By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Brie Bella def. Becky Lynch
I've always said Brie was the weaker worker of The Bella Twins, but she can have a competent match with the right opponent and Lynch was the perfect person for her to go up against. She had an impressive showing in this bout and the funny thing is, I can't remember any of their past encounters being anything special. Something just clicked on this night. It was strange hearing more chants for Brie than for Lynch, but it wasn't until afterward that I realized it was the Bellas' hometown. Due to that, giving Brie the win here is almost excusable, but Lynch is the one they need to start building up right now at the risk of making her an afterthought (if she isn't one already, that is).
Stardust def. Zack Ryder
These two had a very similar match only a few short weeks ago, so this was a repeat performance. It was a well-wrestled little match, but ultimately nothing of note. Both Stardust and Ryder are excellent athletes, but the crowd won't care until they're given a reason to. It's nice to see The Ascension at ringside for Stardust's matches, but why isn't Stardust ever present for The Ascension's matches? Because he knows they'll lose, perhaps?
Neville def. Rusev by Referee Stoppage
This was, well, weird. I read earlier in the week that Rusev suffered an injury during the match and the match had to be stopped as a result, so I was interested to see how it would be handled. For the record, whenever the injury occurred wasn't actually shown; they came back from commercial and the medical team started to attend to him. The match barely got started, so I can't judge the quality of it, but everything that happened afterward was bizarre. I assume they told Rusev to make up for the time they lost by going berserk at ringside, so at least he stayed in character and maintained some semblance of heat.
This show was on its way to getting a solid thumbs up from me before the main event. That said, Rusev and Neville shouldn't be blamed and injuries happen. That match wasn't what it could have been for obvious reasons, and while Stardust vs. Ryder was a standard squash match, the women's match between Brie and Lynch was very good and worth checking out.
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