Date: March 10, 2019
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, OH)
WWE moves into the Fastlane en route to next month’s WrestleMania tonight. It’s looking pretty good on paper, as Becky Lynch faces Charlotte Flair for the right to be in the RAW Women’s Championship match next month, Daniel Bryan defends the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens, The Shield reunites for possibly the final time (for now), and much more. Let’s goooo.
- WWE CHAMPION: ‘The New’ Daniel Bryan
- WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION: Brock Lesnar
- WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Finn Balor
- WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPION: Samoa Joe
- WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION: Buddy Murphy
- WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Bayley & ‘The Boss’ Sasha Banks)
- RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPION: ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey
- RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Asuka
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
- The Usos [c] vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon for the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- Asuka [c] vs. Mandy Rose for the SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (*1/2)
- HANDICAP MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. The Bar (NR)
- TRIPLE THREAT MATCH: The Revival [c] vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black for the RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
- FATAL FOUR WAY: Samoa Joe [c] vs. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio for the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
- The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection [c] vs. Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka for the WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (*3/4)
- TRIPLE THREAT MATCH: Daniel Bryan [c] vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
- Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (*1/2)
- The Shield vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, & Bobby Lashley (***3/4)
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) [c] vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon for the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
We are in Miz’s hometown with Miz’s Dad watching at ringside. The Daddy issues are STRONG with this story, interested to see where they go. I would pop if Shane was the one who turned heel and pie-faced Miz’s Dad or something. HIS NAME IS GEORGE. That’s perfect.
Shane catches Jimmy with a jab followed by a pair of armdrags and a side Russian legsweep. Miz tags in and McMiz shuffle jab Jimmy down to the mat. Jey tags in, Miz makes with the chops as a ‘MIZ IS AWESOME’ chant breaks out. Johnny Gargano must be FUMING. Shane tags back in and we get a HART ATTACK for a two-count. Shane gets distracted with Jimmy, who tags in and squashes him with a crossbody. Jey connects with a whole lot of headbutts but Shane manages to kick out of the pinfall attempt at 1. The Usos continue working Shane over, turning him into a human wishbone. Shane breaks out of a chinlock but gets kicked right in the mush by Jey. Jimmy tags in and clears Miz off the apron before stomping Shane in the jaw. Miz’s emotions get the better of him and he accidentally distracts the ref so The Usos can cheapshot. Shane tries to escape another chinlock, Jimmy prevents it and grabs the leg so Jey can connect with a jumping headbutt unabated, but once again Shane kicks out at 1. Shane counters a clothesline with a DDT and makes the tag to Miz. Miz is a babyface house of fire, knocking Jey off the apron and dropping Jimmy with a flapjack. IT KICKS, a pair of running knees, and a seated corner clothesline. Miz rolls Jimmy up with a sunset flip, Jimmy kicks out and gets sent to the floor. Miz tears his jersey off to reveal his ‘Cleveland is AWESOME’ shirt and connects with a TOP ROPE SPLASH to both Usos on the floor! BABYFACE MIZ RULES.
Miz ducks an enzuigiri and connects with a DDT for the 1…2…not yet. Jimmy counters a running kick with a roll-up for the 1…2…Miz kicks out. Jey tags in and connects with a pop-up Samoan Drop for the 1…2…NOPE! Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale, Jey escapes and connects with a superkick. Jimmy tags in and The Usos counter a flying Miz with DOUBLE SUPERKICKS for the 1…Shane breaks it up. The Usos drop Shane with a Samoan Drop/neckbreaker combo. Jey Uso gets sent to the floor, Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Jimmy but the ref isn’t in position, worried about Shane. The ref finally snaps back to reality and counts 1…2…Jimmy kicks out! A disappointed Miz goes for the figure Four, Jimmy kicks him right into the post. Jey tags in and picks Miz up on his shoulders. Miz escapes and sends him into the buckles, crotching Jimmy on the top turnuckle. Miz rolls up Jey for the 1…2…kickout. Jey pelts Miz with an enzuigiri and goes to the top, Miz stops him with a left hook. Jey drops Miz across the top rope, Shane climbs to the top wants to go COAST TO COAST. Jey climbs to the top on the opposite side, leading to a Mexican standoff. Jey goes for a Superfly Splash on Miz, Shane INTERCEPTS HIM WITH A MISSILE DROPKICK. Miz’s Dad tells Miz to go back to the top but his Frog Splash, Jey gets his knees up and rolls him up with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3!
The Usos [c] defeated The Miz & Shane McMahon via pinfall to retain the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (14:09)
- Helluva opening match. Some great babyface FIRE from Miz, and Shane’s interception of the Superfly Splash was TREMENDOUS. Shane letting Miz down by distracting the ref, and Miz’s Dad letting Miz down by telling him to go to the top, costing him the match, were some solid story beats as well. Which one is Miz going to blame for the loss? (***)
Miz apologizes, raising Shane’s arm in front of Miz’s Dad. Miz hugs his father and raises his hand as well. Shane slaps hands with Miz’s Dad AND THEN CLOTHESLINES MIZ FROM BEHIND! HOLY SH*T! Shane rips the Cleveland shirt from Miz as the crowd pelts him with boos. Shane shoves Miz’s Dad and continues the attack. Shane wraps Miz in an MMA move (a triangle choke of some kind?), his Dad powerless to help. Amazing. Shane exits to the back while George and a pair of refs check on Miz. To be fair Shane is justified; it is Miz’s fault they lost the titles in the first place as well as the rematch.
–Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin, and Drew McIntyre cut a Shield-style promo backstage, picking up the camera and everything. Corbin says they are where the power lies now, Lashley vows to finish The Shield tonight. McIntyre says it won’t be a happy farewell tour, it’ll be a crushing defeat. Corbin “drops” the camera, but not really because them sh*ts is expensive.
-Ladies and gentlemen…Elias. He performs his heel heat song, making fun of Miz and his Dad and saying he can’t wait to go to LA and hang out with LeBron. Anyway.
-Video hypes the face-to-face meeting between Triple H and Batista on tomorrow’s RAW.
–Tom Phillips takes it to footage from the Kickoff show, where Kofi Kingston was whisked away to the McMahon’s office to talk about the WWE Championship match, plus New Day’s win over Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura a few minutes later.
‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ Asuka [c] vs. Mandy Rose [w/ Sonya Deville] for the SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Rose managed to beat Asuka in a non-title match a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown Live, earning a title shot (her first) in the process.
Asuka with the early advantage, bringing Rose to the mat and kicking her full-force in the spine. Rose grabs a side headlock, Asuka rolls through and applies a kneebar, Rose escaping by grabbing the bottom rope. Asuka gets sent to the apron and gets distracted with Deville, allowing Rose to attack from behind. Asuka catches a kick attempt and counters with an Ankle Lock. Deville distracts Asuka again, Rose connects with a pump knee for the 1…2…champ kicks out. OH MAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE THAT QUICK, PHEW. Rose connects with a delayed vertical suplex, Asuka kicks out of a lateral press once again. Abdominal stretch time, Asuka escapes and applies an Octopus after Rose blocks a German suplex attempt. Deville starts searching under the ring, Graves explains it away by saying she’s looking for rats and ninjas (HEH?!?). Rose powers out and trash talks, angering the champ who connects with a missile dropkick from the middle buckle. Asuka drops Rose with a kick and follows up with a corner hip attack into a release German suplex. Asuka connects with a Shining Wizard and covers for the 1…2…Rose somehow kicks out. Asuka misses a hip attack and gets caught in the ropes, Rose with another pump knee for the 1…2…Asuka kicks out. Asuka escapes Rose’s finisher and connects with a knee right to the nose. Deville grabs a kendo stick and leaves the ring skirt on the apron, Rose SLIPS ON IT and Asuka catches her with a spinning kick for the 1…2…3!
Asuka [c] defeated Mandy Rose via pinfall to retain the SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (6:41)
- Okay match but outside of the pump knee strikes, I’m not all sold on Mandy Rose yet. She’s getting better though. (*1/2)
Deville tries to help Rose to the back, but Rose wants NONE OF THAT.
–Xavier Woods and Big E catch up with Kofi Kingston, who is STILL waiting for his meeting with Mr. McMahon. They barge in, interrupting Vince’s phone call, and both Woods and Big E make the hard sell to give Kingston his title shot tonight in a triple threat. McMahon says the WWE Championship WILL BE A TRIPLE THREAT, with the rest of The New Day barred from ringside. This match happens RIGHT NOW?
-Kofi makes his way out to the ring first, ready to go. Before the ring announcer can announce the next participant, an assistant calls him over to tell him something. This triple threat for the WWE Championship match IS NO MORE, and instead we’re getting a HANDICAP MATCH, with Kofi taking on The Bar! Both Sheamus and Cesaro can compete at the SAME TIME. Well that means The New Day isn’t banned from ringside right?
Kofi Kingston vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
Kingston tries to fight, but the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME is too much for him. Sheamus and Cesaro take their time dismantling Kingston, torturing him with double submissions and sending him out to the floor for more punishment. Kingston won’t give up though, sending Sheamus into the post and sending Cesaro into the ring. Kingston to the top, Sheamus gets chopped off the apron. Kingston goes flying, Cesaro counters with a European uppercut. The Bar hit a flying clothesline/power bomb combo. Sheamus connects with a Brogue Kick, crowd chants ‘THIS IS BORING!’ as Cesaro covers, but he picks Kingston up because they aren’t done with him yet. Xavier Woods and Big E come out to try and help, but are attacked from behind by Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Ouch. DOUBLE WHITE NOISE to Kingston for the 1…2…3.
The Bar defeated Kofi Kingston via pinfall (5:12)
- I can’t really rate this one since it was a slaughter and more storyline than match. More fuel for the #KofiMania fire though, I can’t wait for that match to be made official. (NR)
–Charly Caruso is backstage with WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection. Bayley shouts Kofi out like he didn’t just get his d*ck punched in. Bayley is rocking star makeup over her left eye like a ROAD WARRIOR. Caruso says they are being seen as the underdogs in their match tonight because of course she does, but Bayley and Sasha Banks aren’t concerned. They vow to be the best champions ever, and will be defending their titles on all of the brands going forward. Cool.
-Ladies and gentlemen…Elias (again). Song making fun of The New Day and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
-WWEShop ad. Spend a bunch of money on a replica championship belt and look like a GIANT DORK if you wear it in public.
-Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton recap Shane McMahon’s heel turn from earlier in the night.
–Kayla Braxton asks Shane McMahon if he has anything to say about the attack. He does not.
–Michael Cole and Renee Young join Graves on commentary, so now we’re getting to some RAW stuff.
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) [c] vs. Chad Gable & ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black for the RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Ricochet and Black have been beating main roster folks left and right, including The Revival, and now they’re getting a shot at the titles alongside former champs Gable & Roode. Ricochet and Black are apparently in the Dusty Rhodes Classic so their teaming makes sense but I didn’t know that until a few days ago (HI YES I RUN A WRESTLING WEBSITE).
The Revival are sent out of the ring early, as are Gable and Roode so Ricochet and Black can do their backflip pose thing. Cool cool. Gable and Ricochet start things off for real, Gable bringing Ricochet to the mat with a waistlock. Ricochet flips around and under a clothesline, connecting with a headscissors takeover followed by a dropkick. You know, the Ricochet Special. Gable goes for a monkey flip, Ricochet lands on his feet and hits a hurricanrana. Wilder tags himself in, picking Ricochet up and tagging Dawson who connects with a clothesline for two. Dawson belts Ricochet with a back elbow and stomps a mudhole in his team’s corner. Wilder tags in, Dawson sends Ricochet right into Wilder’s knee for a gutbuster and a two-count. Wilder drops Ricochet with a European uppercut, Ricochet kicks him away and Gable tags himself in. Gable with a snap suplex, seamlessly floating into a lateral press for two. ARMBAR TIME. Ricochet escapes and sends Gable into Dawson, who tags himself in. Dawson with a series of strikes followed by a back suplex for another two-count. CHINLOCK CITAAAAAY. Ricochet escapes and fights off Wilder. He goes for a tag, Dawson catches him and tosses him into the corner. Ricochet kicks Dawson away and hits rolling double knees. Black and Roode tag in. Black belts Gable with a kick and sends Roode into Wilder. He trips Roode and connects with a running kick into a kip-up. Black hits a springboard moonsault and goes for Black Mass, Roode swings him and Black hits Dawson with it instead, Roode capitalizing with a spinebuster to Black. Gable escapes a waistlock with a back elbow, Black hits Roode with a meteora after Roode pushes Gable out of the way. Gable with a German suplex, Wilder breaks it up with a splash, Ricochet hits Wilder with a shooting star press for the 1…2…Roode just manages to break it up. I guess they’re legal? Ricochet tosses Roode out to the floor, Dawson tags in. Ricochet sends Wilder to the floor. Gable tries to stop Ricochet from going to the top, Ricochet kicks him to the floor. Dawson climbs the buckles, Ricochet belts him with a right hand and hits a HURRICANRANA that sends Dawson hard into the apron and the rest of the people in the match! HOT DAMN, I LOVE IT.
Ricochet rolls Dawson in and heads to the top while Roode sends Black into the barricade on the outside. Dawson rolls away so Ricochet flies OVER THE LED POST and takes out Roode, Gable tagging him on the way out. Gable with a flying crossbody, Dawson rolls through for the 1…2…NO! Gable rolls Dawson up for the 1…2…NO! Dawson hangs Gable across the top rope and The Revival hit the SHATTER MACHINE for the 1…2…3!
The Revival [c] defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable and Ricochet & Aleister Black to retain the RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (10:48)
- Super fun triple threat match, with great spots from everybody (especially Ricochet, because come on). Match of the night so far. (****)
Roode attacks The Revival from behind, hitting Dawson with the Glorious DDT. Black with Black Mass on Roode and Wilder, Ricochet plants Wilder and hits the 630 Splash to send the fans home happy. Well not yet so there’s still like 4983943 hours to go, but just let me have it.
–Charlotte Flair is shown backstage getting ready. Becky Lynch is also shown still using the crutch with a taped-up arm. Well dang, Becky.
FATAL FOUR WAY
Samoa Joe [c] vs. R-Truth [w/ Carmella] vs. Andrade [w/ Zelina Vega] vs. Rey Mysterio for the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
These four had a TREMENDOUS match a few days ago on SmackDown Live, so hey let’s do it again! Truth let Carmella spit some bars in the entrance rap which was pretty funny.
Bell rings and chaos ensues. Mysterio sends Andrade to the floor with a hurricanrana. Joe slides Mysterio into Andrade’s arms for a DDT, Truth clotheslines Andrade. Joe measures them and wipes everybody out with a suicide dive. NICE. Joe rolls Mysterio AND Andrade in for some reason. Chops for both. Andrade chops Joe, Joe claps back and dazes him with a headbutt. Truth grabs Joe’s foot at ringside and Mysterio flattens him with a seated senton. Andrade drops Mysterio with a back elbow and covers for a two-count. Truth enters the ring, hitting a corkscrew elbow for a two-count. Truth and Andrade with a standing switch, Mysterio with a DOUBLE HURRICANRANA. Joe stops Truth and Mysterio’s rasslin’ with a double clothesline. Joe with rapid-fire jabs to Truth, Truth runs right into a Coquina Clutch. Mysterio breaks it up from behind and goes for a 619 but Joe dodges. He goes for a powerslam, Mysterio counters with a DDT for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Andrade crotches Mysterio on the top turnbuckle and connects with a LOUD ASS CHOP. Truth puts Andrade on his shoulders, Mysterio connects with a hurricarana. Truth tosses Mysterio to the apron and covers, Mysterio breaks it up with a slingshot legdrop. Mysterio covers Andrade, Joe breaks it up and tosses him to the floor. Joe with the corner splash/enzuigiri combo. Mysterio goes for a springboard splash, Joe catches him, Andrade with a springboard missile dropkick that sends both down. Two Amigos by Andrade but he takes too long showing off for the third, which Mysterio counters into a roll-up for a two-count. Andrade with a Gory Special, Truth drops them both with a kick. Truth covers Andrade for the 1…2…no. Truth covers Mysterio for the 1…2…Mysterio grabs the bottom rope. Stinger Splash to Mysterio, Andrade sends Truth to the apron and Joe drops him face-first. Andrade hits Joe with a corkscrew splash, Mysterio to the top for a hurricarana on Andrade!!!
Vega misses a hurricanrana on Truth unlike Tuesday but does catch him with a superkick. Carmella attacks Vega, Truth and Andrade fight to break it up. Meanwhile Joe hits a urinage on Mysterio for the 1…2…both Truth and Andrade break it up just in time. Andrade with a Hammerlock DDT on Mysterio, Truth breaks it up with a stomp. Truth with a Stinger Splash to Joe, Andrade follows up with running double knees. Truth slams Andrade and Joe on top of each other (WHY IS NO ONE COUNTING). Five Knuckle Shuffle to Joe as Andrade moves out of the way. Truth with an Ax Kick to Andrade for the 1…2…Joe breaks it up and hits Andrade with a senton, Truth getting out of the way. Joe dodges the Scissor Kick and sends Truth shoulder-first into the post. Mysterio hits 619 on Joe but misses the Frog Splash and Joe locks in the COQUINA CLUTCH! Mysterio passes out and Joe retains!
Samoa Joe [c] defeated R-Truth, Andrade, & Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (10:50)
- Another great fatal four way from these guys. Lots of bodies flying around and near-falls to keep me interested for the entire contest. Nothing felt too chaotic and everything for the most part made sense, which is always hard to do in a multi-man match. (****1/4)
–Beth Phoenix is announced as the guest commentator for the next contest.
The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Bayley & ‘The Boss’ Sasha Banks) [c] vs. Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka for the WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Snuka shoves Bayley, Bayley fights back with rapid-fire forearms and a wristlock. Banks tags in and applies a side headlock, Snuka tags out to Jax. Banks escapes a slam and tags Bayley in. Jax picks Banks up again and throws her into Bayley, covering for a two-count. Snuka tags in and tries to decapitate Bayley with a clothesline for a two-count. Quick tags by the challengers as they wear Bayley down, Jax almost putting her through the mat with a power bomb. Snuka covers rather arrogantly and Bayley manages to kick out, SHOCKING. Snuka with a chinlock/hammerlock combo. Bayley clears Jax off the apron and sends Snuka into the buckles. Banks gets the tag and catches Snuka with a flying crossbody followed by a flurry of kicks for the 1…2…Snuka kicks out. Banks flips out of a slam and Jax tags in. They try to do a double team move but Jax can’t quite catch Banks so it takes a second before the Samoan Drop happens. Bayley tags back in and hits a series of elbows to Jax. Snuka charges, Bayley sends her to the floor. Bayley escapes Jax’s grasp and gets sent to the apron. Snuka charges but hits nothing but post as does Jax. Banks tags in and connects with a meteora. Banks with a splash on the floor but gets caught, so Banks knocks EVERYBODY DOWN with a splash through the ropes. Back in the ring Bayley tags in and hits a flying elbowdrop for the 1…2…Snuka pulls her off. Banks runs at Snuka and gets an uppercut for her troubles so Bayley takes care of her. Jax counters a power bomb with with a roll-up for the 1…2…3!
The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection [c] defeated Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka via pinfall to retain the WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (7:00)
- There were some iffy botches, but overall an alright match. Boss ‘n’ Hug get their first win as champions, which is important. I wonder who they’ll face at WrestleMania to be honest, I don’t think WWE will take my advice and put The IIconics in that spot. (*3/4)
Jax and Snuka immediately attack after the bell and send them to the floor. Snuka drops Bayley with a superkick, Jax sends Banks flying over the announce table. Beth Phoenix gets in Snuka’s face and they jaw jack. Phoenix belts Snuka with a forearm, Jax attacks her from behind. Now it’s a 2-on-1 on Phoenix. Natalya tries to help and gets wrecked as well. Looks like we’re getting a Divas of Doom reunion to the joy of…somebody, I guess? Triple threat at WrestleMania?
-Video hype for Bryan/Owens, complete with the Kofi Screwjob. I guess the real WWE Championship match is next!
-Ring announcer says the next match is a ‘TRIPLE THREAT MATCH’ for the WWE Championship. HUH?!? Kevin Owens is out first, WWE Champion Daniel Bryan (with Rowan) is out second. The third is…MUSTAFA ALI! He got an initial pop but gets booed during the in-ring introductions because he ain’t Kofi.
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
‘The New’ Daniel Bryan [c] [w/ Rowan] vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
LOUD ‘We Want Kofi!’ chants from the WWE Universe as the belt is displayed by the ref. Bryan talks trash, Ali and Owens work together and toss him to the floor. Owens catches Ali mid-leapfrog, Ali escapes and gets belted with a running elbow. Bryan re-enters the match and trades chops with Owens. Owens wins the shootout and Bryan exits the ring once again. Owens misses a splash on Ali, who hops over and connects with a dropkick for the 1…Bryan easily breaks it up. Ali backdrops Bryan to the floor, Owens rolls Ali up for a two-count. Ali ducks a clothesline from Owens and wipes Bryan out with a tope suicida. Ali tries a springboard, Owens pushes him to the floor. Owens follows up with a cannonball from the apron followed by a cannonball into guardrail to Bryan. Back in the ring Bryan belts Owens in the gut with a knee. Ali climbs to the top turnbuckle, Bryan HITS HIM WITH A RUNNING DROPKICK THAT SENDS HIM RIGHT INTO THE BARRICADE. JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESUS. You just returned from injury, man. Bryan connects with his YES! KICKS and brings Owens to the mat with a hammerlock. Bryan grabs the other arm, bending the arm back in a very unnatural position. Bryan STEPS ON THE ARM, TORQUING THE HELL OUT OF THE SHOULDER, for a two-count. Owens tries to mount offense, Bryan drops him with a clothesline to put an end to that nonsense. Ali is somehow not dead and reenters the ring, Bryan quickly tosses him back out so nevermind? Bryan with a BEAUT of a penalty kick to the skull for the 1…2…Ali breaks it up. Bryan makes him pay with a belly-to-back suplex. Ali ducks the penalty kick and hits a rolling X-Factor to the…apathy of the crowd. Ali does some flippy flips, Bryan puts an end to that with a clothesline that turns him inside out. HA. Owens dodges a corner dropkick from Bryan and hits cannonballs to both the champ and Ali. Owens with superkicks to Ali and Bryan. Ali with a backpack sleeper, Owens breaks it with a double senton and all three are down.
Owens chops Bryan even more, wrecking the hell out of that chest, and goes for a superplex. Bryan fights him off with a headbutt. Ali tries his luck, Owens picks him up on his shoulders. Ali escapes and sends Owens into Bryan followed by an inverted hurricanrana to Owens! I thought I heard a crunch, gross. Ali finally gets Bryan off the buckles with a Spanish Fly, but the champ bails to the floor so he can’t be pinned. Rowan tries to wake Bryan up, Ali misses the O-54 and Owens connects with the STUNNER for the 1…2…Bryan makes the desperate save. Bryan and Owens trade strikes, Bryan escapes a Stunner and kicks Owens right to the side of the face. Bryan goes for the Busaiku Knee but Owens counters with a pop-up SEATED power bomb for the 1…2…BRYAN KICKS OUT AND OWENS CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Owens tries a piledriver on the apron, Bryan counters with a backdrop. Ali climbs the apron and dodges Bryan, who goes knee-first into the post. Ali follows up with a slingshot into the bottom rope and heads to the top, HITTING A GODDAMN 450 SPLASH ON THE HARDEST PART OF THE RIIIIIIIING. That won the crowd over. Bryan rolls as far away as he can, Ali finally catches up and covers for the 1…2…Rowan pulls Bryan out of the ring. Rowan tries to get involved but eats a whole lot of superkicks followed by a hurricanrana into the post by Ali. Owens then puts the finishing touches on Rowan with a senton. NOICE. Bryan hits Owens with a knee from the apron and rolls him back in. Bryan claws his way to the top, Ali grabs his leg and belts him with right hands. Ali wants to hit a Spanish Fly from the top, Bryan pushes him off and ALI LANDS ON HIS FEET. Bryan misses a knee from the apron, Ali comes off the top and hits a FLYING DDT. Ali charges at Owens, who hits a pop-up power bomb ON THE APRON. Owens rolls Ali in, Rowan pulls Owens out and rolls Bryan in. Rowan sends Owens into the timekeeper’s area and Bryan covers Ali for the 1…2…ALI KICKS OUT. Bryan tells Ali he doesn’t deserve to be here and slaps him in the face. Ali rails back with strikes of his own and goes for a crossbody but gets caught mid-air with the BUSAIKU KNEE for the 1…2…3!
Daniel Bryan [c] defeated Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali to retain the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP (18:41)
- The crowd was understandably upset that Kofi wasn’t in the match, but these three I think won them over with a tremendous hard-hitting contest. Ali was the MVP here, with some insane spots and bumps for a guy who just returned from an injury. He went for broke and he was rewarded with the crowd…sort-of getting back on his side. Owens has an out for losing this one, and has a claim to getting another shot so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a triple threat come WrestleMania though I really hope Bryan/Kofi is a singles match. (****1/4)
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
If Becky wins, she’ll get reinserted into the RAW Women’s Championship match next month at WrestleMania. WWE really took the long route to get to this one, huh? I get they had a lot of TV time to fill but this whole thing has felt needlessly complicated. Also I still want Becky/Ronda in a singles match and I’m bummed the triple threat is going to be a thing. It’ll probably be awesome as f*ck but I can’t help but feel a tiny bit disappointed. I don’t think I’ve said it ever, but I really appreciate Flair’s disco remix of her father’s entrance theme. Becky has a bum knee, bum rips, a bum arm, she’s behind on her rent, and also her goldfish died, so she’s going to need to overcome A LOT OF ODDS.
Bell rings and Charlotte is pretty confident in her chances. She kicks at Becky’s leg, Becky peppers her with right hands but gets easily shoved away. Charlotte continues toying with Becky, slapping her in the face and trash talking HARDCORE. Charlotte wrenches the knee around the middle rope, Becky hits her with her good knee and fights out of the corner with a flying Thesz Press. Charlotte grabs the bum leg and ducks an enzuigiri, leading into a half-Crab. Becky fights out for a moment, but Charlotte goes right back to it. Becky escapes and sends Charlotte to the floor. Charlotte quickly grabs the leg and smashes the bad knee across the apron. Back inside Charlotte clips the knee and points to the WrestleMania sign. Becky tries to fight back but every time she tries to mount offense Charlotte goes back to the knee. Charlotte connects with an overhead throw and kips up, struttin’ but not cuttin’. Charlotte heads to the top, Becky pushes her off and into the barricade. Charlotte beats the count, Becky traps her in the Disarm-Her, Charlotte counters with a Figure Four. RONDA ROUSEY shows up and PUNCHES BECKY RIGHT IN THE TUMS. After what takes too long the ref calls for the bell. The winner is…BECKY LYNCH VIA DQ SHE’S GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA.
Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair via DQ (8:13)
- Rousey wants to beat up the two “fakes” at the same time to prove her dominance so she interfered to make sure it would happen. I get it, I think it’s hilarious, and it FINALLY gets the triple threat made official, but also we had to sit through 8 minutes of a dull match to get to it so there’s that. Match itself was literally nothing to write about, so I won’t. (*1/2)
-Ladies and gentlemen…Elias (AGAIN). Elias sings a third song, and is excited that he finally wasn’t interrupted…until Lacey Evans shows up for a catwalk. This distracts Elias along enough for AN RKO OUTTA NOWHERE from Randy Orton. Orton doesn’t get to celebrate though as he gets dropped with a Phenomenal Forearm from AJ Styles. GUYS CAN WE GET A MOVE ON, PEOPLE HAVE TO WORK TOMORROW.
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, & Dean Ambrose) vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, & Bobby Lashley
The Shield get their crowd entrance and everything, which is cool to see. I missed that. This is The Shield’s ‘final’ ride, as Ambrose hasn’t re-signed his contract (weird to hear WWE mention that all the time) and Rollins needs to focus on his Universal Championship match with Brock at WrestleMania.
All six men stare one another down, Shield attack and clear the ring. Rollins and Lashley start the match proper, Rollins with a sling blade to take his bigger opponent down. Lashley backs Rollins into the heel corner, Corbin tags in and sends Rollins head-first into the turnbuckle. Rollins drives Corbin into the middle buckle and tags in Ambrose for a sliding clothesline and Muta elbow for one. McIntyre tags in, Ambrose counters a backdrop with a slam. Rollins with Air Hardy, Reigns tags in and hits a deep leaping clothesline for two. The heels bail from the ring and The Shield embrace. McIntyre pummels Reigns in the corner, Reigns catches him with a back elbow and a CRAZY HARD RIGHT HAND. Rollins tags in, double shoulderblock and WISHBOOOONE. McIntyre belts Rollins right in the ribs during a float-over attempt and the tide turns towards Team Corbin. Lashley tags in and rams Rollins repeatedly into the barricade. Corbin tags in and goes to work, applying a chinlock on Rollins instead of going for the cover after a back elbow. Corbin tries a slingshot, Rollins lands on his feet and hits an enzuigiri. McIntyre tags in, Rollins with a hurricanrana and a tag to Ambrose. Ambrose takes on EVERYBODY, rolling McIntyre up for a two-count. Ambrose sends him to the floor and follows up with a flying elbow from the top. Action moves back inside the ring, Lashley hits Ambrose with a spear and McIntyre covers for the 1…2…Reigns breaks it up. Corbin and Lashley send Reigns into the barricade then send Rollins into the crowd. McIntyre hits Ambrose with a Claymore Kick but Ambrose rolls to the floor to prevent the pinfall.
Ambrose beats the count just in time, McIntyre with rapid-fire right hands. Team Corbin continue the assault on Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins eventually making it back to their corner. Ambrose repeatedly blocks a suplex from McIntyre and counters with one of his own. Lashley tags in and goes for a superplex from the middle buckle, Ambrose fights him off and connects with a neckbreaker after ducking a clothesline. McIntyre prevents a tag but eats a ricochet lariat. Reigns gets the HOT TAG and it’s time for The Big Dog to go to work FOR REAL. Reigns with a big boot and drive by to Corbin for the 1…2…McIntyre breaks the count. Rollins drops McIntyre with a springboard clothesline. Lashley tries a power bomb, Ambrose pulls Rollins off and they hit back to back dropkicks, sending Lashley to the floor. Ambrose and Rollins follow up with stereo suicide dives (VINTAGE!), Reigns sends Corbin to the floor. Reigns goes to take flight but runs right into a Deep Six from Corbin for the 1…2…REIGNS KICKS OUT. Rollins and McIntyre get tossed into the timekeeper’s area. Lashley joins the 2-on-1, Ambrose launches off the announce table and over the barricade into EVERYBODY. Reigns and Corbin trade rights, Corbin drives a knee to the gut and runs right into a fireman’s carry. Corbin escapes, sends Reigns into the post, and rolls him up for the 1…2…REIGNS KICKS OUT. Corbin with a chokeslam for the 1…2…STILL NO. Meanwhile Rollins, Lashley, Ambrose, and McIntyre are fighting by the Kickoff set. FINALLY A GOOD USE FOR THE KICKOFF SHOW. Back in the ring Corbin goes for a superplex, Reigns fights him off and connects with a sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…Corbin kicks out! McIntyre and Lashley put Ambrose on the Kickoff table. Ambrose launches off but gets caught and Rollins LAUNCHES OFF THE STANDS INTO EVERYBODY! Reigns watches, smiling proudly, then locks and loads. Corbin counters a Superman Punch with a chokeslam attempt. Reigns counters that, Corbin gets hit with a big boot, runs around the ring, and runs into a SUPERMAN PUUUUUNCH for the 1…2…Corbin kicks out! The other four return to ringside. Superman Punch to McIntyre, Superman Punch to Lashley, CORBIN WITH THE END OF DAYS ON REIGNS FOR THE 1…2…AMBROSE AND ROLLINS BREAK IT UP!
Corbin takes care of Ambrose and Rollins, then rolls out to get the Spanish Announce Table ready along with McIntyre and Lashley. Corbin also clears the main announce table and go for a Triple Power Bomb, but Ambrose and Rollins stop it from happening. Lashley almost puts Rollins through the table, but Reigns interrupts it with a Superman Punch. Rollins with a Curb Stomp to Lashley on the table, SPEAR TO CORBIN FROM REIGNS, and they maul McIntyre. Oh it’s time, IT’S TIIIIIME. Triple Power Bomb to McIntyre through the Spanish Announce Table, crowd chants ‘ONE MORE TIME’. The Shield surround the ring and a defenseless Corbin. Superkick, Superman Punch, Dirty Deeds. TRIPLE POWERBOMB TO CORBIN for the 1…2…3.
The Shield defeated Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, & Bobby Lashley via pinfall (24:52)
- A great return and goodbye to The Shield, much better than I was expecting given they had to manufacture them a trio to face tonight in short order. All the hits were there, from dueling suicide dives to Seth Rollins jumping off of random sh*t to the Triple Powerbombs. As a longtime Shield fan (they showed up right when I was getting back into wrestling) I couldn’t help but get caught up in everything and I was hanging on every move, half-expecting WWE to be INSANE and given Team Corbin the win. Luckily they didn’t and we got one final Shield match, a great visual to end the show, and perhaps the final send-off for Dean Ambrose. Seems fitting he rides out the rest of his contract on the sidelines, what else could there be for him save for a match against Reigns? (***3/4)
The Shield celebrate their win and do the Shield fist to close the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A great PPV that just flew by, with THREE must-watch matches. Throw in an EPIC Shane McMahon heel turn and you’ve got one helluva show that’s hard not to recommend. Some of the story stuff was spotty, WWE going Jeremy Beremy to get to the triple threat at WrestleMania is insane to me, and a few matches dragged but when you’ve got so many high quality matches on one show, and an emotional “final” send-off for WWE’s most popular faction of the past decade, it’s easy to let that sh*t go. Bring on WrestleMania, my body is ready.