May 16, 2016
From the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The live show starts with AJ Styles heading down to the ring. He wants to set the record straight because he is sick of Roman Reigns calling him a liar. AJ is also sick of hearing this at the arenas and the airports. AJ talks about his friends, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and how he did not know of their attacks beforehand. After seeing a bunch of tweets about himself and Gallows & Anderson, he then passionately talks about how this might be the new era but none of this is new to him as he has headlined the Tokyo Dome in front of 60,000 people. Roman Reigns heads out as the crowd boos. Reigns talks about AJ winning all sorts of championships but it does not matter unless you win “the championship” as he points to the WWE World Heavyweight Title Belt on his shoulder. Reigns then tells AJ he will be in the Usos corner and asks if he will be with the Club. AJ says he will then mocks Reigns’ catchphrase and says he will beat him for the title at Extreme Rules. Reigns then mentions all of the ways and weapons he can beat on AJ and that when its all said and done, he will find out that the bloodline is stronger than the club. Gallows & Anderson head out then the Usos suddenly appear behind Reigns as AJ turns around and gets decked by Reigns before rolling outside.
I liked this segment, especially the Reigns/AJ dueling promo. They did a great job at showing us just how much they hate each other and it should make for a great match and atmosphere at Extreme Rules.
Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro
The Miz, Maryse, and Kevin Owens are on commentary and they start off by bickering. Cesaro catches Zayn with a powerslam for a nearfall. Zayn heads back in and ends up taking Cesaro through the ropes with a headscissors. Owens then tells Miz he can no longer be out here anymore and will take the IC Title at Extreme Rules. Owens proceeds to toss Miz out of his seat and grab the belt. He walks off but the Miz gets up and knocks him down and they end up brawling. They spill into the ring where Cesaro and Zayn clear house as the bell rings as this match is ruled a no-contest (1:39) NR. However, Shane McMahon comes out to say that everyone has had enough of these four and Owens & Miz will team up to face Cesaro & Zayn. As soon as Shane makes the match, Stephanie comes out to say that based on what happened this past week on Smackdown, it would be better to have Miz & Cesaro vs. Zayn & Owens with Stephanie telling Owens if he walks out on his partner then do not even bother showing up to Extreme Rules then makes a crack about how this might give them a chance to rekindle their friendship.
Thoughts: The match was just a set up to build to a tag between all four guys involved in the Intercontinental Title match at Extreme Rules. It also served at continuing the Shane & Stephanie storyline as they attempt to co-exist while running RAW.
Cesaro & The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match started during the break. Cesaro clotheslines Owens then attempts the swing but Owens grabs the ropes. Owens tags Zayn after getting mocked as Zayn and Cesaro mix it up. Miz tags himself in after Cesaro hits an uppercut as he hits Zayn with a suplex for two before working a headlock. Zayn slams Miz but Owens made a blind tag then hits a senton. Owens yells at Zayn then Miz rolls him up for a two count. Owens tags Zayn again by shoving him then Maryse distracts Zayn, allowing Miz to shove him off of the apron as we head to break. The action returns with Miz in control of Zayn. Miz yells at Cesaro, who tags himself in and copies Miz’s corner clothesline. Zayn fights back then Owens tags in and runs wild on Miz in an awesome sequence that saw him hit a missile dropkick and the cannonball. Cesaro tags in and runs wild on Owens. Zayn tags but Cesaro rolls through a crossbody and picks him up then the Miz tags in as Cesaro has no idea. Miz breaks up a swing attempt and tosses Cesaro outside. Cesaro runs in to hit Miz with the Skull Crushing Finale then the match breaks down until Zayn hits Miz with the Helluva Kick for the win (10:48) ***. After the match, Owens attacks Zayn from behind then yells about how he will win the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules.
Thoughts: Fun match that built interest in the IC Title match at the PPV. They’ve done a great job at giving this four-man feud intrigue.
Renee Young is with Chris Jericho. Renee asks him if he has any idea what Dean Ambrose will say tonight. Jericho is irate and talks up how his jacket should be in the Smithsonian and that Ambrose should be arrested. However, he will give him one last chance to apologize tonight.
Up next, the Shining Stars will make their debut.
The Shining Stars vs. Scott Jackson (John Skyler) & Ryan Kennedy (Corey Hollis)
Before the match, Primo & Epico welcome their opponents to Puerto Rico. They destroy their opponents, who are given new names by Michael Cole despite the fact their tights actually have the names they use on the Independent Scene, until putting Kennedy away with the Shining Star (Total Elimination) that completely whiffed (1:35).
Thoughts: Oh man, this was a terrible re-debut for Primo & Epico. As if the vignettes were bad enough, these two just do not have the charisma to pull off a weak act like this. And the botched finish looked awful. The crowd was silent for this and they were into everything else on the show. At least they let them look dominant in the ring though.
Dean Ambrose heads out to the ring. He says that he has to talk to Jericho now and demands he comes out as he calls him “boy.” Jericho comes out and tells Ambrose to shut up and listen so he can give him an apology. Jericho demands an apology for the destruction of his $15,000 jacket and despite being a multi-millionaire that is a lot of money and a piece of WWE history. Jericho keeps yelling at the crowd to be quiet as they taunt him then Ambrose refuses to apologize and said he called him out to issue a challenge at Extreme Rules. Jericho tells Ambrose that he will “take $15,000 out of his ass” before saying he has beaten everyone the WWE has thrown in front of him and that he is really a lunatic and not scared of Ambrose but scared for him as he will show him what a lunatic looks like, wearing a smile without a tear in his eye. Jericho promises to give Ambrose what everyone craves and that is the gift of Jericho. Ambrose then has a gift for Jericho as we see a cage lower from the ceiling that features a strap and a straight-jacket among other things as Ambrose said that after consulting with Shane, they will have an Asylum Match. Ambrose talks about how Jericho will never be the same again as we see flashing lights inside of the cage.
These two had a good back-and-forth with Jericho cutting a damn good promo. However, the cheesy music and strobe-light effects took away from the match stipulation. Instead of a heated feud, it came off corny. Overproduction at its worst but besides all of that, I think these guys can have a pretty good match inside of the cage.
We get a replay of the AJ/Reigns confrontation from earlier tonight.
Dana Brooke walks backstage on her way to the ring for her match against Becky Lynch. She makes fun of some production assistant for dressing like crap and not being in shape then said if he did, he would be the first guy she would call. Dana then walks away while mouthing “no” then starts to laugh.
Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke
Cole lets us know that Emma will be sidelined indefinitely with a back injury. Dana cheap shots Becky after a break in the corner. Becky comes back with an uppercut then hits a pair of armdrags before Dana slides outside. Becky follows but Dana sidesteps an attack then sends Becky into the barricade. Back inside, Dana hits some mounted punches then stretches her out. Becky fights back until Dana catches her with a slam. Becky fights back again and gets two with the Bexploder as the crowd is fully behind her. Becky heads up top but Dana cuts her off. Becky manages to escape and tries a sunset flip but Dana blocks that and rolls Becky up for the win (3:45) *.
Thoughts: With a lot of heels on the women’s roster out with injuries, they need to build someone up and Dana getting the win makes sense. She might not be ready for the role but at this point she has to be and working on the main roster is going to help her out more than NXT will at this point in her career. Becky did a good job holding things together here and while Dana uses a really generic offense and is quite limited in what she can do in the ring, she at least has a presence.
We now get Life Lessons with Bob Backlund, life coach for Darren Young. Backlund is unhappy that Young uses a phone to tell time and organize his life and orders him to do 100 squats as he promises to make Darren Young great again. It’s crazy old-man Backlund and its fine for a lower card act like Young.
Backstage, Stephanie and Shane see the Young/Backlund piece. Stephanie then asks Shane why he did not run the Asylum match by her as Shane asks the same about the tag match. The Dudley Boyz enter and say they are here to remind them they are not from the New Era but rather from the Attitude Era and requests a few local guys to teach a lesson. However, Stephanie and Shane let them know they will not get two guys and one of them will have to decide who gets to face Big Cass tonight. The Dudleys leave as Stephanie and Shane have fun with Enzo & Cass’s catchphrases as Shane say he loves this job.
We then get a video package of the Goldust & R-Truth storyline set to some power ballad to hype up their debut as a team tonight. It started out amusing but went on for too long, just like the storyline.
Golden Truth vs. Breezango
Breezango is the team of Tyler Breeze & Fandango. Match starts with Truth beating on Breeze. Fandango tags in and works a double clothesline spot with Truth as both men are down. The crowd rallies behind Truth as he tags Goldust, who runs wild. Truth tosses out Fandango then attempts a leg lariat but Breeze ducks and Goldust gets decked. Breeze tosses out Truth then covers for the win (1:55) 1/4*.
Thoughts: The video package leading up to this lasted twice as long. The finished died with the live crowd too as this storyline has been going on for far too long.
After the break, Truth follows Goldust backstage and says they have to work out the kinks as he mispronounces “feng shui” while Goldust does not want to team any longer. Truth tells Goldust that the WWE Universe and himself love the Golden Truth and deep down he knows he likes it too. Breeze & Fandango enter and tell them its a new era then laugh after calling them the “Golden Girls” as that finally convinced Goldust to give the team a chance. The storyline will continue as their loss makes sense now after this segment but either way, I’ve had enough of this.
We see a large curtain in the ring covering something as the New Day hit the ring. They work some Booty O’s references before addressing their opponents this Sunday at Extreme Rules, the Vaudevillians. They talk about their old era then take off the curtain to reveal a pretend time machine called the New Daylorian. They go back and Kofi comes out as his old character while yelling about how he wants to stay in 2009 because it was his best year then they finally go back to the Bygone Era as they are unhappy with how boring everything is until the Vaudevillians run out to attack the New Day. They toss Xavier into the New Day-Lorian as the segment ends with them standing tall.
Good segment. At least I thought it was anyway. Some of the special effects, which there were a lot of tonight, might turn off some but I felt it worked here. It featured some clever comedy and made the challengers look like a threat. After a really rough start, the Vaudevillians are starting to actually gain a bit of momentum as a heel act. Also, I am liking Big E as the straight-man to Xavier’s wackiness. He’s really good in that role and just an incredibly charismatic performer as a whole.
This Thursday on Smackdown will feature Miz TV with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson w/ AJ Styles vs. The Usos w/ Roman Reigns
The Usos work over Anderson to start. Jey dropkicks Gallows off of the apron as the Club regroups outside with AJ. Gallows is now the legal man and he slams Jimmy a few times as the Club take control of the match as the announcers are hyping up the title match at Extreme Rules. Jimmy mounts a comeback and hits a corkscrew senton off of the top rope. Jimmy then mouths off at AJ and ends up getting decked by Gallows as we head to break. The action returns with Jimmy chopping Anderson until he gets clotheslined. Jimmy then backdrops Anderson to the floor and makes the tag. Jey takes out the Club with a plancha. He tosses Anderson inside and gets two with a crossbody. Jey gets another nearfall with the crowd behind them. Anderson cuts Jey off on the top rope and tries a superplex but gets shoved off. Jey rolls through a dive then Anderson catches him with a spinebuster for a nearfall. Anderson then hits a Rocket Kick but runs into a super kick after that. Jey covers but Gallows breaks that up then the match breaks down. The Usos hit a bunch of kicks until Jey hits a top rope splash for the win (12:47) ***1/2. After the match, Reigns and AJ have a staredown until Gallows attacks Reigns from behind. AJ then gets up and sees the chair and plays with that for a bit then goes to hit him but Reigns comes back with an uppercut. Reigns hits the Club with the Superman Punch but turns around as AJ hits him in hte ribs with the chair. AJ then destroys Reigns with a chair before hitting him with the Styles Clash onto the chair as the crowd is going crazy.
Thoughts: Really good match with great post-match antics. The Usos worked their asses off too. AJ finally snapped on Reigns and destroyed him with a chair, even hitting the Styles Clash in a great spot. The Usos and The Club have good chemistry together too and the whole dynamic between all six guys made for a great atmosphere. The crowd was jacked for this whole segment. This probably should have closed the show, as AJ giving Reigns the Styles Clash on the chair certainly left an impression, but going up against the Warriors/Thunder tonight and ratings going down consistently in the final hour for the past few months, it probably does not make much of a difference.
Before the match, Cass calls D-Von the “Steve Urkel of the squared circle” and does an impression of that. He then calls Bubba the “Fred Flinstone of the WWE” and promises to take him back to the Stone Age. He then goes into his SAWFT routine but the Dudley Boy interrupt and we see that D-Von will be facing Cass.
This material was not very strong at all but Cass remains over with the crowd. With a Flintstone reference, I imagine Vince had a hand in putting his promo together.
Big Cass vs. D-Von Dudley
D-Von ducks outside as Bubba distracts Cass by pulling out a table, allowing D-Von to attack from behind. Bubba is on the apron and stops D-Von from knocking him off but ends up getting booted by Cass, who then finishes off D-Von with the East River Crossing for the win (1:00) NR.
Thoughts: They gave Cass a quick win as they continue to protect him while his partner is out with an injury. The crowd loves the guy too and are way into the SAWFT routine.
Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio
Kalisto fights back after getting overpowered by ADR. They are up top as ADR tries to yank off Kalisto’s mask. ADR hits a suplex as they show Sin Cara backstage while the announcers talk about Sin Cara always having Kalisto’s back. Kalisto dropkicks ADR off of the apron then tries for a hurricarana but ADR blocks that and swings him into the barricade with gusto as we head to commercial. The action returns with ADR in control. He catches Kalisto in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker then flexes on the top rope before hitting a fist drop for a nearfall. ADR tosses Kalisto into the post as they cut backstage to Sin Cara as Rusev attacked him from behind as we cut back to the ring with ADR holding Kalisto against the ropes so he can see his partner get his ass kicked on the Titantron. A “we want Lana” chant breaks out then Kalisto makes a comeback and takes ADR off of the top with a hurricarana. Both men are down then we see Rusev beating on Sin Cara in the aisle as Kalisto runs wild. Kalisto gets distracted as ADR hits him with a lungblower for the win (11:06) **1/2. After the match, Rusev yells at Kalisto for getting involved in his business before he heads into the ring and drills him in the back of the head with a super kick. Rusev then stomps Kalisto before applying the Accolade. Rusev then grabs the U.S. Title and tosses it at Kalisto.
Thoughts: The match was fine but this was all about re-establishing Rusev as a major threat. He looked like one here and it really made Kalisto look in trouble for his title defense at Extreme Rules. It also made Rusev’s loss to Sin Cara look even dumber than it did at the time.
The Extreme Rules Kickoff Show match features Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification match.
Shane & Stephanie McMahon head out to the ring for the Womens Championship contract signing. Ric Flair welcomes his daughter Charlotte to the crowd while Shane brings out Natalya, who asks Charlotte what happened to her? Natalya talks about Charlotte once being a person she looked up to and how she beat her on her own to win the NXT Women’s Championship without her “creepy father.” Shane gives Natalya the contract and she signs. Charlotte sarcastically tells Natalya that was touching but she is delusional as the people are here to cheer for her as most of them do. Charlotte tells the crowd she could punch their best friends in the face and they would still cheer as they worship the ground she walks on as the crowd turns on her, with Charlotte telling them they do not boo a Flair. Charlotte then says they love her because her last name is Flair and that she is another Hart that whines and complains as she also tells her dad to stop wooing as its her turn. Charlotte then tells us this is a waste of her time and that she wants to sign the contract. However, Charlotte has a problem with the contract as Shane explains they added a stipulation due to last week that if Ric Flair even steps out to ringside at Extreme Rules, Charlotte will forfeit the title. Stephanie then lets the Flairs know its not personal, just business and that if she refuses to sign, she will forfeit the title tonight. Ric then goes off on Stephanie, telling her she tried to like her because of her husband then takes off his coat and watch as he challenges Shane, who talks Flair down. Stephanie steps in between then slaps Ric, saying she does not have much respect for him. Security then takes Flair outside while Natalya puts Charlotte in the Sharpshooter Charlotte taps as her dad is not there to help out as Cole hypes up the submission match stipulation as Natalya holds up the belt.
They put over the stipulations well but the real focus here was on the McMahon Family and the fact Stephanie slapped Flair after Shane talked him down seems that it will lead to conflict down the line. The crowd did not seem into the end and it did come off flat to be honest. Charlotte got the crowd to turn on her and that was good but she kept going with the spoiled kid act too much to the point it was become less effective.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was another good show. They’ve done a fine job at hyping up the top matches for Extreme Rules and the Reigns/AJ stuff is the best feud the WWE has had since Bryan vs. Authority, IMO. Plus, the IC Title feud has been great and I like that they are finally giving Rusev a push again as he is far too talented to be wasted like he has been for the past several months.
However, some of the lower card angles are terrible and the Shane & Stephanie dynamic has yet to provide any compelling material. The Womens Division is also ravaged by injuries on the heel side and they need help. I wonder if someone will turn soon?
Heading into Extreme Rules, the WWE has some momentum and I am looking forward to the show. The intrigue regarding the World Title match alone makes me want to watch.