By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kevin Owens def. Jack Swagger
It's amazing to me that despite how big of an afterthought Swagger has become, he is still capable contesting some damn good matches when he is motivated. I guess I was foolish to underestimate his abilities. Owens is always excellent, but it takes two to tango and Swagger more than held his own in this matchup. From the get-go, I never took Swagger as a threat to beat Owens, but there were several points throughout this matchup where Swagger appeared to have a shot at winning. Although this deserved to take place in the main event slot, it made for a highly entertaining opener.
The Dudley Boyz def. The Ascension
Although The Dudley Boyz are rather directionless at the moment, it's a good thing their matches are usually fun, or at least for me they are. They're a perfect team for the PG crowds because they're so fan-friendly. That was the case with this contest, so while the in-ring action wasn't anything out of the ordinary, they put forth a decent effort and the crowd was somewhat engaged if nothing else.
Rusev def. Ryback
I was a fan of the chemistry these two had a little over a year ago then their feud first started, but the more they faced off, the worse their matches got. Both guys being far less relevant now than they were one year ago of course didn't help matters, either. Nevertheless, this was the best bout they have had in ages. Perhaps it was because they strayed away from the typical tired formula, but they had a pleasantly surprising affair that I enjoyed by and large. Rusev winning was not a shocker considering his spot in the League of Nations, but similar to the opener, there were times where I thought Ryback could have came out on top.
On paper, there wasn't much about this show that excited me, but it ended up being far better than I initially expected it to be. Owens brought the best out of Swagger in their match, the tag team bout was fine for what it was, and Rusev and Ryback topped off the evening with a very well-wrestled match. I'd recommend giving this show a chance as you might find yourself enjoying the opener or even the main event.