6 Man Tag: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, and Neville vs Rusev, King Barrett, and Sheamus
The evening began with a tag rematch between six of the most promising superstars of tomorrow. This match had everything that a Kick Off match should have. Six gifted competitors who have a history of working together, solid spots, and an opportunity to establish and perpetuate existing feuds and alliances.
Each man was granted their own entrance with Cesaro earning the biggest crowd pop out of all the combatants. Which is SO odd since, well, Vince McMahon made a point last year to inform us that Cesaro doesn’t connect well with the crowd…guess someone forgot to mention that to the crowd.
The match started with Neville working Sheamus for the first spot of the night, which was an assisted standing corkscrew moonsault off Cesaro’s back onto Sheamus for an early two count. Team Heel continued the match, briefly taking the upper hand by isolating Neville in the corner. Neville escaped and made the tag to Dolph.
The quick nature of Dolph Ziggler’s moveset upped the pace considerably creating another mini arch where Dolph attempted the Fame Asser, but was caught by Sheamus. Sheamus went for a powerbomb, but Ziggler was able to counter with the Fame Asser successfully for another two count. (Also, I’d like to add there was a small Macho Man tribute done by Ziggler before executing his jumping elbow drop.) Ziggler’s momentum was crushed quickly by an illegal superkick from nemesis Rusev.
A small spot between Dolph and Rusev is worked with Dolph being brutalized by the Bulgarian “Playboy” and the commentary team mentions the ongoing rivalry between the two. Dolph remained isolated as Sheamus took a turn before tagging Rusev back in. A miscalculation on an overly confident Rusev’s part lead to him eating a nice big bite of ring post as he sailed outside. A tag is made to Barrett as Dolph is finally free to make the hot tag to Cesaro.
Cesaro came in to thunderous cheers from the crowd and with lightning speed and precision began taking apart Team Heel. A big boot to the corner sent Sheamus to the floor, while legal man Barrett found himself on the Uppercut Express stopping at Big Boot Lane. After a second big boot through the ropes leaves Barrett down, Cesaro used the opportunity to take out Sheamus with a somesault senton from the apron. Cesaro further rallied the crowd by playing to the audience before running around the ring and uppercutting Rusev and then Sheamus again before climbing to the top rope for a crossbody and near three on Barrett. Cesaro went for the big swing, but was rushed by Rusev. He was able to back body drop Rusev, who rolled out of the ring. Neville appeared in the ring and, with the help of Cesaro hit a beautiful vaulting corkscrew to the ouside of the ring onto an unsuspecting Sheamus and Rusev. Barrett tried a sneack attack but was taken out by a superkick from Dolph leading into King Barrett taking the Big Swing. Cesaro tags Neville back in to hit the Red Arrow on Barrett for an impressive win for Team Face.
United States Championship Open Challenge.
John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio with Zeb Colter
The match starts with Cena (and his interesting new little dance he’s incorporating) making his entrance to the ring. Cena keeps it short and sweet, telling us, “…I say we get down to business right now!” Suddenly, the Real American theme song started playing and we all mentally groaned as we feared they were trying to push Jack Swagger yet again, but to our surprised out rode (Yes, rode. Scooting all over the arena FTW) Zeb Colter.
Zeb goes on to cut a promo on how it was time to end the polarizing, separation of John Cena’s title reign, it was time for an era of inclusion to begin. With that, Zeb introuced us to surprise challenger, Alberto Del Rio! (A man that Zeb once tried to have deported as well as being a longtime rival of Cena’s.)
The match was a relatively good match with a few high spots. Early on we saw Alberto working Cena’s arm and leg. Honestly, it was not much different than we had seen in the past between these two superstars on any given Raw they were both on. The commentary team really counted on telling the viewers that the reason Cena was having such a hard time with Del Rio was because Del Rio knew Cena so well and that he was thrown off his game by the surprise of it being an on game Del Rio. But, arguably, John Cena has been hosting these open challenges since the Monday after Wrestlemania. He has faced many opponents that he “had no time to prepare for” and still came out victorious. Also, it was really hard to believe that after all of the finishers Cena has kicked out of (and the brutalization Kevin Owens put him through) a kick to the head from Del Rio put him down for the three.
Del Rio wins and walks out with his new United States Championship, which to me seems more like a consolation prize to Del Rio for the atrocious way WWE handled his situation last year. I personally disagree with putting the title on Del Rio for many reasons. Del Rio is an established superstar who already has a legacy established in the WWE. Knocking Cena off cleanly should have been used to catapult a new talent into the main event game. Despite this faux pas in writing, I have no doubt that Alberto Del Rio will run an excellent heel program with the title and the newly turned Zeb Colter.
Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt
After months and months of buildup the storyline arch of Roman Reigns and the Wyatt Family patriarch, Bray Wyatt was set to culminate inside the brutal walls of the Hell in a Cell.
The match was not a technical wrestling clinic by any means, which was to be expected. This match was a grudge match and was more about mayhem and carnage…well, at least as much carnage as PG allows. The pacing of the match was slow and methodical with each party getting the upper hand. Reigns and Wyatt really took the time to set the stage of this match with faux finishes and surprise reversals which lent to the feeling of two old foes meeting once again.
Reigns took a nasty spill through the table from the apron early on allowing Wyatt to gain momentum with the use of a kendo stick. Later in the match, Reigns speared Wyatt through a table from the apron, returning the favor.
This match told a story from the bell ringing to the three count which pulled in the audience on multiple occasions and elicited different chants all throughout the bout. Both competitors came out strong with Roman Reigns finally standing tall over Bray Wyatt.
Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day vs The Dudley Boyz
I’d like to start off by saying that The New Day gives me life every time I see them. They have taken this horrible gimmick and spun it to pure gold by simply going out there and being themselves.
We started the entrances with The New Day coming down the ramp addressing the crowd about why Xavier Woods was absent. (Storyline injury, real life Marriage!) After some brilliant dialogue that included debuting their new Unicorn Power gimmick and some #booty wiggling, the Dudley’s made their entrance to a divided crowd. Yes, you want to love the Dudley’s because they are your faces, but you can’t just set aside The New Day. They’re just too infectious!
The match featured classic tag team back and forth with oddly the only botch coming from the Dudley’s as they failed to execute a leg drop/sidewalk slam sequence. (Prompting Big E to, in character, shout “What the hell was that?” across the ring.)
Kofi tried to have the Dudley’s disqualified by using the old Eddie Guerrero toss-the-chair- (in this case trombone)-and-fall-down gag. However, the referee did not see the event take place and after listening the crowd, decided not to stop the match.
Eventually the trombone did come into play when Big E hit Bubba from behind which stunned him long enough for Kofi to hit his Trouble in Paradise kick for the win. A quick, entertaining match that will no doubt progress the storyline with the Dudley’s a little further, possibly to the next PPV.
Diva’s Championship Match
Charlotte vs Nikki Bella
I will forewarn anyone reading this review that as a woman, I am very heavily invested in the Diva’s division. With that being said, let’s talk about the match!
This match, in my opinion, was one of the best matches (if not the best) of the night. Both ladies entered the ring and were immediately in character. What I loved most about it was during Charlotte’s entrance, you could see Nikki arguing with the ref and trying to get at Charlotte. Charlotte took the early advantage, slowly introducing the WWE Universe to the tip of the iceberg that is the moveset we came to know and love down in NXT. At one point the action spilled outside where a barricade battle took place, resulting in Charlotte being tossed over and Nikki jumping off to plant a foot in Charlotte’s back.
From there Nikki Bella had the advantage and worked the Champ’s back in an effort to eliminate her Figure Eight finisher. Nikki debuted some new moves, especially submissions, in this bout and each woman sold the injury to Charlotte’s back the remainder of the match.
Back inside the ring, Nikki went for her second rope kick, but Charlotte ducked giving the champ the advantage. Another high spot came when Charlotte climbed to the top rope but was stopped by Nikki. Charlotte executed a back flip from the top, successfully knocking Nikki Bella hard to the mat. Charlotte used the opportunity to try to lock in the Figure Eight, but Nikki was able to reverse it and make it to the ropes. The action spilled outside again where Nikki hit an Alabama slam to Charlotte to the ring apron, prompting the coveted ‘HOLY SHIT’ chant from the crowd. Charlotte managed to sink her Figure Eight in, bridge and all, and the former champion was forced to tap.
Overall, this was a wonderful match. In my opinion, Nikki’s past two matches with Charlotte have been some of the best of her career. Contrary to what some would have believed, Charlotte did not carry Nikki in either of their matches. Nikki showed that she has the capacity to pull off good, intense, brutal women’s matches. I believe that in a few years, we will look back at these initial matches between these two women and credit them as the beginning of revitalizing the Diva’s Championship lineage.
WWE Heavy Weight Championship
Seth Rollins vs Kane
I want to start this out by saying that three things about this match bugged me immediately.
1.) Why Kane and Rollins AGAIN? Seriously, Kane has just become a big jobber. There is no prestige in beating Kane anymore and no one believes he’s going to win ANYTIME he has a match.
2.) Why is this match lower on the card than the Intercontinental Championship match? That makes absolutely no sense.
3.) It irritates me to no end when the champion isn’t the last one to enter the ring.
That being said this was a pretty decent match. The two have worked each other enough to be pretty comfortable with each other and the duo did throw in some new sequences. Rollins was wonderful as usual and Kane definitely showed that he still had some moves for a veteran.
The Spanish announce table spot made me laugh until I cried. Seth proceeded to powerbomb Kane onto the table, but it didn’t break. Instead Kane just kind of fell over and the table tipped over on him. Seth, to nobody’s surprise, picked up the win in a decent but ultimately forgettable match.
It’s intensely annoying to me at this point in Seth’s reign that they still have him playing this scaredy, skittish little man. He has held that championship the better part of the year, he should be approaching these matches with a sense of strength and cockiness as a heel, not some wimpy, fearful paper champion. WWE needs to get their act together on Seth’s character and pronto.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Ryback vs Kevin Owens
This match is a paradox. It featured one of the best wrestlers the WWE has to offer, yet was the worst match of the night. In fact, it started with me bemoaning loudly the following things:
“Why the hell is it that Kevin Owens was this confident bad ass all through his Cena feud, but with Ryback he has to rake the eyes to win?”
“Stop trying to make Ryback happen! It’s not going to happen!”
What can I say? This match was just another gross example of the WWE taking a well rounded out gimmick and wrestler from NXT and completely destroying him when he gets to the main roster. Kevin Owen’s character went from strong, dominant heel giving five star matches to someone who is afraid of Ryback and can barely squeak by with a win over him.
Triple H, get in there and help your boy…Vince is killing him. Kevin Owens was supposed to be our savior…
Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker
A brutal match worthy of being in the Cell. Both men used the environment expertly and we even saw Brock busted open early in the match. The crowd was electric, chanting for The Undertaker and Brock at the same time.
This was the showing that The Undertaker really needed. One of the first big moments for him was kicking out after three German suplexes and an F5. The match went on and The Undertaker was still game. Brock resorted to ripping the ring apart down to the bare wood with the idea of F5ing The Undertaker on the exposed boards, but that did not work out as the Beast had planned. The Undertaker managed to get his hands on Brock and nail him with a Chokeslam and a Tombstone on the exposed area to a chorus of “This is AWESOME!” chants from the fans. The Undertaker went in for more damage, but Lesnar hit him with a low blow leading into an F5 on the exposed wood.
I was pretty pleased with this match. It was very physical and a decent end to the trilogy of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Both men came out looking like the warriors they really are. The Undertaker took a few moments to get up and was greeted by the WWE Universe chanting “Thank You, Taker!”
Suddenly, The Wyatt’s music began to play and the family of misfits descended on The Undertaker. The Dead Man did his best to fend them off, but he was overpowered and eventually stolen from the arena by the Wyatt family. I’m interested to see how that will pan out. Hopefully they will do the angle I was originally hoping they would have done when the Wyatt’s stole Kane. Think about it, a mad man like Bray Wyatt in control of a Dead Man? Wonderful.
At the end of it all this PPV had some excellent matches even if the story lines getting there were a bit lack luster. We had some definitive ends to quite a few feuds, so the next month will be all about preparing a new ground for battles.