Well, we start off our kick-off show with the knowledge that the scintillating Mauro Ranallo is here, a commentator we all adore, because he actually does his job for us. Renee Young welcomes us to the terrifying table of twats. Corey Graves is sad he wasn’t at some sports thing for his kid because he had to be at work, and his face twitches like he’s not happy about it. Booker T talks to his mother-in-law, and Jerry Lawler wishes he’d disowned his children when they were born. Don’t worry, Lawler, they wish the same thing.
Greg Hamilton is in the social media lounge, because Tom Phillips is grounded tonight, and later he’ll be talking to Sami Zayn. Corey Graves says he misses Tom. Alright.
Aw shit, Corey Graves points out that the fact that we’re still having the discussion about Shane and Steph running Raw is ridiculous. Shhh, Corey, no, they’ll take you off the panel if you make sense! Lawler says Shane’s occupation has been a waiter, waiting for Vince to die, and Renee’s reaction is very nearly a swearword live on air. Whoops. Lawler says Vince is immortal, and I’m really glad that we know only nonsense ever comes out of Lawler’s mouth, because I dread the idea of that being true.
Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose video package. Yawn.
Renee Young looks like the young, hot nurse at a home for two confused, elderly men as she picks Jericho for the winner over her boyfriend, because she’s got a Jericho-style ponytail, like he had back in the day. That’s pretty cute, to be honest. I like that, and it’s a nice way to get a usually face or neutral character to side, y’know, other than with her established significant other.
Roman Reigns and AJ Styles video package. Again.
Jerry Lawler says it’s fun to boo Roman Reigns, and that sometimes he just does it at home, with no one else there. Good god, Lawler, I do not want to hear about your masturbation habits. On the plus side, maybe the panel acknowledging that everyone likes to boo Roman means he might be turning heel. The heel commentators are rooting for him. Please can he be turning heel? Please? We’ve been good, Vince, we paid for the network and everything. I’m sitting here watching this at half past midnight while my wife tries to sleep because apparently wrestling is more important than my well-being. Can we please just have heel Roman Reigns?
Talking about the tag team championships, Corey Graves has been all about his word a day calender recently, pulling out ‘nefarious’ and ‘dastardly’.
Baron Corbin Vs. Dolph Ziggler
Byron Saxton is looking at Mauro Ranallo like he wants to make love to him just for being so good at his job, and frankly, I feel you, Byron. We all want that. He’s so good at what he does. Baron Corbin gets a pretty good pop for his entrance, but nothing compared to the cheers, and the screams of the women for Dolph Ziggler, who’s looking even more like an 80s throwback than usual.
- I miss Dolph being blonde, brunette doesn’t suit him
- Aww, tiny Ziggler, I guess this feeds into Corbin hating tiny guys
- Corbin flings Ziggler into the turnbuckle and I actually flinch back and hiss ‘shit’ under my breath because Dolph could sell pants to Seth Rollins
- Early cover from Corbin for two
- Dolph on the ground, holding that shoulder tha hit the turnbuckle
- Huge right hand from Corbin, then a boot to the neck, holding Ziggler down as he relishes in the boos of the crowd
- Ziggler rallies, tries to come off the ropes, but he’s caught!
- Corbin drops Ziggler onto the top rope throat first, and I’m beginning to see the actual werewolf stuff here, because he’s really into Dolph’s neck
- Corbin is just dragging Ziggler around, telling him to stay down
- Corbin stretches Ziggler’s throat up in the corner, and dodges a punch, getting in a few of his own before Corbin sends him breastbone first into the turnbuckles again
- Half-nelson chinlock from Corbin to Ziggler, Ziggler trying to elbow out, before a twist and a headbutt gets him free
- Sleeper hold from Ziggler, bringing the taller Corbin to his knees, centre of the ring, holding him steady
- Corbin throws Dolph free, goes for the superkick, gets caught, manages to take Corbin down for a Famouser and gets the pin for a two count
- Corbin takes himself out of the ring, Ziggler follows him and eats a boot to the face, sending Ziggler down flat
- Corbin preps for the pop up powerbomb, but decides instead to throw Dolph over his own shoulders and into the ring post, viciously
- Corbin poses for the crowd, leaving Dolph in the centre of the ring, slumped, before climbing back in and putting his boot on the back of Ziggler’s neck again
- Ziggler comes from nowhere and gets a very quick roll-up pin, and manages to get the three count! Dolph wins!
Okay, I wasn’t expecting that, I was really expecting Corbin to take the win, putting the new talent over Dolph, and while the whole match was pretty much set up for that to be the case, it feels very strange for Dolph to get the win out of basically nowhere, having been flattened the whole time. Seems a weird choice to make, but I guess that’s the kick-off show for you.
Sami Zayn is in the social media lounge! He says Bret Hart was a huge inspiration for him growing up, the little guy who never gave up. Sami giggles at someone’s username on twitter, but sobers as he says that he doesn’t know if he could ever trust Kevin Owens again, but he says he’d never say never, because they’ve been friends for so long. Sami says he doesn’t regret anything he did with Kevin, and that he’s doing exactly what he always dreamed he would, but that he wishes that they were getting along better. Oh, precious gingerbread sunshine. So trusting of your big MurderBear bestie.
Pre-Show: Kalisto Vs. Ryback – United States Championship Match
Kalisto’s back in white, with yellow this time, proving to us that he’s the good guy, as Eden Styles stands in the background also in white and gold, a little upset that Kalisto stole her outfit theme. Ryback is in trunks… with a belt? What, he felt too upset that no one gave him the US title, so he kept his weight belt on? Really? He does get the heel response we’re expecting through, so that’s nice, good to know some of WWE storytelling actually made it through.
- Big right hand from Ryback to start with, off a fake handshake move
- Headlock to Kalisto, but he fights out
- Ryback’s off the ropes, leapfrog from Kalisto, followed by a monkey flip
- Ryback out of the ring, and then a plancha from Kalisto over the ropes to take him down
- Ryback regroups, and flings Kalisto around a little
- Kalisto for the tornado DDT, Ryback reverses into a vertical suplex
- Ryback gets a pin for two
- We go to COMMERCIAL??
- Ryback pins Kalisto again for two while we’re watching replays
- Kalisto a crumpled form on the mat until Ryback picks him up and sends him shoulder first into the ring post, then again, trying to damage Kalisto’s joints
- Kalisto goes for the hurricanrana off the ropes, Ryback catches him, but Kalisto turns it into a tornado DDT
- Ryback attempts to suplex Kalisto off the apron, reverses it for an enzuigiri
- Tornado DDT from Kalisto on the apron
- Springboard cross-body from Kalisto for a pin for one
- Corkscrew cross-body and a pin for two from Kalisto
- Gorgeous backflip for Kalisto to avoid Ryback, dragonrana and a pin for two and a half, so close
- Spinebuster from Ryback, off a countered Salida Del Sol, pin for two on Kalisto
- Ryback going to the top rope, high kick from Kalisto as Ryback sits on the top rope
- Enzuigiri from Kalisto to Ryback before he climbs to the top rope, but Ryback gets him on his shoulders
- Military press slam from the top rope from Ryback, followed by a big splash that misses, before Kalisto hits Salida Del Sol! Kalisto retains!
Well, that’s pretty much what we expected, I guess – does that mean one of the other titles is going to be the one to change hands? Because we can’t have a PPV where no title change hands, can we? Surely not. That would be dull and awful. Please can we not have that?
Onto the real show now, and ohh my god, The New Day are out in their red tracksuits, and reference Beyoncé’s Lemonade fabulously, with Xavier Woods suggesting himself as the way for Beyoncé to take revenge on her man’s cheating. Apparently it all goes down in the DM town. God, I’d love to see Xavier Woods walk out at WrestleMania 33 with Bey on his arm. Please make that happen, universe. I’ll do anything.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady Vs. The Vaudevillains – #1 Contender Tag Team Tournament
Uh, Enzo has a leopard print gun rig on, and I shouldn’t find that hot but I really, really do. It’s a little like some sort of bondage harness, and honestly, I’m going to be quiet now. Big Cass makes Hey Arnold references, and oh my god just when I thought it was impossible to love him any more. After that, I mean, how could I love Gotch and English more? It’s JOJO ON ANNOUNCING! Aww, you go, Jojo, I’m happy to see you!
We’re given a reminder of the tag team brackets and how that went down, and then Mauro has been shoved in a cupboard until next Thursday, and it makes me sad to see Michael Cole and JBL. We’re introduced to the German and Spanish announce teams.
- Gotch and Enzo first, with a gorgeous bridge spot out of the first cover that looks a little Cyberfights to me, maybe wishful thinking
- Gotch throws a big shoulder tackle to Enzo, who counters with a dropkick
- Cass tags in against English, who looks a little like he wants to run away, before being dragged into the corner for some big slaps.
- The New Day are in the corner at ringside with pizza, popcorn, and Big E is filming it, which makes me giggle
- Double team, Enzo thrown into English, and god this match is fast
- Another move where Cass flings Enzo into Gotch this time
- Double knee to the face from English to Enzo, who gets take right out of the ring in a really nasty looking spot, looking like he caught his head
- Shit, ref throws up the X, The New Day stop shouting for him to get up and Gotch stops tugging at Enzo and I swear to god, WWE, if you’ve broken Enzo in his first fucking week out….
The stretcher comes out. The announcers look really, really upset as the crowd chant for Enzo and Cass is leaning over on the ropes looking like he’s going to cry. Shit, please, no. Please. The faces of the crowd behind the announcers look stricken, and we cut to the video package of the Owens/Zayn feud, to keep us occupied while they move him. God.
Sami Zayn Vs. Kevin Owens
It’s going to be a little hard to concentrate on this right now, but I’ll do my best, because Jordan wanted this to be a contender for match of the year, and if it isn’t, I’m going to be pretty sad. Not as heart in my throat as I am for Enzo right now though. Owens out first, followed by Sami’s happy little music but I’m not sure I can dance to it at the moment.
- OLE chants!
- KO starts off with trash talking, and then it’s a slugfest, with the two of them really going to each other, before a knee from JO
- Sami throws Kevin out of the room, and then flips over the top rope to land on KO, before pulling apart the announce table
- Zayn shoves Owens into the barricade, before throwing him back into the ring and flinging him about
- Heel kick from Zayn, cover for one
- Big shots to the jaw from Zayn, springboard leapfrog from Sami to get out of Owens’ way before a nice little take down
- KO rallying now, gets Zayn outside and into the steps move than ones, then Owens stands on Zayn’s wrists before kicking him in the face and dragging him back into the ring
- KO gets the crowd to cheer for him before kicking Sami in the face a couple more times for good measure, then a cover for one
- Owens mocks the Ole chant, and gets a boot to Zayn’s spine before settling into a chinlock, Zayn struggling to get out of it
- Owens bounces Zayn off the top rope, stomach first, then lands a running senton, before standing and putting his boot on Sami’s face
- KO makes sure the announcers are watching, the cutie
- Trading clotheslines on the rebound, both men are down in the middle of the ring
- Stunning clothesline from Zayn turns Owens in a full somersault before he lands, that was incredible
- Zayn cornering Owens and hitting him with huge punches to the face
- Blue Thunder Bomb from Sami! Kick out at two from Owens
- Blue Thunder Bomb again! Off a lovely shirt-grabbing moment which is really cheeky
- THIS IS AWESOME chants
- Cover from KO, pin for two, Sami flat in the middle of the ring
- Frogsplash from KO, lands perfectly, cover for two and a half!
- Vicious clothesline from KO nearly takes Zayn off his feet in the corner, and KO follows it up with two cannonballs
- Tries to set up for pop-up powerbomb, but Zayn counted with a dropkick
- Both men struggling to get to their feet
- KO goes for the pop-up powerbomb, but Sami counters and rolls him up for a cover for two
- Sami tries to walk the ropes into a DDT, but KO counters and both men are on the ground again
- Owens telling Zayn to stay down as both men stand on the apron and trade blows
- Zayn goes for a kick, but Owens catches it, goes for a pop-up powerbomb and Zayn counters it into a back drop on the apron! Ow!
- Zayn catches his breath as Owens finds himself at the corner of the ring, and then my network freezes as Zayn goes for the DDT outside the ring
- More THIS IS AWESOME chants
- Zayn rolls Owens back into the ring as the OLE chants rise
- Sami sets up for the Helluva Kick, Owens counters with a superkick, and then a pop-up powerbomb for the win!
I’m a little smug about this, because I told Jordan it would go down this way, but he vehemently disagreed with me. A good match, with some drawing out for time due to the shortened tag match, I guess, and it did feel artificially lengthened. It also suffered from us being a little down after Enzo’s accident.
KO smacks Sami around after he wins, and throws him out of the ring, before calling out Byron Saxton, who climbs into the ring with a mic. Owens wants to be asked about beating Sami, and Byron asks if the rivalry is over. Owens cheers himself for winning, and Byron actually flinches back from his hands. Owens’ nose seems to be bleeding a little as he says he can go back to getting back his IC title, and he says he’s going to come and sit on commentary for the IC title match!
We get informed that Enzo is headed to hospital, but that he’s talking and moving his extremities, so I guess they were very absolutely thinking spinal injury, broken neck, something like that. Hoping it’s not as serious as it seemed.
The Miz Vs. Cesaro – Intercontinental Title Match
KO on commentary, saying that Maryse won the title for The Miz. Cesaro has a white suit jacket this time as he strips for us, and I might never get tired of seeing that. Wonderful. Ah. Owens calls Byron pretty, because he’s into that, apparently.
- Lock up quickly, kinesio tape still on Cesaro’s shoulder, waggling his finger at The Miz as he wrenches it
- Multiple kip ups from Cesaro, god, that man is FIT
- Arm drags from The Miz
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Cesaro, very nice
- Miz up on the top rope, Cesaro hits a beautiful dropkick and then drags Miz up by his hair, Maryse holds her husband still and Miz kicks Cesaro
- Miz into a cover for two
- Miz keeps working that shoulder, arm drags and armbars to put as much pressure on that shoulder as possible
- Another cover from Miz for the two
- KO wiping the sweat away from his face on commentary as he watches this match
- Lock up again, Cesaro coming back with some nice punches before a neckbreaker from The Miz takes him down to the ground again
- Miz presses Cesaro against the ropes, grinding his shoulder against them
- Cover from Cesaro, for two
- KO wants to make this all about his BFF Sami Zayn
- Sleeper hold from Miz to Cesaro, who falls to his knees
- KO tells Maggle he isn’t good at commentary, and that he has everyone at home in a sleeper hold. Burn
- Miz wrapped around Cesaro, locked in tight but Cesaro manages to stand up and goes for a vertical delayed suplex, taking Miz down hard
- Uppercut from Cesaro!
- Miz is limping now, staggering, and another couple of uppercuts, followed by running uppercuts for a grand total of six before a massive rebound dropkick and a cover for two
- Mocking KO for calling Miz ‘Mike’ with ‘we’re tight like that’
- Suplex from the apron from Cesaro to Miz, over the top rope, and a cover for two
- Miz misses with a boot, Cesaro rolls him up for two again
- Corkscrew uppercut from Cesaro, and then he looks like he’s going from the swing but Miz kicks him away
- Miz goes for DDT, Cesaro counters and gets a pin for two
- Neutralizer! Backslide to Miz, pin for two
- Skullcrushing Finale from Miz, pin for two, Cesaro kicking out!
- Sami Zayn! Flies over the announce table and leaps onto KO, completely not invalidating the IC title match AT ALL
- Sami takes KO into the timekeeper’s area
- Cesaro swings The Miz for TWENTY and then sticks him in a crossface – but KO and Zayn are here! Miz taps out, but the ref is busy with Zayn and Owens
- Cesaro pushed both KO and Zayn off the apron, and Miz gets him from behind, rolling him up and pulling the tights for the win
Once the match is over, Cesaro isn’t happy to take the loss, and shoves The Miz into a Neutralizer. KO takes out Cesaro, then Zayn goes for KO, but eats another pop-up powerbomb. Maryse drags her husband out of the ring, but they leave the title behind, and KO picks it up, holding it high as Miz clings to his wife like a baby who needs naptime.
Dean Ambrose Vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho’s out first, after a video package detailing their feud gives me my first chance to have a drink for the last two hours. Christ, this PPV is really going for it, isn’t it? Are there really another two hours? Or just one? Dean comes out literally dripping with water, like he’s just come in from the shower. With Roman. I mean, what?
- Jericho climbs in and points and laughs at Dean, turning his back on him to talk to the crowd
- Dean just looks really serious and calm about it all, and it’s funny how Dean’s lack of tattoos against Jericho’s work looks
- Vicious flurry of jabs from Ambrose in fast motion, crowd duelling chants
- Ambrose jerks Jericho around by the face, so Jericho slides out of the ring
- They run around the ring like a Benny Hill sketch. Really.
- Back in the ring, Jericho goes for the clothesline, met by Dean’s crossbody
- Backdrop from Jericho over the ropes to Ambrose, followed up with boots through the ropes to Ambrose’s face
- Almost sure I can hear Y2JACKASS chants
- Jericho kneewalks across the ring to the ref to knee at his feet and say ‘he’s killing me’
- Ambrose walks into an elbow, looking for Dirty Deeds, doesn’t make it
- Jericho hangs Dean off the ropes, and then hits a great dropkick over the top rope, knocking Ambrose to the floor
- Suplex by Jericho, perches on Ambrose’s face to smack him around before grinding his boot into Dean’s face
- LET’S GO AMBROSE vs. Y2J
- Headbutt from Ambrose, walks into a dropkick from Jericho before Jericho mocks the ‘let’s go Ambrose’ chant
- Boot to the throat, hard, from Jericho, then a boot to the spine of Ambrose
- Ambrose getting stretched by Jericho in the centre of the ring
- Ambrose gets Jericho throat first into the turnbuckles, and rallies a little, bit chops to Jericho’s chest and taking him down hard
- Lunatic lariat, and then a tornado DDT from Ambrose to Jericho
- ‘Ambrose just makes things up as he goes along’…. Okay. I’m going to pretend I don’t hate commentary
- Axe handle from Jericho, then he’s looking for the Walls, Ambrose counters
- Swinging neckbreaker from Ambrose, pin for two
- “Just when you think Ambrose is crazy, he goes and does a beautiful wrestling move.” Yes, it’s almost like he’s one of the greatest technical wrestlers we have or something
- Running bulldog from Ambrose, pin for two
- Flying elbow from the top rope from Ambrose, dodged by Jericho, who gets him into the Walls of Jericho
- Dean gets to the bottom rope, breaking the hold
- Jericho with some vicious boots to the face for Ambrose, but Ambrose gets him to the outside, before suicide dive onto Jericho by the German announce table
- Ambrose gets Jericho up onto the German announce table, goes for Dirty Deeds but Jericho counters, looking for the Walls again, but instead catapults Ambrose off the announce table
- Jericho gets back into the ring as the count hits four, Ambrose crawling back into the ring, back in at nine
- Jericho tells him to stay down – Jericho’s nose is bleeding a little, ref’s got the gloves on
- Gorgeous clothesline takes down Jericho, and Dean pins him for two
- Ambrose goes to the top rope, Jericho knocks him down, face first off the apron
- Jericho goes for the springboard dropkick, with Dean catching him and taking him down again
- Back to the top rope, flying elbow from Dean, pin for two and a half – that was really close
- Top rope again, Jericho head-butting Dean down, leaps down into a huge boot from Dean
- Dean goes for Dirty Deeds, and Jericho locks in Walls of Jericho in the centre of the ring as Jericho bleeds on top of him
- Dean Ambrose tries to crawl his way out, gets to reverse Walls and pins Jericho in a small package, for two
- Jericho hits him with an enzuigiri, and pins Ambrose for two
- Backbreaker from Jericho, another pin for two as Jericho bleeds freely
- Chops from Ambrose after we see Jericho delivering some instructions, and Dean comes off the ropes and into an elbow from Jericho
- Ambrose works Jericho up from the floor, and hits Dirty Deeds – the pin for three, and takes the win!
That was pretty damn good, there were some good spots, it showed off Dean’s technical expertise with mat wrestling, but it doesn’t look like Jericho will take it lying down, throwing announcer’s scripts and pulling apart tables, turning the steps over and generally having a temper tantrum as he leaves the ring.
Mauro is interviewing AJ! He says he’s going to take the title tonight, and that Anderson and Gallows aren’t going to be needed, and that he’s told them to keep themselves out of it. We’ll see, buddy. We’ll see.
Charlotte Vs. Natalya – WWE Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte out first, in her daddy’s robe as per usual now, looking like the Mockingjay, with lich king Ric Flair with her. Charlotte does a backflip with her title on, and I can’t help but think that maybe Roman would be more popular if he could do that. I mean, can he even get it around his waist? Have we ever seen him wear it there?
Nattie’s here, and she waits at ringside for Bret Hart, who honestly looks like he’s rather be anywhere else, like at home talking to Nattie’s husband about cats, or something. Nattie shares a cuddle with her uncle, before heading up to the ring like the gorgeous wonder that she is. Bret points at Ric and shakes his head.
- Nattie goes straight for a Sharpshooter, but Charlotte gets out
- Kip up from Nattie
- Women lock up, grappling for dominance
- Byron calls Ric Flair ‘creepy old man’, proving he’s the hero we need
- Headlock from Charlotte to Nattie
- Rebound shoulder tackle from Nattie
- Leapfrog from Charlotte, very nice
- Another go for the Sharpshooter from Nattie, Charlotte rolls out of the ring to boos
- Neckbreaker from Charlotte, cover for two
- Hard knee to Nattie’s face from Charlotte, who then taunts the crowd
- Knee to the gut from Charlotte, then another headlock
- Bret Hart literally looks like he’s on a bus headed to somewhere he doesn’t really want to go
- Slap from Charlotte to Nattie, and Charlotte does her dad’s weird walk outside of the ring because she’s a caricature of a woman now
- Huge chops from Charlotte for Nattie
- German suplex from Nattie, then a dropkick to the face, Charlotte staggering
- Charlotte bounces Nattie off the turnbuckle, then taker her out at the knee, working that leg working up for the Figure Eight
- Showboating from Charlotte again, and her boot’s rolled down so we can see her sock. She shouts to Bret about learning something, and Bret looks tired, like he’s got better things to do tonight
- NATTIE chant
- Charlotte gets Nattie into a half-crab and holds her there, in the centre of the ring, but Nattie reverses into an armbar
- Charlotte hooks the bottom rope to break the hold
- More work to the left knee from Charlotte, weakening Nattie
- Suplex from Charlotte, Nattie landing on the ropes with the worked left knee
- Charlotte goes to the top rope for the moonsault and Nattie pushes her, shoving her off the ring post and slamming her into the barricade
- Rich helps up Charlotte as Nattie nurses her bad knee in the ring, Charlotte crawling back into the ring
- NATTIE chants again
- Charlotte goes for a powerbomb on the apron, but Nattie shifts her body and goes fro a hurricanrana and gets Charlotte down
- Nattie gets Charlotte back into the ring before the count, and walks into a kick to the throat of a discus clothesline attempt, Charlotte pinning her for two
- Woo from Charlotte. Yawn from me
- Chop from Nattie, discus clothesline actually connects this time, Charlotte pinned for two
- Nattie goes for the Sharpshooter, can’t get there
- Natural Selection from Charlotte, pin for two
- Another cover from Charlotte, another kick out at two
- My network freezes, because women, am I right?
- Coming back to Charlotte climbing to the top rope, hits her moonsault, and Nattie still manages to kick out at two!
- The women are locked in with a leg lock, and Nattie reverses it, Charlotte crawling to the bottom rope to break it
- Slap from Charlotte before she steps through for the Sharpshooter, and then the bell rings? What? Nattie didn’t tap! Lil Naitch, what are you doing?
Bret and Ric come to blows, with Bret putting Ric in the Sharpshooter, and Nattie putting Charlotte in one as well, both of them trying to tap out, but there’s no ref as the two of them hold it. Uh, what? So the match ended weirdly so that two men could have a fight because women, am I right? I mean, a twenty minute segment and a 16 minute match, but there were some pretty low points to that. Sure, Montreal Screwjob, but firstly, think of the age of your audience, and… why? Is there NOTHING that they can’t take away from the women and make referential to the men?
Speaking of men going over women, it’s time for the Shane vs. Steph segment. Vince is here, because we never get tired of seeing him, and he actually does get a reaction for the first time in a while because we haven’t seen him for a while. Of course, it’s Chicago, so we get a LOUD CM Punk chant, because fuck your company, that’s why.
Vince gargles into the mic about professional ethics and other nonsense but mostly I’m just enjoying him talking over WHAT chants and CM Punk chants, pretending he can’t hear them. Then again, he’s very used to pretending he can’t hear people.
Steph comes out looking really gorgeous, and professional, and talks about how she’s so glad that everyone cared so much when she got speared at WrestleMania, and she has to shout over the loud boos. She says she’d rather be feared or respected than pitied, and that’s a pretty good line from a woman, to be honest. She talks about how the Diva’s revolution has become the women’s evolution, how The Shield debuted under her rule, how all these amazing superstars have come up under her control, and how well she’s done. The crowd actually start reacting to her properly, without just booing her the whole time – god, Steph, you can work a mic. I remember why I wanted to be you when I was a kid, and not just because you shared a name with me.
Steph says the only reason Shane thinks he can run Raw because he’s a man, and misogynistic. She says that Shane doesn’t think about other things, takes too many risks, and that he runs away from things all the time. The crowd respect her by chanting BORING because they don’t understand how a good fucking promo works, as she tells her father that she’s the best choice for the business – and out comes Shane.
Shane, of course, panders to everyone, and says he doesn’t usually like to talk about himself, but he wants to ask how many headlines Steph and Triple H have made, then shows off all the ways people have been saying Shane is changing things from the inside. Shane says he can do everything Steph can do, but better, and the audience chant ‘YOU STILL GOT IT’ at Shane, so Steph thanks them, because she does. Hell yes she does. Shane talks about his kids, and Steph’s kids, and how he wants to build a future for his children.
We wait for the decision from Vince, but Shane tries to do a crowd poll, as if Vince gives a damn what we, the audience think about anything. He actually point blank says he doesn’t listen to anyone except himself, and it’s like… yeah. We know. We’re aware. He says he wants figurative blood, wants to watch them fight, and says that the two of them together will be running Raw.
The siblings stand together, and go to shake hands, Steph eventually giving in and shaking her brother’s hand as the Raw theme plays for them to leave, both stepping off the apron together. Huh. Well, I guess that saves anyone from making a decision.
We go back to the kick-off panel to fill some time, as they talk about the matches we’ve seen so far, and I hope we’re going to hear a little more about Enzo Amore, because I’m really worried that he’s seriously hurt. I’ve seen a spinal injury before, and… that looked frighteningly like it. Also, pretty unimpressed that WWE decided to gif that moment and stick it on twitter, like it was amusing to them. Your talent being injured should not be something you show us pictures of, WWE.
We get breaking news just before the match, letting us know Enzo’s condition is a concussion, but that sounds like no spine or neck injuries, which is what I was afraid of. Let’s hope the concussion isn’t too bad, and that he’s able to bounce back.
AJ Styles Vs. Roman Reigns – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
AJ comes out to big cheers, wearing red again, for some reason, even though it’s not really his colour. Roman literally gets booed before his music even plays, thunderous boos around the arena. Roman comes out in his golden vest he saves for PPVs, holding his title, because he can’t get it around his waist with that stupid vest on…. God, I love Roman, but if this isn’t a heel turn, I’m going to be very unhappy. Roman sizes up AJ, and gets a little too close first off, and ROMAN SUCKS chants before the match even starts.
- ROMAN SNEEZES sign makes me giggle
- Blow from Roman takes AJ into the corner fast, and AJ just grins
- YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chants, and that just makes me so sad
- Side headlock on Roman, and then another, kicks to Roman’s left hamstring, and he winces. Let’s see if he can remember to sell that for the next five minutes or not
- Both men go for a lock up, and then AJ slides around and goes for that hamstring again
- Back drop from Roman, and then he’s sliding out of the ring away from AJ, before ponderously climbing back into the ring
- Forearms on the corner from AJ, before he’s rolling out, using his speed against Roman
- Kick to the ribs from AJ, then some chops to Roman and some big punches to the jaw, too
- Roman with a huge shoulder tackle, taking AJ back out of the ring… is Roman’s stamina really so bad that we have to keep taking breaks? That’s what this feels like. AJ made Del Rio look good, can he work his magic on Roman? So far, no
- AJ looks like he’s going to lock up again, but goes back to that left hamstring of Roman
- Huge blow from Roman, taking AJ down to the mat
- Roman keeps running into knees and forearms
- German from AJ, but he can’t make it work out
- AJ somersaults in response to a clothesline from Roman
- Roman rolls up AJ, then lifts him high and drops him in a spot that always annoys me and I don’t understand
- Sit-out powerbomb from Reigns, Styles hitting the mat hard, kick out at two, Roman shaking his head
- Set up for the Superman Punch, but Roman walks right into a Pelé kick, both men on their backs on the mat
- Snapmare from Styles, then a running forearm, with a cover for two
- AJ lifts Roman onto his shoulders and drops him, which is really impressive looking, but the cover’s still only for two
- Chops from AJ to Roman in the corner, then Roman throws him over his shoulders, AJ landing on the apron
- Roman lifts AJ, going for the Samoan drop, AJ counters, and goes for the Calf Crusher – Roman remembers he’s meant to have a bad leg now
- Styles knocks Reigns off the apron and leave the champ on one knee next to the announce table
- Styles hits the Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope and they both go through the announce table in a legitimately awesome looking spot
- And… Roman gets counted out, so he keeps the title, but AJ wins, but… that’s a shit ending. A really shit ending.
- Here comes Shane! Why is Shane here, is he here to make it better? He says this isn’t how a championship match ends, and now it’s going to restart with no count outs! Roman buries his head into the floor and AJ goes back after him!
- AJ gets Roman back into the ring, Roman just managing to dodge out the way of AJ climbing to the top rope
- Pelé kick from Styles, Roman practically limp in the centre of the ring, starfishing as usual
- AJ does a full somersault off the top rope and Roman just gets his knees up in time for AJ to take a blow to the gut instead
- AJ comes off the top rope and lands on Roman, with a low blow to himself, not intentional from Roman, though
- And out comes Steph, and are we literally doing this, is this not going to count? Holy shit, so there has to be a pinfall or tap out, now, no DQ either? Holy SHIT.
- Huge punches from both men, Roman sending Styles off the top rope with a massive backhand, then follows him out to bounce AJ off the steps, then the Spanish announce table
- AJ bounced off the barricades with a kick, then thrown into the crowd, Roman coming back to take him apart
- Clothesline from AJ taking Roman over the barricades and shoving his head into the announce table at an awkward angle
- AJ gets him by the hair and rolls Roman back into the ring, he goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but meets a Superman Punch on the way down
- Cover but only for two, and the crowd are LOVING this, they’ve managed to make this match legitimately entertaining
- Another Superman Punch from Reigns, and Styles is barely crawling as Roman roars to the crowd
- Gallows and Anderson are here, and they come in to beat down Roman, taking him apart in the ring with vicious kicks and blows
- Boot of Doom from Gallows and Anderson, who then get out of the ring, AJ crawling back in to see Roman barely moving
- AJ seems to be struggling to get into the ring, hits the Phenomenal Forearms, and for a second it looks like Roman’s going to lose – but his foot is on the bottom rope
- The Usos are here to tackle Gallows and Anderson, and that seems a little boring
- AJ goes to the top rope, and Roman punches him off his perch into the four men on the outside, but he’s spent, lying in the centre of the ring and just trying to breathe, remembering to stretch out that worked hamstring
- Roman comes over the top rope into all of the men on the outside, and he’s flat out, AJ rolling him into the ring
- Styles hits his full somersault landing, and pins Roman for one, two…. So close, I honestly thought he had that
- AJ tries for the Styles Clash, but Reigns fights out
- Spear from Reigns…. And he pins AJ for the win.
There were actual cheers from that ending, Roman earned his win, he was made to fight for it over and over, and I think there’s a grudging respect for that, as much as AJ used a smaller moveset so he didn’t look so much like he was outclassing Roman. With all the interference, you really felt like Roman had to put more effort in, and as much as people went back to booing him a few seconds later when he hefted the title, he got cheers when he won. They made us care about this main event, and though it didn’t end as I would have wanted, and it wasn’t quite as interesting with Gallows and Anderson as I would have liked, it was pretty well put together.
I even sort of forgot that not a single title changed hands tonight.
We end Payback with Steph and Shane talking to Vince about what next for AJ and the rematch at Extreme Rules, and they seem to be getting along. I guess we’ll see how Raw goes tomorrow – until then, guys. Get some rest. You earned it.