Happy Monday PCU Wrestling fans. With your head, I’m sure, still reeling after the events of last night; let’s take a deeper look into each of these matches. It was a fairly odd show, starting really slowly and kicking into the highest gear almost out of nowhere.
(Note: There will be no GMCH this week.)
Match 1: The New Day (Champions) vs. The Club vs. Enzo and Cass vs. The Vaudevillains in a Fatal 4-way for the WWE Tag Team Championships
This is probably just me, but I cannot remember a show like this opening with more or less two promos. After Enzo and Cass come out and declare they’ll win, we got some gold from the New Day on their way to the ring. For a second, this felt like a Raw opening, but it got the crowd into it, so it was effective. As most of the tag matches have been through the last couple PPVs or shows, this was a very solid opener. Each team had their moments, as they all more or less got their finishers in, and convincingly carried momentum. The really stand out moment (or moments) from this match, however, is just how effective these teams are as characters. The New Day and Enzo and Cass are both red hot babyfaces now, with the crowd willing behind both teams throughout the match. It’s hard to judge the Club, since there’s so much carry over of people loving them from their Bullet Club days, but they appear to be filling their role. The Vaudevillains, to me, were the biggest surprise. The crowd really dislikes them. In a show that has a lot of heels being cheered, seeing a bad guy team genuinely booed was nice. They’re arrogant and cheap as a team, something much needed after the forced face turn for the New Day. Even though the Champs reclaimed, any of these teams can compete for the belts next month without skipping a beat.
Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day
Match 2: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Much like last month’s match, this one was kind of middle of the pack for me. Ziggler can always put in good work, and I’m very slowly coming around on Corbin. I’ll get to another match that has it worse of in this specific situation, but the only problem with this match was that there was never really any doubt in who would come out the winner. Just looking at where these two are in their career, and just from reading the tea leaves, Corbin is getting the push, and Ziggler is, well, Ziggler. As they continue to build Corbin as this big heel monster, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be losing in any convincing fashion any time soon. As for Ziggler, I really have no idea where to go from here. He can really work in any situation, always putting a hell of a lot in his match work, but WWE more or less squandered him. I’m hoping he can reinvent, however.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Match 3: Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Becky Lynch
After pushing the women’s division for the entire time I’ve covered wrestling, this might be one of the first times where I was incredibly disappointed in a match. With these wrestlers (minus Dana Brooke, who I’ve seen very little of so she’s still more or less unknown to me) I expected a high quality match. They’ve all more or less worked with each other before, and put on solid matches, but this one was really odd. There were numerous times where it felt like they weren’t sure on certain match beats, or the movements were just slow and awkward. I don’t really want to call out specific points in the match, because it wasn’t just one of these wrestlers, they all seemed out of sorts. I’m not sure if it was the tag match style or not, but I know that these women can work a better match. That said, I’m really excited to see a potential Natalya/Becky Lynch feud to work alongside the championship story. While the Divas Revolution of the past year or so has made great leaps in terms of the division, it won’t be until we have a full set of multiple feuds and a really strong, almost undercard, foundation, that we can really say the Revolution succeeded or not. This is a step in the right direction.
Webster’s Thoughts: Charlotte is a good heel, but her whole character is getting long in the tooth. While the match was ok, it seemed very rushed. It was just another example of how the WWE writers are (in my opinion) out of touch with how to properly book the women’s division. Even with the great talent that they have, they continue to fall short at making the women’s division and it’s matches must see TV. It’s also sad that the most exciting part of the match was Nat’s attack on Becky Lynch and not the actual match itself. Its even worse that NXT gets their women’s division so right but the main roster can’t.
Winners: Charlotte and Dana Brooke
Match 4: Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus
This match was, and continued to be, a huge question mark. I know both these guys can put in good work, but the feud is coming out of nowhere, and it seemed unclear how either would move out of this, win or lose. That said, I still had high hopes for this one; there’s no reason why they wouldn’t put in good work, regardless of story threads. While I really enjoyed what Sheamus did, I continue to be puzzled by the Apollo Crews situation. Sheamus worked his usual strong, very stiff style; but Crews didn’t really appear to have a footing in the match offensively for a majority of it. He definitely had moments, like his moonsault off the apron, not using ropes, which just seems impossible to me, but I don’t leave this particularly excited about him. He really snuck away with the win, hitting Sheamus in a roll up while Sheamus was distracted and taken by surprise. Crews leaves the winner, but has yet to look really strong. Assuming this feud continues for at least one more month, let’s hope he comes out looking stronger. From his indie work, I know he has main event potential; just needs proper booking.
Winner: Apollo Crews
Match 5: AJ Styles vs. John Cena
Even with the ladder match coming, this was most anticipated part of the night going in. WWE built this in the best way possible, as, truly, a match over a decade in the making. I don’t feel like I need to use this platform to point out how great AJ is, and how great he was in this match. We know he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, fighting anyone, so his stellar performance is no surprise. Honestly, Cena’s excellent match is also no surprise, but people still crap on him, so it’s time to look into what he does right. There’s something to be said for the “Superman” Cena of about 5 years ago. When the roster was in a tricky place, he almost never lost, being the face of the company. That said, unless you’ve been ignoring him for about 3 years now, you can’t deny that he is a bonafide main eventer, and fully deserving of the place WWE has put him in. The storytelling of his face alone is worth it. Genuinely looking like he had no idea how to put AJ down, he added weight to it. Also, it’s extremely rare that you see someone sell a submission a decent ways after that submission was applied. Cena does that here. Whether it was a genuine troubling limb, or he was acting, his stumbling into the 5-knuckle shuffle was a powerful moment. After the two traded finishers, and numerous near falls, incidental contact on the ref allowed for a Club interference and AJ victory. I can’t imagine this is the end of this story, and I cannot wait for what these guys bring tonight and in the future.
Winner: AJ Styles
Match 6: Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dean Ambrose in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Unsurprisingly, this match was excellent. They found a really good mix of guys for this match, having people that can do some high flying moves in Zayn and, if necessary, Cesaro to big bruisers like Owens and Ambrose (I know, not big, but absolutely a bruiser). For me, the stand out of this match was Cesaro. He had a springboard move off a ladder that still has me baffled. This is also not surprising, but Owens continues to work perfectly as an in ring heel, literally screaming at everyone throughout the match. Even though this wasn’t the best MITB match in terms of spots, two specific points had me yell out at my tv. When Owens threw Cesaro, head first, into the top step of a ladder, they made it look as real as you probably could make it in WWE. Also, and this is the bigger one, Zayn hits Owens with a Michinoku Driver on a ladder’s side. The impact was so intense, I’m not really sure how Owens could walk after the match, let alone continue to compete. The finish of the match, which started with all 6 guys reaching for the case, was very effective, lending credence to the ability that all these guys could have credibly carried this. The Ambrose win, however, made the most sense storywise.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Match 7: Rusev (Champion) vs. Titus O’Neil for the United States Championship
Having the most unfortunate place on the card, I can honestly say I have almost nothing to say on this match. There was never any doubt in the Rusev retain, and the entire storyline was an odd choice. Having Rusev literally ruin Father’s Day for O’Neil’s kids just ended up being awkward, and the crowd was ready for the main event before the bell even rang. Both guys, again, are good, but this just felt unnecessary.
Winner and Still US Champion: Rusev
Match 8: Roman Reigns (Champion) vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
While it was to be expected that Rollins would come out to cheers and Roman would get the usual boos, the ring psychology came out of nowhere. Roman always wrestles strong, but in this match against Rollins, he looked outright heelish. It’s been problematic that Rollins has a very babyface moveset, with a lot of really cool high flying spots and the like, but he usually is able to steer the crowd against him by just being an ass. However, in this match, if you turned down the volume and had not been watching the product, you’d guess Reigns was the heel. He occasionally tossed the ref aside and just seems to be a jerk. There is something to be said in that Austin did much the same thing back in the Attitude Era, but with him, you could always tell he was a face. There was a certain demeanor he had, an anger that people could relate to. While Reigns is certainly angry, he’s entirely unrelatable. He’s built like a statue, and it’s no fault of his own, but as time goes on, he’s a really believable heel. All that said, this was a really solid match. The hatred between the two was palpable, and they both pulled out all the stops, with Rollins hitting some unique offense to win the match with two Pedigrees.
But, as I’m sure many predicted, Ambrose’s music hits, and he cashes in after Rollins endured an extremely draining 25 minute match. He hits the Dirty Deeds, and wins the title. It’s truly a crazy moment. Look at Ambrose, tank top and jeans, and is now the face of the company. With the 3 former Shield members all holding the belt at one point of the night, I cannot wait for the inevitable triple threat, presumably at Summerslam. It’s the match we’ve been waiting for ever since the break up, and we finally get it. Also, I personally didn’t have an issue with the predictability of the whole cash in, but there is definitely a sentiment out there…
Webster’s Thoughts: The WWE is becoming too predictable. As soon as Dean Ambrose won the Money In The Bank match, I knew what was going to happen. I knew that Seth would beat Roman and then Dean would cash it in and beat Seth. I’m not saying that I’m not happy with Dean cashing it in and winning the belt, but it was so telegraphed as to what would happen. It was a great twist, but one that the WWE didn’t disguise too well.
Winner and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Dean Ambrose
And there you have it. A night that started off with a whimper ends with a bang, and as we move toward Summerslam, the picture is becoming clear.