By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Stardust and The Ascension def. Neville and The Lucha Dragons (Kickoff Match)
This match hardly had any storyline support, but I enjoyed it from an in-ring standpoint. All six Superstars worked hard to deliver a decent performance and I'd say they succeeded. It was perfectly placed on the pre-show, there were a handful of fun high-flying spots and the heels picked up the surprise win, so I can't complain. Neville is completely directionless at the moment, but at least The Cosmic Wasteland has potential to be a cool trio if they're not booked to look like losers.
Kevin Owens def. Ryback to Win the Intercontinental Championship
I figured if there was anyone who could get a quality title match out of Ryback, it'd be Owens, and they produced an excellent opener on this show. They created compelling chemistry together and produced a hard-hitting back-and-forth bout. Ryback had his fair share of impressive spots and Owens played the heel role to perfection, especially with the finish that saw him rake the eyes of Ryback and roll him up to capture the belt. He was the best possible choice to take the title off Ryback and he has a batch of fresh faces to work with as champion.
Dolph Ziggler def. Rusev
I'm as tired of this feud as much as the next guy, but admittedly, this was their best bout to date, though I realize that's not saying much. They've always worked well together and this was another nice little match between them, not to mention that it was refreshing to see Ziggler score a somewhat meaningful win for a change. Then again, it only came after Summer Rae inadvertently (?) got involved, so this feud could be far from over. Sigh.
The Dudley Boyz def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day by Disqualification
After their entertaining match a few weeks ago on Raw, I expected more from this matchup. It wasn't bad by any means, but it never felt like it reached the next gear before its abrupt ending. It didn't help that the crowd didn't have an incentive to cheer for one team over the other with both tandems being extremely popular right now. That said, I didn't hate the non-finish because it keeps the feud alive and The Dudley Boyz remain in chase mode, but it was still the least exciting match on the show.
Charlotte def. Nikki Bella to Win the Divas Championship
I legitimately thought Charlotte injured her knee early on in the match, but if that really was a work, then kudos to her. She got me. The rest of the match essentially saw Charlotte selling for Nikki's offense, and while she did so in believable fashion, Charlotte seemed to win out of nowhere. I like Charlotte and see her as a major player in the Divas division for years to come, but I don't see her being ready for a reign yet. Was this all one giant F-U to AJ Lee just so Nikki could break the record and drop the strap days later? Serious question.
The Wyatt Family def. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho
There will always be those that are disappointed with the reveal of a mystery partner, but Jericho was a lot better than most people they could have gone with. The crowd loved seeing him, he performed very well here, and he was the perfect person to take the loss for the team while also lending credibility to Braun Strowman and the rest of the Family. What intrigued me the most was Jericho teasing a heel turn by tagging himself in toward the end and bumping shoulders with Ambrose on his way out. A Jericho vs. Ambrose program? Sign me up!
John Cena def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins to Win the United States Championship
You had to know they weren't going to go all out in this match as they did at SummerSlam because Rollins would be working two matches, but they had a hell of a match, regardless. Some of the spots were the same, but incorporated enough fresh spots as well to not make it feel like a repeat. I assumed Cena would win to give him something to do post-Night of Champions, but answer me this: What in the hell was the point of Cena delivering Attitude Adjustment to Rollins afterward? All he had to do was throw him back in the ring. Cena heel turn confirmed!
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Sting; Kane Returned
For a 56-year-old, Sting did pretty damn well for himself in this match (and thank the lord he didn't wear a shirt). He hung with Rollins in the ring and took more nasty bumps than I thought he would, and probably more than what was necessary. He might have really been out of it during the final few minutes, but he recovered nicely and I'm a fan of Rollins winning clean. Sting's now 2-2 since coming to WWE, but it's more about making the future looking strong than the past. Sheamus has been better since coming back as a heel, but I had zero interest in seeing him cash in Money in the Bank successfully, so I couldn't have been happier that Kane returned with the mask to lay out both him and Rollins. It would have been illogical to have Kane return and side with Rollins after what happened the last time we saw him on WWE TV.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show, probably more than I did SummerSlam (and I was there!). Every match on the card had something to like about it with the only bout not living up to expectations being the tag title match. Other than that, I was in favor of each of the outcomes and the closing of the show as well. Plenty has been set up for Hell in a Cell, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the card starts to take shape in coming weeks.
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