KALISTO vs. APOLLO CREWS (pre-show)
Result: Kalisto wins with the Salida del Sol
Reaction: This match felt like a RAW match. The booking was typical with some odd pacing at times, and it didn’t really advance the story at all, so ultimately the match felt rather pointless. This will continue to play itself out tomorrow, surely.
DEAN AMBROSE (c) vs. THE MIZ for the Intercontinental Title with a no champion’s advantage stipulation
Result: Miz wins after the Skull-Crushing Finale to win the IC title.
Reaction: This match used the stipulation to about the best of its ability. The pacing was good and it created an emotional connection throughout. The ending was a bit illogical with Miz asking Maryse to slap him to cause a DQ as he could have used this strategy much earlier in the match if that was the plan. The Miz walking away with the title will allow him to either be a transitional champion and start a new feud with someone.
RICH SWANN and SASHA BANKS vs. NOAM DAR and ALICIA FOX
Result: Rich Swann pins Dar after a Phoenix Splash from the top rope.
Reaction: This match did what it needed to do. It served as a short, feel good match that gave the hometown boy Swann a win. Beyond that, there was nothing to write home about.
ALEXA BLISS (c) vs. BAYLEY in a kendo stick on a pole match for the WWE Women’s Championship
Result: Bliss wins with a DDT to retain the title.
Reaction: This was the worst match on the card as it was literally a squash match with Bliss going over Bayley. Despite that, this might be the most interesting situation on the card. Where does Bayley go from here? They’ve seriously damaged her character. It might be best if they took her off television for a while and attempt a reintroduction of the character. The loss, or maybe a series of losses, could continue to make her the lovable loser who gains confidence. There’s serious trouble here though, and it’ll be intriguing to see how they deal with it.
THE HARDY BOYZ (c) vs. SHEAMUS AND CESARO in a steel cage for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Result: Sheamus and Cesaro regain the tag team titles after escaping the cage.
Reaction: The first half of the match was rather dull as it consisted of punches, kicks, and throwing each other into the cage. The second half of the match consisted of more action and some good high spots, such as Jeff coming off the top with Whisper in the Wind, Sheamus giving Matt a top rope White Noise and Brogue Kicking the door into Jeff’s head. The double escape/no pinfall aspect of the match made it rather predictable though. Hopefully, this allows Matt to start moving toward something similar to his “Broken” character as the nostalgia run is coming to a close quickly.
NEVILLE (c) vs. AUSTIN ARIES in a submission match for the Cruiserweight Title
Result: Neville made Aries submit to the Rings of Saturn.
Reaction: This was a strong showing between these two in their blow-off match. There were a couple miscues at times in the match that made it a little wonky, but the action was well-paced with a high workrate. Neville’s heel character is still working perfectly, and it’ll be interesting to see who his next challenger is as it will be to see what Austin Aries will do after a disappointing loss. This was certainly the second best match on the card, which is great as it was given the old divas slot.
ROMAN REIGNS vs. SETH ROLLINS vs. FINN BALOR vs. BRAY WYATT vs. SAMOA JOE for the #1 contendership for the WWE Universal Championship
Result: Samoa Joe won after applying the Coquina Clutch to Balor who was unable to respond.
Reaction: This match was well-booked and had a shocking ending. Everyone in this match looked strong and times. The Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt team-up created some good heel heat during the match. Roman looked stronger than ever, and for getting booed early, he was getting a lot of cheers by the end. Finn looked strong as well and had the match one until Joe snatched it away from him to get the victory. The Joe/Lesnar match-up will have to booked well as you don’t want to establish Joe as that much lesser than Lesnar so soon. It was a surprising match-up for them to go with and hopefully it won’t hurt Joe too much.
The Final Analysis: This was a strong show from top to bottom. It was almost always entertaining and had three strong matches on the card with the best being the main event. The finishes overall made sense, and they all set up interesting scenarios moving forward as we have new champions, shifts in booking strategy, a new #1 contender, and a bad but hilarious PPV title. RAW tomorrow should be good as the fallout occurs and the new programs are established for the next month or two.