By Big Red Machine
From December 19, 2016
How much money to you think they spent for the completely pointless police cars and helicopters in the opening video?
WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day(c) (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus- 7.25/10
I know this isn't news or anything, but Cesaro's strength and athleticism are both utterly ridiculous. Great match! And finally New Day's title reign ends. Personally, I think losing the titles right after breaking the record for holding them the longest diminishes the fact that you broke the record. It's the sort of thing that makes it feel like the only reason they didn't take the belts off of them earlier is because they wanted them to break the record (which is exactly what happened here). It makes everything feel more forced and phony- and especially with an act like New Day where they've been using heel tactics to retain the titles for months but we're all supposed to pretend they're babyfaces for some reason.
I also hated the post-match segment. First of all, I hated Cesaro's group hug with the New Day. How many times did New Day cheat him out of the titles? Also, I really don't like the direction they're going with Cesaro and Sheamus now. Having them going back to not being on the same page or having Sheamus being a heel again or whatever feels like a step backwards. Wasn't the point of that segment in the bar supposed to be that they are on the same page and friends now?
CHARLY INTERVIEWS KEVIN OWENS - Owens was great. This led into a segment with Owens & Jericho where Owens tried to make up with Jericho so he bought him a scarf, but Jericho didn't accept his gift.
TEN MINUTE TIME LIMIT MATCH:
Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn- 0.5/10
They told their story competently, but that doesn't mean that this wasn't extremely boring. We all knew what the finish would be the moment the match was announced, so once Sami started selling all there was to do was to wait until the final bell. The stuff with Foley was quite annoying, simply because we all knew that Foley wasn't going to throw in the towel. Also, during the time the whole Foley thing was going on, both Sami and Strowman should have been counted out five times over.
SETH ROLLINS vs. CHRIS JERICHO- 8/10
Jericho worked on Rollins' mid-section while Rollins worked Jericho's head, and we got tons of great counters, too. Owens' involvement here was definitely necessary and was handled well. It felt like a completely necessary part of the match instead of feeling like overbooking.
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Rich Swann(c) vs. Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins- 6.5/10
The commentary was awesome because they traded out Byron Saxton for Austin Aries. The match was fine. The finish was beautifully symbolic and artsy. It worked really well. That being said, all anyone is going to remember from this is the...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Neville shows up... and turns heel by immediately assaulting Swann. TJP tries to make the save but Neville beats the crap out of him, too. GREAT stuff! This was pretty darn shocking. Like Graves in kayfabe, I had no idea that Neville could work this sort of mean heel style.
KEVIN OWENS TRIES TO APOLOGIZE TO THE CLOSED DOOR OF CHRIS JERICHO'S DRESSING ROOM - this was great. Owens brought real humanity to what was intended as a 100% comedy "best friends" angle.
After Owens sadly concludes that his friendship with Chris Jericho is over, Corey Graves said "the WWE Universal Champion can't head into a massive match like he has tonight with hurt feelings like that." This is why Corey Graves will win Announcer of the Year.
30 MINUTE IRONMAN MATCH FOR THE WWE WOMEN'S TITLE:
Sasha Banks(c) vs. Charlotte Flair- 9.25/10
That darn Michael Cole and his need to tell the truth. Despite the fact that they've been pushing this as the "first ever" women's Ironman match, Cole noted that this was the second Ironman match in WWE history involving women.
An OUTSTANDING match, and feels like a true blow-off for these two. They told a great story with Charlotte working on the knee and Sasha doing whatever she could to not give up despite the pain... until she absolutely had to. Major props are due to Sasha for her selling and Charlotte for her facials as well.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Kevin Owens(c) vs. Roman Reigns- 8/10
An awesome match until the disappointing finish. Owens and Jericho are back together again, so once again this angle has gone nowhere. A DQ on its own would have been bad but to then have it revealed that all we've done is reset the status quo was even more frustrating. Then having Rollins come out and he and Roman lay out the heels at the end with powerbombs through announcers' tables made it even worse because it made this PPV feel like an episode of Raw instead of a PPV. If you were going to do a finish like this, then the women's match definitely should have been the main event.
This was a pretty darn great show from WWE despite the disappointing ending and the Zayn-Strowman fiasco. Definitely do whatever you can to watch the women's match.