By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Christian Hosted 'The Peep Show' with Chris Jericho (Kickoff Show)
It's been many months since we last saw Christian on WWE TV, so it was good to have him back even if it was in a non-wrestling role. Speaking of such, the commentators made it sound like his in-ring days aren't over yet, so that was encouraging. The interaction between Jericho and Christian was enjoyable and a nice nod to their history together from a decade ago. Randy Orton butchered a few of his lines, but he held his own for the most part. It wasn't a home run of a segment, but it was necessary in providing some last minute build for the Orton-Jericho match for later on in the night. It was also an improvement over any other random match we could have gotten instead.
Gold and Stardust def. The Usos to Win the WWE Tag Team Championship
On one hand, The Usos kicking off pay-per-views is a smart move in that it kicks off the night on a high note. On the other hand, every subsequent match has the tough task of following it. Gold and Stardust are a freaky duo, there's no doubt about it, but I think their ability to have a great match is often forgotten due to their gimmick. And then there's The Usos, who are always incredible. Put them together and you have yourself a very fun opener. This was the match I was hoping from these two teams months ago and we finally got it. I can't say I'm thrilled with the title change, but as long it leads to Goldust turning on Stardust and Cody Rhodes back to being himself down the line, I'm content.
United States Champion Sheamus def. Cesaro
These two never have anything less than a great match and this was no exception. It was a bit slow early on, but it transcended into a fantastic fight down the stretch with a lot of cool counters. Both brawlers captured the attention of the audience and delivered a phenomenal final few minutes. Granted, it was a match for a title that virtually no one cares about, but Cesaro and Sheamus deserve credit for having a show-stealing performance, nevertheless.
The Miz def. Dolph Ziggler to Win the Intercontinental Championship
Say what you will about their feud, but Ziggler and Miz never fail to have an awesome (no pun intended) match. The "stunt doubles" at ringside were distracting and unnecessary, but I didn't expect much different since this entire program has revolved around them as opposed to the Intercontinental title. The involvement of Florida Georgia Line on commentary took away from the bout and served no purpose outside of promoting their appearance for Tribute to the Troops in a few months. The constant title changes are doing the championship any justice, but here's hoping Miz gets a longer reign with the strap this time around.
Seth Rollins def. Roman Reigns via Forfeit
All things considered, everything seemed to work out for the best. I'm not saying I'm glad Reigns came down with an injury and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future, but WWE stupidly gave the Rollins-Reigns match away for free on Raw this past week, meaning viewers had zero incentive to see the rematch on this show. Rollins can claim he picked up the win and it sets up a program for Reigns for when he returns. The comeback of Dean Ambrose, albeit predictable, was very well done and the live crowd was hot for it. The product has suffered with Ambrose's absence and I look forward to these two colliding inside Hell in a Cell in a few weeks.
Rusev def. Mark Henry
Lillian Garcia performing the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the match was fitting and a nice touch, but why didn't they do this at SummerSlam? The match itself didn't at all justify its placement in the main event of Raw and SmackDown this past week, but it wasn't terrible. It was fine for what it was and was basically what I expected it to be. It was a nice, clean win for Rusev that furthers his strong momentum and I like how he's having more and more trouble putting away his opponents. Does this feud continue, or will Rusev move on to someone new?
Randy Orton def. Chris Jericho
I've been longing for a feud between these two for years dating back to when Orton punted Jericho out of action in 2010 (which I'm glad Michael Cole made mention of on commentary), and this was everything I hoped it would be. There were some sloppy spots, but they definitely peaked the interest of viewers with the close nearfalls down the stretch. The crowd bought into the possibility of Jericho winning on several occasions and the finish that saw Orton hit the RKO on Jericho in mid-air, despite being seen coming from a mile away, was a sweet visual. You'd think Orton would've punted Jericho to write him off TV as he wraps up his run, but at least Y2J went out in style.
AJ Lee def. Paige and Nikki Bella in a Triple Threat Match to Win the Divas Championship
I still would have preferred a standard singles match between AJ and Paige as opposed to a Triple Threat, but Nikki carried her weight against the two more skilled competitors. They never really captured a rhythm and the HLA teases with AJ and Paige fell on deaf ears. When will WWE realize that it's just not working? The AJ title change didn't pack a punch since Paige hasn't held the belt long enough, but that doesn't necessarily mean I hated it. If nothing else, I was glad Brie Bella didn't interfere and was instead relegated to a brief backstage interview.
John Cena def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar by Disqualification
Cena and Lesnar had the tough task of following their last two stellar matches, but they made it work. Cena scored an ample amount of offense over Lesnar this time and looked strong in defeat, even coming close to winning the title before Seth Rollins' interference. The non-finish was lame and there were better ways of going about it, especially since this counts as an official loss for Lesnar. Obviously, I was glad that Rollins' didn't cash in just yet, but it was believable. I wanted the Cena-Lesnar feud to end on this show, but I don't blame them for wanting to blow it off inside the Hell in a Cell next month.
The build going into this show was god awful, lowering people's expectations for it. On paper, it had the potential to be a solid show and it ended up being just that. The action as a whole was extremely entertaining and the three title changes made it a newsworthy event. I didn't agree with some of the outcomes and still beleive the product is in need of change, but I'm willing to wait and see where WWE goes with most of their angles and programs from this point forward.
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