3/7/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Dean Ambrose once again more than held his own in a verbal sparring match with HHH. He said that he is only interested in becoming champion for the honor and competition that come with it. HHH responded that Ambrose doesn’t have the drive to keep up with him. Ambrose has shown no fear going back and forth with HHH and Lesnar and has even come off as more compelling at times, which is great news for his main event future.
HHH delegated his fight to Bray Wyatt for the main event match against Ambrose. Wyatt dominated the early part of the match by slamming Ambrose onto the apron and superplexing him from the top turnbuckle. The assault continued outside with a uranage into the barricade. Ambrose finally started to fight back. He hit a top rope elbow drop before the lights went out and the Wyatt Family surrounded him in the ring. They beat Ambrose down to the mat and HHH joined them in the ring.
Wyatt and HHH stared one another down and Wyatt eyed the WWE Title before his team dispersed. HHH gloated over Ambrose’s limp body and went to the announce table to prepare another beating. When he went back to the ring, Ambrose recovered and hit him with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose posed with the title belt at the end of the show in anticipation of Saturday’s Roadblock event. The Ambrose-HHH build has been so much better than the Reigns-HHH Wrestlemania build that it will force Reigns to elevate himself when he returns. Oddly enough, the most electric moment of all was the faceoff between HHH and the lately stagnant Wyatt. It served as a reminder that the core of the Wyatt Family is very charismatic and entertaining when they are involved in meaningful stories and matches.
Kevin Owens def. Neville
Kevin Owens and Neville had a fantastic medium-length match early in the show. Neville had an answer for everything Owens tried to do and repeatedly hit high-impact offense. After Owens kicked out of a Phoenix Splash, Owens rolled him up with a handful of tights and got the pin. Owens continued the assault after the match. As he prepared to powerbomb Neville on the apron, Sami Zayn’s music hit and he rescued his friendly rival from NXT from his bitter enemy. It was a perfect way to reintroduce Zayn and integrate him into a ready-made Wrestlemania feud. The iron is hot between Owens and Zayn, but the inclusion of Neville in a match would only make me more excited to see them wrestle. Either of those combinations could produce a classic.
New Day def. Y2AJ to Remain Tag Team Champions
The Chicago fans were red hot for the Tag Team Title match, due in large part to the continued support for AJ Styles. New Day ganged up on Chris Jericho early in the match and kept him stuck in hi scorner. Styles made the hot tag and got a near fall off of a springboard inverted DDT. Big E’s blind tag led to a Big Ending, but Jericho broke up the pin. Styles nearly got a submission victory on Kofi Kingston and nearly beat him with a 450 splash, as well. Jericho went for a Codebreaker, but Big E caught him and turned it into a Big Ending to get the pin. It was a very clever finish that made Big E look good, not just like a joke.
After the loss, Jericho turned on Styles and hit him with a Codebreaker. When Styles got to his feet, Jericho hit him with another Codebreaker, and then a third. He finished the attack by shoving a Y2AJ shirt in Styles’s mouth. Even though the disintegration of Y2AJ was always inevitable, it was executed very well. Fans legitimately got behind the tag team and were angry at Jericho for his turn. Jericho is a truly effective heel who finds a way to make fans actually dislike him, which is a rare quality in modern wrestling.
-Shane McMahon opened the show to a great reaction from the crowd. He vowed to undo the damage that his father and sister have done as evil authority figures. Vince McMahon teased an Undertaker appearance. Instead, he doubled down on the family drama and smashed a photo of him with his son. The promos were good, but there was no real development of the tension between Vince, Shane, and the Undertaker for a second week in a row.
-As punishment for an insult, Stephanie McMahon ordered Dolph Ziggler to face King Barrett, Rusev, and Sheamus in a handicap elimination match. Ziggler first eliminated Barrett with a superkick. A double team by Rusev and Sheamus led to a Brogue Kick and a League of Nations victory. It’s hard to see exactly where a Ziggler-LON rivalry might go, and I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE is also still figuring it out.
-Sahsa Banks and Becky Lynch got along well enough for a smooth win over Team BAD when Sasha made Naomi tap to the Banks Statement. Charlotte attacked both of them after the match and left standing tall. Charlotte has been so good as a heel that it feels like the story between these three is already nearing its conclusion.
-The seldom-seen Tyler Breeze took a big step up against Kalisto. They looked very good together, though Kalisto got a clean win with the SDS after only a few minutes.
-A distraction from Lana allowed Summer Rae to pick up a pin over Brie Bella. After the loss, Lana attacked Brie and laid her out with a facebuster. I would have expected WWE to put pair Lana with someone more polished in the ring for her introduction as a wrestler.
-The Big Boss Man was announced as the latest inductee to the WWE HOF. Boss Man is a wrestler who had many incarnations, in WWE and elsewhere. He was relevant for two decades and had some pretty high highs along the way.