By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Randy Orton Interrupted The Authority
Even when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are away on "vacation," The Authority still kicks off the show. How saddening. Anyway, I was glad they acknowledged the fact that all (well, most) of The Authority won at WrestleMania, but that was the only reason why Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal? Orton's interruption was logical, and he came off a lot less monotone than usual due to being motivated which I'm really enjoying. The announcement of the No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat in the main event gave a good hook for the rest of the show, though I don't know how many viewers stay tuned to see Kane's "exciting" match against Orton after the commercial break.
Randy Orton def. Kane by Disqualification
I respect Kane as a performer, but at this stage in his career, it's difficult to get excited by any of his matches. Orton is an excellent worker in his own right, but he usually excels when with the right opponent. Unfortunately, Kane wasn't that guy, and most of the match consisted of Kane on offense. The match never reached the next gear before it ended in anticlimactic fashion with Kane getting himself disqualified, so what was the point? I guess it put Orton at a disadvantage going into the main event and Kane was able to get back at him for his comments, but the match was boring beyond belief otherwise.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Neville (Non-title)
Neville being Rollins' opponent was a pleasant surprise and this rather quiet crowd was definitely receptive to the newcomer. I realize many people were expecting an instant classic from these two and while it didn't exactly meet those expectations, it was still a good match. They could have simply been holding back, but it was important to make Neville look strong in defeat and they accomplished that. I only wish he got in a bit more offense, but that's merely nitpicking. Hopefully this is a sign that they have big plans for Neville going forward.
United States Champion John Cena def. Stardust
Say what you will about Cena being United States Champion, but it feels fresh and I love the idea of an open challenge every Granted, the ending outcome was never in doubt with Cena vs. Rusev in a rematch already booked for Extreme Rules, but Cena vs. Stardust was something new and I enjoyed every minute of it. They established very good chemistry together and Stardust looked great coming out of this, especially with that sweet looking Cross Rhodes spot. If you weren't already convinced, this should prove to you that Stardust is an excellent wrestler saddled with a crappy character. Bring back Cody Rhodes already!
Naomi and Paige def. The Bella Twins
It's nice to see Naomi getting recognized after all this time as she's tremendously talented and deserves a run with the Divas Championship sooner rather than later. I also appreciate the women getting more time for their matches. This wasn't an extraordinary contest or anything, but everyone played their part well and put together a decent bout. It was pretty formulaic toward the end with Naomi getting the hot tag from Paige before picking up the win, but it was an effective way of furthering her momentum.
Ryback def. Luke Harper
This was another match that I enjoyed for the sole fact that it was something we don't usually see. They worked a nice match in the small window of time they were allotted and it was a fine win for Ryback going into the main event. By the way, how ridiculous was it that Ambrose was kept off TV after being put through a commentary table four days ago yet he appeared unscathed on Raw last week only a day removed from being put through a ladder at WrestleMania?
The Lucha Dragons def. The New Day
After almost four months of being an unbearable act, it finally appears The New Day is going heel. I'm just surprised it took them this long to pull the trigger. The Lucha Dragons continue to impress me and their awesome athleticism will go over huge with audiences if they continue to showcase their skills. The match was fun while it lasted and it was good to see The Lucha Dragons pick up the win. The New Day can still be over-the-top annoying as heels, but they have to establish themselves as such by viciously attacking a babyface tag team eventually.
Roman Reigns def. Big Show
I shuddered at the thought of these two facing each other yet again after the million matches they had earlier this year, but this wasn't half bad. The crowd wasn't sitting on the edge of their seats for it, but they weren't invested in many matches on the show, so I can't single this one out. They put forth a good effort, and at the very least it had a clean finish with Reigns going over, so it was everything it should have been.
Sheamus def. Mark Henry
I know it's only been a week, but Sheamus has been absolutely awesome since his return. He works so much better as a heel and his pre-match promo was indicative of that. With all the focus on Sheamus, the match was never meant to be anything more than a one-sided squash. It appears he'll be facing Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules while Daniel Bryan defends the Intercontinental Championship against Bad News Barrett.
The Miz def. Damien Mizdow
I was surprised to hear that they were holding this match so soon, but it only makes sense if they plan on doing a rematch (with some sort of stipulation) at the pay-per-view. Still, why give away their first match after many months of build in the show's "death slot"? It was fine for what it was and they didn't give much away, and I understand what they were going for, but it seemed like a lazy way of booking for such a hot program.
Randy Orton def. Roman Reigns and Ryback in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Man, was this rushed or what? Something had to have run overtime, and is the WWE Network podcast that important that they couldn't push it back a few minutes? No Triple Threat match should be five minutes long, and it was blatantly obvious they were short on time since all three guys started hitting their signature maneuvers right off the bat. They made the most of what they were given, but it was far too quick to be anything special. Orton vs. Rollins at Extreme Rules makes sense from a storyline standpoint, but where does Reigns go from here? I'd take him against Bray Wyatt over Big Show any day of the week.
Awful crowd aside, I thought this was a good show on the whole. It obviously paled in comparison to last week's crazy hot show, but that was to be expected. Although there were a few booking decisions that I didn't agree with (especially in the last hour), there was a lot of solid progression going into Extreme Rules in a few weeks. The three hours definitely dragged, but overall, there's still many things to be excited about right now and I look forward to what's to come in the next few weeks.
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