Sunday, August 21st, 2016
Let’s see if an over 4 hour show can hold up in comparison to the NXT show the night previous. Length of shows seems to be the main hurdle WWE has with its main roster shows.
I must admit I like the stage setup. Also, a minor upgrade are the ring posts that are basically just 4 long LED screens. Not sure what I think of it yet.
Pre-Show match notes:
Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Mojo Rawley, and Zack Ryder vs. Simon Gotch, Aiden English, Konnor, Viktor, Tyler Breeze, and Fandango
The Babyface team wins. Tension was teased between American Alpha & The Usos. Hopefully, this leads to a much needed Usos heel turn (I say BOR, you say ING!). Ok, moving on.
Baron Corbin crashed the pre-show panel desk. I dig Corbin’s heel character and this worked for me.
After a dumb Q&A segment where fans ask the Q’s, and Sasha Banks gives the A’s, we shift to…
Sami Zayn and Neville vs. The Dudley Boyz
Zayn & Neville win, while the Dudleys reek of dissension in the ranks. Poor Zayn…stuck in pre-show hell. Just give Bubba his heel Bully run & be done with it.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the first of the best of 7 series
Sheamus wins the 1st match of the series with the Brogue Kick.
Typical superb, hard hitting match between these two. I still wish it had been on the main show. It’s not like it’s not 4 hours long.
Start of official show after a video package & pyro. The RAW announce crew of Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton introduce the show at ringside
Enzo & Big Cass vs. Jeri-KO
I knew this would open the official show, and it was the right move…for many reasons. Good pre-match mic work from Enzo & Cass…thankfully, it was kept brief.
Enzo plays a great face in-peril.
Owens & Jericho win with a pop-up codebreaker to Enzo. **3/4. Surprising, since I would have bet money that Enzo & Cass went over here.
Solid opener with a plethora of over, charismatic characters, that kept the crowd engaged.
Jon Stewart & his son, Nate interact with Shane, Mick Foley, Daniel Bryan, Stephanie & 2/3rds of the New Day. It appears that Stephanie is a heel again tonight. My head hurts.
Match 2-WWE Women’s Championship:
Charlotte vs. WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
Charlotte comes out first without Dana Brooke, looking mighty fine tonight. But, I digress. The champion out last, which is the way it should be. Charlotte still moves a tad robotic, but she has great facials when selling. A couple blown spots gets this match off to a rocky start, but they recover nicely. Good psychology of Charlotte working on Sasha’s back. A crazy top rope razor’s edge reversed into a hurracanrana by Sasha picked the match up.
After Sasha locks in the Bank Statement, the finish came with Charlotte rolling Sasha over onto her back for the pin.
Charlotte wins & regains the Women’s Championship. ***
This was just shy of getting to that classic level, but kudos to these two for managing to make their matches different each time. Refs came out to check on Sasha, and it seems like she hurt her back legit. I hope it’s just an angle. Too many dangerous spots attempted here, unnecessarily. They both are better than that. Took me out of the match a bit due to worry. Just my 2 cents.
The Club & AJ Styles reunite briefly in the back, and Balor enters the frame & teases joining in with the hand gesture, but just smiles and walks away. The crowd boo’ed, and so did I.
Match 3-Intercontinental Championship:
Apollo Crews vs. Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/Maryse
Mauro Ranallo, JBL & David Otunga step in on commentary to take over for the limited Smackdown portions of the show. Thank god for Maryse as otherwise, I wouldn’t have any desire to see Miz walk out for a match. Smiley McGee enters second. Fast forwarding, Miz hits the skull crushing finale on Crews for the win and retains the IC title. *1/2
Not much to say here
Video package airs setting up the upcoming match.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Man, the crowd has come alive for this. Split chants begin, that have become customary for Cena matches. AJ landed on his feet out of an AA, and lands a Pele kick to Cena, and then hits the Styles Clash & goes for the pin. And here comes the kick out of your opponent’s finishers portion of Cena matches. Although, when Styles is kicking out of a top rope super AA, I’m cool with it. Styles hits another Styles Clash, followed up with another flying forearm for the clean victory. ****3/4
Wow! Match of the year candidate. The great pay per view match streak for AJ Styles is still intact. The right guy goes over & Cena gets huge props from the crowd. I think it’s hiatus time for ol’ Cena.
Jon Stewart cuts an in ring promo, apologizing for lady year, and reveals his Booty-O’s T-shirt & fallic unicorn headband and introduces the New Day in absence of Big E. Much better use of Stewart this year. Is he the new Pete Rose?
Match 5-WWE Tag Team Championship:
Gallows & Anderson vs. WWE Tag Team Champions New Day
It’s Kofi & Xavier only tonight. I kept noticing someone in this match sounded like “Grandpa” Abe Simpson, and realized I think it’s the ref. There, I feel better now. Wait, I take that back cause right when I thought the Club were gonna get the win after the Magic Killer was given to Kofi, Jon Stewart jumps in the ring. The Club grabs Stewart (not before Stewart made sure he tucked his shirt in first), and teased crotching him on the ring post, ala Big E. Speaking of the devil, Big E makes the save and ends this match by DQ I presume. New Day retains. **1/2
Even though it was all silliness, I did chuckle, as I have a soft spot for Jon Stewart. Besides, he fit in with the mostly comedic team of New Day better than he would have most other acts.
Match 6-WWE World Championship:
Dolph Ziggler vs. WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose
Wait…this match is before the Reigns US title match? Well, I guess I should be grateful it didn’t open the show. Shane & Bryan are in the ring to greet the two competitors. Ziggler receives a good pop, but Ambrose may have gotten the pop of the night thus far. JBL sneaks in a Conor McGregor joke about his small stature. Surprised it took this long. Ziggler just does everything so fast. Gives me vertigo. Dirty Deeds DDT finishes Ziggler in an almost anti-climactic fashion. Ambrose retains WWE World Title. It was solid, but slightly underwhelming. Let’s say **1/2
Naomi, Carmella & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Bella
Naomi’s entrance is neat, but her outfit is distracting…& JBL agrees with me apparently. They teased Eva Marie coming out, but she allegedly has exhaustion. I guess a wellness violation suspension will do that. A returning Nikki Bella is her replacement. Saw that one coming…but, it was a positive. Have I mentioned how much I adore Becky Lynch yet? Well, I do.
Nikki Bella gets the win for her team after hitting the TKO on Carmella. *. Glad to see Nikki wisely retire the Rack Attack from her arsenal, due to her neck surgery. Also, Carmella is beautiful, but stunk up the joint here.
Maria Menounos interviews Rusev & Lana. Things were said. I’m tired. The match placement further proves to me that Reigns is walking out as US champ. The Reigns train is still chugging away.
Match 8-WWE Universal Championship
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
They show the new Universal Title in the ring. Eh. It’s basically a red version of the World Title, and also kind of looks similar to the Women’s Title. Great! Now, the IC Title is the only cool or unique looking belt they have. Rollins out first, then the Demon King/Kin/Kane. Big pop for Balor, as expected. Great paint job on Finn tonight. The crowd has woken up for this one. The last 5-10 minutes of this were really good, despite the kicking out of finishers. Balor did end up hitting the Coup De Grace to pin Rollins to become the first ever Universal Champion in his debut PPV match. ***1/2. That could have main evented.
Ziggler as Col. Sanders fighting The Miz in a KFC ad aired. What is this Leslie Nielsen eating Domino’s Pizza at Summerslam 94? I know it’s stupid, but I am not the one who wrote that skit. Blame them!
Match 9-United States Championship Match:
Roman Reigns vs. US Champion
Man, this poor crowd. Hell, screw that! Poor me! It’s already 9:30 & we still have this match. There is an overrun for sure, which is brutal if you’ve been in that arena seat since before 4:00 Central.
Boos for Reigns as he makes his entrance. Duh! Reigns & Rusev are brawling before the bell even sounded. Reigns dominates on Rusev and officials attempt to pry Reigns off of Rusev. Reigns eventually is escorted off, only to return to spear Reigns while the banshees at ringside wail in glee. Kevin Dunn is getting all shaky & zoomy with the camera again. Someone needs to tie a bag of chips to a string and keep pulling on it until they’ve lured him out of the production truck. The match is allegedly thrown out. Hey look at that! That’s 2 non finishes tonight! Rusev retains. No rating. The crowd turns on this with “We Want Slater & CM Punk” chants. Good lord
Match 10/Main Event:
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
We get an interesting announcing combo of Ranallo, JBL, Graves and Saxton. Mauro & Graves calling this was the right call. Mauro’s stats are a great addition to the action. Lesnar dodges an RKO attempt early, and proceeds to German suplex and toss Orton around like a rag doll. Orton ends up hitting the RKO on the table, but it doesn’t break. Orton in control now and hits another RKO which only gets a 2 count. Another RKO is reversed into an F5 which Orton kicks out of. Lesnar pounds on Orton & Randy is busted open. The refs are checking on Orton and Lesnar proceeds to keep on beating Lesnar and the referee calls for the bell. Lesnar wins via TKO. Man, that’s a lot of blood. Interesting ending indeed. **1/2 only because it was a spectacle. As burned out as I was with this show at times, I (and the live crowd presumably) was brought back to life for this match. WWE went a different direction for this, and I am intrigued to see where this leads. Unfortunately, it appears it may be leading to Shane McMahon against Lesnar as Shane confronted Lesnar and received an F5 for his trouble. If Shane takes a beating, then fine. If he is booked to look credible against Lesnar, WWE should be ashamed of themselves. That’s only if that’s the direction. One can only assume. If that’s the finish, then this should have been flip flopped with the Universal Title match in regards to match placement. What a downer way to end the show.
Well, there you have it. Another marathon WWE show in the books. If this was a tight standard 3 hours exactly, you have yourself a great show. I truly wish WWE would get their heads out of their asses, and quit these ridiculously long shows. Then, there’s a 3 hour 15 minute RAW tomorrow night. Covering wrestling shouldn’t be tedious or a chore. They make it hard sometimes, and I wish they would realize that these overly long shows are counter-productive. An exhausted crowd and over-saturated product isn’t going to help business. How can a company get it so right in NXT, and then turn around the next night and get it wrong. Less really is more. On the other side of the coin, this was a good show when you strip away the filler. It had some good matches and the main events delivered, so all negatives aside, a solid outing. Just, for the love of god WWE…shorten these shows. You can thank me later.