Watch: WWE Network
July 24, 2016
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
We are here folks and we are live! The last special/PPV/whatever they are calling it these days of the single roster. Some of these face-offs we won’t ever see again (or until the next draft, whichever comes first). Some partnerships will be dissolved (like the new Mauro and Byron Saxton commentary team) while others will continue tomorrow on RAW.
(Pre-Show) The Usos vs. Breezango**3/4
Breezango came out looking like a 1970’s party van, with faux red zebra fur vests and matching black and red pleather pants with various phrases on them. Breezango showed great tag chemistry, getting the Usos in their corner as often as possible and at one point while Tyler had one of the Usos neutralized, Fandango pulled off a catapult and a forearm slingshot over the ropes. The Usos were able to turn the tide, using their life-long bond and continuity to stage a comeback.
Things eventually fell apart for the Usos. While Tyler was in the ring with one of the Usos, Fandango pulled the Uso’s leg, distracting him for a moment. The other Uso hit a Tope Suicida on Fandango, which delayed the jump off the top rope by a few seconds. When the Uso went to jump off, Tyler lifted his knees, knocking out his air and allowing him to pull off a sneaky roll-up for the win. Overall a pretty decent match for a pre-show kick-off and honestly a pleasantly surprising showcase for a team that I never expected to go anywhere, Breezango.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke***
Well, the time is now to spill the beans. Who is Sasha’s mystery partner going to end up being? The anticipation has been building, and the woman who Sasha claimed “Dave Meltzer can’t even guess” turned out to be the #1 theory all along. That’s right, kids! Itttttttttt’s Bayley!!!! Surprise or not, I for one am happy to see her on the main roster (finally) especially after the massive disappointment that was Bayley not being picked on the draft. Charlotte welcomed her to the main roster with some Woooo chops, but Bayley was able to escape and tag Sasha. Sasha was on fire, hitting a Flying Headscissors on Charlotte and also taking out Dana on the ringside.
Bayley was a house of fire when she got back in the ring. nailing Dana with Axehandles. The crowd was nuts for her, obviously very familiar, even building a “Whoooooooooa!” chant when she did her Inflatable Woman dance. Dana heeled it up, not only keeping Bayley away from being able to tag back in, but rubbing it in by grabbing Bayley’s arm and using it to point to her corner and squeezing her cheeks. Bayley was finally able to get the tag back, and Sasha was clearly pissed at the way her partner had been treated. A Natural Selection by Charlotte onto Sasha was saved by Bayley and Sasha was able to hit a Banks Statement on Charlotte before Dana grabbed her leg. Sasha got a Back Stabber on Charlotte, and just when I thought Dana was going to run in due to a tight shot on the move, Charlotte tapped out. Not only was this fun because we got to see Bayley in a main roster match, but you could tell that Sasha and Bayley were happy to be able to be in the ring with each other once again, this time as a team instead of rivals.
The New Day vs. the Wyatt Family (6-Man Tag Team)***1/2
Due to the brand split, Braun Strowman is being positioned for a singles run, so of course he is immediately made to look strong. He gets at least one shot in on every member of New Day. Rowan also looked like a monster as he was tagged in, obliterating Kofi and keeping him from getting a tag. Kofi’s carcass was then handed to Bray, who hit a Running Senton and ground on him. Kofi continued to get passed around like a ring rat in Alabama, taking a pounding from every man who laid hands on him. He finally barely made it to his corner for a hot tag to Big E, who Big E’d everyone in the Wyatt family with his stronk power. Wyatt interference put a stop to this dominance, Rowan coming in, then Kofi and Xavier tried to stop them. Xavier was frozen, hypnotized by Bray, then Kofi got clipped by Bray as he jumped off the top rope. Xavier faced his fears, raging against Bray, then getting choked by Braun for a moment, but Big E speared Braun out of the ring and landed on his head in a really bad looking way. This allowed the Wyatts a second to turn the tide for a pin and steal a win. A really good, fast paced match that made The Wyatts look like dominant monster heels and covering up the weaknesses of Braun and Rowan, while also progressing a story-line with Xavier and Bray.
Rusev (c) (with Lana) vs. Zack Ryder (WWE United States Championship)**1/2
If I haven’t mentioned it today, I love Rusev and Lana. Lana came out looking every bit the Ravishing Russian, in a white flourished dress and tiara. Ryder came out all dressed in red, white and blue with stars and stripes all over, so you just knew that Rusev was going to murder him. Rusev played with Ryder like a toy, just flinging him and smashing him at will. Ryder tried to get offense, but was smashed like a bug. Rusev hit a Spinning Heel Kick on Ryder but Ryder was able to hit a Neckbreaker off a Suplex. Zack hit the Broski Boot, but Rusev kicked out and rolled out of the ring. Ryder was ill-advised when he chased him out the because where Rusev dumped him onto the ring barricade, then ran at him to slam into him, but Ryder was too fast, moving out of the way, then getting a Missile Dropkick. Ryder hit a Rough Ryder when they got back in the ring, and then went to the top again to drop an elbow, but Rusev lifted his knees up and Ryder came crashing down. Rusev locked in the Accolade and Zack almost got out, but Rusev fell back into it and Ryer had no choice but to spare himself for another day. The title is not going to Smackdown with Ryder. After the match, Rusev still wanted to inflict more pain, so he went to put on the Accolade one more time, but Zack’s former NXT partner and a man easily in the running for most annoying human on Earth, Mojo Rawley, ran out to save Ryder. Rusev didn’t want to hear a guy scream repeatedly in his ear that he stays hype, so he bailed out of the ring and went on his merry way to spend the rest of his evening with his gorgeous fiancee instead of these jobbers.
After the match, Rusev had this to say on Twitter. That is some coldblooded shit.
I can't believe fan jumped in the ring and nobody stopped him ! I need a challenge it's just too easy. #WWEBattleground
— Rusev MACHKA (@RusevBUL) July 25, 2016
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens****1/4
This match is supposedly the last match in the rich history, as Owens vowed to end it once and for all. I am highly skeptical of this, especially considering how great they are when they are in the ring with each other. It didn’t take long for this one to go into high gear, Sami going for but missing a Helluva Kick early on. They spilled outside the ring, Sami throwing Owens to the barricade twice and hit him with a Clothesline before tossing him back in. Owens got the advantage in this portion of the match, reigning boots and fists to Sami, to the point where the ref went to check on him. While he was prone, Owens hit a Cannonball in the corner.
Sami didn’t stay down, fighting back with his underdog ways, going for an Arabian Moonsault off the top rope, but it was botched and Sami went shoulder-first into the apron, and you could tell it hurt him. Sami was still able to muster enough strength to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb, but he held onto his arm like his name was Timothy Thatcher afterwards. Owens got Sami’s hurt arm locked and into a Cross Armbreaker, but he was able to get to the ropes for a break. Sami hit Owens with an Exploder Suplex and tried to hit another Helluva Kick, but Owens knew it was coming and rolled out in time. He attempted a Rolling Senton off the apron, but Sami reversed it and hit Owens with a Brainbuster on the apron that looked like it killed him dead. It looked like the match got the best of both guys by this point, but they still kept going.
Sami went for a Spinning Tornado DDT through the ropes, but Owens hit him with a Superkick as he was flying through, then a Cannonball followed by a huge Frogsplash, but it still wasn’t enough to stop Sami. Sami hit a Tornado DDT off the top rope, but Owens attempted but failed to hit a Pop Up Power Bomb. They then went into an incredible sequence of reversals one-upsmanship. Owens hit a Pop-Up Powerbomb but Sami kicked out again. Exploder Suplex into the corner by Sami and he finally got the Helluva Kick he’s been waiting for. Sami held a dead Owens in his arms, looked at his eyes and instead of the pin, he hit another massive helluva Kick before laying the epic saga to rest… in theory. I for one would be OK with them fighting forever.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya**3/4
The newly christened heel Natalya didn’t give Becky any room to breathe. She not only beat on her and showed why she is the veteran in the women’s locker room, but also let her mean side shine through. She was twisting, bending, slapping and smothering Becky, putting on an absolute clinic. She continued to dominate and make Becky look like she wasn’t even in her class. Becky struggled to gain any traction until she hit an Insiguri that took a bit out of Natalya and hit her with multiple Clotheslines and a Back Elbow before slapping the taste out Natalya’s mouth. Becky hit an Exploder Suplex, but Natalya was able to roll out. Natalya countered a Disarmer attempt easily before rolling Becky up, then into a Sharpshooter. Becky was able to inch her way to the ropes, then climbed to the top for a Missile Dropkick, but it still wasn’t enough to get the pin. Natalya was able to slap on another Sharpshooter and Becky desperately tried to get to the ropes, but she had no choice but to tap out. A nice showing for Natalya and Becky, and setting up a series for Smackdown Live starting Tuesday.
the Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) (WWE Intercontinental Championship)**1/2
Miz and Maryse came out in leather bondage gear and masks straight out of Eyes Wide Shut. I can guarantee you that their safe word is “Fidelio” (I don’t care if you get that, look it up). Darren Young showed he had some elite amateur skillz early on, rolling Miz over, then hitting a Swinging Neckbreaker and chopped Miz in the corner, but was distracted by Maryse and unceremoniously dumped off the top rope like a basic bitch. Miz took over from there, talking trash to Bob Backlund saying “You ain’t a Hall of Famer, I am” while controlling Darren with a Headlock. Miz continued to treat Darren like trash, stomping away and decimating him in the corner. Darren got sick of this, exploding with a Clothesline out of the corner to change momentum. He hit Miz with a Back Body Drop and threw him down on the apron. Bob Backlund gave Darren the Cross-face Chicken Wing signal, which energized Darren, but Miz flew out and antagonized Backlund. Maryse faked that Backlund pushed her, after Miz shoved Backlund. Bob ripped his shirt off, getting caught up in his suspenders and looking like the beginning of the most pathetic old man sex tape known. Darren had enough of this shit, chasing Miz out of the ring and making him tap, but in the meantime they actually got counted out. He may not have won the title, but Darren got something else, which was an awakening. He stared at his hands on the way back up the ramp, a sudden realization that he had more power than he realized. Darren may have been made great again.
The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) vs John Cena, Enzo and Cass****
In case you weren’t already aware, Enzo Amore is Over. Over. As. Fuck. Enzo claimed that he, Cass and Cena were the “Mt. Rushmore of Certified G’s” and since Cena counted as 2, they are “4G, well connected”. He warned the Club that by the end of the match, they would be “Physically defeated and mentally depleted! How you doin’?” My God, this crowd loves this dude. Cass then cut a Soccer Mom promo on AJ to much less success, but even then it was still entertaining. AJ and The Club didn’t have any cute words for Cena, Enzo or Cass, choosing instead to let their actions speak volumes. This is potentially the last time for a while that AJ, Anderson and Gallows will team up for a while, so they hope to go out in style. The announcers made sure to mention that The Club wasn’t breaking up, rather branching out to both brands. Looking at their gear, we now have The Club Red & Black (sound familiar) and The Club Black & Blue.
Styles and Enzo started off, the crowd immediately going into a “Soccer Mom” chant. Enzo whipped AJ to the ropes, but he hit a Phenomenal Dropkick on him then Enzo decided to “make like a leaf and split” as George McFly would say. Anderson and Gallows decided to get into the action, while Cass tossed Enzo like a lawn dart out of the ring onto The Club. Just as they got to their feet, Air AJ came flying at them as well, courtesy of Cass. Enzo took a big head kick by Anderson and tried to get a tag to Cass or Cena, but The Club did their best to ensure Enzo wasn’t going anywhere. Anderson tagged in and intercepted Enzo as he tried to make the tag, then Gallows came in, missing a big splash that gave Enzo a chance to get a hot tag to Cena. Cena Shoulder Tackled AJ (now the legal man) and tried a Attitude Adjustment, but AJ was able to escape, hitting Cena with a Pele Kick. AJ went for a Styles Clash, then Enzo hit him with a DDT, followed by a Spinebuster by Anderson on Enzo, a Fallaway Slam by Big Cass on Anderson, a Sitdown Powerbomb by Gallows, then an AA attempt by Cena on Gallows that was stopped by Anderson, who rammed Cena to the announce table.
The rest was a blur, AJ hitting a Styles Clash on Cena, but Big Cass pulled him out and gave him a huge boot, Cass picked up Gallows, Anderson kneed him to the back, then Gallows and Anderson hit a Magic Killer on him. Enzo ran around the ring like a madman when he realized he was alone with Gallows and Anderson, but sent Anderson to the ring pole, leaving himself and Gallows. They spilled out and AJ and Cena became the legal men. Cena and AJ climbed up the ropes, with Cena getting AJ in an AA to close things out. I have no idea what I watched, but it sure was a whole lot of fun. Sad we won’t be seeing that again (at least in the foreseeable future).
Highlight Reel (Jericho Interviews Randy Orton)Dud
Fresh off a 9 month vacation while he healed up from injury, Randy Orton came out to a decent pop. He mouthed that he was so happy to be back and he waited 9 months for this moment that came across as genuine as a robot saying it. If there’s a more unlikable guy in the back, I’m not sure who it is. As Randy walked to the ring, someone pulled the string on JBL’s back, as he regurgitated his line about how “if you are going to build a sports entertainer from the ground up, you’d have Randy Orton”. Jericho told him he was going to give him something. Something that everybody here wants and needs… the gift of Jericho. They delivered lines that would have been suited for a daytime talk show, and in fact Randy joked that Jericho’s hair looked like Ellen’s. Ugh. They talked about Orton’s upcoming opponent, Brock Lesnar, and showed a clip of him, while Jericho rambled on and everyone died inside knowing this segment continued on and on and on and on. Orton cracked a joke about how it didn’t take any “enhancement” to get to Viperville. Jericho told him he’d pay for that joke, and then taunted Randy to hit him with an RKO out of nowhere, until he finally did. This was total death. Zero hype building to SummerSlam. Complete waste of time for everyone involved in the segment and everyone watching live in person or at home.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns (Triple Threat WWE Championship Match)***1/2
Off a big night at Money In The Bank where all three men were WWE Champion (at least for a moment), the former members of The Shield came out for one of the biggest matches in any of their careers. Reigns came back off of his recent suspension to a chorus of boos as most of us expected, possibly being as unpopular as ever to some and as possible as ever for others. A big “Roman Sucks” chant broke out as all 3 faced off. Seth asked for the Shield fist bump from Ambrose, but Reigns attacked him and tossed him out of the ring.
Ambrose rolled up Reigns when he was distracted, but he was able to escape. Seth was sent flying again, and this time Roman tried to get a distraction roll-up on Ambrose. Reigns walled Ambrose on a Crossbody attempt, no selling like his name was Haku. Roman caught Seth when he jumped off the ropes, but Ambrose broke them up and attacked Roman. Dean and his absolutely horrendously bad kicks pummeled Reigns, while Seth came in and sent Reigns out of the ring. Seth slapped Ambrose and dropped him into the turnbuckle, but Reigns came back around, grabbing Ambrose and manhandling him. Seth was none to happy, tossing Dean into the steps and Reigns into the barricade while Stephanie, Mick and Daniel looked on. Seth was thrown over the barricade when he charged at Roman, and Ambrose got into the mix as well. Dean got Reigns back into the ring, taking control until Seth came flying back in the ring onto Ambrose, bouncing off of him.
Seth attempted a Pedigree but it was reversed by Roman, who pummeled Seth for his troubles. he crushed Dean and Seth, hitting both with Superman punches, ramping up for the Spear, but Ambrose and Seth both teamed up to stop him. Roman hit Seth with a Superman punch, and Dean took advantage, leveling Roman. Dean and Seth beat down Roman, then they both flew outside the ring onto him. They tore apart the announce tables and got Roman up for a Powerbomb through the Spanish announce table. When Dean had his back turned, Seth whipped out a chair from under the ring and waffled Dean and Roman. He threw Dean back in the ring, but was unable to stop him with a Bucklebomb Attempt. Seth hit a Superplex and Falcon Arrow when they climbed to the top rope, but Ambrose still kicked out. Roman came back in and hit a Superplex of his own on Dean, followed by a Sitdown Powerbomb on Seth. He then went for a Superman Punch on Dean, but missed, then tried for a Powerbomb and Razor’s Edge that were reversed before he hit a Superman Punch on Dean. Seth flew back in the ring, hitting Roman, but he was unable to get a pin either. Seth hit a Buckle Bomb on Reigns, but he bounced right out of it, hitting Seth with Superman Punch followed by a Spear. Just when you that it was all she wrote, Dean came back in and hit a Dirty Deeds on Roman to retain the belt.
Good match, maybe a bit too many near falls and false finishes and the crowd was noticeably over Roman at times, but otherwise no real complaints. Post-match, the Smackdown Live locker room all poured out and hoisted the champ onto their shoulders (including Roman’s cousins, The Usos), while the announce team proclaimed that the only way to see the WWE championship is to tune into Smackdown Live on Tuesday evenings. You guys all have fun watching 5 hours of weekly main roster programming, I’ll stick to PPVs. Til the next one, see ya.