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Yo-Yo's Roomie

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I'm gonna keep going until I'm at the point where I started watching the shows regularly again, which was some point in 2016. I might just go to the beginning of 2017 to keep it nice and neat. 

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WWE Tables, Ladders, Chairs... and Stairs 2014.

Goldust and Stardust Vs The New Day (kickoff match): Big E and Kofi on duty for the New Day. They're in pre-cool babyface mode here, but aren't getting completely shit on. This is a fun opening tag with New Day picking up the W. The Cosmic Twins are on the outs.

Luke Harper Vs Dolph Ziggler: Intercontinental title ladder match, with Harper defending. AKA Ziggler dies for our sins. Holy shit, this is brutal. Dolph is busted open, and is just taking some crazy bumps. These two guys clearly went out and decided they were going to steal the show, which you'd have to credit as good character work for Ziggler. I love when a ladder match goes the route of just being brutal, rather than having a bunch of contrived cutesy spots. Harper has to be an MVP contender for 2014 too. Ziggler recaptures the gold.

Damien Mizdow and The Miz Vs The Usos: So, the tag belts are on Miz and Mizdow now. I loved the act, but the flaw with putting the tag belts on them was that we ended up getting a lot of Miz wrestling handicap matches and being way too competitive in them. Crowd support for MIzdow growing by the week. This ends in a dq win for the Usos. Probably more angle advancement than match.

The Big Show Vs Erick Rowan: Here we are then, a fucking stairs match for your pleasure. What a terrible idea. Who thought a match built around stair usage would be entertaining, and that these two would be the guys to pull it off. If you are gonna run with a stairs match, it should have featured John Cena. He's the undisputed stairmaster of the WWE. So, this was mostly boring, and pretty silly. Oh shit, I forgot about Big Red too. Haha. One of the worst attempts to force a nickname on someone ever. Show goes over but they try to keep Rowan strong in defeat.

John Cena Vs Seth Rollins: Table match for a shot at Lesnar at the Rumble. Man, 20-plus minutes for a tables match. This was dull with a capital D. J&J ran interference throughout the early part of the match, before Cena took them out. Then there was a shmozz with a ref bump, and Big Show came out to aid Rollins. Finally, the Big Dog, Roman Reigns made his triumphant return from injury to even the odds and aid Cena with the win. Of course, Rollins would get added to that Rumble match anyway. Reigns's return was pretty well-received. No real sign of the storm cloud to come yet.

Nikki Bella Vs AJ Lee: Nikki is defending the divas title, and her and Brie are on the same page again. Very weird how they wrapped up that angle. Nikki is starting to look like a credible force now, and this is a decent match.

Ryback Vs Kane: Chair match. Oh boy. After the ladder match, these gimmick matches have been rough. Again, a totally uninteresting match, both on paper and in execution. Ryback finally wins, and the crowd is checked out.

Rusev Vs Jack Swagger: US title on the line. Rusev continues to roll. I've been surprised (very pleasantly so) at just how good Rusev has looked in his first year on the main roster. Sure, his matches have all been short, but there's nothing wrong with having consistently good short matches. This is another sprint, but has a good mix of strong selling (mostly from Rusev), big offence, and hope spots for Swagger to get the crowd into it. And Rusev wins again.

Bray Wyatt Vs Dean Ambrose: Ambrose again getting the big main event slot on ppv. It's like they knew what they had with him enough to keep him in the main events, but not enough to actually have him win any of them. Which isn't inconsistent with how WWE operated during this time. Anyway, these two go at each other with enough reckless abandon to keep this interesting for the most part, but the exploding TV finish is really lame, and ended the show on a sour note. Which isn't inconsistent with how WWE operated during this time.

Match of the night: By far and away it's the ladder match. 3 3/4 stars. I'd give 3 stars to the tag team kickoff match and the main event too.

Show rating: A very disappointing show overall, with long stretches of crap, and then a main event which ended on a complete downer. Watch the opener and then turn the Show Off. 2 stars.

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WWE Fastlane 2015.

Seth Rollins, The Big Show and Kane Vs Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback: The Authority really were an all-time worst stable. Not exactly a thriller to open the show. Rowan as face in peril. Ziggler ends up taking the fall from a chokeslam from Kane, then the Authority continue the beatdown until Randy Orton makes his return from something or other and cleans house. Count the reasons I wouldn't enjoy this.

Goldust Vs Stardust: I enjoyed this. Kinda old school in that there was a lot of character work and stalling from Cody. You don't see a tonne of that anymore. This angle altogether was quite interesting to me, with Cody getting lost in the Stardust character and Goldust and Dusty trying to bring him back. It's a shame it was treated as something so low on the card, or it might have had more heat to it. Goldust picks up a win, but Cody attacks him in the back in front of Dusty.

The Usos Vs Cesaro and Tyson Kidd: Yes, I forgot about the Cesaro/Kidd team. I was a big fan of them. The Usos are defending the tag titles here. Good match as you'd expect, with Kidd and Cesaro taking the titles. Man, they really moved those tag belts around a lot during this period. 

Next was Triple H calling out Sting. Hunter's promo was kinda long and obnoxious in that Hunter kind of way, and I didn't buy at all this as some sort of dream match that we've all been clamouring for for years (and the match itself was pathetic, as it turned out). But otherwise this was a well-done segment. Sting didn't talk, which is a plus, and when the time came Trips stooged for and begged off from Sting. 

Nikki Bella Vs Paige: Oh dear, Paige is a babyface again, and thus reverts to being terrible. Nikki can't really carry this to something passable.

Bad News Barrett Vs Dean Ambrose: The IC title is back on Barrett. This was a fun match. The finish was one of those lame 'ref DQs the babyface because he won't stop kicking heel in the corner' deals, but otherwise these two seemed to have good chemistry. Ambrose stole the IC belt after the match, which I thought was funny.

Bray Wyatt came out in a casket to challenge the Undertaker. This was what it was.

Rusev Vs John Cena: Here we go. Big time feel to this. This could not not be good, right? Right. By far Rusev's biggest match, and probably his longest match, certainly on ppv, and he pretty much knocked it out of the park in that Rusev way. Cena sells way too much early on in matches sometimes, and this was one of those times. Rusev's selling was great, both of fatigue and of frustration that he couldn't dominate Cena like he's dominated so many others. He got to survive the STF and kick out of an AA too. Finally it took Lana distracting the ref and a low blow, followed by a thrust kick and Accolade to keep Cena down. Cue the celebrations. Annoyed that the announcers were going on about how this is in the records as a submission loss for Cena, even though he passed out in the hold. Graves even backed that up on the pre-show panel. Blatantly wrong.

Roman Reigns Vs Daniel Bryan: This is to decide the number one contender for the world title at Mania. It's noticeable early on that the crowd isn't really into this as much as you would think they would, or should, be. Whether that's just fatigue at WWE booking, the nagging feeling that kayfabe-wise, Bryan doesn't really deserve to be in this spot, or just a shit crowd, I don't know. But it was surprising. Fans be damned, this was a great match. Booked to make both guys seem pretty even, with Reigns getting the win with a desperation spear to counter the running knee. Reigns had already kicked out of one running knee. Between this and the Lesnar match, it was clear Reigns had arrived as a singles star. The two shook hands after the match, and Bryan told Reigns he better kick Lesnar's ass at Mania.

Match of the night: The top two matches definitely delivered, with the main event being the better of the two. 3 3/4 for that, 3 1/2 for Cena/Rusev. 3 stars for Ambrose/Barrett and the tag title match.

Show rating: While this may have seemed like a filler pay-per-view at the time, I thought this was a strong show in-ring wise. 4 3 star+ matches is a good showing, and it ensures 2015 begins better than 2014 ended. 3 1/4 stars.

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WWE Extreme Rules 2015.

Neville Vs Bad News Barrett (kickoff match): So I gather this was supposed to be Barrett challenging Bryan for the IC title, but obviously that never happened, so we get this instead. Neville has to be a contender for worst wrestling name ever. Neville is an old guy who wears socks and sandals, not someone to be taken seriously in a combat sport. This is a pretty good match, good contrast in styles, and a good strong win for Neville.

Dean Ambrose Vs Luke Harper: Chicago Street Fight. I love that wiki has this listed as going just under an hour. What happens is they leave the arena in a car, and then return later to finish the match. That's kinda silly (too often they did this goofy stuff with Ambrose), but the work itself here is pretty good. Harper hits a wicked powerbomb on Ambrose on a steel chair, which Ambrose really shouldn't be kicking out of, let alone going back on offence just moments later. I love how the ring is filled with chairs at the end, but Ambrose someone manages to miss them all when delivering the match-ending Dirty Deeds.

Sheamus Vs Dolph Ziggler: Kiss Me Arse match. It's funny- at the time of his comeback, I thought Sheamus looked ridiculous with the mohawk, but now I think that's a way better look for him than what he had previous. This was a fun match. They obviously match up well with Ziggler's strong suit being his bumping, and Sheamus having strong offence, but this goes beyond that and is actually a strong babyface performance from Ziggler in general, with his sympathetic selling and struggling to get Sheamus off his feet. Ziggler pulls out an upset win, but rather than adhere to the stips and kissing Ziggler's arse, Sheamus low blows him and rubs his face in Sheamus'. Good bit of heeling.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd Vs The New Day: Kidd and Cesaro defending the belts, and embraced as babyfaces now. How could you not cheer this team? I get a bit sad watching Kidd now. Such a shame how he got hurt during the best run of his career. This is another strong match. Kingston and E on New Day duty again. Lots of near falls and big spots, before Kofi steals the win and the belts for his team. 

John Cena Vs Rusev: Russian Chain match. Okay, this match has obvious faults. The goofy lights indicating when a wrestler has touched a corner really makes this seem lame. You'd really want more hate and nastiness from a match like this. Where's Rusev dragging Cena around by his neck? The thing I probably hated the most is the use of Lana; the 'we want Lana' chants resulting in her climbing onto the apron and waving happily to the crowd, which leads to Rusev berating her and sending her to the back. First of all, it's so out of character for Lana to react like that when she's shown nothign but disdain for the American fans. Secondly, this runs totally counter to what we know about the Lana/Rusev relationship up to this point- Lana was always the one controlling Rusev, which is part of the appeal of the act. Those faults aside, I do think Cena and Rusev have really good chemistry. This isn't as good as the Fastlane match, nor from memory, is it as good as the Mania match, but I still enjoyed watching these two work together. I also liked the finish which was a twist on the old 'both guys touching the turnbuckles at the same time bit', as they were knocking off alternate buckles, and then both were left needing the same one, which led to a stand-off, and then finally an AA to secure the win for Cena. Yeah, I thought this was okay, all things considered.

Nikki Bella Vs Naomi: The Bellas are babyfaces again. These girls are like the Big Show of the women's division with their constant turns. Naomi has done her heel turn and usurped Paige as number one contender. Makes her a face in my book. Not a particularly good match.

Roman Reigns Vs The Big Show: Last Man Standing Match. I'm not typically a fan of last man standings, but this one hits all the right notes for me. Every now and then Show just nails a great big man performance, looking like an absolute beast, but being vulnerable at the right times. Reigns is great working from underneath, and I loved his 'gimmick' during this time of taking lots of abuse but not staying down. It seemed way more believable than your typical main event face getting beat up all match but overcoming the odds (not talking about anyone in particular there, honest guv). The big spots, like Reigns being chokeslammed through tables, and the old spear through the barricade, all looked good, and the counts didn't hinder the flow of the match, or seem like too much of a way to contrive a sense of drama. One gripe: the big spear through the announce table should have been the match-ender. Roman overturning the table onto Show, while it looked quite nasty, was unnecessary in my opinion, and the referee shouldn't count when Reigns was standing on top of the table anyway.

Next there was a bit with Bo Dallas coming out to cut a promo on the Chicago fans, only to get destroyed by Ryback. Ryback is dogshit.

Seth Rollins Vs Randy Orton: Steel cage match with Kane as the 'gatekeeper'. Yuck to this main event. Bring back Bo and Ryback. This worked best when Rollins was pinballing around for Orton, but that didn't last long and soon Rollins was on top with his boring heel offence. The big story here is whether or not Kane will do what's 'best for business' or who fucking cares. Jamie Noble sighting, which is always cool. I've been giving my dog drops in (yes, in) his penis this past week, and that's been a more pleasant experience than watching this match. It all breaks down and before you know it Kane is in the ring chokeslamming both men (all four if you count J&J), Orton is using the Pedigree, and finally Rollins is using the RKO before exiting the cage (in the most ridiculous manner ever, I might add- I don't know if he was trying to wrench a last droplet of drama out of the match by pretending he was having a stroke as he crawled out the door or what). I'm actually angry watching this as the fans are yes chanting for Randy Orton. Have some fucking self respect.

Match of the night: Hands down the LMS between Reigns and Show. 3 3/4 stars. I might go 3 1/4 for Sheamus/Ziggler and the tag title match, and 3 stars for the chain match, the Chicago street fight and the kickoff match.

Show rating: This is a sneaky good card, and you might be looking at one of the best top to bottom cards in company history if that cage match didn't happen. This seems to be a problem the company has been having for a long time- strong undercard, weak main event. We'll see if that continues throughout the year. 3 1/2 stars.   

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Forgot to mention Kane taking the worst RKO bump ever in the main event. Kane not being able to take a front bump is nothing new, but you could have driven a bus through the space between his head and the mat on this one.

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It's crazy how many of these reviews I'll read where I'll get through like five matches before I realize I've seen the show before. 

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WWE Payback 2015.

R-Truth Vs Stardust (kickoff match): Stardust has really fallen, jobbing to Truth on the pre-show. Pretty poor match.

The Ascension Vs The Meta Powers (kickoff match): Wait, were 'Macho Mandow' and 'Axelmania' really billed as the Meta Powers? That's what wiki has them as. This was such a terrible gimmick. Axel was entertaining doing his Axelmania stuff when it was just about him never being eliminated from the rumble, but WWE just turned it into a Hogan cosplay act. Sandow is one of the more poorly used guys, probably ever, and it's notable that he's still really over even doing this shit. Another poor match, with the Ascension going over. When did the kickoff show become an episode of Main Event?

Sheamus Vs Dolph Ziggler: This feud continues, and they turn in another solid match here. Much more dominant display from Sheamus here, and more decent selling from Ziggler. Ziggler gets his revenge from the kiss me arse finale by rubbing Sheamus' face into his, well, his hip. Sheamus should have leaned into the spot a bit more. Nice finish with Ziggler hitting a desperation headbutt, but busting himself open, allowing Sheamus to hit the Brogue kick and pick up the duke.

The New Day Vs Cesaro and Tyson Kidd: Kingston and E on duty for New Day again. This is 2/3 falls. WWE was really in love with this gimmick during this time frame, without ever knowing how to really utilise it. Good match, with Kidd as a strong face in peril, and Cesaro showing off some impressive spots. Anything with Cesaro and E going at it is gold. Cesaro and Kidd win the first fall, but New Day take the next two (with Xavier sneaking in and pinning Cesaro with a small package for the decider) to retain the belts. I hope that isn't the end of Cesaro and Kidd as a team.

Ryback Vs Bray Wyatt: Has the feel of a thrown together match to get both guys on the card. Ryback needs to stop having solid matches. It interferes with me talking about how worthless he is. Yeah, this is decent, two big guys throwing offence at each other stuff, with Wyatt picking up the win.

John Cena Vs Rusev: I Quit match. The last encounter between the two (for now), and the weakest of the 4 show stretch. Rusev is great with his character work and selling as always. Cena seems to have really regressed as a worker during this period. Ironic with how much praise he was getting at this time. PWG Cena and all that. In these matches with Rusev he just comes out of the gate and immediately starts selling like he's taken the beating of a lifetime. The way this match is worked just seems odd to me. Like, both guys have submission finishers, so maybe trying to get your opponent in one of those to say I quit? Instead it's just hit move, "ask him", "no", ad nauseum. Then they recreate the bit from the Orton/Cena iron man where Orton tries to blow Cena up with pyro. Which I hated then and hate now. Finally Rusev locks on the Accolade, but Cena passes out, revealing a flaw in the I Quit match. Rusev revives him, but Cena locks on an STF (assisted with the top rope that Rusev has detached- again borrowed from another match), and Rusev starts yelling in Bulgarian, leading to Lana declaring that he quits. I thought that worked as a finish at least, to somewhat protect Rusev's character, and build on the breakup of Rusev and Lana (which shouldn't have happened, but, y'know?).

The Bella Twins Vs Naomi and Tamina: Not a good match by any stretch of the imagination. I'm still not sure why anyone thinks Naomi is any good, and Tamina has never been good at anything other than kicking people in the face. Which she does here. And it's probably the highlight of the match. The divas division needs some fresh blood stat.

Neville Vs King Barrett: A rematch of the king of the ring final. A step down from their pre-show match from Extreme Rules. Barrett takes a deliberate countout loss.

Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose Vs Roman Reigns Vs Randy Orton: Everything from the moment the (former) Shield powerbomb Orton through the announce table on is really good and heated. Nice genuine moment when Ambrose and Reigns powerbomb Kane onto Rollins, who is lying on the other announce table; the table doesn't break leading in a 'more more time' chant from the fans- cut to Reigns who looks at Ambrose and says "get him up again", and a big smile breaks out on Ambrose's face. Nice to see guys reacting to the crowd. And the table broke on the second attempt, so it has a happy ending. That leads to a fun sequence between Reigns and Ambrose, with the two (three if you count Kane) dullards laid out on the outside. The story going in is that if Rollins doesn't retain his title, Kane is fired as director of operations. They teased dissent all night, but pretty much straight away Kane, along with J&J, is running interference for the champ. Orton and Rollins return for a hot finishing stretch, ending with Kane taking another awful RKO bump, and then Rollins hitting a piss poor Pedigree on Orton. Still, the match ended up being way better than it was shaping up to be.

Match of the night: A couple of contenders, but I'd say the main hit higher highs, and thus gets the nod. I have that, Ziggler/Sheamus and the tag title match at 3 stars.

Show rating: An overall fun show with the only real misstep being the I Quit match. 2 3/4 stars. 

 

 

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It's gotten to the point where I laugh in such a distinct way when Tamina superkicks some yak into the fifth row that my wife instantly knows whats happening when she hears it...

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On a whim, decided to watch the 2011 Elimination Chamber show. Really good show with a hot crowd from beginning to end. Even the opening match with Kofi and del Rio had the crowd really going. Both Chamber matches were really good. This was peek heel Michael Cole, but it wasn't really too bad in this show other than the Miz/Lawler match. I remember being totally against Miz as Champ back then, but he held his own and was great on the mic in his pre-match interview. I always gave Miz props for his mic work, but didn't think he had it in the ring until recently. Was I just too involved in my own "smarkiness" at the time to give Miz his due in the ring? Or was this match an anomoly? I mean, I do remember the ladder match with King on RAW being good as well. Kind of makes me want to revisit some of The Miz's other matches from around this time. Any recommended matches of his from then, or should I not bother?

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49 minutes ago, MonteCarl said:

I always gave Miz props for his mic work, but didn't think he had it in the ring until recently. Was I just too involved in my own "smarkiness" at the time to give Miz his due in the ring? Or was this match an anomoly? I mean, I do remember the ladder match with King on RAW being good as well. Kind of makes me want to revisit some of The Miz's other matches from around this time. Any recommended matches of his from then, or should I not bother?

Miz/Morrison falls count anywhere from 1/3/11 RAW is the best as far as during his title reign outside the Lawler feud.

As far as post-title reign but still around that time, Miz/Rey from 7/25/11 RAW was pretty good stuff, Miz/Swagger vs Riley/Rey from 6/23/11 RAW is a lot of fun. I recall liking Cena/Miz from 10/31/11 RAW the most of the Cena/Miz 2011 matches, it's a shorter under 10 min match but solid from what I remember.

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The main event from Extreme Rules that year was also some high quality Miz material. And I believe the Miz-Cena match from the following night on Raw (in Miami I believe) was my favourite of their matches that year, but I haven't seen it since it aired.

And he was in a couple number one contender triple threats that year where he was pretty dang good.

WWE TV can make you under-appreciate a guy if they go all in on him or don't go in on him enough. Miz has suffered a lot of that. 

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WWE Elimination Chamber 2015.

Stardust Vs Zack Ryder (kickoff match): Standard meaningless kickoff match, with Stardust picking up the win. 

The New Day Vs The Ascension vs The Lucha Dragons Vs Cesaro and Tyson Kidd Vs Los Matadores Vs The Prime Time Players: The first ever tag team chamber match, with the New Day defending. All three members of New Day are in the pod, I guess as a reward for doing some dirty work for the Authority or something. Seemed like such an easy thing to get right, but they get it so very, very wrong. Not even Cesaro and Kidd can make this watchable, which is something. Kalisto spends half the match doing something on top of the New Day's pod, then takes a really long time to climb to the top of the chamber, then seems to have second thoughts about whatever he was going to do, leaving everyone underneath him to just stand there waiting like idiots. Then when he finally does drop, he pretty much misses them all. King says it was awesome. JBL can't even lie, and says it was stupid. Torito, who was also hanging out in the chamber, makes a much easier job of scaling the chamber (though not as high), and diving onto the Ascension (who catch him and throw him at the Matadores). The Ascension get rid of the Dragons and the Matadores, before being eliminated themselves. It comes down to the PTP and the New Day. I think the crowd deflated when Cesaro and Kidd went out. They were the favourites here. The New Day retain the belts. Incredibly disappointing match.

Nikki Bella Vs Paige Vs Naomi: This is not a good match, but it isn't for the lack of trying from these girls. In fact, there's something commendable, if not stupid, about the way they approach this 6 minute filler match. First Nikki Bella starts taking bumps that have me wondering if that's where her neck problems come from. I always wondered about how someone like Nikki, who seems to work such a low-risk style, ended up with a fucked up neck (while obviously acknowledging that it can happen to anyone). Then Paige decided to up the ante. First she takes a German suplex off the top rope. A German suplex off the TOP ROPE. And now I'm thinking, well that HAS to be where her neck problems come from. Then she takes a reverse rana from Naomi and lands straight on the back of her neck. Okay, so THAT's where her neck problems come from. Reverse ranas have to be the stupidest move ever. I've never seen a reverse rana and thought, wow, that looked awesome. I've seen multiple reverse ranas where I've thought, okay, so that person is dead now. Nikki retains.

John Cena Vs Kevin Owens: Big match feel for this one. I know this got a lot of praise, but am I the only one who doesn't care for this period of John Cena at all? I mean, this was pretty good as a showcase for what Owens can do, but Cena's stuff just seems so samey at this point. No nuance. Take a beatdown from the opening bell until it's time to bust out the big moves. Then it's just trading bombs and kickouts. I'll take Cena fighting from underneath against Umaga or Brock over this any day of the week. KO winning was a nice shock though.

Neville Vs Bo Dallas: Seems like a filler match, but they have decent chemistry and make the most of the time they have. This is the best I've probably ever seen Bo look at any rate. It always seemed like they were building Neville to something, but never really moved him to the next level.

Sheamus Vs Ryback Vs Mark Henry Vs Dolph Ziggler Vs R-Truth Vs King Barrett: For the vacant IC title. Rusev was supposed to compete but got hurt so was replaced by Henry. Maybe Rusev being in there could have saved this match. Maybe nothing could. I don't know. It was a bit of a disaster. Henry's pod got accidentally busted open, and nobody seemed to really know what to do for a minute, until Henry finally decided (or was told, more likely) to just come in. The idea behind Sheamus locking himself into his pod and pretending it was a malfunction was a good one, but again everyone was just standing around like 'what do we do?'. Sheamus, when he finally got in, was the best performer in the match, which isn't saying a lot. It was mostly just very blah. No real cool spots, no violence. Ryback ended up winning and then Bryan presented him with the belt and led the crowd in a yes chant for him. That bit was kinda weird too.

Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose: Rollins comes out with J&J and Kane, but Reigns is banned from ringside. This is another Rollins snoozefest special. Best moment of the match was Ambrose diving on Rollins and both going flying over the announce table. For that moment things threatened to get exciting. Ambrose's offence is super weak. At least 5 rebound lariats were attempted/hit, at least 2 flying elbowdrops. He's lucky he can sell and has charisma. Maybe if you combined Rollins and Ambrose you'd get a great pro wrestler, but maybe not since even Rollins' offence was boring as shit here. There was a ref bump and a second ref came out and counted Rollins down after Dirty Deeds, declaring Ambrose the champ. Crowd popped big, but they had to know that original ref was coming back and DQing Rollins for shoving him into Ambrose. The beatdown on Ambrose commenced before Reigns came out, to a decent-sized pop, to make the save. I did like Ambrose and Reigns taking the belt and leaving through the crowd.

Match of the night: Erm, oh, Cena and Owens. Not the great match I'd been led to believe it would be, but it had enough to make it at least good. 3 stars.

Show rating: Pants. Is that a rating? Because that's what this show is. I don't know, 1 star? 1 and a half for the girls' commitment to killing themselves. Yeah.

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This Owens/Cena match was hurt for me in retrospect by them having the exact same match the next two months in a row.

Bryan was always a really good sport about giving the rub to guys that were going to get shredded by the crowd just for not being him. 

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You're read on Cena is spot on. And I feel that with a few exceptions, that assessment is still valid all the way to the present. I'll get excited to see a fresh opponent get their chance for some spotlight against Big Match John, but it's been a while since I've been excited for John himself. Which is incredibly disappointing, because his tippy-top best work still holds up. 

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The third Owens/Cena match was especially bad in that "didn't we already see all of this" way.

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WWE Money in the Bank 2015.

R-Truth Vs King Barrett (kickoff match): Barrett has full king regalia. Truth is claiming to be King What's Up. Standard 5 min match with Truth scoring an upset win.

Dolph Ziggler Vs Kane Vs Kofi Kingston Vs Sheamus Vs Roman Reigns Vs Neville Vs Randy Orton: Kicking off the show with the MITB ladder match. This is laid out like dogshit. Completely lazy 'everyone lay around on the outside while 2 guys go at it in the ring' structure. Each guy gets their little turn trying to climb the ladder, only for someone to come in and stop them. The only time the match has any dynamism is during Reigns' shine period. He looks head and shoulders above everyone else in the match, in terms of being an exciting, fresh presence. I liked New Day trying to help Kofi too. So, Reigns is about to grab the briefcase when Bry Wyatt comes out in his apron and costs him the match, starting that feud that made no sense. Kind of a bummer moment. Sheamus eventually fights off Neville to win the case. Personally, I'm fine with Sheamus winning as I liked his heel act at this point, but he clearly wasn't the right choice for the wider fanbase. I think the Money in the Bank match has eaten itself.

Nikki Bella Vs Paige: Paige cuts a good promo before the match about how the Bellas have had the divas division on lockdown for too long, and she needs someone else in the division to back her up. She and Nikki then have a pretty good match. This is the best Paige has looked in this project by quite some way. Certainly the best babyface performance she has given. I liked the finish with the Bellas trying twin magic, but Paige pinning Brie. Brie then showing the ref and Paige that she isn't Nikki by pulling tissue out of her top was great, and should have resulted in a DQ win for Paige, but somehow the ref let the match continue and Nikki blindsided Paige with a forearm, before putting her away with the Rack Attack. The commentators called out the ref for his bullshit decision.

Ryback Vs The Big Show: Ryback defending the IC title. Miz is involved in the build here, and is doing commentary on the match. This is pretty wank after the opening flurry by Ryback, and ends prematurely when Miz interfered, attacking both guys with a microphone. I like the idea of Miz's weapon of choice being a mic.

John Cena Vs Kevin Owens: The match where transitions go to die. This match still has a big match feel, and actually the crowd are gobbling this up, with numerous 'this is awesome' chants, and pops for all the nearfalls. But all it is is two guys taking turns to hit big moves and kicking out at 2. The first match had the narrative of Owens taking it to Cena to prove that he was on his level. You could generously say this had the narrative of Cena raising his game and busting out new stuff to put Owens away. It might have worked better if he didn't make a dog's dinner out of the code red and the springboard stunner (which is one of the worst moves I've ever seen anyway). Again, crowd was legit organically molten for this, to their credit. I did like Owens being a dick and beating Cena down after a post-match handshake.

The New Day Vs The Prime Time Players: Here's your cool down match. I guess it says a lot that they didn't put the women in this spot. Not a terribly good match. No shine for the faces, just a beatdown on Young until he tags O'Neill, and O'Neill ends up putting Woods away to win the tag belts. 

Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose: Ladder match for the world title. This match is long. Really long. Like 35 mins long. When they said it was main event time with 50 mins left in the show, I assumed they had some angle planned for after the match. But nope. They just let these two go for 35 minutes. The story is that Reigns conned Rollins into competing in this match with no Authority interference. Long Triple H promo in the back where he psychs Rollins up to show everyone why he, Triple H, chose him. I can't blame them too much for not being able to work a compelling 35 minute ladder match. I can blame them a bit though, because Rollins is a bore, and Ambrose's offence is shit. Ambrose has gone down quite a bit in my estimation with this project. The finish saw Rollins methodically demolishing Ambrose, Triple H stylie, with the story being that Ambrose kept getting back up. In the end they both pulled the belt down together, but Rollins was the one who hung on to it, so he was declared the winner. Triple H came out to celebrate with him and make sure everyone knows that he's the reason we have Rollins as champion. And the death march continues.

Match of the night: Gonna give it to the women. It was no great shakes, but it didn't actively piss me off like most of the other matches did.

Show rating: This is the worst show for quite a while. Nothing hits the 3 star mark. The 3 big matches all hugely disappointed, mostly due to unoriginal booking/layout, and annoying tropes. I'll go 1.5 stars.

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Even when they gave Sheamus the briefcase here, I would've bet my life on him never winning the unified belt. I couldn't believe they'd go back to him in a post-brand split era. 

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WWE Battleground 2015.

King Barrett Vs R-Truth (kickoff match): So this feud is still going on. This match is for the title of King. If I was Barrett I'd probably want to get rid of it. Decent little match with Barrett winning with a royal Bullhammer.

Randy Orton Vs Sheamus: This match seemed to go on forever. Not that it was particularly bad. I would call it blandly effective. What stood out was just how over Orton was in this match. Like, crazy over. It actually worried me how over it was, and it was only at the end of the match that I realised we were in St Louis, which made me feel a bit better. I can't handle Orton being that over in just any city. An RKO out of nowhere sealed the deal.

The Prime Time Players Vs The New Day: Tag title rematch, with Big E and Kofi on duty. Better than the last match between the two teams. They got a little more time, so could build things a bit better. PTP had the tools. Young was an effective enough face in peril, and Titus is a hell of a hot tag. Actually, both Titus and Young got a chance to play hot tag here, and did well in the spot. They retained, which caught me off guard as I thought they lost them right back.

Bray Wyatt Vs Roman Reigns: This was a decent big man match. I still think Wyatt usually brings it between the bells during this period. Reigns is having a great run. Goes much longer than it needs too, but I like the finish with Luke Harper coming in to help Bray win. It was a feud we didn't need to see happen, but this first match was decent at least.

Charlotte Vs Brie Bella Vs Sasha Banks: So, here's the Women's Revolution beginning in earnest. I'd never seen the segment that began this angle, but watching it in the promo video for this match, it's pretty terrible, with Steph basically taking all the credit for herself. I mean, it's blatant, and more sickening than her announcement of the women's rumble match. Nevertheless, the in-ring quality shows a sharp uptick here. Sasha particularly looks great in this match, and already looks head and shoulders above all the other women in terms of star power. Charlotte looks good too, but was miscast as a generic babyface, which everyone knew at the time. Brie keeps up just fine. Charlotte makes Brie tap to the figure-8.

John Cena Vs Kevin Owens: Boy, you guys weren't kidding when you said this was basically a retread of their previous matches. There are spots and sequences in this one lifted directly from the previous match, to the point I actually wondered whether I'd seen this one before. They basically just ramp up the finisher/big move kick-outs. Once again, the crowd is absolutely wolfing this down. So at the very least you can say these guys were playing to their audience. Cena wins via tap out, but Owens gets to kick out of a lot of stuff, including a top rope AA. Yeah, it's not for me, but I do wonder why (from memory) opinion was so split on this, whereas the Cena/AJ matches were hailed almost universally as classics, when to me they are worked with the same philosophy.

There was a thing with Miz coming out in some ridiculous outfit and getting knocked out by Big Show. I think this might have been Show turning face again. It was meant to be Ryback defending the IC title in the triple threat, but he was injured.

Seth Rollins Vs Brock Lesnar: Rollins neck is so thick, he looks like a thumb with a face drawn on it. Lesnar, I guess, looks like the most terrifying economy bag of potatoes imaginable. This match was worked pretty perfectly, and is easily Rollins' best title defense to date. It's basically just Lesnar kicking his ass, with Rollins getting in a couple of believable flurries of offence. Just when it looks like Lesnar has the match won, The Undertaker comes out, looking like a jar of apricot preserves that someone has screwed the wrong lid on to. He uses a low blow to put Lesnar down, which was a nice way to show that he isn't sure he can handle Lesnar in a fair fight anymore, and then gives him a couple of tombstones. If you're gonna do a non-finish in a main event title match, it better be for something big like this.

Match of the night: I'll take that main event at 3 stars as the best match of of the night. Reigns/Wyatt at just about 3 stars too.

Show rating: A pretty decent show. I can see people really liking it if they're big fans of WWE big match style. I'll say 2 1/2 stars.

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On 3/17/2018 at 8:02 AM, Yo-Yo's Roomie said:

The Undertaker comes out, looking like a jar of apricot preserves that someone has screwed the wrong lid on to.

Yowza.

Man, that Ambrose-Rollins match just wouldn't end. And I'm sorta with you on the Cena-AJ matches. 

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WWE Night of Champions 2015.

Stardust and the Ascension Vs Neville and the Lucha Dragons (kickoff match): Solid but unspectacular 6-man. The 'Cosmic Wasteland' pick up the win.

Ryback Vs Kevin Owens: So I've turned a corner and am now willing to admit that Ryback is a decent worker. This was a really solid match. Owens still looks motivated, and feels like a fresh act, and Ryback sells well and has some impressive strength spots, like press slamming Owens over the top rope. Owens wins the IC title after a rake to the eyes.

Rusev Vs Dolph Ziggler: This whole angle is pretty much a mess, but I think Rusev and Ziggler have good in-ring chemistry. I'm still seeing Ziggler as a good worker at this point, although he's getting stale. Rusev just goes from strength to strength. I think the Summerslam match they had was better than this, but this was good in its own right. Ziggler pulls off the upset win after Summer Rae's interference backfires. Crowd is hot for this too, with loud 'we want Lana' chants. 

The New Day Vs The Dudley Boyz: New Day are turning a corner here from annoying heels to entertaining heels, and you can see this is only going to end one way if they continue down this path. Xavier, in particular, is getting a lot of love for his outside the ring antics, including the use of Francesca. The Dudleys look old and kind of shitty. The Dudleys win by DQ after Xavier gets involved. The post match sees Xavier get put through a table. This kinda reminded me of when the Outlaws were feuding with LOD.

Nikki Bella Vs Charlotte: This felt like a big marker in the change of attitude towards women's wrestling. The match was presented as a big deal, with a detailed video package and in-ring introductions, and they were given quite a lot of time. Unfortunately, the match was quite dull. Nikki controls most of the match, working over Charlotte's leg, which is fine, but not terribly exciting. Charlotte is miscast as the underdog face here, and is pretty bland in the role. The story seems to be Nikki destroying the leg to take the figure 8 out of the equation, but Charlotte ends up locking the hold on without any problem to get the tap-out win. Naitch is out to celebrate, and I do appreciate Charlotte still selling the leg while doing the Flair strut. 

Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman Vs Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho: Jericho is the mystery partner of the Shield guys, and is the worst performer in the match. Strowman looks effective for the little bits he's in there. I love the chemistry Reigns and Ambrose have as a team. This is fun stuff, especially when it breaks down. Strowman gets the win over Jericho, which leads to Jericho sulking and walking out on Ambrose and Reigns. I'm guessing that leads to the awful Ambrose/Jericho feud.

Seth Rollins Vs John Cena: Rollins defending the US title. Cena is shit. There, I said it. This is just another exhibition of moves, and it lacks even the sense of violence that Owens brought to that feud. Rollins is a great athlete, but he's a pretty clueless worker. No way he should be doing insane strength spots like rolling through on a cross body and deadlifting Cena up to an AA position, no matter how impressive it is. Cena regained the US title with a single AA.

Seth Rollins Vs Sting: Rollins tried to escape with his belt, but Cena stopped him, giving him another AA on the floor, which seems a bit unfair. This was much better than the Cena match, probably because you had Sting working a more restrained style than Cena, and Rollins was mostly bumping around and trying to escape. Rollins pushing Sting through the announce table was a nice simple transition. It's a shame that this quickly got derailed by the real injury Sting suffered. He looked like he got hurt off the first buckle bomb, or at least took it awkwardly, but it was the second one that did him in, and he really struggled through the rest of the match. After the match Sheamus ran in to cash in his contract, but the Demon Kane! returned and put paid to that.

Match of the night: Probably the Rusev/Ziggler match- 3 stars. I also give 3 stars to Ryback/Owens, the Wyatt 6-man, and the Rollins/Sting match.

Show rating: A quite solid show, even if there's nothing on it you'd call a classic. 2 3/4 stars.

 

 

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I always liked Ziggler and Rusev together. They had a match in NXT, which was when I was first impressed by Rusev back when he still wore that leather apron to the ring. 

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WWE Hell in a Cell 2015.

Cesaro, Neville and Dolph Ziggler Vs King Barrett, Sheamus and Rusev (kickoff match): This is a lot of fun. Look at the cast list. How could it not be? Why did the League of Nations suck so much? Great mix of personalities and workers. Was it just booking? Crowd is hot for this, and the workers respond. Cesaro gives one of his awesome hot tat performances to set up the win for the babyfaces.

John Cena Vs Alberto Del Rio: This is really odd. Was Cena carrying an injury or something? The match is really short, and Del Rio goes over in pretty dominant fashion. Cena doesn't seem to give much of a shit either. I guess Del Rio coming back was a cool surprise, but he quickly stopped giving a shit, if he ever did. They did nothing with the Colter relationship either.

Roman Reigns Vs Bray Wyatt: This is the first cell match of the night. A bit long, but I thought this was pretty good. These two work well together. They don't do a lot with the cell, but there are some big spots. The finish has Reigns sending Bray throat-first into a kendo stick sticking out from the corner, which looked pretty violent.

The New Day Vs The Dudley Boyz: Woods is on the shelf after being put through a table by the Duds on Raw. I still don't get New Day's deal with unicorns. The Dudleys can fuck off. They suck and they're lame. Crowd doesn't really care about them either. New Day retain.

Charlotte Vs Nikki Bella: This is a good match, carried by a strong heel performance by Nikki. She really is vicious here beating the shit out of Charlotte, including a Booker T-style spinebuster on the ring apron that looked awesome. Charlotte is a piss poor babyface. Horrible punches and the worst spear ever. It's just a weak clothesline to the tummy. Once again Nikki taps to the figure-8.

Seth Rollins Vs Kane: Crap match with Rollins going over. Seth's title reign is definitely on the shortlist of all-time worst championship reigns. I'd say this is at least not as bad as it could have been. I can't imagine anyone wanting to see this match.

Kevin Owens Vs Ryback: Real nothing match for the IC title. They fail to tap into whatever made them have such an entertaining match the previous show. Owens retains with the popup powerbomb.

Brock Lesnar Vs The Undertaker: Hell in a Cell match billed as The Final Chapter in this rivalry. A rivalry which they only acknowledge as starting at WrestleMania 30, ignoring their 2002/2003 feud. This is quite the spectacle. It's equal parts shit and amazing. It's shimazing. Taker brings the shit, first by looking like David Brent in the 'If you don't know me by now' music video, and proving that it's not only the women who get to come out looking like they've been shot in the face by Homer Simpson's make-up gun. He looks really rough here, which to be fair they work into the match by making him more of a desperate man making his last stand. But he really does look bad, his timing looks off, and there are moments where he seems to not know what he's supposed to be doing. Some of that could be on Brock too, but Brock at least covers it with his aura of danger and unpredictability. The worst moment is Brock going to hit a prone Taker with the steps, and Taker missing his cue to kick them into his face, not once, but twice. Brock gets busted open like a minute into the match, and is bleeding buckets, so then you have the doctor sneaking around the ring like the fucking Repo Man trying to get a look at him. Taker is busted open too, and the blood definitely adds something to the match. A mix of violence, like Brock laying into Taker with chairs, and standard big Brock match, shitty suplexes and kicking out of F5s. What takes it up a notch is Brock ripping up the ringmat to expose the wooden boards, which is a really cool visual, and actually looks really dangerous in a world where you become sanitised to people safely going through announce tables and taking unseen bumps on crashmats. Brock kicks out of a tombstone on the wood, and then low blows Taker, which is a really cool call-back to the low blows Taker has used on Brock to stay competitive. A third F5 later and it's all over. Then the commentators, JBL especially, go into overdrive trying to sell us on the enormity of this, with ridiculous proclamations about how Brock has now learnt his final lesson to become an unbeatable warrior, the final intangible. Taker's warrior-fallen-on-his-sword act is so lame. Then the Wyatt Family come out and deliver a really weak beatdown on Taker before carrying him away. I don't know what that was about other than to maybe give Taker something to do at Survivor Series for his 25th birthday party which they've also been going on about all night. 

Match of the night: Really hard to judge that main event, but I want to say it was probably the 'match of the night' for just how over the top it was. Maybe 3 1/4 stars. Reigns/Bray, the pre-show match and the women's match were 3 stars.

Show rating: Definitely a memorable show. Some bad stuff, but I think the good stuff overrides it. 3 stars.

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Cena was taking time off, but I think it was just personal leave and not injury related. Whatever was going on, I guess he wanted to drop the title quickly at the beginning of the show and be out. 

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WWE TLC; Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2015.

Sasha Banks Vs Becky Lynch (kickoff match): Good match. It's good to see these two get a bit of time on a ppv, albeit on the pre-show, and they certainly made the most of it. Sasha continues to look like the star of the "Diva's Revolution", and does some great heel work. Team B.A.D get involved to help Sasha pick up the win.

The New Day Vs The Usos Vs The Lucha Dragons: Ladder match for New Day's belts. Big E and Kofi on New Day duty, natch. Wow. This was fucking crazy. Why does no-one ever talk about this match? I loved it. When one of the Usos doing a splash from the top rope to a guy on the outside underneath a ladder isn't even the craziest spot in the match, you know you're watching some shit. The most insane spot was Kalisto's Salida Del Sol on one of the Usos off a ladder and through a ladder. Absolutely breathtaking. This is just spot, spot, spot, but everything is hit so cleanly, and, importantly, looks like it hurts. Yeah, you can question the gameplan of the challenging teams in particular for taking so many crazy risks, and you could even ask why Xavier (doing commentary) waited so long to get physically involved (it was worth it when he did, as he threw the trombone at Kalisto who was about to grab the belts), but really for this match type, I thought this was on a par with the ladder/TLC matches featuring the Hardyz et al. It's a shame that this was really on a nothing show, and not a grander stage that might allow it to be remembered more fondly, because these guys surely deserve it.

Rusev Vs Ryback: So, Rusev and Lana are back together. For some reason, Ryback doesn't like that. This is a fun match. Rusev and Lana are so fun together. Here they outsmart Ryback, allowing Rusev to pick up the win with the Accolade. I love Rusev destroying punks who disrespect his woman.

Alberto Del Rio Vs Jack Swagger: Chairs match for the US title. Del Rio and Zeb have split up now, which gives this match the awkward dynamic of babyface Swagger defending the honour of unsympathetic Zeb. I really thought Swag had gone by this point anyway. It's so hard to have a good chairs match. These guys give it a good go, and it certainly isn't bad. Just doesn't really click to the next level. I do like the finish, which had the best possible set up to the double stomp, delivered on a pile of chairs to boot.

The Wyatt Family Vs The Dudley Boyz, Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer: Certainly wasn't expecting to see Dreamer and Rhyno on this show. This was a tables elimination match, and was really just a showcase for the Wyatts. Strowman looked so green out there- noticeably fucked up a couple of spots. Rowan was the first to be eliminated, but then the Wyatts ran the table. Decent chaotic garbage match. Teased a flaming table, but didn't deliver. 

Kevin Owens Vs Dean Ambrose: Owens defending the IC title. Another decent match. A bit too indie-ish maybe, with some questionable selling/blowing things off to move to the next spot, but these guys have big enough personalities to keep it interesting. The crowd was solidly with Ambrose, and popped big when he won the belt, reversing a pop-up powerbomb into a hurricanrana. Ambrose celebrated in the crowd with the fans. 

Charlotte Vs Paige: I watched the match these two had at Survivor Series a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was really good. Certainly the best Charlotte match to this point, and by far the best Paige match. I wanted to point that out, since I've been down on both of these. Well, as it turns out, I liked this one quite a bit too. Charlotte is pretty much a heel here, cheating to win and with Ric in her corner, but still keeping the pretense of being a face. Paige is I guess a babyface keeping the pretense of being a heel? Kinda hard to gauge the dynamic here. My gripe with the match is that Charlotte really doesn't need to be doing the Ric Flair tribute act. I mean, taking a couple of his signature moves is one thing, but doing the Flair flop and the constant struts is taking it too far. It just doesn't really match her character as I see it anyway. Paige seems to have found her niche as an aggressive asskicking babyface. So Charlotte gets a screwy win thanks to Flair- that got old real quick. But pretty good match. Also, I really hate old man Flair as a character. Constantly strutting and slapping his arms. Get your melting carcass off my screen.

Sheamus Vs Roman Reigns: TLC match for the world title. My big gripe first- Rusev and Del Rio interfering at the end of the match, just as Roman is about to win. I guess I can understand Sheamus wanting to win the match alone, but keeping his League of Nations buddies as an ace in the hole if things don't go to plan. What irked me is that Ambrose didn't come out to try to help Roman, especially as they did a backstage bit together earlier in the night about ending the show celebrating together with their belts. Unless I missed Reigns saying he didn't want Ambrose out there. But even then that's pretty weak, and it actually would have added a lot to the finish if Dean had come out to try to make the save, but got outnumbered. Anyway, that aside, this was a really good match. No frills, just two big dudes trying to beat the shit out of each other, using weapons as and when they come to hand. The story was that Reigns just won't stay down, and their were echoes of the Lesnar match as Reigns responded to his beating with a smile. White Noise through a table from Sheamus. Powerbomb on a ladder from Reigns, and then the big spot was a Samoan Drop from Reigns off the apron through a ladder that was straddling the apron and the announce table. Crowd was interesting. Dueling Cena chants, Daniel Bryan chants, but they seemed to be won over by the end, fully booing Sheamus' cheap win. I was really surprised by the result, as I thought Reigns got the belt back here. The post-match is something else. Reigns lays a beatdown on Sheamus, Rusev and Del Rio, which brings Triple H and Steph out. Reigns then proceeds to lay the most prolonged beatdown on Triple H that I can ever remember him taking; beating him down with a chair, powerbombing him on the announce table, elbowdropping him through it, and then, my favourite, spearing him as he is being helped out. The fans were lapping it up too. Reigns looked so badass, just not giving a shit. This should definitely be his character. My question coming out of this match it; what happened? I was at the Raw in Detroit when Hunter did his Triple H special long beatdown on Reigns to set up the Mania match, and the fans were loving it, complete with 'yes' chants to the rhythm of Hunter slamming Reigns' head into the barricade. I don't get how they can get the fans behind Reigns, and then screw it all up again to this extent.

Match of the night: Lots of choices on this one, but I think I'm gonna go with the tag match. Such a fun match. 3 3/4 stars. 3 1/2 for Sheamus/Reigns. 3 stars for Banks/Lynch, Rusev/Ryback, Charlotte/Paige and Ambrose/Owens.

Show rating: To me, this seems like a outside 'best show of all-time' candidate. The only things working against it really are that the product was so cold around this time, and the lack of maybe a classic match or angle. 'Pound for pound' though, I thought this was really, really good. 4 stars.

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