Well, tonight we watch Dean Ambrose die for our sins. As my wife, who names all wrestlers after foodstuffs says, “Tonight, mashed potato is gonna get creamed.” Art, as always, by our own Sora.
We’ve been told this is two and a half hours, and then we were told it would be three hours like a standard PPV, but I guess we’ll see how it goes. Three titles (at least!) on the line tonight, so it’ll either shake things up, or everything will stay as it was. We’ll see how I feel at the end of the night.
We open with The New Day welcoming us to Toronto with the power of positivity. My network pauses, which absolutely stops me being positive, but there you go. They reveal a box of Booty-O’s cereal, and Daddy Xavier addresses child Big E. They take pops at Del Rio, Barrett and Sheamus, but apparently they couldn’t think of anything for Rusev.
Sheamus and Barrett come out – “The Lads” as we’re selling them now, even if Barrett doesn’t drink anymore, and just hangs out with Sheamus in bars for the craic.
The New Day vs. The Lads – Tag Team Titles Match
Once more, I’ll keep saying this, seeing how happy Barrett is in the ring is lovely, and we have to assume this is The New Day going into a face turn, I guess, because I don’t think the League are going to manage one. Besides, Heel Barrett is a hell of a thing to watch.
- My wife is watching wrestling with me for the first time ever, and is absolutely baffled by The New Day, making all the appropriate noises when things get ugly.
- There’s a lovely Winds of Change from Barrett to Kofi, which is a beautiful spot.
- Sheamus looks like he’s going to go off the top rope, mocking the crowd, and goes straight into a dropkick from Kofi, which is beautiful, as Xavier Woods plays Francesca 2 to help rally his fallen unicorn brother.
- There was a big thing about how The New Day wouldn’t have the numbers advantage this time, suggesting Del Rio and/or Rusev would be here, but they aren’t….so they still have an advantage
- Sheamus gets a Cloverleaf on Kofi, who looks for a second like he’s going to tap, and Barrett takes Big E off the apron, eating a ring post for his troubles – Kofi rolls it into a cover, and then an SOS to make the tag
- To no one’s surprise, Big E gets the Big Ending for the win, and The New Day continue their reign as tag team champions, and my wife says ‘because they’re adorable?’ Sure. Let’s go with that.
Backstage, Paul Heyman is talking about Brock Lesnar, and how he’s going to ruin Bray Wyatt, because, well…. Brock is a force of nature. I think we might be in Toronto, guys, as Heyman talks to a sweaty child who looks like Tom Phillips’ older brother, who bullies him and calls him a nerd.
My wife’s opinion on the Chris Jericho/AJ Styles thing is ‘this is ridiculous, who is this old man?’ Now, I was told/suggested that there would be a Highlight Reel tonight, but apparently, this is a match. Jericho’s sparkly jacket gives him an ability to conjure opponents out of thin air.
Everyone chants for Y2J now, and he tells them they can shut their filthy mouths, because they all chanted for AJ, and he was SAD about that. The crowd rallies with an AJ Styles chant, and Jericho mocks Canada. Dude, you’re Canadian. He says he’s the greatest icon in Canadian history, and responds to ‘We want Bret’ with ‘well, you’re never getting him again.’ Holy shit. God, Hell Jericho is brilliant, revelling is the ‘asshole’ chants, that make my wife cackle from the floor where she and our rabbit, Bun Cena, are having a cuddle.
And out comes Jack Swagger.
Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger
Well, I didn’t expect this, and this wasn’t on the match card, plus I’m a little worried that we only had four matches on the card, and even though this makes five, we’re getting two matches within the first 45mins? Will we run out of matches before our time is up, and the last half an hour will just be Dean Ambrose letting the air out of Triple H’s tires and burning one of those ‘I got hammered by Triple H’ shirts?
- So this is The Reluctant Canadian vs. The Real American, huh?
- Jericho’s trash talk is brilliant, continual, and beautiful as he tries to wear down Swagger
- CM Punk chants
- Jericho’s plums are thrown into a turnbuckle and the face he makes is ridiculously amusing
- My wife looks up at me and says ‘this match is sending me to sleep, honestly’ and she’s absolutely not wrong
- Swagger gets the first near fall, and Jericho looks actually surprised, even though he’d just been talking about how Swagger beat him for the heavyweight title
- Swagger counters a Codebreaker with aplomb, that’s not too bad, and we’re reminded that Swagger is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
- Patriot Lock in, Jericho grabs the referee’s pants leg, and gets himself to the ropes
Chris Jericho gets the Walls locked in, and Swagger taps out, handing the win over to Jericho, and JBL chants ‘YOU STILL GOT IT’ like he’s cheering on a middle-aged man who’s managed to coax an orgasm out of his usually implacable wife. It almost felt like an actual match worth winning, but really wasn’t. Solid wrestling, but not exciting. Shame AJ was busy in New Jersey.
We get a lovely little promo for the NXT tag team match, helping everyone who doesn’t know what’s happening to get involved and interested
The Revival vs. Enzo and Big Cass – NXT Tag Team Titles Match
CARMELLA IS ON MY SCREEN! God, I’m so excited for this match, I’m really happy to see Enzo and Big Cass here, and the audience are totally behind it, too, which is SO nice to see. Oh my god, seeing a crowd genuinely happy to be involved, chanting along – this is why NXT talent need to come up to WWE while they’re still beloved like this, because this is the most excited I’ve seen crowds for ages. The Revival are out, and again, the crowd are on their feet, loving every second, and it is a breath of fresh air. This is what Vince doesn’t see, doesn’t give us, and it’s heart breaking that people like Tyler Breeze, coming up to the main roster, don’t get the shot their work deserves.
- This breaks down into a brawl almost straight away, beautiful hurricanrana from Enzo
- ‘How you doin’ chants from the audience makes me so happy to hear
- Cass throwing other people at his opponents is a wonderful thing, and I love it
- Enzo and Big Cass get Dash and Dawson out of the ring, and Cass flings Enzo into them in a beautiful spot
- Audience chanting ‘this is awesome’ and they’re totally right
- Two lovely roll ups from Enzo, one to each member of The Revival, and then they take control from him
- I wonder what the camera instructions are for these guys, because in any other match with a woman on the side, we’d be watching her face close up sometimes, but instead, we just hear and see Carmella from the distance, which is actually pretty cool, lets us focus on the match and gives us the emotional background too
- Big Cass is a fucking beast in the ring, but Dash gets Cass down for two in a roll up, nearly securing the titles staying
- East River Crossing from Cass, and trying to launch Enzo onto Dash, but Dawson interferes from the outside
- Dawson holding Carmella in front of him as protection form Big Cass and instead he just gets hit by her, which is perfect
- Near fall with Enzo rolling up Dawson that literally makes me hold my breath, and has the whole crowd chanting ‘this is awesome’
As expected, but somewhat sad to see, The Revival retain, Enzo in the middle of the ring, breathing heavily. Hopefully this means that we’ll see Team Sawft debut in the WWE as soon as possible. I’m super happy to have seen that match on this show – and hang on, three matches in the first hour? And two of those were advertised ones? We’re absolutely running out of matches tonight, calling it.
Charlotte vs. Natalya – Diva’s Championship Match
Apparently this big child doing this interview with the ridiculous hair is Greg Hamilton? I don’t know where his parents are, but Natalya is dedicating this match to Bret Hart. Charlotte shows up and says no way Nattie can get a chance at the title. Nattie calls Charlotte and her dad cowards, and Charlotte says she’s never going to win a title again. Well, I’m glad they got some background into this match, and Charlotte actually told her dad to shut up so she could talk for once.
- Charlotte does a weird leg-scissors spot so it looks like she’s giving Natalya a lap dance, and I wonder once more why we’ve never seen Seth Rollins do that to Dean Ambrose. Just in the interest of fairness and a lack of sexism, obviously
- Chain submission moves, I guess, because apparently that’s all women can do
- “There can only be one champion” that’s because we only have one belt, as opposed to the men who get the tag titles, the IC title AND the Heavyweight title. Just saying, we need more options for the women
- Surfboard from Nattie! I love seeing that, it’s a gorgeous move that requires so much strength from both parties
- Charlotte keeps doing that thing where she slams people around between her thighs
- ‘he goes everywhere with Charlotte’ from commentary and what I hear is ‘even the bathroom’ ‘when Charlotte hooks up, Ric Flair stares from the corner’ Also? Creepy.
- JBL drops so many names it’s like he’s trying to reorganise his address book while calling the match
- A lot of time spent lying around outside the ring, but there’s some real story and animosity coming through with the action, which I love
- Sharpshooter from Nattie, Charlotte kicks her in the fact to break it, and rolls Nattie up for a near fall
- Figure Eight from Charlotte, but Nattie manages to lift herself high enough that Charlotte can’t get her foot on the floor for the bridge
- Both women just break into screaming at each other in a leg lock, and Charlotte pulls herself over the apron, leaving Nattie dangling in pain
- Natural Selection (really, they’re still going with the genetically superior thing and they keep this, I’m really not sure we want a Eugenics Champion) from Charlotte, nearly takes Nattie down, but she kicks out
- Charlotte goes up high but Nattie counters into a sit out powerbomb, getting a near fall
- Both women are slumped in the ring, shaking with exhaustion
- ‘this is awesome’ chant! For a match without Sasha in it!
- Nattie gets the Sharpshooter locked in, and Ric grabs Charlotte’s hands
- A SEVENTEEN MINUTE DIVA’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH AND THAT WAS INCREDIBLY GOOD TOO!
Nattie turns to face Ric and have a fight with him, but Charlotte rolls her up as she’s distracted to get the win. Obviously she does, there’s no way that Charlotte could have lost the title before Mania, that would have changed the whole…. Oh. So just like tonight’s main event then. Damn.
So far, all champions have retained, too, which kinda makes for a boring event. I guess as it’s not technically a PPV, we’re not supposed to be angry about it, but I’m still pretty cross if it’s all retaining. Though the last two matches weren’t boring at all, and I guess neither was the first match… hang on, are they selling us a really good show without changing anything? Are WWE actually doing something WELL?
Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Bray Wyatt comes out to tell us that Brock Lesnar is every bit the monster we think, and list how many people he’s beaten, how he’s broke The Undertaker, selling the hell out of how strong Brock is, and how big and scary he is. Welp, if I wasn’t scared Dean was going to die tonight against Triple H, I’d now be worrying about him dying to Brock-related injuries from WrestleMania.
- Apparently this is a 2 on 1 handicap match and I didn’t know and also wasn’t paying attention?
- Luke Harper vs. Brock Lesnar is actually pretty freaking COOL
- Spinning discus clothesline from Harper actually seems to stun the monster
- Bray Wyatt just wanders away from the ring as much as possible, keeping out of the way
- Suplex Count: 7 and an F5
- That was a really short match, and also pretty dull
Disappointingly over very fast, though I guess is makes sense for Brock Lesnar to face the good wrestler out of the bunch. I’m a little upset that we were advertised one match and got another, although I guess it’s a match we decided we didn’t want at WrestleMania anyway, so maybe they decided it was a throwaway match. So far, two disappointing matches out of five, you can’t really argue with that.
Sami Zayn vs. Stardust
Ahhhh! The Cody chants start before he can even get down the ramp and I didn’t know I wanted this match, but I really, really do. Oh my god, it’s so nice to see Stardust back, and we’re only an hour and a half into the three hours and we’re hitting SO MANY MATCHES. This is so COOL! Also, Sami’s theme makes me dance like a toddler at a wedding reception.
- Red Sami vs Purple Stardust tonight!
- Stardust hisses beautifully as the crowd chant for Cody, and still manages to wrestle – to hold a gimmick AND wrestle nicely is a skill not many people have
- Cartwheel from Stardust in the middle of the ring
- Mostly a slugfest, really, there’s no spots I’m exactly excited about as yet, so now I’m worried WWE think we like these two enough that they don’t need to actually have a good match
- Sami gets called ‘the epitome of passion’ – I didn’t know Mauro was on commentary tonight, surely he’s the only one who knows big words like that? Byron also says ‘egregious’ so I think he feels threatened by Mauro and is learning big words. He’s currently on the ‘e’ section of his thesaurus
- ‘this is awkward’ chant as our very own Kenji works out that the theme of this match is ‘people who deny their previous gimmicks’, because she’s a clever one
- Top rope spot that sends Stardust flying to the floor, but he climbs back up and there’s a superplex from the top rope that looks really sore
- Stardust hitting Sami with one glove like he’s asking for a duel for a fair maiden’s hand. Is the fair maiden Kevin Owens?
- So many near falls and this just isn’t exciting at all
Kick from Sami into the cover, and they’re obviously building him up to look strong, but that was such a nothing of a match, even if it was long. I guess with a Diva’s match so good we had to give everyone time to hit the bathrooms before the main event starts. No one wants to be missing that.
Our main event is NOW? But I thought this thing had been elongated out into three hours, not two and a half? Are Triple H and Dean going to fight for AN HOUR?
Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Triple H looks good, man, just trunks and the belt, and he looks terrifying, nothing like a man who was only told he’d have to fight in main events in December. He also looks like a dad, and like he’s going to spend the next twenty minutes flexing his oiled pecs in the ring. Dean is apparently backstage, ambling in and we note the black tank top, the ones that rip off easily. Thank you, Dean, you truly do a service for us all.
- Divided chants ‘let’s go Ambrose’ vs. ‘Triple H’
- Violent from the start, Triple H taking it to Dean, face a mocking half-smirk as he gets the first pin, and takes a moment to stare out at his audience, his crowd
- My heart is beating like a drum for this, god
- Dean looks like he’s struggling a little, before getting a hip toss and am armbar to take some control
- Dean drapes himself over the ropes in the corner like he couldn’t care less and it’s BRILLIANT to see his irreverence, all the while you know that doesn’t stop him taking it seriously
- Audience chants for CM Punk, because they’re not watching the match properly – or because that’s the last time anyone made a good stab at authority
- Dean gets Triple H’s nose! Well, it’s a big enough target, I guess, into an arm bar and more pulling on the nose
- Dean gets Triple H out of the ring and onto the mats, Dean coming back with the Lunatic Lariat on the outside
- Left leg of Triple H being targeted, to the point that he’s limping a little on the outside
- Triple H goes for the Pedigree, revered into a roll up that Triple H kicks out of and kicks Dean into the steps
- Dean thrown over the barricade and slamming his ribs into it, then when he’s back in, hung throat-first over the ropes
- Submission moves from Triple H, Dean refusing to give up, so Triple H goes for three elbow drops in a row
- Dean rallies with some jabs, but eats a spinebuster and there’s a cover from Triple H for two
- Top rope work, headbutts and jabs to the kidney from Dean, and then a flying elbow for both men down on the mat on their backs
- Ambrose gains a near fall, two and a half, looking like he might take the title
- Lovely pin where Dean’s literally rubbing his butt on Triple H’s face… I wonder if anyone knows wrestling is super gay
- Pedigree rolled up into a cover, kicked out
- Clothesline from Triple H sending both men down to the mat, but up, and Dean throws Triple H over the ropes, moves to capitalise on it and is hot as he’s trying to come over the ropes
- Announce table being pulled apart by Triple H
- Dean locks in a Figure Four on the middle of the ring on that leg he’s been working on throughout the match and everyone is baffled that Dean had a plan at some point during this match – but Triple H fights out
- Sharpshooter from Dean! I don’t even care if this is a whole pandering to Canada, Hart things, I don’t care, just let him WIN
- Triple H crawls free, left groaning on the apron, dripping sweat
- DIRTY DEEDS FOR THE WIN!
- Feet under the bottom rope, no, no. The high-pitched noises I made when I thought he’d won just WOKE MY WIFE, come on, Dean’s had the title taken away on a technicality before, don’t do this again
- On the outside, throwing Triple H into the barricades
- ‘This is awesome’ chant – it is, but I’m slightly worried I might have a heart attack at this point
- DX chops on the floor from Dean Ambrose, and that’s a glorious thing
- Dean gets Triple H on the announce table and pummels him over and over, as the count reaches six, so Dean rolls back in to break the count, then leaps from the barricade to a flying elbow on the announce table that misses
- ‘holy shit’ chants, and yeah, that’s more like it, oh my god this match is bad for my health
- Referee counting as Dean lies on the table, and Dean makes it back in at nine
- Right into a pedigree
Triple H wins, because of course he does, we knew he would, and he crawls away, cuddling his title. Sure, it’s a really good way to get heel heat on Triple H, to make us hate him before he faces Roman Reigns, the most booed babyface in the business, so maybe then we’ll cheer Roman when he wins at WrestleMania?
The problem I have with this is it makes it look like the new crop of talent can’t compare to what came before. Now, I know Max Landis has made a good few jokes about how Triple H can’t let go of the title, but that’s what it looks like. Like he’s just reluctant to drop it, and the only way anyone can make him, is Vince’s boot on his neck saying ‘Roman Reigns is my guy, and you WILL lose to him’. But I’ll save this for our retrospective tomorrow.
For now, goodnight guys. A hell of a roadblock, but as with most roadblocks, when the carnage is cleared away? Everything is exactly the way it was before. Roll on to WrestleMania.