Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio (United States Championship) – Two-out-of-three Falls
Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Actual Winner: Kalisto
Without having any steam left in the feud, this was actually a great pre-show match. Del Rio used the Brock Lesnar Ironman strategy and lost the first pinfall due to chair shots. Having Kalisto win the 3rd pinfall via rollup was a little odd, especially if this is their final meeting. Regardless, the in-ring action was set at a great pace, and it was a good way to kick off the show. Mauro Ranallo is by far the best announcer they have, and he is a fountain of knowledge with regards to pro wrestling moves as well. It was too bad they did not keep him announcing for the rest of the show.
Going Forward: Kalisto in a multi-man match at WrestleMania and ADR entering the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks vs. Naomi and Tamina
Predicted Winners: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks
Actual Winners: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks
Typical Diva tag match that ended exactly the way it should have. This was a match to showcase the NXT girls before WrestleMania, and it did its job. If they are deciding to do a triple threat match at WM, it would have been smart to have some sort of friction between Becky and Sasha, but that did not happen. Not much else to say about this match. Simple, and somewhat effective.
Going Forward: Sasha (and possibly Becky as well) heading to face Charlotte at WrestleMania for the Divas title.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship)
Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Actual Winner: Kevin Owens
This was the best in-ring action of the night, even though the heat or the crowd was not there. As mentioned in the prediction article, this pair has been used to death. Time to switch it up, especially going into WrestleMania. That being said, they do work fantastic together. Good elbow drops by Ziggler, top rope DVD by Owens, and turnbuckle spots by both men. Owens’ in-ring banter is on par with Jericho in his prime (and maybe even better than that). “Headlock Island” better catch on. Hopefully both men can showcase more against other opponents soon enough.
Going Forward: Owens to face Jericho or AJ at WrestleMania, Ziggler to be in multi-man US title match.
Ryback, Big Show and Kane vs. The Wyatt Family (Harper, Rowan, Strowman)
Predicted Winner: The Wyatt Family
Actual Winner: Ryback, Show, Kane
It’s hard to decide what to hate on for this match. It could be the fact that even though the Wyatt Family are meant to look menacing, they always lose. It could be the in-ring action. It could be the fact that nothing was setup for WrestleMania with any of these men (including Bray). It could be the lack of reason as to why this match was put together in the first place. It could be the botched Shellshocked on (arguably) the most talented member of the Wyatt Family. Hopefully Luke Harper is fine after landing on his shoulder. This match was bad, simple as that. The worst part of this is that this is not the worst match on the card.
Going Forward: Most of the men entering the ATGBR, with Bray on a solo program (Lesnar, Jericho, AJ?)
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)
Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Actual Winner: Charlotte
The only reason this rating received a 2.5 was because the crowd loves Daniel Bryan, and some of that rubbed off on Brie. Unfortunately, Brie is not talented in the ring, and brought this down a few notches. Charlotte isn’t the best on the roster, but she is leaps and bounds ahead of Brie in-ring. The robotic acting hurt what could have been a much better build to this match as well. Brie wearing the kickpads was a nice touch, and the submission counter was fine. Other than that, Charlotte won, and we can move onto a women’s program that we can all get behind.
Going Forwrad: Charlotte to face Sasha (and possibly Becky) at WrestleMania for the Divas title, Brie to either retire or take time off.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Actual Winner: AJ Styles
Good match, good crowd, good build. Simple and effective booking between a new babyface and a veteran babyface turned into a strong showing for AJ’s debut feud. The crowd was into both men, with loud split chants. In-ring action was similar to their other matches, which was more than acceptable (especially considering some of their competition). It was odd to see that the Styles Clash is more of a setup move instead of the actual finisher, since it does look like a devastating finisher. This should be the end of the feud, and both men can head into WrestleMania with a bit of steam.
Going Forward: Jericho to enter the ATGBR and AJ to start a solo program (possibly with Owens or Bray?)
Cutting Edge Peep Show & R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel
Winner: Curtis Axel
First of all, the cutting edge peep show segment was a complete waste, and they had the perfect moment to bring out a new tag team like Enzo & Cass. Instead, they put the League of Nations in the babyface spot, which makes zero sense. The humor was typical WWE cheesy, which is sometimes hard to swallow. After this segment, the social outcast segment and match was something we could see on a filler spot of Raw. With Goldust costing R-Truth the match,R-they continue their zero-momentum feud/friendship. None of this had a place on the go-home PPV for WrestleMania. Owens & Ziggler, ADR & Kalisto, AJ & Jericho, and/or the triple threat all could have been given additional time to have stronger showings instead of this half an hour of garbage. This is the reason why WWE loses viewers.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns – #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania
Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Actual Winner: Roman Reigns
This match had the potential to be a classic triple threat. There were quite a few good spots, such as Brock’s double suplex, the double table spot, Dean going crazy with the chair etc. The pace was great, and the crowd was definitely waking up to the action. The biggest issue was the amount of time given. At 16:04, Roman hit the spear out of nowhere and won. The match felt incomplete and leaving us with wanting more. The Royal Rumble 2015 triple threat with Cena/Rollins/Lesnar lasted 22 minutes, and did well with the extra six minutes. Again, if the Social Outcasts/R-Truth segment was cut out, that could have been allocated to this match. Roman Reigns winning was the safe way to go, so it didn’t surprise anyone when it happened. The lack of Wyatt involvement on Lesnar is a little odd, especially if they still plan on doing Lesnar vs. Bray (which may have changed now).