By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. League of Nations
Normally, I'm not a major fan of heel vs. heel matches because the crowd doesn't have any incentive to cheer for either team, but that was far from the case with New Day. They were absolutely beloved by the Toronto crowd and they'll have no problem getting over as fan favorites if WWE decides to turn them in the near future. Due to their immense popularity, the match was more entertaining than I expected it to be, so props to League of Nations for managing to hold my interest. With two title defenses in the last week, New Day are ready to head into WrestleMania as WWE Tag Team Champions.
Chris Jericho def. Jack Swagger
It's been so long since we last saw Jericho as a heel (four years to be exact) that his whole shtick feels fresh again. Him tearing into Toronto and turning them against their hometown hero was a ton of fun. Despite Jericho's best efforts, the crowd simply didn't care about Swagger. They were into the "We the People" chants, but that was about it. Nevertheless, they worked a well-wrestled match and Jericho's recent heel turn has rejuvenated his career in a major way.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival def. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
In comparing them to The New Age Outlaws, I've always said that Enzo and Cass aren't the strongest in-ring workers with the only truly great match they've had coming against The Revival back at NXT TakeOver: London. Well, they contested yet another classic with the tandem on this show. Granted, the ending outcome was never in doubt, but they had me questioning whether they were going to pull the trigger on a title change with the suspenseful nearfalls down the stretch. The whole match was a blast and the final few minutes were especially excellent. The Revival have really grown on me since their first match with Enzo and Cass three months ago and this bout further solidified the fact they're a tremendous team.
Divas Champion Charlotte def. Natalya
I don't know if this match made up for all the times these two women were randomly thrown on TV together and were given mere minutes of in-ring time, but it was definitely a damn good match that both ladies deserve crazy credit for. The pace was slightly slow in the beginning of the bout, but it was by no means boring and it built to a fantastic finishing sequence. Similar to the previous matchup, the crowd was nearly convinced Natalya was winning when she locked in the Sharpshooter. Natalya going after the title in her native Canada was a nice touch as well. My only gripe with it was that I wish it received the same storyline support some of the other matches on this show did, but the video of them setting up the match earlier in the day was better than nothing. Here's hoping this performance from Natalya turned heads in the back and she'll be featured more prominently in the Divas division coming out of WrestleMania.
Brock Lesnar def. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Admittedly, I was disappointed we didn't get Lesnar vs. Wyatt one-on-one as promised, much less any contact between Lesnar and Wyatt, but this was an enjoyable replacement. It's possible WWE wanted to protect Wyatt by not having Lesnar destroy him here, but honestly, does it even matter at this point? The Wyatt Family has been so damaged that Wyatt getting beat in a matter of minutes wouldn't have hurt his credibility more than it already has been. They could be saving that match for later down the line (which I wouldn't be opposed to because that pre-match video package was flat-out awesome), but time will tell. Harper scored his fair share of offense over Lesnar, but in the end, he was no match for the major of Suplex City.
Sami Zayn def. Stardust
It was cool for Zayn to make an unadvertised appearance, but Stardust may not have been the best opponent. That said, it could have been someone significantly worse, but as talented as Stardust is as a wrestler, he has nothing going for him at the moment. Consequently, the crowd sat on their hands a majority of the match. They made decent use of the time they were allotted and it was a good victory for Zayn, but it also suffered from having to follow the Lesnar showcase.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H def. Dean Ambrose
The first half of the match was what you would expect out of a Triple H match in that it wasn't anything exciting, but they did an effective job of getting the crowd invested in the action by the second half. Ambrose's nearfall was extremely well done and I almost thought for a second that he had the match won. It was a standard wrestling match for the most part, though I'm somewhat glad they're waiting until WrestleMania for both men to go all out in their respective matches. Triple H retaining was obviously the right move, but I loved the story that was told with Ambrose with how he proved he could have beaten HHH had he not had his foot under the rope.
Of the three live specials we've had over the last year, this was undoubtedly my favorite. Not every match was a barn-burner, but there were enough quality contests to get a thumbs up from me on the whole. The main event was solid, Lesnar vs. Harper (and Wyatt technically) was fun while it lasted, the women's match was superb and the NXT tag title match was exceptional, so needless to say, check this event out when you can, if only for those aforementioned matches. There wasn't any real storyline progression in regards to what more we'll see at WrestleMania, but for a Saturday night special, it exceeded my expectations.