By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns Addressed WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H
After entering through the stage on Raw and once again on SmackDown, that might be an indicator that Reigns will be done coming out through the crowd going forward, which I'm thrilled about. The more he can distance himself from his Shield days, the better (can the outdated entrance music please be next?). The boos he received from the live audience were apparently (and unsurprisingly) heavily edited, but at least he kept his mic work short and sweet so he didn't stumble over his words or say something stupid. And no, I won't read too much into Reigns coming across like a heel here. I would love for him to go rogue at WrestleMania, but if it was happening, WWE wouldn't tease it ahead of time by having him show shades of a heelish persona in his promos.
Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz
Sure, these two traded wins a few weeks ago, but why else should we have cared about this bout? They always work well together, so if nothing else, the match was somewhat enjoyable, but the ending outcome was virtually meaningless. I'm convinced at this point that WWE is determined to have these two face each other whenever WWE emanates from Ohio given that's where they're from. It's cool for the live crowd to cheer their hometown heroes, but it's pointless in the long-term.
Bubba Ray Dudley def. Goldust
Well, this was random. I guess it was one way to put heat on The Dudley Boyz by having them bully Goldust and R-Truth, but next to no one cares about Golden Truth right now, so therefore the crowd didn't care about the attack and sat on their hands for the match. The Usos making the save afterward was a nice touch and I'm glad they're saving their first ever in-ring encounter for WrestleMania, but I highly doubt many other fans are as invested in this fresh feud as I am, a definite issue for WWE that they can look to improve upon in the weeks remaining before WrestleMania.
Divas Champion Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks Came Face-to-Face-to-Face
Similar to last week's 'Miz TV' with Sami Zayn explaining his history with Kevin Owens, I loved how the purpose of this segment was to brush up fans on the long running rivalry between these three women dating back to their NXT days and acknowledging their "Four Horsewomen" ties. WWE can't assume that the casual fans are always going to know about that stuff, so I was happy that was what this segment accomplished. All three women performed well on the mic, but I'd have to say Lynch shined the brightest. Kudos to her for getting herself organically over with the audience as a fan favorite in recent months, and seeing as how she's the biggest babyface in the Triple Threat at 'Mania, I would love to see her score her first Divas Championship.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston def. King Barrett
While The New Day never technically turned, I think their ambush at the hands of League of Nations on Raw was successful in solidifying them as babyfaces. Thus, the dynamic between Kingston and Barrett in this match was more clearly established. Anyone else remember when Barrett reversed the Trouble in Paradise into a Wasteland almost exactly five years ago to win the Intercontinental Championship? That popped into my head while watching this match for some reason. So awesome. Oh, and this match was decent. There was nothing wrong with Kingston winning, but League of Nations need to build as much momentum as possible before they go after the WWE Tag Team Championship at 'Mania because they aren't a threat whatsoever.
Dean Ambrose Attacked The Social Outcasts
I really liked the videos that aired throughout the evening with Ambrose walking around his hometown of Cincinnati. He didn't attempt any of his unfunny humor and instead came across as being genuine. The Social Outcasts, a lot like 3MB were, are at their best when they're taking a beating, so they were the perfect people for Ambrose to beat up on and give fans a sneak peak of what's in store for Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania while also simultaneously hyping The Beast Incarnate's appearance on next week's episode (which I'll be in attendance for!).
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens def. AJ Styles (Non-title)
I have been highly anticipating the first ever matchup between Styles and Owens in WWE since Styles arrived back at the Royal Rumble and this contest certainly met my lofty expectations. They found excellent chemistry together and produced a very entertaining match in the time they were allotted. I wish it would have gone longer, but I'm sure this isn't the last we've seen of Styles vs. Owens and they can contest more matches once they engage in a full-fledged feud. Chris Jericho's distraction served as a nice out for Styles to lose and only add more fuel to their feud.
I was interested to see how WWE would fill the two hours while reading the spoiler-free match card for this show earlier in the week, but I thought they did so very well with a healthy mix of matches and talking semgents. It wasn't a strong show on the whole, but the main event is worth seeking out as well as the Divas segment. It was also made newsworthy by Reigns' return to the program, and next week should be exciting with Lesnar set to appear.
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