1) Seth Rollins: Since the photo scandal recently, things haven't been good for Seth Rollins. His slump has included him taking the pinfall in multiple tag team matches. However, things began to change this past week on Raw. Seth was involved in the opening promo of the show, which was fine but things started to pick up later on. He hosted the Daily Show with Seth Rollins, which started rough but grew into the most enjoyable segment of the entire broadcast. Then, in the main event, he pinned the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I don't 100% back the booking of making the guy that's supposed to beat Brock Lesnar lose on the road to WrestleMania, but it is still a big win for Seth. Hopefully, he has broken out of this slump that has hindered an otherwise phenomenal run.
2) Sasha Banks: The women of NXT have nearly stolen the show at the last few Specials. Sasha Banks has been involved in the last two, which featured the two best women's matches I've ever witnessed in the WWE. She got the chance to main event this week's episode of NXT against Charlotte. Those girls once again killed, as their chemistry is off the charts. Even with the feet on the ropes, it's still a big deal to pin the former dominant champion. Not only that, but on the recent NXT live event I attended in Cleveland, Sasha retained the belt again. This was a Fatal Four Way involving Bayley, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte and once again, Sasha pinned Charlotte. She may very well be the best all around female performer the company has. And she's still getting better with each outing.
3) Roderick Strong: Here's another person who has been on a strong run as of late. Roderick Strong had a strong, pun intended, 2014 and has begun 2015 in the same way. His grudge match with BJ Whitmer at the 13th Anniversary show was solid but from all of the reports I've read, the Steel Cage match he had at Evolve 38 against Drew Galloway was better. Galloway himself has had a great run lately and they squared off in a non-title clash. I've read that the match was damn good and Strong won via ref stoppage. While he obviously didn't win the belt, a non-title win over the champion is sure to set him up for a future shot at the Evolve Title.
4) The Wolves: Since I first saw them team up in Ring of Honor a few years back, the Wolves have been one of my favorite tag teams. Their run in TNA has been fun and this past week, they took on the Revolution with the Tag Team Titles on the line. I've found the Revolution to be an odd stable for a long time so I'm glad the Wolves were able to win the straps back. They are a fantastic tag team and an extended feud with the Hardy Boyz could be a ton of fun.
5) Tyson Kidd &Cesaro: At number five, we have a pick that might confuse a lot of people. I mean, on WWE television all they did was lose a six person tag on Raw, and win a non-title match against Los Matadores. Not the best week ever. However, they made surprise appearances at the live NXT events and stole the show. On night one, Tyson Kidd got a great match out of Baron Corbin and had another great outing with Hideo Itami the following night. Cesaro was on another level though. First, he main evented against Adrian Neville. I won't spoil the result here since it was taped for a DVD but it was the best match of the entire weekend. Easily one of the best matches I've ever had the pleasure of seeing live. On night two, he competed in a bit of a dream match against Finn Balor. Another phenomenal match that he won with a small package. Being the first guy to pin Balor is pretty cool. Kidd and Cesaro again proved why they are so damn great.
Monday, March 9, 2015
In 2005 and 2006, WWE presented One Night Stand but both shows were dedicated to ECW. Maybe they just liked the name or they wanted to capitalize on those buyrates as the name returned the following year. It was no longer an ECW special though ECW as a brand was part of it. The theme of One Night Stand was that every match had a stipulation so that should be fun.
Our intro video package talks about all of the stipulations for tonight before focusing on the title matches. John Cena has to try and overcome the odds against The Great Khali, while Bobby Lashley is chasing a do-rag wearing Mr. McMahon for the ECW Title and Edge was feuding with Batista over the World Title. Generic music plays because the license for Puddle of Mudd’s “Famous” wasn’t available. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do the Raw commentary, Michael Cole and JBL take care of Smackdown and Joey Styles and Tazz run ECW.
We are a few months shy of Randy Orton winning the WWE Title and becoming the One Man Dynasty. This came about because Orton hit RVD with a sick RKO a few weeks back and hurt him pretty badly. After a stare down, RVD taunts and levels Orton with a kick. RVD starts hitting his stuff for a bit, working over Orton. Orton is overselling RVD’s stuff as he is acting like each thing knocks him loopy, though one knee that RVD hits looks like it might have. He uses a forearm to knock RVD loopy now and goes for the RKO but it’s countered with a big kick. RVD goes for the Five Star but slips and hits the mat hard. Even if it was a real slip, they’re playing it off like RVD is disoriented because of the concussion Orton gave him recently. I like it. Orton takes advantage and begins to pick apart RVD both in and out of the ring. Orton busts out the awesome backbreaker that he used at SummerSlam 2004. I like that they’re playing up how out of it RVD is as he keeps looking around like he’s drunk. RVD begins to rally, placing Orton on the stretcher and hitting his spinning leg drop from the apron. Orton wisely rolls inside but RVD hits him basic offense. He tries Rolling Thunder but Orton is up and catches him, mid flip, with a powerslam. THAT WAS AWESOME! Back outside, RVD puts Orton on the stretcher and tries a front flip outside but Orton moves and he hits the ground hard. Orton puts him on the stretcher and slowly pushes RVD towards the finish line. At the last second, RVD manages to get up and strikes Orton enough to get him on the stretcher and pass the finish line.
I appreciated the storytelling of RVD having the concussion and that playing a big part in the match. This featured nice spots and a surprise finish, which I always enjoy. I only wish we got more attempts to win the match instead of just at the end.
Randy Orton is not pleased so he attacks Rob Van Dam after the match. He hits what might have been the first punt kick ever on RVD, sending him into the crowd. Orton brings RVD onto the guardrail and hits a sick looking DDT onto the mat. This would end RVD’s WWE career for a while as he headed south for TNA and a title run there.
Cutting backstage, Vince McMahon is shining up the ECW Championship while talking to Shane McMahon. He does say that he has a premonition that something bad is going to happen to him. For those unaware, he would “die” in a limousine explosion shortly after.
CM Punk was heavily recruited by the New Breed and the ECW Originals before joining the New Breed only to try and destroy them from within, so he teamed with the Originals. Man, I loved Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von. For some reason, this starts as a regular six man tag with four guys on the apron and two legal men. IT’S A DAMN TABLES MATCH! Basic stuff starts this out as Cor Von works over Dreamer until Burke nails Sandman for a bit. Because Sandman is awful, Punk gets the tag quickly and spikes Striker with the knee strike/bulldog combination. They got all Dudley Boyz as Tommy GETS THE TABLES! Punk hits Cor Von with a suicide dive before hitting a springboard clothesline on Burke. Sandman cracks Striker with a weak cane shot. The New Breed take over and Burke hits his cool looking Outer Limits Elbow. They go to put Punk through the table but Dreamer makes the save and Striker is left along with the Originals. Striker forces Sandman outside but then is hit with the D-Lo Sky High. YOU BETTER RECOGNIZE! Cor Von plants Punk with a powerbomb and sets up a table. Punk is laid on it, but gets up as Tommy hits Burke with a piledriver. Was that not outlawed by 2007? Burke is laid on the table as Punk hits a second rope suplex on Striker through it.
Not terrible, but they really just beat each other up for seven minutes.
Edge is backstage lacing up his boots when Randy Orton comes up to him. RATED RKO! Orton basically warns him because he may get drafted over to Smackdown. Spoiler alert: He didn’t.
If you’ve read my stuff before, you know that I’m a huge Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas mark. Everybody goes at it at the bell and the Hardys hit the Spin Cycle. All four guys get ladders and the Hardys throw theirs away and dropkick WGTT. Haas gets whipped into a ladder and his faces shows that he’s reconsidering this match. They sandwich him in between ladders and put Shelton in front, hitting Poetry in Motion. Creative stuff so far. Haas gets hit with the electric chair drop and the Hardys climb up together. This is stupid. Jim Ross keeps calling them the masters and veterans of this match yet they made a critical dumb move here. Only one guy has to retrieve the gold, so both going up is stupid and Shelton takes them down. WGTT try a wishbone roll into a ladder but it comes off weak and the crowd hates that. Now, the WGTT make the mistake of both guys climbing and they get stopped. They get back in control quickly and set up a see saw with the ladders but the Hardys stop them from using it and send them onto the ladders. Good thing the see saw wasn’t used how it normally is or we could’ve had another Joey Mercury. Matt and Jeff get the MEGA LADDERS from the aisle. Haas gets dropped sternum first on a ladder that’s draped across the apron and guardrail. Like it’s already WrestleMania 24, Shelton gets back dropped onto that ladder and it looks like it hurt a ton. Haas nails a second rope German suplex but then turns into a Side Effect. Outside, Haas lays Matt face down on a ladder as Shelton climbs a ladder in the ring. He leaps off and crashes onto Matt’s back. SUPER WGTT SPECIAL! Haas goes for the belts but has his ladder match physics way off because he’s nowhere near it. It allowed Jeff to go up and superplex him from the top. Haas screams in agony. Jeff climbs and Shelton goes to does his springboard leap to the ladder but botches and barely hits the ladder. It does the trick though at least. Benjamin gets his fingertips on the belt but Matt stops him. All four guys end up atop two ladders and duke it out. The Hardys get knocked down but fall on their feet, so they can knock WGTT off. Shelton falls through a ladder outside and Jeff hits the Swanton on Haas, while Matt retrieves the gold.
The Hardy Boyz know what they’re doing in ladder matches but unfortunately, my guys couldn’t match them. Haas and Benjamin both had some botches which hurt things. Don’t get me wrong though, this was still a physical and fun match.
Ranjin Singh interviews The Great Khali. Khali rambles so Ranjin translates by reminding us that Khali pinned Cena on Saturday Night’s Main Event 24 hours prior. He goes all Rocky 4 as he ends with “JOHN CENA. I BREAK YOU.”
Chris Benoit and the Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella were both relegated to lumberjack status here. Not the best booking. Also, Kenny Dykstra is out with a raccoon skin around his neck. Kane still has his “Slow Chemical” theme which is one of the all-time best. Instantly, Henry tosses Kane outside but the Lumberjacks want no part of him and when Henry goes out, he shoves a bunch of guys off of him. The action goes outside and the lumberjacks do nothing about this except take Kane’s beaten body and roll him inside. Henry continues to use his power to manhandle Kane, and commentary is really hammering it home that it is something Kane is not used to. This is dull and getting duller as Henry applies a bearhug. Kane breaks free and ends up hitting a flying something onto Henry and some heel lumberjacks. I think it was supposed to be a clothesline but he just falls on them. Back inside, Kane chokeslams Henry but before he can cover, Dykstra and Chavo Guerrero come in and hit Kane. This is no DQ? It allows Henry to capitalize with guess what? That’s right. ANOTHER BEARHUG! This is a devastating one though as it leads to the referee calling for the bell.
The story of Mark Henry being too powerful for Kane to overcome was fine, but it was a pretty dull affair. I liked the beginning but everything else stalled.
Medics are checking on The World’s Greatest Tag Team, who say “this would’ve never happened in the NCAAs.” The Hardys are in the same room as WGTT complain that this wasn’t a wrestling match. A brawl ensues but I don’t remember the WWE taking the daredevils vs. wrestlers angle much further. That’s a shame.
This needed to be Umaga’s title reign. He was a talented main event monster and Vince could have still gotten his revenge on Lashley through Umaga. Both Shane and Vince are in the ring to start so Lashley runs and attempts a dive onto Umaga outside but it’s JUUUUUUST A BIT OUTSIDE. Lashley barely makes contact but hits the mat hard. He gets in and dumps out Shane before going after Vince. Umaga and Shane are back but pretty much have zero effect on Lashley. Despite his best efforts to no sell, the numbers game takes its toll. They take turns beating on Lashley for a bit, using ringside cables for part of it. Umaga goes for a splash with the McMahons holding him but he suddenly hulks up and Umaga lands on Vince. Lashley forgets anything that has happened to him and dumps out his two non-opponents before hitting Vince with a soft chair shot. He follows with some harder ones at least and then nails the dominator, which is just a running powerslam, but Umaga pulls Lashley out during the pin. Umaga then splashes Lashley from the apron before laying him on the announce tale. Shane continues to be amazing when he hits his GORGEOUS elbow on Lashley through the table. Vince covers inside but Lashley kicks out. Umaga hits the ASSSMASH but Shane misses Coast to Coast. Lashley spears him and Vince, getting the three.
For a street fight, that was kind of boring. Lashley’s selling leaves a lot to be desired especially when the match is a 3 on 1 beating.
Bobby Lashley hits another Spear on Vince McMahon before we go backstage. Santino Marella is backstage with Maria Kanellis, who is still playing the ditz. Todd Grisham asks her for her “expert” opinion on a pudding match. Yup. Maria ends up sounding intelligent before going back to ditzy. Candice Michelle comes up for a kiss for good luck and kisses Maria. Ron Simmons shows up and he’s all like “DAMN”. Good segment.
Melina puts on googles because strategy is important in this kind of environment. Candice spears Melina into the bowl but they brawl back out. Commentary wonders if a pin outside would count. Don’t think too hard about rules in this sort of thing guys. Candice gets a near fall out there, so that answers that. I don’t get the appeal of girls wrestling in pudding or mud. Jerry goes for a joke but has no punch line so he just trails off. Candice tries to drown Melina so the champion taps.
I can’t believe we got a submission finish there. This was two girls rolling around in pudding so I didn’t expect much.
Maria Kanellis comes out to interview Candice but gets pulled into the bowl. The referee gets involved too before it’s over and the mood quickly changes when the Steel Cage comes down.
As soon as the bell sounds, Edge attempts to escape the Steel Cage but is obviously stopped. Batista pounds on him, however when he sends Edge into the corner, Edge leaps and tries to escape again. Michael Cole calls it cowardice, JBL and myself call it smart. For a while, we just get Edge trying to leave and Batista beating on him. Edge gets in control and hits a baseball slide for a near fall. Batista catches an escaping Edge with a superplex for two. They fight up top, Batista knocks Edge off and instead of trying to exit, he jumps from the top right into a dropkick. THAT’S WHY ITS CALLED HIGH RISK RIGHT? Edge stalks for the Spear but Batista goes for one two and their shoulders collide. When they get up, Batista lifts Edge with a spear into the cage. Despite Batista’s power, Edge continues to find ways to slip free and nearly escape. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb as we see Edge’s whale tail, and he grabs the cage and climbs. He gets halfway over but Batista catches him, only to get kicked low by the champion twice. Edge climbs out and Batista goes through the door. THE RACE IS ON! Batista gets out first but on his hands, so Edge’s feet hit first.
A bit of a disappointment. I’ve still yet to see a bad Edge match but I expected more from this. Something just didn’t click here, so while it was solid, it was missing something.
24 hours prior, on Saturday Night’s Main Event, The Great Khali pinned John Cena cleanly. However, he did tap out to Cena at the last Pay-Per-View, so his credibility was shot. John Cena takes a beating instantly as Khali is just kicking his ass. Khali even hits his best version of a spin kick. Yes, I said a spin kick. Cena tries to rally but when he goes up top, Khali chops him, sending him to the outside. Things go into the crowd, where Cena continues to take a pounding. They go up towards the entrance as this is just Khali hitting Cena and the Champion trying to survive. He ducks a shot and sends the crane camera into Khali, knocking him to the ground for two. Cena tries the FU but Khali is too big. Khali gets Cena up on top of a construction truck used in the entrance set up. Khali goes for a big two handed choke slam but Cena rakes him in the eyes and nails the FU off of the truck and onto the floor. That’s enough for Cena to win.
John Cena has to be given a lot of credit here. He was willing to get his ass kicked for ten minutes before making the comeback. Khali looked much better here in defeat than at Judgment Day.
Overall: I had higher hopes for this show than it delivers. While the opener was really good, the rest of the card left something to be desired. I enjoyed the ladder match but even that disappointed as did the Edge/Batista bout. John Cena got a better match out of Khali than I ever expected but everything else was pretty lame. My randomizer has chosen my next as