KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS MANDY ROSE - This was interrupted by EC III. After MONTHS of not speaking, his first words are a lame attempt to pick up Mandy Rose. Sonya Deville tells him off. So Ethan is now a heel... and Sonya is a babyface, I guess, because that's how she came off here, telling the entitled, rich douchebag to stop hitting on her friend. Sonya even brought up the fact that we've been waiting so long to hear Ethan speak and this is what he does, completely burying him. This was completely stupid and even if there was a point to it, there was no reason it couldn't have been done early into Tuesday's Smackdown rather than here tonight before Mandy's title shot when she's still a heel (otherwise you can't turn Sonya without splitting her off from Mandy).
THE MCMAHONS WANT TO TALK TO KOFI ABOUT TO TONIGHT'S WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH - One assumes he'll wind up barred from the building or threatened with suspension if he interferes or something like that.
Other promos were cut. I'm going to go watch Elgin vs. Okada instead.
THE NEW DAY (Big E. & Xavier Woods) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RUSEV (w/Lana)- 6.5/10
Kofi is not at ringside with New Day because... um...
This match was interrupted first for "The Shield is back together" hype video, and then for a backstage segment with Shane, Miz, and Miz's dad. In that segment, Shane noted that Mr. Miz was in the building when he and Miz won the tag titles at Royal Rumble... so if Mr. Miz has already been in the building for Miz & Shane winning the titles then what makes his presence here tonight so special?
The match was perfectly fine, but didn't really seem to serve any sort of storyline purpose and wasn't good enough to be a "just on the show for the work-rate" match, which makes me wonder why it was put on this show in the first place.
WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Usos(c) vs. Shane McMahon & The Miz- 5.5/10
The match was okay, nothing more. The big spots saw Miz get a visual pinfall but the ref was busy checking on Shane, a "mid-air interception" spot that they took WAY too long to set up, and finally Miz going to the top rope on his father's advice to go for a Frog Splash which then got reversed and Miz got rolled up for the finish.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. Shane turned heel, attacking Miz from behind and shoving Miz's father... which I suppose makes Shane the new Randy Orton.
THE HEEL FACTION(TM) SELFIE PROMO - They said absolutely nothing that they didn't already say on Raw. They made sure to say "where the power lies" a lot.
THE DRIFTER SINGS - Pointless
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Asuka(c) vs. Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville) - 2/10
The match... could have been better. Sonya tried to look for something under the ring but failed to find it. A little later she got a Kendo stick, but Mandy slipped on the ring skirt to lead to the finish. Sonya kept trying to apologize as they went up the ramp. The fans just chanted "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!"
NEW DAY GO SEE VINCE - Vince and Kofi each claimed they were waiting for the other for over an hour. Xavier and Big E. gave impassioned speeches, resulting in Vince deciding to let Kofi into the title match but to also bar New Day from ringside. So is Vince a babyface now? And if they were just going to put Kofi in the match in the end anyway, WHY WAS THE POINT OF DOING THIS WHOLE THING?! And if this is another swerve, then it's just another annoying swerve wasting my time on this PPV. If Vince wanted to punish Kofi, why not just fire him or book him into a Handicap Match straight up and suspend Big E. & Xavier so they can't help him?
Also, the match is happening right now.
Or not. Instead it's apparently a no-tags-needed Handicap Match pitting Kofi against Sheamus & Cesaro.
TORNADO HANDICAP MATCH:
Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus & Cesaro - 2.5/10
Vince specifically barred New Day from ringside during the title match. Why can't they just run in right now and help Kofi beat the heels up. There are no consequences if Kofi gets DQed. Kofi got beat up a bunch but made a short comeback before getting cut off and beat up some more. The fans chanted "THIS IS BORING!" They weren't wrong. New Day finally decided to run out to try to help Kofi but were ambushed by Rusev & Nakamura who were lying in wait. This whole thing is evidence that they still don't understand that it was their own meddling that has screwed the Becky/Ronda stuff up so badly, so now instead of taking the chance to undo their mistake with Kofi, they're just making it all over again.
THE DRIFTER SINGS - Still pointless.
SHANE MCMAHON REFUSES KAYLA BRAXTON AN INTERVIEW - Good.
TRIPLE THREAT TAG TEAM MATCH FOR THE WWE RAW TAG TEAM TITLE:
The Revival(c) vs. Chad Gable & Bobby Roode vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet- 6/10
Stuff happened until everything ground to a halt after a big dive sequence. The Revival won, pinning Gable. Roode attacked them after the match, leading to a brawl that resulted in Black-ochet standing tall at the end.
FATAL FOUR-WAY FOR THE WWE UNITED STATES TITLE:
Samoa Joe(c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. (w/Carmella) vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas (w/Zelina Vega) - 8/10
An awesome four-way with the usual four-way stuff going on.
WWE WOMEN'S TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Sasha Banks & Bayley(c) vs. Nia Jax & Tamina - 4.25/10
Apparently three commentators weren't enough for this match so they added Beth Phoenix, too. Standard small babyfaces vs. big heels match. The babyfaces won clean.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. The heels beat the babyfaces up afterwards, so this is YET ANOTHER post-match attack angle. Half of the matches on this show have had them. Beth Phoenix eventually got in Tamina's face and started a brawl but she got beaten up. Nattie came out to save her and got beaten up as well. If we're getting a Divas of Doom vs. Nia & Tamina match at Mania out of this, I think it'd be best for the titles to be involved in a separate match, just to make it feel like this division actually has an undercard.
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Daniel Bryan(c) (w/Erick Rowan) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali - 8.25/10
The fans are chanting "WE WANT KOFI!" which was not just a predictable outcome but probably the one WWE was looking for... which makes you wonder why the hell they thought this was a good spot to bring Mustafa Ali back in.
This was an awesome three-way, with Rowan's presence helping to even things out in terms of the number of babyfaces and heels. Everyone played their role well, and we got a pretty crazy finish with Bryan nailing Ali with a Busaiku Knee as Ali was springing around for a twisting diving crossbody. After the match, Rowan attacked Ali just because.
IF BECKY LYNCH WINS, SHE IS ADDED TO THE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH WRESTLEMANIA:
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair - 5/10
Becky is on one leg and with a taped-up elbow, though everyone seemed to ignore the elbow. They were on their way to having a very good match until Ronda Rousey ran in for the DQ when Becky was about to lose, which was completely stupid for several reasons.
1. Ronda ran in to save the babyface from an unfair situation and ensure that the babyface gets what she wants... so is Ronda a babyface again now?
2. Becky didn't actually earn her win tonight. Ronda gave it to her.
3. Ronda hit Becky with one punch, then walked off. I thought she didn't care about the match anymore and wanted to shoot beat Becky up, so why didn't she do so here?
THE DRIFTER SINGS YET AGAIN - More pointless cheap heat. Then Lacey Evans showed up. Then Orton gave The Drifter and RKO out of nowhere. Then AJ Styles attacked Randy Orton for no real reason. Or maybe he's sticking up for The Drifter. Whichever one you like better.
THE SHIELD vs. BARON CORBIN, DREW MCINTYRE, & BOBBY LASHLEY - 6.5/10
I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't really care for this match. It was a fine six-man tag in the beginning, but it started to feel like they were trying way too hard to do the "end of an era" "one last right for The Shield" type of match. The Evolution match that wound up in the crowd where Seth did his famous dive wound up in the crowd for a reason. This one went into the crowd so they could do that spot. But it was only the four non-legal wrestlers who went into the crowd because otherwise there would need to be a count-out. Then, when the guys brawling in the crowd had finished all of their spots and came back, we wound up with all six guys on the outside forever and no count-out. Or no DQ for clearly putting someone through the announcers' table on purpose. Throw in Michael Cole's heavy-handed commentary and this match felt... well... very WWE: Telling people something is major and historic and then doing things to force it to feel that way is more important than creating a situation where it can feel that way on its own.
This was a mostly passable PPV from WWE, but mostly on the strengths of the US and WWE Title matches and the storyline advancement for Miz/Shane and the Beth Phoenix angle. We once again couldn't escape a frustrating DQ (this time in Becky vs. Charlotte), and many of the booking decisions were questionable at best. It feels like the large majority of the show was them either making a mistake or treading water, and that's not a good place to be heading into WrestleMania.