Date: February 26, 2015
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Wrestlemania is creeping up on us and you can see most of the card from here. The main story coming out of Monday was Randy Orton rejoining the Authority for about two and a half hours but ultimately turning back against them. For some reason he let Seth Rollins off easy, which likely won't be addressed tonight. Let's get to it.
Here's Daniel Bryan to open things up. The fans chant YES but Bryan shouts NO for a change. That's what he said a few years ago when he was frustrated at the lack of opportunities. He was wrong though, because the fans were in his corner. The fans gave him the opportunity to climb the ladder to the top and he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania XXX. He had to give it up due to injury, but then he had another chance to get it back at Fast Lane.
However, he failed and there's no Wrestlemania main event this year. Without that motivation, does that mean the YES Movement is dead? NO it does not! He won't back down because he has big plans this year. Before he can get those out though, here's Bad News Barrett who has somehow gone a full three days since losing a match.
No one wants to hear Bryan's sob story because losers like Bryan don't deserve the spotlight. Neither does a thief like Dean Ambrose, so here's Dean for the brawl. He and Barrett fight to the floor so Bryan picks up the Intercontinental Title. Barrett demands it back but Ambrose decks him from behind and takes the belt back. Daniel didn't seem interested in the belt other than keeping it away from Barrett. Cole sounds like he's begging us to believe that Barrett is still champion.
Dean Ambrose vs. Miz
Is he going to step on Miz's sunglasses and break his foot this time? No Mizdow because he might be off shooting the commercial he mentioned on Raw. An early rollup gets two for Dean but he gets caught in a neckbreaker for the same. We're already in the chinlock but Ambrose fights up with rights and lefts. Some running forearms drop Miz again but Barrett comes back out to steal the belt again. The distraction doesn't work for once though as Dean hits Dirty Deeds for the pin on Miz at 2:47.
We look at stills of Orton returning on Sunday and video of the story with Rollins on Monday. Lawler tries to defend Orton's lack of action by saying he was worried about Big Show and Kane. I'd be worried about them too if I wanted anyone to stay awake during my matches. Seriously even Bryan couldn't survive a Kane feud.
After a break, Barrett can't get Renee's name right but says Ambrose and Bryan don't deserve to touch this title.
Naomi vs. Natalya
Say it with me: this officially started on Total Divas, even though there's been almost no animosity between them on that show. Somehow though, that's better continuity than you usually get on the main shows. They run the ropes to start and Natalya drops down, only to get rolled up for two. A headscissors drops Natalya again and we hit a chinlock with Naomi using her legs instead of the arms. Both girls hit cross bodies and the guys get into it on the floor. The referee holds Naomi back from a downed Natalya, allowing the Canadian to hit the discus lariat for the pin at 2:48.
Here are the Russians to brag about their win on Sunday. Rusev says this is what a championship looks like and Lana walks us through some stills of Cena's spirit being crushed over and over again. Lana says Rusev isn't one to sleep on the job and brags about Putin sending them congratulatory emails. She even shows us one, of course in Russian, which probably has a very funny translation.
Rusev repeats that Cena gets no shot at Wrestlemania so he needs a new opponent. Cue Jack Swagger as we flash back to August. Jack says there's no such thing as a scared US Champion and the fight is on. Just like happens every single time, Rusev survives a storm and superkicks Swagger into the Accolade. Was there NO ONE ELSE they could have used for this spot? Like......sweet goodness there really isn't much of anyone is there? Is the roster really that thin? Or are the faces really that lame?
Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan
Non-title of course, because even Bryan hasn't fallen enough to want the Intercontinental Title. Barrett isn't sure where to put the title. Byron Saxton introduces R-Truth on commentary. Truth: “COACH! I MISSED YOU!” Ok that was funny. Barrett shoves Bryan down to start but gets sent into the corner for a kick to the ribs. The surfboard knee stomp sends Barrett back into the corner as Truth thinks a crumpet is a musical instrument.
More kicks stagger Barrett but the Winds of Change connect for two. Daniel bails to the floor as Truth keeps babbling about how he should be Intercontinental Champion. Back from a break with Barrett putting on a chinlock. I really do feel sorry for him. This is at least the second and probably third loser title reign for him and I don't know what he does to deserve it.
Bryan fights up and hits more YES Kicks for two but Barrett avoids the running dropkick in the corner. The title was knocked to the floor and Barrett is distracted, allowing Bryan to hit the Flying Goat. Truth: “Bryan looks like a chicken dipped in Rogaine.” How do you even respond to that? The YES Lock goes on and Truth sneaks over to the corner and steals the belt but gets back on commentary with the belt under his jacket. Bad News makes the ropes but turns around for the running knee and the pin at 10:31.
Rating: C-. This feud is turning into a battle over who can suck more than the other guy. Somehow though, Barrett is going to wind up leaving with the belt because that's how WWE works. Then they'll wonder why no one cares about Barrett, the title, or the losers in the match. Truth was funny on commentary but that doesn't mean I want to see him in the ring. At least the title is getting some attention tonight though.
Barrett can't find the title but Truth denies any involvement. This is somehow making Barrett come off like someone we should feel sorry for, because we're supposed to feel sorry for someone who loses every match he has.
We get a sitdown interview with Roman Reigns from earlier today. Reigns praises Bryan for a hard fought match on Sunday and says Bryan knows what it takes to get where Reigns is going. We look at a clip of Heyman's speech on Monday about how Reigns just can't do it. Roman is tired of hearing about how he can't do something and says he'll have to train harder than ever before. Lesnar has been on this stage before but Reigns doesn't have any experience at this level. He needs to talk to people in his family to see what it's like to be there.
Reigns wants Lesnar to be bouncing around the ring and at his very best when he faces a man representing a proud family who is trying to make a better life for himself and his family. My goodness this guy is just not good at making me care about him. That's the problem with him: he's just ok at most things other than spearing people in half. He's great as a heavyweight monster, but as a humanized character, he's just stuck in the middle of the pack. Five minutes of him talking about what he needs to do didn't make me care about him any more than I did in the first place, and I can't imagine it getting better anytime soon.
Truth runs into Ambrose and says he beat Barrett for the title. Ambrose says he's coming for the belt so Truth just hands it to him. Cole: “HAHAHAHA!” And that sums up the whole thing better than I ever could.
Fandango vs. Curtis Axel
Axel shows us a clock which has him in the Royal Rumble for 32 hours, giving Cole and Lawler something else to laugh about. Fandango jumps him to start so Axel throws him over the top. Curtis: AXELMANIA! Fandango plants him with a release suplex and the Last Dance is good for the pin at 1:03. Again, I care about the loser more than the winner.
Miz interrupts Mizdow's commercial shoot and mocks him for just ripping Miz off. The director didn't know Miz was interested in being part of this commercial and gives him the part instead. That's ANOTHER face who is treated like a loser, but at least he hasn't......when did he last win a match? This company is really bad at setting up good guys. Of course they have to face adversity, but they really need to win once in awhile. This idea of just letting the fans carry them doesn't hold up for everyone but it seems to be all WWE is doing lately. Either that or have the champ lose every time.
Barrett will be defending the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania in a ladder match against an unknown number of unnamed opponents. Sheamus returns there maybe?
We get the Sting career retrospective. WWE does a lot of things wrong but they're awesome at things like this.
Adam Rose vs. Goldust
Rose has entered the Andre battle royal. Before the match we get a recap of Stardust attacking his brother on Sunday. Rose jumps him to start and charges into the powerslam for two. The Final Cut is good for the pin at 1:02.
Stardust is dressed as a monkey Rosebud and jumps Goldust.
Bray Wyatt claims that Undertaker is clinging to his legacy. He's a snake, but even the cleverest rat can only run from the snake for so long. How long does Undertaker think he can hide? Time is ticking because Wrestlemania is approaching. Come find him.
Seth Rollins/Kane/Big Show vs. Erick Rowan/Dolph Ziggler/Ryback
We get the Jon Stewart response to Rollins before the match starts. Kane headlocks Rowan to start but gets runs over by a shoulder block. A fall away slam (that's way too popular of a move these days) and jumping elbow get two for Rowan and it's off to Ziggler for a nice response. Kane drives Dolph into the corner for a tag to Rollins, who is quickly dropped with a neckbreaker.
Big Show makes a blind tag and throws Ziggler down with a cobra clutch throw as we take a break. Back with Kane holding Ziggler in a chinlock before kicking him in the face to give Rollins two. Big Show comes back in with a headbutt to set up the Vader Bomb. Big Show: “I'M GOING TO HIT MY MOVE!” It's only good for two though and Dolph scores with a quick Fameasser but he has to add a running DDT to Kane. That's finally enough for the tag to Ryback and house is cleaned.
An overhead belly to belly sends Rollins flying into the corner and a big powerslam plants him for good measure. The Meat Hook connects but Mercury comes in for a distraction. Big Show breaks up a double Shell Shock as everything breaks down. Rollins dives onto Rowan but his Blockbuster attempt is caught in a Shell Shock. Kane makes a save but eats a Zig Zag, only to get dropped by Rollins. The Stooges are thrown in again and the distraction lets Ryback hit Shell Shock on Rollins for the pin at 11:07.
Rating: C+. Well the booking has been frustrating all night so why not job out Rollins again while trading wins in the never ending feud as well? If there's one good thing here, it's Ryback looking like a monster this whole time. However, none of this matters until it actually leads somewhere for him. Odds are he'll be put into the battle royal though and get lost in the shuffle.
Overall Rating: D+. This show was one of the most head scratching shows I've seen in a very long time. Between having the Intercontinental Title literally handed over from one guy to another in what felt like a parody sketch instead of.....whatever that really was supposed to be to faces looking like hopeless losers to somehow making me feel bad for a villain to trading wins with Big Show and Kane continuing to look strong to set up whatever in the world they're going to do, this show was every problem WWE has going on right now.
The short matches are a confusing point for me. On one hand, I really don't want to see these matches keep going on and on, but at the same time I'd like to see a match get enough time to not be a huge waste. Throw in Roman Reigns just talking for five minutes and not getting anywhere and this was a really rough show to sit through.
Dean Ambrose b. Miz – Dirty Deeds
Natalya b. Naomi – Discus lariat
Daniel Bryan b. Bad News Barrett – Running knee
Fandango b. Curtis Axel – Last Dance
Goldust b. Adam Rose – Final Cut
Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback b. Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins – Shell Shock to Rollins
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