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Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett by pinfall
As Bryan and Barrett argued in the ring, Dean Ambrose entered and began brawling with Barrett. Bryan picked up the Intercontinental Championship belt, and refused to give it back to Barrett. Bryan finally handed the title back to Barrett, but Ambrose snuck up behind him. Ambrose and Bryan took out Barrett, and Bryan led a Yes! chant.
Later in the night, Bryan and Barrett attempted to settle their differences in the ring. R-Truth joined on guest commentary, and got big laughs when he mistook Byron Saxton for Jonathan Coachman (“I wanna be on the Grantland, man!”). Bryan hit repeated uppercuts on Barrett, then set up for a surfboard, stomping on his legs.
Barrett fought back with a suplex, as Truth discussed how he has trouble understanding Barrett’s accent — “He offered me a crumpet backstage; I told him I play the trombone.” Bryan responded with uppercuts, but Barrett nailed Winds of Change for a two-count.
Bryan took down Barrett with a big clothesline, following up with his signature series of kicks for a near-fall. Bryan hit a running dropkick into the corner, but came up empty on a follow-up attempt. Barrett got distracted because his title had fallen off the apron, and Bryan took advantage, hitting a baseball slide and a dive between the ropes.
Barrett tried for Wastelands, but Bryan countered into a Yes Lock. Truth snuck over to the apron and put the Intercontinental Championship belt under his shirt. Barrett fought out of the Yes Lock and set up for a Bullhammer Elbow, but Bryan countered with a running knee for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was a very good match, and R-Truth was great on guest commentary. I also really dug the turnbuckle cam view of Bryan’s running knee. The Intercontinental Championship picture is crowded, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a ton of fun right now.
Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan def. Seth Rollins, Kane and Big Show (w/ Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble) by pinfall
Rowan hit a shoulder tackle and a fallaway slam on Kane. Ziggler tagged in and hit a dropkick for two. Rollins tagged in, but Ziggler hit him with a corner splash, a neckbreaker and an elbow drop for a near-fall.
Ziggler came up empty on a Famouser, and Rollins rolled him up for a two-count of his own. The heels isolated Ziggler in their corner, exchanging quick tags to wear him down. Big Show hit a second-rope splash for a near-fall, but Ziggler hit a Famouser on Show and a DDT to Kane, gaining enough separation to reach Ryback.
Ryback hit a Thesz press on Rollins, followed by a German suplex. Rollins fought back with a big boot, but Ryback caught him with a military press slam. Ryback hit a Meathook Clothesline on Rollins, then tried for a double Shell-Shocked on Rollins and Mercury.
Big Show caused a distraction and chaos broke out. Once the ring cleared, Rollins tried for a Blockbuster, but Ryback caught him and set him up for Shell-Shocked. Rollins squirmed out of Ryback’s grasp and hit a superkick.
Ziggler took advantage of a distracted referee to plant a superkick on Rollins. Ryback followed up with Shell-Shocked to pin Rollins.
Scott’s Thoughts: A better-than-average Teddy Long special that gave Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan a measure of comeuppance against The Authority.
Dean Ambrose def. The Miz by pinfall
Ambrose hit a shoulder tackle, following with a schoolboy for a two-count. Ambrose followed up with a gorilla press slam and a Muta elbow for another two. Miz fought back with a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo, but Ambrose answered with a bulldog.
Ambrose climbed up top, but got distracted by Barrett, who had come to take back his title belt. Miz tried to take advantage of the distraction with a Skull-Crushing Finale, but Ambrose countered with a between-the-ropes clothesline. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds to polish off Miz.
Scott’s Thoughts: Not much to talk about regarding this match. It’s been quite a while since Ambrose got to wrestle for more than 5-7 minutes, and this match pretty much fit the expected mold. I am enjoying all the tension over the Intercontinental Title, however.
Natalya (w/ Tyson Kidd and Cesaro) def. Naomi (w/ The Usos) by pinfall
Natalya opened up the match with a shoulder tackle, but Naomi used a crucifix to earn a near-fall. Natalya tried for a sharpshooter, but Naomi took her down with a headscissor, which Naomi kept locked in. Natalya powered out and spun Naomi repeatedly.
Naomi escaped with a sunset flip, but Natalya rolled through. Both women went for a crossbody at the same time and were slow to get up. Tyson tried to check on Natalya, but The Usos took out Kidd and Cesaro with superkicks.
In the ring, Natalya faked an injury, then hit a discus lariat for the pinfall victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: I’m liking Natalya as a full heel, and her feud with Naomi is the best thing going in the Divas Division right now. Instead of feeling tacked onto the Usos/Kidd & Cesaro feud, they have helped elevate that rivalry.
Rusev and Lana make an example of Jack Swagger
Rusev and Lana said that Cena does not deserve a rematch, because Rusev as champion does not need to answer to anyone. Lana hilariously said that Cena is not a worthy adversary for Rusev because “he fell asleep on the job” at FastLane.
Lana said that Vladimir Putin had sent her an email, which she translated for the crowd. Putin agreed that Cena does not deserve a rematch, but Swagger interrupted, suggesting that perhaps Rusev is afraid to fight Cena. Swagger said that Rusev is surrounded by real Americans.
Swagger entered the ring, saying “I’ll never get tired of this,” before leading the crowd in a We The People chant. Swagger attacked Rusev, beating him down and clotheslining him to the floor. Rusev finally fought back with two superkicks, then locked Swagger in The Accolade.
Scott’s Thoughts: Rusev and Lana were great in this segment, and Swagger has improved significantly on the mic recently. Swagger was a good choice to use as a proxy for Cena, seeing as he and Rusev have such extensive history.
Fandango (w/ Rosa Mendes) def. Curtis Axel by pinfall
Axel entered, saying that he had set the record for longest time ever in a Royal Rumble match, revealing a titantron counter which said he had been in the match for over 32 days. Axel started off the match by throwing Fandango over the top rope and pointing at the WrestleMania sign.
Fandango tried for a roll-up, but Axel fought out at two. Fandango hit a vertical front suplex, followed by the Last Dance flying leg drop for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: I really like the Last Dance as a finisher, but holy crap it makes me cringe thinking about how much long-term damage Fandango will have to his hips if he keeps winning matches. Axel, for his part, has been great lately.
Goldust def. Adam Rose by pinfall
Goldust started things off with a scoopslam, but Rose fought back with an enziguiri. Goldust hit The Final Cut for the squash victory. As Goldust walked up the ramp, a Rosebud dressed as Curious George attacked Goldust, revealing himself to be Stardust.
Scott’s Thoughts: This Goldust/Stardust feud is not exactly going as hoped.
– Miz interrupted Mizdow’s commercial shoot, trying to get the director to replace Mizdow with him. The director said that he wasn’t aware Miz would have been interested in the ad, and gave him the script. Miz threw the script away, saying that the only script he needs is the moneymaker. This was a fun little bit.
– Roman Reigns was interviewed by Saxton. Reigns spoke so slowly — and in such a monotonous tone — that I admittedly had trouble paying attention. He said some things about respecting Daniel Bryan, and said he would use Brock Lesnar’s arrogance against him. They gave this segment far too much time. I can’t listen to Roman Reigns talk for that long.