By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns Interrupted Mr. McMahon and Stephanie McMahon
Is it just me or does it annoy anyone else whenever the entire roster appears on the stage while the authority figures are in the ring? It makes them seem so inferior to whoever is in the ring and, for lack of a better term, doesn't make them look like they have any balls. I do like how they teased how the odds are stacked against Reigns and anyone can leave the Royal Rumble as champion, but they're definitely telling the story that Reigns could and will win, which I'm afraid of. I wouldn't be as mad as I was last year when he won, but it would be too predictable I feel. The tie-in to the first match of the night between Sheamus and Dean Ambrose was well done, though.
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus Ended in a Double Count-out (Non-title)
Ambrose and Sheamus work well together, but it's a match we've seen one too many times in the past six months or so, and as a result, it lacked excitement. It was a relatively solid match, but I wasn't too invested in the action because the title wasn't on the line, and why wouldn't it have been considering Ambrose is an enemy of The Authority? Ambrose was protected with the double count-out while Sheamus remains a loser. Kevin Owens attacking Ambrose is a sign their feud is far from over and I'd love to see them have one more match at the pending pay-per-view.
Titus O'Neil def. Stardust
The matches O'Neil and Stardust have with each other are always fine, but I don't understand what purpose they're serving. It's encouraging that O'Neil is building momentum for himself, but I don't think the casual fans will connect with him until he gives them a reason to (i.e. character development). This feud would benefit from a promo or a backstage segment of some sort, and no, I'm not talking about the stuff in the "star room" we saw a month or two ago. That said, the attack afterward from Stardust was a step in the right direction.
The Usos Interrupted WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day on 'The Highlight Reel'
I didn't mind the "rooty tooty booty" line as much as many others did last week, but WWE wanting to shove the line down our throat by having Jericho saying it over and over was beyond dumb. Other than that, this was a decent segment, but nothing too special. Jericho with New Day had the potential to be comedy gold, but it was barely above average and only served to set up the subsequent tag team match. Jericho being over-the-top as of late leads me to believing he'll be turning heel at the Royal Rumble or shortly thereafter.
The Usos def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Non-title)
As always, Usos and New Day contested a pretty good tag team matchup, but the crowd sadly sat on their hands for most of it. Jericho didn't do much at ringside, though his antics with Xavier Woods and the trombone were entertaining. I don't understand WWE's logic with The Usos. They will have them lose match after match, yet beat the champions in non-title matches. I assume this is building toward a tag title match for the Rumble event since no other undercard contests have been announced as of now.
The Wyatt Family vs. The Social Outcasts Ended in a No Contest
Well, this was random. I appreciated The Social Outcasts getting new music and even new merchandise (where can I buy the shirt?), but the match was pretty pointless other than giving us a "sneak peek" of the Royal Rumble match. The only issue is that we see so many "sneak previews" of the Rumble match that they grow tiresome after a while, but we see them every year so I can't say I'm shocked. I figured The Social Outcasts would toss Ryback from the ring after they fended off The Wyatt Family, but apparently not. A strange segment all around.
Kalisto def. Alberto Del Rio to Win the United States Championship
I still can't believe their first match against each other back in November was such a flop because their match on SmackDown as well as this bout were great. They were given the time they deserved and really created a compelling final few minutes. Kalisto winning was quite the shocker, and although it might have been better saved for SmackDown, I'm happy it happened at all. Del Rio wasn't lighting the world on fire as champion and this is exactly the type of push Kalisto needs. There's no chance this would have happened if John Cena and Sin Cara didn't get hurt, so there is something of silver lining after all.
Divas Champion Charlotte vs. Brie Bella Went to a No Contest (Non-title)
I stopped trying to figure out whether Brie Bella was a babyface or a heel months ago, so that doesn't bother me anymore. However, Becky Lynch attacking Charlotte before her scheduled match and then Charlotte calling the match off due to the "injury" she sustained was innovative and a refreshing change of pace. They've done right by this Divas Championship feud and it's awesome they're finding new ways to freshen up their feud each week.
Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens Ended in a No Contest
Reigns vs. Owens have good in-ring chemistry together, but I wish their matches were far and few between because it can be a major feud down the line. The "One Versus All" stipulation was silly considering only Owens wrestled, but if that was going to be the case, why not make it a Lumberjack match with the heels surrounding ringside? I guess that's too cliche. At any rate, by the time the heels were laying out Reigns, I completely forgot about Brock Lesnar, so seeing him come out was a nice surprise. And no, him attacking the heels in addition to Reigns doesn't constitute as a turn. I would have been more concerned if he didn't go after Reigns given their history. It was never confirmed he will be a part of the Royal Rumble match after declining entry earlier, but the commentators surely implied it as the show went off the air.
Kalisto's championship win was the only true highlight on this dud of a show. The main event was solid, the ending built intrigue for the Rumble and the Divas Championship feud was nicely furthered, but everything else was mediocre at best and all the non-finishes were bizarre. It was by no means a terrible show in my opinion, but not nearly as loaded as last week. My excitement level is through the roof when it comes to the Rumble event, so here's hoping they can hit a home run on next week's go-home show.