Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass
Daniel Bryan can try all he likes, but he’ll never be able to get something better than average out of Big Cass. These two just do not work at all. 100 percent of the problem can be attributed to Big Cass having absolutely no personality. He’s just bland and his gimmick is his height. Watch how Cass was selling Bryan attacking his left leg. No emotion. No passion. All he does is put his hands over his face and remains silent. Did you see his half-assed attempt at what was I assumed to be a Torture Rack? Watching him try to perform that move probably inflicted more damage than Cass just shaking Bryan’s beard a little bit. I forget what their match at Backlash was like, but I couldn’t imagine that it was much different. This was about as basic as it can get. Cass was really tall and hit some moves, Bryan was really short and he used his quickness, which is a fine and harmless formula.
If Cass is gonna be a top heel for the blue brand, he has to work on his character and work on his credibility. This is twice now that he has tapped out to someone who is much shorter than him, and he didn’t even look like he hurt Bryan at all, which is another issue with him. Ultimately, a fine, but dull opener. Between the match and the entrances, this was 22 minutes, which is far too long for something this average. **1/4
Bobby Lashley def. Sami Zayn
We sat through weeks of men dressing up as women and Instagram DM hopping just for an extended squash? Yet miss me with this BS. This match was just as embarrassing as the feud, and certainly, nothing that they couldn’t have done on RAW. It really takes a lot for me to get angry watching something, even if the quality is poor, but considering how utterly pointless this feud was just to lead us to Lashley squashing one of the best in-ring performers in the world was an absolute embarrassment. Anyone involved in the booking of this feud and this match will hopefully be terminated tomorrow. Let us never speak of this feud ever again. DUD
Seth Rollins (C) def. Elias – Intercontinental Championship
The pacing of the match had me a little concerned to start the match, but once the two started to settle down and pick up the pace a bit, the match gained a lot of traction. Seth Rollins, in particular, thrives when the energy and pace of the match are high. I also dug the little 2015 throwback with his attire. I thought the two started as basic as they could, with them trying to outdo each other and Elias focusing on Seth’s neck. I saw Elias grasping at his knee a little bit at one point during the match, so I thought they were going to have clashing psychologies with the neck and the knee. In the end, it was Seth who was selling both his neck and his knee, which was a good touch since Seth typically does a good job at selling injuries from start to finish in his matches.
I really think the match started to take a great turn when Elias side-stepped the suicide dive and started to dictate the pace of the match, and he almost got it done. I also loved the finish of the match, because Seth retains his title, and Elias looks strong because a guy who’s been on fire like Seth had to be reduced to being desperate and using underhanded tactics to get the win over Elias. Best believe that this feud is far from over and the two will continue to fight over the IC strap. I believe the next PPV is Extreme Rules, so maybe the two have a stipulation referencing this finish. Overall, while I didn’t think this match by Seth reached the levels of title defenses he had with The Miz and Finn Balor, this match was another high-quality outing while holding what has to be considered WWE’s most important title at the moment. Good job for both men. ***3/4
Alexa Bliss def. Charlotte, Lana, Ember Moon, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Naomi and Natayla – Women’s MITB Ladder Match
Well, you can color me surprised. I was sure that Nattie was winning the briefcase to set up a feud with Rousey, but Bliss was something that I mentioned as a possibility because she’s a very dynamic character that can make the briefcase interesting. Just feels kind of cheap that Bliss was chosen to win even though she probably did the least work in the match. And she’s been pushed majorly over the past couple of years and she certainly doesn’t need the briefcase. I wonder what the infatuation is with her. But I’m not complaining. The issue with many of these ladder matches is that it suffers from the formula for setting up a specific spot and then resting. Sometimes it works, but other times it produces a very slow pace that makes the match kind of dull. Here, I thought the women worked a great pace, a bit quicker than usual and let things flow naturally. There were barely any rest spots, though I thought Sasha and Alexa did a lot of resting on the outside for extended periods of time.
This was also a coming out party for certain superstars as well. Naomi had arguably her best showing here as she displayed tremendous energy and athleticism. Lana also surprised me as well as I was highly concerned for her safety, but she was able to relax and let the match come to her. It could have been a career showing for Naomi, but unfortunately, she had a pretty bad botch as she went full Jack Swagger, and was all alone with the briefcase and intentionally had to pretend to bobble it because she wasn’t winning. The announcers tried to play it off as her being too far away, and that excuse would work if she wasn’t, you know, holding the briefcase with both of her hands. That botch was a product of the one thing that I actually think hurt the match from reaching the next level. I think they might have worked too quickly. At one point, there were two superstars or so coming into the ring every couple of seconds and I didn’t really have any time to digest the transitions into the next spot. Overall, it was a very nice showing and a MUCH better effort from last year’s performance. It just didn’t quite reach that upper echelon of MITB ladder matches for me. ***3/4
Roman Reigns def. Jinder Mahal