It’s time for WWE Battleground. The top matches scheduled for the show are Dean Ambrose defending the WWE Title against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in a triple threat. Other matches include Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, John Cena teaming up with Enzo & Cass against AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Anderson plus The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family and more.
Here are some notes from the one hour Kickoff show.
The Kickoff panel is Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Corey Graves. This is probably the last time Graves is on the panel since he’s joining the Raw announce team. I miss Lita already.
Later on the Kickoff show, Raw GM Mick Foley and Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan will answer reader questions.
Video package for Cena and friends vs. Styles and friends later. The announcers talked about it.
Video package for New Day vs. Wyatt Family. The announcers talked about that too. Booker picked “Wyatt Day” to win and then laughed a lot because he thought it was clever.
Zack Ryder was interviewed by some new interview named Andrea. She’s almost as short as Jojo. Ryder didn’t care if people doubted him because he walked out of WrestleMania as the IC Champ when people doubted him. He said he’s taking the US Title. No offense Zack, but I doubt it.
Video package for my fellow Canadian dudes Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. They should fight forever. I’ll never complain.
The great Cesaro joined the panel to talk about Zayn vs. Owens. He said he hopes that they settle the rivalry because he’s sick of them interfering in his matches. Booker talked about how the business isn’t about making friends, it’s about making money. Cesaro was about how he was upset he was on the panel instead of in the ring. Booker asked him about his comments after the draft. Cesaro claimed he said what so many others wanted to say and he said actions speak louder than words.
Analysis: It was a frustrated Cesaro in that promo. Similar to what he said on Tuesday after the draft. I liked it a lot. Whether it leads to a heel turn or something else, I’m glad they did it.
The Raw GM Mick Foley and Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan answered Twitter questions. Bryan said that they want to take attention away from the management. If only this was a shoot comment. Bryan: “In two months I don’t want people thinking of Daniel Bryan or Shane McMahon.” Foley said that he had a similar answer and wants it to be less about management and more about superstars. There were a couple of questions that provided similar answers. Foley said his strength is in decision making as well as the ability to interact with talent. He hopes to help superstars to be the best that they can be. Bryan talked about some awesome, risky ideas they want to try on Smackdown. He won’t tell us now – watch Smackdown. Bryan wants people to bring their best every week so they can beat Raw.
Analysis: Good job by both guys in giving honest answers that didn’t feel as manufactured as you might get in a spot like that. The part about putting attention on the wrestlers is good to say, but the company did just set up four authority figures on both shows. It's like "hey fans forget about the authority, but here are FOUR PEOPLE in charge."
The panel talked about the US & IC Title matches.
Let’s get to the Kickoff match. The announcers for this match are Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jay) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
The Usos were in control for a couple of minutes early on. Then the heels took control. Nice spot with Fandango doing a slingshot elbow while Breeze held him in a backbreaker position. Some quick tags by the heels as they worked over Jey. Then Jey created space with a kick to the head on Breeze and a kick to Fandango as well. Jimmy got the hot tag, kicks for both and Samoan Drops for both guys as well. Jimmy with a running hip attack in the corner for two as Breeze made the save. Breeze kicked Jey out of the ring. Jimmy kicked him and Fandango got a nearfall with a move I didn’t see. Camera seemed to miss it. Jey put Fandango on his shoulders, Jimmy went up top and Breeze saved his partner. Jimmy with a cross body off the top took out both guys. Fandango with a roundhouse kicked knocked Jimmy to the floor. Jimmy with a superkick on Fandango and a superkick on Breeze as well. Jimmy up top, Fandango grabbed his leg, so Jey took out Fandango with a dive. Splash by Jimmy onto Breeze, but Breeze blocked it with the knees and cradled him for the win after 8 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Breezango
Analysis: **1/2 A solid match for the Kickoff Show. Things were a bit disjointed in the end because it looked like somebody was out of place, but it was nothing major. I think the right team went over because Breeze and Fandango are talented performers that have gimmicks that won’t ever lead to a major push. Now they can make it work together and in order to get there, they need quality wins over teams like The Usos. Booking teams like comedy losers doesn’t help anybody. I have high hopes for Breezango as a team.
A video package aired for the WWE Title match featuring the three former Shield members. That was an outstanding video package.
Let’s get to the PPV portion of the show.
The opening video package was excellent as it covered the key matches heading into Battleground. I know most WWE viewers are aware of it, but the video packages they do are as good as any sports company anywhere.
I miss when WWE had elaborate sets for PPV events. They just don’t care to spend money on it, I guess.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke made their entrance.
The announce team for the show was shown on camera. They are Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and John Bradshaw Layfield. Cole & Saxton are Raw guys while JBL is Smackdown, so it’s their last show together. The Spanish and German announcers are there too.
Sasha Banks made her entrance to a big ovation.
The mystery partner of Banks is Bayley, who is making her main roster debut. Huge ovation for Bayley. Wow that’s great to see. She deserves to be there.
Analysis: Does it make sense that she wasn’t drafted? Absolutely not. WWE did a poor job of explaining why top NXT talent wasn't drafted. I know they are needed to keep NXT strong, but that should be explained better.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke
The heels attacked the faces before the bell, but then Bayley fought back with a back elbow to Charlotte. Banks tagged in, took down Charlotte with a kick and a flying headscissors take down. It didn’t look perfect, but good enough. The crowd was chanting for Bayley as Charlotte sent her face first into the middle turnbuckle. Sasha with a slap on Brooke, then she brought in Bayley, who was on fire against Brooke. Nice seated clothesline by Bayley, then a shoulder tackle, back elbow and Charlotte distracted her, so Brooke yanked Bayley off the ropes to trip her up. The heels worked over Bayley. Brooke whipped Bayley hard into the turnbuckle. They did a collision spot. Both women were down and there’s the hot tag to Banks against Charlotte. Banks with a dropkick, then a knee to the face, forearm smash and the double knee attack in the corner for two. Banks with a cross body block on Charlotte for two. Charlotte came back with a hard boot to the face to take control. There was some spot with Bayley and Brooke on the floor where it looks like Brooke slipped. Banks put Charlotte in the Banks Statement submission by the ropes, but Brooke pulled Charlotte out of the ring. Bayley dropkick on Brooke and Charlotte hit a forearm to knock Brooke down. Banks with a Backstabber into the Banks Statement submission and Charlotte tapped out after 10 minutes.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks & Bayley
Post match, Bayley and Banks did a celebratory hug in the ring. The crowd went wild for that since Bayley has the hugging gimmick.
Analysis: *** That was a good tag match. Both faces were getting worked on for a few minutes, then when Banks got that hot tag she was on fire. The finish with Charlotte tapping out sets up the obvious Banks vs. Charlotte match at SummerSlam that we have been expecting since WrestleMania. That’s where Banks should win the Women’s Title. As for Bayley, it sounded like she won’t be on the main roster full time after this because JBL said it was a one time thing from his “sources.” I’m not sure how they are going to explain it. I’m just glad Bayley was a part of it and the crowd reacted to her in a big way. That was awesome to see. She'll probably be on the main roster post SummerSlam.
Video package for Wyatt Family vs. New Day.
The WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day did their promo before the match. Xavier Woods bragged about being the longest reigns champions in WWE history. That’s not really true, but they like to say it. They did a quick promo and their “New Day Rocks” bit ended it.
Analysis: The reality is that it’s only since 2002 when they introduced the second tag titles and merged them with the other ones. The real longest reign is over 100 days longer and belongs to Demolition.
Here comes the Wyatt Family.
Analysis: It’s the last time for this Wyatt Family trio since Bray & Erick are on Smackdown while Braun is on Raw. Luke Harper should be back in a few months from knee surgery, so maybe he'll go to Smackdown.
The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Braun Strowman)
No titles one the line since this is a six man tag instead of a regular tag. Kingston tagged himself in to start instead of Woods, but that was a bad move because he was overpowered by Strowman shortly after. Wyatt Family worked over Kingston for a couple of minutes. There was a huge clothesline by Wyatt on Kingston that led to a bump by Kingston with him flipping over to his face. Ouch. Kingston was able to create some space and here comes Big E against Rowan. Big E with a belly to belly suplex followed by some gyrations and the big splash. Rowan with a rollup for two. There’s an overhead belly to belly by E on Rowan. Strowman got involved, the ref was distracted, so Wyatt got in a cheap shot and Rowan hit a one-armed slam on Big E for two as Kingston made the save. Strowman was out of the ring, so Kingston with a somersault dive over the top to take him out. Rowan shoved Big E into the steel post. Wyatt tagged in against Kingston, he went for Sister Abigail and Woods saved Kingston. Woods had a long staredown with Wyatt. The crowd was going wild about it because Woods was intimidated by him. Wyatt nailed Kingston with a uranage slam. Woods unleashed on Wyatt with a fists and a forearms followed by a kick to the head. Woods up top and he hit a splash. Crowd went wild for Woods. Woods kicked Rowan out of the ring. Big E hit a Spear on Strowman while Strowman was on the apron and it looked like Big E landed on his head. Wyatt did his crab walk, that freaked out Woods and Wyatt hit Sister Abigail to win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Wyatt Family
Analysis: *** That was a slow match in the first five minutes and then the pace really picked up. My prediction was the Wyatt Family winning because I thought Wyatt should look strong going into his role as a Smackdown guy because he’s a top two heel on that brand. Woods was awesome in the match. He isn’t always booked strongly, but he did well here. Who cares if he got pinned? The crowd loved him. Wyatt was able to outsmart him for the finish, though. I hope Big E’s okay after that bump outside the ring. He may be told to stop doing that spear to the floor bump because it could hurt him or somebody else some day soon. Also, it was noticeable that Strowman barely did anything in the match. I thought they might have him stand out more, but he really didn’t do much.
The ravishing Russian Lana did the intro for Rusev. As Zack Ryder made his intro, they showed other foreign announce teams seated in the arena.
United States Title: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Zack Ryder
Rusev is a Raw guy and Ryder is a Smackdown guy. They were outside the ring with Ryder (in USA inspired gear) hitting a dropkick on the floor. Rusev avoided a dropkick in the ring and hit a kick to the head. Rusev with a spinning heel kick for two. Commentary keeps talking about greatness of Rusev’s last US Title reign. All I remember is beating Swagger all the time. Ryder fought out of a bearhug, Rusev missed a corner attack and Ryder hit some forearms. Ryder’s Broski Boot was blocked by Rusev, who nailed a knee to the gut. Ryder with a neckbreaker. They went outside the ring with Rusev driving Ryder into the barricade. Rusev ran at him with a shoulder tackle, but Ryder moved and hit a missile dropkick off the barricade. Good spot there. Ryder hit his Rough Ryder spot. He didn’t go for a cover. Instead, he went up top for an elbow drop, but Rusev got his feet up. Rusev hit a kick to the back of the head. Rusev applied the Accolade submission, Ryder tried to break free, Rusev dropped back to add more pressure and Ryder tapped out for the loss after eight minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: ** A basic match to put over the US Champion. I didn’t see Ryder having much of a shot. He actually hit all of his big moves, but didn’t go for the pin after the Rough Ryder. Instead, he went for the elbow drop off the top, Rusev blocked it and finished it two moves later. I like the way that Rusev has been booked in the last few months. He should be a force on the Raw brand going forward.
Post match, Rusev wanted to continue the attack, but here comes new Smackdown draftee Mojo Rawley. Not much of a reaction. Mojo is the Hype Bros partner of Ryder. Mojo got in Rusev’s face, but Rusev walked out of the ring and left with the US Title.
Analysis: I know that a heel backing away is the way that a heel should act, but having Rusev back away from a guy that’s not a big name like Mojo is pretty bad. Looks like Ryder and Rawley may be a team on Smackdown, which is okay because they need more teams.
There were commercials for Swerved and the Cruiserweight Classic. I review the CWC every week (here's a handy link) and it’s awesome. I’ve also watched all the Swerved episodes, but didn’t write reviews of those.
Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley were in their office. Seth Rollins showed up to talk to them. She said that Rollins can prove he’s the best. He said he’s the best of his generation like LeBron James, Tom Brady and Channing Tatum. At least two of them are athletes. Rollins talked about how Roman Reigns attacked Rollins on Friday at a live event. Then he said that Ambrose is happy to be on Smackdown because he’s not going to face Seth anymore. Rollins talked about how people will worship him when he’s the WWE Champion. He said that in nine months or so there’s gonna be a boom of babies named Rollins.
Analysis: Isn’t the baby thing something The Rock has said at WrestleMania a few times now? That’s not new material!
Zayn vs. Owens up next. The video package for this match is outstanding just like their matches.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Zayn was aggressive early on as Saxton noted that Zayn was the best man at Kevin’s wedding and the Godfather to Owens’ son, whose name is Owen by the way. They brawled outside the ring a bit early. Back in the ring, Owens tripped up Zayn on the top rope. Owens with a cannonball in the corner for two. Owens beat on him with some hard chops. When the crowd chanted “ole ole ole” for Zayn, Owens mocked the crowd. Owens suplexed Zayn ribs first on the top rope. Running senton splash by Owens gets two. Owens took him to Chinlock City – he should put that on a shirt. Owens mocked the crowd chanting “Sami” for him. JBL compared Owens Bam Bam Bigelow as being a great athlete for a big man. I think that’s fair. Not the same body type, but similar. Zayn came back with a hard clothesline to knock down Owens. Zayn with a Michinoku Driver for two. Owens pulled him out of the ring, Zayn fought out of it, Zayn went for a springboard moonsault and he slipped. Zayn hit his right shoulder hard. Ouch that had to hurt. Owens sent Zayn arm first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Zayn came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. They slugged it out on the top rope, Zayn shoved him down and Zayn missed an attack, so Owens nailed a superkick for a two count. Owens with a Crossface on the injured right arm of Zayn. Zayn was able to get to the ropes to break it.
Owens with a clothesline on Zayn in the corner. Owens charged in, Zayn caught him and hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Owens rolled to the floor to avoid the Helluva Kick. Owens wanted to do a Rolling Senton onto the floor, but Zayn blocked it and hit a brainbuster on the apron. Ouch! You don’t see that very often. JBL noted that it’s the hardest part of the ring. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Owens took a count of nine to get back in the ring. Both guys were down in the ring. The crowd did “Let’s Go Owens/Sami Zayn” chant as they started throwing punches (look a the banner of this review – it’s like that). Zayn won that battle. Owens rolled to the floor, so Zayn charged in and Owens stopped him with a Superkick to block the DDT. With Zayn leaning against the turnbuckle, Owens hit a cannonball crushing Zayn into the turnbuckle. Owens up top and hit a Bullfrog Splash for two. Zayn was talking to the ref, but I’m not sure about what. Zayn came back with a beautiful Tornado DDT. Zayn charged in and KO with another Superkick. Zayn with a one armed Dragon Suplex, Owens landed on his feet and Zayn hit another one armed Dragon Suplex dumping Owens on his head for two. Wow! What a sequence! Crowd gave them a standing ovation. Zayn charged in, Owens caught him with a Powerbomb and Zayn’s foot was on the bottom rope at the two count. Owens yelled at him about not staying down. Owens with a hard slap. Zayn told him to bring it. Zayn slapped him again, Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex in the corner, then Zayn hit another one armed Dragon Suplex and a Helluva Kick by Zayn in the corner. Zayn held him up as if to say he's not done yet. Zayn hit a second Helluva Kick for the pinfall win after 19 minutes. Huge ovation for them.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Post match, Zayn celebrated it big time. JBL: “Somebody call the sheriff because these boys just stole the show.” He's right.
Analysis: ****1/2 Wow that was an incredible match. What a performance by both Zayn and Owens. The crowd was really into it. It was better than their Payback match was and that was a lot of fun to watch too. There were big spots in the match like the brainbuster on the apron. Zayn’s fall during the springboard moonsault attempt looked bad, but I’m glad Zayn was able to get through the match. I know some people think they do this match too much and maybe that’s true, but when it’s as good as this match was how can you complain? I definitely won’t. They are two of the best in-ring performers with incredible chemistry. How many standing ovations do you see during a match? Doesn’t happen often. One of the best matches of the year - probably #2 right now. I think Nakamura vs. Zayn in Dallas was still the best WWE match this year, though.
The Kickoff show panel talked about some things. I needed some more water, so thanks for that.
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
There was some stalling from heel Natalya early on. Lynch dropkicked her outside the ring. Lynch was fired up. Natalya tripped her up using the ring apron, which is the old Fit Finlay move and he works with the women, so it may have been his idea. Natalya tossed Lynch into the steps. Back in the ring, Natalya worked on the left leg of Lynch by kicking at it and doing a leg bar. Natalya slammed Lynch’s knee into mat. Natalya kept on working on the leg as she did some posing to upset the crowd. The crowd wasn’t into it that much because of the math that preceded it. Lynch was able to fight out of a submission by going for an armbar. Natalya slipped out of it, but then Lynch came back with an enziguri kick to the head. Lynch nailed a hard forearm, then a slap and a Bexploder Suplex gets two. They were each going for their submission moves, but Natalya was able to get a rollup on her. Then Natalya applied the Sharpshooter. Lynch crawled to the ropes to force the break. Hard kick by Lynch on the apron. Lynch with a missile dropkick for two. Lynch attacked her with a punches. Natalya kicked her right in the kneecap while the referee was trying to get Lynch to back off. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter in the ring again. Lynch tried to fight out again. Natalya kept dragging her to the center of the ring. Lynch tapped out. It went 9 minutes.
Winner by submission: Natalya
Analysis: **1/4 Good story in the match with Natalya working on the knee for the entire match. I figured she would win, but I thought she would cheat more for it. She really didn’t cheat other than that kick to the knee when the ref was backing up Lynch. I thought Lynch did a good job of showing babyface heart as she always does. As for the crowd, they weren’t into it that much because of how good Zayn/Owens was before it. I’m glad they got more than five minutes, though. At least it gives them a shot to tell a story, which they did. This feud will likely continue on the Smackdown brand.
Dean Ambrose was in the backstage area with the WWE Title. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan showed up to talk to him about Smackdown Live. They said that everybody on Smackdown is relying on him. Shane said that Roman and Seth don’t have the heart that Dean has, which is why he’s the WWE Champion. Bryan talked about how he fought a lot of wars with Dean and The Shield, but they didn’t worry about the other two – they worried about Dean because he always kept coming back. Bryan told him he was the best. Ambrose said that tonight The Shield goes to war and he’s still going to be WWE Champion. He said that’s how it’s going to be and that’s how it is going to stay.
Analysis: Really good intensity by Ambrose. I liked the pep talk from both Shane and Daniel. It worked well.
A commercial aired for SummerSlam featuring Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton.
The Miz and Maryse were wearing masks for their entrance with JBL saying it was an Eyes Wide Shut movie reference.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund)
Slow start to the match. Young hit a forearm smash and a neckbreaker for two. Young was distracted by Maryse while he was on the middle rope, so Miz shoved Young to the floor. Backlund was staring at Maryse. Miz slammed Young into the side of the apron. Miz had a headlock on Young and talked trash to Backlund. Crowd wasn’t into this match very much. They fought over a backslide that Young won for a two count. Miz with a boot to the face to stop the comeback. Young made comebacks with clotheslines, then a belly to belly suplex and he urged the crowd to cheer. Young with a back suplex on the apron for two. Backlund told Young to do the Crossface Chickenwing. Young went for it, but Miz went to the ropes and broke free. Miz went to leave. Backlund stood in his way. Young brought Miz back into the ring. Maryse slapped Backlund and he bumped to the floor. Maryse fell down. Backlund ripped off his shirt. Miz left the ring and shoved Backlund down. Young applied the Crossface Chickenwing on the floor. The referee called for the bell. I’m not sure why. It went about 7 minutes.
Match Result: No Contest (Double Countout?)
Analysis: *1/2 That was a below average match. They just didn’t really have much of a flow to it and nothing interesting happened until Backlund was freaking out on the floor. I’m not even sure what the finish was because they never announced anything. Miz is on Smackdown and Young is on Raw, so I guess that’s the end of this storyline. Weird way to end it.
Post match, Young had to be helped off of Miz. He shoved one of the referees. Young stared at his hands similar to how Backlund used to do when Backlund was a heel.
Analysis: This could be the start of a heel turn for Young. Maybe they felt like the face act wasn’t working, so looking at the hands is the sign of a heel turn.
A commercial for the WWE 2K17 featuring Brock Lesnar.
Here’s the video package for John Cena, Enzo & Cass vs. The Club trio. They must have played the “Beat Up John Cena” sound byte about 20 times in that video.
John Cena made his entrance to mostly cheers. Cena is co-hosting on NBC’s Today Show on Monday AM since he’s a Smackdown guy, so he’s off Mondays now.
Enzo & Cass did their usual entrance. He said they are the Mount Rushmore of Certified G’s. He said he knows there are three of them, but they have Cena so it makes them 4G – we are well connected. That was clever. Cass said The Club is like a teenage girl in the Scream trilogy because they know that they (The Club) are going to make a bad decision. Enzo wanted to give them some good advice: “Don’t eat yellow snow, don’t pee in the wind, always lie on your resume, don’t wear crocs ever, never make eye contact with anyone when you’re eating a banana.” Cass said “how you doin’” after every thing he said. That was funny. Saxton asked if he took notes, JBL: “Shut up Byron!” That was also funny. Cass suggested not stepping in the ring with them unless they have a good dental plan because they’ll knock the teeth out of your throat. He turned it into a “Washington D.C. me” line in tribute to Cena, so Cena raised his hand. Cass said to give it up to Enzo because that was amazing. Fans sang “Go Enzo Amore” and then he did the “dab” thing to salute them. Cass talked trash about AJ Styles’ soccer mom hair. He told AJ to drop off Gallows & Anderson to Raw while AJ goes to Smackdown and think about that night in Washington where Enzo, Cass & Cena prove there’s only one word to describe them…“SAWFT.”
The Club made their entrance wearing new shirts even though this is their last tag match.
Analysis: That was hilarious. Enzo is so good at coming up with these creative promos. He definitely has the gift of gab. There were several moments where I was legitimately laughing pretty hard, especially the bit about the banana. JBL telling Saxton to shut up right after was clever too. Very enjoyable pre-match promo.
John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
There was a “soccer mom” chant for Styles due to his hairstyle. Cass tagged in, so Anderson went in there and Cass nailed some punches on him. Cass sent Enzo into Gallows to knock him down and then Cass tossed Enzo onto Anderson. With the bald guys on the floor, Cass tossed Enzo over the top onto both guys on the floor. Styles went after Cass, so Cass threw him onto the three guys outside the ring. Anderson was able to slow down Enzo, so the familiar part of an Enzo/Cass match begins as the heels worked over Enzo in their corner. Gallows with a slam. Styles got in there, Enzo tried to fight, but Styles drove him back into the corner. Enzo with a jawbreaker, but then Enzo caught him with a backbreaker. Enzo launched Styles with a back body drop to the floor. Anderson went after him, but Enzo escaped and Gallows went crashing into the post. Enzo tried to get to his corner, but Anderson nailed a flying knee attack to take him down. Gallows missed an attack, so Enzo tagged in Cena against Styles.
Cena did his shoulder tackles and the five knuckle shuffle on Styles. When Cena went for the AA, Styles landed on his feet and hit a Pele Kick. That looked sweet. Styles knocked Enzo off the apron. Enzo popped back up with a DDT on Styles. Anderson with a spinebuster on Styles. Cass with a fallaway slam on Anderson. Gallows went for Cena, Enzo jumped off and accidentally landed in Cena’s arms. Cena tossed Enzo into Gallows. Styles got back in there, but Cena dropped him with an Attitude Adjustment. Anderson broke up the pin with a spinebuster on the German announce table (it didn’t break). Enzo with a DDT on the floor. Cena got back in the ring right before the ten count. Styles hit the Styles Clash on Cena. Cass with the save and he nailed a huge boot to Styles’ face. Cass went into the ring, but fell victim to the Magic Killer from G&A. Enzo faced off with them even though Cena & Styles were still legal. Anderson charged at Enzo, but Enzo moved and Anderson went into the ring post. Crowd sang “Oh Enzo Amore” as Gallows nailed a kick to knock him down. Gallows with a corner charge on Cena, but Cena moved. Cena knocked Styles off the top rope and a clothesline on Gallows sent him out of the ring. Cena had Styles on his shoulders by the middle turnbuckle and hit the Attitude Adjustment for the win after 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Analysis: ***1/2 Really good tag match for the most part. I liked the energy of the match as they did some big spots towards the end of it. It was a bit weird near the end when Cena and Styles were outside the ring for more than a minute, yet the ref was in the ring watching the other guys battle it out even though they shouldn’t have even been in there. The announcers tried to cover for the ref saying he was just letting the guys fight, but it’s a bit sloppy. Cena getting the pin on Styles was done to set up the rematch at SummerSlam. Fine with me.
A commercial aired for WWE Network programming.
Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with Randy Orton
Jericho kept saying “quiet” to annoy the crowd. He talked about his guest being a guy that has been out for nine months with a shoulder injury and he’s facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. He brought out Orton.
Randy Orton made his entrance. He was wearing a RKO shirt along with black pants and sneakers. I point that out because when he does promos a lot of the time he’s wearing his trunks, so there were jokes about what he might wear for this segment. As Orton got into the ring, the crowd gave him a nice ovation.
Jericho said it sounds like DC loves Randy Orton tonight. Orton said that for nine months he’s enjoyed spending time with his wife and kids, but he’s missed something during those nine months and it was this – he pointed at the fans. He said the crowd’s got him in such a good mood that he doesn’t mind sharing a ring with this guy. Jericho gave him a look as if he wasn’t impressed. Loud “RKO” chants. Jericho said that Orton should thank him for being in the ring with him. Jericho bragged about being the best in the world and one of the best performers ever. Orton suggested that he not provoke him. Jericho talked about the RKO #OuttaNowhere (Orton has the hashtag on the back of the shirt) and how he might hit Orton with a Codebreaker #OuttaNowhere.
Jericho informed Orton that he’s on Smackdown while Jericho is on Raw with Jericho calling Stephanie talented and one of his favorite people - the crowd booed. Then Jericho ranted about Ambrose sticking 69 tacks into his flesh. Jericho talked about how he was giving him the “Gift of Jericho” and to “drink it in maaaaaaan.” Love that. Orton insulted him to make fun of his hair and said he thought this was the Ellen Degeneres show – because of the haircut. I think that was a “Ellen” chant so Jericho told the crowd to shut up.
They moved on to Jericho mentioning that Brock Lesnar is a beast unlike anybody else. Then he set up a video that we should watch on the “obscenely expensive 6500” screen. A video package aired about Brock Lesnar with audio featuring Paul Heyman’s comments as well. It was just one-minute video.
Jericho mentioned that Orton started with Lesnar about 15 years ago in WWE developmental. Jericho wondered if Orton is scared of Lesnar because he has avoided him. Orton tried to speak, but Jericho wondered why Orton would even sign on to face Lesnar. It led to Orton saying he wanted to make a statement by facing a guy like Brock Lesnar. Then Orton said what would have happened if he came back to face Fandango. It was a joke by insinuating Jericho looks like Fandango (plus Jericho lost to him at WM29). Jericho said that Lesnar is going to kick Orton’s ass and take him to Suplex City. Orton says he knows that Lesnar is going to slam him and suplex him because he’s known him for so long. He talked about how Lesnar might hit 20 suplexes to take him to Suplex City, but only one RKO to go to Viperville. “No enhancement needed.” Oh wow! Orton dropped the microphone.
Jericho told Orton he knows somebody close to Lesnar and he’s relaying some messages. Jericho speaking for “Brock” says he’ll rip off Orton’s arm and eat it. Jericho again spoke for “Brock” saying that Orton is a “stupid idiot.” Jericho taunted him about doing a RKO outta nowhere. Jericho kept on taunting him. Orton spun him around and Jericho freaked out about it. Orton laughed, then he ducked down and popped back up with the RKO to take down Jericho. Huge pop. Orton celebrated to end it after about 12 minutes. Long promo segment.
Analysis: That was fun. It was predictable that Jericho was going to take an RKO and he did. What shocked me the most was when Orton said “no enhancement needed” about Lesnar because of Lesnar being in the headlines recently due to two drug test failures prior to his recent UFC fight. I didn’t know if they were going to address it, but they did. I’m a little surprised by it although it’s a good sign that they did because it’s tough to ignore something that is huge in the sports world. It makes the match feel bigger and more personal now.
They plugged SummerSlam on August 21 featuring Orton vs. Lesnar and other matches.
The video package about The Shield set up the main event. It’s an awesome video.
They showed members of the Raw locker room watching television because of the idea that they want the WWE Title on Raw. Then they showed the Smackdown locker room watching television.
The authority figures all entered to sit at ringside for the main event: Raw’s Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon followed by Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Lots of “YES” chants for Bryan. So much for making it about the wrestlers.
Seth Rollins entered first. Mostly boos, but some cheers. Roman Reigns made his entrance and the boos were very loud for him. He’s got more of a beard than he did prior to his 30-day suspension. The WWE Champion Dean Ambrose entered last. Huge ovation for him. JBL was ranting about Ambrose being a disgrace, but he was rooting for him so he can bring the WWE Title to Smackdown.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
The match started at 10:56pmET so they’re going over three hours with the show. The crowd was chanting “Roman Sucks” early as he drove Rollins out of the ring with a shoulder tackle. Rollins back in the ring and Reigns sent him out with a clothesline. Ambrose with a rollup gets two. When Rollins got back in the ring, another clothesline over the top to the floor. Reigns with a rollup gets two. Ambrose went for a crossbody block, but Reigns stood tall and Ambrose crashed to the mat. Rollins back in stomped Reigns in the corner. Rollins worked over both guys. Rollins hit a Sling Blade on Reigns and then sent him out of the ring. The action spilled out to the floor. Reigns tossed Ambrose into the steel stairs and then Rollins sent Reigns into the barricade. Reigns came back with a back body drop over the barricade onto the floor. Ambrose ran across the announce tables to take out both guys with a dive against the barricade. Back in the ring, Ambrose hit some of his signature spots including the bulldog and the flying elbow attack. When Ambrose rolled off of Reigns, Rollins was there with a Frog Splash. That was a weird spot because Ambrose rolled off, then had to lay there for about a second and take a Frog Splash. It’s a little too silly for me. Reigns nailed some uppercut punches on Rollins. Reigns with a clothesline on Ambrose a tilt a whirl slam by Reigns on Rollins. Reigns nailed a Superman Punch on Ambrose. Rollins jumped off the top, but he was met by a Superman Punch by Reigns as well. Both guys avoided the Spear by hitting Reigns with a kick, Reigns punched Rollins again and Ambrose with a clothesline on Ambrose. All three guys were down.
They all got back to their feet as Ambrose and Rollins beat down Reigns in the ring. Loud “yes” chants for that. They were going to work together against Reigns, but RR fought them off. Ambrose with a suicide dive sent Reigns into the table. Rollins with a somersault dive over the top to take out Reigns. The Raw locker room was shown watching with New Day eating Booty O’s. The Smackdown locker room was shown as well. Rollins cleared off the Spanish announce table. Ambrose picked up Reigns and Rollins drove Reigns through Spanish table with a double team Powerbomb. Shield flashback! Then Rollins hit Ambrose in the back with a steel chair…and there’s a chair to Reigns’ back too. That’s another flashback from Rollins turning heel on them two years ago. Back in the ring, Ambrose countered the Buckle Bomb with a hurricanrana. The Smackdown locker room was happy. Rollins with the superplex into a Falcon Arrow for two. They battled on the top rope, but Reigns came back in with a Powerbomb on Ambrose. Then Reigns put up Rollins on his shoulder with a sitout Powerbomb gets two. Very good nearfall. Ambrose wanted Dirty Deeds, Reigns fought out of it and nailed him with a Superman Punch. Rollins with a Pedigree on Reigns for two. Reigns powered out of another Pedigree, so Rollins gave him a Buckle Bomb. Reigns hit a Spear on Rollins. Ambrose got his hands on Reigns right away and hit Dirty Deeds for the win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Post match, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan went into the ring to celebrate with Ambrose. They showed replays of the finish.
Analysis: **** That was a very good triple threat match. Considering it was the first time they had a three way match (on the main roster) they told an awesome story. It started out with Rollins getting in a lot of offense, then Reigns got going and dominated with his power. I liked the part where Rollins and Ambrose worked together to drive Reigns through the table. The crowd loved it too. The finish was set up pretty well because it was all about Roman and Seth battling eachother, then Roman hit his finish and Ambrose was right there to hit Roman with his finish to win the match. Smart booking for the champion Ambrose. I picked Rollins to win, but I don’t mind Ambrose carrying the title. Reigns taking the pin was the obvious choice.
The Smackdown leaders Shane and Daniel celebrated with Ambrose. Stephanie and Mick were upset at ringside.
The Smackdown wrestlers went into the ring to celebrate with Ambrose. I think Mojo Rawley is staying hyped bro. The Usos put Ambrose on their shoulders to continue the celebration (sorry cousin Roman). The PPV ended at 11:17pmET.
Analysis: The next step is trying to figure out what Raw might do without a World Title on their show. Should they do a tournament to crown a new champion at SummerSlam? That makes the most sense to me. It will probably be announced on Raw this week.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Sami Zayn
2. Kevin Owens
3. Seth Rollins
4. Dean Ambrose
Sorry Roman, but I had to get Bayley in there. She earned it.
It gets a 8 out of 10 from me.
Great show. It exceeded my expectations because I didn't think it would be as good as it was.
The highlight of the show was Zayn vs. Owens. One of the best matches of the year. Maybe the best match on the main roster so far this year, but as I said earlier I liked Nakamura vs. Zayn from NXT more. Main event was really good too. I liked the Cena tag match as well.
As for the other matches, they were solid and a few were slightly above average. Some of the midcard matches dragged a bit. I thought the Miz/Young match was poor with a bad finish.
I was happy to see Bayley on the main roster finally. I’m not sure what her future is right now, but at least they put her up there and the crowd loved her right away. That should tell management they need to use her on the main roster very soon.
It was a predictable show because I got every match right on the main show except for the main event. I probably should have picked Ambrose because it would have been too soon to take the title off him. I’m okay with it.
Lastly, Orton's line about Lesnar taking enhancements is going to get people talking. They'll think it's real even though it's part of the show. Smart way to hype up SummerSlam.
WWE PPV Rankings In 2016 So Far
Money in the Bank – 8
Battleground – 8
Payback - 7.5
Royal Rumble - 7.5
Extreme Rules - 7
WrestleMania 32 - 6
Fastlane – 6
That’s a pretty strong year for PPVs. I know I tied Battleground with Money in the Bank. Hard pick the better event. Both were excellent.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
John Canton –[email protected]
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