– The Triple-Threat Intercontinental Championship match between Bad News Barrett, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler continued the ongoing storyline of Ambrose stealing Barrett’s Title. Barrett had a strong negative reaction in the Garden and cut a promo insulting the city and his opponents. Ziegler and Ambrose were more or less equally over. The match itself was good with some fun spots, but Barrett picked his spot and picked up the win, getting his Championship back before Ambrose stole it back.
– The Tag Team Championship match between Tyson Kidd/Cesaro and Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods was very good in terms of in-ring action. Kidd/Cesaro had a lot of heat, but also had some loud fans in the crowd. The New Day act just isn’t catching on and the MSG crowd let them have it. The in-ring action distracted the crowd from the gimmick at moments, but that all went away once “New Day!” was shouted every three minutes. They make a good trio, surely – but let them drop this “New Day” gimmick and be themselves. Either way, Cesaro/Kidd used heel tactics to come away with the win, retaining.
– The Divas Championship match between Nikki Bella and Paige was your usual Divas affair. The crowd chanted for Daniel Bryan and John Cena (shocker), but paid little attention to the actual match itself. Nikki won with the Rack Attack with help from her sister when Paige had her in the Figure Four.
– Seth Rollins cut a promo saying he would team up with Kane to face Bryan and Roman Reigns later in the show instead of Randy Orton. He insulted NYC, which also drew heat.
– The Chris Jericho-Luke Harper match was okay, but had room for improvement. Harper could be so much bigger than he is right now. Y2J’s sudden return had the biggest pop thus far and the fans ate up all his promo as he insulted The Authority. It’s surprising he’s not directly involved with WrestleMania being that he’s working house shows, but this could be a way to get him to work his “ring rust” and have him appear post-Mania. He usually works from June-August either way.
– The United States Championship match between Rusev and John Cena followed their act at FastLane pretty nicely, as it was reminiscent of that match. Cena had a strong negative reaction from the NYC faithful, but still a strong one regardless. Russell/Lana had much heat going in with their anti-America promo and pointed to that same damn photo of Vladimir Putin. Strangely enough, it was Triple H who “booked” the rematch and it seemed the crowd liked that despite obviously knowing Triple H was with The Authority. Some very close near-falls too tat made you wonder if Cena would actually win the Belt here, but use of a chair got Rusev disqualified,
– The match between R-Truth and Fandango wasn’t anything much special. Truth said “What’s Up” 56 times, the crowd was hot for it, and he beat Fandango, who played the heel. Truth can be a very intriguing character when they let him talk more, but that didn’t happen here.
– The match between Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt was good, as Orton had a big pop and Wyatt was the perfect foil for him here. This is a match we will probably see on Raw in given time. Orton was all face here and surprisingly pinned Wyatt clean with the RKO to a good pop.
– The Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night segment with Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ric Flair and Triple H was a great one, as video packages were shown to celebrate Hogan’s career, highlighting his many defining moments at MSG. Honestly touching moment as well as even Hogan cried. The banner raising of Hogan’s name in the MSG arena was also legitimately cool. Some in the crowd thought this was the end of the night and forgot about the main event, but realized it soon enough to catch it.
– The Reigns/Bryan-Kane/Rollins match was your overall crowd-pleaser as Reigns/Bryan worked well together and The Authority tried to upstage them. Reigns picked up the pinfall win over Rollins after a spear. Bryan and Reigns celebrated with fans after and signed autographs. Overall, a good show with a few really good matches and the Hogan segment was the marquee moment here.
– Intercontinental Championship – Bad News Barrett (Champion) def. Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose via pinfall to retain
– Tag Team Championship – Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (Champions) def. Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods (w/Big E) via pinfall to retain
– Divas Championship – Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) (Champion) def. Paige via pinfall to retain
– Chris Jericho def. Luke Harper via pinfall
– United States Championship – John Cena def. Rusev (w/Lana) (Champion) via DQ; Rusev retains
– R-Truth def. Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) via pinfall
– Randy Orton def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall
– Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins/Kane via pinfall
– Daniel Bryan’s promo was good in that it provided a “reality shot in the arm” for him headed to WrestleMania and before the thought of him having no plans could come about, he more or less got inserted into the Intercontinental Championship picture once Bad News Barrett came out. This isn’t bad though. You can’t say it is a demotion by any means, because look at John Cena. He’s not in the main event of WrestleMania either and has been in the United States Championship picture. The brawl with Barrett and Dean Ambrose was also decent.
– The Ambrose-Miz match was solid. The dynamic of Ambrose having the IC Title to get at Barrett and Barrett’s numerous failed attempts to get it back are entertaining, but it’s the fact that Ambrose isn’t Champion and shouldn’t argue for “honor and prestige,” exactly what Byron Saxton said on commentary. Byron Saxton should never be the voice of reason. Barrett got the Title back but you had the feeling Ambrose would get it again. Ambrose also got the win not surprisingly, as he keeps his momentum going.
– Barrett’s backstage promo had him call out Bryan and Ambrose and put himself over as Champion more or less. Decent.
– The Naomi (w/The Usos)-Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd/Cesaro) match was better than expected, but still way too short to be anything special. The two did have good in-ring chemistry and the two tag teams got their hands on each other and Natalya played possum to outsmart Naomi. Good progress.
– The Rusev/Lana promo was more insulting America and John Cena. We Google translated Vladimir Putin’s “letter” and the translation was correct more or less (look slightly right). Jack Swagger coming out was different but this wasn’t a new feud. He was over in this segment though before he got clobbered. If anything, this is probably a minor feud before Rusev turns back to Cena. Hopefully, they allow Swagger to get some revenge again.
– The Barrett-Bryan match was made more entertaining with R-Truth on commentary. Him mistaking Saxton for Jonathan Coachman was funny. Truth stealing the belt was also entertaining. Now with Barrett’s loss to Bryan adding to his “defeated by” list, he has to be the worst IC Champion ever. It’s hard to make a belt look good when its own Champion seemingly can’t beat anybody or hold on to said Title.
– The Roman Reigns sit-down interview with Saxton had Reigns excel in his best promo environment. They were smart to play up this side of him. His demeanor was great here. Strong point of the show.
– The backstage interaction between Ambrose and Truth was funny because of Truth, but for someone who went to the trouble of also stealing the belt to give it back so easily made Truth look weak, somewhat stumping his momentum.
– The Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes)-Curtis Axel match had more of the same complaining by Axel – albeit the #AxelMania stuff is funny with the added clock and the new wrestling tights. Fandango picked up a useless win. Can Axel look any more like a joke headed into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale?
– The Damien Mizdow-Miz commercial segment was quite humorous and allowed Miz to continue his egomaniacal actor routine and him obviously ripping Mizdow’s opportunity away from him was more good stuff.
– The announcement of Barrett defending his IC Title in a ladder match against multiple opponents sounded like the road they were going down considering who has beaten him so far.
– Adam Rose’s boxed promo didn’t add anything to his act despite letting us know he’d also be in the Andre The Giant Battle Royale match. Can we take him seriously?
– The Rose (w/The Exotic Express)-Goldust match was quite short as Goldust finished Rose off quickly. How memorable. Stardust attacking Goldust disguised as a Rosebud was a decent way to progress their feud, but disguising as a Rosebud has been done before.
– The Bray Wyatt promo was more of the usual, but Wyatt is at his best when he is focused on someone in his promos and obviously, the Undertaker is a big name. When will the two finally interact? This whole feud can’t be one-sided.
– The Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback-Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security)/The Big Show/Kane six-man tag main event was good for what it was; fast-paced power moves that gave the trio their big moment.
– Dean Ambrose def. The Miz via pinfall
– Natalya (w/Cesaro, Tyson Kidd) def. Naomi (w/The Usos) via pinfall
– Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Curtis Axel via pinfall
– Goldust def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Six-Man Tag – Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback def. Kane/The Big Show/Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) via pinfall
Tag Team Turmoil
– The opening segment where Kane and The Big Show announced the tag team turmoil match actually provided a breath of fresh air to the show, as it’s been a long while since they’ve done one of these matches. Kane having Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan start things off sounded about right for Authority shenanigans. On that note, Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil are a team? Also, Why would The Usos need to compete if they are the Champions? So sinister.
– It’s good to see Bray Wyatt on the rise again. It’s given his character a new focus. When R-Truth came out, this kind of gave away the match result. Squash… Truth did make it more back and forth than expected, but the result was still the same. No cryptic promos here, as we guess that has moved to Raw.
– The Summer Rae-Paige match also seemed to be a giveaway of a Paige victory, being that she’s being made to look good as a number one contender to the Divas Championship. They’re trying to establish Paige as a “loose cannon” and it’s working somewhat. It was smart to have The Bellas at ringside for commentary yet again, but them acting bored of the match didn’t help this. Either way, Paige made quick work of Rae and the Paige Tap Out (PTO) is a pretty-looking submission maneuver.
– There was a fair amount of hype for the John Cena-Rusev and Sting-Triple H feud developments with slick video packages, as per usual.
– The Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express)-Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) match was a continuation from last week, instead with Rose choosing not to do the trust fall this time. Fandango won again, but it’s lost in the shuffle of Rose taking out his aggression on the Rosebuds. Will The Bunny come back to get revenge? Where is this all going? More importantly, will anybody actually care?
– It was obvious from the start that the focus of the tag team turmoil match was on Reigns and Bryan wanting to upstage one another, getting in each other’s faces. That story was fine, but was having them more or less pick apart the ever-growing tag team division the way to go with it? Granted, teams like The Ascension and The Usos were kept strong here with The Ascension getting DQ’d after beating down Bryan and Reigns a pretty good degree and The Usos understandably put up the strongest fight, and it added an interesting “family dynamic” with them being Reign’s cousins, which added fuel to the fire between him and Bryan. Miz and Damien Mizdow were also able to keep their little storyline going as well and weren’t damaged, though the same can’t be said for Los Matadores and Slater/O’Neil, which were obviously squashes. Show/Kane as the final opponents wasn’t surprising. That segment of the match was okay, but more focused on Show/Kane disagreeing eventually ending with Show knocking out Kane, though you wouldn’t call it a “turn” per se, but they’ll probably follow it up on Raw. The showing of respect at the end between Reigns and Bryan was an okay ending, but at the same time sort of contradicted everything the FastLane match buildup has been so far. Why ease their tension now, long match aside?
– Bray Wyatt def. R-Truth via pinfall
– Paige def. Summer Rae via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Tag Team Turmoil – Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns def. The Miz/Damien Mizdow, The Usos, Los Matadores (w/El Torito), Heath Slater/Titus O’Neil, The Ascension and The Big Show/Kane
MizTV Gets Cancelled
– The opening video highlighted the happenings on Raw that led to the making of the Daniel Bryan-Roman Reigns match at FastLane to decide who will fight WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania about as well as humanly possible, core-shaking announcements and all.
– Leading things off with The MizTV segment with Bryan and Reigns seemed like it had comedic potential, as Miz can’t miss a beat lately. His back-and-forth with Mizdow was kept minimal the whole night. Reigns Superman Punching Miz out cold before they started talking seemed to be done for shock value, as Reigns has gained a little bit of his edge back, even trying to confront Bryan. We had to know it was only a matter of time before they would be interrupted. Seth Rollins was gold on the mic again being his bragging self. This set up the main event announcement that Bryan would face Rollins and J & J Security. How many decks can they stack? Sigh.
– Having Miz pissed off backstage was a necessary follow-up to the segment and him being so irate to challenge Reigns made sense, as it sounded crazy, but crazy enough to make you want to stay tuned in.
– Dolph Ziggler and Ryback could make an interesting tag team since their opposite styles work together. Seeing their opponents here were Gold & Stardust only made it seem more apparent a tag team push was par for the course in a way that would also further separate Gold & Stardust. Their match was more or less that as Stardust walked away and Ryback got the pinfall. Ziggler/Ryback doesn’t scream “long-term” but we’ll see in time.
– The Curtis Axel “don’t change the channel” promos can be hilarious as hinted by this week. His plead for the hashtag #AxelMania for a movement was sort of funny.
– The Dean Ambrose-Axel match picked up where things left off from Raw pretty much as Ambrose is being made to look strong in his pursuit of the Intercontinental Championship.
– Bad News Barrett’s “Bad News Zone” segment was hilarious if you caught the scrolling ticker, but it also seemed to distract the viewer from the message that Barrett wouldn’t give Ambrose a shot anytime soon. We know that match will likely happen at FastLane anyway.
– The Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes)-Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) match started with Rose being dropped by the Rosebuds and had him start attacking them, establishing him as a heel, making Fandango sort of the face here. This seemed more confirmed by the finish and it’ll be good to follow Rose’s recent mean streak. Fandango got the win, so perhaps a face push is on the horizon?
– The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow)-Reigns match started off good with Miz going strong on offense. It was dangerous having Miz go in the way of a “hot” Reigns, but Miz’s intensity served well here and he put in a lot of offense. Mizdow was also kept out of the picture here slightly disappointingly.
– There were definitely some piped-in cheers in Erick Rowan’s entrance.
– The Rusev (w/Lana)-Rowan match had Rowan on a lot of offense surprisingly and he looked good in the ring, but then again, he was fighting Rusev, who is being made strong against John Cena. Rusev winning by submission wasn’t a surprise. Rowan still needs something more to his gimmick to make him relatable to fans. Pictures surfaced on the internet of him with his real-life family. With his “changed persona,” why not take that and use it?
– The Paige backstage promo was pretty straightforward in setting her apart from other divas, which we already kind of knew. That spray tan lotion also has to be pretty strong to still be on her.
– The Paige-Alicia Fox match seemed to just take place to have Paige look good as she gets ready to challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas Title. Her winning by submission pretty much accomplishes that.
– The double date segment with Naomi, Jimmy Uso and Natalya had Tyson Kidd come in with Cesaro acting like a jerk and the two attacked Jimmy once he confronted them about their bullying. Natalya snapping at Jimmy and Naomi was sort of surprising. Nevertheless, besides the drama outside the ring, these two teams should provide a good match inside of it whenever it happens. We’ll guess FastLane?
– Bray Wyatt’s latest promo geared towards the Undertaker called himself a “reaper” and did Taker’s glove hand pose. At least it’s fun to try to decode these.
– The 3-on-1 handicap main event with Daniel Bryan taking on J & J Security/Seth Rollins was pretty much the usual Bryan comeback with him getting a pinfall victory on one of J & J Security. This set up the return of Kane, who attacked Bryan and brought us back to the same old beatdown again. Don’t people who get buried alive usually stay away for a while? Reigns didn’t come out to make the save this time, so the purpose might’ve been to show that, but the announcers didn’t even play that up.
– Dolph Ziggler/Ryback def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall
– Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Roman Reigns def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) via pinfall
– Rusev (w/Lana) def. Erick Rowan via submission
– 3-On-1 Handicap Match – Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins and J & J Security via pinfall
New, But Not Improved
– Guess we needed to relive the glory that was Raw last night according to the opening video. Better in 3 minutes than 3 hours, huh?
– The Paige (w/Natalya) and Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) match followed up their Raw drama with more drama. Who do we root for anyway? They both acted heelish. Brie was also the worst motivational speaker. The spot with Nikki flipping Paige off the apron into the mat was different, but the match was overall kinda sloppy and plodding in spots. That near fall exchange wasn’t pretty. Anticlimactically, Paige pinned Bella with the Rampaige. Longer than the Diva match on Raw, but that says little about quality.
– The Lana/Rusev promo or “special message for Ryback” was okay, but the “hopeless” Ryback WWE.com exclusive interview was contradictory of his recent Raw “Turning negatives into positives” promo. Way to go, guys. Rusev is in the Rumble basically was what came out of it.
– Erick Rowan was understandably awkward of his release, but Dolph Ziggler was strangely accepting of his fate. Where’s the fight? Gosh, even when the nWo dominated WCW, WCW didn’t once give up. This was when that feud was in its prime, though of course.
– The “New and Improved” Fandango just looked like an angry tailor, even with Rosa Mendes at his side. R-Truth was definitely not winning this from the start, but it wasn’t going to be a straight-up squash either. Exactly what it was. Same character, different valet.
– A three-way tag match between Stardust/Goldust, The Usos and Damien Mizdow/The Miz announced for the final Friday Smackdown.
– The Titus O’Neil pre-match promo was just an excuse to bark like a seal.
– The O’Neil-Jack Swagger match went the way of the other two matches; glorified squash matches, though this outcome was a little less predictable, though it seemed Swagger was favored from the get-go, but that changed towards the end. Boring match though. Swagger’s cabbage patch kid hairstyle also doesn’t help his look, though he had an out with the “botched” call, but at least O’Neil is still relevant these days.
– Paige (w/Natalya) def. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. R-Truth via pinfall
– Titus O’Neil def. Jack Swagger via pinfall