Tom Phillips announced during the show that Main Event will not air next week. The basis for this is real-life legal issues the WWE faces in Great Britain, where the WWE Network recently launched. The company was not able to work out their contractual obligations with their British Main Event TV partners before the Network’s launch. Because the Network does not use region-coding, WWE is forced to shut down Main Event until the contractual issues are resolved — a situation unlikely to last more than a week or two.
Phillips announced that next week, instead of Main Event, the Network will air Santino Marella’s Royal Rumble Lottery Spectacular. I sincerely hope that my resolve to review that program demonstrates the lengths to which I will go to please our readers. -Scott Strandberg
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) def. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose (w/Natalya) by pinfall
Kofi hit a splash for an early two-count on Rose. Big E and Woods hit a wheelbarrow crossbody on Kidd, which Woods followed up with an Honor Roll for two. The heels kept Woods isolated in their corner, wearing him down, and Cesaro earned a near-fall with an uppercut.
Woods rolled up Rose in a small package for a two-count, but Rose reached Kidd. Kidd hit Woods with a guillotine leg drop, and Cesaro tagged in for a basement dropkick. Woods fought back with an enziguiri, and tagged Kofi as Cesaro reached Kidd.
Kofi hit a top-rope axe handle and a dropkick, followed by a big clothesline. Kofi hit a Boom Drop and a running knee strike, following up with a springboard crossbody for a near-fall. Cesaro tagged in, and Kofi attempted another springboard crossbody, which Cesaro countered with an uppercut for a two-count of his own.
Cesaro swung Kofi as Rose distracted the referee, allowing Kidd to hit his dropkick without tagging in. Rose pulled Big E out of the ring, as Cesaro covered Kofi, forcing Woods to make the save. Cesaro tossed Woods from the ring, and Kofi used the time to earn a small package two-count on Cesaro.
Big E tagged in and hit Cesaro with a clothesline, followed by a belly-to-belly suplex. Big E hit a double-splash on both Cesaro and Kidd, then set up for the Big Ending on Cesaro, only for Rose to tag himself in. Big E hip-tossed Rose from the apron, following up with a release German suplex. Cesaro saved Rose from the pinfall.
Woods hit Cesaro with a facebuster, but Kidd kicked him in the face. Kofi immediately repaid the debt, hitting Trouble in Paradise on Kidd. Rose — still the legal man — planted Big E with a spinebuster. Big E hit a clothesline, sending Rose to the apron.
Big E speared Rose off the apron, as Kofi and Woods hit suicide dives on Kidd and Cesaro. Big E got Rose back in the ring, tagging in Woods for the Midnight Hour (Big Ending/facebuster combo) for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: I’m usually quite critical of six-man tag matches (playa), but this one was really good. WWE seems to actually be salvaging the Adam Rose character by pairing him with smark favorites Kidd and Cesaro. New Day vs. Kidd/Cesaro/Rose is exactly the kind of quality midcard feud that we so rarely get.
Los Matadores (w/El Torito) def. Goldust and Stardust by pinfall
Goldust and Stardust declared themselves for the Royal Rumble match in a pre-taped promo. Fernando hit Stardust with a clothesline, but Stardust fought back with a Disaster Kick. Goldust tagged in and took the action outside, driving Fernando into the barricade, before tossing him back into the ring for a two-count. Stardust used an elbow drop for a two-count of his own, but Fernando finally rebounded, tossing Stardust from the ring.
Both teams made hot tags, and Diego hit a top-rope axe handle on Goldust, followed by repeated springboard corkscrew headbutts. Diego earned a near-fall with a sunset flip, before Goldust grew distracted by El Torito on the apron. El Torito hit a hurricanrana on Goldust, and Diego rolled him up for the pinfall victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: I have seen more than enough of the Dust Brothers jobbing out to Los Matadores. Fernando and Diego aren’t even remotely over, and repeated losses to teams like this are exactly the root cause of the Dusts’ lost momentum.
Rusev (w/Lana) def. Justin Gabriel by pinfall
Rusev came up empty on an elbow drop, but hit a pretty awkward enziguiri to regain the advantage. Rusev hit multiple elbow drops, but Gabriel hit a top-rope footstomp. Gabriel followed up with a springboard axe-hammer and tried for a springboard moonsault, but Rusev slammed him to the mat and locked in The Accolade for the submission. After the match, Rusev hit Gabriel with a superkick.
Scott’s Thoughts: Here’s some classic WWE logic for you: Gabriel was a lumberjack last night, as a supporter of The Authority. Tonight, he’s reversed to a babyface in order to fight Rusev. Poor Justin Gabriel. Even he probably has no idea of whether he’s a face or heel.
The Ascension def. two local wrestlers by pinfall
As they entered, Phillips and JBL reiterated how The Ascension has disparaged classic tag teams over the last few weeks. Viktor said that people are seemingly upset by the way they compare themselves to great tag teams of the past. Viktor then said that is because there are no great tag teams of the past. The Ascension quickly finished off the local jobbers with The Fall of Man.
Scott’s Thoughts: I can’t claim this thought of my own, but I give credit where it’s due. This guy has it all figured out (or so I very sincerely hope). The Ascension’s continued burying of classic tag teams — and responding burial by JBL on commentary — makes me think that The Ascension are due for a feud with a vintage tag team.
As Andrew pointed out to me earlier today, JBL never had a proper retirement match. Perhaps next week’s “Raw Reunion” will provide an opportunity for The Ascension to enter a feud with the APA, NAO, or another team of their ilk.