Promo #1: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph comes out with the Intercontinental title and says that he's not one to hold a grudge against his boss, but he never got his title rematch against Bad News Barrett. Dolph says that the reason why he never got his rematch was because he was fired by the Authority after "saving the day" at Survivor Series. Dolph then says that winning the Intercontinental title last year changed his career and his life, and the title is back where it belongs. Dolph then announces that he is officially entering the Intercontinental title ladder match at WrestleMania, but he feels like there's still someone missing. Someone who proved that with desire and dedication, anything is possible. The crowd starts chanting "Yes", seeing that Ziggler is referring to Daniel Bryan. Bad News Barrett comes out in a successful attempt to drain the charisma out of this promo, saying that he knows he's not the person that Ziggler is referring to but that Ziggler had something that belongs to him. Barrett says that it is something that he wants, and Ziggler fires back by saying "Something you want? Charisma?" (Ziggler was on the money). Barrett says that he remembers Ziggler was the comedian, just not a very clever one. Barrett then says that people like Ziggler, Harper, Ambrose, and Truth can play all the juvenile games they want, but it doesn't change the fact that he is still the champion (don't remind me).
Barrett says that the ladder match at WrestleMania is his match, and that the Intercontinental title is his championship. Barrett tells Ziggler that he can either give him the title now, or he will take it from Ziggler's unconscious body. Luke Harper got in the ring and attacked Ziggler from behind after Ziggler had just taken the belt off. Barrett goes to grab the title, but Harper stops him. Dolph gets back up and attempts to attack Barrett and Harper, but it turns into a 2 on 1 situation. Dean Ambrose comes out to a massive pop and saves Ziggler when they double clothesline Barrett out of the ring and force Harper to retreat. Dolph and Ambrose then stare at the Intercontinental title for a moment before Barrett and Harper get back up on the apron. Ambrose then begins to brawl with Barrett on the outside and Ziggler battles with Harper. R-Truth then jumps over the barricade and steals the Intercontinental title in Solid Snake/Big Boss fashion. As Dolph and Ambrose realize the title is gone, they notice R-Truth walking away with it. I like Ambrose and Ziggler, but this promo would have been so much better if red exclamation points appeared above their heads when they discovered Solid Truth (Metal Gear Solid players will get that reference). But seriously, this promo was good up until Barrett came and drained the charisma out of it. Match #1: Tyson Kidd and Antonio Cesaro vs. Los Matadors
Stipulation: Tag Team match
Match length: 2:22
Match rating: 1/5
I can't tell these "matadors" apart so don't expect me to specify which one is doing what. Tyson puts one of them in a headlock, but they are able to break it by sending Tyson into the ropes. Another Matador comes in and they leapfrog over Tyson until one hits him with a body blow to set Tyson up for a neckbreaker that the other Matador hit for a 1 count. When they get back up, Tyson gets the legal Matador into his corner to tag in Cesaro. Cesaro throws him into the corner, but the legal Matador is able to get the boot up and hit a hurricanrana from the second rope on Cesaro. The legal Matador is able to tag out, allowing the newly legal Matador to hit a springboard hurricanrana whip on Cesaro. The legal Matador runs at Cesaro, but Cesaro is able to hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and follows it up with a double foot stomp for a 2 count. Cesaro whip the legal Matador into the corner and runs at him, but the legal Matador is able to counter Cesaro with an elbow strike. Tyson runs in to the ring to attack the legal Matador, but the legal Matador is able to pull down the ropes and send Kidd outside.
The legal Matador goes to tag out, but Kidd is able to pull the illegal Matador from the apron to prevent the tag. Cesaro goes for a roll-up and uses the ropes, but gets caught by the bull and the referee. Cesaro argues with the ref, allowing the legal Matador to roll up Cesaro for a 1 count. Cesaro uppercuts the legal Matador and lifts the bull into the ring, leading to the bull kicking Cesaro and Cesaro shoving the bull. Natalya trips the bull from behind and Cesaro and Kidd hit their dropkick and giant swing combo for the finish. This match was unbelievably boring, extremely dry, and far too short. The only reason why I'm not rating this a 0/5 is because Cesaro looked good and their tag finisher looked nice as well. What could have fixed it? If Kidd was in the ring longer and if the wrestlers were given more time to tell a story, this would have been much better. Not to mention that if the commentators cared more about calling the wrestling and differentiating the Matadors than making their stupid jokes, that would have made it a much better viewing experience as well.
Winners: Tyson Kidd and Antonio Cesaro
Backstage confrontation #1: Big Show and Kane
Big Show tells Kane that he owes him an apology for being wrong about Randy Orton, but Kane refuses to apologize. Kane and Big Show announce that they will take part in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Big Show says that he will replace the head on the trophy with his own face and call it the Big Show Memorial Battle Royal (ummm, you aren't dead though...), which was one of the most poorly thought out lines in a promo I've heard in a long time. Kane tells Big Show that he's no Andre The Giant, and that he doesn't plan on losing. Big Show asks if he's the devil's favorite demon or the spokesman for Men's Warehouse, to which Kane jokingly says "You're going to love the way I look, I guarantee it." This was a poorly done promo and I'm glad I can now move past it.
Match #2: Kane vs. Ryback
Stipulation: One on One
Match length: 2:05
Match rating: 0.5/5
Kane starts off with the upper hand and sends Ryback into the ropes, but Ryback hits him with a shoulder block. Ryback then goes to the second rope, but Kane catches him with an uppercut. Kane proceeds with stomps to Ryback in the ropes, as well as uppercuts and elbows in the corner. Kane then Irish whips Ryback into the opposite corner and hits a corner clothesline for barely a 1 count. Kane then hits Ryback with a couple of strike before sending him into the ropes, allowing Ryback to hit a neckbreaker. Kane gets up and runs at Ryback in the corner, but Ryback gets up and hits Kane with a belly-to-belly and a second rope splash. Kane then gets up and Ryback hits him with a spinebuster to set up for the Meat Hook, but Big Show distracted Ryback allowing Kane to dodge it. However, Ryback was able to hit Kane when he turned around with the Meat Hook for the finish. This was just a big man punch fest with a cheap finish and no technical wrestling. The only reason why I gave it a .5 is because it wasn't a total squash match.
Match #3: Ryback vs. Big Show
Stipulation: One on One
Match length: 2:50
Match rating: 0.5/5
Ryback goes after Show as soon as he gets in to the ring, but Show quickly cuts him off and beats him down in the corner. Ryback sends Show in to the opposite corner, but Show quickly cuts Ryback off again and strongly Irish whips Ryback into the opposite corner. Big Show follows up the offence by hitting three consecutive body slams on Ryback. Show hits Ryback with a headbutt and sends him into the corner, but Ryback counters by getting the boot up and hitting shoulder blocks on Show. Ryback climbs to the second rope and jumps off, but Show catches him in a choke hold. Ryback counters the chokeslam attempt as well as a follow up KO punch attempt and hits a spinebuster. Ryback goes for the Meat Hook, but Kane gets on the apron and distracts Ryback. Ryback throws Kane in to the ring and hits a "Meat Hook" on show that really just looked like a club to the back, followed up by a proper Meat Hook on Kane. Show was able to recover while Ryback was distracted with Kane and hit a KO punch when Ryback turned around for the finish. Another slow-paced big man match, thank god we can move on now.
Winner: Big Show
Match #4: AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella
Stipulation: One on One
Match length: 7:42
The two lock up and Brie sends AJ into the corner, repeatedly throwing her into the turnbuckle. Brie runs at AJ, but AJ is able to get the knees up and hit an arm drag on Brie. AJ transitioned from the armbar she had on Brie after the arm drag into a hammer lock, which Brie broke out of with an elbow strike. Brie springs off the ropes, but gets caught by AJ who hits a rebound spinning elbow strike on Brie. AJ runs at Brie and slides under the ropes, grabbing Brie's leg and tripping her in the process. AJ then climbs to the top rope and hits a diving crossbody on Brie for a 1 count. Brie takes the upper hand by hitting an elbow strike and a crossbody on AJ, she then covers AJ multiple times only to get multiple near falls. Brie sends AJ into the ropes and hits a rebound jumping clothesline for a 2 count. Brie sends AJ's head into the turnbuckle multiple times, but AJ is able to trip her and roll her up for a 2 count.
Brie gets the upper hand back when she hits AJ with another running jumping clothesline. Brie hits a rebound spinning elbow on AJ for a 2 count and follows up with a weak snapmare. AJ is able to come back for a brief moment, but Brie takes her down with a low kick and hits her trademark weak as all hell knee strike. AJ comes back with a thesz press and Brie rolls out of the ring before being sent back in by AJ. AJ proceeded to lock in the Black Widow on Brie for the submission finish. I apologize if there are parts of this match that are missing, my tv wouldn't pause which didn't allow me to take notes on the whole match. You get the idea, this match had some nice length and semi-decent wrestling.
Winner: AJ Lee
Promo #2: Daniel Bryan
Location: Interview area
Bryan says that the ladder match at WrestleMania might just steal the show, and that he can't wait to see who ends up with the title after tonight.
Match #4: Miz and Mizdow vs. The New Day
Stipulation: Tag Team match
Match length: 3:15
Match rating: 1.5/5
Miz has Kofi in a headlock and Kofi sends Miz into the ropes, allowing Miz to hit a shoulder tackle on Kofi. Miz springs off the ropes and Kofi hits a spinning elbow after multiple leapfrogs over Miz. Kofi hits an armdrag on Miz and smoothly transitions into a pin for a 1 count. Kofi holds on to the armbar he has on Miz, but Miz is able to break it by reaching the ropes and kicking Kofi in the gut. Miz follows up with a sick DDT, but gets distracted by the "We want Mizdow" chants. Kofi is able to recover while Miz was distracted which allowed Kofi to hit a couple of roundhouse kicks to the Miz before sending Miz into the ropes. Miz springs off the ropes and hits a rebound knee strike on Kofi, leading to the Miz getting distracted once again when Mizdow attempts a blind tag. Kofi takes advantage of the distraction and dropkicks Miz, allowing Mizdow to tag in.
Mizdow hits two clotheslines followed by the backbreaker and neckbreaker combo followed by a kip up. Kofi counters a figure four leglock attempt by Mizdow, but gets caught with a big boot when Kofi ran at Mizdow. Miz gets the blind tag on Mizdow and tells him to leave the ring, which led to Mizdow leaving the ring and turning his back on the Miz. When Miz turned around, Big E was the legal man and Big E and Kofi hit their SICK Big Ending & DDT simultaneous combo for the finish. Too much of this match was centered around the drama between Miz and "Mizdow", but there were a few things I liked so I give it a 1.5/5.
Winners: The New Day
Promo #3: Roman Reigns
Location: Locker room
Roman says that he realizes he will feel a lot of pain at WrestleMania, but that he will take everything Brock can dish out. Roman said that he will then stand up, "lock and load", and hit Lesnar right on the button and cut him in half with a spear. Roman continues by saying that he will win the WWE title whether Lesnar or Heyman like it or not, and they will believe that. Boring boring boRINGhis promos are so boring, boring boring boRING let's move on with the review!
Match #5: Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
Stipulation: One on One
Match length: 7:52
Match rating: 1/5
Swagger runs at Rusev at the start of the match, but Rusev catches Swagger with a gut kick and sends Swagger outside the ring. Rusev follows Swagger out, but Swagger comes back with punches and throws Rusev in the ring. Swagger gets back in the ring and hits Rusev with a clothesline before sending him outside the ring. *commercial break* Rusev hits Swagger with a roundhouse kick to the abdomen and a nice standing dropkick for a 2 count. Rusev begins to stomps Swagger and hits a roundhouse kick to Swagger's back. Rusev maintains the upper hand by hitting elbow strikes to what looked to be the nerve between the shoulder and the neck before locking in a chin lock on Swagger. Rusev headbutts Swagger before Swagger could break the hold and attempts to send Swagger into the corner, but is countered by Swagger who hits a corner clothesline on Rusev.
Swagger Irish whips Rusev into the opposite corner and hits a second corner clothesline, allowing Swagger to attempt his second rope falling body splash which is countered by Rusev who then gets caught in the ankle lock by Swagger. Rusev gets a rope break and tries to pull himself up on the apron, but gets knocked off by Swagger who follows Rusev out and sends him into the barricade. Swagger sends Rusev back into the ring, but Rusev hits Swagger with his superkick and follows up by locking in the Accolade for the submission finish. Axel is then shown on the titantron doing his Hulk Hogan impersonation for his Axelmania gimmick, calling Rusev out for a match on Raw and a US title match at WrestleMania. Axel became the 1 millionth wrestler to impersonate Hulk Hogan in a promo tonight. As for the match, it was really nothing special, more generic big guy stuff.
Match #6: Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett and Luke Harper
Stipulation: Tag Team match
Match length: 10:02
Match rating: 3.5/5
Luke Harper started off by locking in his rolling front chancery on Ziggler, which Ziggler was able to break. Harper then took down Ziggler with a side headlock, which lead to Ziggler breaking the hold by sending Harper into the ropes only to have Harper hit a rebound shoulder tackle on Ziggler. Harper rebounds off of the ropes and Ziggler jumps up onto Harper's shoulders in attempt to hit a sunset flip on Harper. Harper lifted Ziggler up when Ziggler tried to knock him over, missing with a clothesline which allowed Ziggler to hit a dropkick on Harper. Ziggler attempted to hit a jumping DDT, only for Harper to toss him off of him. Barrett got the blind tag on Harper and Ziggler was able to tag in Ambrose while Harper and Barrett were distracted. Ambrose hits a rebound takedown on Barrett followed by punches, which Ambrose followed up by sending Barrett head first into the turnbuckle and stomping him in the corner. Ambrose chops Barrett in the corner before sending him into the opposite corner and hitting his corner splash and bulldog combo.
Ambrose proceeded to climb to the top rope and hit a diving elbow on Barrett for a two count that was broken up by Harper who Ziggler sends outside of the ring before Ambrose sends Barrett outside of the ring as well. *commercial break* Barrett has Ambrose in a chin lock which Ambrose is able to break with body blows and a headbutt before springing off the ropes allowing Barrett to hit a spinning back elbow on Ambrose. Barrett tags Harper in who hits an elbow drop on Ambrose for a 2 count. Harper follows up by locking in his rolling front chancery again and suplexing Ambrose for a 2 count. Harper locks in a chin lock which Ambrose is able to break with a jaw breaker and follows up with straight rights and knife edge chops. Ambrose goes for a kick which Harper counters by shoving his leg back, tripping Ambrose who falls hard on his face for a 2 count. Harper tags in Barrett who stomps Ambrose and throws him in the corner which he followed up with straight right punches and gut kicks. Barrett throws Ambrose into the opposite corner, but gets caught with an elbow when he runs at Ambrose who follows up with a tornado DDT on Barrett. Ambrose gets the hot tag to Ziggler and Barrett tags in Harper.
Ziggler hits a jumping clothesline which he follows up with a corner splash and a swinging neckbreaker. Ziggler hits an elbow drop on Harper for a 1 count, which Ziggler followed up with an attempted fameasser that was countered by Harper. Ziggler countered a big boot from Harper and hits a jumping DDT for a 2 count. Ziggler attempted the fameasser again but got caught by Harper who attempts a powerbomb that is countered by Ziggler with a facebuster. Ziggler springs off the ropes, but Harper catches him with a spinning side slam for a 2 count that was broken up by Ambrose. Barrett tried attacking Ambrose, but Ambrose cut him off by hitting is trademark rebound clothesline after almost getting sent through the middle ropes. Harper attempt his discus clothesline, but Ziggler counters with a superkick followed by the Zig Zag for the finish. After the match, Barrett tries getting his title back from R-Truth. Ambrose then hits a suicide dive on Barrett, allowing Truth to almost leave with the title before Harper gets in his way. Truth lays the title down for Harper to pick up, but Truth kicks Harper and continues to leave with the title. Daniel Bryan then comes out and asks for the title, Truth hands it over and starts the "Yes" chants. Stardust then blindsided Bryan and took the title, holding it up halfway up the ladder to end the show. Cody Rhodes' title reign was the last time the Intercontinental title meant something, I can't stand to see this Stardust gimmick ruin that legitimacy. As for the match, the pace was nice, there weren't any botches, and there were some nice exchanges, good stuff.
Winners: Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler
Best match: Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper and Bad News Barrett
Worst matches: Kane vs. Ryback and Big Show vs. Ryback
Overall rating: 2.5/5
Overall review: This show was another atrocious showcase of Vince McMahons blindness to the fans' desires. In other words, the majority of wrestling on this show was *punch* *kick* *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* *punch* *stomp*. However, since I enjoyed a couple of matches and since some of the matches were longer, I give it a 2.5/5. What's keeping the rating so low? Simple, the show needs longer matches, more technical wrestling/wrestlers, and less kiddie sports entertainment that makes us want to tune out ASAP. What are my final thoughts? If WWE turned the man who had the last good Intercontinental title reign into Stardust, they might as well stop praising the title since it's clear that they've lost all respect for it and they want us to do the same.
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