WWE had their final stop before WrestleMania and the picture now seems even clearer.
The Man found out whether she’ll come around to the biggest show of the year, The Miz tried to become the hometown boy done good and we saw the last stand of The Shield. But are they going full speed ahead or have we reached a roadblock?
New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs Rusev and Nakamura
Result: New Day win via pinfall
Thoughts: A pretty fun opener; very fast paced for a main roster pre-show match…I honestly don’t have much more to say though. It did what it set out to do…cool – ONTO THE MAIN SHOW.
The Usos (c) vs Miz and Shane – WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match
Result: The Usos retain via pinfall
Thoughts: George Mizanin couldn’t care less about his son and it was the most bizarre thing in the world to watch. The man jumped like 15ft RIGHT in front of him and he barely even reacted. HOWEVER…Jesus Christ that ‘Coast-To-Coast/Uso Splash’ from Shane and Jimmy was absolutely ridiculous and I’ve no idea how everyone is okay after that. The story was pretty simple; hometown hero is trying to impress his dad but ultimately backfires. The match started pretty slowly as it was basically just ‘Shane gets beaten down’ but it definitely picked up once Miz got involved. And then…FINALLY, after what’s felt like two years, Shane McMahon turned heel. It was predictable but it was absolutely the right decision out of the two men. I’m honestly excited for their Mania match AS LONG AS Miz comes out on top. Grabbing and pushing Miz’s dad was a great touch as well. The grade may seem quite high but it’s reflective of the turn as well. Fantastic start to the night.
Asuka (c) vs Mandy Rose- WWE Smackdown Woman’s Championship Match
Result: Asuka retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Well that was terrible. Mandy Rose is not ready at all for a singles PPV match for the women’s title and that’s was clear in this match. The finish was massively botched; it was clear that it was meant to be – Sonya tries to help, puts the ring apron up, Mandy slips and it costs her. But she barely managed to slip, the commentators didn’t call attention to it and it just ended. What a shame for Asuka.
Kofi Kingston vs The Bar – 2 on 1 Handicap match
Result: The Bar win via pinfall
Thoughts: As you can see I haven’t assigned a grade for this. This is because I have absolutely no idea what to say about this. It definitely wasn’t bad as it helped build further support for Kingston but I felt it was already there. I definitely enjoyed it though, weird! Let’s see what else happens throughout the night though.
The Revival (c) vs Ricochet and Aleister Black vs Roode and Gable
Result: Revival retain via pinfall
Thoughts: This, unfortunately, ended far too soon. As expected, the in-ring work on show was absolutely incredible and a joy to watch. All teams showcased why they need to be featured more prominently on TV every single week; all for different reasons. Black and Ricochet to showcase the ‘new talent’ coming through, Roode and Gable showcase what they can do when given time and The Revival are just consistently the best tag team in WWE when they’re allowed to showcase it. The ending makes complete sense; Gable and Roode take the pin to keep NXT talent looking strong and allows the Revival to retain which they ABSOLUTELY should be doing. I just don’t really understand the end. I don’t get why you constantly want to make your tag champs look weak but hey, I just hope they get a main card Mania match. They almost certainly won’t – BUT I CAN DREAM.
Samoa Joe (c) vs Rey Mysterio vs Andrade vs R-Truth- WWE United States Championship Match
Result: Joe retains via pass out
Thoughts: Well…that definitely made the US Title feel relevant again. Match of the night so far; this had everything. The continuation of Rey vs Andrade; with almost every move those two hit on the match came at the expense of the other, R-Truth continually staying in it and somehow managing to avoid, what seemed like, clear defeat and Joe dominating before eventually winning via choking Rey out. Joe NEEDS to be given loads of time with this title. He needs to hold it for months and months and months. With a showcase spot like this one; it’s a very good start. I hope this does mean that we’re going to get Andrade vs Mysterio at Mania as that just needs to happen for obvious reasons and then it’ll be interesting to see who Joe faces…Ali possibly? Big Match John? Who knows? But R-Truth has now been involved in Match of the Night on two separate shows in under a week. I truly do not understand the world anymore but I’m rolling with it.
Boss N’ Hug Connection vs Samoan Slaughterhouse- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Grade: Boss N’ Hug Connection retain via pinfall
Thoughts: This match was pretty poor. Much like with Mandy; Tamina especially has no place being in a championship match on PPV. There were a lot of REALLY sloppy moments from both Jax and Tamina which has been an ever constant in their careers. However, the post-match stuff was AMAZING. Seeing Beth getting physically involved was a HUGE surprise but incredibly cool, the links between her and Natalya were great and it gave legitimate heat for the heels. Is Beth going to get another match? At WrestleMania? God, it’s all very exciting. The match wasn’t though, just the stuff after.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kevin Owens vs Mustafa Ali- WWE Championship Match
Result: Bryan retains via pinfall on Ali
Thoughts: This was absolutely incredible. First of all; I feel incredibly bad for Mustafa Ali. It’s not his fault his name isn’t Kofi Kingston. Whilst I was delighted to see him – I feel a heel would have been a better choice to fill that third spot as they were always going to get booed. As expected, the crowd spent the entire match ferociously chanting for Kingston and now we go back to my previous segment; I feel that this match made the backstage moment even better. Swerving EVERYONE by keeping it a triple-threat but not allowing Kofi into it is absolutely genius booking. Ali however, definitely proved why he deserves this spotlight and I cannot wait to see the future he has on the main roster – he managed to get at least a portion of the crowd to cheer him even though he replaced Kingston. Owens and Bryan both played their roles perfectly; Bryan consistently trying to sneak punches and kicks whilst Owens consistently taking the fight to everyone at all times. Rowan, finally, getting involved was great as it finally gave us a reason as to why Bryan has him as henchman. And then the finish was ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL. The knee was literally out of nowhere and Ali sold it liked he’d been knocked out. A fantastic, fantastic match. Still, though, We Want Kofi!
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch – If Becky wins; the RAW Women’s Championship Match at WrestleMania becomes a Triple Threat
Result: Becky wins via DQ after Ronda punches her- Becky is added to the match
Thoughts: This feud has become stupidly convoluted for absolutely no reason. All they had to do was say ‘Becky wasn’t an official entrant into the Rumble, Charlotte gets her place’. Then have these past few months Lynch proving her point. But with the whole multiple suspensions, Charlotte being suddenly added, Ronda vacating the title, then not, then turning heel, then helping Becky is…odd at least. I’m obviously, delighted that Becky is in the main event. It makes the most sense and everyone wants it. I just feel that we could have got to this EXACT stage in a much, much simpler way. The match was Charlotte’s bread and butter as a heel; incredibly methodical as she consistently targeted Becky’s injured knee. It’s going to be interesting to see the explanation Ronda gives tomorrow night but regardless; The Man is going to Mania.
The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley
Result: The Shield win via pinfall
Thoughts: This was just fun wasn’t it? Seeing The Shield back and, most importantly, seeing Roman Reigns return to the ring was a fantastic thing to watch. It was almost a carbon copy of a typical Shield match – quiet for the first half for a feeling out process and then just absolute, complete insanity for the second half. Rollins and Ambrose fighting into the crowd was a nice hark back to the Evolution feud, Roman clearly hasn’t missed a single step and it was just a good time. There is definitely an aspect of The Shield’s magic slowly starting to fade every time but that’s what always happens when you see something so often. But Seth diving off a stage, Roman hitting Superman punches and Dean just being Dean is always fun to watch. The finish was great; two Triple Powerbombs, one through a table and a flashback to the original Shield days of circling the ring. A fantastic main event and a really feel good moment.
Overall Thoughts: WWE has put on three PPV’s this year and they’ve all been at least good. Royal Rumble was amazing, Elimination Chamber was alright and then this was great as well. Yeah, there were a few stumbles; sadly almost exclusively focused around the women which is unfair but still, it was a pretty damn great PPV overall. For a show that basically no-one was looking forward to; that was a lot of fun. Without a doubt.
Overall Grade: A-