5/30/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
John Cena Returns to WWE
Cena made his return to the ring and got a positive reaction by talking about patriotism and the importance of Memorial Day. He acknowledged the growth of the WWE’s new era, but said that the future still goes through him. That statement drew AJ Styles from backstage and the crowd cheered wildly for Styles and Cena next to each other in the ring. Styles said that he admires Cena and that he has earned his place atop the WWE pecking order.
The Club made its way down the ramp and said that they are sick of Styles sucking up to Cena. Styles took off his shirt and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Cena as they braced for an attack. Instead, Styles hit Cena with a forearm and The Club, all together beat down Cena. Even when it looked like they were finished, Styles went back for more of a beating on Cena. After some subtle hints in his feud with Reigns, this interaction represents an unambiguous heel turn for Styles. While I still think it’s bizarre that WWE would walk away from the popularity Styles has already exhibited, I also think there are fun storylines in an updated version of the Bullet Club.
McMahons Address Brand Split
Stephanie and Shane McMahon entered the ring at the top of Raw and confirmed that Smackdown will go live on Tuesdays in July with its own roster. New Day joined them in the ring and told them not to split up the Tag Team Champions. The McMahons acknowledged that there are many unanswered questions about Smackdown, including who will run it and how the rosters will be divided. New Day lightened the mood by challenging the McMahons to a dance-off. Shane participated, but before Stephanie could take her turn, the Vaudevillains interrupted.
New Day faced the Vaudevillains in an ensuing match with a tag team title shot on the line. The Vaudevillains used some interference early to gain the advantage. Big E turned the tide and it looked like he was on the verge of taking control of the match. Instead, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows ran in and attacked New Day for a DQ. They finished their assault with a Magic Killer on Big E. The Club are easily the top heel tag team on the roster at the moment and a feud with New Day would be good for both teams. I predicted a New Day-Club Tag Team Title match at SummerSlam and I have no problem with the rivalry getting kicked off earlier than that.
–The six wrestlers who have qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match had a very fun six-man tag match. Even the backstage interactions between the teams was entertaining, particularly the arguments within the heel team of Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Alberto Del Rio. Dean Ambrose got the pin on Owens when his Dirty Deeds punctuated a series of finishers.
-When Roman Reigns called out Seth Rollins, it looked like Rollins was going to either address him on the mic or fight him. Rollins teased it several times, but ultimately begged off. I get the idea of building anticipation, but this segment came off poorly.
-Rusev easily dispatched Zack Ryder with the Accolade. Titus O’Neil interrupted his post-match gloating and jumped Rusev. I can’t say that I have high expectations for a match between Rusev and O’Neil. Charl
-A very good promo package recapped the split between Ric and Charlotte Flair with comments from other wrestlers. It makes the Women’s Division feel more important to have guys like Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose comment on the developments because it makes it clear that it’s not an isolated part of the show. Charlotte’s evolution as a top heel continues to develop very well.
-Enzo Amore made his formal return to the ring for the first time since his Payback injury against the Dudley Boys. The Dudleys put up a good fight, but Enzo and Cass got the win with the Rocket Launcher. It was a solid match for a team known far more for their talking.
-Dolph Ziggler continued to focus on his amateur wrestling with headgear and a mouth guard. Instead of grappling, Ziggler kicked Corbin in the groin as soon as the bell sounded to pay him back.
-The Usos got a pin on Breezedango with a crucifix on Fandango. The Golden Truth continued their bickering on commentary, which led to a post-match brawl with Breezedango. Even though it’s one of the dumbest storylines in recent memory, I like that WWE has taken the time to create a storyline for these four at the bottom of the roster.
-Dana Brooke used a distraction from Charlotte to hit a sloppy Michinoku Driver and beat Natalya. Becky Lynch came to Natalya’s aid and chased them away before a post-match beating.