- Michael Cole is in denim, Pat McAfee is dressed like Vince McMahon, and they gave us a CGI fist. I respect it. CGI fist is better than no fist. I'll take the fisting any way I can get it. This isn't necessarily like "1999-2006" throwback as much as it is an amalgamation of a lot of retro elements of WWE.
- An IcoPro commercial!
- Charles Robinson is wearing the old blue ref's shirt. It feels like home.
Paul Heyman, Roman Reigns and Jey Uso eulogize Daniel Bryan. There's a ten bell salute, from the mouth of Paul Heyman. Reigns says the world should acknowledge him. Instead, he's replacing Daniel Bryan with someone who will. Jimmy Uso is back!! Cesaro comes out and says there's no replacing Bryan, but gets ATTACKED by Rollins. If Cesaro beats Seth Rollins, he'll get a WWE Universal Title match at WrestleMania Backlash against Roman Reigns, as announced by Teddy Long. Yes. Teddy Long. This ruled. Everything about it kicked ass.
If Cesaro wins, he gets a WWE Universal Title Shot
Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins
Rollins should have gotten a couple of wins the last few weeks and they could have made this a top contender's match. I mean they could anyway, but it would have made sense. One of my favorite spots in this match has been flipping Rollins off the ropes into the Neutralizer tease. This is an established, main event level star against one who has bee waiting for his chance, and there's a big level of intrigue there. They're throwing everything at one another. The Usos get involved and Rollins pushes Jey down. Jimmy superkicked him, but Cesaro took them out and picked up the win with a Neutralizer on Rollins. I loathe distraction finishes, but the Usos-Rollins situation opened up a lot of possibilities.
Rollins is backstage asking Reigns who he needs to be pissed off at. Reigns scolds Jimmy, who says he's nobody's bitch. Jimmy tells Jey that Roman Reigns is using him. He wants to get back the tag team titles to represent the family.
Lol they threw to a video package in the middle of this in ring with the Usos and Reigns. Jimmy tells Reigns he would have never quit like Jey did. Reigns wants Jimmy to fall in line or go home. Jimmy Uso chooses to go home. Jey goes to get Jimmy, and Cesaro attacks Reigns. Jimmy saves Jey, but not Reigns and gets his ass kicked anyway. Cesaro takes out all three.
Carmella defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan)
Ruby Riott's Cheeky Nandos kick sell was awesome. There were some cool transitions that led to the Code of Silence, but another three minute women's match on Smackdown. Remember when Ruby Riott had a bunch of fun 8-15 minute Raw matches? I do.
Bayley has some bad ass pyro, and is out to honor former champions. Alundra Blayze, Jacqueline, Lita, Beth Phoenix, Molly Holly, Lita, Trish Stratus. She says Bianca Belair won't be on her level, and her last title defense is coming up. Bianca Belair brushes her off, and stuff a hilarious double leg, but Bayley starts to rip her earring out and stands on her hair. I really liked the Bayley & Bianca Belair segment. Both are so good.
Dominik Mysterio (w/ Rey Mysterio) defeated Dolph Ziggler (w/ Robert Roode)
Dominik Mysterio was on Smackdown before Dolph Ziggler or Robert Roode ever were. He challenges Ziggler to a match after Dolph disrespected him. You can see this coming a mile away. Dolph Ziggler talks too much shit and gets pinned with a small package.
Tamina (w/ Natalya) defeated Reginald (w/ Nia & Shayna) via DQ
Good on them showing Tamina's Talking Smack promo. Reginald cut a harmless promo before the match. Reginald avoids Tamina's attacks with flips. Reginald gets on the ring poist and flips off, before he got kicked in the face. Shayna causes a DQ. Really? You can't give Tamina the pin over REGINALD? They beat Tamina's ass after the match and Samoan Drop her into the barricade.
Teddy Long is amazing. He tried to book Sami Zayn against the Undertaker, but then he books a TAG TEAM match. He thought King Corbin was King Booker.
King Corbin, Otis, Sami Zayn, Apollo Crews & Chad Gable defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Street Profits, Kevin Owens & Big E
Big E's athleticism was really on display in this match. This is basically a house show all-star match until the end when everyone starts taking psychotic bumps. Owens suplexed on his head. Gable pounced in the air. Otis probably forgot to catch Montez and caught it on his face. Corbin pins Nakamura with End of Days, which is curious.
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!