By Graham "GSM" Matthews
United States Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Neville (Non-title)
In the two weeks Del Rio has been back in WWE, the only three people he has beaten are John Cena, Neville and R-Truth. Obviously, the clean victory over Cena was huge, but they have yet to do anything with Del Rio to give me the impression that he's going to be a big deal this time around. Winning non-title matches is one thing, but they have to start getting the ball rolling with him. At least they planted the seeds for an apparent program with Jack Swagger, which makes sense from a storyline standpoint given Swagger's history with him and Zeb Colter. As for Neville, well, he's still a loser, so there's nothing new on that front.
The Usos def. The Ascension
The biggest issue The Usos faced before their layoff was that they were too overexposed on WWE TV, so if WWE can avoid having them on Raw as well as SmackDown every week, they'll be in good shape. This was a hot return for the former WWE Tag Team Champions as they made quick work of The Ascension and were able to get in all their signature spots. Logically, I'd imagine they'll be taking on The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series.
The Wyatt Family def. The Prime Time Players and The Lucha Dragons in an Elimination Tag Team Match
I couldn't even tell you the last time we had a traditional four-on-four elimination tag team match, even at Survivor Series. That said, it was a cool little throwback on this show that worked perfectly for The Wyatt Family. They were able to showcase their dominance by winning via a clean sweep and the babyfaces looked good in defeat. The Prime Time Players don't mean much these days, but The Lucha Dragons are fresh off an upset win on Raw, but as noted, they weren't made to look like jobbers here, so they didn't lose much from the loss.
Ryback def. King Barrett
Was there a reason behind this match happening that I may have missed? I like both Barrett and Ryback, but I wasn't sure what the point was in having them face off here. The match was fine for what it was and was relatively short and sweet, but it screamed time filler more than anything else. Barrett is better off paired with Sheamus at this point while it's encouraging Ryback is still picking up wins despite not longer being involved in the Intercontinental Championship picture.
Natalya def. Tamina
Damn Naomi and Sasha Banks for their bickering and forcing fans to witness Tamina take on Natalya instead! In all seriousness, this match wasn't as bad as I initially expected it to be and Natalya deserves credit for carrying Tamina to a passable performance. Tamina isn't terrible, but her in-ring skills pale in comparison to everyone else in this "Divas Revolution" going on right now. Naomi and Banks are seemingly on the splits, which is good news for those of us that want to see Banks spotlighted more on programming.
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens def. Dean Ambrose by Disqualification (Non-title)
Prior to this point, Ambrose and Owens had never squared off in singles competition, so that was exciting in itself. Not only that, but it made sense after Ambrose pinned Owens in the main event of Raw. Last but not least, it was cool that the Intercontinental Championship (while not on the line) took center stage on this show and that looks like where this feud is headed. The commentators were confused by the finish, but it would have helped if they made it clearer that Owens purposely acted hurt so Ambrose could be disqualified. With Seth Rollins out with an injury, would it be possible to give Owens the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right now? The guy is too great.
Speaking of Rollins, I was surprised to see an acknowledgement of his injury since the news broke only hours before this show aired, so kudos to WWE for putting that together on such short notice. As for the rest of the episode, it was a fun two hours, though part of that might have been because I was in a a good mood while I watched it (the new laptop is finally here, baby!). The main event felt refreshing, the eight-man elimination tag was unique, and The Usos had a fun return, so other than the random Ryback vs. Barrett match, you won't get any complaints out of me.
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