Date: March 5, 2015
Location: Verizon Center, Washington DC
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
With just a few weeks to go before Wrestlemania, one of the main stories has been the Intercontinental Title scene. We're definitely getting the big ladder match, but it's not entirely clear who is going to be in it. It's also not clear who is going to hand over the title belt to have it hung above the ring as everyone keeps stealing the thing. Let's get to it.
Here's Dolph Ziggler with the Intercontinental Title. He says he never got a rematch for the title against Bad News Barrett because he got fired by the Authority. This is the fifth month that storyline has now been mentioned in. Even Vince Russo didn't let stories go that long. Dolph officially enters the ladder match, but thinks there's still something missing. Last year, someone did everything he could and never stopped fighting to become champion. The fans chant YES and Dolph agrees, but he gets Bad News Barrett instead.
Barrett says Ziggler has something he wants. Dolph: “Looks? Charisma? A great Twitter account?” Bad News gets in the ring but Luke Harper sneaks in and decks Ziggler. The champ goes for his belt but Luke steps on it. Ziggler gets back up and everyone brawls so here's Dean Ambrose to get in on the fighting. The champ is knocked to the floor because he's just another guy in this story. Everyone brawls on the floor again so R-Truth sneaks down in spy mode, crawling on the mat and getting the belt before hiding under the ring.
Truth is in the back (VERY quickly too) and says he got the title in advance. “It's like when I eat when I'm not hungry, so when I get hungry I don't have to eat.” He tries to give the belt to Renee Young but she politely declines. “Where's Gene Ambrose?” As usual, Renee Young is incredibly cute. I'm convinced she could be bald and still be adorable.
Cesaro/Tyson Kidd vs. Los Matadores
Non-title. Diego and Kidd start things off but both guys tag out less than thirty seconds in. Fernando hurricanranas Cesaro down and Diego does the same with a headscissors, only to get caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. A double stomp gets two for Cesaro and we hit the chinlock. Everything breaks down and Cesar goes after Torito, who kicks him in the leg. That's not a DQ for some reason but Natalya trips him up, allowing the Cesaro Swing into a dropkick from Kidd to get the pin on Fernando at 2:25. This was a good squash for the champs that we haven't seen before.
Kane and Big Show both say they'll win the battle royal.
We recap the main event from Monday with Reigns getting pinned by Rollins but cleaning house to end the show. Yeah, the dive over the top and big spear were cool, but it's like a cool fireworks display after your home team loses a ball game. It's a fun visual, but your heart isn't in it.
Ryback vs. Kane
Big Show stares at the Andre trophy at ringside. Kane stomps him down in the corner but runs into some spinebusters. Big Show offers a distraction to no avail as the Meat Hook ends Kane at 2:07. Now why did it take us this many months to get here?
Kane makes Big Show vs. Ryback for right now.
Big Show vs. Ryback
This is joined in progress after a break with Big Show getting in the ring and pounding Ryback into the corner. A clothesline puts the smaller bald power monster down and Show follows it with a slam. Ryback fires some shoulders in the corner but dives into a chokeslam attempt. The KO Punch misses and Ryback hits an awkward looking spinebuster. Kane gets dragged in for offering a distraction and takes a second Meat Hook, allowing Big Show to KO Ryback at 2:58. Dang that was close. We almost saw someone get one over on the Big Balds and I just wouldn't want to live in that world. What was this supposed to prove anyway?
We look at Bray Wyatt lighting the casket on fire on Raw.
Bray Wyatt wants an answer from Undertaker. He has something Undertaker can relate to, and he'll unleash its spirit this Monday. Not even Undertaker can outrun his own fate. The camera pans down and shows the urn.
Sheamus return video.
Video on the Daily Show segment with Jon Stewart from Raw. That might be the best celebrity appearance ever. If not then it's WAY up there.
Brie Bella vs. AJ Lee
I'm not a fan of how Eden says “this is a Deeeeevas match”. This is fallout from AJ returning to help Paige on Monday. Nikki brings up the “Give Divas A Chance” line but says that doesn't apply to AJ. The Bellas have been giving the Divas a chance since AJ has been gone and no one has lived up to their standard. It's why they're the stars of Total Divas and they don't care who comes at them.
The match starts after a break with Paige now at ringside to balance things out. AJ cranks on an armbar and elbows Brie in the face. A high cross body gets two on Brie but she comes back with a nice middle rope dropkick for two of her own. Back up and AJ has to stop so Brie can clothesline her before we hit a chinlock.
That goes nowhere so Brie dropkicks her down again, followed by a clothesline for some two counts. A Hennig necksnap gets an even closer two as the fans don't seem all that interested. We hit another chinlock before the running knee to the chest staggers AJ again. Brie immediately goes to the corner but misses another middle rope dropkick. Back up and AJ hammers away with kicks to the ribs to send Brie out to the floor. We get a big staredown outside before the Black Widow makes Brie tap at 7:42.
Rating: C. This was better than your usual Divas matches but a lot of that is due to it actually getting some time. Brie seemed to almost run out of offense about halfway through though. The Bellas are decent enough as the better than you heels and I can live with them far more when they're not being treated like all time greats who just happen to be heels now. And when they're not dominating the show. That really drove me insane.
Daniel Bryan thinks the Intercontinental Title picture is very interesting right now and can't wait to see who comes out with the belt.
I really can't stand the theme song for this year's Wrestlemania and I keep forgetting that's what the song is for when it starts up.
New Day vs. Miz/Damien Mizdow
Woods is the odd man out this week. Before the match we get a look at the commercial from Monday with Miz being embarrassed. Miz slapped Mizdow as a result but we still didn't get the big face turn. Kofi and Miz get things going by trading armdrags until Miz runs him over for two. Some kicks give Kofi a breather and Mizdow tags himself in and cleans house. Cesaro/Kidd/Natalya are watching in the back as Mizdow's figure four attempt is broken up. Miz tags himself in and orders Mizdow to the floor but Mizdow gets in his face. During the argument, Big E. gets the tag and it's the Midnight Hour for the pin at 3:15.
Rating: D. This was the same thing they've done multiple times now but at least it was Miz taking the pin instead of Mizdow. I really wouldn't mind if Woods was left outside as a permanent manager as he doesn't add much to the team. The match wasn't very good though and it just reenforced the same things we've established for weeks now. In other words, it's a Smackdown match.
We look back at Heyman's speech from Raw.
Brock Lesnar video.
Reigns says Heyman is known for running his mouth, but it's true that Lesnar is going to hurt him at Wrestlemania. Everyone that gets in the ring with Lesnar gets hurt and he'll be no different. The difference is Reigns will get up, lock his fist and hit a Superman Punch. Then he'll spear Lesnar in half to win the WWE World Championship, and then Heyman and Lesnar will believe that. As usual, this was far better because they kept it short and simple.
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev
Non-title and Swagger is thrown to the floor a second after the bell. Back in and Swagger throws Rusev to the floor as we take a break. Back with Rusev getting two off a dropkick and we hit the chinlock. Swagger fights up and tries the Vader Bob but has to settle for the Patriot Lock, sending Rusev to the ropes. Back up and Rusev kicks him in the face and Accolades him for the submission at 7:50.
Rating: D. Egads find someone new for Rusev to beat up. This didn't prove anything and was the exact same match these two have had roughly 19 times. Yeah we get it: Rusev is big and strong and can beat up Jack Swagger. We've known that for almost eight months now. FIND SOMEONE NEW.
Rusev poses but Curtis Axel pops up on screen and says don't change the channel BROTHER. He's often imitated but never duplicated DUDE. This Monday he's going to put Rusev down 1-2-3 and then coming for the US Title at Wrestlemania. Whatcha gonna do when Axelmania runs wild on YOU??? If Buddy Landel can get over by being Ric Flair, Curtis Axel can get over by being Hulk Hogan.
Cameron thinks it's time someone gives her a chance. Summer Rae comes up and says she should be getting the chance. Eva Marie thinks the two of them have no chance. This is what I was worried about when this thing started up. There are far more talented girls to give this spot to, but instead it's going to the girls on the reality show.
Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose
Truth is on commentary and doesn't quite get the rules of the ladder match. He also doesn't like how heights look when you look down at them. Harper Gator Rolls Ziggler to start but has to break up a sunset flip attempt. The running DDT is easily countered and R-Truth thinks he's talking to Byron Jackson. A double tag brings in Ambrose to stomp on Barrett in the corner before the standing top rope elbow drop gets two. Ziggler and Ambrose clear the ring but nearly come to blows as we take a break.
Back with Barrett elbowing Dean in the face and handing it off to Harper for an elbow of his own. We hit the chinlock from Harper, who Truth accuses of not buying his shirt. Barrett comes back in and gets caught in a tornado DDT. Truth wants the match turned into a stepladder match and claims ladder discrimination.
The hot tag brings in Ziggler to speed things up but the big elbow drop gets two on Harper. Now the running DDT connects but still only gets two. A big side slam gets the same for Harper but Barrett and Ambrose come in to fight right next to them. Those two head back to the floor and Ziggler superkicks Harper, setting up the Zig Zag for the pin at 10:03.
Rating: C-. Totally standard midcard tag match here but it's very nice to see that headlining the show instead of more dull stuff. It also helps that this is a logical part of the storyline and fits what they've been doing so far. Truth continues to be funny on commentary with a bunch of “what did he just say” lines. Oh and Barrett didn't get pinned! Life is good.
Post match Barrett goes for the belt but Ambrose dives on him. Truth kicks Harper low but Daniel Bryan shows up to look at Truth holding the title. Truth hands him the belt and starts a YES chant. Bryan poses with the title but Stardust jumps Bryan and grabs the belt to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. The show went by fast enough and it's really nice to have stuff away from the main event feud for a bit. It's also nice to not have the Authority making my blood pressure go through the roof but that's a different story. This still doesn't feel like a major show but I like the Intercontinental Title picture when it's not as all over the place and the battle royal is starting to look a lot better. This was a nice way to cool things down and bring them back to normal after a bad Raw, but it's still not a great show.
Cesaro/Tyson Kidd b. Los Matadores – Cesaro Swing into a dropkick from Kidd
Ryback b. Kane – Meat Hook
Big Show b. Ryback – KO Punch
AJ Lee b. Brie Bella – Black Widow
New Day b. Miz/Damien Mizdow – Midnight Hour to Miz
Rusev b. Jack Swagger – Accolade
Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose b. Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper – Zig Zag to Harper
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