By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Dean Ambrose Interrupted The Authority
First off, I love the video packages that WWE airs every year at the start of the show on Memorial Day honoring the military and others who serve the United States as it always comes across as classy. That said, it was depressing to transition from that to yet another Authority promo that didn't really accomplish anything. They set up Ambrose signing the contract for his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Elimination for later in the show as well as the subsequent tag team match, but most of the talking that was done felt like filler.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Kane
I know we've seen it a handful of times in recent memory, but I still think it's cool to see the former Shield members sharing the same ring. When the day comes that The Shield officially (and that day will come without a doubt), it will be glorious. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns all have such great chemistry together that their matches are always solid and this was no different. Kane held his own and the other three put together a good matchup. Ambrose rolling up Rollins for the win was a nice preview of his upcoming title match, teasing there's a chance he walks away with the championship on Sunday.
Rusev def. R-Truth; Lana Stood Up to Rusev
It still baffles me that Truth will be involved in the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber. I hope this means someone will attack him and replace him beforehand, but I'm not holding my breath. The match was a complete squash as it should have been, though I can't say it did much to help him regain all the momentum he's lost in recent months. Lana reuniting with Rusev only to walk away from him after he made sexist comments was great, but it all but confirms that the split is official unless they're really trying to do all they can to fool us and reveal it was a ruse all along.
Ryback def. King Barrett
As a major mark for The Nexus (has it been five years already?), it was cool to see these two finally go one-on-one after all these years. Granted, the match really wasn't much of note, but that's mostly because they weren't given the time to go out and have the match they're capable of. For the time they were allotted, it was decent for what it was and it gave Ryback a necessary win. The only issue is that Barrett needs wins, too, so hopefully this doesn't mark the start of another losing streak for him.
Neville def. Stardust
It's a shame that this match would have meant more had Stardust been so devalued in recent months. It was a basic showcase for Neville that led to Bo Dallas's attack on him afterward, so it was simple yet effective booking. I've been really liking how Dallas still antagonizes his opponent on the microphone but is now showing a new aggressive side that wasn't there before. It's obvious Neville wins their match at Elimination Chamber, so building Dallas up as a threat is smart.
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler
After everything that happened earlier in the night, you had to know Rusev was going to get involved at some point. Prior to that, though, Sheamus and Ziggler contested a pretty good match that featured entertaining, back-and-forth in-ring action. As I've said before, these two are simply incapable of having a bad bout together and this matchup was evident of that. Sheamus is the heavy candidate to win the Chamber, so he was the logical choice to win this match, and Rusev's interference protected Ziggler in defeat.
United States Champion John Cena def. Zack Ryder
Okay, so it's been a few years since Ryder was last relevant, but it was great to see WWE show him a little love on their final show in Nassau Coliseum emanating from his hometown. The crowd took a major liking to him and while the ending outcome was never in doubt, it was a fun match while it lasted and a career highlight for The Long Island Iced Z. To boot, Kevin Owens' attack on Cena afterward was a strong final push for their match at Elimination Chamber. On a side note, Owens' new shirt looks pretty damn sweet.
Tamina def. Paige
They contested a hard-hitting match and despite being sloppy at some points, it was decent overall. There's only so much they could do in the brief period of time they're typically allotted, but I commend them for trying. Tamina going over was puzzling. The loss doesn't kill Paige's credibility whatsoever, but Tamina isn't in the Divas Championship match on Sunday, so what was the point? I guess they want to protect Tamina as an "unstoppable force," but they ruined that by making her look weak in recent weeks. On a side note, The Bella Twins (specifically Nikki) did well on commentary. They're better heels than they are babyfaces, but at least they don't take away from the action as faces.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, The Ascension, Prime Time Players, Los Matadores and The Lucha Dragons in 10-on-3 Handicap Match by Disqualification
The match was a total waste of time, as it barely got started before the break and then ended abruptly once we came back from commercial. It didn't make much sense, either, considering The New Day are a heel trio and the match was made by Kane who is also a babyface (I think?). I don't know if this segment increased my interest in the WWE Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match, but I was already looking forward to it, anyway. Plus, the crowd enjoyed it, so there's that.
Dean Ambrose Signed the Contract for his WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match at Elimination Chamber
We all know where the storyline of "who pushed the cameraman" was going the second it started, but you know what? I liked it. It was something different (albeit predictable) for a change and better than if we got yet another contract signing for the title match. Reigns' involvement was interesting. I expected him and Ambrose to feud at some point summer, but could Reigns turn on Ambrose as soon as Sunday? It was either that or a match against Bray Wyatt, which doesn't look to be happening since he wasn't even on this show.
With only two weeks to build to Elimination Chamber and this being a holiday show, you have to give WWE their props for delivering a solid go-home show for the pay-per-view. The card on paper already looked strong as hell, but they built it up very nicely throughout the night, and I appreciated how most of the matches and segments served a purpose, were logical and helped hype the event. The live crowd was also enjoyable and WWE gave them a memorable final show in the Nassau Coliseum. Happy Memorial Day!
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