
The Wyatt Family defeats The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno in a tables match:
This feud was presumably made because a. Like 90% of why the Dudleyz came back is so they could compete in a tables match at this PPV and b. to get the Wyatt’s a win in a feud, even if it’s against some 40-year-olds. That’s the biggest thing to come out of this thing, the Wyatt’s actually got a win over somebody, whether it actually means anything. It’s funny because WWE always projects the Wyatts as this immovable faction full of creepy ass-kickers, except for the fact that they lose to pretty much every body they’re in a feud with. It’d be nice to see them actually get meaningful wins and put some tangible cred behind their names to book them into an actual top force, not just glorified jobbers. This one was at least a step in the right direction with the Wyatts dominating having only Erick Rowan (the Wyatt family member that I think the other family members couldn’t care less about) be eliminated while the rest of the team stood strong the rest of the match.
Dean Ambrose defeats Kevin Owens to win the Intercontinental Championship:
This was really the only surprise of the night for me, Ambrose finally getting a win and getting the taste of some gold as he was on fire for a lot of the year, but never got anything done. Owens with the title was great, as he has been in every storyline, and I just don’t think we were close to telling the end of his story with the belt, granted I’m sure he’ll be chasing his rematch down. Not really sure what this means going forward for both men, there was always the rumoured Sami Zayn feud for Owens now that he’s coming back and looks less and less destined for NXT in the long run. Does Dean Ambrose settle in as the Intercontinental champion and try to give his U.S. title reign a run for its money?
Charlotte defeats Paige to retain the Divas championship:
I’ve never been invested in this feud, but I don enjoy the how it seems WWE doesn’t even know who is heel or face in this thing anymore. Charlotte literally plays the full out heel in this match for her first time, and thus Paige is playing the babyface role, where just a few weeks ago she was heel and a few before that she was face. Then in a post-match segment Charlotte is being a dick to Becky Lynch, along with Ric Flair, but then she seems to be legitimately regretful to things she said to Becky while her father keeps yapping away. It doesn’t make much sense, especially when Charlotte as a full-out heel is a lot more interesting and fun, anyways.
Sheamus defeats Roman Reigns in a TLC match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
This thing went as expected with wins teased for both until the inevitable run-in by the League of Nations members to beat down Roman to help Sheamus score the win. There were a few moments where they got me and I thought Reigns might overcome all the odds against the interference and Sheamus’ sure win and take the title, but nope, at least not for another 24 hrs. or so…
That would’ve been the expected WWE ending and have the show close out there, as they’ve done time and time again. But, nope, this time Roman had enough and snapped on Triple H spearing him, beating him down, slamming him on a table, elbow dropping him through said table that didn’t break on the first go around, spearing him again after deciding he just wasn’t done after walking up the ramp. Reigns beat HHH down, HHH sold hilariously flopping around like a fish for some bizarre reason and for once Reigns actually looked like a beast that his look so much demonstrates he should be. This silent ass-kicker who just destroys with no regard for consequences or repercussions that could come. It looked like a step in the right direction for Reigns.
So, since I’m writing this after the Raw that followed the PPV, it would be kinda foolish not to talk about that since it’s directly follows from the events of the PPV and includes something pretty big. Nope, Reigns wasn’t taking the title from Sheamus on the Sunday night PPV, instead he took it on Raw completing a mini-arch for Roman over the two nights that actually genuinely seemed to cash in on a storyline with him that seemed relatively unforced.
Stephanie opens Raw with Reigns saying she’s not going to fire him because Triple H didn’t want to (I have no reason why he didn’t want to, and I hope they actually explain this when Triple H comes back), but she claims some guy named Vince McMahon is coming to the arena and he of course has the superseding end-all opinion on Reigns’ employment. Then because Stephanie is Stephanie she slaps Reigns a couple times. Later in the show Vince comes out lambasts Reigns, Reigns calls him an old man and just because of that he gets a world title match that night that if he loses he gets fired but if he wins he gets the title(?), and then Vince kicks Reigns in the balls and then it becomes crystal clear that Reigns is winning the title since Vince and co. backstage would never have their golden boy Reigns get doubly humiliated by Steph and Vince that way without him achieving something memorable in the end. So, in the main event Vince tries to provide a distraction to the ref, only to receive a Superman punch from Reigns which Vince sells beautifully, a brogue kick hits Sheamus that he amazingly kicked out of, into the spear for the win. Then cue the Philadelphia fans cheering Reigns in this rousing coronation of the man finally winning this title. Yeah, you read that right, the same city that booed Reigns out of the building this past January when he won the Rumble and his right to the WrestleMania main event and world title shot, cheered this man because for the most part things actually worked this time and the dude had enough crap piled on him, just give it to him and let him run with it already. Plus, people seemed to have rather wanted to put the tile on a dead fish than have Sheamus continue to run around with it.
Now where they go with it I have no clue. Obviously at least up until the Rumble Reigns and Sheamus will continue to feud with it, but after that I have no clue. It seemed like Reigns would be winning the belt at Mania with his celebration on that grand stage, but looking back now I think there’s no way WWE could last that long keeping the belt off Reigns, and really they couldn’t have kept it on Sheamus much more than they have. So, who wins the Rumble to go against Reigns. Realistically there’s only like three options Lesnar, Cena and Undertaker. Who legitimately else has a shot that they would let main event what they are attempting to make their biggest Mania yet. That’s it, and I doubt it’ll be Taker in the title picture. Lesnar seems like the best bet, since they could do the rematch since last year, even though I don’t think there’s a single person clamouring for that. It’s been rumoured WWE would like to do the whole Cena vs. Reigns Mania match with Reigns going over and Cena passing the torch, but is it time for that now? Who knows, but it seems like WWE doesn’t have the most varying options what to do with the title since their roster seems thinner and thinner by the day. Hell, at the end of Sunday night it seemed like it was going to be a Reigns/HHH feud going forward whether that would be at the Rumble or stretched to Mania, but now Reigns has the title, so what now. Killing two birds with one stone and having HHH go for the title would be hilariously amazing and I probably shouldn’t joke about. I look forward to looking back at this in four months and laughing.
Anyways, that’s where things stand and I’m semi-excited to see where things go, even if I’ll probably be let down. I was actually really optimistic for the PPV, and while it ended up being pretty disappointing, the Raw angle with Reigns winning the title on TV (something unseen in over four years) has my interested peaked. I’ve never hated Reigns as much as most, I definitely had my problems with him, and he’s definitely much better now, even if his promos do suck. But, I’m glad they finally stuck the belt on him and hope they just run with it and I hope it’s as great as they think it’ll be. I think Regins will get better just with the belt around him through some sort of osmosis, but we’ll see.