Asuka (w/ Lana) defeated Shayna Baszler (w/ Nia Jax)
There was a very awkward pep talk with Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax with some really shitty dialogue. Fortunately the match that followed was much better, which you would expect coming from these two awesome performers.They could have a great match with their eyes closed. This didn't need the smoke and mirrors of Lana and Nia Jax, and Jax again looked slow going into the stairs, but picked it up on the huracanrana. The signature sneaky pin gets the fall on Shayna. Another situation where Baszler is pinned at the expense of protecting Nia from a pin for some reason. Pinning Shayna Baszler three times in a row is not a booking decision that I would have made. Third match involving these two in the last few weeks. You don't need to see this match. I promise, WWE, wins and losses matter.
Dana Brooke & Ricochet defeated Retribution (w/ Mustafa Ali)
The promo work leading into this match is really, really scripted bad. Mustafa Ali is about the only one that can pull it off, but even he seems more scripted than usual. This match is really quick. There's some impressive stuff with Ricochet and Slapjack, but Dana Brooke pins Reckoning again. Ali chastizes both of them. They really shit the bed on this hastily thrown together stable from jump street. What a terrible idea and even worse execution
Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods) defeated Shelton Benjamin (w/ MVP & Cedric Alexander)
Cedric Alexander (w/ MVP & Shelton Benjamin) defeated Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods)
Hurt Business trash a stagehand before the match. The offense LANDS in this match. Kicks from Kofi, powerbomb from Shelton.Think of all WWE could have done with Shelton Benjamin the last few years. Trouble in Paradise wins. Cedric goads Kofi Kingston into another match and attacks his leg. All due respect to Cedric, but if I'm a WWE agent, I'm looking at him using the spinning brainbuster and asking him to pass on it as a transitional spot if Peyton Royce is using it as a finisher. Cedric gets the win with a Lumbar Check. This gave Cedric a win and made Kofi look sympathetic, so I'm okay with this.
AJ Styles, Miz & Morrison (w/ Omos) defeated Sheamus & Drew McIntyre
Keith Lee tells Sheamus nobody is buying the nice guy routine, backstage. At this point, I want to see Keith Lee turn instead of Sheamus. Miz and Morrison make fun of Sheamus' accent, but he's joined by Drew, who said Miz doesn't have any balls. Instead he has Morrison's balls, because he's a sidekick bitch. Tom Phillips has a spasm over a John Morrison gator roll. I like the move, but damn, bro. John Morrison always shows me something different in one of his matches. A different move, a different sell, something. Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kicks Drew, and Styles pins him with a Phenomenal Forearm.
Backstage, Sheamus says he knows it wasn't intentional. Drew stares him down. They've made Sheamus way more interesting to me in this story. Drew has a great line. "You know what's about to happen, don't you." They fight, and put Pat Buck through a table for breaking them up. After that, they're fine. This was good stuff. Not exactly Reigns-Uso level, but they're doing good.
Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) defeated Jeff Hardy
Matt Riddle is backstage with BroNutts, pitching a Hardy Bros tag team to Jeff Hardy, with the Broetry In Motion finisher. Riddle is hilarious in these promos, and makes the save for Hardy. Jeff Hardy is doing some of his best work from a sense standpoint in a long time, maybe ever. He's in what should be "work smarter, not harder" territory, but is just doing both. Lashley beats him clean with a Full Nelson. This was a good match. Good stuff that made Lashley look good, didn't hurt Jeff Hardy, showcased Riddle and all that.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Randy Orton cuts a promo that doesn't go much of anywhere, but does get Bray Wyatt up on the screen for a Firefly Funhouse segment. Orton challenges Wyatt -- not the Fiend -- to a match tonight. Wyatt actually sends us to commercial during the match. Randy Orton beats the crap out of Wyatt, as the latter laughs on. The Wyatt character isn't incompetent or unaccomplished, just misguided, and doesn't take things as serious. When Orton comes back, he gets DISTRACTED by music briefly, but hits an RKO anyway. The lights go out, and Orton is in the ring with the Fiend. Mandible Claw is applied, and apparently the match is over. It'd be great if Raw or Smackdown had some honest to god main event finishes.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!