My thoughts, GIFs and not much else.
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
Decent semi-squash as Fox got a few things in before getting Jax’d. I thought Fox would get flat-out killed in this match so good for her.
New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson
G & A are now serious and despite a few months of losing to the tag champs, this is the closest The New Day have had to genuinely feeling like they may lose the titles. The match is way more competitive as a result with both men tossing Kingston and Big E around like bosses. Ditching the shite comedy was perfect for them. In the end, New Day had to cheat to win as Xavier decked G & A with Trombone #2. New Day retain despite being dicks but the match was all action.
So unless G & A are going to use that as a way of getting a re-re-re-rematch on the next PPV, that leaves New Day’s next challengers as…I don’t know? The Shining Stars?
After the PPV there’s an episode of Ride Along. Really though, who watches more stuff on the Network after a PPV? Three hours and a pre-show isn’t enough?
TJP vs. The Brian Kendrick
Even with indie favourites like Owens, Rollins, Zayn etc. on the main roster, it’s still weird seeing this on a WWE PPV. TJP has chip-tune inspired music and titantron, which is clearly sucking up to me. Kendrick won a 4-way on Raw to get this shot but this is TJP’s WWE non-CWC debut. Bit odd he wasn’t on Raw to let the non-CWC fans know who the hell he is. Also odd Kendrick isn’t the salty bitter veteran he was on CWC so the only storyline is ”great action” which they can get away with the first time using the momentum of the hype around CWC but it better not become a regular thing or it’ll turn into the current X-Division. The action WAS good though, with TJP clearly eager to impress with a lot of his trademarks like the grab-the-ropes spot and Frankensteiner-to-the-outside. Could have done without TJP no-selling a missed 450 Splash but if I’m watching WWE 2016 for selling I’d be a dumb fuck. Eventually Kendrick succumbs to a leg-lock. Kendrick gives TJP a sodium-filled headbutt after the match, solidifying that yes, he is a bitter veteran. Mauro was missed on commentary but at least we got a decent Simpsons reference from the crowd.
Advert for WWE 2K17. THQ really understands how to make adverts for wrestling games (edit: or 2K Sports, whoever it is who makes these) turning the world of WWE into Twisted Metal. Also, Del Rio!
Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Best Of Seven Final)
These two have done a good job of beating the shite out of each other but even that can’t distract from the obvious that this is time-killing for both men. Sheamus had a nice promo on the pre-show about how he’s worse in a group (name not given) but is dangerous now he’s by himself. Well he’s still employed so he’s got a point. Crowd don’t sound like they’re into this, maybe there should have been a reward for winning this? At least a KFC bucket. Also kind of hard to believe the story they’re telling about Cesaro’s damaged shoulder/back when he’s such a freak he’s still able to hit a top-rope crossbody and a 619. Cesaro absorbs Sheamus’ back-breakers to be able to Giant Swing Sheamus and then lock in a Sharpshooter and the commentators are like ”so er how about that bad back?” Then Cesaro dives through the-AHHHHHHHH
And even THAT can’t keep the fucker down as he unleashes his ultra bar onto Sheamus. While he’s destroying Sheamus, Cole mentions that they’re fighting for a Title Shot. First time that’s been mentioned. Even diving off the top rope to the outside only results in Sheamus taking an uppercut. They brawl outside the guard-rail and…the refs stop it? After all that? Well of course, now none of them get a title shot, making that an even bigger waste of time than previously thought.
And fuck that if they use that as an excuse to have another rematch, they just had seven!
Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn
Jericho’s spent 2016 reviving his reputation damaged by constant returns in between Fozzy tours. Last time he was this consistent was the 2008 HBK feud. No mic time for Jericho though, bah. Another good match but I’m already needing a break after four consecutive AHHH WORKRATE matches in a row. Strange how ”indie wrestling” WWE has become, I mean it’s great and all to have all these puro-style matches compared to the PPVs of ten years ago but you really need variety on these things or it gets a bit same-y. Jericho manages to absorb all of Zayn’s moves, kicks out of a Blue Thunder Bomb (a real one, for once) and wins with the Codebreaker.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
I don’t know what’s up with this feud. Charlotte won the title at Summerslam, Banks had something to announce but she got interrupted and never announced it, something something three-way dance with Bayley. The match was a series of spots and not much else. Some of them were nice, like Charlotte’s moonsault onto both opponents but some of them not, like the ending sequence which looked more like a Laurel & Hardy skit than a real finish. Didn’t help that Bayley was clearly looking at Banks during it all, waiting for her to hit her mark. Charlotte retains and I don’t know what’s next for everyone but it’ll probably involve Charlotte retaining. Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s busting their arse and trying hard etc. but when it’s 100% spots and no giving a shit, it’s hard to…give a shit.
Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Even the music video people struggle with making Reigns look like the good guy. He attacked Rusev in front of his wife! And yes, they’re still lowering the audio during Reigns’ entrance and yes it’s still incredibly obvious. This would be the opposite of the rest of the card, in that they’ve been feuding for a while so there’s a reason for the match but I don’t care. Reigns is barely two dimensional (”he never gives up!” they shout on commentary the whole match) and Rusev is best on Twitter. Or 2014. They added a load of false-finishes but the crowd was only interested in Roman losing. Which worked, in a weird way as the crowd was reacting to the finish they didn’t want to see. Which is at least a reaction. Reigns won the match and the title so maybe he’ll be given a shot at doing something on Raw instead of being ”one of the guys looking at their locker in Saved By The Bell” like he’s been since the failed piss test. The ”you mad bro?” expression post-match gives me hope.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
I enjoy both of these wrestlers and would count Owens as probably my favourite in WWE. But when they’re main eventing a PPV with a match that’s secondary to the ”why did HHH turn his back on Rollins?” storyline. Which didn’t get answered here as HHH didn’t make an appearance despite being all over the music video hype package. So they did what they could, with Owens still cheered by a good half of the crowd despite his best efforts to make them shut up. Rollins apparently got hurt for real-real on a top rope gutbuster, a move I’ve not seen since Malenko/Mysterio and Owens cannonball’d himself through the announce table. The false finishes this time felt more like they HAD to have them than anything else, as without HHH appearing there was no chance of a Rollins title win again. Unless they’re mental. Jericho (with Owens shirt) distracted Rollins so he get the win and celebrated ”their” title defence.
Overall: All sizzle, no steak. There was plenty of demonstrations of athleticism and all that but you were left wondering how Raw manages to have three hours (and a pre-show) and still manages to put on a PPV with little build/hype/reason. Hopefully they realise ”hey shit, maybe we should tone down on The Adventures of Foley & Steph” unless they’re going to be the team to take on New Day next.
Highlight: Jericho and Owens existing. Oh and this focus pull from the cameraman
Best review I’ve read from someone else: