By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Authority Stripped Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Champion
It's unfortunate Bryan had to be stripped of the belt and even worse that his rehabilitation isn't going too great at the moment. Of course, his health is more important and I'd rather see him return at 100 percent than to rush back early and risk re-aggravating the injury. The Authority wanted the title off him anyway, so it made sense for them to make the decision they did. This opening segment was also newsworthy for the announcement of the Money in the Bank Ladder match at the upcoming pay-per-view being for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That should be very exciting and I look forward to it.
United States Champion Sheamus def. Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match (Non-title)
It's a shame that the champion vs. champion aspect of this match wasn't played up as heavily as it was on SmackDown a few weeks ago. It made the the titles feel irrelevant, which is a shame because they've been built up so well as of late. That aside, this was another strong match from two individuals who have great chemistry together. It was an entertaining back-and-forth contest with an abrupt finish that didn't make Barrett look weak. In a perfect world, I'd have Barrett go over, but if another MITB match will be held for a future title shot, then this was the right move.
Rusev def. Zack Ryder
Lana continues to be the focal point of the act with her heat-generating promos. Rusev is over as well, but when Lana's promos are longer than Rusev's matches, you know that she's the one with the spotlight on her and not Rusev. It was yet another typical squash match from Rusev with nothing out of the ordinary. I hope to see him transition into the rumored rivalry with Mark Henry soon. It's too soon for him to feud with John Cena, as odds are he'd be beaten by him and lose all of his credibility in the process.
Rybaxel def. Goldust and R-Truth
This wasn't much more than a continuation of the storyline with Cody Rhodes picking dud partners for Goldust. The match was pretty forgettable, but then again, mostly anything with Truth involved usually is. I like the hook of who Cody will pick as a partner for his brother next, but if it continues to be heroes of WWE Superstars, then people will lose interest quickly. At least it drags out the storyline a few more weeks and allows Cody and Goldust to have their eventual match later in the summer. On a side note, it would have been nice for WWE to air the entrance of Curtis Axel given that he was from the area, but I suppose they didn't want him cheered since he's a heel.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns Attacked 3MB and Addressed Seth Rollins
Any segment that sees 3MB get their butts handed to them is must-see television for me. In all seriousness, Ambrose and Reigns looked like beasts in overcoming the odds (well, not really since it was 3MB) and this is the exact reaction they should have since this was their first appearance since the ending of last week's Raw. Ambrose was excellent on the mic here per usual and Reigns was very good in his role as well. They continue to be referred to as The Shield despite the fact that Rollisn is not longer with them, so it might be possible that they'll be joined by someone else at some point.
WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Fandango and Damien Sandow
Okay, I'll admit it: Sandow dressing up as a dancer was rather comical. I've despised this changing of the gimmicks with Sandow since the start, but the fact he's been dedicated to all the roles he's had thus far is admirable. Even his hairstyle here was hilarious. The match was nothing notable and at all and only served as filler, but at least it was something new for The Usos. Speaking of whom, whatever happened to their apparent feud with The Wyatt Family?
Bo Dallas def. Xavier Woods
Dallas has been doing the same shtick since his debut a few weeks ago and this was much of the same. It doesn't help that he's beating people that fans couldn't care less about, but at least he's making the most of it. He, too, needs to move into an actual feud soon, but with whom I'm not sure. It's still depressing to see Woods utilized as an enhancement guy given how much talent he possesses.
Cesaro def. Rob Van Dam in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Paul Heyman's pre-match promo was excellent in hyping up a potential appearance from hometown hero Brock Lesnar and bringing out Cesaro instead. Cesaro and RVD don't have the best track record for having great matches, and while this wasn't a bad match by any means, it just wasn't exciting. I don't blame either guy, but rather the lack of chemistry. It was nice that Cesaro advanced and he's certainly an early favorite to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Michael Cole Interviewed Seth Rollins
Rollins has never been known for being great on the mic, but he's improved leaps and bounds since his main roster debut. It was great to see him out in the ring on his own without Triple H or Randy Orton by his side. He mentioned that he was the mastermind behind The Shield but never explained why it was HHH who he aligned with despite feuding with him for so long. Nevertheless, Rollins did exceptionally well for his first promo on his own. The brawl that ensued between Ambrose, Reigns, John Cena and The Wyatt Family set up the main event nicely.
Divas Champion Paige def. Alicia Fox (Non-title)
The never-ending matches between Paige and Fox have been fine, but it's hard to care about any of them when there's no story behind them. Have we heard from Paige at all on the mic since she became champion? Fox's freakouts can only go so far and we saw that again here. She's had an on-and-off friendship with Aksana in recent months, but it wasn't acknowledged by the commentators until this match, so Fox attacking her afterward didn't pack a punch. Where's AJ Lee when you need her?
Jack Swagger def. Santino Marella
This was the definition of a filler match, but thankfully, it wasn't all that bad. As opposed to being comic relief, it was a nice win for Swagger after he was fired up via the slap from Zeb Cotler at ringside. It's worth nothing that Emma didn't accompany Santino to the ring, so perhaps my prayers have been answered and their relationship has finally ceased to exist.
John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns def. The Wyatt Family
Not many main events on TV nowadays have been much time, so it was great to see this match receive nearly 20 minutes. Everyone involved played their parts well and shined at various points. The final few minutes were fun and was the chaotic style we've come to expect from encounters between The Shield and The Wyatt Family. This didn't feel like the major match that Shield vs. Wyatts did a few months ago due to Cena's involvement, but it was an enjoyable contest that sent the crowd home happy. The only issue with is was that there was no storyline development, and I surely hope this doesn't mean Cena's feud with Bray Wyatt is continuing past this point.
The biggest talking point coming out of last week's show was Seth Rollins' heel turn, so it was only logical to focus most of this week's show around that. All of the segments/matches featuring The Shield were the highlights of the night and left me looking forward to what comes next. We also got the announcement of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship being up for grabs in the Money in the Bank Ladder match at the event of the same name in a few weeks, making this episode slightly more newsworthy than usual. Everything else throughout the night, however, was decent filler that didn't create compelling TV or make the three hours fly by.
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