Live from Dallas, TX
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. Cesaro
Roku immediately pisses me off by repeatedly picking up the show halfway in, even though I asked for “from the beginning”. Thankfully switching to the Xbox One fixed the problem, although the show just picks up from Ziggler’s entrance without any fancy graphics or intro. Turns out that was another problem with the stream, as it crashed back to the WWE Network interface after this match and when I restarted, I got the full intro. On the bright side, I unlocked an achievement (“Time Traveller”) for fast-forwarding through the match the second time! Cesaro has now given up the dream of having hair and is rocking the bald look. Now if he shaves the beard into a goatee he might have something there. Cesaro works the headlock to start, but Ziggler gets a backslide for two and they do a pinfall exchange sequence before Cesaro tries a Giant Swing. Ziggler reverses into a small package for two, but a second Swing succeeds and gets two, before Ziggler reverses for the first fall at 3:38. Cesaro immediately double-stomps him and hits a running forearm in the corner for two. Middle rope elbow misses, but he slugs Ziggler down and goes to a chinlock. Dolph fights out with an armbreaker, but Cesaro double-stomps him for two and follows with a nice powerbomb for two. Ziggler bails and comes back in with a weird wristlock submission out of a suplex attempt, but Cesaro breaks in the corner. And then he deadlifts Ziggler into a superplex for two. That was a very cool sequence of stuff, very different from what you see typically. Cesaro charges and hits the corner, and Ziggler hits the fameasser for two. Zig Zag is reversed into the Swiss Death forearm for two, but Ziggler cradles for two. Another Zig Zag is reversed into a backbreaker, but Ziggler goes to the arm and superkicks him into the Zig Zag for two straight falls at 12:20. So yeah, the lesson here is “don’t do an interview where you bitch about the main eventers having 500 straight matches” because this is what happens. Good and different type of match, but only 12 minutes for a 2/3 falls match? Why even bother? ***1/4
Meanwhile, I get a commercial for the WWE Network…on the WWE Network. And again the announcers call everyone watching on PPV idiots for doing so.
Meanwhile, the Authority wants Orton to channel his anger into John Cena rather than worrying about Seth Rollins.
Nikki Bella v. Brie Bella
Brie gets a rollup for two and a backslide for two as Lawler calls it the “ultimate sibling rivalry in WWE”. COME ON. Nikki gets a knee to the head for two as the crowd decides to turn on the match now and starts chanting for JBL. Brie with a carpet muncher for two. Brie with a running knee and Nikki bails to escape, but Brie follows with a suicide dive where Brie literally misses so badly that she lands headfirst on Nikki’s knee instead. Back in, Brie with a missile dropkick, but Nikki hits the torture rack drop for two. Brie then wraps her up in the Yes-Lock, but Nikki makes the ropes. And another Rack Attack finishes at 6:20. Oh no, now Brie has to be her assistant for 30 days or get fired. You know, like she was already fired earlier this year. They tried, I guess, but it was like watching a couple of backyard wrestlers imitate what they see on TV thanks to Brie still being awful. *1/2
Meanwhile, Booker T declares the previous match the “shucky ducky quack quack moment” of the show thus far, and indeed after only two matches I can’t think of a match presented on this show that better fits the description of shucky ducky quack quack. As Dusty Rhodes used to say, sometimes you just say “wubba”, ya know?
WWE tag titles: Goldust & Stardust v. The Usos
The Usos double-team Stardust and Jey throws chops on Goldust, but Jimmy gets caught in the Dust corner and they work on his knee. Goldust with a chinlock and Jimmy fights out of that, but Goldust gets a powerslam for two. Stardust chokes him out for two while JBL reverts back to stories about 1982 World Class again. You what would be legitimately awesome? If Michael Cole then said “By the way, if you want to see what JBL is rambling about, World Class is available on demand RIGHT HERE ON THE NETWORK!” They could even do like YouTube and have a little annotation box where you can just click on the Missing Link and watch his match from WCCW. But no one ever thinks to do that. Jimmy finally dumps Goldust and makes the hot tag to Jey, who follows with a dive onto Goldust. And one for Stardust as well. Back in, cross body gets two. Corner splash gets two. Goldust comes back with a spinebuster for two as Jimmy has seemingly disappeared. Jey with a superkick for two and they head up as Jimmy finally emerges from the hyperspace where Optimus Prime’s trailer goes, and we get a stereo superplex. Flying splash on Goldust gets two and it’s now breaking loose in Tulsa, but Stardust clips an Uso behind the ref’s back and Goldust finishes with the Curtain Call at 10:18. Never really got into a groove and the whole weird sequence with Goldust and Jey near the end kind of killed the momentum. **1/2
Meanwhile, breast cancer is, like, bad, you know? I feel so much more aware now.
Hell In A Cell Match For A Future WWE World Heavyweight Title Opportunity: John Cena v. Randy Orton
This is MUST WIN for Cena, guys! He might never get another shot at becoming a sixteen-time champion without it! Those first fifteen were NOTHING. This time it’s really, really, really, really, REALLY personal. Also, I got the “Locked On” achievement after sitting through the promo video for this. I have to say, if I get achievements for watching the Network on the XBone, I might just switch to that for a while and see what I can unlock. They brawl for a bit to start and Orton gets two, but he goes for a chair and Cena suplexes him. Orton gets it now and uses it for two. Cena tries the FU but Orton reverses into a neckbreaker for two. Orton presses Cena’s face into the fence for a bit and Cole is like “He’s TORTURING him!” And they wonder why people hate the announcing. In the ring, now it’s apparently the defining moment of their career, unlike the other 30 or so times they’ve met on PPV. This year. Orton stops to pose and Cena takes him down for two. Well now Orton’s special attack will take forever to build up again! My wife’s perspective on all this: “I know you say Orton is a douchebag who shits in people’s bags, but he’s pretty damn hot. Also, if John Cena threw me his t-shirt, I’d squee.” So there you have it. Orton with the chinlock to really emphasize the hatred and torture in the cell, but Cena comes back with backdrop suplex before walking into a powerslam for two. So as Lawler notes, Orton apparently COULD see him. Shit, he stole my joke. Cena backdrops out of the draping DDT, but Orton runs him into the post to take over again. They run each other into the cage a few times and Cena brings a table in, but Orton thwarts that plan and puts the table in the corner instead. NO ONE PUTS TABLE IN A CORNER! RKO Outta Nowhere gets two. Orton kind of gently runs Cena through the table and gets two. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the amount of replays tonight is really annoying, as anything with the least bit of impact is immediately double-featured. So Orton grabs the stairs, but Cena suplexes him onto the stairs and does a ridiculous five knuckle shuffle on the stairs, which is apparently more devastating than the usual version because…reasons. Orton goes low for two, however. And then they SLOWLY set up for the next spot, but Orton misses the punt and Cena gets the STF, but Orton bails to the floor. Cena is so ENRAGED by this that he tosses the stairs at him, which seems a tad extreme, but then he missed by six feet anyway. Back in, FU gets two. RKO gets two. FU gets two. Cena gets another table and goes up, but Orton follows with an RKO attempt that is blocked, and Cena finishes with an FU through the table at 26:00. Say it with me:
This was literally every other Cena v. Orton match you’ve ever seen in your lifetime with nothing to distinguish it. Except 8 million replays. Thanks, Kevin Dunn! *** So yeah, it’s Cena v. Lesnar at the Rumble. Again. Just accept it. Also, a note to the announcers: If it’s the middle of the show, you’re not really “stealing the show.”
US title: Sheamus v. The Miz
Sheamus quickly beats on Miz while Mizdow sells it on the floor, and it’s actually so funny that it’s completely distracting. Like, it’s a really funny opening match gag, but for a serious US title program it’s a total mess because you want to like the guy but he’s supposed to be an obnoxious heel. Miz gets a cheapshot on the floor to take over and JBL goes back to the Sportatorium well for material. Miz with a chinlock but Sheamus makes the comeback and the crowd is just deathly silent for all of this, with Mizdow as the only one getting any reaction. Sheamus goes up with the shoulderblock for two. Backbreaker gets two. Miz comes back with a neckbreaker for two and the short DDT for two, but Sheamus escapes the figure-four. Mizdow distracts him and the Skull Crushing Finale gets two. Miz goes up, however, and lands on the Brogue Kick to finish at 8:17. This was a trainwreck, with Mizdow getting the only reaction out of the crowd. *1/4 And then it turns into a comedy routine, with Sheamus using Miz’s unconscious body to force Mizdow into dancing. They need to just have Rusev squash the shit out of Sheamus and get that US title tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the comedy continues unabated, as Nikki is already torturing Brie. JBL notes that she shouldn’t have lost.
Big Show v. Rusev
Rusev goes for the knee and works on that for a bit, including an impressive suplex, but Show pulls on Rusev’s leg to escape. Rusev ducks the knockout punch, but Show comes back with shoulderblocks before Mark Henry wanders out to no doubt support his friend and America in general. I have literally no doubt in Henry’s patriotism or friendship. Show gets the chokeslam for two and Rusev bails, but Show throws him back in and superkicks Henry off the apron. And RUSEV CRUSH at 7:50. This was fine. **
Divas title: AJ Lee v. Paige
AJ kicks her down and Paige bails, so AJ goes after Alicia Fox who is now with Paige for some reason. Paige swings AJ into the railing to take over and the crowd is just dead silent. AJ with a tornado DDT as I’m really kind of bored and over this show and ready for it to be done with. To the floor and they try…something…on the railing, but Paige falls and hits her head. Back in, AJ quickly finishes with the Black Widow at 6:50. Can we finally end this feud now? *
Hell in a Cell: Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose, who would naturally do whatever Terry Funk suggests, starts on top of the Cell and entices Rollins to follow him up there. So instead, Seth sends Noble & Mercury up there and you just know that’s not going to end well. So yeah, Dean beats on them with the kendo stick and Rollins sneaks in for the ambush. The Stooges are unable to throw Ambrose off the Cell and Rollins runs away, but Dean follows him down and both guys go through the tables. EMTs try to haul them off on stretchers, but Ambrose is too crazy for that and tosses Rollins into the cage to finally start the match for real. You know it’s on because the Twitter hashtag finally appears! Luckily, Dean has a bag of torture implements and a ring full of chairs, and he uses those chairs for the purpose that the lord intended. Both for sitting and beating on people. He tries to lobotomize Seth with a screwdriver, but luckily he escapes and they fight to the floor, where Rollins goes into the cage again. Back in, Rollins comes back with a suplex onto a pile of chairs and tries a suplex onto a table outside, but that backfires and Ambrose drops an elbow on him and through the table. Kane pops in with a fire extinguisher to throw off Ambrose, however, and Rollins powerbombs him on the floor to take over again. Curb Stomp gets two, but Ambrose makes the crazy idiot comeback with a lariat and BRIEFCASE TO THE HEAD for two. And now it’s time for the cinderblocks, but just before Ambrose can finish the feud, the lights go out and someone’s speaking in tongues. Just like in the Mankind-UT match! Oh wait, no, because it’s stupid. So Bray Wyatt’s lantern magically teleports into the ring and casts a hologram, and Michael Cole notes “It’s Bray Wyatt!” Really? DO YOU THINK? Bray also manages to magically teleport into the ring, lays out Ambrose, and Rollins gets the cheap win at 13:56. Funny how they spend weeks burying WCW on their Monday Night Wars show for doing stupid shit like this and then they go and do the EXACT SAME STUPID SHIT. Like really, Ambrose survives falling off a cell and taking chairs to the head and stuff, and then gets pinned because midcarder Bray Wyatt gives him a magic slam? Fuck that noise. There goes the thumbs up for this show, as the ending out of left field totally ruined all the good will that the entertaining brawl had built up. Since WWE is all about comparing themselves to other, better, pop culture, this was like if you were watching a dramatic cop movie like Heat and just as the movie is building to the climactic fight between Deniro and Pacino, suddenly the smoke monster from Lost appears and magically knocks out Pacino so that Deniro can shoot him in the head and get away. ***
Nothing was really bad on the show, except for the finish of the show itself, but that was all-time terrible stuff. Thumbs in the middle.