July 13, 2015
From the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
Before the live show starts we get a video package of all the segments last week involving Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins.
The show starts as the Cadillac Lesnar destroyed last week is shown next to the ramp. Lesnar’s music hits as he heads to the ring with Paul Heyman. The crowd chants “Suplex City” until Heyman starts to speak. Heyman tells us how rare it is to see Lesnar as a challenger, talking about how he conquered the Rock, John Cena, and even Randy Couture in the UFC before telling Rollins that Lesnar will kick his ass and take the title. Rollins then comes out with Kane and looks angrily at the damaged car he bought for J&J Security. Rollins then tells Lesnar he gave him every opportunity to be a man but instead chose to be a coward by taking it out on an inanimate object as he tripped up all over that word. Rollins did recover well by yelling at the crowd and saying he is still shaken up over that incident as a faint “Justin Bieber” chant is heard. Rollins then tells Lesnar he can have the destroyed Cadillac as a symbol but he has the belt. Rollins then calls Lesnar a “thug” and “vandal” as he promises to burn Suplex City to the ground. Lesnar replies as he tells Rollins he can take him to Suplex City tonight before calling him a bitch. Kane then tells us the two will sign a contract tonight and that he will not let it evolve into chaos because this match is what’s best for business. Kane then warns Lesnar as Heyman interrupts by joking around with Brock about being threatened by the “Undertaker’s baby brother” as the crowd starts up a “baby brother” chant. Heyman reminds Kane that Lesnar ended the streak of the Undertaker at WrestleMania then sarcastically states “how could anything go wrong in that scenario.” Heyman then promises that if Rollins provokes Lesnar, Suplex City will come to Atlanta. The crowd was into this and it was a solid segment. They really tried to get over the “Suplex City” phrase, shoehorning it into the segment as much as possible and the crowd loved to chant that but seemed more into Lesnar than the prospect of his match against Rollins at Battleground. I like Rollins and appreciate how he has improved but he is just not in the same class as Lesnar when it comes to starpower. He is nowhere near that level and it comes across that way in this feud.
Coming up next will be Ryback & Randy Orton vs. Big Show & Sheamus.
Ryback & Randy Orton vs. Sheamus & Big Show
The Miz is out on commentary. Match starts with Ryback and Sheamus going back-and-forth. Ryback then hits a pescado as the crowd starts a “Feed me More” chant heading into the commercial break. We return with Orton laying into Sheamus as Miz talks about his strategy of making his opponents lose focus so he will win the IC Title this Sunday. Ryback tags in and stomps away in the corner. Sheamus fights back then finally tags out as the Big Show works the back. Sheamus in Orton are in now as Orton chases him outside and chops away. They head back as Sheamus comes back with a knee smash then beats on Orton as we go to another break. Sheamus hits Orton with the Irish Curse after the break as the Miz continues to babble on about nothing. Show tags in and gets in a bit of offense until Orton comes back with a DDT then makes the tag to Ryback, who runs wild on Sheamus. Miz then gets up and yells at Show and Ryback in order to distract them. Show chases the Miz around then Orton hits Sheamus with the RKO as Ryback climbs up top and hits a splash for the win (15:12) *1/2
Thoughts: This match had no business going this long. The action was uninspired and the Miz, whose character does fine heel work, was grating on the mic. It made me yearn for JBL and Lawler going back-and-forth with their awful arguments. After this ended, I didnt want to see either of these matches on the PPV, which is the exact opposite of what should be happening on this show.
Rollins is backstage with Kane and tells him what he has planned for the contract signing and how his job is to protect him but seems to be doing the opposite. Kane responds by saying he has a plan but that does not calm Rollins down. Kane then tells Rollins if he keeps it up it won’t end well, for one of them. Looks like the goodwill is running out.
Dean Ambrose comes out to the ring for his match against Bray Wyatt, which will happen after the break.
Before Wyatt enters the ring, Roman Reigns attacks him from behind and beats the crap out of him until he gets hit in the face with the lantern. However, that just seems to piss of Reigns as Wyatt is retreating up the ramp as we cut to commercial. The crowd, which has been lively, was not into this segment. That tells you just how bad this feud has been. Its not doing Reigns any favors at all. So I guess we are not getting that Wyatt vs. Ambrose match. As for what happened to Dean before the beatdown, I have no idea. If this leads to an Ambrose heel turn then I really think its going to backfire. I hope that is not the road they travel.
The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox are now in the ring. Nikki tells us that she has not ducked any challengers while champion and is the “Total Diva.” She then calls her group “Team Bella” while saying no other diva on the roster compares to them. However, Stephanie McMahon interrupts as she heads out into the ring and informs Nikki that she owns the WWE, including the Diva’s Division. She also calls Team Bella unstoppable but that there is a revolution in women’s sports and time to make a change in the Diva’s Division right now as the crowd applauds. Stephanie says she will first introduce the woman trying to make a difference, Paige. Nikki cannot understand why Paige is here because she constantly fails but Stephanie shuts her right down by saying she is here because that is what she wanted. Stephanie tells Paige that she knows someone who will be by her side and that is someone who scratched and clawed to get everything she worked for as Becky Lynch comes out and shakes the hand of Paige. Steph then says she is still outnumbered then introduces us to someone bred for the business as Charlotte comes out. She got a bigger reaction than Becky. Naomi and Tamina come out as they have unfinished business with the Bellas and Paige. Naomi tells Stephanie they are all the competition they need as Steph agrees and brings out someone who thinks just like them as Sasha Banks comes out and joins Naomi and Tamina. Stephanie then wants to know who is going to seize the opportunity. The crowd starts a “This is Awesome” chant while everyone stares each other down. Nikki tries to walk out but Sasha yanks her down by the hair and that triggers a brawl as that ends after a minute with all the NXT girls putting Team Bella in submission holds. They let go as Charlotte, Paige, and Becky stare down Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha. If they are serious about changing the way the Diva’s Division is presented then this was a great first step in the right direction. The crowd also seemed familiar with the NXT girls, more with Charlotte and Sasha than Becky, but the fact they got solid reactions is the most important of all. The best segment on the show and possibly the most important moment in North American women’s wrestling in terms of treating it as a respectable division instead of its current sad state. Now, they just need to get some solid booking to give the new call-ups because if they dont, the division will not progress that much, no matter what in-ring talent they have.
The New Day are in the ring. They run down Atlanta as Big E thinks the fact Atlanta shut down over an inch of snow is hilarious. I thought him telling us this was equally hilarious by the way. They promise to regain the Tag Titles at Battleground.
New Day vs. Primetime Players & Mark Henry
The PTPs and Henry clear the ring of the New Day before we head to break. When we return, Titus and Kofi are going at it while the announcers are still buzzing about the Diva’s segment. Kofi tags out as Big E hits a slam then mocks Titus’ chant. Great stuff. Woods tags and has Titus in a sleeper then mocks the Gator chant but runs into a clothesline. Henry tags and clobbers Woods for a bit but gets taken down and hit with a knee to the head that seemed to have legitimately shaken him up. The match breaks down for a bit until Henry hits Woods with the World’s Strongest Slam for the win (7:57) 1/2*
Thoughts: Not much of a match here. With several weeks of losses I assume the New Day are regaining the titles at Battleground.
King Barrett vs. R-Truth
We get a rematch from last week here. I don’t know why. They plug Barrett’s appearance tomorrow on “Tough Enough” as he drops an elbow. Truth fights back then Barrett misses a charge as Truth puts him away with the Lie Detector (3:16) 1/4*. After the match, Truth parades around in his “king” gear.
Thoughts: I have no idea why this feud needs to continue. Barrett needs a change of scenery in the worst way.
Replay of Rusev destroying Dolph Ziggler last week. Ziggler is now out “indefinitely.”
John Cena comes out for the US Title Open Challenge before we head to break. We return with Cole calling last week’s Cena vs. Cesaro title a “match of the year” candidate. Rusev comes out with Summer Rae to answer the challenge. He claimed to be the greatest US Champion of all time and blames Lana for losing the belt. He goes on for a bit longer until Kevin Owens interrupts. He tells Cena that if anyone will beat him for the belt it will be him. Rusev gets pissed and makes fun of Owens, who returns the favor as they have an entertaining exchange. As they get into each others faces, Cesaro comes out and gets into the face of Cena. This then erupts into a brawl between the challengers until Cesaro is the last man left standing as we head to another break.
Kevin Owens vs. Rusev w/Summer Rae vs. Cesaro
This match was apparently put together during the break by the Authority, with the winner facing Cena for the US Title. Cesaro gets double-teamed in the corner to start. They all trade moves after that as Cena is on commentary pointing out how the winner has to face him after that and how he is going to be fresh. All three men are down as Rusev gets up first and stomps on both guys. They work a Tower of Doom spot that popped the crowd, who even started a “this is awesome” chant as Cena calls this match a “display of the future.” Owens blocks a move from Cesaro and comes back with a tornado DDT that Rusev breaks up with a diving headbutt from the top rope. Owens and Rusev end up in a stalemate as they end up doing a double German suplex spot that looked pretty damn good. Owens goes outside to beat on Rusev but Cesaro flies out with a twisting plancha then runs up and jumps on the barricade as the crowd applauds. Back in the ring, Cesaro tries to put Rusev in the swing but Owens breaks that up with a super kick. Owens then hits a moonsault on Owens, coming dangerously close to landing on Rusev’s head as that gets two. Rusev fights back and tries to put Cesaro in the Accolade but Owens breaks that up with a kick to the face. Rusev blocks a powerbomb attempt and hits an Alabama Slam then puts Owens in the Accolade until Cesaro breaks that up then proceeds to hit Rusev with a delayed vertical suplex that looked quite impressive as everyone is struggling to get to their feet. Owens slaps both guys around while yelling “he’s mine” in regards to Cena. They respond by beating him down. Owens ducks outside to escape then heads up the ramp as Rusev looks on from ringside while we go to another break. We return with Rusev working a headlock on Cesaro as Owens is out back. Cesaro comes back with a twisting European uppercut then hammers away in the corner. Cesaro tries to superplex Rusev from the apron but Rusev ends up reversing it as he suplexes Cesaro onto the apron as both men are on the floor. After a minute, Rusev rolls Cesaro inside and heads up top but Cesaro cuts him off. Rusev pushes him off but misses a diving headbutt as Cesaro immediately locks on a crossface. Rusev powers out and hits a catatonic slam for two as he is pissed about not winning with that move. Cesaro tries for the Sharpshooter but that fails as Rusev comes back with a spinning heel kick. Rusev tries for the Accolade but Cesaro reverses and hits the giant swing then puts on the Sharpshooter. The crowd yells at Rusev to tap but he is able to make the ropes. Rusev ducks outside as Cesaro dives out with a tope then hits a running European uppercut. They head back inside but Rusev takes Cesaro off of the top rope then drills him with a super kick into the chest for the win and the right to face Cena (23:49) ***3/4
Thoughts: Awesome match. The crowd wasnt into it the whole time but popped for the big spots and liked Cesaro. The match lost a bit of steam once Owens left but nowhere near enough to effect the quality of the match. All three guys, especially Rusev and Cesaro, came out of this looking good.
US Title Match: Rusev w/ Summer Rae vs. John Cena (Champion)
Cena works a side headlock to start. He hits a slam and a suplex that gets a nearfall as Rusev is exhausted. Cena goes back to the headlock then hits a jumping elbow smash in the corner. Rusev is struggling to even get up as the crowd is quiet. Rusev then blocks the A.A. attempt and locks on the Accolade and has that on until Owens breaks it up with a boot to the head for the DQ (4:59) *. Owens then hits Rusev with the Pop-Up Powerbomb as he screams at Rusev about how he is going to take Cena’s title, not anyone else.
Thoughts: Unless they are planning for Rusev to be a babyface going up against new US Champion Owens, then this booking makes zero sense. Rusev was booked as a sympathetic face here. Summer did not do a single thing here. Or in the triple-threat match for that matter.
The cast of “Tough Enough” is standing on the ramp as Lita is introduced to the crowd. She comes out and introduces us to the cast, which if you have been watching comes off as the least impressive in the history of the show.
Stardust is backstage talking up his usual gibberish. He then said he hears the world needs more heroes but they will crash one-by-one as a new star will arise. We then get a comic book-type of graphic to plug the upcoming Stardust vs. Neville match.
Neville vs. Stardust
Cole notes how this is the first appearance of Stardust since his father passed away. Match starts with Stardust kicking Neville after a handshake. He slams Neville down then stomps away. Neville comes back with a kick then teases going up to for the Red Arrow as he instead rolls through a springboard but gets caught with a Side Effect. Stardust locks on a chinlock as a mild “Cody” chant breaks out. Neville breaks free and hits a flurry of offense. He gets a few rollups for nearfalls but Stardust reverses a rollup then grabs the tights and gets the win (4:06) 3/4*.
Thoughts: The Stardust character has run its course and reintroducing it here was a giant waste of time. The crowd wants to cheer for Cody but having him be a goofy heel with a dead end gimmick is not going to work out well for anyone. And Neville didnt look good in defeat here as they seemingly have no clue what to do with him at the moment.
Kane and Seth Rollins come out for the contract signing. Rollins goes on some more about Lesnar destroying the Cadillac as he shows a replay of three weeks ago where the Authority and himself beat down Lesnar. Rollins then tells us he is not afraid of Lesnar and will defeat him at Battleground. Lesnar and Heyman come out and take their time getting into the ring. Lesnar calmly sits down as Heyman tells Rollins that everyone is waiting to see him get his ass kicked at Battleground. Heyman promises that everyone will get their money’s worth as Lesnar takes Rollins to Suplex City. They go to sign the contract as Heyman yells at Rollins for hiding his hands. Lesnar then proceeds to flip over the table and pulls out an axe handle that was hidden. Lesnar then puts the table back in place and places the handle on top of the table for Rollins to grab. Rollins grabs the handle but Lesnar smirks then picks up the table while seated and launches it at Rollins. Lesnar beats on Kane then hits a suplex on Rollins. Lesnar tries the F-5 on Rollins outside but Kane breaks that up. Rollins and Kane are double-teaming Lesnar as Kane is using the steps as a weapon. Rollins then tries a pedigree on the steps but Lesnar picks him up and slams Rollins into the barricade hard. Kane tries for a chokeslam but Lesnar blocks that and hits an F-5 then goes after Rollins, who has fled. Lesnar then drags Kane and places his foot over the steps as he takes the other set of steps and uses it to smash Kane’s foot as he is rolling on the ground in agony. Lesnar heads into the ring after that and holds up the title as the crowd applauds. We get a slo-mo replay of Rollins screaming “no” while watching Kane get his foot crushed. Rollins finally heads into the ring after Lesnar left and yells about how Lesnar never ran through him and how he won the belt at WrestleMania because he is the better man and at Battleground will prove that he can be beat him gain and will be known as the man who slayed the beast. Rollins then yells at Kane, who is on the ground, about how his plan was a disappointment, just like his career. Rollins then tells Kane he is nothing without him as he is now going to be by himself. Rollins walks away but then runs over to stomp on Kane’s injured foot as he taunts the fans that he is in fact the man.
Final Thoughts: Solid show tonight. The diva’s segment was incredible and the triple-threat match was awesome. The Lesnar/Rollins segments were good, even though Rollins does not feel like a credible opponent to Lesnar. Rollins losing his mind was good stuff though. There was some crap like the opening tag match, an ice cold Reigns vs. Wyatt feud and the fact Barrett vs. Truth and Stardust will continue but the good outweighed the bad and the fact the announcers kept on plugging the future during the three-way and the Diva’s segment is a good thing and hopefully a sign of change as the company is getting stale in terms of feuds and fresh and exciting characters.