-I'll be once again recording CageCast with Jimmy Williams afterward. After scanning the spoilers, I foresee some sarcasm and the occasional loss for words.
-Taped from London.
-On the call, Cole, JBL, and Booker. I never thought I'd be so happy to hear Cole's corporate rasp.
-Cena kicks things off to boos, proving the heat machine didn't make it across the Atlantic. And there's the "JohncenaSUUUUCKS" chant for fun. Cena's all 'ha ha, they don't like me, but they're passionate and that's cool bit' that he invented in 2005. We need a 'Cena X' special to commemorate ten years of him explaining that booing crowds have a right to boo. Cena sucks up by noting that WrestleMania should be in London, and the crowd bites the bait. It's US Open Challenge time, and that brings us to....
United States Championship: John Cena vs. Bad News Barrett
How does the sound guy know which theme song to play? Presumably there's seven or eight wrestlers fighting at the entrance way for the shot, right? I mean, in theory. Cena gets a shoulder block for 2 and cranks a headlock, taking him over while JBL suddenly goes into a random tangent about the fans. We don't need JBL as an announcer; we just need a pull-string doll with slurred Tourette's. Barrett sends Cena to the floor, but Cena gets the headlock takeover after re-entering. Cena hits the ropes and takes a boot to the face for 2. A Cena shoulderblock misses and Barrett nails him with knees while he's tied in the ropes, knocking him to the floor. Barrett then yells 'BANG BANG' and drops an apron elbow to the floor. I don't even think Barrett has a hippie alter ego, unless he was CJ Parker all along. Cena gets a cross body inside and lands the spin-out powerbomb, but Barrett rolls outside to avoid any shuffling. Cena follows, but is sent hard into the steps. Barrett gets 2 back inside.
Barrett misses a flying elbow, and Cena drops him with another spin-out, Shuffle ensuing. Barrett avoids the AA and gets the Winds of Change. Like Cena knows what 'winds of change' are. Barrett gets a second-rope suplex for 2, but Cena quickly counters with the STF. Barrett makes the ropes and comes back with a savate kick to the gut, then one to the face for 2. Yay/boo punch session follows, and you can probably guess who each cheer is for. Cena tries to go up and over in the corner, but Barrett kicks him in the chest. Wasteland gets 2. Barrett telegraphs the Bullhammer, and walks right into the AA, which Barrett kicks out of on 2. Kinda had to; it's his home country. Although in Oklahoma, Jim Ross would lose to Katie Vick. Bullhammer hits, getting 2. Crowd was buying it, too. Barrett misses another, and Cena gets the springboard stunner followed by the AA to win at 9:50. Another good outing in the series, as it gives the midcarders something to do rather than face each other in constant rematches. ***. Lana comes out and distracts Cena long enough for Rusev to run in and nail him with a chain. It's a Russian Chain match at Extreme Rules, made famous by Rusev's fictitious Russian ancestors, the Koloffs.
-Cole won't discuss his lawsuit against Lesnar. I hope Cole's attorney is the fake Russian guy Rusev found at that dinner theater.
Number One Contender Divas Battle Royal
The Bellas are on commentary, by popular demand, I'm sure. I see Natalya, Paige, Naomi, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Emma, Cameron, and Rosa Mendes. Rosa actually eliminates Summer or Natalya before getting dumped by Naomi. Alicia dropkicks Emma out. Scissors kick hits on Naomi while Alicia and Cameron double team Paige. Crowd doesn't much care for that. Cameron gets an awkward baseball slide/split kick and Paige teases elimination. Naomi hits the Rear View on both heels, as apparently her ass is immense enough to hit two. Cameron and Alicia both go and Paige and Naomi fight to the apron, teasing elimination. Naomi tries pushing Paige off to no avail. Back into the ring, Naomi gets an enzuigiri but misses the Rear View. A Paige savate kick knocks Naomi out for a weak ending at 3:56. All it was missing was Gail Kim crawling out in under a minute. After the break, Cardboard Byron interviews Paige, who cuts a heartfelt interview about her trials and tribulations in the business. Naomi runs back in and attacks, giving us another heel for the Divas division. Who's the default number two face behind Paige? Emma? Summer Rae? May wanna call Charlotte up soon.
-More vague spookiness from Bray Wyatt. As is the standard these days.
Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension
Sin Cara gets doubled on early as England gives us an 'NXT' chant. That's right, they finally got the Network. Sin Cara tries a sunset flip and goes to tag but Konnor runs Kalisto off the apron. Cole gets in a funny dig about Booker's grammar that's a rare human moment among the announcers. Some may be offended, but eh, I like my human moments. Kalisto cleans house with a springboard body strike and the spiral attack. Sin Cara dives onto Konnor, Kalisto gets Salida Del Sol on Viktor, and Sin Cara finishes with the swanton at 2:14. Short but spirited. Stick a fork in Dumbolition, most certainly.
-Booker T brings out Roman Reigns for an interview. I wonder how many needy fans touching Reigns' shoulders will be booing and chanting 'SUPLEX CITY' in a moment. Reigns adds a little more confident inflection to his delivery, so maybe he's getting bullet points instead of word-for-word sludge. Reigns' beef if with Seth Rollins' cash-in, and that leads to Big Show's interference a week ago. "THANK YOU BIG SHOW" chant from the crowd. Then Reigns calls him a giant bitch and the crowd cheers their agreement. Geez, make up their mind. Show rebutts from the tron, and calls him a bum. You can't call someone a bum without saying it in Stu Hart's scratchy inflection. Crowd has enough of Show's elementary heel promo, and Reigns gets a well-delivered comeback about Show's lack of balls. Crowd wasn't with him on the "Believe That" part, though. Eh, it's a work in progress.
But the segment is NOT OVER, as Show attacks an exiting Reigns at the entrance way, slamming him into the car decoration. Bet those dents are still in the doors come the next UK Raw. Chokeslam on the hood of the car finishes. I'd rather Reigns not be selling for Show to this degree, since even the denser fans now see Show as a midcard means to an end and not a real threat.
Randy Orton vs. Cesaro
If Orton wins, he gets to choose a stipulation for the WWE Title match at Extreme Rules. The Attitude Era may be long dead, but Natalya repurposing Sable's old catsuits is welcome. Lockup goes nowhere and Orton gets a quick headlock before being shot off. Cerebral build, which is kinda foreign in modern WWE. European uppercuts from Orton, but Cesaro fires back with a shoulder block and a Sullivan stomp. Orton fights up and has the Draping DDT blocked. Kidd pulls Orton off the apron and gets Cesaro DQed at 2:18. Lame. Kane enters and makes the match a two-on-one. Surely, Orton wouldn't beat the tag champs cleanly, right?
Randy Orton vs. K-Swiss
Kidd clips the knee and the champs stomp away as we hit commercial. Back from break with Orton in peril, and he's not making the comeback, no sir. These are the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, and you're silly if you think one man could fell them. Orton tries the Draping DDT and Kidd blows a springboard dropkick, then mucks up the improvised neckbreaker. Crowd is less than kind. Elevated Swiss Death gets two. Orton comes back with the cutting backbreaker. Draping DDT hits Kidd, and Cesaro saves Kidd from the RKO. Orton drops Cesaro on the barricade, and Kidd gets a rail-walk knee to the face. Nice! Back in, Kidd drops the springboard elbow for 2. A slingshot legdrop misses, and Orton powerslams Cesaro. RKO finishes Kidd at 6:43. Randy Orton is the new Tag Team Champions! I'm sure that finish won't sit will with a lot of people, but come on, it's not like Tag Team Champs are treated as bulletproof anyway. Decent match. **
-Rollins balks at a match with Dolph, instead wanting a powderpuff opponent so that he can choose his own stip for the match. Jamie Noble is the first choice to lay down, but Noble blames Kane for recent Authority troubles. Kane legitimately threatens to electrocute Noble's balls. Don't laugh, he's done it before, and last we heard from that guy, he ended up in China. Rollins tells Kane he'd better lay down for the good of the business. The entire internet agrees with that statement. What's Rollins' Reddit handle?
Dean Ambrose vs. Adam Rose
Adam Rose is still a thing? Alrighty? I'd like to know more about the dancing Rosebud in camouflage. Rose gets a nice Arn Anderson spinebuster for 2, and drops some forearms. Ambrose makes the comeback, landing a bulldog, and Rose goes outside to avoid a top rope attack. So Ambrose gets a suicide dive anyway. Rebound clothesline drops Rose and Dirty Deeds finishes at 2:11. Quite the tight time budget tonight. Cole: "The party is over." Motherfucker thinks he's Slick.
-Show assures Kane he's doing the right thing. If Kane can't trust a man he's feuded with and turned on a dozen times, who CAN he trust?
Stardust vs. Fandango
Who's the babyface? Is it Codythulu? Front suplex from Stardust. Fandango comes out of the corner with a heel kick. Top rope attack misses and Stardust finishes with the Disaster Kick in 1:07. You have to wonder why Cody even applied the make-up. Fandango dumps Rosa afterward and brings back the old music, allowing England to bring back Fandango'ing. WWE even forgot to take credit for it this time.
-Kane broods some more, and Daniel Bryan plays the Shawn Michaels to his Ric Flair from the May 2003 Charlotte Raw, minus the feels and tears. Bryan points out that someone laying down irreparably hurt WCW. So he's asking Kane not to be Kevin Nash.....again?
Seth Rollins vs. Kane
Kane's still in his suit and tie, because satanic music goes best with corporate garb. Kane stalls by removing his jacket, tie, and shirt. This unnerves Rollins for the obvious reasons, that being the world's angriest striptease. Rollins coaxes Kane into taking the fall, and Kane violently kicks out on 2. Noble and Mercury die for their involvement, and Kane strikes a nagging Rollins. England seems happy for Kane, so that's who we blame for the hard push when Kane's inevitably stale again in 27 minutes. Rollins continues trying to talk sense, and Kane chokeslams him into oblivion. Kane then lays down and pulls the unconscious Rollins on top of him for the pin at 4:33. DUD is generous. JBL: "I just lost all respect for Kane". Totally cool with the Katie Vick thing, though.
Damien Mizdow vs. The Miz
I wish there was a PPV in the near future this could have been saved for. Maybe one where the rules were perhaps Extreme. And can't Mizdow get a new theme song? Like one of the generic create-a-wrestler theme from an old Smackdown game? The lack of reaction for Summer Rae is actually kinda funny. Dueling sunglasses removal gives way to dramatic removal of the trenches and Miz jumps Mizdow. Cole: "I didn't hear the bell ring." Three seconds passes before JBL responds: "I did!" They're not paid the big bucks for nothing. Miz avoids the Skull Crushing Finale, but Mizdow wins with a roll-up in 2:02. Really? Why do I feel like the feud is over?
-Prime Time Players make fun of Los Matadores while Darren Young makes a subtle gay joke about himself. Titus voices my confusion about Puerto Rico having bullfighters, as the island is a US commonwealth and thus bullfighting would be illegal there. But such technicalities detract from the jokes.
Ryback vs. Luke Harper
So. Many. Matches. This is turning into that interminable Clash of the Champions where Austin beat Joey Maggs. Slugfest develops and Ryback drops Harper with a shoulder block. Big boot floors Ryback for 2. Gator roll as we get a faint 'CM Punk' chant. It still exists across the pond. Powerbomb by Ryback and Harper avoids the Meat Hook by sliding out. Ryback gets hit with the commentary desk cover for the DQ at 1:47. Ambrose runs out to continue his grudge with Harper. I guess we're commemorating new Attitude Era Network content with a night of two minute matches.
-Naomi asks if wins and losses mean anything anymore. What's Naomi's Reddit handle? I think she's one of us.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Neville
This is our reward for the last two hours of hot dog filler. Fight over a wristlock turns into Neville controlling an armbar, and Ziggler escapes with a dropkick. Neville goes up and over in the corner and nails Ziggler with a corner kick, followed by a standing shooting star for 2. Another NXT chant. Must be a good show or something. Ziggler spikes Neville with a lethal DDT as we hit commercial. That hardly seems fair. Back with Ziggler in control, but Neville comes back with an elevated face plant that sends Ziggler outside. Quebrada follows with a shitload of hang time. Neville then balance beams the railing and hits a 450 on Ziggler on the floor! Wow, that may be the first time I've ever seen that. That gets two back inside. Ziggler blocks a waistlock and throws Neville over with a German, but Neville lands on his feet and gets an enzuigiri. Ziggler responds with a superkick for 2. Crowd's finally into something. Neville lands a high kick in the corner and goes for Red Arrow, but Ziggler moves away. Neville hits the corner and Dolph finishes with the Zig Zag in 9:01. No, I want more! *** for what we saw, which was all good, spotty fun. Ziggler goes to be all respectful, and Sheamus attacks both, Brogue Kicking Neville. Ziggler snaps and beats the piss out of Sheamus, only to be sent into the post for his efforts. Brogue Kick ends him. Still, more Ziggler/Neville, please.
-So Rollins and Orton are here to pick the stipulations, and that's cool because I didn't wanna watch a 12th match unless it's WrestleMania 3. Rollins gets a La-Z-Boy chair to chill in, and he hits the heel platitude template. Orton comes out as this just drags on. Can't Orton pick a "Randy Gets to Be Armed with a Chainsaw, Oh and It's No DQ, Fuckface" match? Seems so simple. Long story short: Rollins decrees that Orton can't perform the RKO at Extreme Rules, and Orton counters with a steel cage match. I can't wait to see Orton get DQed in a cage match for doing the RKO; it certainly beats a kid singing to Cena. Orton predictably cleans house to close
OVERALL: Well, if you like filler in two minute increments, this was your show. Opener and closer were good, but not worth sitting through three dreadful hours otherwise.