By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Chris Jericho def. Neville
It never ceases to amaze me how Jericho can be out of action for so long yet return when he wants and never miss a beat. While I know Jericho's opponent was originally supposed to be Finn Balor, this was a pretty great match as well that I don't regret getting instead. It also amazes me they're not doing more with Neville right now considering his tremendous talents and the skills he showcased in this contest. Given the chance we might never see this match on TV, it was a cool special attraction for Japan that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was slightly surprised to see Jericho win since he isn't a full-timer (and he is always open to putting younger talent over), but they told the story of Neville earning Jericho's respect in defeat. Jericho bringing back the Liontamer to put Neville away was a nice touch as well.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. Paige and Tamina in a Triple Threat Match
I'm constantly ranting about the current sad state of the Divas division and how most of their matches mean nothing as a result, but this match exceeded my expectations. If anything, I thought it would be worse than anticipated because Tamina replaced Naomi (who is a better worker in my opinion) at the last minute, but she held her own and didn't feel out of place. This was a major improvement over the Divas title match we got at Elimination Chamber from an in-ring standpoint, though the outcome was never in doubt.
Brock Lesnar def. Kofi Kingston
This match was exactly what you think it would be: a super fun glorified squash match. Admittedly, I took pleasure in the beating Lesnar gave Kingston in this bout, but not because I hate Kingston but rather Lesnar's annihilation of people is always entertaining. Lesnar was the perfect opponent for him in that respect because he sold his suplexes and other offense like a million bucks. Although he attempted to get in a few moves of his own, Lesnar completely no-sold them before demolishing Kingston for the win. Lesnar destroying the rest of The New Day afterward was also enjoyable and a great way to send the message that Rollins could be in a similar situation come Battleground or even as soon as Monday's Raw.
Finn Balor def. Kevin Owens to Win the NXT Championship
After all the hype Balor received going into this match, you had to know he was winning the title here, but this was one of those matches that the predictability of the finish didn't hurt the match it all. If anything, it gave it more of a big fight feel and made me enjoy it even more. Balor and Owens delivered an excellent outing with both guys hitting their signature spots and scoring suspenseful near-falls, giving viewers the impression that Owens had a chance of winning after all. I was glad John Cena (or anyone for that matter) didn't interfere and cost Owens the title because the clean win made it a bigger moment for Balor and Owens won't lose anything from it, especially if he wins the United States Championship at Battleground. Bonus points to Owens for hilariously tossing the flowers he was presented prior to the bout to the floor at ringside. Is there any doubt he's the best heel in all of WWE today?
United States Champion John Cena and Dolph Ziggler def. Kane and King Barrett
If the match made more sense or there were Superstars involved fans actually cared about (for the heels, anyway), I don't think I would have minded this match going on for as long as it did. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for matches getting more time, but this felt like it went on forever with the heels on offense, and the fact Cena and Ziggler were facing two heels who mean nothing right now in Kane and Barrett didn't help matters. Granted, it's just a live event and the crowd was probably just happy to see them, but I'm shocked they didn't have any more credible heels who could have taken Barrett's place. Nevertheless, it was a solid effort from the four competitors that resulted in a decent tag team match.
On the whole, this was an extremely entertaining show that is well worth going out of your way to check out. Jericho vs. Neville was a great wrestling match to kick off the show with, Balor vs. Owens was excellent and the title change made for a historic moment, Lesnar vs. Kingston was fun, the Divas match delivered, and even the main event (which was boring at points) was fine for what it was. No, I didn't wake up super early on a holiday to watch this show live (how crazy do you think I am?), but the ability to watch it back at any time on the WWE Network was a huge help. Hopefully the success of this show convinces WWE to do more live specials like this one in other countries (England, anyone?). To my fellow Americans, enjoy Independence Day, and to everyone else, have a great rest of your weekend!
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