March 7, 2016
From the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
We start with a video package of the Undertaker and Vince McMahon confrontation from last week, mixed in with clips of prior Undertaker Hell in a Cell matches.
Shane McMahon heads down to the ring to start off the show. The crowd gives him a favorable reaction to say the least. He thanks the crowd before talking about how his father denounced him as his son and wrote him out of his will, prompting Shane to refer to his dad as an “ego-maniacal, miserable old bastard.” He also tells his dad he has lost his touch with his business and fanbase, who applaud Shane’s speech. A giant YES chant breaks out as Shane talks about how its his destiny to take over RAW. Shane said all of the politics backstage and the Authority will stop when he takes over. Shane mentions guys with talent who do not get breaks while less talented do and how that will change. The Undertaker’s gong goes off but it then turns into Vince’s theme as he struts on the stage. An “asshole” chant breaks out then after that a loud “CM Punk” chant happens as Vince lets that pass before talking about a picture he saw in his office before Shane’s first trip to a WWE event in Worcester, MA but since he is no longer his son, he will not need it and he smashes and stomps the photo. Vince talks about how he let Shane felt invisible, because he is, Shane is nothing more than his son. Vince talks about Shane’s three boys and how they will watch their father fail at WrestleMania. Vince then talks about his greatest creation (Undertaker) will take out his biggest failure (Shane). Vince then orders security to escort Shane out of the ring. Shane warns them not to touch him then ends up attacking one of the guys before tossing out all three men. The crowd starts a YES chant as Shane is left standing tall.
Both Vince and Shane did a great job on the mic here. And I like the story of Vince disowning Shane. I also thought Vince trolling the fans with the Undertaker’s gong was a nice touch. However, Shane’s punches looked atrocious. He looked like an uncle jokingly “punching” his younger nephews. Going up against the Undertaker, a guy involved in brutal matches against Brock Lesnar, and in the Hell in a Cell, who would believe that Shane has a chance with strikes that look like that? Also, despite cutting great promos, the match itself has little heat as there is no tension now between Shane and the Undertaker, who we still do not know why he is fighting on the behalf of Vince. It’s nothing more than a plotline in the McMahon family drama.
Later tonight, the New Day defends the Tag Team Titles against Chris Jericho & AJ Styles and up next, Kevin Owens will be in action.
Kevin Owens vs. Neville
The announcers bring up Owens #KOMania movement on Twitter as he searches for an opponent at WrestleMania. The match starts with Owens beating on Neville in the corner. He taunts the crowd then yells at Cole before inflicting more punishment. Owens hits a senton for a nearfall then hits a clothesline but Neville gets his knees up on a second senton attempt. Neville fight back with a bunch of kicks then takes Owens down with a hurricarana. Owens rolls outside but is able to sidestep a dive as he tosses Neville into the stairs as we head to break. We return as Neville avoids a cannonball but gets tossed with a German suplex. Owens tries another cannonball but runs into an enziguiri as both men are down. Owens rolls outside then Neville climbs up top and flies out with a shooting star press as the crowd starts a “holy shit” chant. Back inside, Neville gets two with a standing shooting star press. Neville places Owens up top but gets shoved off. Owens misses a moonsault and the crowd goes nuts as Neville hits an inverted corkscrew 450 from the middle rope for a nearfall. Neville tries to go up top again but Owens pulls him through the ropes and rolls him up for a win while grabbing a handful of tights (10:20) ***. After the match, Owens attacks Neville from behind and goes for a powerbomb on the floor but Sami Zayn runs out and brawls with Owens on the ramp. They end up inside and Owens tries to escape but Neville boots him and Zayn sends Owens to the floor with a clothesline.
Thoughts: Good match. Owens and Neville have excellent chemistry together as well. And they almost bought Neville’s 450 as the finish. The main story here was Zayn running down to brawl with Owens as their feud has now reached WWE TV. I liked the segment and look forward to what else they do with their feud going forward. And regarding Neville, despite not having anything going on at the moment, seems to be protected when he loses, which is better than nothing.
We get a video package on last week’s Dean Ambrose/HHH confrontation to hype up their title match.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder are talking. Ryder walks off scared as we see Stephanie McMahon enter as she yells at Zack to “stay hyped.” Stephanie thanks Dolph for taking down his disparaging tweet from earlier today regarding the Authority. Dolph then reminds here when he beat Team Authority at the 2014 Survivor Series, thus taking them out of power. Stephanie claimed to not remember this as she is in power now then Dolph warned how it could happen again if Shane beats the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Stephanie laughs it off and talks about how everyone is talking about Shane now then puts Dolph in a match by himself against the League of Nations as his punishment. She walks off after sarcastically wishing him luck.
I do not have a problem with the Authority showing Ziggler their power, even if it is played out at this point. However, going back and referencing the stipulations of the 2014 Survivor Series match, when the Authority disbanded for several weeks, and pretending like it never happened is all but telling fans these stipulations mean nothing. And they are trying for that to happen again with Shane vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania so why bring up how that stipulation was ignored in the past?
Brie Bella vs. Summer Rae
We get a sneak peak of “Total Divas” as Nikki is upset with Brie for getting a scooter. Summer applauds herself after taking Brie down. They work a super slo-mo reversal sequence that ends with Summer stomping Brie. Summer works a surfboard but Brie fights back and hits the YES kicks. Summer avoids a missile dropkick then Lana’s music hits as she comes out to the ring. Brie gets distracted as Summer rolls her up for the win (2:05) DUD. After the match, Lana comes in and hits Brie with a facecrusher.
Thoughts: This match was awful but at least it was only two minutes long. However, Lana, coming out like she did when paired with Dolph Ziggler, only more revealing, and attacking Brie while smiling made little sense. I have no idea why she is dressed differently or why she attacked Brie.
Dean Ambrose heads out to the ring. He holds his arms open at first before talking about how he showed up and decided to possibly screw up everyone’s plans by winning the Title at Roadblock this Saturday. Ambrose said he does not care what plans HHH or even Reigns had as he vows to hijack WrestleMania. Ambrose then talks about being the face of the company when he wins the title and how HHH will respect him before going into how they will be attending all sorts of PR and charity events. He then talks about being the champion that the WWE deserves as HHH’s music hits. HHH laughs off Ambrose’s rant as a “fun little fantasy” and that the WWE World Title will stay with him as long as he wants. He mentions how Reigns tried to take it away and they are now “gluing” his face together. HHH mentions how Ambrose might need another trip over the announcer table as Ambrose said after Roadblock, he will stand on top of that table hoisting the WWE World Title in the air. HHH then jokes about Roadblock being named by “some idiot in marketing” as he calls Ambrose a speed bump or pothole. HHH then warns Ambrose about how being anti-Authority got Reigns hurt as he calls Ambrose delusional. Ambrose then talks about how being delusional has gotten him this far and would rather be that and whatever HHH is now. HHH tells Ambrose he is driven as Ambrose wants him to come into the ring and say that. HHH asks the crowd if they want to see him fight Ambrose tonight but says he fights on his terms and does what successful people do, which is to delegate. So, HHH orders Ambrose in a match tonight against Bray Wyatt.
I enjoyed this segment. Ambrose came off as a guy you want to get behind, especially for the match at Roadblock. The crowd was super into him as well. HHH also did fine here as the cocky heel who does not take his opponent seriously.
We learn that Ziggler will face Rusev, Wade Barrett, and Sheamus tonight.
Elimination Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev & Sheamus & Wade Barrett
No idea where Del Rio is tonight. Barrett finally boots Ziggler after a minute of squaring off. Ziggler comes back with a dropkick but Sheamus distracts him as Barrett hits a uranage for a nearfall. Rusev tags in and gets a nearfall. He hits a dropkick then tags Barrett, who hammers away in the corner. Sheamus now beats on Ziggler, who fights back and hits a DDT as both men are down. Barrett tags and misses a charge as his shoulder rams the post. Ziggler fights back as Cole messes up on commentary and says “Ziggler knocks down Ziggler.” Ziggler hits a swinging neckbreaker and tries to yell and pump up the crowd but they do not respond all that much. The others come in but Ziggler is able to nail Barrett with a super kick for the elimination (5:45). Ziggler ducks a Brogue Kick and gets two with a rollup but misses a Fameasser as Rusev nails him with a roundhouse kick from the floor then Sheamus connects with a Brogue Kick for the win (6:35) *3/4.
Thoughts: This was okay for what it was but pretty much died with the crowd. I have no idea if Ziggler’s anti-Authority stuff will continue going forward but he could be a potential ally to Shane down the road. If not, he will continue to languish in his current spot on the card, which is also where the League of Nations currently reside.
We get a clip from the Vince/Shane confrontation from earlier in the show.
After the break, we get a video package on Shane McMahon. It was mostly highlights of all the crazy stuff he has done over the years mixed in with comments from WWE Superstars. I expect that he is going to pull off some crazy stuff at WrestleMania.
Backstage, Becky Lynch knocks on the locker room door to get Sasha Banks out for their match. Sasha is annoyed and blames Becky for costing her a title match against Charlotte at WrestleMania. They trade mild insults until Becky stormed off as Sasha got ready.
Tamina & Naomi vs. Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks
Tamina boots Becky then knocks Sasha off of the apron. Becky fights back then tags out as Sasha runs wild. Tamina tries to make the save but is way late then messes up getting tossed to the floor as Sasha puts Naomi in the Banks Statement for the win (1:54) 1/2*. After the match, Charlotte runs in and attacks Sasha after Tamina kicked Becky, who also gets taken out by Charlotte when running in for the save.
Thoughts: They clearly established Becky & Sasha as above the other two. This also further established Charlotte as a heel with her post-match sneak attack. Charlotte is getting better by the week with her work and has really come on over the past month. I’m looking forward to the Divas Title match at WrestleMania.
Backstage, R-Truth comes in disguised as a Pizza Delivery man. He runs into Goldust, who sees through the disguise and the fact he is trying to make up for being mean to him. Goldust then said a true partner would know that he is lactose intolerant and if he ate the pizza, his “butt would explode.” Goldust then said Truth knew this and it was a sick joke as he walked away. Truth chased him, stating he knew nothing about his exploding butt as Mark Henry grabs the pizza and says “I love Chicago.”
This was just a comedy segment designed to pop the live audience but the comedy portion was horrendous. The Goldust/R-Truth skits are not progressing at all in storyline. Its the same stuff week after week.
The New Day come out to the ring. They keep it brief as it ends with a joke that Big E got a unicorn tattoo on his butt, thinking the whole team was getting them, as he played off like he was joking as well.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Big E & Kofi Kingston (c) w/ Xavier Woods vs. Chris Jericho & AJ Styles
Jericho and Styles have matching “Y2AJ” t-shirts. The match starts with Jericho beating on Kofi. Y2AJ take out both guys then fly out with stereo planchas as we head to break. We return as the New Day are in control after Woods hit Jericho with his trombone during the break. Jericho gets his knee up on a charging Big E. Kofi tags and Jerich hits him with an enziguiri and makes the tag as AJ runs wild. AJ gets a nearfall with the Phenomenon. Big E comes in and they both hit AJ with a double-team big ending as Jericho makes the save. Jericho hits a springboard dropkick then AJ hit Kofi with a springboard 450 splash as Big E yanks out his partner during the count for the save. The crowd starts a “This si awesome” chant. Jericho tags in after AJ eats a roundhouse kick by Kofi. Jericho puts him in the Walls of Jericho as Xavier pushes the ropes towards him. AJ knocks Xavier down with a forearm as Big E drives him into the barricade. Big E makes a blind tag but Jericho also catches him in the Walls of Jericho. However, Big E catches Jericho as he tried a Codebreaker then hits the Big Ending for the win (11:32) ***1/2. After the match, Jericho turns on AJ as he hit him with a Codebreaker. Jericho hits another one as the fans boo. AJ slowly tries to pull himself up but Jericho hits another Codebreaker as he walks off and grabs the Y2AJ shirt that he shoves in AJ’s mouth. He then yells at AJ
Thoughts: A damn good match. AJ was incredible here. He even busted out the Phenomenon (quebrada into an inverted DDT) as well as a perfectly executed springboard 450 splash. The crowd was going nuts for him. However, they decided to have Jericho urn on AJ here as this team is no longer, which is too bad as I would love to see these teams wrestle again and the current tag division is in dire straits.
Back from break, Renee Young catches up with Jericho. He lets her know that Chicago was where Y2J was born yet the only chanted for AJ tonight. He then promised the crowd would not be cheering for AJ much longer before walking off.
Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze
Kalisto is in control early on as Saxton lets us know that Breeze wants to become the most relevant superstar in the WWE. Breeze catches Kalisto with a super kick in midair then lays into him with elbow smashes. Kalisto blocks a kick attempt then spins around before hitting Breeze with the Salida Del Sol for the win (2:12) *.
Thoughts: They did the best you could with just two minutes. Poor Breeze has nothing at all going on at the moment.
Jojo walks into Sin Cara and Kalisto in the hallway. She asks Kalisto about WrestleMania as Kalisto talks about Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio inspirations. Ryback interrupts, while sorry for stealing Kalisto’s spotlight, and cannot believe that he does not have a match at Mania, at his size. Ryback respects Kalisto and calls him pound-for-pound one of the best in the WWE. He then says that he should go out on his own as partners only hold you back before walking away.
Ryback’s promo went on for too long here. And a potential match between the two at WrestleMania is not the most exciting thing in the world, even if they do have history seeing Kalisto beat him in the first round of last fall’s WWE World Title Tournament. And Sin Cara was not even shown on camera after Ryback told Kalisto to go out on his own. I assume that will be followed up in the coming weeks.
The Social Outcasts head out to the ring. They briefly plugged the “Game Night” show then Curtis Axel starts chanting and making odd sounds as they all proceed to jump around in a circle using chopping gestures. This was odd to say the least.
Curtis Axel w/ Social Outcasts vs. Ryback
The match is joined in progress with Ryback beating on Axel. They head outside as the Outcasts provide a distraction as Axel is in control. Back inside, Axel hammers away but Ryback comes back and gets the win with the Shell Shock (2:08) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Quick squash win for the Ryback, who seems to be adopting a lone wolf character of sorts.
Another clip from tonight’s Shane/Vince promo.
Backstage, Vince is on the phone. He talks about this year’s WrestleMania potentially breaking the All-Time attendance record as Stephanie interrupts. She is worried about Shane winning, despite having the deck stacked against him, as she saw the look in his eyes tonight and he might do something crazy because he is fearless. Vince lets her know that he has this under control.
This week on Smackdown, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will be on Miz TV. Plus, Chris Jericho explains his actions from tonight when he attacked AJ Styles.
Bray talks about how at Roadblock, he has a chance to “conquer the conqueror,” unlike Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray is solo here. Bray hammers away to start off the match. Ambrose fights back and lands mounted punches in the corner. Bray fights back and hits a flying tackle as we head to break. We return with Bray in control. He tosses Ambrose across the ring then knocks him out to the floor. Bray runs outside and they clothesline each other and just beat the 10 count in the ring. Inside, Ambrose fires away but runs into a clothesline as Bray gets a nearfall. They go back-and-forth until Bray hits Ambrose with an uranage on the barricade. Ambrose comes back and hits an elbow smash as both men are down but the lights go off as the Wyatt Family surround the ring and beat down Ambrose for the DQ (11:48) **. Bray hits the Sister Abigail then the Wyatt’s celebrate. HHH’s music hits and he comes out to stare down Bray, who admires the WWE World Title before smiling and leaving. HHH takes off his coat and rolls up his sleeves. He heads outside and clears off the announcers table but Ambrose catches him with the Dirty Deeds as he enters the ring. Ambrose then grabs the title as HHH is out cold as Cole hypes up the Roadblock special on the WWE Network.
Thoughts: The match itself was slow and uneventful. Plus the crowd was dead and they were red hot for Ambrose earlier in the show. However, I really liked the post-match antics and how they had Dean hit HHH with his finisher after getting beat down by the Wyatt Family.
Final Thoughts: Well, this week they had two good matches along with a strong opening promo. And they also did a great job at making Ambrose look like a credible challenger to HHH for their match at Roadblock on Saturday.
However, they continue to struggle with storyline aspects of the Undertaker/Shane match and yet again, Roman Reigns was held off of TV. With just three episodes of RAW left before WrestleMania, they do not have a whole lot of time to hype up the scheduled HHH/Reigns match.
They also rekindled the Zayn/Owens and AJ/Jericho feuds. And teased a potential Ryback/Kalisto match down the road.
Overall, the show was fine but yet again the third hour continues to drag and as far as Roadblock is concerned, its been hyped as a one-match show.