Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns attack Ryback.
Fine pre-show tag team match with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater defeating Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. The match had absolutely no hype going into it and the competitors were changed once again at the last minute, so the low view count was understandable. The crowd popped for Team Co-Bro's spots, but that was about it. 3MB does nothing for me personally, but it seems WWE is determined on pushing to the limit. On a side note, it's nice to see Drew McIntyre back after a brief hiatus due to a death in the family.
Fun five-on-five elimination tag team match with Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd and Brodus Clay defeating Tensai, Prime Time Players, Primo and Epico. Having Tensai and Clay get eliminated early on was a smart move in allowing the more fast-paced Superstars do the rest of the in-ring work. My only complaint was that the entire heel team got demolished consecutively, but it also helped make various members of the face team look strong. Kidd and Gabriel get a nice rub for being two of the four remaining participants alongside Mysterio and Cara. This was the perfect opener and a great way to kick off the show on a high note (literally).
Decent match with Eve defeating Kaitlyn to successfully retain her Divas Championship. The match mostly consisted of Kaitlyn chasing Eve around the ring, but it was a smart way to get out of showcasing Kailyn's weaknesses inside the squared circle. The crowd was dead for the start as expected, but they came alive somewhat towards the finish to rally behind Kaitlyn. Eve retaining was good booking, as she's made for a great Divas Champion since capturing the title two months ago.
Good match with Antonio Cesaro defeating R-Truth to maintain possession of his United States Championship. Aside from the pre-show, this was the least cared about match of the night, but at least the in-ring work was exceptional. Cesaro's promo prior to the bout was well done and succeeded in garnering him some major heat from the live crowd. Truth has been irrelevant for the longest time now, so he doesn't lose anything from this loss, but I hope they give Cesaro a legitimate challenger in the weeks ahead. Christian, anyone?
Dolph Ziggler is the sole survivor after upsetting Randy Orton.
Mediocre segment featuring AJ and Vickie Guerrero. I've explained my distaste for this story-line in the past, so there's no point in repeating myself here, but this promo was more of the same. However, this segment was as painfully bad as the others we've seen in recent weeks, but the humor still wasn't funny. Thankfully, Tamina returned and attacked the psychotic Diva, which gives an intriguing new twist to this angle. While it's not something to get extremely excited about, it should at least put an end to the Vickie/AJ nonsense for the time being as we see AJ transition to more an in-ring role to feud with the returning Tamina, which could be great for the Divas division.
Entertaining match between World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and Sheamus. Sure, this match wasn't as thrilling as their initial encounter at Hell in a Cell, but it was still very good. It started out somewhat slow, but they picked up the pace down the stretch and incorporated suspense into many of their near-falls. The disqualification finish was logical, but keeping the title on Show is what matters most at this point. Additionally, Sheamus let his aggressive antics shine through here, so it's great to see his character finally being taken more seriously again. I assume the Celtic Warrior relentlessly hitting Show with a chair following the contest will lead to a Chairs Match at next month's WWE TLC pay-per-view event.
Solid five-on-five elimination tag team match with Team Ziggler defeating Team Foley. There was no real story being told throughout the match, but it was still very well-wrestled regardless. The eliminations didn't mean much early on, but I throughly enjoyed the second portion of the contest. I was shocked to see The Miz eliminated earlier than originally expected, as his face turn should've been a main focus in this match. That being said, they did an excellent job of foreshadowing a potential heel turn for Randy Orton by having him go for the punt kick only to fall victim to Ziggler's devastating Superkick. The finish was beautifully done and this is a monumental victory for Ziggler on one of the big four pay-per-views. Hopefully, this gives him the momentum he needs going into his eventual World Heavyweight Championship run. The outcome wasn't something oe could've easily seen coming and I'm all for it despite originally hoping for a Team Foley win. Although this match had the star power involved, I still found the opening tag match to be the better of the two.
Strong Triple Threat main event match between WWE Champion CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback. Their chemistry with one another made for an entertaining contest that saw each competitor hit some nice signature spots. Everyone looked great throughout the match, but the finish is what obviously stole the night away. Having Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns make their debut by attacking Ryback and therefore helping Punk retain his WWE Championship was a fantastic swerve that worked very effectively. The commentators were saying all night long how both Undertaker and The Rock made their debuts at Survivor Series and ended up becoming legends, so this was a monumental moment for all three NXT rookies. Speaking of such, having Cole mention them all by name and stating they're from NXT was a nice touch that I loved given that they've basically made NXT an afterthought since it was removed from television in the United States. Ryback was protected with this ambush, Cena never needed the belt to begin with, and Punk continues his dominant WWE title reign one year after capturing it. That, my friends, is how you end a pay-per-view the right way.
Overall, a great show that exceeded my expectations and featured some above average action, memorable moments, and logical outcomes. Sure, some may argue that the first hour was a bit lackluster, but it could've been far worse. Despite the fact that not many people cared about some of the matches, the action was good and the right people went over. Not only that, but it leaves ton of questions to be answered going into the subsequent edition of Monday Night Raw. WWE has a produced a strong streak of pay-per-view events in recent months and they succeeded in making this viewer extremely excited for what's to come going forward.
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