Kansas City, Missouri
The Wyatt Family vs. The Usos and Sheamus
This has been setup following a match between Sheamus and Bray Wyatt on Main Event that I need to check out. Harper and Jey begin the match, and exchange blows before Jey gets a rollup for two and a flying shoulderblock. Sheamus grabs the tag and they slug at each other like MEN! Rowan enters after Harper gets Sheamus into the corner. Sheamus is lead head first into the corner and is stomped. Luke returns and chops. Sheamus comes out of the corner and hits a rolling senton. He follows with a knee drop for two. Rowan returns, but misses a charge and takes a knee lift. Sheamus hits a crossbody in the ropes, sending both of them tumbling to the floor before we go to break.
We’re back with Harper and Sheamus battling. Bray gets the tag and takes control. Bray hits a running clothesline in the corner and teases The Usos. Rowan returns with a knee drop and follows with a scoop slam. Harper whips him into the corner and Rowan pulls Sheamus out to walk into a superkick for two. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse to set up the tag. In comes Jimmy with some clotheslines and a Samoan drop. Jimmy chops down Harper with an enzuigiri and dumps Rowan before hitting the hip smash in the corner. Jimmy comes off the top with a Whisper in The Wind, but no one is home. Harper busts out the Michinoku Driver for two. Jey returns to get some. Rowan tosses him out, but walks into a Brogue. Bray tosses Sheamus out, gets the blind tag from Harper and hits Sister Abigail after Harper takes a superkick. This picks up the win. After the match, Jey leaps outside to continue the fight. The Wyatt Family takes care of he and Sheamus, the latter tossed into the steps. Harper gets back into the ring to take Jimmy’s head off with his clothesline.
Final Thoughts: **3/4. This was a solid opener. Hopefully, The Usos can do something substantial with Harper and Rowan. I noted that someone near ringside was holding a cut-out of the shocked Undertaker fan from WrestleMania XXX.
-We just found our piss break match for Extreme Rules, as Vickie is hosting a contract signing for a WeeLC between Hornswoggle and El Torito. Get it? Oh wait, it’s on the pre-show. Heath says that Horny has demands before he’ll sign. He wants all green, mini M&Ms. Also, he wants to hear 3MB’s greatest hits playing while they wrestle. Oh, and he also wants to watch copies of “Rudy” before his match. El Torito is upset, and Vickie runs this segment into the crowd with a joke about short people. I believe that the crowd despises this. Horny signs, but El Torito signs with a hoof stamp. They then raise their chairs to prove who the bigger man is. They stand on the table…and have a staredown. Shoves are exchanged, and this is the exact moment when a non-fan enters the room. They roll around the table a bit. 3MB and Hornswoggle are bumped from the ring. Torito hits an impressive somersault plancha out onto the faction, and I’m sure that this pre-show match will gain thousands of people on the WWE Network.
Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
Before the match, Cesaro’s alarm blares, and he’s out to take in the match. They really have to tweak that theme. Swagger starts the match with knees in the corner and tosses him across the ring. The Swaggerbomb gets two, and Heyman grabs a headset to confirm the triple threat elimination match between the three at the “Special Event”. Swagger hits a slam, but RVD fights back with educated feet and puts him outside. Swagger decks Cesaro, and ducks an RVD moonsault. Swagger hits a big boot and they reenter the ring, with Cesaro tripping up Swagger. RVD hits the Five Star Frog Splash for the win. After the match, Cesaro rushes Van Dam and hits The Neutralizer.
Final Thoughts: Well, that was a mess. It was a fine mess, however, and the match on Sunday should be spotty and fun. Cesaro doesn’t need fun, but at least he isn’t forgotten.
Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth
Rusev hits some knees in the corner to begin this, and hits some kicks, as well. Truth squirms out of a slam and hits a couple of sidekicks. Rusev retreats outside, decks Woods, rams Truth into the apron a couple of times. The match breaks down with Woods hitting the ring. They dropkick him from the ring. Woods flips out onto him, and Truth keeps him at bay with a dropkick. Rusev actually trips and falls hard onto his back from the apron. It looked nastier than it should have.
Final Thoughts: This is going nowhere, but hopefully it comes to an end with the handicap match at the PPV. Once again, Truth and Woods are acting like heels in front of an apathetic crowd. The match better be short, or it might destroy the crowd.
-Daniel Bryan is out to cut a promo. This time, he actually gets to bring his belts to the ring. He is subdued in his entrance, and still wearing his neck brace. Bryan starts by saying that everyone is the same. He lists off of a few different similarities, finishing on how everyone protects their family. Bryan is confident that he will defeat Kane, but this is different. Bryan goes nuclear when talking about Kane putting his hands on his wife. No, he’s downright frightening. Daniel Bryan says that “by any means necessary”; he will send Kane to hell. The Nation is coming back! I swear! Kane interrupts on the tron. His rebuttal is…a video package. This one doesn’t have Stephanie talking over the top of it. That’s an improvement. Kane says that he has only begun to show Bryan the depths of his depravity. No, just this Sunday will be enough. No more after that. Kane finishes with cartoonish, evil laughter to end the segment. I feel that Bryan is the only one grounded in reality for this storyline. Everyone else is just stepping into the roles from Kane/Cena from two years ago.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Magneto (as performed by Damien Sandow)
This was cute enough on Raw. But now, they might as well just let Sandow cosplay. JBL drops some X-Men knowledge on us to begin. Dolph gets a couple of arm drags to begin. Sandow slugs away in the corner. Damien is wrestling with the cape on. Dolph hits a corner splash and follows with a neckbreaker. Ziggler hits an elbow drop for two, but is chocked into the ropes. Sandow hits a neckbreaker, and slugs in the corner, his cape becoming a bib. Dolph gets a small package, but Magneto returns with a clothesline. Dolph hits a jawbreaker, but takes a Russian Legsweep. Damien hits a cape assisted Elbow of Disdain. Dolph fires back with right hands. Magneto attempts to use his powers, but Dolph just shrugs and hits him with a dropkick. Poor, poor Sandow is blinded by his shitty cape and walks into a Zig-Zag to finish this.
Final Thoughts: I don’t want to think about how they would make a fool of Sandow in 1999. JBL was entertaining in this segment, and aghast at the injustice of Magneto’s cape impairing him. We went so far as to tell Lillian to shut up after she finished her announcement of the winner. Hopefully, Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart can give Damien Sandow hugs during WWE’s upcoming European tour.
Big E vs. Titus O’Neil
I thought that Big E had retired from the sport and took up a career in quality assurance of electronics. Big E begins this match with a rear waistlock. There’s the leapfrog, followed by Big E hitting a shoulderblock and awkwardly clotheslining Titus to the floor. Titus THROWS Big E over the announce table. Titus keeps it up, beating him against the table. Back in the ring, Titus clubs away. The intensity of this match and Titus is helped by the sudden lack of commentary. Titus hits a big backbreaker, and shoves the referee away, gaining him a DQ but a place in everyone’s hearts and minds. After the match, Big E sneaks back into the ring and blindsides Titus.
Outside, Titus goes hard into the barricade, trips over a cord, gets sent in the steps, and is then awkwardly tossed into the table, smacking his head against the base. Big E puts him into the barricade again, with Titus just about falling on his head. Titus goes over the announce table, almost destroying the tablet lying atop it. Big E rolls Titus back into the ring. He puts a foot on top of Titus, and raises his fist in a show of dominance, as if he’s a nation unto himself, brimming with it.
Final Thoughts: This beatdown was uncomfortable in places, and I can say with certainty, that someone received a legitimate injury from the sloppy brawling and awkward bumps around the ringside area. Big E looked good in that he looked dangerous for the first time in months. Still, the way in which he didn’t protect Titus on these bumps was alarming as it usually us. I don’t like his future after he loses the belt to Barrett. They’ll have a Raw rematch and Big E will go on a losing streak storyline following that.
-The Wyatt Family has a word. Bray plays a record of a certain song and quickly turns it off. Bray wished that Cena could have seen his own face on Raw. The children pulled out his soul and handed it to Bray since they believe in him now. He follows that their steel cage is more than a match, but is a reckoning on the entire Cenation. Bray will leave the cage with all of them, leaving Cena with nothing but his rotting old heart and old body. Eerie.
United States Championship Match – Dean Ambrose © vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Curtis Axel vs. Ryback
Curtis Axel’s based theme returns for one night only! The Shield is barred from ringside. At the beginning, Ambrose is cornered by all three. Ambrose sticks and moves before he gets stomped down into the mat. He gets choked into the ropes, but fights back just to get beaten down again. Ambrose id umped outside, and schoolboys are exchanged. Dean attacks a bickering Rybaxel, and knocks around Axel before getting a spinebuster from Ryback. Dean goes to the floor once more, leaving Del Rio eyed up by Rybaxel. We hit the break, but I’m not sure if people are going to care too much about Del Rio’s welfare.
We round third base on this show, with Rybaxel beating at Del Rio in the corner. Del Rio fights out, and hits Ryback with a backstabber. Dean breaks up the count at two. Axel hits his mean kneelift, but Dean also breaks it up. Rybaxel toss Dean from the ring again, and follow him out. Ambrose goes into the barricade. Del Rio takes down Ryback, and eats an Axel dropkick in response. Axel gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and Ryback takes a German suplex for two. Ambrose breaks it up, once more, and slugs Del Rio down afterwards. Ryback pulls Dean away and calls him stupid. Dean slaps him hard across the face, and suckers him into diving out of the ring. Ambrose just shrugs at Ryback being caught in the ropes and then falling to the floor. Dean hits the dropkick into the ropes on Del Rio, but takes a clothesline to the back of the head from Axel. Dean fights out of the Perfect-plex and hits that great rebounding clothesline. Axel kicks out at two. Ryback grabs Ambrose, and throws him into the timekeeper’s well. Del Rio kicks Ryback’s head in, but turns back into a Perfect-plex that gets two.
Axel and Del Rio go up. ADR knocks him off and drops the double boots after Axel is caught in the ropes. Axel grabs the rope at two. Del Rio loads up the Si Kick, but misses it as Axel ducks out of the way. Del Rio dodges the charging Ryback, who then blasts Axel with the Meathook, on accident. ADR puts on the cross armbreaker. Ryback rolls back, lifts Del Rio and hits Shellshocked. Axel pulls Ryback from the cover. Axel crawls over to make the cover on Del Rio, but Dean comes in out of nowhere with an Oklahoma Roll for the win.
After the match, Dean starts to take a whooping, until Reigns and Rollins arrive to clean house. Ryback takes a spear, and Rollins dives out onto Axel. Reigns lines up Curtis and hits the Superman punch. They scrape Dean off of the mat in time to hit Axel with The Triple Powerbomb of Justice before Smackdown is off air.
Final Thoughts: I give it ***1/2 from it being a smartly laid out story within a story. Dean, at the end, learned to stay back and pick his moment to pick up the win, rather than blindly charging in like he did at the beginning of the match. We had the alliance of Rybaxel fall apart as the match wore on, ending with the allure of sweet gold turning Curtis Axel into Donald Duck. Del Rio brought the wow in this thing, and we received a pretty darned good match.
–So, we have our first “Special Event” on the way. I’m hoping that WWE can brand it differently in the coming months. On this two hour show, we had a solid opener and a mighty fine main event match. From that standpoint, this show delivers. It also gave light to most of the Extreme Rules matches. We received good promos from both Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan, going into their main event matches. Big E and Titus was an awkward moment, but felt unhinged and intense without Cole and JBL providing commentary. The trash talk was superb, if the execution of the brawl wasn’t. As for the ills of this show, they are plain to see. Too many faces act as heels in the lower portion of the card, which is normal. Damien Sandow is doing his best with what they’re doing with him. I never pictured him as a guy who really needed to be humbled. Still, this show did a nice job, for the most part, in finishing up the hype for Extreme Rules.