By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The New Day def. Gold and Stardust (Kickoff Match)
The match itself was fine, but to be honest, I couldn't have cared less about it. I appreciate there being a second rivalry in the tag team division not over the belts, but they've done nothing to put heat on the feels. Gold and Stardust already lost to The New Day in singles competition, so what does this win really do for them? I imagine this feud will be continuing past this point, but I really hope they turn The New Day heel eventually because Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods are so much better than this one-dimensional gimmick.
Dolph Ziggler def. Luke Harper in a Ladder Match to Win the Intercontinental Championship
What are the odds that these two put forth an extra effort in this match just to show up the NXT "rookies?" It's definitely possible, but either way, this was a stellar Ladder match. I've grown frustrated with how little time these two have been given in the past, but it all paid off here. Ziggler, and even Harper for that matter, took a lot of sick spots and kicked off the show on a high note, both figuratively and literally. Ziggler winning back the belt felt like a major moment, though I do have to question why they even bothered to put the title on Harper in the first place.
The Usos def. WWE Tag Team Champions The Miz and Damien Mizdow by Disqualification
I was hoping for a faster paced matchup from these two teams. It wasn't a bad match per se, but the only highlight (per usual) was Mizdow's entertaining antics. I was also surprised to see all the talk of Miz getting into the head of Jimmy not come into play here. I've enjoyed the story they've told thus far, but this match didn't feel special whatsoever. The disqualification finish was lame, but at least it keeps the feud alive for now.
Big Show def. Erick Rowan in a Stairs Match
Going into this match, I figured it was going to either exceeded expectations by a large margin or be as bad as the stipulation sounded. The Stairs stipulation wasn't as horrendous as I originally expected, but this was just not a good match. That might have something to do with Show turning heel for a millionth time, but the styles of the two don't mesh well together. I hated seeing Show beat the young Rowan, even if it leads to Rowan getting the win down the line.
John Cena def. Seth Rollins in a Tables Match
I know I should have expected it from the get-go, but the interference from J&J Security got annoying after a while. Why are they still with Rollins if The Authority is no more? It's as if they never lost power. Once they got past that nonsense, it was actually a pretty good match, though I feel the Tables stipulation hindered it more than it added to it. Show interfering was a major eye roller, but at least Roman Reigns' return generated a great response from the live crowd. I'm not looking forward to yet another match between Cena and Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble, but maybe they'll change my mind before the pay-per-view.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee
By Diva standards, this was a decent matchup, but obviously, the Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (two "rookies" may I mind you) from the NXT Takeover special only a few days ago blew it out of the water. That definitely didn't help their cause. The feud has been hard to care about in recent weeks, so I don't blame the crowd for not getting into it at all. I've been lenient on the Brie Bella stuff since I figured she would have turned on Nikki by now, but now I'm annoyed they haven't addressed the two being on good terms despite everything that happened between them. What an epic failure.
Ryback def. Kane in a Chairs Match
Although I'm a big fan of Ryback, this feud has been essentially nonexistent from the moment it started. Kane has been meaningless for months and therefore it was difficult to take any of his nearfalls seriously. I give them props for at least attempting to make the most out of the stipulation, but Chairs matches at past installments of this event haven't been any good and this was no exception. Where does The Big Guy go from here?
United States Champion Rusev def. Jack Swagger
I haven't minded the rekindling of this rivalry, but it's obvious WWE, despite their best efforts, have damaged Swagger too much over the last few months to the point where the fans knew he had no chance of winning here. This was a passable match, but their encounters from earlier in the summer were a hell of a lot better.
Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose in a TLC Match
I was happy to see Wyatt and Ambrose get the main event spot over Cena and Rollins. It was a bold move especially since the heel went over, but it was the better bout of the two and deserved the spot. They went all out with the crazy spots and put their bodies on the line big time. They put forth one heck of an effort and deserve a lot of credit for it. I was among the minority in that I thought the finish was fine despite it being a bit campy. Both guys are in need of wins, but Wyatt needed it more since Ambrose will be over, regardless. The exploding TV spot protected Ambrose in defeat and could set up the need for a rematch if they wish to go that route.
Everyone knew going into this show that it wasn't going to come close to topping NXT Takeover from Thursday night. Even if you didn't watch that show, this was still a rather mediocre pay-per-view. The opener, the main event, and Reign's return were the only highlights. Everything was either decent or forgettable, much like most of WWE's programming as of late. This was merely a stepping stone on the road to WrestleMania and not worth watching outside of the two matches mentioned.