By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Dean Ambrose and John Cena Brawled with The Authority
Ambrose was the hottest comodity coming off of Night of Champions, so it was logical to have him kick off the show. He cut a good promo on his rival Seth Rollins and I enjoyed his exchange with John Cena. It felt fresh seeing how the two had yet to cross paths and I anticipate an eventual match between the two. Their brawl with The Authority set up Cena and Ambrose's respective singles matches against Randy Orton and Kane for later on in the night.
Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz to Win the Intercontinental Championship
I've been disappointed by how the feud between Ziggler and Miz has been more about the stunt doubles than the Intercontinental title, but their matches never cease to entertain me. This was more of the same from the two with a lot of strong nearfalls down the stretch. Ziggler winning back the belt was a pleasant surprise, but I can't say it does much for the prestige of the title. The reigns essentially mean nothing at this point and playing hot potato with the strap will make the title changes feel forgettable.
Jack Swagger def. Bo Dallas
This feud wasn't handled well from the get-go and it's been all downhill since. I figured they wouldn't wait long before giving away the rubber match and Swagger went over without any shennigans at all. It's a nice boost for him, but it does damage to the Bo character. He's hilarious, sure, but I think he has the potential to be more than a comedy character. They've completely ruined his momentum since his undefeated streak was unceremoniously ended and this rivalry didn't help matters.
Natalya def. Summer Rae
As a regular viewer of Total Divas, I was glad to the see the show properly promoted with this match. It beat the hell out of a meaningless multi-Divas match, that's for sure. Are Summer and Layla back to being heels? It's inconsistent, but they're better as heels anyway, so no complaints from me. The match could've been better had it gone longer, but they made the most of the time they were allotted.
Dean Ambrose def. Kane by Disqualification
I was a bit letdown by this match since Ambrose vs. Randy Orton was initially advertised, but this was still solid enough that I wasn't extremely disappointed. Why was no mention made of Kane's assistance in taking him out last month? It would've added an extra layer to the match instead of being just an ordinary match. I didn't see the point in protecting Kane by having Rollins interfere on his behalf, but I liked how Rollins and Ambrose were kept apart for the most part. It'll mean something when they engage in another all-out brawl like they did at Night of Champions.
United States Champion Sheamus and The Usos def. Cesaro and WWE Tag Team Champions Gold and Stardust
We saw this same exact match last week on Raw and although this was equally entertaining, it felt like a retread. All six competitors worked hard and the final few minutes were fun, but it was a lazy way of furthering the feuds involved more than anything else. It would've been better for the heels to go over this time so they could get their heat back, but I'm hoping the feud between Sheamus isn't over just yet.
Rusev def. Mark Henry
Similar to their Night of Champions clash, the match had a slow pace and the fans in attendance were as bored as we were watching at home. Their matches aren't bad, they just don't have the same chemistry that Rusev and Swagger did. Rusev once again went over in clean fashion, hopefully putting an end to this feud. I was thankful Big Show didn't make the save, but I'm sure that's a feud we're bound to get sooner rather than later. Isn't Kurt Angle officially a free agent?
Adam Rose and The Bunny def. Slater Gator
You had to know this match was coming at some point. I'm just glad we didn't get it on the Night of Champions Kickoff show. It wasn't as terrible as it could have been, but it's not like the live crowd was eating it up. Personally, I had no problem with it, as it was pretty evident it was held simply to kill time. On a side note, I'm more intrigued than ever to find out who's in the bunny suit.
Brie Bella Confronted Nikki Bella
Brie is still a terrible actress and has shown no signs of improvement. Nikki is playing her part well, but their segments are still groan worthy. Thankfully, this didn't drag on as long as some of their past promos have and they kept it relatively brief. If nothing else, I liked how it lead right into AJ Lee's match with Nikki going into the commercial break.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Nikki Bella (Non-title)
Nikki is still mediocre in the ring, but she's come a long way from a year ago and AJ carried her to a passable bout. Paige performed well on commentary and I'm glad Brie Bella didn't take away from the match, either. It wasn't a riveting match or anything, but it was a nice win for AJ in her first match as champion. The match taking place so late in the show played a factor in the crowd's lack of response and interest.
John Cena def. Randy Orton by Disqualification
What more can be said about a match pitting Cena against Orton that hasn't been said a million times before? It was solid enough, but hardly exciting. Granted, it's been a while since they last faced off, but it feels like nothing changed. The interference was both predictable and annoying seeing how Kane vs. Ambrose ended in a non-finish as well. Ambrose making the save was the saving grace of this segment and has me looking forward to his rumored rematch with Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell.
There wasn't much to look forward to on this show aside from the return of Dean Ambrose, so I can't say I was disappointed. We needed a hotter episode coming off of the Night of Champions pay-per-view, but we've witnessed far worse editions of Raw in the last month, so this wasn't a complete crime. They still have another five more weeks until Hell in a Cell, but I think it goes without saying that WWE is need of a major shakeup as we enter the fall season.
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