By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Seth Rollins Accepted Randy Orton's WrestleMania Challenge
Rollins' ability to turn his own own state against him goes to show how much a star he's become. He carried this segment until Orton came out as I zoned out while the rest of The Authority was talking (and can you honestly blame me?). The two had a short and sweet exchange on the mic that confirmed their match for WrestleMania as well as their match in the main event of Raw. It was an effective way of building interest in what might happen so close to the event. Am I alone in saying that this match feels more like the main event of 'Mania than Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns does?
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee (Non-title)
After being cut short for time last week, it was nice to see the women get a little longer of a match on this show. The crowd may not have been hot for it (it's going to take some time for WWE to make people care about Diva matches again), but they worked a good match with logical interference from Paige and Brie Bella on the outside. I was also glad to see Nikki not lose another non-title match for no reason. Still, I wish they'd give the ladies more mic time to talk about their upcoming tag team match.
Ryback def. The Miz
Anyone who watches SmackDown (let's face it, I'm sure it's not many of you) saw this exact same match on last Thursday's show, further making the blue brand irrelevant. For those that didn't see that, however, this was a good use of Miz and Damien Mizdow. Ryback was an afterthought here, but the building tension between Miz and Mizdow has been great. Miz attacking Mizdow afterward will make Mizdow's inevitable WrestleMania win that much more special.
John Cena and United States Champion Rusev Signed the Contract For Their WrestleMania Match
Cena's promo was pretty cookie-cutter, but it's about time someone brought up the significance of him being United States Champion and how it means he represents this country. The accent put on by the man who accompanied Rusev was absolutely atrocious, but Rusev saved the segment with his statement before getting the better of Cena and walking away. This was an improvement over last week's incident, but this segment was sorely lacking Lana, serving as a prime example why the two should never split up.
WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def. The New Day (Non-title)
As great of a tandem as Kidd and Cesaro and I always enjoy seeing them in action, it's difficult for me to care about anything involving The New Day. Plus, the match was way too short to mean anything, but if nothing else, Cesaro and Kidd got their win back after losing last week. Los Matadores ending the segment as the last men standing was deplorable. The Usos being put on the shelf doesn't make me any more optimistic about the current state of the tag team division.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar Addressed Roman Reigns
Lesnar is money in the pre-taped interview environment. He's not a great talker to begin with, but with the right material and editing, his promos can be as excellent and this promo proved that. This was exactly what the main event needed in order to feel somewhat special. I won't say it made up for all the damage done to the match in the last few months, but was it too little, too late? Either way, it was a step in the right direction. On a side note, his "I don't give two craps" attitude is perfect because it's real, and him playing off the rumors of his contract expiring was an exceptional touch.
Big Show Attacked Erick Rowan
I would love to know what the point of this was. Rowan could have been something (not world champion, but something) had it not been for that failure of a feud against Show last fall, and this was a sad reminder of that. Show has enough heat as it is, so I didn't see this serving any purpose aside from maybe doing a mini-feud between them going into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which I don't get the feeling is happening. Basically, this was a wast of a segment merely used to kill time.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Participants Brawled
I figured the Battle Royal would be short on star power, but it didn't become evident until I saw everyone in the ring at once. Ouch. When Big Show and Kane are the biggest stars in any match, you have an issue. Mark Henry returning and announcing his participation in the match was a pleasant surprise, but it didn't significantly increase my interest in it. Damien Mizdow and The Miz are the only real reasons to care about it since no one else has a chance of winning.
Roman Reigns Interrupted Paul Heyman
Heyman's weekly phenomenal promo was once again a gem. He did a solid job of building up Lesnar as a threat and also playing off rumors that Lesnar will leave WrestleMania as champion, but all the "He can't" talk seemed to be one giant plug for Reigns' new shirt. Reigns held his own on the mic here, but there still isn't much heat on the main event. I'm looking forward to it, of course, but it doesn't even feel like the main event of the biggest show of the year since they've done a very poor job of hyping it up to be something monumental.
Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler def. Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper and Stardust
This was another match we already saw transpire on SmackDown, but this was even better. They were given a great deal of time and made the most of it by having an excellent matchup. The action was entertaining and all six competitors played their respective roles well. I could have done without R-Truth on commentary (again), but at least the match quality made up for it, especially with the fantastic final few minutes. Don't try to convince me that Barrett getting his belt back by knocking out four Superstars was supposed to make him look strong. That ship sailed long ago after losing so many non-title matches.
Sting Aided Randy Orton Against The Authority
I'm glad they didn't give away the match (you never know with this company), but what was the point in The Authority teasing tension only to get back together? Everyone knew it was a "swerve" and it didn't change anything about the match since they hold the power anyway. That said, at least it ended with Sting making a hot return and taking it to The Authority in his first brawl since coming to WWE. It was a great way of going off the show and I am now much more excited about his match with Triple H than I was before. I was slightly disappointed they gave away his first official WWE promo on the WWE Network, but it was still a good, fiery promo.
Nothing was going to get worse than last week's horrendous edition, but that doesn't necessarily mean this show was great. It had its moments, especially the awesome ending, but it didn't have the WrestleMania feel to it that it should have with The Show of Shows in just two weeks. There were some pretty good matchups and solid segments, making it a decent night on the whole, but how much it changed people's perception of the card is unknown. As I've said before, I'm still extremely excited for WrestleMania 31 as I always am, but the build has left a lot to be desired.
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