Hot opening to last night’s WWE, with Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler squaring off in a ‘battle of the dog house’ match. Both men have been on an incredible losing streak – that is, incredible in the “I can’t believe these two men are getting buried like this” way. But credit to both Ziggler and Sandow here. They took a terrible slot and made it entertaining, and did their duty by selling a few more Pay-Per-Views along the way. I’m also happy Ziggler walked away with the much deserved win. This might not have been the match of the night, but it was at least in the top three.
Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio delivered a throwback hardcore-style match. Was it great? No. Was it entertaining? Sure. I liked Ricardo Rodriguez’s interference from the standpoint that his character needs something to stay relevant. Coming out of this match, though, Ricardo Rodriguez has absolutely nowhere to go. Similarly, it looks like Rob Van Dam has used up all his good-will with the company. A clean win for Alberto Del Rio makes sense if (and only if) they give him better competition moving forward.
The next part of the card got a little hazy. Curtis Axel successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship against R Truth, but the match was a giant snoozefest. And The Real Americans conquered Santino Marella and The Great Khali. What did I learn here? That New York fans LOVE a finisher where you spin in circles a bunch. Also, Cesaro could have a bright future as a heel… if the WWE creative team treats him right. Which it probably won’t. So nevermind.
Goldust came out in his best Darth Maul makeup (apparently that was intentional), but still gave it his all and, along with his brother, delivered the match of the night. Fans got what they wanted – a Dusty Rhodes Bionic Elbow – and Cody Rhodes proved again that he deserves to be in the main-event picture. Props to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for holding up their end of the match. Actually, props to Seth Rollins for being tasked as the team’s whipping-boy, but nevertheless finding ways to prove his worth. The pace of the match, the high drama, everything here was pitch-perfect. And a special shout-out to the announce team for making the victory feel big. Did they over-sell it a little? Probably, but I’m okay with that.
Brie Bella against AJ Lee was fine. Actually, I was somewhat impressed by Brie – she’s grown as an in-ring competitor. Expect a much bigger victory in her future.
CM Punk really is one of the best ringmasters in WWE. Unfortunately, his effort against Ryback last night was a little subpar. Fans on Twitter saddled Ryback with the blame, but there’s plenty of indifference here to go around. Punk CAN deliver, even with a less-than-stellar counterpart, but he acted as bored as the fans did about this feud. And Ryback needs to grow up in a hurry if he wants any longevity in his career. A win for Punk makes sense because he needed something to stay legitimate, but his victory also leaves this feud with very few new places to go. Have fun with a three month build, WWE!
Power outage was fun, right? Just like Superbowl 2013… let the conspiracy theories begin.
Story of the night was definitely the main event. After a month without a WWE Champion, the company still failed to crown a winner. Both Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan put together a pretty solid match; it was better than last month’s outing, but it still fell short of their series from the Summer. And Big Show’s interference still managed to catch me by surprise. What’s hard to swallow is the idea that WWE has booked non-conclusive finishes for its main events two months IN A ROW. I liked the way things played out, but this should’ve happened a month ago. Plus, they should’ve at least announced the finish as a ‘no contest’ rather than as… nothing. Hopefully this feud wraps up at Hell in a Cell. And hopefully Randy Orton’s character survives being a puppet for so long. A possible Big Show versus Orton feud? Meh.
Overall Show did not deserve your 44.99 (or 54.99 if you buy it directly from Cable or Satellite providers). There just wasn’t enough intrigue here to justify spending the same amount you would on Grand Theft Auto V. This pay-per-view was still slightly better than Night of Champions, but it still felt like Cable TV wrestling filler. If you’re going to book three shows so close together, at least make them one cohesive trilogy. Here’s to hoping that Hell in a Cell delivers.
Did you order last night’s Pay-Per-View? How did you feel about the non-finish at the end? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, or join in the discussion with Between the Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.