So, let’s see how well this picture has stood up to the test of time…
Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs. The Usos (Preshow)
Usos won, match was good, why did you give this away for free again, Vince?
The “Spongebob and Patrick” jibe might haunt Bryan and Rowan, it’s a bit too apt to overlook.
Natalya vs. Dana Brooke vs. Naomi vs. Bayley vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Cross (Women’s Money In the Bank Match)
The big news from this match: Naomi has dived in the Lake of Reincarnation and emerged as an awesome bee.
Beyond that, this is a match where I felt like more or less everyone proved that they had a right to be there, with everyone keeping the match going at a brisk pace and the spots coming hard and fast, which is what you want from a match like this.
As for the result – I could have sworn I heard boos amid the otherwise quite muted reception for Bayley when she came in, but the pop when she won seemed sincere – I popped too, and it feels like a really redemptive moment for her after so long being the runt of the litter of the Four Horsewomen. On top of that, her post-match promo did a lot to exorcise the ghosts of awkward promos past. Could we finally be getting a main roster take on Bayley that measures up to the NXT incarnation?
Samoa Joe (C) vs. Rey Mysterio (Men’s United States Championship)
Another quick one – I guess the idea is to get them to trade one of these each before the final blowoff of the feud – and an unexpected win for Rey. Joe getting a nosebleed just made the after-match angle all the spicier. I wonder if we’ll see a youthful man-mountain of a masked avenger coming after Joe in the immediate future? If not, I’ll be disappointed in Dominick: witnessing a parental figure being murdered in front of you is the cue to become Batman, anyone who passes on being Batman needs questioning.
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match)
CM Punk chants are usually tedious, but when Shane’s been leaning on the Best In the World mantra as heavily as he has, I’d say it’s called for. Particularly when it’s followed by a win as cheesy as this one. I guess the feud continues.
Tony Nese (C) vs. Ariya Daivari (Men’s Cruiserweight Championship)
This is decidedly too prominent a place on the card for this match. Seriously, which match should people have had to pay money to see: this one, or Bryan & Rowan vs. the Usos?
I don’t mean in the sense of the in-ring abilities of either competitor – just in terms of the star power. With the 205 Live division bereft of most of its draws – Drew Gulak being a puzzling exception – this feels like a guy who was champion solely because it was his turn facing a challenger who gets to be challenger solely because it’s his turn. Compare to, say, Alexander vs. Murphy, or Ali vs. Gulak, or any number of combinations which would have merited a main card spot better than this one.
That might explain why there was a “Boring!” chant partway through this match, a chant which stood out particularly since the crowd were otherwise kind of quiet. It’s a shame, but as someone I was chatting to during the evening pointed out, if you don’t watch 205 Live this is just a match between two guys.
Becky Lynch (C) vs. Lacey Evans (RAW Women’s Championship)
Lacey Evans’ astonishing entrance and decent performance in this match gives me high hopes for her future, but let’s face it – doing it this way was the right call, and it was the right call to maximise the tension by leading directly into…
Becky Lynch (C) vs. Charlotte (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
The brand split lives a little longer – and if Charlotte had to pick up the win, it’s a nice bonus that it was with some help from Lacey, so that Becky’s got an immediate feud to concentrate on for RAW purposes… and Bayley and Charlotte can go at it on Smackdown.
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
So Jeff Jarrett’s taken on a backstage role at WWE, and I guess we saw his influence here in the sense that there’s never a bad time for a guitar shot. Ambush, heel song, Roman run-in and a squash – that I can live with, this was a good way to get this bit of business out of the way quickly and entertainingly.
Seth Rollins (C) vs. AJ Styles (Men’s Universal Championship)
Given that this is a dream match by any sensible measure, why don’t I care about it more? It’s a mystery. At this point I went upstairs and watched the rest from my bedside screen, caring little whether I dozed off. And doze off I did.
Kofi Kingston (C) vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Men’s Championship)
Apparently Kofi won this one? Good.
Sami Zayn vs. Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin vs. Ali vs. Finn Balor vs. Andrade vs. Randy Orton (Men’s Money In the Bank Match)
Hey, you know how I said in my predictions post that establishing the idea of a non-entrant being able to win Money In the Bank would be exactly the sort of stupid thing that WWE Creative is stupid enough to do?
Yeah. Welcome back, Brock. I guess this is the setup for his Saudi Arabia match or something.