Live from Chicago, Illinois this is the Raw Deal for episode #1189. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Raw begins with a recap of things that happened last week on Raw with Vince McMahon saying that Shane McMahon will no longer be his son.
Shane McMahon entered to a huge ovation from the appreciative fans in Chicago. He’s rocking the Jordan shoes again. The announcers mentioned his WrestleMania match against The Undertaker in the Hell in a Cell structure.
There were plenty more cheers for Shane as he said he missed them and they chanted “Welcome Back” at him. He said he watched Raw last week with his three sons, he heard from Undertaker – who he has respect for and then he heard from Vincent Kennedy McMahon. He spoke about how Vince said Shane is no longer his son and wrote him out of his will. Shane called Vince a miserable old bastard that has lost his touch with his business, the fanbase, reality, with Shane and with his grandsons. Shane said all this does is get him pissed off. He said it’s his destiny to be in control of Monday Night Raw. Fans chanted “yes” for it as he tried to speak. Shane even mentioned talent being wasted on the show. He spoke about how he’s going to beat The Undertaker and the next night there will be a new destiny with Shane in control of Monday Night Raw.
The Undertaker’s gong went off, but then it changed to Vince McMahon’s song. Vince walked out to confront Shane. Clever. Huge boos. There was an “Asshole” chant. Vince mocked them for ending the chant so soon. Then a “CM Punk” chant started and Vince said we’ll see how long this lasts. It ended quickly. That was interesting. Was it a sound adjustment by WWE? Maybe.
Vince spoke about how he wrote Shane out of his will last week while noting that Stephanie gets everything. He saw a photograph of him and Shane back when Shane was a kid. They were going to their first wrestling match. Vince showed the picture of him holding Shane. He had the framed photo in his hands with Vince noting the show was in Worcester, Mass. Then he broke the photo on the ramp. Vince talked about how Shane grew up thinking that Vince was invincible, but Shane is just Vince’s son.
Vince spoke about his three grandsons (Shane’s three sons). He said that Shane is going to fail his kids and he will shatter their dreams. Vince claimed that the only solace the boys will have is that Vince will hug them and tell them they have at least one father figure to be proud of. Vince said it’s ironic that his greatest creation (he means WrestleMania) will put to rest his greatest failure (Shane). Vince called for security to escort Shane out of the building.
Security dudes walked down to the ring. Shane said that he’ll walk out peacefully on his own accord and said nobody better touch him. A guy got close to him. Crowd was chanting “Shane O Mac” as Shane attacked him with punches. He attacked another guy with knees. There were four guys, but Shane was able to clean house with punches and knees for all of them. He tossed one of them out of the ring too. Huge ovation for Shane. He left. It’s 18 minutes after the top of the hour when that promo ended.
Analysis: That was a really good promo exchange because it gave this already personal storyline even more of a realistic feel. Obviously it’s all just storyline, but there are layers of truth there since Vince has favored Stephanie and that’s why people are supporting Shane so much. The part where Vince talked about consoling his grandkids after their dad Shane loses was pure evil and that’s the kind heel work Vince always did in his prime. I was really amazed at the crowd response that Shane received in this segment too. I knew he’d be cheered a lot, but that was really impressive. Chicago fans never disappoint.
The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. Coming up tonight is Chris Jericho and AJ Styles vs. New Day for the Tag Team Titles. Kevin Owens is shown walking backstage for a match.
Kevin Owens vs. Neville
This is not for Owens’ IC Title. Cole said that Owens told him that if Owens has a match at WM then it will be better than Steamboat vs. Savage. Only if it’s against Sami Zayn and it gets 15 minutes. Owens was in control early on with a senton splash for two. He went for it again, but Neville got his knees up. Neville nailed Owens with some kicks to the head, a forearm smash and a hurricanrana. Neville went for a dive over the top, Owens moved, Neville landed on his feet, stumbled a bit and Owens shoved Neville into the steps. Time for a break.
Back from break, Owens took Neville to Chinlock City. Owens missed a cannonball in the corner. Owens nailed a release German Suplex that led to a rough landing for Neville, but it looks like he was okay. Neville nailed a kick that sent Owens to the floor. Neville went up top and hit a Shooting Star Press to take out Owens on the floor. Owens was on the top rope, he booted Neville in the face and Owens missed a moonsault because Neville moved out of the way. Neville nailed a superkick. Neville nailed an incredible twisting splash off the middle rope for two. Fans were going wild. Owens does the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and that was enough for the win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** A really good match like usual from them. Owens is at his best working with the smaller guys and Neville’s awesome as an underdog that has a lot of fight. These guys have had many matches in the last year whether it was in NXT or on the main roster. They’ve developed a really good chemistry together. I’m not a huge fan of that ending because the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is done far too often. I know it’s a cheap way to end it and kill the momentum of the face, but I just thought it was out of place.
Post match, Neville complained about how Owens pulled the tights. Owens sent Neville into the turnbuckle.
Sami Zayn runs out to go after Owens! Yes! The crowd is going wild. Zayn tripped up Owens and nailed him with punches. Owens tried to leave the ring, but Neville nailed a kick to the head. Zayn gave Owens a clothesline to send him over the top to the floor. The crowd loved it. Owens left looking shocked that Zayn was there.
Analysis: What a moment. I had known about this earlier in the day, but it’s one of those things that you don’t believe it until it actually happens. Chicago was a good spot to do it in because they gave Zayn the kind of huge ovation he deserves. He was on Raw back in May, hurt his shoulder, missed most of 2015. He was at the Rumble against Owens and now he’s back. Looks like Zayn is a full timer on the main roster, which is the right call. He’s as good as anybody in the ring and he’s a damn good all around performer as well. I want Zayn vs. Owens at WrestleMania. Forget multi-man matches. Make it singles. I know the rumored plan is a multi-man match for the IC Title. It’s probably going to stay that way, but they could and should change it.
Read My Other Stuff: Thanks for reading the Raw Deal, but I write a lot more than that. Here’s my review of Smackdown from last week. It was a really good show with quality matches all night…I started reviewing older PPVs recently. Per request, here’s my review of WWE Backlash 2000, which is one of the best PPVs ever. What a pop in the main event!…Since it’s WrestleMania season, know that you can always read my review of every Wrestlemania ever…I also wrote this article for AwfulAnnouncing.com looking at the important role of the heel color commentator.
They mentioned that new subscribers can get WrestleMania for free. Then they plugged other shows on WWE Network. Steve Austin’s doing a live podcast with Mick Foley on March 28. Also the Hall of Fame on April 2 and WrestleMania on April 3.
A recap aired of the Ambrose/Triple H story from last week leading to their WWE Roadblock match this Saturday for the WWE Title.
Dolph Ziggler was talking to a bearded Zack Ryder. Stephanie McMahon walked up to them and Zack left. She mentioned Ziggler taking down a tweet earlier today, so that’s a storyline. Ziggler talked about how at Survivor Series over a year ago he beat The Authority. He mentioned history tends to repeat itself like if Shane wins at WrestleMania then The Authority is out of power. She said Ziggler should be in a tag team elimination against three members of the League of Nations and no partners for him. Ziggler said “of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Analysis: Thanks for reminding us of that terrible storyline that nearly got rid of The Authority in November 2014, but they were only gone for a month and here they are still dominating the show. Poor Ziggler. I’m not sure where the storyline is going, but at least it’s something for him to do instead of randomly having one minute matches with Miz.
Brie Bella entered to her awful theme music. Make it stop. Thank you commercial break.
They aired some clip of The Bella Twins arguing about a scooter on Total Divas. Poor Daniel Bryan having to sit there listening to these women in their 30s bicker like 12 year olds.
Brie Bella vs. Summer Rae
Summer was aggressive early on. The crowd was chanting something that I couldn’t really tell. Brie’s shirt says “Brie Mode Activated” as I wonder if any sane person might by such an item. Brie tripped up Summer to knock her down face first. Brie nailed some Yes Kicks, a dropkick and a running knee attack against the ropes. I don’t yell “Brie Mode” when I write that. Summer moved out of the way of a cross body block. The ravishing Russian Lana walked down to the ring. I missed her being on TV. Summer rolled up Brie after the distraction and that was enough to get the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Summer Rae
Analysis: 1/2* A quick diva match like they always used to have. It wasn’t the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! exactly because she sat on top instead of using the arms, but it’s the same idea.
Post match, Lana kicked Brie and then Lana hit a face first X-Factor type move to knock Brie out. I guess it’s the “Bella Buster” move too.
Analysis: The rumor is they are doing a diva tag match at WrestleMania that would be Lana’s first match in WWE.
Dean Ambrose is talking up next.
Analysis: That was a really solid first hour thanks mainly to Shane McMahon and also Sami Zayn. Two heel rollup finishers aren’t cool, but I get why they did them.
They bragged about their Facebook likes compared to other sports.
Dean Ambrose entered in his leather jacket and jeans. He mentioned how people had plans going into WrestleMania, but then he showed up to change things up by winning the WWE Championship on March 12 at Roadblock. He doesn’t care what plans Triple H or Roman Reigns had. He’s hijacking the WWE Title and he’s hijacking WrestleMania. Ambrose spoke about how Triple H tried to beat respect for authority into him last week. He said Triple H will respect him this Saturday night at Roadblock when Ambrose drives his head into the mat and becomes the WWE Champion. “This face is gonna be on Oprah.” I don’t think she has a show. He said he’ll be on People magazine. He said he’ll talk to the kids – don’t try this at home. He’s going to make Triple H buy him a new suit. Ambrose said come to think of it he’s never going to wear a suit. All the extra-curricular things don’t sound appealing, but what does sound appealing is being the WWE Champion that puts it on the line every night and being a champion that these people deserve.
Triple H showed up for the interruption on the top of the ramp. Hunter said he hates being the guy to ruin the dream of Ambrose, but the WWE Title will stay with him as long as he wants it to. He spoke about how they are gluing Roman Reigns’ face back together. Hunters suggested they take another trip to the announce table and Ambrose said he’ll stand on the announce table with the WWE Title. Ambrose: “When I do that, you can suck it.” That was funny.
Hunter spoke about how some idiot in marketing thought up of Roadblock. He said that Ambrose is like a speed bump or a pothole at best. Hunter told him that Ambrose has a never say die attitude, terrible temper and same problem with authority. He wondered how the anti-authority thing is going for Roman – not so well. Ambrose said that Hunter sounded like his 10th grade teacher. Hunter said if Ambrose keeps going with it, he’s going to be hurt permanently. Ambrose said he’d rather be delusional than whatever Triple H is. Hunter said he’s driven by money, power, success, but he is driven and it’s what makes him…him…and that’s what makes Ambrose…you. Ambrose suggested Hunter come down to the ring so Ambrose can hear him a little better.
Hunter slowly walked down the ramp as the crowd chanted for Ambrose. Hunter said he only fights on his time. He’s going to do what successful people do. He’ll delegate that tonight and says that Ambrose goes one on one with Bray Wyatt. Hunter left.
Analysis: That was about ten minutes long. Ambrose did a good job on his own. Hunter was fine, but it’s the same stuff he has said for so many years that it feels like a repeat. They have done an awesome job of building up their match on Saturday. There have been so many Ambrose vs. Wyatt matches, but I don’t remember when the last one was, so it’s good to do it again.
Dolph Ziggler is in an elimination tag match against three members of the League of Nations up next.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance as they showed his deleted tweet. Now they are inserting worked tweets into the storyline.
Elimination Tag: Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett, Rusev & Sheamus
Barrett nailed the Winds of Change on Ziggler early on. No word on why Del Rio isn’t there. Plenty of quick tags by the heels with Sheamus getting in some forearm shots and Rusev hit a running body attack against the ropes. Dropkick by Rusev on Ziggler. It was impressive to see a bigger guy like him do that. Sheamus was in there working on Ziggler for a bit. JBL mentioned that League of Nations are four champions that came together and that’s what the Four Horsemen did. It’s true, but it’s not like this group is anywhere near as important as the Horsemen were. Will they reach that point? Probably not. Ziggler nailed a huge leaping DDT on Sheamus. Barrett missed a corner charge. Corner splash by Ziggler and a swinging neckbreaker. Rusev into the ring and Ziggler kicked him. Barrett got a rollup for two. Ziggler nailed a superkick on Barrett and eliminated him after six minutes.
King Barrett eliminated by Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler got a rollup with tights on Sheamus, but it didn’t work. Rusev nailed a kick to Ziggler while Ziggler was leaning against the ropes and the ref didn’t see it. Sheamus capitalized with the Brogue Kick for the win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Rusev
Analysis: **1/4 It was a predictable match with Ziggler being unable to overcome the 3 on 1 odds. They built up the finish well. With the way the announcers called the match, it seems like this was really only done to put over the power of The Authority and that there probably isn’t anything long term for Ziggler. It was just a way to get people to hate Stephanie more. If that’s all there is to it then it’s a bit disappointing. I hope there’s a plan for Ziggler, but I have my doubts. He’ll probably just be in some multi-man match at WM.
There was a recap of Shane and Vince talking earlier. Up next is some video about Shane McMahon’s past efforts in the ring.
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There was a commercial for WWEShop merchandise.
A video package focused on the in-ring career of Shane McMahon. It was an excellent video that showed off some of the memorable spots he did like when he jumped off the SummerSlam set onto Big Show and all those crazy matches with Kane. There were clips of wrestlers talking about his guts. There are the glass spots with Kurt Angle at King of the Ring 2001. In case you don’t know, it was supposed to be sugar glass, but somebody put real glass and that’s why it didn’t break easily.
Analysis: The video did a good job of putting over Shane’s finer moments in the ring. He was never a great technical worker, but he was able to put on memorable matches against the biggest wrestlers in WWE. He earned the respect of the guys he worked with and the fans watching at home.
Becky Lynch was backstage and Sasha Banks showed up to talk to her. Banks called Lynch a leprechaun wannabe. They argued about how each of them should have won their matches even though it’s a triple threat at WrestleMania. They headed to the ring for a match.
Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs. Tamina & Naomi
They did this match a few weeks ago at Fastlane. Divas Champion Charlotte and her dad Ric Flair were seated at ringside. Tamina worked on Lynch a bit, then Banks tagged in and nailed a double knee attack. Tamina saved, so Lynch went after her. Tamina tossed Lynch into the barricade. Banks applied the Banks Statement submission and Naomi tapped out after about two minutes.
Winners by submission: Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks
Analysis: * They rushed it. One minute into the match and they had Banks receive the hot tag. I’m not sure why there was a lack of time, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Makes sense for the faces to win since they’re getting a Divas Title match at WrestleMania.
Post match, Charlotte attacked Banks from behind with a forearm shot and then she slammed her head a few times. Charlotte hit an Exploder Suplex on Lynch. Charlotte’s music played to end that.
Analysis: It put over the dominance of the champion. Pretty basic.
R-Truth was backstage delivering a pizza to Goldust. It’s a deep dish pizza that was famous in Chicago. Goldust said he’s lactose intolerant and he thought this was a sick joke by Truth. Mark Henry showed up to eat the pizza: “I love Chicago.” He took the pizza.
Analysis: It’s been ten weeks since the Goldust/Truth videos started. It went from Goldust begging him to be his partner, Truth saying no and then Truth realizing it would be good. Now Goldust thinks he’s being made of. Men in their 40s acting like children basically.
A WrestleMania flashback video aired showing Steve Austin’s first WWE Title win over Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson at ringside.
The crowd chanted along with Big E as he did the “feel the power” promo prior to The New Day’s entrance. Chicago loves the New Day.
Kofi Kingston said that at 197 days and counting, we are witnessing the most positive reign in WWE Championship in history. They mocked the #Y2AJ team. Xavier Woods said pretty soon they will rip eachother apart like the zombies in Left for Dead (some video game – I don’t play video games sorry). Big E said they had matching team tattoos, he was about to show one, but the other two said they were just joking, so the joke is that Big E got a tattoo – he never showed it. Chris Jericho’s entrance interrupted things.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to a pretty big reaction with a Y2AJ shirt. Cole mentioned Jericho made his WWE debut in Chicago in 1999. One of the best debuts ever. AJ Styles, also in a Y2AJ shirt, received a huge ovation from the crowd.
Tag Team Titles: Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. AJ Styles & Chris Jericho
Jericho with a dropkick on Kingston and then a slingshot to send Kingston to the floor. Double clothesline by the faces to send Big E to the floor. Double slingshot attacks over the top by Y2AJ as the show went to break.
Back from break, New Day were in control of Jericho with their unicorn stomp spot that led to Woods playing the trombone in celebration. Jericho with a missile dropkick on Big E, tag to Kingston, Jericho kick to Kingston and a tag to Styles. Styles was on fire against Kingston with a forearm shot and then a moonsault into a reverse DDT spot for two. That move looks so great against the right opponent and Kingston sold it perfect. Some guys don’t sell it as well. There was a blind tag from Big E, who caught Styles on his shoulder and hit the Big Ending with the assist from Kingston. Jericho broke it up by tackling Kingston on top of the pinfall to break it up. Good spot. Styles tagged in Jericho against Kingston with Jericho hitting a shoulder tackle and a chop off the top. Springboard dropkick by Jericho on E. Kingston rollup gets two. Jericho with a forearm and then a Lionsault on Kingston. Styles tagged in and hit a flip into a splash cover for a two count. Styles went over the top to nail Big E with a forearm smash. Kingston got a cradle nearfall on Styles. Awesome back kick by Kingston on Styles. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Jericho caught him, Walls of Jericho submission and Kingston is trying to fight it. Styles nailed Woods with a forearm smash to prevent interference. Big E smashed Styles into the barricade. Big E tagged in, Jericho couldn’t do the Walls and then Jericho sent Big E into the turnbuckle. Jericho went for Codebreaker, Big E countered it with his power and nailed the Big Ending for the win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Big E & Kofi Kingston
Analysis: ****1/4 Outstanding match! Wow. You don’t see that many matches on TV that are that good. That’s a four star plus (out of five) match. Awesome job by all four guys in having The New Day retain in a clean manner as they should have. That was an incredible match that featured a lot of really good nearfalls for both sides and a clean win for the heels. They really didn’t cheat that much with Woods. I liked how Big E was booked in a way that made him look like a badass heel that can overcome the punishment from others in the ring. Those kinds of qualities also help The New Day come off as very credible champions. Please go watch this match if you missed it because it’s the kind of thing that makes us appreciate the talents of the in-ring performers in WWE. Best New Day match? I think so, at least in terms of a regular match without stipulations. They’ve had some damn good ones before too.
Post match, Jericho and Styles were alone in the ring. The crowd cheered them and Jericho hit Styles with the Codebreaker. Heel turn. The crowd was booing. Jericho hit a second Codebreaker. When Styles managed to get back to his feet, Jericho hit another Codebreaker. Jericho stuffed a “Y2AJ” shirt down Styles throat. The crowd was booing.
Analysis: Did anybody out there invest in a Y2AJ shirt? How’s that working out for you? Anyway, the heel turn by Jericho was predictable, but I have no problem with it. They’re going to have a fourth match at WrestleMania where Styles will win again and that’s fine with me. Jericho’s better as a heel anyway. I like him as a veteran jerk that is mad that this new guy Styles is getting all this attention. It’s a storyline that makes sense.
The WrestleMania commercial aired featuring The Rock. It’s 27 days. I’ll be in Dallas on the Thursday before WrestleMania and through the weekend. If you’re going, I hope to see ya there.
A recap of Jericho’s turn was shown.
Jericho was walking backstage and Renee Young asked him why he did that. Jericho complained about how Chicago was where Y2J was born yet they chanted for AJ Styles. He said they won’t be chanting for Styles anymore.
Analysis: A simple promo from Jericho to explain the turn. He’s jealous of the attention that Styles is getting. Like I said, it’s an easy story to tell.
Kalisto made his entrance. Shawn Michaels is on ESPN Sportscenter on Tuesday night at 9pm.
Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze
This is not for Kalisto’s US Title. Remember he was the US Champion? He lost whatever momentum he had. Breeze got some offense in early and grabbed a chinlock. Kalisto nailed a rolling kick on the mat, then a corkscrew plancha and he was able to hit the Salida del Sol for the win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kalisto
Analysis: * A competitive match for the two minutes that they were given. It’s nice to see a champ win a non-title match since champions are booked to lose non-title matches so often. I’m fine with a multi-man ladder match for the US Title. The IC Title match should just be Owens vs. Zayn. It’s not that hard to set it up.
Ambrose vs. Wyatt is later.
There was a highlight video of some great NXT moments over the years to show off a NXT Greatest Matches DVD released next Tuesday on March 15.
The announcers plugged the WWE Network content mentioned earlier.
Big Boss Man is the next inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame. They only showed a few clips. It was announced earlier today. By the way, some people spell it Big Bossman, but it’s Big Boss Man, so let’s go with that.
Analysis: He had a good career in the late 1980s, into the 1990s and then a return in the late 1990s as well. He was not a full time main eventer, but he was there once in a while. People will always remember him, that’s for sure. Sadly, he passed away in 2004. It will still be nice to see him honored.
Kalisto was walking backstage as Jojo walked up to interview him. Kalisto said he idolized people like Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. He said it’s a place where he can have a moment that will live forever. Ryback showed up to complain about how he’s not in the main event of WrestleMania. He put over Kalisto for being a good competitor pound for pound, but this isn’t pound for pound. He complained about actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Ryan Reynolds in superhero movies. Ryback said that being in a tag team only holds you back. He wants Kalisto to watch him tear off the wings of those social butterflies.
Analysis: The heel turn continues. It looks like Ryback will face Kalisto for the US Title at WrestleMania and he’ll probably win that title. They could make it a multi-man match too.
The Social Outcasts of Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel & Adam Rose did a promo. Dallas said Ryback doesn’t want to be in a team, which means he can’t be one of them since they are the four best friends. Axel said the Axe Man Cometh and did some axe chopping with his buddies.
Ryback made his entrance.
Ryback vs. Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas, Heath Slater & Adam Rose)
Ryback tossed Axel across the ring and then slammed Axel into the mat repeatedly. Running high knee by Ryback in the corner. That led to some CM Punk chants. After a chase outside the ring, Ryback nailed Axel with a forearm shot to take him down. Ryback pounded away with fists to weaken Axel. Ryback nailed Shellshock for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ryback
Post match, Ryback just walked away without the “Feed Me More” chants.
Analysis: 1/2* It’s the formula that won Ryback a match last week as well. Same kind of match too with the fists that weakened Axel, Ryback being relentless with them and then hitting his finisher.
There was another recap of Shane and Vince McMahon talking earlier.
Vince was on the phone talking about how they are going to break the attendance record. Stephanie showed up to talk about Shane. It took her over two hours to talk to him? Okay. She wondered “what if” Shane wins at WrestleMania. Vince told her that he’s got this. She asked what if he doesn’t and Vince re-assured her that he’s got this.
Analysis: It’s smart to have her worry about Shane possibly winning. You have to put over the idea of that possibility to get the audience to buy into it as well. I’m not even sure what my prediction is, but they need a new direction post WrestleMania so that would suggest a Shane win.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance for the main event.
This Thursday on Smackdown is Miz TV with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. That’s great. Also, Jericho talks about why he attacked AJ Styles on Raw.
Bray Wyatt did a promo about how he’s crossed paths with Ambrose many times, but on Saturday at Roadbloack he gets a chance to conquer Brock Lesnar. Tonight he gets to show Ambrose how cruel and dangerous he can be.
Analysis: Wyatt’s a favorite of mine, but he’s really lost a lot of momentum and is hardly the threat that he says he is. What a shame because he’s got such a cool gimmick full of so much potential.
As Wyatt made his entrance, Cole mentioned Lesnar going after Wyatt at the Royal Rumble and then the Wyatt Family tossed out Lesnar even though they had been eliminated by Lesnar. That was going to lead to Wyatt vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania, but they changed plans and it’s Lesnar vs. Wyatt at Roadblock on Saturday in Toronto.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt’s all alone. He pounded on Ambrose early on. Running body attack by Wyatt led to a break about two minutes into it.
Back from break, Wyatt was still in control after a DDT on the apron during the break and a superplex as well. Running corner splash by Wyatt. Wyatt with a suplex into a slam. The action spilled out to the floor where they did a double clothesline spot where both guys were running and connected at the same time. Wyatt nailed an uppercut, then a clothesline and a splash for a two count. Ambrose came back with a dive outside the ring, but Wyatt was able to send Ambrose into the barricade. Ambrose came back with a huge clothesline in the ring. Ambrose hit the flying elbow off the top. The Wyatt Family logo appeared on the screen as Strowman, Harper & Rowan were on the apron. They attacked Ambrose, so the ref called the bell for the disqualification. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Dean Ambrose
Post match, Wyatt nailed Ambrose with a series of punches. Wyatt nailed the Sister Abigail to put Ambrose down.
Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay. The usual stuff from them with spots that they’ve done together dozens of times. It was a predictable ending to a match where I didn’t expect a clean finish.
Triple H’s music hit as the WWE Champion walked out to the ring. He stared with Wyatt when he got into the ring. Then he stared at the three tall dudes standing behind Wyatt. Fans chanted “yes” for that as Wyatt touched the WWE Title. Wyatt left with his buddies.
Triple H stood over Ambrose. Then Triple H cleaned off the announce table. Hunter went back into the ring, Ambrose recovered and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds on Hunter in the ring.
Ambrose held up the WWE Title to end the show as Cole hyped up WWE Roadblock on Saturday night on WWE Network. The show ended at 11:09pmET.
Analysis: If you thought Hunter was going to win that battle again then you haven’t watched this show enough. It was obviously going to end in Ambrose’s favor when Hunter cleaned off the announce table before he even touched Ambrose.
It’s weird that they have WrestleMania in four weeks, yet the focus is on a match this Saturday. I don’t expect Ambrose to win, but it should be a good match on Saturday. Hunter will retain and then drop the gold to Roman Reigns as planned at WrestleMania. Anything other than that would be a surprise.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Chris Jericho
2. Big E
3. (tie) AJ Styles
3. (tie) Kofi Kingston
Special shoutout to Sami Zayn. Great seeing him, but I can’t ignore the work of those four guys. Zayn will be in this spot in the future.
6 out of 10
Last week: 4
2016 Average: 5.6
Last 5 Weeks: 4, 7, 5.5, 6.5, 5
2016 High: 7 (Feb. 22)
2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29)
I’m giving it a 6 out of 10.
The tag match with New Day beating Jericho/Styles was the highlight of the show. It was the best TV match of the year so far. There’s so much good talent on the WWE roster that they can have a great match like that for 15 minutes every week yet there are some weeks where they don’t let the talent shine. I’m glad they treated this as a big deal.
Sami Zayn showing up was a nice surprise for the audience. He should be on the main roster, so it’s nice to see him back there after that injury last May. He has been great on NXT since he returned to action. A feud with Owens makes a lot of sense right away. Just give them a chance and they’ll have the best feud in the company.
Some of the matches were too short, which was the problem last week. When talents are forced to rush through their matches they aren’t going to get much of a reaction because the fans will remember them for having that short match.
While there were no new matches added to WrestleMania, at least there is a better picture of things with Styles vs. Jericho likely happening again. Plus, it could be Owens vs. Zayn for the IC Title and Kalisto vs. Ryback for the US Title. Either one could be a multi-man match too.
No sign of Roman Reigns again. It’s a combination of selling the beating by Triple H two weeks ago, but also having a legit nasal surgery. Giving him a few weeks off is probably a good idea for his body and mind because he works a busy schedule.
The first hour was the best, the second hour was poor, the third hour had the majority of that tag match and then the rest of it was pretty average.
I’ll write about WWE Roadblock live on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night in addition to my Smackdown review later in the week too.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org