By Graham "GSM" Matthews
R-Truth def. King Barrett (Kickoff Match)
While Truth and Barrett contested a decent match, I just couldn't get invested in the action, and can you blame me? This has been a nothing feud since it started, if you could even call it a feud, and it kills me to see Barrett involved in comedy when he should be an unstoppable, credible force. Truth is in his element when he's doing comedy, but he simply doesn't do anything for me as a babyface, especially when he's beating promising up-and-coming talent for no reason. Barrett is due to make a movie soon and I don't know how long he'll be out, but that's no excuse to having him lose to an enhancement talent like Truth, especially while he's still the reigning King of the Ring.
WWE Paid Tribute to Dusty Rhodes
We all knew this was coming as soon as the news broke that The American Dream passed away last week, and although I promised myself I wouldn't get emotional, I, much like many of the Superstars on the stage during the ten-bell salute, ultimately did. I was good up until they showed recent footage of him with his family, and that's where I lost it (similar to during the Ultimate Warrior video package when they showed him with his daughters). WWE sure knows how to put together a classy video package, but that you already knew. Dusty was a one in a million and he deserved every bit of this, and I must admit that Vince McMahon dancing to his entrance theme made me chuckle. My condolences go out to the Rhodes family at this time.
Sheamus def. Neville, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Roman Reigns and WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
There weren't as many memorable moments from this match as I would've hoped for, but I certainly enjoyed it on the whole. Kofi Kingston was the MVP per usual and Neivlle had his fair share of fun spots as well. While I thought it was a good match, it wasn't nearly as crazy as some of the other Money in the Bank Ladder matches we've seen at this event in recent years. As for the result, I really liked it. Now, I'm well-aware that 99% of the Internet hated Sheamus winning, but it's been at least three years since he was last in the world title picture, and he's been doing some of the best of work of his career as of late. I was pleasantly surprised by his victory, and I was shocked to see Bray Wyatt get involved and cost the fan favorite to win (and my original pick) Reings the briefcase. Reigns vs. Wyatt at SummerSlam, anyone?
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. Paige
I've ranted on and on about the sad state of the Divas division at the moment and how Creative clearly doesn't know how to handle the women, but when that bell rings, they can go (or anyone not named Cameron or Rosa Mendes can). This was one of the better bouts Nikki and Paige have had together and it's a shame fans haven't been given much of a reason to care about either one of them (i.e. lack of character development). Again, I saw a ton of hate for the finish online, but I honestly didn't mind it. Yes, the referee was made to look like a fool once more when he didn't recognize that the Bellas pulled Twin Magic, but Paige pinning Brie only for Nikki to come back in and win was at least something we haven't seen before, so I can't complain. Besides, the time wasn't right to put the belt back on Paige, and I'd rather see Charlotte or someone else from NXT be the one to take the title off Nikki.
Big Show def. Intercontinental Champion Ryback by Disqualification
Truthfully speaking, I didn't have my expectations set too high for this match, but while it lasted, it was relatively solid. They didn't light the world on fire or anything, but they made due with what they had and delivered a decent outing. The Miz getting involved to cause the disqualification finish was predictable given he was attacked by Ryback early on, but it makes me question why this wasn't a Triple Threat between these three to begin with. I guess they wanted to drag it out as much as possible, but it was a weird ending to the match since not happened afterward.
United States Champion John Cena def. NXT Champion Kevin Owens (Non-title)
More often than not, a rematch between two competitors will feature many of the same spots from the previous match, and while that was the case at some points in this match, I felt much more like a "sequel" than it did a rehash of their initial encounter. Once again, they contested an exceptional bout with plenty of back-and-forth action and suspenseful near-falls that the crowd was red-hot for. Cena's offensive maneuvers may not always been perfectly executed, but you have to give him props for trying! No, a loss to Cena won't kill Owens' momentum, but I really wish his first singles defeat would have been saved for later down the line. I also didn't want this to be another feud where it's a case of "even steven" booking. I'm highly anticipating the rubber match as much as anyone, but the story should have been that Owens was the one guy Cena couldn't beat, as a win down the line would've meant more. If nothing else, at least Owens walked out as the last man standing after laying out Cena with a powerbomb on the ring apron.
Prime Time Players def. The New Day to Win the WWE Tag Team Championship
Coming off the electric Cena vs. Owens match, you had to know that the crowd was going to be quiet for the most part during this bout. It was a pretty standard tag team match, though it wasn't particularly special in any way. Again, the placement on the card hurt the crowd's interest in it, but I loved the ending outcome of the Players finally winning the twin titles. Perhaps it's because I'm a major fan of the tandem, but this was three years in the making and they have been very deserving of the gold.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose in a Ladder Match
Was there ever any question that these two would deliver? Their respective styles fit the Ladder match environment perfectly and I thought there were better bumps taken in this match than in the opener. Ambrose did a highly effective job of selling his knee injury (much his shoulder injury at this event last year) and was made to look strong in defeat even up until the end where he and Rollins were both briefly in possession of the championship. I also loved how they stayed true to Stephanie McMahon's word that there wouldn't be any Authority interference and that Rollins won the match on his own. This was another classic encounter in this long-running rivalry between the former Shield members and now I look forward to Rollins facing his next challenger come SummerSlam: Brock Lesnar.
Everyone will have their own opinion of this show and it could very well go either way. As previously mentioned, I really liked the result of the Money in the Bank Ladder match whereas a lot of people didn't. The Intercontinental title match didn't do much for me, but the Divas title match was better than expected and it furthers the feud. Meanwhile, I enjoyed seeing the Prime Time Players finally win gold, Cena vs. Owens was undoubtedly the match of the night again, and the main event was strong, so I can't complain. And let's not forget the beautiful tributes to the late, great Dusty Rhodes throughout the night. All things considered, this show gets a thumbs up from me, and I assume it sets in motion much of what we're going to be seeing as we kick off the road to SummerSlam.
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