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WWE “Battleground” Live Reaction and Report for 7/24/2016 – Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Ambrose for the WWE Championship, Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and a “Mystery Partner,” New Day vs. The Wyatts, Cena, Enzo and Cass vs. The Club, More

WWE rolls into our nation’s capital tonight in Washington, DC to present the last “pre-split” pay per view event, Battleground.  The rosters have been shaken up through the draft, but tonight we’ll see feuds cross lines in order to settle scores.  Roman Reigns returned from suspension over the weekend, so he will be at Battleground tonight.  Will he reclaim the WWE Championship?  Will Seth Rollins get back the title from Dean Ambrose, who cashed in at a prime moment at Money in the Bank?  Will Ambrose take the title to Smackdown and keep it away from his former Shield brothers?  In other stories, who is Sasha Banks’ mystery partner?  Will Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens settle their feud once and for all?

The card is as follows:

  • The Usos vs. Breeze-Dango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango); Pre-Show Match
  • Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns; WWE Championship under Triple Threat Rules
  • Rusev (c, w/Lana) vs. Zack Ryder; WWE United States Championship
  • The Miz (c, w/Maryse) vs. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund); WWE Intercontinental Championship
  • Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
  • Sasha Banks and a Mystery Partner vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke
  • The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family
  • John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (The Club)
  • Chris Jericho hosts the Highlight Reel with his guest, Randy Orton
  • Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

Pre-Show:

They showed shots inside and outside the Verizon Center, and Renee Young welcomed us to the show.  She’s paired with Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Corey Graves.  Lawler brought up that Graves would be heading to Raw, and told him to watch out for Michael Cole.  He joked that when Cole pats you on the back, he’s sticking in a knife.  They hyped the WWE Network.

Tom Phillips checked in from the Social Media Lounge.  He hyped that Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan would join him to answer questions later.

The hosts hyped up the main event, then fed it to a video package to highlight The Club vs. John Cena and Enzo Amore and Big Cass.  Back live, Lawler cracked about Enzo working at Hooters and couldn’t pronounce the name.  He said Enzo would ask if the patrons wanted to see a couple haters.  They made picks on who will win, with Booker picking Cena and Enzo and Cass, and Lawler and Graves picking The Club.

They ran a video package for the Wyatts vs. New Day.  The panel discussed the feud, focusing on Woods’ mindset.  Graves said that he has known Woods for years and sees fear in him.  Lawler mentioned the brand split and said this may be the last time they fight.  Graves talked about how this could be the downfall of the Wyatts, and brought up Braun Strowman flying alone on Raw.

Andrea d’Marco interviewed Zack Ryder, who was wearing the full USA gear treatment.  He said his dad think he will win, but his mom isn’t so sure.  He said he likes it that people doubt him, and the last time they did he won the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania.

The commentary team recapped the feud between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, adding footage from Sasha losing in a handicap match to them recently.  The panel made picks for who Sasha’s partner was.  Booker T thought it would be Lita, Lawler thought it would be Nia Jax, and Renee mentioned Nikki Bella possibly showing up because she has recently been at the Performance Center.  Booker told everyone to trust him because he knows ‘all this stuff.’

They fed it to a video package highlighting the feud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.  Cesaro joined the panel to discuss the feud between the two men.  He said the fans are in for a treat, and it makes it tough for him to watch while they blow off the roof.  Cesaro brought up how both men had cost him the Intercontinental Championship on multiple occasions.  Cesaro talked about how he was on a roll when he came back and had Miz beaten but they cost him the match “because they just fight all the time.”

His comments after the draft were brought up.  He said he said what so many wanted to say and he would give anything to be in the ring and not on the mic.  Young cut him off to get predictions.  Cesaro and Lawler picked Owens and Booker picked Zayn.

Daniel Bryan and Mick Foley were shown joining Tom Phillips backstage for the Q and A segment.

After a short break they went back to the Social Media Lounge.  The two were asked what they feel will be the biggest change.  Bryan said that he and Shane want the emphasis on talent.  Foley joked that Bryan stole his answer, and added that he plans to hand the ball to whoever is hot and let them run with it.

Foley and Bryan were asked which Hall of Famer they would pick for their brand.  Foley said he would go with his mentor, Terry Funk.  He said Funk likes to give advice and would watch all the matches on the card.  Bryan picked Shawn Michaels, saying he could still go.

Foley and Bryan were asked what they would do to revitalize their brands.  Foley is looking forward to the interaction between all talent, male and female.  Foley said he wanted to emphasize in-ring action (good luck with that, Mick).  he says he knows the show is three hours but he thinks he can help superstars tell those stories.  Bryan said they have different things in mind, some which will work and others that won’t, but he won’t reveal them.

They briefly highlighted the Miz vs. Darren Young match.  They showed Backlund and Young doing squats, then Miz and Maryse putting makeup on Miz.  Graves said he wants Young to win because it would bring the Intercontinental Championship to Raw.  Booker and Lawler both picked Miz.

They hyped Lesnar vs. Orton, mentioning Orton being on the Highlight Reel with Jericho tonight.

Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton checked in to call the pre-show match.  Mauro noted that this was their swan song as a commentary team due to the brand split.

Match #1 – The Usos vs. Breeze-Dango;

Winner:  Breeze-Dango

The Summary:  Jey sold early on, then Jimmy got the hot tag and worked on both men.  Fandango got in a near fall along the way.  Jey tried a cross body block but couldn’t put him away.  Ranallo mentioned frustration setting in.  Fandango cleared Jimmy out, but then it was time for superkicks.

Late, Uso goes up top.  Yes, I’ve lost track.  The other dives out to take out Fandango, while the original Uso resets himself.  He dives for the splash, but Breeze gets the knees up.  He wraps up Uso and turns it into a small package to get the win.

Bill Says:  This was fine.  Thank God we got no sunburn silliness.  This is a good meaningful win for Breeze and Fandango, something they needed.  Looks like they could be telling a story with the Usos getting frustrated and turning heel down the line.  We’ll see where that goes.

They feed it into a video package to highlight the triple threat match for the WWE Championship.  This closed the pre-show.

WWE Battleground pay per view, Live from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC;

They opened with a video package with the various combatants holding their flags, focusing on the triple threat main event before moving on to other feuds and rounding back to the main event.  Pyro shoots off and Cole welcomes us in, saying it’s the start of a historic week for WWE.  He hypes a sold out crowd for the event.

Match #1 – Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley;

Winner:  Sasha Banks and Bayley

The Summary:  Charlotte and Dana Brooke get their entrance, and Cole mentions that JBL will be heading to Smackdown.  He sells it as ‘going home’ before they introduce some foreign announce teams.  Sasha gets a huge reaction as she comes to the ring.  Cole and company ask who Sasha has chosen.

Dramatic pause.  The place goes freaking nuclear – it’s BAYLEY!  Charlotte is stunned as Bayley gets a huge reaction.  Charlotte and Dana jump Sasha and Bayley right off the bat to get some heat.  The official separates them before ringing the bell.  Charlotte gets the early edge until Bayley hits a back elbow to get the tag to Banks. She fires off on Charlotte, hitting a big flying head scissor.

Charlotte settles back into control of Sasha, tagging out to Dana.  The selling didn’t last long for Sasha as she tagged out to Bayley who gets a big reaction for the hot tag.  Bayley took a nasty bump off the buckle when Charlotte distracted her on a top rope move and Dana swept the legs.  The heels settled back into control again.

Bayley and Dana collide mid ring, then they tag out.  Sasha and Charlotte duke it out, with Banks hitting her middle rope knees.  Charlotte hits Natural Selection but Bayley saves the match.  Bayley and Dana spill to ringside as Sasha locks on the Bank Statement.  Dana drags Charlotte to the ropes to break it, but Bayley kicks her through the ropes.  Charlotte gets back in, only to take the Backstabber and Bank Statement for the submission win.

We get the recap as Bayley and Banks celebrate.  The heels sell on the ramp as the commentary team talked about how Sasha may have just earned a title match.  Bayley and Sasha hugged in the ring.

Bill Says:  A great moment for Bayley and a solid win for Sasha over Charlotte.  This definitely sets the stage for Sasha vs. Charlotte down the road.  The fans reacted strongly for Bayley and that’s probably the hottest I’ve seen a crowd for a women’s match.  The match was a fine opener.

They feed it into the video package to hype New Day vs. Wyatt Family.

Match #2 – The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family;

Winner:  The Wyatt Family

The Summary:  The New Day comes out first and hypes they are the longest running WWE Tag Team Champions “of all time.”  Um, some teams would beg to differ, namely Demolition at 446 days.  They talk about being drafted to Raw before getting serious.  They mentioned that the Wyatts are split up now and they might be more dangerous than ever.

Strowman and Woods open the match up, then Strowman tags to Wyatt and Woods tags to Kofi.  Woods stands frozen in the ring as Kofi hits a drop kick.  Strowman tags back in and attacks Kofi, then tags to Rowan.  Rowan continues to control Kofi.  Rowan is still very green in some aspects, and he’s definitely the weakest of the Wyatt family.  Wyatt on the other hand is so quick for a guy his size as he hits a back senton.  Kofi keeps selling as the fans rally behind him.

Woods is nailing the “scared” thing right now as Wyatt turns Kofi inside out with a clothesline.  He and Wyatt stare at each other.  The crowd has settled in to watch as Kofi ducks a charge.  Wyatt tries again but gets dumped to ringside.  Kofi tags to Big E, and Rowan tags in for the Wyatts.

Big E with belly to belly, a dance, and a splash before Strowman distracts him, allowing Rowan to roll him up.  The Wyatts take out Big E’s teammates, Wyatt hits him at the ropes, and Rowan hits a side slam for two.  Strowman end up outside and Kofi follows with a nice dive.  They set up for the finish, but Rowan slips out.

Wyatt checks in and sets Kofi up for Sister Abigail, but Woods gets in the ring and spins Wyatt around.  Kofi tries coming off the ropes but Wyatt sucker punches him.  Woods is tranced, but eventually snaps and goes off on Wyatt with strikes.  He hits a splash then clears Rowan when he tries to interfere.  Big E takes Strowman out with that ridiculous “why are you doing that, Big E” spear.

Late, Woods turns around and sees Wyatt do the spider walk.  He freezes, then tries to throw a boot.  Wyatt catches him and hits Sister Abigail for the win. JBL gives Woods credit for conquering his fear.

Bill Says:  The story centered around Woods and he did it well.  The win doesn’t mean a ton with the two teams going to different brands, but they could easily get back to it at SummerSlam if they want to.  The crowd liked it and it was well done.

Cole hypes the title match, with JBL saying he wants the title on Smackdown and Saxton saying he wants it on Raw.  Cole mentions a tweet from Roman Reigns where he says that he has the same goal with a new start.  Some boos from the live crowd.  His reaction will be very interesting tonight.

Lana announces Rusev to the ring for the next match.  Her accent stays in check much better.

Match #3 – Rusev (c, w/Lana) vs. Zack Ryder; WWE United States Championship

Winner: Rusev to retain the US Championship

The Summary:  Saxton talked about Ryder’s ring gear, saying he is paying homage to Sting and Ultimate Warrior.  Rusev controls him early.  Ryder slips out and runs around one side of the ring before sliding through the ropes for a kick.  He tries a second rope drop kick but Rusev swats him away.  A bit later, Rusev hits a spinning heel kick for two.

Rusev works some mat wrestling while the commentary team talks about his varied background.   Ryder breaks free, then ducks a charge, following with forearm shots.  Rusev counters a Broski Boot, then tries a suplex but Ryder counters with a neckbreaker.  Broski Boot in the corner gets a two.  The fight spills outside, where Ryder hits a drop kick off the barrier.

Back in the ring, Ryder gets the Rough Ryder and goes for the ElBro, but Rusev gets his knees up.  Rusev kicks Ryder then locks in the Accolade.  Ryder nearly counters out so he rolls it back further to get the win.

Rusev keeps up the abuse afterward, but Mojo Rawley ran out for the save.  He gets in Rusev’s face and yells at him while Rusev just stares blankly at him.  He doesn’t get hyped.  Rawley checks on Ryder as Rusev leaves.

Bill Says:  The crowd didn’t seem into this – guess it was a foregone conclusion.  Rawley seemed excited about being there but no one else cared.  The Twitter reaction was interesting to him showing up.  Ryder looked decent in defeat, so, no shame in losing to a guy I see slotting into the main event before the year’s out.

Backstage, Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon hyped Rollins up to get the title back on Raw.  He compares himself to Lebron James and Tom Brady, then calls Roman Reigns a wild animal.  He accuses Reigns of attacking him at a live event for no reason.  Rollins vows to wipe the floor with both opponents and says there will be a boom of babies named Rollins in about nine months.

Bill Says;  HEY! That’s The Rock’s joke about babies!

They run a video package to hype up Zayn vs. Owens.

Match #4 – Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn;

Winner:  Sami Zayn

The Summary:  Working with no audio here, even after a hardware reboot.  We’ll get it sorted.  Zayn immediately tries for the Helluva Kick but Owens ducks it. Zayn chases him to ringside, where Owens gets the advantage.

In the early going, Owens gets the better of Zayn, hitting a cannonball in the corner and landing some chops along the ropes and in the corner.  Owens continues the assault, dropping Zayn across the ropes and landing a kick to the back for two.  He teases another but stops and locks in a chinlock instead.

Zayn starts a comeback with a clothesline and a Michinoku driver for two.  Owens rolls out, and Zayn teases a dive but Owens trips him.  Owens sets up a powerbomb but Zayn escapes and tries a springboard move.  Zayn lands hard on his repaired shoulder.  The broacasters acknowledge it.  Zayn shakes his arm to get feeling back.

The two go top rope, with Owens trying for a superplex.  Zayn fights him off and sets up a splash, but Owens gets up so he floats over but turns around into a superkick.  Near fall.  Owens locks in a crossface.  Zayn struggles to the ropes to break it.

Owens hits a charging clothesline in two of the corners and sets up a third but Zayn counters with the Exploder into the corner.   He tries for the Helluva Kick again but Owens ducks away.  Zayn goes top rope, but Owens counters him with a fireman’s carry.  Counter again, and Zayn hits a suplex on the apron.  Ouch.  Both men sell on the floor.

Both men beat the count and sell in the ring some more.  They went for a strike exchange next with the crowd split between the two men.  Zayn wins the strike battle as Owens covers up and rolls outside.  Zayn tries for his dive between the ropes and DDT, but Owens scouts it with a superkick.  Back inside, Owens hits a cannonball and frogsplash for a good two.

Zayn hit a couple of exploder suplexes for a good near fall.  Owens hit a pop up powerbomb for another good fall but Zayn gets a foot in the ropes for a break.  Owens is frustrated, yelling “why won’t you stay down?”  Fans chant that it’s awesome and they’re right.  Owens slaps Zayn and tells him to “not make me do this.”  Zayn calls for Owens to bring it and slaps him again.

Down the stretch, Zayn catches Owens and hits him with the Exploder in the corner, following with a second mid-ring.  Owens is set up in the corner, and he hits the Helluva Kick in the corner.  Zayn catches Owens and looks for a moment, then stands him up and hits a second Helluva Kick and covers for the win.  Zayn celebrates in the ring.  JBL says it’s time to call the sheriff, because they just stole the show.

Bill Says:  This was fantastic.  The two have so much history between them, so it was easy for them to tell the story of their feud with the match in the ring.  Fantastic work from both men that had the crowd invested, especially down the stretch.  Calling it now that this is the match of the night and no one else will come close.

They feed it to the panel for some thoughts on the show so far.

Match #5 – Natalya vs. Becky Lynch;

Winner:  Natalya

The Summary:  They recap the feud as Natalya gets her entrance.  Lynch hands off her goggles to someone in the crowd.   The commentary team talks about how Natalya has been a “big sister” to Lynch in her early career.  Lynch throws a couple waistlock takedowns in the early going, which leaves Natalya going to ringside to regroup.

Natalya starts to focus the offense on Becky’s leg.  She slips away from a Disarmer attempt but eats a kick.  Lynch sells the leg, then hits an exploder suplex for two.  Natalya tries a discus clothesline but Lynch catches her arm and tries again for the Disarmer.

Natalya locks the Sharpshooter on a bit later but Lynch breaks it in the ropes.  Lynch hits a missile drop kick for two, then throws punches in the corner.  The referee breaks them up but with the distraction Natalya hits a kick.  She locks in the Sharpshooter again, and Lynch drags herself to the ropes but Natalya re-sets it mid ring for the submission win.

Bill Says:  Tough spot for these two to be in because of the Zayn/Owens match.  The match was fine, and Natalya winning is logical to continue the feud.

Backstage, Shane and Daniel Bryan give Dean Ambrose a pep talk about keeping the WWE Championship on Smackdown.  Bryan talks about the wars he had with the Shield, saying they never worried about Reigns or Rollins, but always Ambrose.  He repeatedly tells Ambrose he’s the best.

Ambrose says that of all the guys he beat up, his favorite was Bryan.  “That sounded a lot better in my head.”  Ambrose adds that he will show the world why they drafted him number one.  He says he is the WWE Champion and it will stay that way.

They hyped Orton vs. Lesnar for SummerSlam.

Match #6 – The Miz (c, w/Maryse) vs. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund); WWE Intercontinental Championship;

Winner:  Double Count Out, Miz Retains the Intercontinental Championship

The Summary:  Miz and Maryse had masks on from the “Eyes Wide Shut” movie that’s about a decade old.  Early on the crowd was pretty quiet for this one, but they did start to react a little bit to a chop from Young and when Miz shoved Young off the ropes and to the floor.

Miz tried for Reality Check but Young countered.  He went for a backslide that Young blocked, then Young got one of his own for two.  Miz came back with a kick then put the boots to Young before playing to the crowd for some heat.  Young hit Miz with a clothesline.

Young got on a run of offense, then teased his finish.  Miz tries to leave, but Backlund cuts him off.  He backs Miz back to the ring, where Young tosses him back in.  Maryse gets involved, slapping Backlund.  She falls to the floor to act as if Backlund shoved her down.

Backlund geeks up, and Miz shoves him down.  Young locks the Crossface Chicken Wing on Miz outside the ring, and the official calls for the bell.  Young keeps up the attack, and a couple referees run out to break things up.  Young stares at his hands as he backs up the ramp with Backlund.

Bill Says:  This match is different from the ladies in that both of these guys aren’t over.  The fans did warm up for Young at various points, and they didn’t care for Miz shoving down Backlund either. 

We get the hype video package for the six-man between John Cena, Enzo and Cass vs. The Club.

Match #7 – John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Club (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson);

Winner:  John Cena, Enzo Amore, and Big Cass

The Summary:  Cena gets his entrance to a mixed reaction.  Enzo and Cass get a huge reaction for sure.  They do their normal entrance gimmick and everyone in DC follows along.   This DC crowd is fired up for these two and Cena gives the ring to them.  Enzo calls the three of them the Mount Rushmores of Certified G’s.  “I know there’s only three of us, but we have John Cena.  That makes us 4G, and we’re well connected.  How you doin’?”

He compares the Club to young girls in the Scream trilogy and they’ll make bad decisions.  Enzo offers advice – “how you doin’?” which DC answers every single time.  There was something Enzo said that got censored.  Cass came along after that and talked about Styles having a soccer mom haircut then delivered his SAWFT line.

Bill Says:  Enzo woke up the crowd, that’s for sure.  They were hot for his promo work.  Glad that Cena stayed out of the mix here and let those guys have the stage.

In the early going, DC chanted “soccer mom” at AJ, and the commentary team made a comment about Enzo’s  haircut too.  Enzo sells for the Club.  Gallows goes for a splash but he rolls out of the way.  Enzo gets the hot tag to Cena, who fires up his trademark offense on Styles.  Cena loads the AA but Styles lands on his feet and hits the Pele.  Styles takes a shot at Enzo on the apron then goes after Cena with the Styles Clash.  Enzo jumps in and hits a DDT.

Anderson hits the ring and delivers a spinebuster to Enzo, and Big Cass follows with a big boot.  Gallows comes back with a sit-out powerbomb to Cass.  It’s insanity, with Enzo hitting a cross body that Cena catches only to use him as a battering ram on Gallows. Cass hits a fall-away slam.  Cena hits Styles with the AA, but Anderson drags him off the cover and dumps him to the announce position.

After Cena beats the count, Styles hits him with the Styles Clash.  Cass pulls Styles to ringside and dumps him with a big boot.  Gallows attacks Cass, then in the ring they hit him with Magic Killer.  Cass rolls to the floor, and Enzo climbs in.  He dares to take on both men, then dodges Anderson’s charge.  He squares off with Gallows, but takes a big boot.

Cena struggles into the ring.  He avoids a charging Gallows in the corner, then spies Styles getting on the buckle.  He crotches Styles then clotheslines Gallows to the floor.  He goes back to the buckle and tries to get Styles in position for an AA off the ropes.  Styles fights out, but Cena reloads and gets it the second time.  Top rope AA leads to the win.

The Club crawls away, meanwhile Cena, Enzo and Cass celebrate in the ring.  We get some highlights before they show Enzo and Cass and Cena slapping hands with fans.

Bill Says:  A good match with a logical finish.  With Enzo and Cass and Gallows and Anderson going to Raw and Cena and Styles going to Smackdown, these are easily continued feuds on those separate shows going to SummerSlam.

The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho – Guest: Randy Orton

Jericho asks for quiet,  but DC’s not interested in giving it to him.  He says he wants to tell the fans that this is the biggest Highlight Reel in WWE history.  He talks about Orton being gone for nine months and facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam.  He introduces Randy Orton, who gets a decent reaction.  He gets “welcome back” chants after his entrance.

Orton talks about enjoying his nine months at home with his wife and kids, but he realized when he came out that something was missing.  “It was this.  It was you.”  He says he’s in such a good mood that he doesn’t mind sharing the ring with Jericho.  Jericho tells Orton that since he’s in the ring with him, that puts him on a different level.  “You’re welcome.”

Orton tells him that he’s in a good mood but that might change, and he might drop Jericho.  Jericho tells Orton that he might hit him with a Codebreaker out of nowhere.  He talks about the changes since Orton has been gone, working in praise for Stephanie McMahon as the new Raw Commissioner.

They run a Brock Lesnar hype package.  Back live, Jericho asks him why he would come back and face Brock Lesnar.  He says the body isn’t supposed to fold like that. He says Orton knows this because he and Lesnar started at the same time in WWE.  He accuses Orton of avoiding Lesnar and being afraid of him.  Jericho asks why Orton would make the choice to face Lesnar.

Orton says he wanted to come back and make a statement and how else than to go against the biggest, baddest man in the locker room.  He asks how much of an impact it would have been if he came back after nine months to face Fandango.  Jeri-burrnnnn.

Jericho tells Orton that he never liked him, and that Lesnar will suplex him over and over again.  Orton agrees, saying that Lesnar will slam him and suplex him over and over.  He asks if it takes 20 suplexes to get to Suplex City.  “It only takes one RKO to go to ViperVille.  No enhancement needed.”  DAMN!!! They went there.

Jericho tells Orton he will pay for that comment, which draws a laugh.  Jericho says he knows someone close to Lesnar who has messages to relay to Orton.  Jericho says that Brock calls Orton a coward for avoiding him for 15 years.  Jericho says Brock will rip Orton’s arm off and eat if for breakfast.  Jericho claims Brock called Orton a “stupid idiot.  Brock’s words, not mine.”

Jericho taunts Orton, teasing if Orton would deliver the RKO.  Orton doesn’t react, and Jericho tells him he won’t do anything.  He tells him to worry about Lesnar.  Orton teases an RKO, but bends over to laugh.  He springs up and RKO’s Jericho, then plays to the fans on the buckles.

Bill Says:  This was fine, but man, does it belong on the pay per view?  I guess with the brand split you’ve got to do it here.  A lot of personality from Orton tonight, and I thought Jericho played into the heel host well too.  A good overall segment.  The digs, especially the “no enhancement needed” one, definitely were scripted in there.  I don’t think Orton would have gone there without consent given his own run-ins with the Wellness Policy.

They hype the main event and the consequences of the control of the WWE Championship.  They feed it into a video package for final main event hype.  Before the match, we get all four show authority figures entering the arena, and they will watch from ringside.

Bill Says:  This screams funky finish that splits the title.

Match #8 – Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns; WWE Championship fought under Triple Threat Rules;

Winner:  Dean Ambrose to retain the WWE Championship

The Summary:  Rollins gets a mixed reaction heading to the ring, Reigns gets booed hard.  The commentary team asks about Reigns’ mindset coming off the suspension.  Ambrose gets cheered, especially from Bryan and Shane.  JoJo gives us the in-ring introductions.

Loud “Roman Sucks!” chants early on as the three men face off.  Rollins teases a fist bump, but Reigns shoulder blocks him to ringside.  Reigns and Ambrose look at each other, then go after Rollins.  He runs in the ring, but gets sent back to the floor by Ambrose.  Reigns takes a shot on Rollins, and heends up back in the ring.

Reigns sends Rollins to the floor again.  Ambrose throws a roll-up on Reigns, then he returns the favor just a bit later.  Ambrose tries for a cross body block, but gets knocked down.  Rollins reenters the match to attack Reigns, then they spill to the floor.

Reigns roughs up Rollins at ringside, running him into the barrier.  Ambrose dives out onto them, then Rollins follows with a flying knee off the apron.  He throws Ambrose into the steps then Reigns into the barrier.  Rollins sets up a charge, but Reigns dumps him into the timekeeper’s area.  As they brawl, Ambrose runs across the announce tables and dives onto both of them.

Back inside, Reigns takes a missile drop kick and a charge followed by a running bulldog from Ambrose.  He follows up with his flying elbow on a standing Reigns.  Rollins hits a frog splash on Ambrose as he was rolling to one side out of the cover.

Rollins looks for the Pedigree on Reigns, but Reigns counters out and lands a couple right hands before hitting his corner clotheslines.  Ambrose takes a clothesline as he runs in, then Rollins eats a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  Reigns delivers two Superman punches, then sets up a spear.  Ambrose and Rollins counter it.  Reigns comes back with a Superman punch to Rollins, but Ambrose hits a clothesline.  All three men sell.

The three get into striking exchanges, then Ambrose and Rollins gang up on Reigns.  Rollins and Ambrose tease the old Shield powerbomb but Reigns escapes.  Reigns lands at ringside, and Ambrose dives out onto him and Rollins follows with a dive on both of them.  They show the rosters watching.

Ambrose and Rollins tear apart one of the announce positions, then powerbomb Reigns through the table.  Rollins follows up by hitting Ambrose with a chair.  Cole hypes that it’s legal in this match as Rollins hits Reigns as well.

Rollins teases the Pedigree, then decides to load a bucklebomb instead.  Ambrose counters with a huracanrana into the corner.  Ambrose goes top rope, and Rollins meets him there.  Superplex into a Falcon’s Arrow leads into a near fall.

Another tease of the Pedigree leads to an Ambrose counter but Rollins springs to the buckle.  Ambrose goes after him but Reigns re-enters the match, hitting Ambrose with a powerbomb then a sit-out powerbomb on Seth for a good near fall.  Reigns calls for the Superman punch, but Ambrose counters and tries Dirty Deeds.  Reigns counters again and looks for Razor’s Edge but can’t quite get it.

Reigns goes for a backslide that fails, then hits a Superman punch.  Ambrose rolls out, and Rollins sneaks in for a Pedigree.  Good near fall.  Rollins seethes then sets up another Pedigree.  Reigns tries to power out, but Rollins loads a bucklebomb.  Reigns stumbles out and hits a Superman punch then spears Rollins.

Ambrose reenters the match, pulling Reigns out of the cover.  He hits Reigns with Dirty Deeds and covers for the victory.  Shane and Daniel Bryan celebrate, Stephanie seethes at ringside with disappointment.  The announcers ask what Raw will do tomorrow night.  The Smackdown roster heads to the ring to celebrate with Ambrose and hoist him up on their shoulders as Cole sends the show home.

Bill Says:  A good main event.  I liked the way they sold the drama of only one brand having the championship between the locker room shots and things of that nature.  It worked well.  I fully expect Stephanie McMahon to walk out on Raw tomorrow night and do something about it, like reintroduce the big gold belt or something, but in the moment, it was solid selling.  I didn’t care too much for the Smackdown roster coming out to celebrate with Ambrose and breaking down that fourth wall, but I can let it pass in this case because it means that they have THE championship in WWE and it opens up opportunity for them to compete for it.

This show was very overshadowed by the Draft, but it was a solid outing.  The crowd was into the show all night long for the most part and I thought that with some of the finishes they could go in some different directions as the brand split becomes a reality.  Zayn vs. Owens was match of the night for me, and the whole event ended up leaving me with good feelings about where Raw and Smackdown are headed at least in the early going of this brand split era.

I’ll be by with Raw reaction tomorrow night, and Drew will have Smackdown and Around the Ring on Tuesday.  Be sure to check all of that out.  Thanks for following along tonight.

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About Bill Wentz (1557 Articles)
Ring-Rap.com's Senior Columnist, writing with the site since 2009 and a lifelong wrestling fan dating all the way back to the early Wrestlemania years. As a strongly opinionated fan, you can get my thoughts regularly on Ring Rap Audio and Around the Ring on Thursdays, as well as in "Wentz's Blog" in print. Look for my live show reports as well for MMA, WWE, ROH, and more. Outside of wrestling, I have a strong obsession with trucks, winning awards statewide with a truck dubbed the "Brahma Bull Edition." Interact with me on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan or by email at bwentz@ring-rap.com

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