Seth Rollins (C) def. Baron Corbin – Universal Championship
Rollins opened WrestleMania, and he opens tonight. That’s certainly not an indictment on his performance in the ring, but I did find that interesting. Anyways, this match was about as by the numbers as it could get, and followed the most basic formula. Rollins has tape around his abdomen, so Corbin works it the entire match, but Rollins is able to overcome it off of…..referee distraction? Pretty lame. The match is nothing special because one of the competitors is Baron Corbin.
The cash-in attempt afterwards was also completely nonsensical. First of all, Heyman stumbling with the briefcase before he got into the ring was remarkably stupid. I also can’t believe how stupid WWE insists on making their faces. Seriously, if Rollins’ plan was to attack Lesnar with a chair and low blow him, why not wait until the bell rings so that Lesnar could waste his chance and retain your title via disqualification? He won the title off a low blow at WrestleMania, so it’s not like he cares about what he deems is the right action for a face would be.
Pretty average and underwhelming stuff to start us off. **1/2
Finn Balor (C) def. Andrade – Intercontinental Championship
So it has just come to my attention that it is over 103 degrees in Jeddah today. I was wondering why the paint on Balor’s body was disintegrating faster than usual, but then it makes sense. I can’t imagine wrestling in that weather, so I suppose I’ll have to consider this in the matches going forward.
Anyways, I thought this was a very solid, but nothing awesome match. Early on, the pace was very lethargic as they did the basic of mat work and rest holds. However, the intensity of the match gradually increased, and it led to some impressive, athletic spots from Andrade and a powerful top rope spot by Finn.
While I believe Finn’s matches in his demon form should be shorter because he is evidently invincible in that form, I did like the competitive fire Andrade brought. Unfortunately, his matches don’t seem the same without Zelina by his side. Respect to the three or so people trying to start an NXT chant as well. Can’t agree with them that the match was awesome, but it got really good down the stretch. It just kind of took a while to get there. ***1/4
Shane McMahon def. Roman Reigns
The reason why I was frustrated with this match was because I had to suspend my disbelief to the point where I should convince myself that punch or move Shane hits can hurt Roman. This should have been a spear and a pin and nothing longer. Then, you can add build to Roman vs. Drew at Stomping Grounds. But come on. You expect me to believe that a sweaty, 50 year old man who competes once every so often can go toe to toe with someone who is in the prime of his career and looks like he can break Shane’s back just breathing over it? Come on.
It’s just inconceivable what the endgame for Shane winning is. Like, what’s the point? This is all just so completely random. The match was what it was, being nonsensical and cringeworthy, and everything up until the obvious finish was a formality. Yuck. Only thing saving this from a dud was that the two had what appeared to be a match. 1/2*
Lars Sullivan def. Lucha House Party by DQ
No part of this was good, and believe me when I say I was trying to be positive. I suppose the biggest problem of the match, other than the fact that it wasn’t a 3 minute squash, was that the Lucha House Party were supposed to be the faces, but were the heels instea. They had a 3 on 1 advantage, realized they couldn’t beat one guy fairly and what do they do? They jump Lars, causing a disqualification, and they make a retreat only to get their asses kicked anyways. They could have accomplished all of that from the start.
In addition, if you are able to make a wildly enthusiastic Jeddah crowd chant “BORING”, then you are doing something terrible wrong, and from bell to bell, this was terrible. I said what I said. -**
Randy Orton def. Triple H
The person who eventually convinces Triple H to wrestle a match that is shorter than 25 minutes needs to be given a medal. I honestly have never liked the pacing and style of these two in their matches, because they are very slow and methodical with their style. Combine that with the 100 degree weather, and it was all adding up to my worst nightmare. In spite of that, I was willing to see what they would do.
Now, I did appreciate the psychology early, with Triple H working over Orton’s left arm. The issue I had with that was that Orton would sparingly choose when he would sell it and when he wouldn’t. I also kind of thought the middle portions of the match were very low in energy. Orton’s consistent chinlocks were not helping as well. Everything seemed as though it was going at half pace, but things started to pick up in a big way when we got to the finisher kickout sequences.
Fortunately, the match ended up not being nearly as slow and lazily booked that I thought it would be> I also feared Triple H would put himself over just because he can, but props to him for doing the right thing. Overall, I’ definitely say this was a tier above their usual matches, and while I wish they would quicken the pace, this match accomplished its purpose and was very well done by their standards. ***1/2
Braun Strowman def. Bobby Lashley
A typical battle between two super heavyweights with little story behind it. This match was, at best, an inoffensive brawl between two big men. There really wasn’t much to get behind this match because they are essentially fighting for no reason. This would probably pass a decent match on RAW as well. The finish was kind of anticlimatic, and a lot of it was a whole lot of “meh”, but I didn’t hate it. Both men went in there and they did their jobs. Guess that is about as much as you can ask. **1/4
Kofi Kingston (C) def. Dolph Ziggler – WWE Championship
Another tremendously average match on par here, with the in-ring work here being by the numbers as per usual. The interactions with Xavier provided little towards the match, and everything else was completely RAW quality. Dolph and Kofi just had a match and Kofi won. That’s really all there is to it, and there’s nothing more. I wish I could get behind these two more, but when everything has been dumbed down, it is hard to be enthusiastic.**1/4
Mansoor won 50 Man Battle Royal
Looks like WWE finally understood how ridiculous it was to keep playing entrance music for 50 different men, with over a third of them being entire tag teams. So, good on them for just having all the men in the ring to start. I just can’t imagine being in the ring with 49 other big, sweaty men in 100 degree weather, though. Hopefully that money WWE got from this show is worth it.