By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The BroMans def. Mr. Anderson and Al Snow
Kicking off the show by pairing The BroMans back up when the tag partners are supposed to be "randomly" didn't exactly enforce the concept of this show too well. Worse yet, I have no desire to see Snow wrestling in 2015. He had has a fun gimmick and all that the people were kind of into, but it wasn't over enough to justify Snow being out there. Most of the match, as expected, was total comedy, but not the funny kind. If this was going to happen at all, it should have taken place later on in the show to serve as filler, not in the opener. Truth to be told, I would have rather seen Anderson and Snow advance to avoid having to endure seeing The BroMans in action twice in one night.
Rockstar Spud and Awesome Kong def. DJ Z and Sam Shaw
One may argue that the involvement of a Knockout would make unbelievable that her team would win, but I actually didn't mind it. If they're going to play up the theme that anyone is eligible for the drawing, people like Kong are the perfect candidates, not people like Snow. Besides, she's a monster of a woman, so DJ Z and Shaw were up against the odds here more than Spud and Kong. I could have done without them kissing afterward since both are better when they're serious, but it wasn't the worst. On a side note, this was the first time I've seen Spud bald since getting his head shaved last week and he doesn't look half-bad.
The Wolves def. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries
Are you kidding me? Another established team that just so happened to be put together? What's the point of the Joker's Wild aspect of it if you're going do this twice much else once? That aside, this was a great match. The live crowd wasn't red hot for it, but they were dead for most of the night anyway, so the blame shouldn't be put on the competitors. They put forth a strong effort and it was cool to see Roode and Aries reunite as they always had great chemistry together. It was also nice to see The Wolves pick up the win with the two former world champs putting the tandem over in a big way.
Ethan Carter III and Crazy Steve def. Tyrus and Knux
As much as I railed on The BroMans and The Wolves being paired together, it added to the speculation that EC3 and Tyrus would team up only for them to end up as opponents instead. I still loathe the Crazy Steve gimmick with a passion, but he was the perfect partner for EC3 because they're polar opposites. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Steve breaking up EC3's pinfall attempt on Tyrus didn't make any sense, and if that wasn't stupid enough, Tyrus refused to lose to Steve even though he was EC3's corner. By the way, how sad is it that three of the four of these guys could have been something in WWE years ago only to be wasted and released?
Eric Young and Bram def. Magnus and Tommy Dreamer
This was probably the most logical match up to this point. It wasn't a tag team being "coincidentally" reunited, but the combatants involved all have history and that made the match more meaningful. Although I'm a Dreamer fan, I'd be hypocritical if I said I was fine with him taking part in the tournament but I wasn't with Al Snow, especially considering Dreamer is in worse shape. Dreamer going for the People's Elbow at one point was not only out of place, but it seemed like all of two people in the crowd cared. If nothing else, at least he took the pinfall loss for his team, protecting Magnus in defeat.
James Storm and Gunner def. Kenny King and Chris Melendez
Storm and Gunner being paired together was incredibly intriguing based on their history not only as rivals but as former tag team champions together as well. It's teams like that one that I was interested in seeing take part in this tournament. King and Melendez also had a mini feud going late last year before it was dropped out of nowhere, so there was that. It wasn't as much of a match as it was a way of building tension between Storm and Gunner which was well done with them being opponents in the Gauntlet Battle Royal. Melendez is still somewhat green in the ring, so it was wise to keep him limited up until the very end.
Sonjay Dutt and Gail Kim def. Tigre Uno and Manik
Both tandems were extremely random, but since that's the whole point of the Joker's Wild theme, it was felt refreshing. I've always enjoyed Dutt's work and it was cool to see him team up with a fellow great worker in Kim, making for a highly cohesive duo. Kim didn't feel out of place at all and definitely held her own against the male wrestlers. The four competitors worked a very well-wrestled match and I was glad to see the more recognizable team of Dutt and Kim advance.
Lashley and Khoya def. Abyss and Sanada
Again, I'm not a fan of regular tag teams being put together in this "randomized" tournament, but I didn't have as big of a problem with it since there are a handful of Revolution members and the odds of them getting put together a little higher. Furthermore, I liked the story told here that Lashley essentially had to work the entire match himself since his partner was a fellow Revolution member, and there's anyone to be put in that "against all odds" role, it's Lashley because of his sheer dominance. It was all going well until Khoya starting fighting back against his Revolution stablemates. I realize it's every man for himself when money is up for grabs, but they're supposed to be "brainwashed"; under no circumstance should they be going up against each other. Thankfully, Storm knocking some sense into Khoya saved it from being a total disaster, but it shouldn't have happened to begin with unless they were building to Khoya breaking away from the group in the near future which I doubt is the case.
Lashley Won a $100,000 Gauntlet Battle Royal
As always, the Gauntlet Battle Royal was ultimately uninspiring. Alliances were formed with the usual suspects, but other than that, there weren't many stories told. One aspect I did enjoy was how Ethan Carter III was trying to repeat his win from last year, so that made his presence in the match feel more important as a result. It also added to the final few minutes of the match when it came down to him, Eric Young and Lashley. I would've liked to see them go a little longer, but it was simple yet effective storytelling that made the conclusion of the contest worthwhile (through the rest of the bout was forgettable). Also, it was comical for them to say that $100,000 was on the line given the dire straits this company has been in financially in recent years.
I'll start off by highlighting the positives: the commentary provided by Jeremy Borash and Josh Mathews was a significant upgrade over the usual duo of Mike Tenay and Taz who failed to take the show seriously. There were a few solid matchups on this show, but ultimately none of them (other than maybe the Wolves vs. Roode and Aries bout) were worth going out of your way to see. Unless you're a huge fanatic of tag team wrestling, there is no real need for you to purchase this pay-per-view as your money is better spent elsewhere.