Aired live on pay-per-view
Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
Damien Sandow made his ring entrance while Josh Matthews opened the kick-off show with Big Show, R-Truth, and The Miz. The sent it down to Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and JBL. Sheamus made his entrance to a mixed reaction from the Chicago fans. A video recapped Sandow's attack on Sheamus from two weeks ago. Booking 101 about to happen…
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus. The fight went back and forth to start and spilled to the floor. Sandow drove Sheamus into the post and then hit a drop kick through the ropes on the floor. He rolled Sheamus in for two. Sandow worked his offense, hitting the side Russian leg sweep and elbow of disdain for two…[C]
Shore's Slant: THERE'S A COMMERCIAL ON THE PRE-SHOW! KILL ME NOW!
Sandow continued to beat on Sheamus for a moment, but Sheamus dropped Sandow and started his comeback, much to the chagrin of the vocal fans in Chicago. Sheamus hit his forearm shots on the ropes. Half the fans counted, the other half booed. Sheamus went to the top rope, but Sandow swept his legs. He slammed Sheamus off the buckle and hit his neck breaker finisher, but Sheamus kicked out.
Sandow charged at Sheamus, but Sheamus hit three Irish Curse back breakers in a row and the crowd rained shit on him. He backed up and hit the Brogue kick, and the crowd liked that…
Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow at 10:25.
Shore's Slant: This crowd needs help. They primarily booed Sheamus, but popped for his win. Odd stuff, but that's Chicago for you. Sandow had a good match, but Sheamus wins in one move and takes most of the heat off of him in the process.
Back to the opening panel, Big Show and R-Truth mocked Sandow while Cody gave a mealy-mouthed excuse. They setup a video that recapped the John Cena vs. Ryback feud. Big Show picked Cena to win while Truth and Cody picked Ryback. They transitioned to the World Heavyweight Championship match, and Big Show and R-Truth picked Alberto Del Rio, while Cody picked Dolph Ziggler.
Josh Matthews setup a video that recapped CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. Matthews thanked the panel and said they would be back throughout the show. Cole and company closed the show…
Shore's Slant: Meh. I don't think this sold any PPVs, but I guess we got a fair match. These pre-shows just don't feel like big deals, even with the new panel gimmick. I'm not sure what they need to do, but it isn't catching my attention.
A mobster themed video ran through the top three matches, and closed with an image of Punk. The show opened cold, no pyro, and Lilian Garcia announced the IC match for first…
1. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz started fast and dumped Axel to the floor. Heyman made Axel wait and allow Barrett and Axel to fight. Miz jumped to the floor instead and rolled Axel into the ring so Barrett could kick him and cover, but Miz broke the count. Barrett tossed Axel again and went to work on Miz while Heyman once again had Axel hold on the floor.
Axel tried to sneak in the ring, but Barrett caught him and hit his knees in the ropes. Miz broke up the sequence and Axel stood tall over Miz after the subsequent melee. Axel held a clinic on Miz. He hit a great looking belly to back throw and covered, but Barrett made the save. Miz started his comeback and worked over both men. He played to the crowd and got a decent, if slightly mixed, response.
Miz went for the figure four on Barrett, but Barrett recovered and hit Winds of Change. He covered, but Axel broke the pin. Axel went for the Perfectplex, but Barrett reversed into a Wasteland lift. Axel slipped out and hit the Perfectplex, but Miz made the save for a great nearfall. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Barrett dumped him to the floor and covered, but Miz grabbed his leg and dragged him to the floor. He knocked Barrett down and slid into the ring for another good nearfall.
Miz went for the figure four on Axel, but a series of reversdals lead to Axel on the floor and Miz with the figure four on Barrett. Barrett got close to the rope, but Miz pulled him back. Barrett sold and looked like he might tap when Axel slid into the ring and covered him for the pinfall…
Curtis Axel won the Intercontinental Championship at 10:35.
Shore's Slant: The match started slow but picked up nicely at the end, and I loved the finish. I'm sure I'll get email from some nerd telling when it was last done, but I don't care. It felt different and gives Axel a slingshot forward into a program with Miz. Miz and Heyman could have enough mic skills between them to make that feel huge, even if it isn't. Also, for those wondering why I am commenting on the crowd so much, Chicago is not like any other crowd. They are part of the show. If this is your first time seeing WWE in Chicago, trust me, you'll know what I'm talking about soon enough.
Backstage, Axel was walking with the belt and Heyman was praising him. Triple H stepped into the picture and he and Axel got in each other's faces. Heyman told Hunter this wasn't the time and Hunter stared him into silence. Vince McMahon walked up and congratulated Axel and Heyman. They thanked him and walked away. Vince said he was feeling Triple H vs. Curtis Axel live on Monday. Hunter said he wasn't feeling it at all and walked off…
Shore's Slant: Duck season! Rabbit season!
Kaitlyn made her entrance as videos recapped AJ breaking her heart and the attack on Aksana and the ref.
2. AJ Lee (w/Big E Langston) vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas Championship. The fight spilled to the floor quickly and Kaitlyn tossed AJ into the announce team. Wow. As she went to put AJ back into the ring, AJ drove her into the post and took control. AJ hit two neckbreakers in a row for a two count and locked in a sleeper. Kaitlyn fought out and hit a stiff drop kick to start her comeback.
Langston stood at the bottom of the ramp, but not exactly ringside throughout the match. AJ went for a crucifix pin, but Kaitlyn rolled through and slammed her down. AJ tried to crawl away and Kaitlyn grabbed her belt. It popped off and so did King. Kaitlyn dragged AJ back into the ring and AJ pulled the apron with her. AJ kicked away, and while the ref fixed the apron, AJ hit Kaitlyn with the belt and then played possum. She crawled over to Kaitlyn and covered for two.
AJ went to the top rope and jumped off. Kaitlyn caught her and the tussled. AJ ended up hooking the Black Widow. Kaitlyn sold it and then flipped AJ over for a spinning slam. She hit a sick ass spear, but didn't cover. She sat AJ up and blew a kiss at her. She slammed AJ back down and covered, but AJ kicked out. The crowd, and I, marked out. Kaitlyn lifted AJ again, but AJ once again reversed into the Black Widow. Kaitlyn held on for a moment, but finally went to one knee and tapped out…
AJ Lee won the Divas Championship at 9:59.
Shore's Slant: Loved it. Absolutely loved it. I cannot believe they gave the women ten minutes and told them to go wrestle, but they did and the women delivered. It wasn't the greatest women's match ever or anything silly like that, but they were very physical and told a great story. This PPV is off to a hot ass start.
Post-match, Kaitlyn cried in the ring. She left the ring and then collapsed into a crying heap in the walkway until Layla helped her to the back. She walked her backstage where several Divas tried to comfort her, but she walked away from them…
The panel talked about the Divas match and IC change. They setup a Wyatt Family video…
3. Kane vs. Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship. As is the norm, Ambrose came to the ring alone. Kane started fast, but Ambrose took his legs out to settle into control. Ambrose tried a sleeper, but Kane hit the corner to break the hold, and punched Ambrose out of the air when he dropped the sleeper and jumped from the top rope.
Ambrose went for a sunset flip, but Kane powered him up. Ambrose attacked and tied Kane in the ropes, allowing him to hit a drop kick. Ambrose twisted the arm and climbed the ropes for Old School, but Kane pulled him down and hit the side slam for two. Kane hit the top rope punch and signaled for the chokeslam. Ambrose rolled to the apron, so Kane kicked him to the floor.
Kane followed and Ambrose slapped him. Kane knocked him down and setup the Spanish announce table for destruction, but Ambrose hit a DDT on the floor and rolled into the ring for the cheap victory…
Dean Ambrose retained the US Championship by countout at 9:33.
Shore's Slant: As odd as this is to say, that had to follow the excellent Divas match, and the weak ending was just that, weak. The match never really got going and then it was over with that finish. Swing and a miss.
A video hyped the return of Rob Van Dam…
Shore's Slant: Barf. If RVD looks even slightly inspired this won't be so bad, but if it’s the same "phone-it in" RVD we just saw in TNA then I would rather not even see the guy.
4. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Big E Langston and AJ Lee). The match opened with Del Rio hitting some sort of slam and Ziggler rolling to the floor to regroup. Rinse, repeat. Del Rio hit a back elbow on Ziggler, and Ziggler sold like he was still hurt. Del Rio went after the head with the ref admonishing him. Ziggler hit a drop kick out of nowhere to create some separation, but Del Rio tossed him over the top rope and Ziggler continued to sell the head as Del Rio slammed him around the ring.
Langston walked over and Del Rio shoved him. Langston shoved him back and the ref tossed Langston from the area. Del Rio kicked Ziggler in the face as the second man climbed back into the ring. Del Rio continued to work the head with strikes and holds. He went for a suplex, but Ziggler twisted out and hooked a sleeper until Del Rio drove him head first into the buckle. Del Rio set him in the ropes and punched him in the back of the head. He hit a backstabber and covered for two.
Del Rio called for the cross arm breaker, but Ziggler reversed and hit a neck breaker for two. A flurry of moves saw Ziggler badly miss the Fameassor for two. JBL covered nicely, blaming it on the head injury. Ziggler climbed to the top, but Del Rio stopped him and hit a reverse superplex for two. Wow.
Ziggler rolled to the floor and the ref checked on him. Del Rio ran over on the apron and kicked him in the face. The trainer came over and checked on Ziggler. Ziggler tried to push the trainer away and Del Rio hit a drop kick through the ropes to the back of the head. AJ screamed at the ref to do something, but Ricardo yelled that Ziggler was fine. Del Rio rolled him into the ring and hit the enziguri for a near fall. Del Rio turned heel at that point as the crowd booed the crap out of him.
Del Rio played to the crowd and Ziggler hit a kick, followed by the Zig Zag. Both men sold as the crowd went nuts. Del Rio made his feet first and hit a superkick to a kneeling Ziggler. Ziggler didn't kick out this time…
Alberto Del Rio won the World Heavyweight Championship at 13:50.
Post-match, the trainer and ref checked on Ziggler and helped him to the back while AJ cried.
Shore's Slant: A very good match, and color me sufficiently swerved. I have no idea what's going on here. The fans hated Del Rio during the match, but popped big when he won and even chanted "Si" for him after the match. What an odd match. I think I know where they go from here, but you'll have to be a Dot Net Member to hear my prediction in the Payback audio review later tonight.
Matthews and the panel talked about Del Rio's viciousness in winning the match. Del Rio came back out and asked for cheers from the crowd, but received mostly boos. His appeal to Latinos was also met with boos. He said he proved tonight why he deserved to be the champion. Del Rio said he has done everything for the fans and asked all the fans for their support. He said they all knew he was one of the best in the business and he gives more than 100 percent every night. He said after tonight, he feels like he deserves to be their champion and had Ricardo say his name again…
Shore's Slant: I wonder if that was impromptu. It seemed a little out of place with the timing with the panel, so I wonder if the heel turn just sort of happened and they decided to try and capitalize on it. It may have just been poor planning, but it sure did look like a sudden addition.
A video recapped the Jericho vs. Punk feud. Jericho made his entrance to a mostly quiet audience. It’s like they didn't want to boo him. The crowd chanted for Punk and popped when Cult of Personality hit, but went crazy when Punk stepped through the curtain with Heyman. He sported short hair and a mutton chops. He played to the fans for well over half the song…
5. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman). They locked up and shoved each other after the rope break. That led to a ton of back and forth with neither guy doing a lot to the other until Jericho clotheslined Punk over the top rope and hit a dropkick through the ropes. Jericho tried to hit his springboard drop kick when Punk climbed on the apron, but Punk reversed into a hang man and hit a double axe handle for two.
Punk settled in to using a variety of rest holds to kill close to five minutes before Jericho hit a flurry of offense, including a Lionsault for two. Punk lifted for a GTS but Jericho escaped and hooked the Walls of Jericho. Punk wiggled out and hooked in the anaconda vice. Jericho sold it forever before making the ropes at 11:30.
Punk signaled for another GTS. Heyman climbed on the apron and Jericho looked at him. That allowed Punk to kick away and lift Jericho again, but he saw Heyman and looked confused. Jericho slid out and rolled him up for two and both men sold. Punk tried to stand up Jericho, but Jericho hit the Codebreaker for two.
Punk started his comeback and hit the high knee, bulldog, and top rope elbow combo. Punk hit Go to Sleep and covered for a near fall that the crowd popped for and shocked me. I really thought that was the finish. The crowd chanted, "One more time," so Punk lifted Jericho again. Jericho escaped and went for a Codebreaker, but Punk shoved him away and clotheslined him to the floor. He followed with a dive to the floor and rolled Jericho back in the ring. He jumped off the top rope into a Codebreaker for another good nearfall.
A "This is awesome" chant broke out as Jericho drove elbows into Punk's face. He went for the Walls again, but Punk rolled him up for a near fall. Punk hit Jericho and went for a standing ranna, but Jericho caught him and sat down into the Walls of Jericho. Punk sold it for a while and then literally punched his way out. He made it to his feet and hit GTS. Jericho fell into the corner, bounced out, and Punk hit another GTS for the win…
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho at 21:20.
Shore's Slant: That's it? It was a good match, but it wasn't exceptional, and there was no storyline advancement. I guess I don't really have anything to complain about, but that was the least exciting finish you could have come up with. I'm more than a little shocked.
Ring introductions occurred for the tag title match. Bryan was out last, and to the loudest reaction. At least on my TV, it rivaled Punk's…
6. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Bryan and Reigns started, and Reigns hit a quick clothesline to take control. Randy Orton got the hot tag and hit the rope DDT on Rollins. He setup for the RKO, but Rollins rolled from the ring. Orton tried to grab him and bring him back in the ring, but Reigns flew in with a Superman punch for the heels to retake control.
Orton hit a throw that spiked Rollins, but he was OK. Bryan got the hot tag and took out both guys as the place went insane. He did the kick gimmick on Reigns for a nearfall. He dumped Reigns to the floor and then Rollins on top of him. He went for his dive, but Rollins pulled Orton in the way and Bryan hit him by mistake. The distraction allowed Rollins to hit a cheap shot and take control.
Bryan fought right back and hit a double under hook superplex on Rollins for two. He started to hook the No Lock, but Reigns ran in. Bryan knocked him out and Rollins rolled Bryan up. Bryan kicked out into the No Lock. Reigns did break the hold that time and setup for a spear. Orton ran in and he and Bryan almost collided. Orton ended up shoving Bryan into the spear before hitting the RKO on Reigns. Rollins shoved Orton to the floor and drove Bryan face first into the mat with his foot for the win. Post-match, Orton stormed off, leaving Bryan on the floor selling the finish…
The Shield retained the WWE Tag Team Championships at 12:14.
Shore's Slant: Merely an OK match, but it had a tough match to follow from a crowd standpoint. This continues the feud between Orton and Bryan in an ambiguous manner, and we constantly bitch about rushing through storylines, so I will take this finish even if it wasn't what I expected. I just hope we get to it this time instead of staying tied up with the Shield.
A long video recapped the main event feud, followed by the lumberjacks making their entrance and then the competitors…
7. Ryback vs. John Cena in a Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship. I lost cable just as the match started, but I got it back about 4:15. When I did, Ryback gorilla pressed Cena over the top rope onto the lumberjacks. They beat him up and rolled him back in. Ryback stood Cena up and Cena tossed him to the floor. The heels there backed away except for Cesaro, who grabbed him. Ryback shoved Cesaro and a brawl broke out with all the lumberjacks. Cena dove on the pile from the top rope, taking everyone down. Both men were rolled back in the ring. Cena locked on the STF, but Ryback stood and hit shellshock to win the first fall.
Ryback pinned John Cena in a lumberjack match at 7:29 Ryback leads 1-0.
The ref didn't ring the bell to start the second match until both men stood, but I let the timer run. As soon as they stood, Ryback hit the meat hook clothesline and got a table. He set it up in the ring and lifted Cena. Cena escaped, but Ryback hit a shoulder tackle and played to the crowd, which promptly chanted, "Goldberg." Ryback gorilla pressed Cena again, but Cena slipped out and lifted for an AA. Ryback dumped the table over, so Cena ended up tossing him out of the ring.
Cena went to the floor, but Ryback whipped him into the stairs. Ryback tossed the stairs into the ring and then Cena. He bashed Cena with the stairs, but Cena came right back and slammed Ryback on the stairs. Cena setup a table, but Ryback hit him with the stairs again and Cena lay on the table. Ryback went to hit the stairs on him, but Cena moved and Ryback destroyed the table. Ryback hit a spinebuster and meat hook. He setup another table and lifted Cena for Shellshocked. Cena slipped out and hit the AA through the table instead.
John Cena put Ryback through a table at 16:02. Falls are tied 1-1.
Ryback stood immediately and tossed Cena to the floor. He powerbombed him through the announce table and said, "It only gets worse from here." They rolled in the ring and the ref finally started the third match. Ryback rolled Cena out of the ring and carried him back to the ambulance. Cena escaped and shoved Ryback into the ambulance. They brawled around the ambulance and Cena slammed Ryback into the side of it.
Ryback opened the driver's door and staggered back to Cena. Cena reversed a whip and tossed Ryback into the door, ripping it off. Cena hit him with the door and then tried to stuff Ryback into the driver's seat.
Shore's Slant: Does that count?
Ryback slammed Cena on the hood and ripped the quarter panel off the front of the ambulance. He hit Cena with it twice, but Cena slammed him on the roof, breaking the windshield. Cena climbed to the top of the ambulance and pulled off the light bar. He hit Ryback with it, and then climbed to the very top. Ryback grabbed a crutch and climbed up there with him. Cena took the crutch away and hit Ryback. He hit the AA on the roof of the ambulance and Ryback fell through, giving Cena the win…
John Cena put Ryback in the ambulance to win the third fall at 24:30. John Cena retains the WWE Championship 2-1.
Post-match, Cena went back to the ring and held up the belt as an ambulance siren blared. The broken ass ambulance pulled into the back as Cena continued to celebrate in the ring
Shore's Slant: You could see the finish coming as soon as Cena climbed to the top. I guess it's a good way to protect Ryback, but I would have rather them just not book themselves into this spot. John Cena continues to bury everyone he faces not named CM Punk. I'm not putting all that on him, but he shares partial responsibility with the way he generally cuts promos. He did Ryback right this cycle through, but I can't help but feel like Ryback is just another pretender in WWE right now.
Overall a very good show that entertained me more than I thought it would. The first two matches were exciting, and a lot of that excitement, plus the Punk kicker later in the night, carried the live crowd through. Is it wrong of me to say the only thing I care about seeing tomorrow night on Raw is Kaitlyn? I hope not because that's the honest truth. I enjoyed the show, but nothing hooked me to keep watching. I'll have more later with Jason Powell in the Member's exclusive audio show. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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