I’m not going to do a match by match review but suffice to say it puts WWE and TNA to shame. As much as I don’t like the way the promos are done like a real tv show or more like a low budget film, the quality of wrestling mixed with the old school hardcore style is so good. It was like a mix between a WWE PPV of 10 years ago, ECW from 15 years ago, and a bit of the best TNA X Division. They have two wrestlers that WWE absolutely dropped the ball on with Johnny Mundo (John Morrison) and Alberto El Patron (Del Rio) who produced a match that would easily make the main event of a WWE PPV. Vampiro vs. Pentagon Jr. was like an old Sandman vs. Sabu match it was absolutely brutal. Every single match was equally as good as the last though, there were no matches just to fill up the time and I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
There are also smaller things that add to the show a little bit like the venue and the commentary. It’s a small, compact venue with an outstanding crowd who actually took part in one of the matches (I think). I couldn’t actually tell if it was staged or real but the welts on Hernandez’s head and back were definitely real and they looked painful. The venue itself was turned into an extension of the ring for the majority of the matches which was something we see in WWE once a year and never quite like that was anymore. Another little great addition is the commentary of Matt Striker. Loved him as a commentator for WWE but he never really got given a good run behind a commentary table but it’s definitely Lucha Underground’s gain. He has the experience, the knowledge, and the enthusiasm for pro wrestling and he’s at a company that I think will flourish over the next few years. I haven’t really been watching it weekly like I do WWE but I certainly will after this.
I thought about writing about every episode of RAW and Smackdown and NXT but I realised there’s so little happening that I could barely even scrape a post about a PPV. I will still try when I finish work at the end of next week but I haven’t really got time. I can’t actually think of everything that has happened since Wrestlemania but it’s not much. The only two people that are keeping it worth watching at the moment are Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose.
Owens is working damn hard to impress and it is paying off big with the fans. He has been cutting promos on RAW with Cena that are reminiscent of CM Punk and his in ring ability is phenomenal. He has probably got the most varied and impressive move-set I have seen in a long long time and his debut match against Cena really was something special. Have to give kudos to Cena as well which is something I don’t do very often. It’s not that Owens needs help to get over or help to show off how good he is in the ring but Cena is the perfect opponent for him to start off his career to show the faith that WWE have in him. A definite future World Champion. In NXT he is also continuing to impress against some of the best wrestlers in the world. I feel like it is only a matter of time before he drops the title to Balor or Samoa Joe so he can make the switch on to the main roster permanently. I feel a bit sorry for Samoa Joe as well because his debut has gone a bit under the radar with Owens being so impressive. Everyone is glad he’s here but at the same time Owens is the main attraction at the moment by a long way and everyone seems to be in his shadow.
One person that definitely isn’t in his shadow though is Dean Ambrose. A lot of people are describing him as a new Stone Cold Steve Austin type of character and he probably is the closest to that type of character we will ever get in the PG Era but it is still too early to tell at the moment this is only his first few months in the main event spotlight but he has looked so impressive. His promos are impeccable but it’s his energy and his attitude that make him so good to watch. He isn’t the most technically brilliant wrestler in the world but he’s old school and it’s just entertainment at its best.
Other things of note are the frequency of the PPV’s since Wrestlemania has finished. I’m not sure if it’s in my head or not but it seems like they’re pretty much every other week and no better than every episode of RAW. Elimination Chamber should have been good but the chamber matches themselves were just completely forgotten about because of the Owens/Cena match and now MITB is only next Sunday. Hopefully that will be quite good, despite Roman Reigns being the probable winner. I am looking forward to seeing Neville in that match, it should really be the type of match he makes a name for himself, I’m just praying for no botches. Finally the Divas division has completely slumped again. Paige is getting repetitive and I don’t know if the Bella’s are supposed to be heels or faces or what’s going on. Basically the NXT women’s division has been a lot better than the main roster’s Diva’s division and they just need to start promoting people like Charlotte and Sasha and Becky Lynch ASAP.
As the commentators love telling us every week, everyone has an opinion on John Cena and you cannot talk about WWE without talking about him, which is unfortunate but I thought I might as well throw in my opinion to the internet. I don’t like him, because I like wrestling. The loudest crowd reaction every week is when he’s been getting beaten up for 10 minutes and gets up to do his stupid shoulder tackles and his stupid backdrop and his stupid five knuckle shuffle and gets booed to shit. To top it off he’s just buried Rusev to the mid-card to have a ridiculous feud with Ziggler over Lana after Rusev carried him in the PPV matches they had. One thing I do like is the US Title Open Challenge every week because there is a sense now that he could lose it at any time. It seemed pointless having it when he was scheduled to face Rusev at an upcoming PPV but now it could actually be good, as long as he doesn’t continue with 10 minute promos before every match. On to his barely existent wrestling ability. There are people who know they aren’t the best wrestlers so use their power and physique to their advantage instead which is fine, but Cena actually tries to wrestle properly, with his springboard stunner and dropkick and STF, and it just looks so awkward that it’s painful to watch. However because of the open challenge it is getting a lot of different people solid TV time against a big names. Also I did used to respect Cena for everything he has done for WWE in the past decade but it is just over-exploited now, he is the symbol for the PG Era and it’s great if you’re under the age of 15 or a parent of someone who is, but for everyone in between it’s just annoying.
Dean Ambrose has really come into his own in the last few weeks. Everyone knew when The Shield split that Rollins and Reigns were going to get their big pushes first so Ambrose had to bide his time. He was everyone’s favourite mid-carder when the IC Title was being stolen every week and since his push for the World Title he’s done the best promos and been in the best matches. Obviously he was never going to win but I am glad they’re keeping him in the mix rather than dropping him down to the IC Title Elimination Chamber. The only thing I hope he can improve on is his finisher. The DDT has been done a million times with different variations and different names. In the modern era the only two people who have been able to properly pull it off as a finisher are Edge and Paige, and they both had/have a primary finisher ahead of it. I think the best thing about his recent role is that it came as quite a big surprise. I saw the Orton/Rollins/Reigns feud coming but I thought it was much more likely to add Ambrose into the Sheamus/Barrett/Ziggler/Neville story somewhere. As I said though he has just come into his own and gone from strength to strength and is relishing the time he has in the spotlight.
Nikki Bella vs. Naomi – WWE Divas Ttitle:
Absolutely nothing “Extreme” about this match which is disappointing because it was really a chance to get people to take it seriously. The only stipulation I can remember being added to a Divas match in the last decade is a lumberjack match. I don’t know what it is about Naomi because she’s a good wrestler, a really good athlete, very creative and very original, but I just cannot stand watching her and I don’t know why. Nikki Bella continues to improve but Brie is getting more vocal on the outside of the ring every week and she does have a very piercing and distracting voice. I haven’t read much news about Paige whether she’s injured or taking a break but I hope she comes back sooner rather than later so I don’t have to watch Naomi for much longer.
Big Show vs. Roman Reigns – Last Man Standing Match:
Neither of these are the best wrestlers in the world but both are big and strong and have very high impact finishers so a Last Man Standing match was actually quite perfect for them and the match was really good. Before the match started it was obvious that Reigns was going to win just with all the Lesnar stuff that has preceded it. At times it got a bit silly because both of them were down for much longer than a normal 10 count numerous times but it was the most ‘extreme’ match of the night with numerous tables going through, including the spanish announce table to finish the match, and just as many chairs and kendo sticks as the Ambrose and Harper match. There have been a lot of times in the last few years when I thought it was time for Big Show to retire but he looked a lot better than he has done for a long time and his fitness for a man of his size and age is unbelievable. I don’t think there was ever a doubt about the result because of the few months Reigns has had but it will be interesting to see where he goes from here because I’m guessing Orton will still be the main wrestler in the title picture for at least 1 more PPV.
Bo Dallas vs. Ryback:
A bit of a waste of time and probably a last minute job because of Daniel Bryan not being able to compete but a decent reason to get Ryback an appearance and easy win on a PPV. I would have thought a Miz/Sandow segment would have been chosen over this but either way I think it was just a time filler.
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton – Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title:
There wasn’t really anything special about this match if I’m being honest. I love both of them but a Steel Cage is the wrong setting to produce the best match between them. Considering they haven’t really been in many matches together I found it to be quite predictable. Neither of them produced anything particularly special to make it more entertaining. Considering the title was on the line and it was in a steel cage it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the match the two had at Wrestlemania. Kane and J&J were always going to interfere in some way or another and I do always like a cameo Kane appearance when he Chokeslams everyone. The ending was clever in a way with Seth using the RKO when it was banned. I’m guessing something will happen on RAW regarding them having to have a rematch because Seth broke the rules of the match. Overall quite a forgettable match but still the right feud to carry on.
I actually forgot to watch the pre-show because I was too busy watching the Country Music Awards which I’m a bit disappointed about now because Barrett and Neville are two of my preferred wrestlers at the moment. From the short highlights it showed I can’t really tell if it was a good match or not but i’m glad they gave Neville the win over someone who isn’t Curtis Axel.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper – Chicago Street Fight:
I love both of these guys and they always put on a good match. The only thing I would have changed is that it should have been falls count anywhere because them coming back into the stadium for 5 minutes at the end was a bit of an anti-climax. Having said that I thought having them leave and come back was a really good idea, its just when they came back it wasn’t great. Strangely as brilliant as these two are and how much extreme rules suits them I thought it was actually overshadowed by the Last Man Standing match later on. In terms of the result I think Ambrose needed a PPV win after a few losses in big matches over the last 6 months or so.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus – “Kiss Me Arse” Match:
A pretty ridiculous stipulation to count as ‘Extreme’. If it had to happen at all I would have rather they just kept it on RAW because it’s not a PPV quality match by any stretch of the imagination. Ziggler is still underrated by WWE but overrated by a lot of fans. I much prefer Sheamus as a heel and actually like his new character and his new look actually goes well with his new music but there’s just nowhere to really go with that bullying smaller guys storyline, especially with the only ‘small’ champion out of action and Barrett still next in line. I actually would have preferred a Sheamus win at this point and give it another month before he’s handed his first PPV loss since his return. The post match “arse-kissing” segment seemed to go on forever and was just ridiculous like it was always going to be when creative thought of it in the 5 second brainstorm they apparently had for this match.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. The New Day (Kingston + Big E) for the Tag Team Titles:
This was probably the only really surprising result and also the most disappointing. The New Day gimmick had run its cause after about 2 weeks and face or heel, it just doesn’t work. The only reason I can think of as to why they gave them the titles are because R-Truth has dropped out of the IC Title picture and they haven’t had an African American champion in a while because they must be able to see the reaction is negative because of the gimmick and not because they’re supposed to be heels. The match itself was actually really good and I hope that Cesaro and Kidd stay as a tag team because they work really well together and the division has been much more entertaining since their formation. Kofi is always solid in the ring and Big E had that one good move where he pretty much gored Kidd and himself out of the ring but doesn’t make up for the result for me unfortunately.
John Cena vs. Rusev – Russian Chain Match for the US Title:
I never really see the point in these types of matches where you have to touch all four corners of the ring consecutively. I mean wrestling is unrealistic at the best of times but trying to convince the audience that it’s difficult to walk around the ring while you’re opponent is on the floor is just stupid. The chain was barely used and without headshots being allowed it just seems a bit pointless even having it. I still love Rusev but they need to stop him blaming Lana and complaining so much when he loses, it’s becoming like Christian and his “One More Match” disaster that went on for months, and although I hate Cena as a wrestler and as a champion I am liking the US Title open challenge every week, especially now it should be a bit less obvious he’s going to win every week.
Although it is slightly reminiscent of John Cena’s start in WWE against Kurt Angle I don’t really know where they’re going with Neville. Every match has been really good to watch but 2 wins against Axel and 3 clean losses against Ziggler, Sheamus, and Rollins and I feel like the next few weeks are going to be the same. His matches are amazing, he’s definitely the quickest and the best high flyer they’ve had since Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal. Unfortunately Bourne’s injuries kept him from reaching his potential with WWE but that’s not a problem Neville has had at all in NXT. The thing we haven’t really seen from Neville since his call up to the main roster is his strength which is almost as impressive as his high flying ability. Having said that he has debuted his 450 Splash off the barricade, something I think we only got to see once or twice on NXT and makes Justin Gabriel look like an amateur only doing it from the top rope. One of the things which might hold him back a bit is that there isn’t anyone at all like him to compare to. Kalisto is probably the closest but I can’t see him in singles competition anytime soon or Neville being in long-term tag team so it’s difficult to compare until they’re in the ring at the same time. Neville is definitely the better amateur wrestler of the two and they have different high-flying styles but I don’t think either one is better or more entertaining than the other. I look forward to seeing Neville every week but at some point I need him to win against a solid mid-carder, someone in the question for a number one contender’s match for the IC or US Title. Also, I don’t really like his cape, his music, or the deduction of his first name, even though I realise his real name is not Adrian, Neville on its own just does not sound right, even with “the man that gravity forgot” preceding it.