Tag Team Championships: The USOs vs. Goldust & Stardust
Great, fast paced match that set the tone for the entire evening. I am ecstatic that the “Dust’s” walked away with the Tag Titles here, it breaths new life in the division and I think it will be interesting to have these quirky as hell characters defending the titles. Some great action in this match, including some poetic justice in which Jay Uso returns the favor to Stardust by wrapping his knee around the ringpost. Some great high flying action in the match as well where I believe everyone got their opportunity to dive out of the ring onto the rest of the participants, always a sight to see. But here is a moment I truly marked out for, at a moment in the match in which Stardust has Cody neutralized, he hangs him up in the ropes, removes one of his gloves and immediately slaps Jay in the face with it. If their Tag Team Championship reign includes dastardly acts to their opponents like this week in and week out, we are in for a treat. In a fast paced finish, Jay attempts a Superfly Splash and Stardust counters with a knee to the midsection followed with a roll up to get the victory. Great move to have a title change open the PPV, and I can’t think of a team more deserving.
United States Championship: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Other than the drama of the Main Event, this was the match of the night for me. The chemistry between these two in this match was off the charts in my humble opinion. Both men have a brutal in ring style and it was on full display here. So many near falls, so many moves to the top rope that were interrupted with uppercuts. I also don’t remember if Sheamus’ signature Ten Beats from the ropes was interrupted, but Cesaro did so once again showing his strength. I don’t know about you, but I think Cesaro has the best uppercut in the history of the biz and we got to see every form and variation of them in this match, I will never tire of them. Uppercuts when Sheamus was on the top rope, running uppercuts onto a lifeless Sheamus on the ropes, the mid-air uppercut that Cesaro is known for. This match was the first match of the night that held a sense of suspense and I was a happy fan. Both men performed so brilliantly that I wasn’t even too upset that Sheamus retained the championship. If we get more matches like this, I wouldn’t mind this feud continuing.
Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Alright, this match was akin to a comedic skit on Raw. It was pretty much a clusterfuck with most of the action in the ring being sacrficed for focusing on the nights guests, country music act Florida Georgia Line. I will say this, the country duo seemed more interested in the action in the ring than WWE’s own announcers were. I still think Miz’s Hollywood gimmick and Mizdow as his stunt double is comedic gold, and one of the best things going in the company today as a matter of fact, but we should have been able to see these two go at it in the ring seriously for once. We did get some action, which included Ziggler selling a figure four leg lock with more passion than I have ever seen. The action spilled to the outside when Mizdow interfered in the match, he ends up taunting Florida Georgia Line and they shove him down the ground…k. In a surprise moment I didn’t expect Ziggler hits the Fameasser for the two count, Mizdow again interferes and gets a kick for his troubles, Miz rolls up Ziggler to get the victory. I understand the gimmick is hot, but taking the title off Ziggler after one month seems like a bad move to me. But hey, the feud will continue, so at least Ziggler will be on TV.
Dean Ambrose Returns!!!
When the time comes for Rollins to be in the main event, he has the mic skills to pull it off. You love to hate him when he talks. Rollins comes out and taunts Roman Reigns for not showing up for the event to compete due to injury (we wish you a quick recovery by the way Roman). Rollins says he will give Reigns ten seconds to get out to the ring and face him or he will accept his forfeit by having his hands raised in victory. I know where this going, the crowd knew where it was going and they did a great job of making us anticipate the moment. Camera cuts to backstage as a taxi speeds into the arena, Ambrose gets out of it, to a pretty decent pop from the crowd. Ambrose makes his way to the ring and attacks Rollins. It spills out to the crowd, and the Authority make their way out with security. Security tries to subdue Dean and he uses the stage to dive on to said security and take them all out…badass moment. Ambrose attacks Seth a bit more before being subdued by security again and hauled out of the arena. Great moment, but given the events of later in the night I do not know where Ambrose stands in all this.
Mark Henry vs. Rusev
Before the match began, Lilian Garcia sang the American National Anthem which resulted in a surpisingly emotional Mark Henry…dude almost made me tear up. In my own twisted fantasy booking moment I almost wanted to see Rusev’s music hit in the middle of the anthem to get him some massive heat…but no dice. The match began in Henry’s favor, with Henry easily overpowering Rusev not even letting him stay in the ring for long. Henry makes a rookie mistake by going to the outside and gets backed into the ring post by Rusev, and that is pretty much the end of Henry’s offense. It was pretty much Rusev’s show after that as he continued to work on Mark’s back throughout the match, Mark Henry hulked up a couple of times and got in a bt of offense to no avail. Rusev ultimately locked in the Accolade for the victory after Mark tapped out. Rusev is probably the most black and white heel the company has, and continuing his dominance is a great move. A mediocre match, with some GREAT drama.
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton
In a perfect world, the feud between Jericho and Bray Wyatt would have been executed better and a match on this night would have been the end of the feud. But it was not to be. So we got Jericho and Orton who always work well together, and put on a decent match, especially in the closing minutes. The start of this mini feud was sensible enough, so I just went with it. What I liked most about this match, is they did a decent enough job in making me actually think that Jericho might pull of a win here, plenty of near falls in the match had me on the edge of my seat for it. But the end of the match went in to overly predictable mode the last time Jericho went to the top rope, but who am I to complain a mid air RKO is still a moment to mark out over if ya ask me. A great match for what is Jericho’s send off for the year, and a win that Randy Orton probably needed more than Jericho did. So bravo to both men.
Divas Championship: Paige vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella
Paige and AJ Lee have charisma to last for days, they are very talented in the ring and they showcased it here once again. What surprised me though, is some of the offense Nikki Bella utilized in this match, some great moves from her that had my eyed widen in surprise a couple of times. She also showed an aggression that I have to say I dug. I love triple threats for the unpredictability that the match brings, and it was no different here. I knew when the match was winding to a close, when AJ Lee took Nikki out by slamming her face onto the outside from the ring, brutal move. When AJ locked Paige into her submission move I moved to the edge of my seat…wait a minute…then Paige counters, okay that is more like it….AJ locks it in again…wait a minute…Paige taps. Something I did not expect, I expected Nikki to win or Paige to retain. This most likely means the Paige/AJ Lee saga will continue…and that is A OK in my book.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena
The beat down at Summerslam last month was great to watch, but the drama that this match brought tops Summerslam’s main event by a mile. There were elements of the complete domination that carried over into this main event, but the increased offense by Cena making us think that he may just take the title from Lesnar is what made me a fan of pro wrestling to begin with. Brock gave us more than the suplex in this match which I was thankful for, his signature move of the night seemed to be the kimura lock, he really worked that arm. Throughout the match, Cena hit two AA’s which Lesnar kicked out of almost with ease, it seemed that any offense Cena did get in Lesnar bounced back from quickly and it led me to figure at some point Lesnar would get Cena to a point once again that he couldn’t come back from at all. Then the STF came into play. In the closing moments of the match Cena had Lesnar where he wanted him, with Lesnar almost making it to the ropes more than only to have Cena drag him back out to the middle of the ring…I was convinced the son of a bitch was going to tap. Cena hits one final AA before SETH ROLLINS attacks Cena with the briefcase. Rollins hits Lesnar with the curbstomp than tells the ref he is cashing in his MITB contract, before the bell has a chance to ring Cena attacks Rollins, everybody is safe.
I guess the way the match was booked makes sense. Look, Lesnar looking completely dominant with every title defense is a great idea on paper, he is a legit fighter and legit badass and all that jazz I get it. But if he weaves his way through all competitors with ease it makes your entire roster look bad. Lesnar in this world has to be made to look vulnerable. I would rather have the unpredictability factor of not knowing when the title can be taken off Brock, then him just running down every opponent. What leaves me uneasy however is Cena and Rollins going forward, where does this leave Dean Ambrose? If Brock is missing Hell in a Cell, then Cena vs. Seth will no doubt be the main event. Dean made a huge return last night, and I don’t want to see him fade into obscurity for the sake of Cena having a high profile feud. The future is now WWE, let’s keep that in mind.
Overall Night of Champions Grade: B+