New Day def. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro to Remain Tag Team Champions
The rematch for the Tag Team Titles took the main event slot on Smackdown. While it did not quite live up to the outstanding match at Extreme Rules, it still reminded everyone that tag team wrestling can be very fun and can earn the main event slot on a show like Smackdown.
Kidd and Cesaro found lots of success with their teamwork early in the match. Cesaro hit an incredible gorilla press slam on Kofi Kingston and followed it with a double-foot stomp. Kidd went outside and hit a flipping suicide dive. Back in the ring, Big E got his team back on track with a huge clothesline. Cesaro finally isolated Big E and put him in the Swing. Kidd cut him off with a damaging dropkick and went for the pin. Both Kingston and Xavier Woods ran in to make the save and attack Kidd.
The match accomplished everything it set out to do. New Day retained their newly-gained titles and drew heat for doing it in a heelish way. Kidd and Cesaro continued to garner more positive fan support, both in the way they wrestled and the way they were cheated out of regaining their titles. Most importantly, they showed WWE and the fans that they belong in a major spot on the card, even if WWE has not privileged tag team wrestling in that way for some time.
Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose
The former Shield partners showed once again that they have great chemistry in the ring and can work fun matches under any circumstances. This week, the match was more of a backdrop for the continuing tension between Rollins and Kane, but the match with Ambrose was fun to watch in its own respect.
Ambrose fared very well through most of the match. Even when Kane came to ringside and distracted him, Ambrose mounted a rally and hit a nice suicide dive on Rollins. Rollins made it back into the ring and got the referee’s attention. While the referee dealt with Rollins, J&J Security ambushed Ambrose on the floor to turn the tide of the match. Rollins dragged him back into the ring and hit his new facebuster DDT finisher to win.
After the bell, the Authority ganged up on Ambrose. Even Kane joined in the attack, but Roman Reigns came to the ring to complete the Shield reunion and save Ambrose. Kane tried to get in the way and Reigns took out both of J&J Security with a spear. The segment set up a match between Kane and Reigns to follow.
Roman Reigns def. Kane
Consistent with the recent storyline, Kane targeted Reigns’s lower back. He slammed him into the ring post and the announce table to double down on the damage Big Show did at Extreme Rules. Reigns continued to show resolve and fought back with a nice vertical suplex and a series of clotheslines. A DDT led to a Superman Punch set up for a spear, but Kane rolled out of the ring and Reigns won by count out.
Reigns has shown marked improvement in the ring, largely because he has embraced one of his key limitations- his offensive arsenal. He has worked more often from underneath and has improved his ability to sell. While he still has a ways to go, he is much improved. As for Kane, it is curious that his rebuild as a monster would be sidetracked with a cowardly loss like this one.
Ryback def. Luke Harper
When two athletic big men to impressively strong things to one another, it can be very fun to watch. Ryback and Harper stuck to that formula and it made for a fun match. Ryback used a vertical suplex and Harper responded with a sit-down powerbomb for a near fall. As the match continued, Harper almost won with a jackknife and countered the Meathook with a superkick for another two count. Ryback ducked a discus clothesline and hit the Meathook and Shell-Shocked to get the win. Both of these guys are huge and know what they’re doing in the ring. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to have a fun match.
Of course, the connection between Harper and Bray Wyatt is natural, so it was no surprise when the lights went out and Wyatt ambushed Ryback after the win. He hit a side slam and Sister Abigail on the big guy to leave him laid out once again. A brief, simple appearance again worked for Wyatt.
Nikki Bella def. Cameron
Cameron continued to show incremental improvement in the ring from her abysmal start. Still rough around the edges, some of her offense looks extremely stiff, such as the running facebuster that downed Nikki. Nikki fought out of a chinlock with a clothesline, dropkick, uppercut, and spinning heel kick. Cameron responded with a disrespectful slap, but her gloating gave time for Nikki to deliver a big forearm and the Rack Attack to win. Nikki continues to work more of a babyface style in the ring, which does not fit with her still egotistical character.
Damian Sandow def. Curtis Axel
Sandow’s first match after his Mizdow run got off to an inauspicious start as he parroted Jojo’s introduction in an extremely cheesy “X-Stunt Double” shirt. Sandow continued to ape Curtis Axel during their match and even borrowed some of Axel’s borrowed Hulk Hogan mannerisms. He finished the match with his Full Nelson slam known as “You’re Welcome.” Fans clearly want to support and cheer for Sandow, so it’s a shame that WWE has no ideas for how to get him beyond the happy accident of the stunt double gimmick.
Prime Time Players Target New Day
Titus O’Neil and Darren Young continued their assault on New Day with another light-hearted backstage vignette. O’Neil and Young obviously have charisma. The next step will be to show that they have the chemistry and momentum in the ring that can move them from an also-ran tag team to one of the true contenders. While O’Neil has proven to be fairly limited as a powerhouse, Young likely has the chops to carry the team in the ring under the right circumstances.