WWE Championship: Dean Ambrose defeated Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins to retain the WWE Championship
An action-packed main event, with a number of nods to the history of the Shield, including a Shield style powerbomb and Seth Rollins’ sneak attack chair shots. The finish came after Rollins hit Reigns with a Pedigree and a Buckle Bomb but Reigns rebounded with a Superman punch and a spear. With Rollins neutralized, Ambrose swooped in and hit Reigns with a Dirty Deeds to keep the championship on SmackDown. The SmackDown roster sans Bray Wyatt came down to the ring to celebrate the victory. An overall strong match which will likely set up a Rollins & Stephanie vs. Reigns conflict over losing the championship for the Raw brand.
Not surprisingly I suppose, the live DC crowd was solidly behind “Anyone But Roman” in this match. I was pleasantly surprised that with the presence of the commissioners and GMs of the respective brands there was not chicanery and the finish was clean. I do hope that now the draft has taken place and the rosters are set, we stray away from the Raw vs. SmackDown feuding brands and onto traditional rivalries as separate shows.
The Highlight Reel with Randy Orton
With Orton and Jericho headed to different brands, this was purely promotion for Orton-Lesnar. While I think everyone knew going in how this was going to end, with an RKO out of nowhere, it had some fun elements. Orton surprisingly referenced Lesnar’s USADA drug tests and Chris Jericho is killing it currently with his “drink it in man” shtick.
John Cena, Enzo & Cass defeated AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, & Luke Gallows
John Cena got the win after hitting a top rope AA on AJ Styles after a ring clearing sequence where both teams hit finishing or signature moves on each other. Dissension was teased in both teams briefly with miscommunication resulting in partners hitting each other but with the parties headed to separate shows who knows if there will be any payoff. However, with Cena-AJ nodded at one victory each on SmackDown and The Club-E&C in the tag team picture on Raw these two separate rivalries may not be over.
Everyone in this match seemed way over with the live crowd but especially Enzo & Cass, with John Cena himself marking out in the corner for Enzo’s pre-match monologue. Not to be outdone, Big Cass’ AJ Styles “soccer mom” spiel was way over with the Verizon Center crowd as well.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz w/ Maryse and Darren Young w/ Mr. Bob Backlund went to a Double Disqualification
Good showing for Young before the wonky finish. Maryse orchestrated a ruse, a cunning attempt to trick everyone, on the outside after slapping Mr. Bob Backlund and feigning a fall. This drew her husband, The Miz to the outside to assault the crazed life coach and then Darren Young hit ringside and locked the crossface chicken wing on the IC Champion. After Young refused to release the hold and return to the ring, the referee called for a double DQ.
It looks like the Darren Young-Backlund relationship could be taking a turn as Young emulated Backlund’s 1990’s crazed reaction to locking in the chicken wing submission. Stay tuned.
Natalya defeated Becky Lynch
A tough spot for these two ladies following Owens-Zayn, but they had a good match with both women working towards their respective submission move, Lynch countering Nattie’s offense into Disarmer attempts and Natalya working Lynch’s knee to set up the Sharpshooter. Ultimately Natalya was able to lock Lynch up with her second sharpshooter for the victory. I’d expect this feud to continue as the centerpiece of SmackDown’s Women’s division since Lynch is the de-facto top babyface of said division.
Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens
Fight Forever. In the hands down match of the night, especially for the atmosphere of the live crowd at Verzion for every near fall and the intensity of both athletes, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens tore it down. Things really picked up after an unfortunate Sami Zayn slip on a springboard moonsault damaging Zayn’s shoulder. With how the injury was worked into the match, I started to question whether it was a planned spot at times. So many huge moments from a BRAIN BUSTER on the ring apron by Zayn, a brutal cannonball by Owens into a dangling Zayn’s head, and the finishing sequence of Zayn hitting multiple suplexes and two Helluva Kicks, it was a cathartic victory for the Underdog from the Underground.
To paraphrase what our captain said on Twitter last night, now that these two have had this showdown, keep them separate until a WrestleMania-level main event battle is needed.
WWE United States Championship Rusev defeated Zack Ryder
Like Darren Young later in the night, this was a good showing by Ryder in defeat, but the variation of the Accolade where Rusev just breaks his opponent in two by was just too much for the Long Island Broski. After the match Rusev continued the assault which prompted hometown boy Mojo Rawley to make the save. Rusev however, was unfazed and perhaps a bit confused as to Rawley’s identity.
The Wyatt Family defeated The New Day
The story of this match continued to be Woods’ Ray Stantz-like trance in the presence of Bray Wyatt and it ultimately led to the longest reigning champions’ demise. The finish came when Wyatt was ready to hit Sister Abigail on Kofi, but Woods broke up the attempt but was again transfixed by the Eater of Worlds. But just as he was ready to kneel before Bray, Kofi dove on Wyatt and Xavier rebounded from his trance with a flurry of punches. From there chaos ensued with Wyatts taking out New Day members and New Day members taking out Wyatts, including another nutso dive by Big E spearing Strowman to the outside, leaving everyone but Woods and Wyatt. In the end, Bray startles Xavier with the spider walk and puts him away with Sister Abigail. Slightly disappointing that the Draft put an end to this feud so quickly, I’d like to see more between these trios or even a trio including Luke Harper.
Sasha Banks & Bayley defeated Charlotte & Dana Brooke
Huge pop for Bayley as the mystery partner at Verizon Center. Banks got the victory after hitting Charlotte with the Bank Statement, presumably setting up their SummerSlam showdown.
Kickoff Match: Breezango defeated The Usos
DC is apparently a Breezango town and I can’t say that I blame them, they’re highly entertaining. Breeze pinned a Flying Uso after getting his knees up on a top rope splash.