The road to Wrestlemania is coming near its end with the final PPV before the biggest show of the year. Some of this show came across as thrown together last minute, but it actually made up for it in a lot of ways. But enough of that lets get down to the actual show.
1st match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Usos (Champions) vs The Miz and Shane McMahon
Winner: The Usos
This is pretty much a solid way to start the show, the match wasn’t overly long and told the story that it needed to. Being in Cleveland, The Miz got a lot of offense, even hitting a Skull Crushing Finale as well. His father was in the crowd and he spent points in the match getting advice from him on what he should do next. This lead to some cool moments including a spot where Shane cut off one of the Usos in mid-splash, but Miz would soon after go for a Frog Splash cause that’s what his father thought he should do. This was countered and Miz was pinned off of it.
After the match: Shane proceeded to beat down The Miz and get him in a triangle choke, he was sick of Miz costing them matches, and this will likely now set up their Wrestlemania match.
2nd match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Asuka (Champion) vs Mandy Rose
This match was short but good, it showed that Asuka is a scary striker and to be feared. She’s been on a tear lately but hasn’t been on TV enough to showcase it, so this keeps the momentum back up. This was probably Mandy’s best match of her career so far, which is good for someone in her position. Ultimately, Mandy lost due to Sonya Deville grabbing a kendo stick and leaving the ring apron up, this caused Mandy to trip on the apron before getting kicked by Asuka. Asuka then pinned Mandy off this kick and won the match.
After the match: Mandy seemed displeased with Sonya after the match, but they did walk backstage together and didn’t seem to set up any fight.
3rd match Kofi Kingston vs The Bar
Winner: The Bar
Both members of The Bar were legal throughout the entire match allowing them both to just beatdown Kofi as much as they want. The crowd got disappointed hoping Kofi was going to be in the WWE championship match and let it known they really wanted Kofi to win, but it didn’t take long at all for The Bar to win the match.
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4th match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
Ricochet and Aleister Black vs Chad Gable and Bobby Roode vs The Revival (Champions)
Winner: The Revival
The Revival were instantly taken out of the match leaving Gable vs Ricochet to really get the crowd into the match a bit. The Revival would eventually cut this off and start to beatdown Ricochet, until Gable and Ricochet would start to go at it again making the crowd really want Black to get back into the match. Black comes in hot completely wiping out Roode and Gable. Eventually, Roode stopped this momentum and the two tried a beatdown but Black countered them, Ricochet got tagged in and eventually hit the shooting star to breakup a pin which was broken up by Roode. The Revival soon after pinned Gable off of a shatter machine. This match was pure action and highlighted each team’s individual talents, allowed the Revival to retain, but also held Ricochet and Black’s momentum.
5th match for the United States Championship
R-Truth vs Samoa Joe (Champion) vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio
Winner: Samoa Joe
Match gets quick and straight to the point, with these 4 you knew you would be in for something exciting. This kept going and even included stuff like Samoa Joe doing an outside dive and Mysterio doing a springboard hurricanrana to both Truth and Andrade. Truth and Mysterio even teamed up to do a tower of doom hurricanrana. After a 619, Rey missed the splash and Joe caught him in a clutch making Rey passout and Joe retained his championship.
6th for the WWE Tag Team Women’s Championships
Sasha Banks and Bailey vs Tamina and Nia Jax
Winners: Sasha and Bailey
Typical “Heel vs Face” tag team match here with Nia and Tamina just beating down Bailey for a long time. Nothing really overly interesting which is pretty much expected with a match with these teams involved. Even Sasha Banks hot tag was pretty average, the crowd was pretty dead for this match as well, and I can’t really blame them, there wasn’t a huge amount to be excited for. Bailey pinned Nia off of a hurricanrana.
If these titles are to make it in the long term, there needs to be a better turnout. We saw almost no hype on the main brands going in, and certainly no story building. You cannot really on cookie cutter content and no effort. You can’t do that with the Universal, and you sure as hell can’t do that with such a new and untested title.
After the match: Nia and Tamina started to attack Beth Phoenix and attacked Natalya who tried to help Beth but failed instantly.
7th match for the WWE Championship
Kevin Owens vs Daniel Bryan (champion) vs Mustafa Ali
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Face Owens has been great so far, and a lot of the start of the match was Owens and Ali really shining and showing what the two of them could do. During this match, the crowd was always chanting for Kofi, very similar to the 2014 Royal Rumble when they wanted Daniel Bryan. People can say whatever they want, but Vince knows exactly what he is doing, and has done an amazing job with this Kofi run.
Eventually, Bryan absolutely wiped out Ali by giving him a running boot while Ali was on the top turnbuckle. Ali stayed out of the match for a long time after this allowing the match to basically go back to what was originally advertised being Owens vs Bryan. Once Ali did rejoin the match, he missed an 054 and Owens hit a stunner, but Bryan broke it up. Owens soon hit Bryan with a popup powerbomb which Bryan kicked out of. Daniel Bryan wins the match off a knee in midair to Ali, after Rowan took out Owens.
8th match Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair
Winner: Becky Lynch via DQ
Becky’s hype train is definitely starting to derail the crowd who has been pretty hot tonight, they didn’t act anywhere near as much as we could usually see with Becky. This is to be expected as she hasn’t been wrestling recently and everyone has their new wrestler they want to get the big push with Kofi. Becky sells the knee injury she has been working recently and Flair spends the early match working on it. Becky tried fighting back but never did an overboard amount. She eventually secured her ‘Mania spot with Rousey coming down to specifically target Becky for a disqualification in her favor, setting up the triple threat at ‘Mania, and the most predictable storyline that WWE has had in years.
9th match The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre.
Winners: The Shield
Possibly the Shields last ride with Ambrose rumoured to leave the company soon, The Shield put everything that’s happened in the past aside and the match began with Rollins vs Lashley. Once Roman was tagged in everyone backed out of the ring and we were given a great standoff between McIntyre and Reigns teasing a future big match between the two.
Once the Shield starting getting fired up it added some excitement to the match, which was cutoff with a deepsix from Corbin. Reigns, however, quickly bounced back with some strikes before being thrown into the corner and getting chokeslamed. Roman’s really not showing any ring rust, which is great seeing him comeback still strong. After a few Superman punches, Roman took the End Of Days, but the pin was broken up by Ambrose.
After some exciting mayhem outside the ring, The Shield eventually put McIntyre through the Spanish announce table with the triple powerbomb before hitting Corbin who was stuck in the ring with a combo of a superkick, into a superman punch, into Dirty Deads. They then proceeded to hit a triple powerbomb on Corbin for the victory.
PPV Grade: B+
Pretty solid card from top to bottom that had some hiccups with matches like the Womens Tag title match and Lynch vs Flair, but there was more than enough to make up for any of those hiccups in some great multiman matches.
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