So Shane O’Mac is leading the ship again, and he’s out to tell us that he’s very happy to be in control again, as nothing matters, and that WrestleMania match was just for funsies. He says he’s going to show us fresh new matches and exciting things, and one of those is Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles.
Kevin Owens comes out to tell us that Sami Zayn isn’t the one who deserves that opportunity, and how KO is the one getting screwed over by all this. He demands his rematch for the IC title tonight, because if anyone deserves anything, then KO deserves it. Shane says Kevin can earn his shot at it by defeating one guy – Cesaro! Apparently Cesaro’s been there since half two in the afternoon, running up and down the halls?
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens – IC Title #1 Contender Match
Cesaro once again comes out and strips for us, revealing a Cesaro Section shirt! I want that shirt, man.
- Waist grab from Cesaro to KO, taking him down easily into the ring
- Cesaro’s shoulder is still taped up with kinesio tape? Not nice to see
- Miz and Maryse watching backstage to see who’s going to take the win
- Lots of good mat wrestling from Cesaro here, beautiful to see
- “Headlock master” says KO
- Cesaro swap headlock holds over and over
- KO climbs out in anger, knocks JBL’s hat off the table, then brings it back to him and apologises for having a bad moment
- Chops from KO to Cesaro
- NICE uppercut from Cesaro
- KO targeting the bad shoulder, slamming him down to the mat with it
- KO takes Cesaro’s bad shoulder right into the ring post! Ow!
- Easy cover from Owens to Cesaro, kick out at one
- Arm submission on the bad shoulder over and over from KO to Cesaro
- CESARO chants!
- Running uppercut from Cesaro
- KO goes for an uppercut, but Cesaro dodges
- A second running uppercut, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, then a dropkick to take KO down, and a pin for two
- Schoolboy pin from Cesaro to Owens, kick out at one
- Cesaro’s shoulder jammed straight into the ring post again!
- During commercials, Cesaro flipped KO off the top rope, for a huge suplex
- Cesaro goes for the swing, but KO kicks him away, so Cesaro goes for the double stomp and gets a pin for two
- KEVIN OWENS! CESARO! Duelling chants
- Cesaro cross-body leap from the middle, but KO rolls through
- Cross-face from KO! Cesaro almost crawls to the ropes, but KO rolls it through to get him back in the middle
- Cesaro reverses it, pin for two, the Sharpshooter!
- Owens gets out, but Cesaro’s clealy struggling with his shoulder
- Superkick from Owens to stun Cesaro, then KO takes to the top rope and hits a frogsplash, slamming Cesaro down for two
- Pop-up powerbomb attempt, Cesaro leapfrogs it, uppercut takes Cesaro down
- Cesaro Swing! But cut short through bad shoulder
- Some lovely roll ups and NEUTRALIZER!
Cesaro gets the pin for three, and seems almost out of it, checking with the ref that the count was actually three – but now he’s got to face Miz with that bad shoulder for the Intercontinental Title!
We get a recap of the women’s title debacle, with Charlotte being ungrateful and Sasha and Becky starting the walk away. Nattie’s not taking any more of her shit, and this is our warm up for the women’s championship match tonight!
Charlotte is backstage talking to her lich king dad, and she’s so sad, because it’s all unfair that she has to defend her title eight days after Mania. Dr Phil tells Charlotte that she’s beautiful and strong, and this is how he talked to the clients he slept with in order to get struck off the register. Just saying. So, Dr Phil is going to tell us that Charlotte is being dragged down by her dad, and Charlotte is confused because she’s standing on her feet. What is this? Ric gets ready to fucking go, but Dr Phil woos at him, and Ric Flair looks confused.
KO is talking to Shane, and saying it’s not fair, because he’s screwed over all the time, and he’s furious. “With all due respect – because I have to say that” he says, and then says Shane has pretty little grey hair, and that whatever happens to Sami Zayn tonight will be on Shane’s head. Shane’s not like his sister, though, and won’t let anything bad happen to our precious gingerbread sunshine, so he tells KO to hit the showers. Yeah, you tell ‘em Shane!
The New Day are here! They’re weirdly wearing their Booty-O’s t-shirts with their red pants, and the colour stuff is a little dissonant. Big E’s thighs, though! They say they’re going to choose a challenger for their titles, and are going to have a tag team tournament to make it happen! Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably surprised that we have enough teams to fill out a tournament, but then, you didn’t think all those NXT teams had come up because the time was right, did you? You didn’t think Vince had accepted them as good enough, surely? Not even you can be that naïve.
The Lucha Dragons vs. The Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Tournament
Luchas out first, being adorable as per usual, and then we cut to commercial, because nothing says pacing like this interminable USA stream music. Apparently my stream cuts of the first part of this match, too, as I get in to Kalisto already on the floor.
- Sin Cara alone in the ring so the Dudley Boyz can take advantage, with the doctor looking at Kalisto
- Bubba’s continual heel banter is rather lovely, really, he’s so into it
- Springboard second rope cross-body from Sin Cara to D-Von
- Springboard moonsault, LUCHA chant
- Bubba gets the cover easily, and pins Sin Cara for three
An easy victory for the Dudleys, on their way to the next bracket for the tag team title! But their victory is short-lived, as out comes Enzo and Big Cass, and my stream stutters to a halt again. Good times, I love it.
The Dudleys say that the only reason Enzo and Cass exist is because the Dudleys paved the way for them. Enzo says, nah, it’s cos his mum and dad had sex, right?
Okay, stream back up. Security are escorting Kevin Owens out of the building, and Shane is just making sure he’s leaving.
Ah, I thought I heard the dulcet sounds of boos, Roman Reigns must be here, looking smug and wonderful as he surveys the crowd. His voice is sassy, his mouth is tight, he looks like he’s barely keeping down a grin at having to say this bad guy, good guy line AGAIN. Roman’s a wee bitty miffed that he appears to be facing Sami AND AJ now, but says it’s fine, they may have won some things somewhere, but not here!
Out come the depleted League of Nations, and they’re a little upset they weren’t invited into the #1 contendership, and apparently they’re men, not guys, and Rusev is better looking than Roman. Uh… Sheamus gets handsy on Rusev, because he hasn’t got his British bae to touch up anymore, and Del Rio doesn’t like it when he gets clingy. They’re letting Roman says ‘ass’ on TV now, too, so he must be going heel. Roman offers to let them all come in and take him down, and just as he turns to leap on them – the Wyatts are here!
Roman stands back and lets the Wyatts take the League out, and Roman’s sat there going ‘ho shit, my one weakness, swamp people!’ Nah, Roman, your one weakness is microphones. Or charisma. They look like they’re going to turn on Roman next, but out comes Shane, who says he’s into this. He wants to see Roman and Bray take on two of the League of Nations…. Great. Two men who can’t wrestle as a tag team. I guess at least one of them can speak.
We’re getting this lovely promo about how Puerto Rico is lovely and smells better than your home. I live in England, everything smells better than this, it smells like rain, moss, and foxes mating.
Dr Phil is here, trying to high five the audience, and it was nice to see one guy completely shy back like it was the last thing he wanted.
Charlotte vs. Natalya – Women’s Championship Match
Dr Phil on commentary, because this isn’t a real title match, and lich king Flair is here, and I’m just pissed off by all of this. Charlotte even came out in the WrestleMania robe and everything, and I’m just… ugh.
- Charlotte’s new sparkly top is nice, but it’s a bit plunging, looks like she needs some more support
- First ‘woo’ in early
- Mat wrestling, gorgeous work from both women and I just wish I couldn’t hear Ric shouting to Charlotte in the background
- Spinebuster from Charlotte, and a good forearms
- Armbar on from Natalya, Charlotte’s dad helps her get a foot on the rope, and Charlotte nopes out of the ring for a bit, to talk to daddy
- Natalya grabs Charlotte’s foot and swings her into the mat face first
- Charlotte once more heads out to her dad, backing off, scared
- The ref, for some reason, stops Nattie getting to Charlotte when she’s climbing into the ring? By holding her back physically? What?
- Knee drop and a knee to the face from Charlotte, taking down Natalya
- Back in from commercials to see Charlotte holding Natalya’s head between her thighs and slamming her face into the mat over and over
- Elbow blocked by Charlotte, trying to lock in for the Figure Eight
- Charlotte puts Nattie in the Sharpshooter!
- Bare-knuckle fist-fighting breaks out, and then a lovely suplex from Nattie!
- Nattie goes for the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte gets out, kicks Nattie in the face, and gets a cover to two and a half
- Why is Dr Phil here? He serves no purpose but to de-legitimise a division that literally just got legitimised eight fucking days ago
- Charlotte does a lovely moonsault, but it misses!
- Natalya goes in for the Sharpshooter!
- Ric can’t pull Charlotte out of the Sharpshooter, so he pulls the ref out instead, so Charlotte loses the match, but keeps the title
Dr Phil is upset that Charlotte is cheating, but it’s not like she did anything, it’s all on ole Ric. Dr Phil says something about how he’s proud of the women, and I take my hands off the keyboard to flip him off with both of them. He also says the women will ‘submit’ their place in history, and now those two hands are clenched fists and I hope Sasha punches him in the mouth.
We get a recap AGAIN on Kevin Owens attack Sami Zayn, and now it’s time for Renee to interview Sami Zayn! Sami says he’s used to being the underdog, and a triple threat match at Payback is just what he needs, that he has heart and soul, and Kevin Owens can’t understand that. AJ Styles arrives and says the same thing, that the two of them have fought side by side over the years – but he’s the #1 contender, and he’ll be the one in the match for Payback!
The Usos vs. Social Outcasts – Tag Team Tournament
So it’s Jimmy and Jey against Curtis Axel and Heath Slater, mama Adam and baby Bo on the outside.
- Heath takes Jey to their corner and pins him down, all four of the Outcasts getting in on the action
- Brutal elbow drops from Curtis Axel to Jey
- Lovely dropkick by Axel!
- Heath tagged in for a sliding dropkick, pinning Jey for one
- Adam Rose’s furry blue coat is lovely
- Slater drops Jey in the middle of the ring, and the Social Outcasts go for an awesome victory lap!
- Tag gets made to Jimmy while their backs are turned, and the win belongs to the Usos.
Anderson and Gallows show up and take out Jimmy and Jey, slamming them into the ground, it’s the FREAKING BULLET CLUB. They head back through the crowd and out of the match, but they’ve got what they needed out of this.
Maryse is showing the stagehands how to do their jobs properly, as Miz sits back with cucumber over his face. She’s upset about blue m&ms, and domestic water (is he a FARMER?), and then Jojo shows up and Maryse says she’s tired of Miz groupies – he’s taken, honey! The Miz growls about being Cesaro’s kryptonite, and hey, who knew all you had to do was put his attractive wife next to him to make me want to sleep with The Miz? Cesaro comes in with a suit and an earpiece, and makes some terrible puns for us to enjoy about miz-erable performances and red carpet uppercuts. It’s glorious, I love it, I’ve never been so happy to see the Miz in my life.
AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn – #1 Contender Match
Sami bounces down to the ring past a guy who seems to have modelled himself on Sami, beard and all, and I’m quite excited for this match!
- Chain wrestling! God, I like this
- Sami seems to have taken an early hit to the face, and seems to be bleeding
- Lots of attention to the wrists and the hands from Sami, working AJ’s joints
- OLE chants!
- Some gorgeous leaps and near misses, you can tell these guys have both huge indie experience and you can see the Japanese influence, too
- Huge chops from Sami to AJ in the corner
- Lock up, grappling, a huge amount of test of strength stuff
- Huge dropkick from AJ to Sami’s face – that looked PRETTY stiff!
- Snap suplex from Styles, Sami kicks out at one
- AJ focuses on Sami’s mouth, on the injured face from the start, exacerbated by the kick
- Elbow to Sami’s face as he’s coming off the ropes
- AJ drops off the apron and puts a knee to Sami’s face, knocking him to the floor
- Fast move from Sami sends Styles over the top rope after a couple of rough moves
- Gorgeous flip over the top rope onto Styles, but Sami’s clearly feeling it, curled up in pain by the barricades
- Headlock from Styles to Zayn, in the middle of the ring, but he rises out of it
- Flying clotheslines!
- Styles seems to be making a lot of the offensive moves here, taking advantage of Sami’s stunned tate
- Styles Clash – Sami reverses is and rolls him up for two and a half!
- Sami on the top rope, cross-body, pin for two until AJ kicks out
- DDT from Sami to Styles, another near fall for two and a half!
- Pelé kick from Styles, Sami down on the floor, both men seeming stunned but AJ getting up first
- Phenomenal Forearm, Zayn dodges
- Blue Thunder Bomb! Pin for two, but AJ kicks out
- THIS IS AWESOME
- Calf Crusher, Sami in the middle of the ring, trying to crawl towards the ropes
- He breaks it!
- AJ up to the top rope, Sami goes up there too, Styles powers over him, and spins both on them to the mat
- Sami runs to the corner, looking for a Helluva, Kick, but Styles dodges
- Phenomenal Forearm
AJ takes the win – what a hell of a match, god, that was beuaitful to watch. Nothing better than watching two athletes at the top of their game competing at the highest level – that’s exactly what a match for the title should be, and now I’m worried AJ vs. Roman is going to disappoint in comparison.
After the match, AJ is consoling a tearful-looking Sami, and telling him he’ll get another shot, and they have a heartfelt hug as Shane O’Mac tells them what a good show they put on for us. God, I love face vs. face matches.
Chris Jericho is here for a Highlight Reel! Let’s hoping we catch sight of the elusive Dean Ambrose, who has so far been pretty absent from the proceedings. Maybe all those suplexes mean he gets Mondays off for a while.
Seth Green is in the audience, looking awkward about it, and like Max Landis promised him that they wouldn’t do this, but they did it anyway. Poor Seth Green.
Jericho is at minimal sparkle for tonight, with his fancy scarf on and missing his shirt, as per usual. He’s got a new potted plant on the stool, and tells us all to shut our damn mouths or he’s turning this car around right now. He says this is the best highlight reel ever… because he’s going to be interviewing himself!
He says he’s synonymous with excellence, and that he’s going to give us the gift of Jericho, and we have to drink it in. I think that’s frowned upon in most circles, Chris. He’s reminding us of the terrible writing we used to have, where we let Jericho beat Austin and The Rock in one night, and that we let him go over AJ, too.
DEAN’S HERE! And he’s brought another potted plant, because Jericho obviously killed the other one he brought him, and… a sign? Chris calls him an idiot, and Dean says it’s his show now, and that he’s got the memo from Shane to prove it. It’s a California speeding ticket. Nope, he needs that, so he hands the memo to Chris and tacks up an ‘Ambrose Asylum’ sign, replacing Jericho’s potted plant with his own.
Dean puts a tie on and asks if it’s straight, and then says he’s a little nervous about this, because he’s never hosted a show before and he’s a little nervous – so we introduce his first guest, Chris Jericho. Dean says the world wants to know what’s up with Jericho’s scarf, and he says it cost $750, and that Dean just wants to interrupt in turn for the walking in before Dean had left on SmackDown. Jericho tells Dean to look at him when he’s talking – BOY – and says he should make the first good decision he’s ever made in his career, and should leave. Dean’s just upset we’re not going to find out about the scarf.
DIRTY DEEDS to Jericho, the potted plant knocked of the stool, and Dean’s clip-on tie picked up from where it had fallen off onto the floor. Oh, Dean, we’ve missed your clever words.
Golden Truth segment. Goldie’s pissed about the tag team tournament, and R-Truth says that’s the audition. Dr Phil is here, but waves his hand at Goldie, clearly considering it too much effort to get involved in that.
Apollo Crews vs. Adam Rose
- Adam’s a little cross Crews hit him in the mouth
- Crews is finding taking apart the Social Outcasts a little too painfully easy
- Rose slams Crews face first into the turnbuckle
- Baby Bo on the outside supporting Mama Rose as Adam keeps Apollo in a headlock
- Crews powers out, fearsome fisticuffs from both men
- Pin for two from Adam, but Crews kicks out
- Both men try to suplex, Crews powers Rose over in a vertical delayed suplex
- High elbow and then a kip up from Crews – he just looks way too strong for this match
- Enzuigiri, Crews lifting Rose entirely and taking him down into a sit-out powerbomb
- Crews for the win!
Crews just looks too strong for this right now, like they’re feeding him easy meat and they should be making the work harder for him.
More incitement to enjoy Puerto Rico, apparently. Makes me wish I was booking a holiday at the moment, but let’s face it… I do this for a semi-living. I can’t afford to go on holiday.
Baron Corbin promo, and we get to watch him take people apart, including Ziggler, slapping him around and how the end of days are coming.
Speaking of, Bray Wyatt’s here to talk cryptic bullshit out of the darkness at us, because Luke Harper’s not here, and he’s the only one who knows how to turn the light on.
Bray Wyatt & Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio
Bray ambles down to the ring with his child’s lantern and spins around like a kid at a party. I’m not convinced about this, and then what, Roman’s going to skip down with flowers in his beard? (The artist and the wrestling virgin I’m watching this with both say “Please?” to this idea. Get on it, creative.)
- Ahh, the boos for Roman
- Roman and Bray square up – uh, guys, you’re on the same side?
- Out come the League, and Sheamus is looking VERY evil at the moment
- Bella sign. Aww, it’s cute that you have hope
- Bray settles himself in the corner, to start the match, and Roman reluctantly steps out of the ring
- Bray against Sheamus, he does his lovely exorcist back walk and Sheamus looks very weirded out
- Roman tagged in to thunderous boos as they both go crazy slamming into Sheamus
- Bray steps out as Roman throws clotheslines to Sheamus, then Bray tags himself back in, Roman not happy with that
- Bray vs. Sheamus again, but Del Rio going up high, tagged in
- Irish Curse Backbreaker, Del Rio flies into Bray
- Del Rio takes Roman off the apron too before heading back to Bray and climbing the ropes to smash him in the face from the second rope
- Sheamus tagged back in, headlock to Bray
- Roman stalks the outside of the ring like a starving animal, before leaning in and waiting for Bray to make a tag
- Roman tagged in, against Sheamus, huge punches from Roman into Sheamus
- Big boot to the face from reigns, taking Del Rio off the apron
- Superman Punch prep, but Sheamus rolls out, Roman going to him, but having to deal with Del Rio too, Sheamus slamming his head into the ring post
- And another ring post to the head, why not?
- Roman dropped out of the ring, face slamming into the apron
- Sheamus leaning Roman over the ropes, but he fights back out
- Ref embroiled with Sheamus, Del Rio gets a kick to Roman’s side, leaving him slumped limply on the ropes
- Running enzuigiri to Roman’s face from Del Rio, sliding him back onto the floor
- Del Rio goes for the double stomp, Roman fight out, but he’s clearly fighting a losing battle
- Sheamus with huge knee drops to Roman, keeping him far enough away from Bray that he can’t make a tag
- Running high knee from Sheamus
- Samoan Drop from Roman, but the left knee is bothering him as he tries to get to Bray
- Roman leaps, Del Rio and Bray both tagged in
- I take it back, Bray Wyatt can wrestle, and some of these moves are impressive
- Del Rio taking down Bray, him left crumpled in the middle of the ring, and out comes Rowan and Strowman, taking out Rusev
- Del Rio back in the ring, Sister Abigail from Bray, pin for the win
- Spear from Roman to Sheamus
The most bizarre tag team wins, and the two men size each other up, Bray looking like he wants a hug. Bray crouches between his two bigger men, and then Bray steps close and mutters to Roman – and Raw fades out on the two of them, face to face, eye to eye.