March 14, 2016
From the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show opens with the New Day coming out to the ring. They promote their “Booty O’s” cereal box, which contains a t-shirt, before day state they will remain Tag Team Champions. After that, the League of Nations come out to the ring for their match.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Big E & Xavier Woods (c) w/ Kofi vs. Rusev & Del Rio w/ Sheamus & Wade Barrett
The announcers point out how the New Day are finally at a disadvantage as they are outnumbered. The New Day take control at the start. They hit Rusev with the Unicorn Stampede and continue to work him over after that. Xavier plays the trombone on the apron to get the crowd into the match. Big E is trapped in the wrong corner as Del Rio makes the tag and hits a suplex. Lungblower gets two. Big E tags out as Xavier runs wild until he is distracted, allowing Del Rio to hit an enziguiri as we head to break. The action returns with Xavier in trouble as the New Day get a few nearfalls. Del Rio works a hanging cross armbreaker then heads up top but Xavier ducks an attack then follows with a pair of running knees as both men are down. Hot tag to Big E as he suplexes around Rusev. Rusev slips out of the Big Ending and lands a nearfall with a spinning heel kick. Big E backdrops Rusev then tags Xavier, who flies in with a DDT as Del Rio breaks up that pin attempt. Del Rio takes out Big E then Rusev catches Xavier with a super kick for a nearfall. The crowd starts chanting for the New Day as Kofi distracts Rusev as he is about to put Xavier in the Accolade. Kofi takes out Sheamus and Barrett but Rusev stops him. However, Xavier sneaks up from behind and rolls Rusev up while grabbing the tights and gets the win (13:38) **1/2. After the match, the League of Nations beat down the New Day for a long time before joining hands and bowing to the crowd.
Thoughts: Decent match. However, the dynamic of the New Day was off as they really are missing something without Xavier cheering them on at ringside. Kofi barely did much of anything on the outside. The crowd was into this at times but not at others and without an official face turn, it all felt a little off. The post match beatdown, while effective, did go on maybe a bit too long. And the match itself did lag at times. At least this sets up a feud for the Tag Team Division and a match to add to the WrestleMania card.
After the break, we see clips of the New Day getting destroyed.
Dean Ambrose heads out to the ring. We see a clip from Roadblock where Ambrose nearly won the title from HHH but had his foot under the ropes. Ambrose said he wants to be standing here the new WWE Champion. However, in life you don’t always get what you want. The crowd chants for Ambrose then assures us that HHH is not feeling good today because he learned what will happen when you underestimate him but after that, he is interrupted by Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, who hypes up his client. Ambrose wants Heyman to “unleash” Lesnar as Heyman then brings up WrestleMania and how any fight featuring Lesnar is the main event. Heyman assures Ambrose he will be taking an ass kicking at WrestleMania before warning him not to provoke him, because he will not be able to even make it to the show. Ambrose mocks Lesnar’s bounce then tries to provoke Lesnar as Heyman goes off about WrestleMania, making sure to note it is free for new WWE Network subscribers. Heyman bids us adieu as Lesnar’s music hits. However, Lesnar turns his back on Heyman and heads down to the ring. As that happens, Ambrose pulls out a crowbar from his jacket. Lesnar gets closer to the ring and paces around while Ambrose is going mental, trying to get him to enter the ring. Lesnar jumps up on the apron but retreats after Ambrose swung. This segment was alright and showed that Ambrose will do whatever it takes against Lesnar. I thought Ambrose pacing around with the crowbar was way too goofy at times though based on his facial expressions. And Heyman more or less did the same exact hype job on Brock that he always does.
Ryback vs. Sin Cara w/ Kalisto
Ryback ground Sin Cara with a headlock as the announcers put over his physique. He then overpowers Sin Cara while staring down Kalisto at times. Ryback re-applies a headlock but Sin Cara breaks that up with a jawbreaker. Sin Cara gets a springboard crossbody for two then pulls the ropes down on him. He flies out and hits Ryback with a tope but is caught inside an hit with the Shell Shock. Ryback then stares at Kalisto before hitting another Shell Shock as that gets the win (4:12) *. After the match, Ryback warns Kalisto what happens when a good big guy beats a good little guy. He then challenges Kalisto to a title match at WrestleMania before walking away.
Thoughts: The crowd appeared dead for this match. Looks like we might be getting a Ryback/Kalisto match at WrestleMania as the storyline is about size, with Ryback stating that it matters.
Stephanie is shown walking backstage towards the ring with a giant smile on her face.
Back from break, Stephanie heads down to the ring. She welcomes us to the show then gets on the crowd for booing her before bringing her husband and WWE World Champion, HHH, to the ring. He comes down then talks about beating Ambrose at Roadblock, crushing the hopes of those wanting the Authority to end. HHH then tells us that hope is not a strategy but rather a dangerous commodity. He then tells the crowd they also live with hope, starting when you get a job and after the years, you blame everyone but yourself as you fail at your job then have to face your wife that hates you and kids that are disrespectful, all because you are a failure. He then continues to talk about how hope make you ending up as a loser before saying that Roman Reigns is the hope that will rise up against the Authority but as time has proven, the Authority will win. Dolph Ziggler then interrupts, looking like he models for Express, and said he was listening backstage but could not take anymore. Dolph says his place is in the ring, every night busting his ass for the fans, something Stephanie calls him out as being “Cena-esque” due to the pandering. Dolph then asks how many times can you threaten to fire him and after each time, he knows he has nothing left to lose, promising never to quit. Dolph then tells the Authority he and others are being screwed by their system. HHH cuts of Stephanie when she threatened to fire him, as it would be bad for business. HHH then tells the crowd they can relate to Dolph because he is a lovable loser, just like them. HHH tells Dolph he could be great and might need the right people backing him up to give advice. Dolph tells HHH he would not sign with him or his wife if they were the last two people on earth. Stephanie then slaps him and gives him an offer. He can have any match he wants at WrestleMania as long as he wins his match tonight. Stephanie promises Dolph he does not have what it takes to win. Dolph tells them he doesnt care who he faces or how many people as Stephanie alerts him he will be facing HHH. This is more or less the same Authority promo and story we’ve been hearing since 2014. Ziggler tried but he is just not good on the mic and has been treated as an after thought for a long time. It is interesting to see HHH wrestle on RAW. Again, nothing really wrong with the segment itself but it all felt like old hat. The bad thing for the company here is how the crowd barely reacted when HHH talked about Reigns.
Sami Zayn vs. The Miz
Kevin Owens is on commentary. They also showed a replay of Smackdown where Owens walked out on his partner, The Miz, and Owens said Zayn is nothing and does not belong in the same ring as him. Match starts a Zayn hits a few armdrags. Owens mocks Zayn for landing in his feet after a flip. Zayn heads outside to hit Miz with a moonsault from the barricade as we head to break. The action returns with Miz working a surfboard. Zayn breaks out and chops away. He hits a dropkick but Miz comes back with a DDT. Owens rags on Cole and Saxton for liking Zayn as he threatens to eliminate Saxton from the table after he brought up the fact Zayn eliminated him at the Royal Rumble. Zayn gets two with a crossbody then flies outside with a tope con hilo. Owens leaves the table and jaws with Zayn but Miz attacked him from behind. Back inside, Miz get distracted by Owens and that allows Zayn to hit the Helluva Kick for the win (7:05) *3/4.
Thoughts: Not a whole lot to this match. Again, the crowd did not react here and Zayn has yet to show any character depth on the main roster. They did plug the #KOMania movement, which I’m guessing will lead to a multi-man match against everyone who hates him. Owens was really entertaining on the mic here.
We see more clips of the League of Nations attack on the New Day.
Backstage, Renee Young welcomes the League of Nations. They tell us the message they sent was loud and clear then Sheamus challenges the New Day to a match at WrestleMania, stating instead of a comedy, it will be a tragedy.
Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Team BAD
Lana came out to ringside for this match. Naomi attacks a distracted Alicia from behind. She stomps away in the corner before dragging her out for a pin attempt. Tamina tags in and works a chinlock. Alicia fights out and makes the tag as Brie hits a missile dropkick. She then hits Tamina with the Yes kicks as we see Lana sitting on top of the announcers table. Brie hits a facebuster but the pinfall is broken up. Lana then distracts Brie as Tamina picks her up in a powerslam position as Naomi hits her with a DDT as the ref was yelling at Lana and that gets the win (2:40) 1/2*. After the match, Team BAD hit Alicia with a double super kick as Lana provided a distraction.
Thoughts: Brief match that furthered along the feud between Brie and Lana, which we still do not know a whole lot about.
The Social Outcasts shill the new grilled hot dogs at Burger King. It ends with everyone walking off, leaving Axel with a BK Crown and no hot dogs. A harmless, product placement segment. It wasnt funny or anything but Axel and Slater always try no matter what and I can appreciate that.
Backstage, Jojo is talking with Paige when Lana interrupts. Lana thinks Paige is weak for hanging around all of those weak Americans on “Total Divas” as Paige puts her down for jumping from “man to man.” Team BAD then interrupt and warn Paige to choose her words more carefully because you never know who will be listening as Team BAD and Lana walk off together. I’m guessing all of this leads to Paige aligning with the Bellas for a multi-Diva match at WrestleMania. Maybe Nattie and Summer Rae get involved with this too.
Renee Young is with Ric Flair and Charlotte, who tells us that she knew Sasha and Becky Lynch before they became who they are today. Charlotte said she held Sasha’s hair back because she was throwing up with nerves and now thinks she owns the place. She then recalls Becky hanging around after training, begging for someone to hang out with her. After Renee accuses Charlotte of not caring about them, Flair interrupts to say Charlotte called him and said there are two girls down in NXT that are really good, so she has to be better and the Divas Title is proof. The segment ends with us being notified that Charlotte will appear on Smackdown this Thursday to address both women. Decent promo from Charlotte as they’ve done a good job building up the three-way at Mania.
The Usos vs. Bo Dallas & Adam Rose w/ Curtis Axel & Heath Slater
The Dudley Boyz have joined on commentary. Bo attacks Jey from behind but get dumped rather quickly. The Outcasts all do a victory lap outside as Bubba is accusing the Usos using their Samoan legacy and “fat ass father” as a crutch. Back to the match as the Usos throw a bunch of super kicks until they put Bo away with a splash (2:10) 1/4*.
Thoughts: The match was actually bad for what it was but it only went for two minutes and the point was to continue the Dudley Boyz/Uso feud.
Ambrose is sitting in the locker room when Mick Foley walks in to ask Dean why would he want to face Lesnar. After putting over how Foley went through the top of the cell right here in Pittsburgh, Ambrose asks Foley if he was scared when standing on top. Foley said he was but went through with jumping as that was what he did. Foley then talked about “Suplex City” and how he wants Dean to take him to a darker place in his mind and leaves him a gift. Ambrose opens up the box to reveal a baseball bat wrapped up in barbed-wire and started smiling. All signs point towards Ambrose pulling off some Mick Foley-like stunts at Mania.
Dolph Ziggler vs. HHH w/ Stephanie McMahon
HHH works a side headlock on the mat as the announcers wonder whether or not Ziggler can pull off the upset. Ziggler comes back with a side headlock takedown. Ziggler hits a hiptoss before going back to the headlock as he works that for a bit. Ziggler gets a few nearfalls before running into HHH as Stephanie yells out instructions to her husband. Ziggler rolls outside as HHH sends him into the guardrail before commercial. After the break, the action is back in the ring as HHH hits an armbreaker. Ziggler fights back but gets hit with a high knee for two. Ziggler gets dumped outside as HHH sends him into the steps then smashes his arm off of the steps. Back inside, HHH hits a suplex then perches himself on the top rope before jumping off only to get caught with a boot. Ziggler fights back and hits a corner splash followed by a neckbreaker. Elbow drop gets two. HHH shoves Ziggler off and tries for the Pedigree but Ziggler breaks it up and gets two with a rollup. Ziggler then almost puts HHH away with the Fameasser then hits a floating DDT for another nearfall as Stephanie is in disbelief. Ziggler charges but HHH catches him with a spinebuster. HHH slowly gets up and goes for the Pedigree but Ziggler hits a super kick for another nearfall. HHH ducks outside as Ziggler tosses him back in then gets shoved off of the apron and into the barricade. Ziggler barely beats the ten count then counters a Pedigree with a backdrop. Ziggler goes for the Zig Zag but HHH blocks that then finally hits the Pedigree for the win (17:30) ***. After the match, we hear Roman Reigns’ music as he comes out from the back. He looks pissed as he stares down HHH, who looks shocked. They brawl inside of the ring as Reigns gets the best of HHH. They spill outside where Reigns tosses HHH around then smashes his face off of the announcers table. Several referees attempt to stop Reigns, who shoves one of them down. However, that allows HHH to whack Reigns in the face with a soda can. Reigns then hammers away as two girls are going nuts in the crowd. They are now in the tech area as Reigns is launching equipment at HHH. They end up backstage as Reigns beats on everyone in his way as he chase HHH down. The Usos, Jack Swagger, and Mark Henry eventually get him to stop.
Thoughts: The match itself was good, although long and slow-paced. HHH gave Ziggler a few nearfalls and the fans bought into them. However, the main story here was the post-match beatdown by Reigns. The actual beatdown itself was great. Reigns was excellent here, from his facial expressions all the way down to his brawling. However, the crowd just doesnt want to see Reigns as the top guy. They were not behind him at all, with the lone exception being a pair of girls, who screamed so loudly and jumped around to the point I was thinking they might have been paid off.
We return from commercial to see clips of Reigns beating down HHH. After that, the announcers put over all of the features this month on the WWE Network including the Stone Cold Podcast with Mick Foley and
Goldust is looking sad as he is walking around backstage. He runs into someone in a penguin costume, which turns out to be R-Truth. Goldust is not amused as R-Truth talks about not having penguins while growing up in the hood but after reading, found out that once a penguin picks a partner, they have them for life and asks Goldust to be his partner. Goldust declines and walks away as Truth puts his penguin head back on after saying that was cold and pretends to shiver. These skits seem like they are never going to end.
Chris Jericho is in the ring. He tells some kid in the crowd to shut up and sit down as he is pissed over the crowd choosing AJ Styles over him, one of the best performers in the business. Jericho said that AJ is a hack in the ring and arrogant just like everyone in the crowd. Jericho says he is the one who is phenomenal as Neville’s music interrupts for their match.
Chris Jericho vs. Neville
Neville hits Jericho with a barrage of kicks after getting shoved. Jericho bails and kicks the stairs around while yelling at the camera man as we head to break. The action returns with Neville hitting a jawbreaker before getting two with a rana. Neville is limping around and seems to have a problem even standing up as Jericho rolls him up for a nearfall. Jericho then shoves the ref, who rings the bell for the DQ (4:54) *. After the match, Jericho blames the crowd for the referee disqualifying him tonight because they chant for AJ Styles. The crowd then chants for AJ at Jericho’s request and he eventually comes out. AJ hit Jericho from the apron before hitting a springboard forearm, which Cole notes is called the “Phenomenal Forearm.”
Thoughts: Angry heel Jericho has been wonderful. The match itself wasnt much of anything though. Jericho’s mic work stood out the most and the crowd continues to love J Styles.
Cole tells Dish subscribers to stand up and prevent the company from dropping channels, such as the USA Network.
Vince McMahon heads out to the ring. He comes out then demands Lillian to announce his name again. After that, he tells the crowd to think about if Shane wins at WrestleMania and takes over RAW, promising more exciting matches and new superstars. Vince tells us that is just a dream and that Shane will be facing a nightmare at WrestleMania. He then talks about gloating when his son will fail after WrestleMania. He then talks about having someone else taking out his son for him and that is the Undertaker, who then comes out to the ring. The crowd cheers for the Undertaker, who is staring down Vince. After a minute, Vince warns the Undertaker to never put his hands on him again as the Undertaker takes off his coat and hat. Vince tells the Undertaker that he probably doesnt mind doing the devil’s work and will not mind at all when he destroys Shane’s body and spirit. Shane McMahon then comes out as Vince is pissed. Shane tells Vince he is not best for business at all but regardless, is in a match of a lifetime against the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Shane said that he has been watching a lot of footage on how to beat the Undertaker then proceeds to cut a horribly overwritten promo that he stumbled all over. Way too wordy, despite the mistakes. Undertaker then tells Shane it will never be enough as he has these (shows his fist) and how those are his legacy. Shane tells the Undertaker he is shocked to see him as his dad’ puppet. Undertaker reminds Shane that no one controls him but Shane said he is Vince’s bitch but Taker grabs his throat. Shane slips out and lands a few punches. Shane then backs off but Vince shoves him at Taker, who hit Shane with a chokeslam. Vince celebrates as the Undertaker stares him down but he is able to escape through the bottom rope. The show ends with the Undertaker’s music playing. An amateur hour performance on the mic by Shane, who made speaking seem like a difficult task. And his brawling here was atrocious. Not a good sign when you are heading into a Hell in a Cell match. Despite finally having a confrontation, I’m still not all that excited to see this match take place.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was not much of a show. The dead crowd probably made it seem worse than it was. However, the Roman Reigns experiment is not going to work now and its actually sad to see how they’ve ruined his chances as a top babyface for the time being. The crowd reactions at Mania will be something else. Shane McMahon’s novelty is wearing thin for me and he has not performed well since returning. Other than that, there were a lot of midcard feuds and storylines the show sat through in silence and they are going to seemingly turn Ambrose into Mick Foley. With WrestleMania just two weeks away, this show did not do a whole lot to get me excited for the show.