Starting with the kickoff show, Breezango and Tye Dillinger vs. Rawley, Gable, and Benjamin
Ignoring how well all of these guys can wrestle, it was a great match to get the crowd hot. Breezango is over, and everybody loves Tye, while Rawley and Gable especially are great heat magnets right now. Gable seems to get the intricacies of heel work while Mojo knows how much he can piss people off. Really good choice for an opening match.
Shinsuke vs. Rusev
I’ll be writing a Rusev post later about the type of performer he is because I think it merits a lot more discussion. Shinsuke seems to have been made to tone down his style for WWE and I think it stops him from having the great matches people know he can have. Still, this was a good match with a lot of good ring psychology, and the crowd was totally invested in this one. He sold that Machka Kick like a champ, that looked brutal. Thankfully this did not seem to have the effect that I worried about, which was the crowd turning on Shinsuke. Everybody loves the KINSHASAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Orton takes the US Title from Roode
This match was a lot better than I thought it would be. I wasn’t really invested in this one and thought it would be a bore, but their styles seem to really gel in the ring. Neither guy is a high-flying or fast-paced worker, so they played to their strengths. A really good crowd helped out. I think Orton got the rub so he could be a grand slam champ and be promoted as such, but it really didn’t matter who won it, because obviously there will be a triple threat with Jinder at mania. Tonight’s match got me a little more interested in that one, which is to say a little more than no interest. Still, it’s a logical feud, and I’m not going to crap on them trying to entertain us. Here’s hoping they deliver at the big show.
Naomi and Becky vs. Natalya and Carmella
Sorely disappointed in this one. I had high hopes but everyone seemed to be out of sorts here. I expect they’ll still throw something together with a couple of them and the Riott Squad for mania, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they worked themselves off the show.
Usos vs. New Day
My man Chris nailed it with the Bludgeon Brothers. That was a great match and an absolutely brutal beatdown afterwards. The powerbomb to Woods was horrendous looking. I loved them selling it with the EMTs and how long it took them to get out of there. Is there going to be some kind of tag team turmoil match at mania? A triple threat tornado tag? A gauntlet match? I’m excited for this and I hope they put the belts on Harper and Rowan. I would love for that to set up the debut of the Authors of Pain and maybe a match at Summerslam for the titles.
Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott
Great match. I wish these two went for 10 more minutes I was enjoying the match so much, and I’m sure they could have and made it awesome. But obviously the big story is Asuka. This is the match everyone wanted, and they’re delivering. Great swerve with everyone thinking it was going to be Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss at mania. I can’t wait for this one. I think they’re are going to get a lot of time at mania and put on a hell of a performance before Asuka goes over.
Six Pack Challenge
Everything I hoped it would be. The guys who weren’t going to win went out and just wreaked as much havoc as they could. Baron and Dolph destroying the arena was awesome. AJ’s hang time on the Cena AA through the table was… wait for it… phenomenal. The biggest question coming out of this unfortunately shouldn’t be the biggest question coming out of a championship match this close to mania: where does Shane fit into this and what happens going forward? The biggest question should be what happens with Cena, but Shane’s involvement overshadowed that. They even had Shane on Talking Smack after to talk about what happened, but nobody said a word about Cena. Will it be a triple threat with Shane, Owens, and Zayn? I’m not sure, but I do want this to end. It was intriguing to me in the beginning but now I’d like to know what the resolution is going to be. Does Cena get Undertaker? There’s rumors Mysterio would return to wrestle him, but he also just tore his bicep, so that might not even be an option anymore. Cena says he wouldn’t put it past Vince to leave him off the show because that would be an even bigger story that who he might wrestle, but that could obviously be a swerve there. I’m glad we’re talking about it, I’m glad I don’t know who he’s wrestling yet. It’s fun to speculate on what might happen without knowing through spoilers.
Overall I was entertained by this show, but nothing terribly special.