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WrestleMania 30: The Miracle on Bourbon Street

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Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30

WrestleMania 30: Miracle on Bourbon Street

WrestleMania 30 comes to us from New Orleans, Louisiana, the first time WrestleMania had run the Superdome. This was also the first WrestleMania to air on the WWE Network and, much like its namesake in 1985, this WrestleMania could be seen as a make or break for the fledgling network, so WWE arranged what has been seen as an amazing card.

This WrestleMania has been seen as a turning point in the company’s history due to the fallout of three of the matches on this card: Daniel Bryan’s battle for respect and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that would turn into a battle to get back to the sport he loved, and Undertaker pitting his legendary streak against Brock Lesnar’s path of destruction that would end up being a fight over whether or not the Streak would be the only part of his career and legacy that mattered.  Of course, no one knew that when WrestleMania 30 started, so is WrestleMania 30 as big a deal as it seems now? Or is it a great but, largely, inconsequential show that should just be enjoyed as is? Let’s find out!

Pre-Show:

We start with a lively look back at WrestleMania and WrestleMania Moments. Who would’ve thought this show that looked likely to fail would be celebrating 30 years and become a global phenomenan?

We see a clip of Stephanie and Triple H introducing WrestleMania 30’s stage. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like Mardi Gras threw up on it. Joking aside, they both look very proud, and they should be very proud.

I will not bore you or myself with a recap of the kickoff show other than the matches.

Four Way Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Usos vs Los Matadores (with El Torito), the Real Americans (with Zeb Colter), and RybAxel

Zeb Colter is in the ring, and he’s talking. New Orleans is even more multicultural than New York, but some people seemed to be buying this. Real Americans come out to a mixed reaction. RybAxel get little reaction. Los Matadores and El Torito get a decent reaction, or that’s their music. Usos are out last and they get a good reaction.

I forgot how pitiful the tag team division was in 2014. Thankfully, despite the motley crew of teams, this match was actually pretty good and got the crowd going. There was a badly done spot where one of the Matadores was supposed to headscissors Swagger over the top rope and, for whatever reason, it didn’t work.

First eliminated: Los Matadores.
Second Eliminated: RybAxel…thankfully.
Third Elimination: Real Americans

Winner: Usos retain via pinfall after a double Splash on Cesaro. Colter isn’t happy, maybe someone should tell him that the Usos are American citizens so he’ll cheer up. Swagger berates Cesaro for the loss and Cesaro isn’t happy. Colter calms the situation, but Swagger tries to put Cesaro in an ankle lock but is stopped by Colter who tells him to hug it out with Cesaro. Swagger extends his hand, Cesaro takes it but then takes Swagger for a swing as payback for the ankle lock and leaves, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlights: Axel stopping El Torito from doing a highflying move. The match between the Uso and Real Americans. The implosion of the Real Americans.

Comments: This was a good match, but Ryback was awful.

Opener

We start with a promo about WrestleMania with a New Orleans Jazz band. I guess it’s supposed to be on Bourbon Street, and the cutting in of the superstars and Mania moments is pretty cool in the Mardi Gras type celebration.

Hulk Hogan comes out to a HUGE pop, which is still amazing. Hogan is overwhelmed by his reception. We start out with a flub, Hogan MEANT to say ‘Superdome’ and said ‘Silverdome’ instead and things go downhill from there. After a second flub, Hogan realizes his mistake and apologizes and is forgiven. Stone Cold’s music hits and out comes the Rattlesnake to a HUGE pop.

We get a face off between Hogan and Austin and then Austin gets the mic and teases Hogan about the flub. Austin points out usually, he opens a can of Whoop Ass on whoever’s in the ring when he comes out and asks if the audience would like for him to do that to Hogan, and the audience is happy to see it. Austin talks about how he’d sat next to Hogan at the Hall of Fame ceremony and saw all that Hogan had done in WrestleMania’s early years and about protecting legacies. Austin also says that he respects Hogan and what Hogan did (which is why Hogan isn’t getting stunned, presumably). Hogan asks the crowd to give Austin a Hell Yeah.

Austin says that though he’d like to talk all night, tonight is for the WWE Superstars to come out and give everything they’ve got for the fans, just like he and Hogan have done. Rock’s music hits and out comes the Brahma Bull.

Rock is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the crowd. He and Austin do their special handshake. Rock also teases Hogan about his flub, which Hogan accepts that he will never live down. Rock cuts a nice promo about how important Austin and Hogan have been to WWE and to himself. He puts over Cena and Bryan and links them to Hogan and Austin. He also links the birth of a lot of young WWE fans to their parents feeling the passion of WrestleMania.

(Commenter: Seriously, guys, hurry up).

I ended up fast forwarding through the end of this. They took twenty minutes for this opener. The three legends had a beer bash and had the crowd in a good mood.

We get a promo for Bryan vs Triple H.

Daniel Bryan vs Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon) – Winner is added to WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match

 

Stephanie is in the ring, to a LOUD chorus of boos and introduces Triple H, who gets an even louder round of boos. This is his last Skull King entrance and he’s attended by three ladies who will soon become VERY well known to WWE fans: Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Alexa Bliss. Once Motorhead hits, the pop gets a little better, but the crowd’s feelings are pretty well known.

The pop for Bryan is HUGE! There are ‘Yes!’ signs EVERYWHERE! Bryan’s all smiles until he locks eyes on The Authority and the snarling on both sides has started.

Triple H sticks out his hand, but Bryan isn’t having it, he draws first blood and goes for a quick pin. It’s going to be one of those matches and things get very physical, very quickly.

Bryan mocks Triple H’s attempt at a handshake and the Game is PISSED. Stephanie manages to get him somewhat calmed down, but the tone for this match is set: This is going to be a fight and Trips can’t afford to take Bryan lightly.

I’m sure you will not be surprised that this was a really great match. Triple H and Bryan really took it to each other and both looked great doing it.

Triple H really played up the arrogant heel who didn’t think he had to take Bryan all that seriously and paid for it. I do find it interesting that Stephanie never interfered in the match, or took cheap shots, which she has done in different situations. It plays into this scenario of the Authority not taking Bryan as seriously as they should have.

Winner: Daniel Bryan by pinfall after a running knee. The Superdome EXPLODES. Stephanie and Triple H can’t believe it. Stephanie is livid and slaps Bryan and Triple H attacks him.

Highlights: Bryan hitting a sunset flip powerbomb on Triple H. Triple H still being too arrogant to take Bryan seriously. The sound in the Superdome when Bryan kicked out of the Pedigree.

Comments: Even though I already knew what would happen, Bryan’s victory was a surprise, which is nice. However, I can’t see how a Triple H victory was viable since Evolution hadn’t been relevant in nearly a decade.

Six Man Tag Team Match: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins) vs The New Age Outlaws and Kane

New Age Outlaws are out first, but due to what just happened, the crowd isn’t having it. The Shield interrupts Road Dogg’s promo and get a good pop. The crowd really wants vengeance for Bryan, apparently. Kane comes out and also gets little reaction.

This match was quick and dirty, which is sad because it really could’ve gone on longer. Dean and Kane start us out, as usual, Dean shows no fear of Kane and tags in Roman. This match quickly degenerates into a free-for-all. The Shield is NOT playing tonight.

Winner: The Shield by pinfall after a Double-Triple Powerbomb.

Highlights: Double-Triple Powerbomb, double Drive-By on the Outlaws.

Comments: I wish this match had gotten more time, but the Hogan/Austin/Rock segment went long, and they didn’t want to take time away from Bryan/Triple H. The crowd is very happy to see the Authority being taken out in some fashion after what happened to Bryan.

We get a backstage segment with a lot of WWF/E Legends playing with toys: Danny Davis, Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ricky Steamboat, Ron Simmons, and Ted DiBiase.

Inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Big Show is out and gets a pretty good pop, as does Sheamus. Everyone else is in the ring. Since there’s so many guys and it’s a battle royal, I won’t give you a play-by-play.

Cesaro eliminates Big Show by lifting up Big Show up and dumping over the top rope. To understand what a big deal (no pun intended) that is, Big Show was 450lbs at that time.

Winner: Cesaro by eliminating Big Show. Big Show is a good sport and shakes Cesaro’s hand. Cesaro is elated and manages to lift the VERY heavy trophy up on his own.

Highlights: Kofi and Cody having a top rope version of a chicken fight. 3MB eliminating Khali. Kofi Kingston staying in the battle royal.

Comments: This was a really good battle royal. The shock of Cesaro winning instead of Big Show was a great moment.

We get a video package for Cena/Bray Wyatt. This whole feud was creepy.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt (with Erik Rowan and Luke Harper)

The Wyatt entrance is supposed to be modeled on voodoo, except the woman isn’t wearing white like in traditional voodoo ceremonies. Wyatt actually gets a decent pop. Cena gets a mixed reaction, as usual. Cena’s usually all smiles when he comes to the ring, but he’s not tonight, probably because of the creeps in the ring.

This was an okay match, but it wasn’t exciting. Something just wasn’t clicking for me. Cena’s reactions were so over the top, it was a little ridiculous and his reaction to Wyatt’s ‘spider walk’ was just…no. The move isn’t scary, and I hate them pretending that it is.

I will give Wyatt credit for being a great wrestler, but the rest of this was just a ‘bleh’ for me on both guys. If this was supposed to bring out Cena’s inner monster, it either failed or Cena’s inner monster is a really lame one.

Winner: John Cena by pinfall

Highlights: Cena ‘getting mad’. Cena doing a flying crossbody on Harper and Rowan, instead of Wyatt. Cena taking out Harper.

Comments: I forgot how over the Wyatts were in 2014. The crowd was super into Wyatt and company during this match.

After the Hall of Fame spot, we see Daniel Bryan being examined by the trainers after his bad shoulder was attacked by Triple H.

We get a video package about the Streak and Taker vs Lesnar. They’re almost telegraphing what’s about to happen, and I’m kind of grateful for that, even though I KNOW what’s coming, seeing it basically being said is a little comforting.

Disclaimer: I have never seen the following match before. When I heard what happened, I avoided watching it, skipping it or WrestleMania 30 in general, so the following comments be my reaction in real time. There will likely be some swearing and I apologize.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

Here we go…

Brock is out first, crowd gives him a good pop. He and Paul look a little…nervous. This is bigger than anyone in UFC and they both know it. Cole and JBL are talking Brock’s stats and I really don’t care. Lawler’s legit dislike of Heyman is showing. JBL’s trying to say Heyman’s the greatest manager ever. NOT. EVEN. Bobby Heenan is and will always be the greatest Manager of all time.

Come, on, let’s get this over with, people.

Lights out. We’re getting a montage of the Streak including Heenan’s chilling words ‘You can’t stop him’. There’s a lot of coffins and it’s creepy. Guess the last one is for Lesnar. Gong sounds, He’s coming. The crowd is popping for this.

Taker’s not wearing his robes, he’s wearing his Deadman gear and the last coffin opens. Lesnar looks legit freaked out, like any normal person, especially when the coffin catches on fire.

The Superdome is SILENT until Justin Roberts announces the Undertaker, and then it’s silence again. I’m going to have nightmares about this, I just know it.

Holy Mother of God, Taker looks like an old man. He doesn’t look like Undertaker anymore. I will say that Taker’s gear looks really cool, but holy cow, Taker looks awful and it’s worse when he takes the hat off and he’s still got that godawful haircut.

 

We’ve got a face off. They both know what’s ahead, they’ve had wars before and they’re going to have one now. Slugfest starting off, but Lesnar’s breaking out the wrestling moves, and Taker’s sent outside but lands on his feet. Lesnar breaking out the UFC stuff. Heyman looks nervous. The ref isn’t doing a whole lot of officiating. Taker’s moving slower than he did last year.

They’re outside and Taker’s in control. The quiet of everyone other than Taker and Lesnar in this match is wigging me out, it’s like hearing people talk in the hospital room of someone who’s very sick or dying. Taker picks Lesnar up for Snake Eyes and Lesnar visibly helps him. Chokeslam early but Lesnar counters, goes for the F-5 but Taker counters that.

Oh, that that looked painful. That bad knee of his is being targeted. This is getting ugly. JBL using car racing terms is making me smile. They keep saying this could be the end, they’re warning the people at home what’s about to happen. Vince KNEW how badly people were going to take this.

Okay, something’s wrong. Taker’s eyes are glazed over and his movements are odd. Lesnar’s pulling his stomps a little because he’s missed Taker’s leg a couple of times. Something is wrong with Taker, like…his bell got rung or something. Oh, I don’t like how Taker’s looking right now.

This looks really sick, Taker’s lying there. I’m sure Heyman’s laughing to sell the story, but this looks awful, Taker’s not fighting back. I wish this crowd would make some noise. Taker hits a DDT that is not the best one I’ve ever seen him hit. I really wish this match was over, Taker’s starting to scare me and not in the way I’m comfortable with. He’s showing life, thankfully, but I still think something’s wrong.

Chokeslam! Only a two-count. Taker goes for the tombstone but Lesnar counters and hits the F-5, Taker kicks out. JBL rooting for Lesnar irritates me, but the crowd is rooting for Taker. Taker is trying to sit up, but I think he just suckered Lesnar in and he’s got him in Hell’s Gate. Damn! Lesnar breaks the hold.

Okay, now I’m really worried about Taker, but he goes for Hell’s Gate again. Lesnar breaks the hold by the deadlift powerbomb. Heyman’s about to have a stroke. Taker goes to sit up but it’s not happening. Lesnar gets Taker in that damn arm break thing of his but Taker’s not tapping and turns it around on Lesnar, just like Triple H did last year.

Both guys are sucking wind like crazy. Taker looks like he can’t believe he knocked Lesnar down. Old School is countered into the second F-5. Heyman throws a damn tantrum over Taker kicking out. Lesnar hits a horrible German suplex.

Taker hits what I think was supposed to be a Last Ride, but he didn’t get it all and he missed the cover. God, Taker looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he was struggling to get Lesnar into a tombstone position.

Okay, he sat up, that’s…that’s good, right? It looks like the lights are coming back on. Lesnar hits another F-5 for three. Crap, even KNOWING that how this match would end doesn’t make it easier, I’m STILL crying.

Winner: Brock Lesnar by pinfall. The Streak is over. The crowd pops but then reality sinks in. There are a lot of stunned and unhappy faces in the crowd. They didn’t even play Lesnar’s music at first. It’s like…that wasn’t the finish that was planned. The crowd’s starting to boo, LOUDLY. Afterwards, Taker gets to his feet and the crowd and ringside crew give him a standing ovation and he walks to the back.

Comment: I honestly never want to see this match again, once is more than enough. I might feel differently next year, but right now, I don’t care if I ever see this match again.

We get a promo for WrestleMania 31.

The commentators give props to Undertaker. It really seems like this was meant to be Taker’s last match.

Vickie Guerrero Invitational Match for the WWE Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs Aksana vs Alicia Fox vs Brie Bella vs Cameron vs Emma vs Eva Marie vs Layla vs Naomi vs Natalya vs Nikki Bella vs Rosa Mendes vs Summer Rae vs Tamina Snuka

All the Divas are in the ring for this match, except for AJ, who gets little reaction, which isn’t surprising given what just happened.  Vickie is screeching and it’s getting on my nerves and apparently the Divas aren’t thrilled either.

AJ and Tamina are shoved into the middle and the rest gang up on them. Again, I wish they’d done the Divas/Women’s Revolution sooner, there’s a lot of talented women in this match who really should get more respect than they are given by fans.

Winner: AJ by submission.

Highlights: Stereo snap suplexes. Bellas’ stereo suicide dives. Bellas turning on each other.

Comments: Given what was going to happen tomorrow on RAW, why wasn’t Paige brought in as a surprise entrant?

Mean Gene is doing an interview with Hogan backstage when Piper and Orndorff show up. Piper doesn’t seem to be in the mood to fight…yet. They start rehashing their match at the first WrestleMania and it looks like a fight’s going to break out, especially when T starts running his mouth. Pat Patterson (who refereed that match) reminds them that that match was thirty years ago and Hogan offers to bury the hatchet (not in Piper and Orndorff’s heads, I presume). Everyone shakes hands, and all is good with the world.

There’s a lot of Hall of Famers at ringside, enjoying the show. Bret’s there and he’s a bundle of laughs, as always. The crowd is still dead from the Taker match.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan

Orton is being sung to the ring and his pop is minimal. They’re going to have an uphill battle to get this crowd engaged again. Batista gets a round of boos. And the crowd isn’t in a good mood.

Bryan gets a pop, but even he isn’t getting much of one, surprisingly. The ‘Yes’ chant starts, but it’s not as loud as earlier. Even when they do the in-ring intros, Bryan’s not getting a big pop. Bryan draws first blood, Batista goes for a powerbomb, but Bryan counters with a really bad headscissor takedown. Orton targets Bryan’s bad shoulder and Bryan goes outside and we get a match between Orton and Batista.

Triple H and Stephanie show up with Scott Armstrong to make sure that Bryan doesn’t win, but Bryan isn’t going to be robbed of his dream by a bunch of corporate suits or their stooge ref. He takes out Armstrong and Stephanie, and then takes out Triple H with the Game’s own sledgehammer.

Batista and Orton try to gang up on Bryan so they can have the 1-1 they were supposed to have, but Bryan refuses to go away, even shoving away doctors and getting off a stretcher after a Batista Bomb/RKO combination through the Spanish annouce table.

After taking out Orton, Bryan locks the Yes!Lock on Batista and Batista taps. We have a NEW champion and it’s a Mick Foley moment. The guy everyone said couldn’t be champion is the champion. The crowd LOSES it.

This match was also slow moving, or it felt that way. Like Miz/Cena waiting for Rock, it felt like everyone was treading water for the Triple H and Stephanie run in. While it was nice story progression to see them take Bryan more seriously, it hurt the match, in my opinion because things didn’t pick up until they came out.

Winner: Daniel Bryan by submission on Batista. The crowd ERUPTS, their hero is the champion! Bryan celebrates with his sister and niece and then goes to see Connor Michalek, the brave little boy who had been such a fan of his, even while dying of pediatric cancer, and thanks him for his support. Sadly, little Connor would die a few weeks later of his disease.

Highlights: Bryan hitting ‘Yes’ kicks to Orton and Batista. Bryan taking out Scott Armstrong. Bryan using the sledgehammer on Triple H. Batista Bomb into an RKO. The crowd reaction to Bryan’s win

Comments: This match wasn’t as good as Bryan vs Triple H. It was good, but it was too slow a start.

Overall Comments:

So, is WrestleMania 30 as big a deal in reality as it is in retrospect? Well, yes and no. No, it’s not a big deal because of the fallout of the big matches because no one knew what that fallout was going to look like, but it IS a big deal because of what it represents for WWE and the fans: That Vince McMahon’s biggest gamble is still going strong. The show that everyone feared or hoped would fail is not only still successful thirty years later, but growing and improving, seeking new horizons and still bringing in new fans.

Snoozers: There were several, but Cena/Wyatt was the biggest one.

Match of the Night: Triple H vs Daniel Bryan, that was amazing.

Hall of Fame: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, The Ultimate Warrior, Lita, Paul Bearer, Carlos Colon, Sr, Scott Hall, and Mr. T. Sadly, this would be the last WrestleMania appearance for The Ultimate Warrior. He would die of a sudden heart attack two days later.

Final Thoughts: Aside from the Taker match, I really enjoyed this show overall. Even knowing the outcome, the Bryan matches were done so well, I was still surprised that he won.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE TLC (2015) featuring Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns

As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring  a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!

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WWE TLC 2015 Roman Reigns Sheamus

As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring  a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!

As we get closer to closing the book on 2018, we’re approaching WWE’s December pay-per-view TLC, so today we’re looking back at one from the past with TLC 2015! After cashing in Money In The Bank on Roman Reigns after a grueling tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus must now face Reigns fair and square in a TLC Match! Let’s get into the action…

Kickoff Show Match: Sasha Banks w/Naomi & Tamina vs. Becky Lynch
Collar & elbow tie-up to kick things off, Sasha with a side headlock, Becky counters into one of her own, Banks attempts to roll her away, but Lynch hangs on. The Boss reverses an irish whip to the corner, charges in and scores with a monkey flip into a cover, celebrates a little early and Becky rolls her up for a quick 2. Banks tries to pick the leg, Becky counters and gains a side headlock, Sasha pushing her to the ropes and scoring with a shoulder knockdown for a count of 2. Back to the ropes they go, The Boss tries a leapfrog, Lynch hooks the leg and Banks faceplants into the canvas, The Lass Kicker looking for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Sasha squirms to the ropes to escape.

Lynch tries to slingshot The Boss to the mat, Sasha lands on her feet and connects with a big forearm, rushes in and gets caught in an armbar. She pushes Becky off to the ropes, follows in and Lynch with an armdrag, going right back to the armbar. Banks attempts to roll her away, Becky maintaining the hold, ducks a right hand and rolls Banks up for multiple 1 counts, then slaps the armbar back on. The Boss creates some separation with stiff forearms, sends Lynch to the corner and charges in, The Lass Kicker hopping up and over, controlling Sasha with another armbar. The Boss backs her into the corner using the hair, briefly breaks clean and tries to sneak in a forearm, Becky avoids it and connects with a springboard kick.

Naomi climbs to the apron and gets dropped back down for her troubles, Lynch turns back to The Boss and rushes in, Sasha side-steps and Becky hits the ring post shoulder-first. Banks planks her across the middle rope and drops down the double knees, taking control as we head to a break….The Boss chokes Lynch on the bottom rope when we come back, Tamina with a cheap shot behind the official’s back. The Lass Kicker tries to battle back with forearms, sends Sasha to the ropes for a clothesline, Banks counters into a tilt-a-whirl and cracks her with a backstabber. She rolls through, crosses Becky’s arms across her faces and wrenches back, grinding Lynch down to the canvas.

The Lass Kicker powers to her feet with Banks on her shoulders The Boss turns it into a victory roll for a near fall, Becky with a roll-up off the kick-out and she gets 2. She catches Banks rushing in with another roll-up for 2, drops The Boss face-first on the 2nd turnbuckle, then builds momentum with a flurry of clotheslines and a heel kick. She drops a leg, tries for another and Sasha avoids it, planting her with a cross-arm neckbreaker, covering numerous times and only getting 2 counts. The Boss slaps Lynch in the face, Becky comes back with a heavy shot, pushes Sasha to the ropes and throws her with a LassPlex, Banks grabbing the bottom rope at a count of 2.

Sasha kicks her way back to her feet, Becky takes her down with an armwhip, slaps on a cross armbreaker, The Boss tries to roll her way out and Lynch hangs on for the Dis-Arm-Her. Banks switches the momentum into a roll-up for 2, The Lass Kicker hangs onto the arm on the kick-out, going right back to the Dis-Arm-Her, Tamina getting to the apron to distract the referee, allowing Naomi to sneak in and kick Lynch in the face. The Boss takes the opening and scores with the backstabber, rolls through into the Bank Statement and Lynch is forced to tap.
Winner: Sasha Banks (Bank Statement)

  • EA’s TakeSolid showing on our Kickoff match from both ladies, The Boss getting the big win in her hometown with help from the unity of Team B.A.D. Becky’s in an odd spot right now, seemingly playing the 3rd wheel between her former Team PCB members, Paige & Charlotte. With performances like this it will be very difficult to keep Becky & Sasha near the bottom tier of the Divas division for much longer, especially if the “We Want Sasha” chants continue.

Open: After Seth Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase at WrestleMania, Roman Reigns’ luck as it pertains to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been less than stellar. He finally reached the mountaintop at Survivor Series, winning a tournament to gain the vacant title, only to have Sheamus cash in his Money In The Bank and steal the championship. Tonight, Roman looks for revenge with tables, ladders and chairs.

Match #1 – Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Xavier joins commentary for this match, the bell rings and the brawl is on, Jimmy & Sin Cara send Big E to the ropes, Jimmy drops down and Sin Cara scores with a dropkick. Jey, Kalisto & Kofi attempt to bring ladders in, Big E clears the ring, pushes back on Kalisto & Jey, then pulls Kingston’s ladder inside. New Day stand it up and start to climb, The Usos are there to meet them, toss Kofi outside and then pair-off with Big E & Sin Cara. Kingston & Kalisto climb up opposite sides of the apron, springboard into the ring and land on their feet on the ladder.

The Usos playing defense, everyone takes a turn climbing up with no success. Big E & Kofi get thrown outside, climbs to the 2nd rope on the apron and fly with synchronized moonsaults to New Day. The Usos grab the ladder in the ring, knock The Lucha Dragons off the apron with it, then throw it outside, New Day & Luchas catching it in the air. The Usos hit the ropes and take flight with crossbody planchas onto the ladder, taking all 4 of their opponents out. They head back in and set the ladder up under the titles, Kingston slides in, hops through the middle of the ladder for a dropkick, gets his feet caught and The Usos dump him over the top to the floor. Big E rolls in behind them, pushes the ladder into The Usos and sends Jimmy flying outside.

Kofi smashes him with a ladder as Big E stomps a hole into Jey in the corner, Kingston comes in and they sandwich him behind the ladder. Big E whips Kingston in for a basement dropkick, Jimmy rolls inside and gets caught, E tossing him onto the ladder with an overhead belly to belly suplex. The Dragons are back in the ring and clock Kingston with another ladder, attempt to smash Big E, but he powers them back to the corner. Kalisto climbs to the top, hops through the ladder and lands on Big E with a seated senton, Kofi gets to his feet and drills him with a superkick. Sin Cara goes to the 2nd rope with the ladder, Kingston scales up to meet him, gets knocked down and Sin Cara rides the ladder down into a splash on him.

He takes The Usos out on the outside with a baseball slide into a ladder, hits the ropes and jumps onto the ladder on the floor with a somersault senton on Jimmy & Jey. Kalisto spears Big E with a ladder back inside, sets it up over his prone body and starts the climb up, Big E benchpressing him up, but Sin Cara hops on it to bring it back down. E benchpresses it again with both Luchas on it, Sin Cara falls and gets hanged on the top rope, The Usos slide in and Kalisto jumps off with a crossbody. Jimmy & Jey catch him in the air, Jey plants him with a spinning side slam, then they drop Big E with a double superkick. The Usos prop him in the corner and sandwich him with a ladder, Kingston comes in for a save and gets leveled, Jimmy & Jey charging into the corner with a dropkick to the ladder.

Kofi comes to and elevates Jimmy to the outside, Jey pulls a smaller ladder into the ring, slams Kingston on it then heads up top. Kingston crotches him on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and gets sent back down, getting his foot caught in the ropes and hanging in the tree of woe. Jimmy passes a ladder to Jey and he hammers Kingston, holds it in front of Kofi and Jimmy charges in with the hip attack. The Usos are alone in the ring now, stand a ladder up, The Dragons are their to meet them and we get a staredown before everyone takes a shot at climbing. Sin Cara assists Kalisto into a senton on Jimmy, they place a ladder over his body and Sin Cara flips his partner into a 450 splash on top.

Lucha Dragons now holding the ring and starting to ascend the ladder, Kofi’s back in to lay them out with forearms, then planks another ladder between the ropes and the standing ladder. He attempts to drive Kalisto into it, Kalisto slides under, pushes the ladder into Kingston’s ribs, springs off of it with a hurricanrana and Kofi hits the ladder head-first, spilling to the floor. Kalisto heads up after the titles, The Usos hit the ring climbing up opposite sides, Sin Cara pulls Jimmy down to the canvas as Kalisto is sent down as well. Kalisto springs back up, climbs over Jey, hooks him for Salida Del Sol and they both go crashing through the planked ladder. Sin Cara climbs upstairs and follows with a somersault senton.

Kalisto & Jimmy drag themselves up the ladder and reach for the championships, Kalisto gets knocked down and Jimmy’s all alone. Big E hits the ring to make the save, pulling him down and pushing the ladder over, looks to toss Jimmy to the floor, but he turns tables and E is sent outside. Jimmy attempts a suicide dive and runs into a forearm, E grabs a ladder to bring into the ring and Jimmy hits with a baseball slide. He looks to the corner, scales to the top rope and jumps to the floor onto the ladder, squashing Big E with the Uso Splash. Kalisto stirs around in the squared circle and drags himself up the ladder, Woods leaves commentary, grabs the trombone and throws it into Kalisto’s back, Kingston quickly sliding in and flipping him off the ladder to the mat. Kofi climbs up, unhooks the titles and The New Day retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day

  • EA’s TakeWow, the tag division just spat on the rest of the roster and proclaimed “Follow that!” with this match. Amazing high-spots and some pretty innovative stuff here, Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol being the showstealer. This is going to be very difficult for anyone to measure up to the rest of the night and we’re just getting started. I think it’s a little odd that New Day retained, they’re starting to run out of babyface challengers at this point after running through everyone for the majority of 2015. Unless someone’s getting called up from NXT, they may end up having to turn themselves.

Match #2: Rusev w/Lana vs. Ryback
Rusev jumps Ryback right at the bell, clobbers him in the back and whips him to the ropes, The Big Guy hanging on and catching Rusev coming in with a back elbow. He sends The Bulgarian Brute to the outside after a shoulder tackle, follows him out and drives Rusev into the barricade before rolling him back in. The Big Guy heads up top and scores with a double axe handle, presses Rusev over his head, drops him face-first and follows with a splash for a count of 2. He rams The Bulgarian Brute back into the corner and fires away, climbs to the 2nd rope for right hands, Rusev powers him out and drops him on the ropes with a hot shot.

He takes control and chokes Ryback on the bottom rope, rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle and drives shoulders to the solarplexes, flattening The Big Guy with a short-arm clothesline. Rusev grabs the neck with a nervehold to ground Ryback, The Big Guy fights to a vertical base, gets clubbed in the back and The Bulgarian Brute hooks him for a vertical suplex. Ryback blocks and they trade suplex attempts back and forth, The Big Guy finally plants Rusev and starts to build a head of steam with multiple shoulder blocks. He squashes The Bulgarian Brute in the corner, Rusev reverses a whip across, charges in and runs into a boot, Ryback following up with a 2nd rope dropkick that gets a 2 count.

The Big Guy’s ready to finish it, picks Rusev up and gets driven into the corner, The Bulgarian Brute attempting a splash, but Ryback side-steps and goes to the top rope. He connects with a crossbody that gains a near fall, drops the straps and sets Rusev in his crosshairs for a Meat Hook. The Bulgarian Brute wisely rolls out of the ring and walks off with Lana at his side, Ryback giving chase up the aisle and brings him back by the hair. Rusev breaks the grip with a back elbow, he pushes The Big Guy and he falls back, running into Lana and sending her down. Ryback is distracted, turns around and gets clocked by a superkick, Lana springing to her feet and celebrating after deceiving The Big Guy.

The Bulgarian Brute rolls Ryback in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for The Accolade, but The Big Guy blocks it, powering to his feet with Rusev on his shoulders for Shellshocked. Rusev slips out of it, scores with a roundhouse to the head, locks in The Accolade to a knocked out Ryback and the official calls for the bell.
Winner: Rusev (The Accolade)

  • EA’s TakeNow don’t get me wrong, it’s not that this was a bad match. It’s just that…who cares? The story was a little absurd heading into it and both of these guys have really fallen off the map in comparison to where they were at the height of their WWE runs thus far. Ryback is still missing something, it’s tough to put my finger on exactly what it is. It’s certainly not his ability, which you can also say about Rusev as well.

Backstage: Dean Ambrose warms up for his match when Roman Reigns comes in. He tells Dean he was just speaking to The Usos and it’s down to them tonight to hold it down for the family. Reigns is excited for tonight, describing how good it will feel to regain the WWE Title and put a hole in Sheamus’ head with a ladder. Win, lose or draw, tonight’s about making a statement. Ambrose says he had a different vision and that’s for both of them to be standing in the ring later as champions.

Match #3 – Chairs Match for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
Ringside is littered with set-up chairs, both guys slide out to the floor after a chair at the bell, roll back in and the duel is on. They drop the chairs and Swagger hits a clothesline, the champion rolls to the outside, The Real American in pursuit and Del Rio tries to drive him into the post, only to get rammed into the steel instead. The challenger bounces Alberto’s head off a chair multiple times, back into the ring they go and The Real American looks for the Swagger Bomb, El Patron sticking a chair up and catches him in the throat. The champion scores with a clothesline that gets 1, sends Swagger sternum-first into the turnbuckles, then rams the chair to the ribs and smacks it over his back.

He props the chair flat between the ropes in the corner, the challenger firing away with right hands, Alberto reverses a whip into the chair, The Real American puts on the brakes to avoid it, but Del Rio makes him pay with a backstabber for a count of 2. El Patron hammers the challenger in the back with a chair, sets his sights on a superkick, but Swagger is able to throw the chair in his face to avoid it. He ducks a clothesline, hits the ropes for one of his own, follows with another, then connects with two more in the corners. The Real American wants the Swagger Bomb again, Del Rio gets the feet up, Swagger catches the foot and goes for the Patriot Lock, but the champion is able to kick him away. Swagger rushes right back in and is split with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall, tosses The Real American out to the floor, then throws a pile of chairs onto him.

He sends the challenger back in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for the Cross Armbreaker, Swagger counters out and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post, follows with a roll-up and nearly gets the 3 count. The Real American pounds Del Rio’s back with a chair, wraps his ankle in it and slaps on the Patriot Lock, the champion crawling to grabs the apron, but there’s no breaks in this match. El Patron works his way out of the ring using the ring skirting, Swagger ducks his head out to grab the champion and takes a chair shot to the breadbasket. Alberto heads upstairs with a chair-in-hand, The Real American catches him coming down with a slam, finally hits the Swagger Bomb and Del Rio kicks at 2.

The challenger slides to the outside and sends a handful of chairs into the ring, pummels Alberto in the back again, then props him on the top turnbuckle and climbs up. The champion pushes him away, picks the arm and hangs over the ropes with the Cross Armbreaker, releasing the hold on his own accord. He heads back inside and unleashes a barrage of chair shots to the back in the corner, stacks the chairs up under Swagger, climbs up top and delivers tree of woe double stomp for the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Tree Of Woe Double Stomp)

  • EA’s TakeBrutal, physical match between two of the better technicians in the company, showing they can also deliver a good brawl. The chairs were really used to perfection and were a real focal point of the match, which is what you’d expect from a chairs match. I get that Swagger & Del Rio have a history, so it only makes sense for The Real American to be one of the first challengers to Alberto’s title. I just don’t like that I’m supposed to take Swagger as a serious contender after months and months of being relegated to Superstars, most of the time on the losing end.


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Chairshot Classics: 2015 WWE Hell In A Cell

With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!

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WWE Hell In A Cell 2015 The Undertaker Brock Lesnar

With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!

Before you get to Sasha vs Bayley, Roman vs Jey and Drew vs Randy, check out the happenings of the 2015 version of WWE Hell In A Cell, emanating from the Staples Center in Los Angeles!

Kickoff Show Match: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville vs. Rusev, King Barrett & ‘Mr. Money In The Bank’ Sheamus
Stardust & The Ascension are sitting at ringside again with a “Stardust Section” sign. The Man That Gravity Forgot & The Celtic Warrior to kick things off, collar & elbow, Sheamus powers Neville into the corner and goes to the midsection. He whips him into the ropes, Neville slides through the legs and scores with a flurry of kicks, misses a dropkick, then slips out of a slam attempt for an enzuigiri. Cesaro gets the tag, slams Sheamus, goes to all fours and Neville jumps off his back into a corkscrew splash on Mr. MITB that gets 2 for The Swiss Superman. He quick tags back out to Neville, Sheamus sends him hard into the corner and brings in Barrett.

The King fires away a headbutt, quick tags out to Rusev and The Bulgarian Brute pummels The Man That Gravity Forgot. The Celtic Warrior off the tag with more heavy shots, Neville tries to battle back, but Sheamus catches him for a suplex. The Man That Gravity Forgot counters and lands on his feet, gets the tag to Ziggler and he comes in on fire, dropping Mr. MITB with a jumping clothesline. The Show Off splashes Sheamys in the corner, drops him with a neckbreaker and plants an elbow drop to the chest. Dolph knocks Rusev & Barrett off the apron, goes for a Fameasser, The Celtic Warrior catches him into a powerbomb, but Ziggler with a reversal back into the Fameasser for a near fall. Barrett slides in and distracts the ref, Rusev coming in from behind and decapitates Dolph with a superkick, Mr. MITB slides over into a cover and Ziggler kicks out at 2 as we go to break…

The King controls The Show Off with a rear chinlock when we come back, Dolph tries to gain his footing and gets slammed to the canvas by the hair. Barrett maintains control, posting his knee to Ziggler’s spine and wrenching back on the arms. The Show Off powers to a vertical base, gets sent into the corner, tries to hop over a charging Barrett and takes a kick to the midsection for 2. Sheamus off the tag with stiff right hands, The Bulgarian Brute takes a turn and stomps away at Ziggler in the corner. He eggs The Show Off on to make a tag, but unloads with clubbing blows when Dolph reaches out. Rusev scores with a kick to the back for a count of 2, The Celtic Warrior re-enters the match and plants Ziggler with a release vertical suplex before going to a rear chinlock.

Dolph battles to his feet and spikes Sheamus with a jumping DDT, Rusev gets a tag and barely prevents Ziggler from making it to his corner. He props The Show Off up in the corner, runs to the other side to build a head of steam and goes to splash Dolph, but misses and hits the ring post. Barrett gets a tag as Cesaro enters, he drops Sheamus off the apron with a big boot, then unleashes a series of running uppercuts to the King, going from corner to corner. The Swiss Superman levels Barrett with a running big boot, the King reverses a whip into the ropes and Cesaro flips himself out to the apron, lifting a boot to Barrett’s face. The King Of Swing jumps onto Sheamus from the apron with a somersault senton, runs around ringside and unloads an uppercut to Rusev, then back around to deliver one to Mr. MITB.

Cesaro heads to the top rope, connects with a crossbody back in the ring to Barrett, but only gets a 2 count. The Swiss Superman calls for the Cesaro Swing, Rusev slides in to stop it and takes a back body drop. Neville hits the ring, Cesaro tells him to hit the ropes and sends The Man That Gravity Forgot to the outside onto Sheamus & Rusev. Barrett sets for the Bullhammer behind Cesaro, Dolph slides in and hits a superkick, Cesaro puts him in the swing and Neville tags to finish the King with the Red Arrow.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville (Neville/Red Arrow)

  • EA’s Take: GREAT opening contest here, the babyfaces get the win, but Cesaro looks like a million bucks coming out of this. I would have preferred to see the heels win with help from either Stardust at ringside or Tyler Breeze, generally I prefer to advance a story when it comes to who wins matches. Certainly one of the better kickoff show matches I can remember seeing though.

Open: “Hell comes in many forms.” Tonight, Seth Rollins looks to hang on to his WWE World Heavyweight Title, while Kane looks to keep his job as Director Of Operations. After a controversial finish at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker walk into Hell In A Cell seeking revenge in the final chapter of their rivalry. “It all ends…in hell.”

In The Arena: WWE United States Champion John Cena heads to the squared circle to a chorus of boos. The champ says he had a long winded speech, but it sounds like everyone’s ready to get down to business. The US Open Challenge starts….now. Zeb Colter comes out on a motorized scooter, talking about how some people like Cena and some people don’t. He calls Cena a divider and it’s time for people from all different countries and backgrounds to come together. More importantly, it’s time for John to lose the US Title to this man…

Match #1 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Cena goes to a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him into the ropes and John scores with a shoulder knockdown. They lock-up again, Alberto grabs a side headlock this time, Cena pushes him into the ropes, leapfrogs over and Del Rio with a kick to the leg that forces John to regroup outside. Loud dueling Cena chants as John goes to the striking game, firing away with right hands in the corner, whips Del Rio across, charges in and Alberto side-steps, going into an armdrag and holding an armbar. Alberto goes back to a leg kick, Cena crawls to the 2nd rope, Del Rio attempts a running senton and misses, spilling to the outside. The champ rolls Alberto back inside, charges at him and Del Rio splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a count of 2.

El Patron heads upstairs, connects with an overhead chop and gains another 2 count before utilizing a rear chinlock. The champion powers to his feet, Del Rio with a kick to the breadbasket and an attempted suplex, Cena blocks and hits one of his own. John climbs to the top, the challenger quickly scales the corner and scores with an enzuigiri, dropping the champion to the canvas for another near fall. Del Rio climbs to the top once more and again hits an overhead chop for a count of 2, then calls for the Cross Armbreaker.

Cena explodes to his feet, flattening Alberto with a clothesline. They exchange right hands, Cena hits his shoulder tackles, plants Alberto with a spinning back suplex and hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He sets for the AA, Del Rio slips out and cracks Cena with a backstabber, follows with a superkick and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Superkick)

  • EA’s Take: What a surprise return, it takes a lot for me to not see something coming and I was stunned, eventhough I knew there had been talks between Del Rio and WWE about coming back. I’m a little shocked at the way that it happened also though, as I feel like the execution was not as it should have been. Cena has had incredible US Title matches during his reign and successfully defended it, but this match didn’t quite live up to any of those. Great coup for WWE either way, hopefully they can keep the title relevant as Cena is slated to step away until the end of December.

Backstage: The Authority is watching with enjoyment at the start of the show, Seth Rollins comes in and agrees with them. However, Rollins has some thoughts about tonight when Kane interrupts. He tries to apologize, but Seth isn’t buying it and they bicker back and forth. Hunter stops them and says this is a private meeting, Kane’s attendane isn’t required. Kane wishes Seth luck, telling him he’s going to need it.

Match #2 is Hell In A Cell: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
Roman strikes first with a kick to the gut and right hands, drives Wyatt into the top turnbuckle and continues to fire away. Bray takes it right back to Reigns, shoots him into the ropes and The Big Dog explodes with a jumping clothesline, then tosses Wyatt with multiple pumphandle throws. He goes for a Samoan Drop, Bray battles out, but eats a big right hand, crawling to the ropes. Roman to the outside, looks for the Drive-By, Wyatt avoids it, but Reigns comes right back with another right hand, this time hitting the Drive-By. The Big Dog introduces Bray to the cage, sends him into the steps, then rolls him into the ring.

The New Face Of Fear rolls back to the outside, goes to Reigns’ eyes, then pulls out a kendo stick and goes to work, taking control of the match and swinging away at Roman’s back. Wyatt tries to send The Big Dog into the corner, Reigns fights back briefly, but Bray goes to the lower back with the kendo stick again. He clotheslines Roman to the outside using the cane, heads out after him and tosses him into the cage. The Eater Of Worlds finds a chair under the ring, goes to swing at Reigns, changes his mind and instead sits down, whacking Roman with the kendo stick and begging him to fight back. Bray props the chair and cane in the fencing, Reigns with a quick burst of energy, but Wyatt drives him into the cane, splitting it in two.

The Big Dog with another adrenaline rush, hammers Bray with fists and sends him into the chair, then back into the cage. He finds 2 kendo sticks and stalks Wyatt before combining them and unloading to Bray’s chest. Roman seeks out a table and slides it in the ring, then pulls out another and sets it up on the floor. Wyatt throws the other table out of the ring, Reigns notices and connects with another Drive-By, setting the other table up on the opposite side of the ring. Reigns pulls himself to the apron, avoids a charging Bray and hits a series of kicks, goes to suplex Wyatt through the table, but gets put through it himself with a one-arm slam.

The Eater Of Worlds rolls Roman in and covers for a count of 2, squashes him with a running senton for another 2. Wyatt dumps Roman to the outside, rushes at him and squashes him into the side of the cell. He pins Roman’s head up against the ring post, gains some speed and squashes him again. The New Face Of Fear pulls another table out and slides it in the ring, places Reigns in the corner and drives a knee to the head before setting the table up. Bray props The Big Dog on the top turnbuckle, hooks him for a superplex, Reigns blocks, drops down and powerbombs Wyatt through the table for a near fall. Both guys struggle to their feet, Roman unleashes a flurry of clotheslines in the corner, hits the ropes and Bray catches him for Sister Abigail.

Reigns counters into a schoolboy for a count of 2, then comes right back with a Superman Punch, Wyatt kicking out at 2. The New Face Of Fear rolls out to the apron, Roman goes out to meet him, hitting a Spear off the apron to the floor and going through a table. The Big Dog drags Wyatt into the ring, crawls to a cover and still can’t get a 3 count. Roman sets up for a Spear, Bray gets his boot up and plants him with Sister Abigail, but he can’t get the 3 either. The Eater Of Worlds goes to the 2 kendo sticks, delivers a shot to the midsection and hooks them up in the turnbuckles like javelins. Bray goes to drive Reigns into it and he blocks, connecting with kendo stick shots, sends Wyatt into the cane instead, then follows with a Spear to get the win.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)

  • EA’s Take: Excellent brawl here with a couple of nice spots. Reigns finally seemingly gains revenge on Bray which makes me wonder if he’ll turn his attention back to the WWE Title. I can’t find much to complain about with the match, however the “No Color Policy” always seems to put a bit of a damper on these kinds of matches. Cage matches are supposed to be brutal, bloody brawls and these kind of matches make me miss those days.

Match #3 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
Prior to the match, Kofi thanks the WWE Universe for all their support towards Xavier Woods. Big E calls today a sad day, almost as sad because the broken trombone is all they have of Woods. They promise to play the drums with D-Von’s head and Bubba’s belly. Kingston & D-Von kick off the action, Big E provides a distraction and Kofi takes quick control. He sends D-Von into the ropes, D-Von with a jumping back elbow, follows with a diving headbutt and covers for a count of 2. Bubba tags in, The Dudleys with a double shoulder knockdown and double elbow drop for 2, Bubba whips Kofi to the corner and he scales to the top, but gets caught and slammed to the canvas.

New Day collects themselves on the outside, Big E tries to give Kofi another distraction to no avail, Bubba shooting him into the corner for a splash. D-Von back in, The Dudleys go for a double team move and botch it terribly. D-Von whips Kofi into the ropes, ducks his head and eats a kick, Big E tagging in and leveling D-Von with a clothesline. New Day with frequent tags in their corner, taking turns stomping away at D-Von, Big E eventually whipping Kofi into a corner dropkick. Kingston chokes D-Von on the 2nd rope, spikes him with a DDT and covers for a 2 count before going to a wristlock. D-Von battles to his feet, Kofi hits him with a jawbreaker, then drags him to the corner and brings Big E in for a splash that gets a count of 2.

Kingston back in, they set D-Von up for a Wazzup Headbutt, but D-Von kicks Kofi away and crawls to a tag. Bubba with clotheslines to Kingston, elevates him with a back body drop, then scores with lefts and rights to Big E. The Dudleys connect with the Wazzup Headbutt, Bubba is about to call for the tables, but Kofi springboards in the ring, taking them out with a dropkick. He slides out and grabs the trombone, tosses it to Bubba and drops to the mat as if Bubba nailed him with it The ref argues with Bubba and goes to call for the bell, but decides against it because he didn’t see it.

Bubba snaps the trombone in half over his knee, D-Von tags and they plant Kingston with a combination back suplex/neckbreaker for a near fall. Bubba tags back in, they call for 3D, Big E slides in and drills Bubba with the trombone behind the ref’s back, then disposes of D-Von. Kingston scores with Trouble In Paradise to Bubba, makes the cover and retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Kofi/Trouble In Paradise)

  • EA’s Take: Maybe it’s just me, but the shine of The Dudley Boyz’s return seems to be wearing off already. I’m not sure what move they were going for during the match, but they botched it horribly and couldn’t cover for it. I still believe that The Dudleys will get their 10th title run, but the time just isn’t right. There are not enough heel teams to justify taking the titles off New Day, not to mention the fact that New Day are arguably the hottest heels in the company.

Match #4 for the WWE Divas Championship – Everyone Banned From Ringside: Nikki Bella vs. WWE Divas Champion Charlotte
They lock-up to start, Charlotte backs Nikki into the ropes, the ref forces a clean break and they tie-up again, this time Charlotte backing Nikki into the corner. Nikki doesn’t break clean, charges out of the corner with a clothesline, Charlotte ducks it and scores with a modified neckbreaker. She puts the challenger in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and reigns down right hands, Nikki tries to counter to a powerbomb, but the champion reverses with a hurricanrana. Charlotte with more right hands, hits the ropes and the challenger fires a stiff forearm that sends the champion to the outside.

Nikki gives chase, tosses Charlotte out into the crowd, the champion looks to bring the fight back at her and gets caught, Nikki jumping off the barricade with a kick. She drives Charlotte spine-first into the ring post, tosses her into the barricade, then rolls her in the ring for a count of 2. Nikki sticks the point of the knee into the back and pulls back on the champion’s neck, drags her to her feet and hits a snap suplex for another 2 count. The challenger goes for a slingshot suplex, Charlotte lands on her feet, delivers a plate of patented Flair chops, Nikki ducks one and goes to a backslide for a near fall, then turning it into a modified facebuster, but still can’t get 3.

Nikki uses a single leg crab to punish the champion, breaking it on her own accord. She catapults Charlotte off the ropes down on the knees, covers for 2 and then sends the champion into the corner. Charlotte flips around, explodes out and levels the challenger with a big boot for a near fall. The champion tries a suplex, but her back gives out and Nikki keeps control, continuing to pummel the lower back. The champion ducks a right hand, turns around into a spinebuster and Nikki gets another count of 2 before trash talking Charlotte and slapping her in the face. Charlotte comes back with chops, the ref has to seperate them and Nikki takes advantage, looking for a springboard kick and missing, hurting her knee in the process.

The champion takes the opening planting Nikki and then climbing to the top for a moonsault. Nikki sees it coming climbs up with her for a german suplex and Charlotte lands on her feet, splitting the challenger with a spear. She locks in the Figure Eight, but can’t bridge due to her injured back, Nikki crawling to the ropes to force the break. Charlotte charges Nikki and gets dumped to the floor, the challenger following her outside and scoring with an Albama Slam on the apron. She rolls Charlotte back inside, attempts the Rack Attack and the champ counters, locking in the Figure Eight and Nikki’s forced to tap.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte (Figure Eight)

  • After The Bell: Paige & Becky Lynch hit the ring to celebrate with Charlotte, raising her hand in victory.
  • EA’s Take: Finally a good Divas match for the main roster. Not anything on par with what Sasha Banks & Bayley have been doing down in NXT, but I really enjoyed this one. The Divas Division has been begging for a 1 on 1 match like this and while it won’t change things overnight, WWE keeps making steps in the right direction. Too bad they couldn’t have taken those steps at the beginning of the ‘Divas Revolution’.

Backstage: Sitting in the locker room is Roman Reigns when Dean Ambrose comes in offering congratulations on finishing things with Bray Wyatt. Dean talks about them knowing what’s next, but Reigns wants to talk about that tomorrow. Ambrose agrees because tonight they’ll celebrate.

Match #5 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – If Kane Loses, He’s No Longer Director Of Operations: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Kane
The champion has some harsh words for the challenger at the bell, pushes him and ducks a right hand, delivering a series of his own. He shoots Kane into the ropes, ducks his head and The Devil’s Favorite Demon spikes him with a DDT, following with a low dropkick. He knocks the champion to the floor with a right hand, goes out after him and drives him head-first into the announce table. The challenger clears the spanish announce table, Rollins tries to scurry away into the ring, hits the ropes for a suicide dive and gets caught, then planted on the floor. Kane rolls him back inside, whips Seth into the ropes and hits with a flapjack.

The Director Of Operations heads to the top, The Architect sees it and drops Kane to the apron, then hangs him on the top rope, dropping Kane to the floor. Seth flies to the outside with a somersault plancha, places The Devil’s Favorite Demon on the apron and drives elbows to the throat. Back in the ring, Seth scores with a sling blade that only gets a 1 count, chokes The Big Red Machine on the 2nd rope, then plants him with a neckbreaker that barely gets 2. The champion goes to a rear chinlock, Kane attempts to battle up and Rollins with a kick to the chest. He scales the top turnbuckle, jumps down and meets a big right hand, but side-steps a big boot in the corner.

Seth splashes him and stomps away, runs to the other side to build momentum and scores with a running forearm. The Architect goes to the well again and gets leveled with a clothesline, but again avoids a charging Kane in the corner. Seth climbs up top, Kane catches him with a right hand and then connects with a superplex. The Big Red Machine hits multiple corner clotheslines, attempts a tilt-a-whirl slam, Rollins lands on his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a big boot that gives Kane a 2 count. The Devil’s Favorite Demon goes to the top again, the champion runs up the turnbuckle to meet him, gets pushed off and Kane scores with a top rope clothesline. He grabs Seth for a Chokeslam, Rollins slips out and hits an enzuigiri, tries to follow with the Pedigree, the challenger powers out and plants the champion with a Chokeslam, but only gets 2.

He calls for the Tombstone, The Architect slips out and retreats to the outside, Kane in pursuit to drive the champion spine-first into the apron. Kane drops Rollins back-first on the announce table, clears it off and tosses Seth over it. He drags Rollins up, Seth slides out and powerbombs the challenger on the spanish announce table, but it doesn’t break. Rollins rolls in the ring and the ref starts his count, Kane making it back in at a count of 8. The Architect goes for another Pedigree, gets tossed to the apron, Seth scores with an enzuigiri, then comes off the top with a flying knee.

The champion goes back up and connects with another flying knee, then lands two superkicks to finally drop the challenger. Seth goes up once more and hits a frog splash, but still can’t put The Devil’s Favorite Demon away. The champion can’t believe it and seemingly has a conversation with himself, goes back over to The Big Red Machine and he gets Seth by the throat. Rollins delivers a kick to the breadbasket, drives Kane into the canvas with a Pedigree and picks up the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins (Pedigree)

  • EA’s Take: I’m not certain that I’d call this match good or not. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it went exactly the way I figured it would go. There was never any doubt in my mind that Seth wouldn’t retain, so this didn’t do a whole lot for me. I am glad however that they allowed Rollins to win clean. They’ve done a good job of weening Seth off of the tainted wins which will serve his character well (not to mention whoever finally beats him) in the long run.

Match #6 for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ryback vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
The bell rings and The Big Guy goes right at the champion, Owens trying to retreat to the outside, then back in and catching Ryback with boots. KO hits the ropes and runs into a big shoulder, the challenger powers Owens into the corner and drives shoulders to the midsection, lifting him and tossing KO with a back body drop. The Big Guy goes for a military press, the champion slips out, attempts a suplex and Ryback counters into one of his own. He charges KO in the corner, Owens side-steps and Ryback goes shoulder-first into the ring post. The champion looks to take control, Ryback uses his power again and plants Owens with a powerslam, KO rolling to the apron and getting blasted to the floor with a clothesline.

Ryback tosses Owens back inside, puts him in the corner and reigns down rights from the 2nd rope. The champion escapes out, crotches the challenger on the 2nd turnbuckle, following with a running senton for a 2 count. Owens sets his sights on a Cannonball, The Big Guy pops to his feet and catches him in a spinebuster, then puts Owens in his crosshairs for the Meat Hook. KO ducks it, but can’t avoid Ryback’s powerbomb and the challenger gains a near fall before climbing to the top. Owens has it scouted, dropping the challenger to the apron and then connecting with a superkick, spilling Ryback to the floor.

The Big Guy makes it back in the ring at the ref’s count of 9, charges into the ring and gets dropped throat-first across the 2nd rope, KO grabbing him in a schoolboy for a near fall. He sends the challenger into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ryback counters with a Meat Hook, then lifts him for Shellshocked. KO grabs the ropes to get out of it, goes out to the apron and rakes the eyes, following with the Pop-Up Powerbomb to finish it.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kevin Owens (Pop-Up Powerbomb)

  • EA’s Take: It’s officially time for both of these guys to move on. I’ll be honest, I completely forgot this match was even on the card and it appears as if most everyone else did too. It shows how much the company really cares about this feud, as they’re given the spot between the WWE Title match and the main event. Generally, this spot on the card is the one that gets time taken away from it or cut completely. This rivalry has done nothing for either of these guys.

Match #7 is Hell In A Cell: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. The Undertaker
They meet face to face in the ring, Taker giving Lesnar the throat-cut sign and the bell rings. Lesnar uses his quickness to duck right hands, looks for a german right off the bat, but Taker hangs onto the ropes. The Beast goes to the midsection, drives shoulders into the breadbasket in the corner, The Deadman reverses a whip across and follows in with a clothesline. The Conqueror buries a knee to the ribs, hooks The Phenom for a german suplex again and Taker sends him flying to the outside. Undertaker follows, delivering right hands, Lesnar countering a whip into the cage and he elevates Taker for an F5. The Demon Of Death Valley slips out of it, pushes Brock face-first into the ring post and he’s been busted open.

The Phenom uses the cell to his advantage, driving Lesnar face-first into the cage, then pulls a chair out and heads back inside. The Beast is there to meet him, planting Taker into the mat with a double leg, getting his hands on the chair and smashing it into The Deadman’s back. Brock falls into the corner and the ringside doctor comes in to check on Brock’s cut, cleans him up a little bit and Lesnar takes the chair again, smashing it into Undertaker on the floor. The Conqueror tosses Taker into the cage again, attempts a suplex on the floor and The Phenom blocks, delivering one of his own. The American Badass has been cut now, rolls Lesnar inside, props the chair under his throat and slams down on it, covering Brock for a count of 2.

Undertaker hammers away at Lesnar’s cut, shoots him into the corner, Brock rebounds out and ducks a right hand, snapping off a german suplex. The Beast scores with a couple more, elevates Taker and connects with an F5, but The Deadman kicks out at 2. The ringside doctor comes in the ring again to check on both guys, Lesnar tosses the doctor aside and plants The Phenom with another F5, but still can’t get 3. The Conqueror goes out to grab the steel stairs, tosses them in the squared circle and clobbers The Deadman for a near fall. He takes the steps again, attempts to slam them on Taker’s leg, but he’s able to roll out of the way. The Beast goes for it again, Taker kicks him away and the stairs land on Lesnar’s head, cutting him open again.

The Deadman locks in Hell’s Gate, Brock fires off lefts and rights and pounds Taker into the mat to break the hold. Lesnar notices a rop in the ring mat, tears it open and exposes the boards underneath, allowing The Phenom time to get to his feet, grab Brock and plant him with a Chokeslam on the wood. Taker powers Brock up, spikes him with a Tombstone, covers and The Conqueror kicks out at 2. The Deadman calls for another Tombstone, Brock goes with a low blow, delivers an F5 on the exposed boards and finally ends it.
Winner: Brock Lesnar (F5)

  • After The Bell: Lesnar gets help getting to the back from Heyman, leaving Undertaker in the ring alone. It takes a couple of attempts for him to be able to sit-up, but he finally does to a loud “Thank You Taker” chant. Undertaker makes it to his feet, but the lights go out and The Wyatt Family makes their way to the ring. They surround the ring, step-up to the apron and go on the attack with Bray watching. Strowman, Harper & Rowan hold The Deadman up for Bray and he continues the beatdown, mocking The Phenom in the process. They carry Taker out of the arena as the show comes to an end.
  • EA’s Take: What an absolute war and rightfully so, the end to this rivalry needed to be done justice and this match provided it. I’m left wondering about the “No Color Policy” I spoke about earlier, as both men get busted open here. I completely understand why they do it, but nobody can sit there and tell me with a straight-face that it didn’t add to the drama of this match. This was one of the few times where the match lived up to all of the hype and now we have another classic Lesnar/Taker Hell In A Cell match to go back and watch on the WWE Network.

EA’s Finisher: This PPV is one of those “in-betweeners” for me, there were some decent matches and some nice moments, but it was not the greatest thing WWE has ever produced either. The return of Alberto Del Rio was a great surprise and choice to hold the US Title while Cena’s away, as long as WWE can capitalize on Del Rio’s return. Both HIAC matches delivered to me, especially Taker/Brock as it was an absolute war, the likes of which we don’t see enough of at this point in time. The Divas stepped up to the plate tonight finally as well, but the other 3 title matches were nothing to write home about. Owens/Ryback was completely forgettable, the tag match was basic at best and the WWE Title match went exactly how I pictured it would.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker
2 – Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
3 – Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte


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