An average and slow night for WWE. I haven’t been able to keep up with wrestling as much as I have for most of my life because of my recent move to Los Angeles. Now that I’m all settled in the City of Angels, I hope to hop right back on the great and wonderful train that I like to call professional wrestling. Why do I call it a train? Because sometimes trains get moving on a nice, steady pace that makes you feel comfortable, relaxed and happy. Other times a train is sitting dully in a train station, waiting for its next crop of passengers (talent) to fill it up and have a reason to arrive at its next destination.
WWE is still in a transition period, in my opinion. A lot of mixing and mashing of new and old talent that sometimes works, but often times leaves a viewer in disappointment. That’s what tonight was like. A lot of promise and great foreshadowing of the future, but then some decisions made by the creative team left me (and I’m sure other viewers) hanging and disappointed. Not as great as last year’s Fastlane PPV, but I’m still excited to see what the granddaddy of them all (Wrestlemania) holds in store for us in April.
(Wasn’t able to watch Pre-Show match because I was at work, and when I got home I wanted to dive right into the main show, but from what I saw and heard, it was great and physical match up between Alberto Del Rio and Kalisto)
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch vs. Naomi and Tamina
It’s been a long and confusing road for the Divas of the WWE, but this match showed me that women’s wrestling is definitely heading in the right direction. With one of the best matches of the night, these four ladies showed me that females could contend on the same stage as the guys.
We’ve seen plenty of that in NXT, but every time an NXT diva makes their way up to the main roster, it’s like they lose their touch or persona that made them so popular in the developmental system. With the exception of Tamina (who is better, but still awkward and boring), the ladies in this match really pulled out the stops. Not necessarily in the “Innovation” aspect (which there was a bit of by the way), but in the way they were able to structure the match and keep the crowd entertained. We don’t usually see that kind of structure and the kinds of spots that seem to flow seamlessly together in a Divas Match, and the crowd loved it. It’s been awhile since the crowd has been into a Divas Tag Team match, so it was awesome to see the love these ladies truly deserve.
Potential for a Divas Tag Team division in the future? I sure hope so!
Match Grade: B-
Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
I expected a lot from these two. If Ryback and R-Truth had a match like this, then I’d give it an A+ rating right off the bat, but I can’t give an A+ to every Owens and/or Ziggler match. I know they’re good, which makes me expect them to go above and beyond for the special events like PPVs.
While they didn’t do anything to shut me up or make my jaw drop, these two superstars did what they do best and put on a show. With an extra long match full of energy, I found myself not really rooting for one guy or the other, but rather enjoying the wonderful match they were putting on. I don’t know if the WWE is gearing up for anther multi-man Intercontinental match at Wrestlemania, but I sure hope not. I’d like to see Owens and Ziggler again in an Iron Man or Last Man Standing match at Mania. They will tear the roof off of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, and if you want proof of that, then go watch this match. It’s a perfect example of why these guys get paid the big bucks to be in front of a crowd. Compelling, Energetic and Solid.
Match Grade: B
Big Show, Ryback, and Kane vs. The Wyatt Family
I’ve never been a Ryback fan, but he’s the only one that stood out in this match. His new attire and semi-changed persona has me actually connecting with him, which I like but dislike at the same time. Mainly because I’ve been such a hater of his for a long time and I don’t want to admit that I’m starting to like him. Regardless of that fact though, this match felt like a vehicle for Ryback to show off.
The three followers of Bray Wyatt have proven they can hold their own in the ring, but this was a glorified Raw match when Ryback wasn’t in the ring. Sure, I love Big Show and Kane, but it’s painful for me to watch them now. It’s not that they are “too old” for this business, they are just not “themselves” anymore. I grew up with Big Show being called the son of Andre the Giant and Kane being a TRUE demon from Hell. Now they are just sports entertainers in my eyes, so I haven’t been able to sympathize with them for a long time.
Ryback did show up during this match and made himself a candidate for MVP of the night. I never thought I’d say that, but I did know this match wouldn’t be anything to write home about. Just watch this one for Ryback’s performance. As for the rest of it, just wait until Raw or Smackdown to see something worth watching.
Match Grade: C
Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Brie Bella
I sympathize with Brie and was rooting for her (mainly because I always liked her more than Nikki), but MAAAANNNNN has Charlotte been a very disappointing champion. Her “Bad Girl” persona hasn’t brought her to the Heel status that the WWE probably was hoping for, and having her dad right next to her the entire time is hurting her more than helping.
I don’t know. This match was better than most Divas matches we’ve seen in the past five years, but it’s a championship match, and neither Diva looked like a champion. Brie did her thing, including some compelling and emotional submission moves towards the end, but Charlotte’s dullness as a champion brought this match down to “snoozer” status. It was average, and by average I mean exactly what I expected for a Divas Championship match. I’m not trying to say someone else needs to be champion. Charlotte is capable of a wonderful match. Brie is capable of a wonderful match. It’s just those two potentials didn’t show up tonight.
Match Grade: C
A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho
All I can say is that this match was disappointing. Jericho is 45 years old. Styles is 38 years old. I’m not writing off either of these guys, but their age definitely showed during the match, particularly Jericho, which makes sense. Jericho is still capable of performing at the highest level; just watch his match with CM Punk at Wrestlemania 28. Yet, tonight his age and lack of appeal devitalized Styles’ innovation and performance. I can’t wait to watch Styles go up against the likes of Neville and Ziggler, and I thought I couldn’t wait to watch the matches between him and Jericho, but this match was just too disappointing, particularly for someone like me who has been waiting a long time to see it.
The match wasn’t “bad,” not at all, but when you anticipate something for so long, you want it to burn the building down. Styles and Jericho didn’t do what Rock and Hogan did at Wrestlemania 18, but they still showed off their skills and why they’re still two of the biggest names in professional wrestling.
Match Grade: C
(The Edge & Christian Peep Show segment that occurred in between these two matches was good until The League of Nations came out. Barrett, Rusev, Sheamus, and Del Rio have no chemistry what so ever. It’s obvious that WWE creative have no idea what to do with these guys next, so they bunched them up into this painfully awkward team. Please get rid of this.)
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth
I don’t know what this match was. It felt like a squash or filler segment during Raw or Smackdown. I’m all for this Social Outcast team because I feel like its members never got the chance they deserved, but man did this match suck the life out of the show. It was simple, quick and stupid. Three words that should never be affiliated with a WWE PPV, and yet here we are.
In the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Match Grade: D
Main Event: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
I have a feeling if Seth Rollins wasn’t hurt, then we would’ve gotten the “Shield Triple Threat” match we’ve all been begging to see. Sadly, Seth Rollins is out of commission, and having Brock Lesnar as a substitute is not a bad decision at all.
This match wins match of the night for me, not only because of its innovation and brutality, but it was the perfect exclamation mark on what was a fairly average/mediocre night. I’m happy Reigns won and is going to the main event two years in a row, but I honestly would’ve rather seen Ambrose or Lesnar win it all.
Regardless, the Brother vs. Brother theme that has been bubbling underneath the anticipation for this match exploded about halfway through, right after Ambrose and Reigns brought back memories of The Shield by putting Lesnar through a table. It was great to watch these two young superstars go at it once again for a shot at the WWE championship.
I do enjoy how this Reigns and Ambrose “rivalry” hasn’t really hit the point of them hating each other. They still treat each other with respect, just like brothers do. I honestly hope that doesn’t change because this match wasn’t about them facing Lesnar. This match was truly about them facing each other.
I’ve enjoyed watching these two men grow from their Shield days into the personas they have harnessed currently. Their careers are far from over, and I hope to see them as Tag Team champions one day, but something tells me they are going to have one HUGE rivalry that will put WWE back on the mainstream map. As much as I love watching them fight each other like brothers, them going after each other for blood might be what the WWE needs to hit the next Attitude Era. So, that sounds like a deal to me.