by Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big Takeaway: As expected, a newsworthy show to kick off the final quarter of the year. Sting made his return in the main event segment, jumping Seth Rollins to set up the main event for Night of Champions. The Dudley Boyz made a surprising return to set up a feud with the New Day over the tag team titles. Braun Stowman debuted as the newest member of the Wyatt Family. John Cena gave Jon Stewart an AA. And there was a MizTV segment so wretched it killed the Divas Revolution momentum dead. I mean, graveyard dead.
The show opened with HHH talking with Seth Rollins in the lobby of WWE headquarters. HHH showed Rollins the statues of Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior. Surprisingly, the Warrior statue did a more coherent promo than the real thing. HHH told Rollins that tonight, the statue of Rollins would be unveiled.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were out first. Heyman said he was the pissed-off advocate of the ripped-off Beast of the Barclays. Heyman showed the footage of the Undertaker tapping out to Lesnar’s Kimura, then compared the myth that the Undertaker is immortal with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
Heyman said Lesnar didn’t blame the referee (he couldn’t say the name Charles Robinson. More of those Vince McMahon mental gymnastics again) or the timekeeper. He brought up the Undertaker collapsing backstage. When he said he has enough material to fill up an entire 3-hour Raw, the crowd chanted “Yes.”
Heyman said Lesnar wanted to fight the Undertaker one more time, and he didn’t want to wait until the Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. He wanted it tonight.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Bo Dallas came out as the sacrificial lamb, complete with white tights. Dallas told Lesnar that last night, he passed out against the Undertaker. The good news was he woke up after having sweet dreams, like eventually bating the Undertaker. All he had to do was Bo-Lieve.
Four laps around Suplex City for Dallas and Lesnar left. Then Heyman talked Lesnar into one more, which he delivered. Brock left again, then Heyman asked Lesnar for one more for him. Brock finally hit the F-5 as Heyman shouted that Brock Bo-Lieves.
The New Day’s ring entrance included Xavier Woods playing a trombone singing a song to the tune of “New York, New York” entitled “New Day, New Day.” They still have to be heels even though the fans are now chanting “New Day Rocks.” Michael Cole told Titus O’Neal and Darren Young to listen to the fans, who I guess were supposed to be chanting something derogatory to New Day. Instead, they chanted “That was awesome.”
The New Day (C) defeated Lucha Dragons in a nontitle match (6:15)
Big E. pinned Kalisto with the Midnight Hour. As Big E. got the pin, Woods started playing “Taps” on the trombone.
After the pin, the Dudley Boyz came out for a surprise appearance and cleaned house on each member of the New Day. Woods took the Wazzup. Cole tried to pretend it was the first time the Dudleys had done Wazzup in 10 years. Then they did the 3-D on Woods through a table. Huge reaction for the Dudleys, who then started jawing with the Prime Time Players.
Jon Stewart is set to explain his actions in last night’s Rollins-Cena match tonight.
Cena was honored in a very nice piece granting his 500th Wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was profiled on ESPN, CBS News, and the Today Show he co-hosted. The young man who was honored was shown at ringside.
HHH and Stephanie McMahon caught a glimpse of the Rollins statue. It showed him adorned with both belts. He looked like a taller Daniel Bryan statue with a thinner beard. Rollins walked in before he could see the statue and talked about how much respect those around WWE headquarters have for the authority, feeling the company is better off with them in it. Stephanie said they feel the same about Rollins. He left as they got ready for the ceremony later tonight.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper by DQ (10:37)
Roman Reigns had Bray Wyatt pinned after a Superman Punch when the Wyatt’s segue caused the lights to go on. When they came back on, a man under a black goat’s mask with a huge upper body was on the apron. The man took off the mask. He was never identified, but it was Braun Stowman, who was put over as the latest monster heel. Reigns and Ambrose kicked and punched him, but Stowman no-sold everything. He gave both Reigns and Ambrose Samuel Shaw’s old head-and-arm choke finisher. I hope his character goes a lot better than that one. Stowman posed with Bray and Luke as the Wyatt Family is a trio again.
MizTV welcomed Paige, Charlotte and Becky as guests. Charlotte said the Four Horseman were the greatest faction in WWE history. Crowd sounded confused over that one. Miz and Charlotte traded barbs about Ric Flair.
Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch had some lame attempts at comedy before Team Bella came out. This was just awful. Nikki said it didn’t matter who won or lost the SummerSlam match because she was 15 days away from becoming the longest reigning Divas champion of all time. Nikki has spent too much time copying the bad aspects of her boyfriend’s interviews. As Brie Bella and Alicia Fox spoke, crowd chanted for Lana.
When Miz scolded the Divas that when his hand goes up, their mouths go shut, the fans actually popped. Miz scolded Team PCB for wrestling like a bunch of girls. That led to PCB ganging up on Miz. But Team Bella jumped Team PCB. JBL said they were about to have a trios match. Didn’t Nikki just say last night’s match didn’t matter? So wouldn’t I be crazy to care about this one? All I know is Vince Verhei is likely gearing up for a walk right now.
Team Bella defeated Team PCB (14:06)
An unmitigated disaster. Fox pinned Paige after an Ax kick following a cheap shot from Nikki. Crowd was totally dead, then started giving the match the Randy Orton-Sheamus treatment from 2 years ago. They did the wave. They chanted “We are awesome.” It went two long segments. Even worse, Charlotte appeared to be injured as she couldn’t stand up near the end. All the momentum from the NXT debut from five weeks ago is long gone.
Just as strange, Stardust and King Barrett were supposed to team together. For some reason, Stardust turned on Barrett, giving him the Queen’s Crossbow. Neville came down and cleaned house on Stardust, teasing the Red Arrow. But Stardust escaped. No crowd heat at all as the Divas’ segment will be the death of this show until some main eventers show up.
Stewart, complete with Stewart Section signs and “Thank you, Stewart” chants, came out. He’s growing a heel beard now, but he got a babyface reaction for turning on Cena. He said he helped Rollins because he didn’t want Cena to tie Flair’s record of 16 World Championships. This brought out Flair. Stewart did portions of the Jackie Fargo strut as Flair came down.
Flair told Stewart that he had messed up everything. Then Cena came out. Cena chastised Stewart for costing him the U.S. title. Stewart tried to talk him into fighting Rollins again for the U.S. title. Cena said that was for another night, but tonight he was going to have to do what he had to do. So he gave Stewart an AA. $5 will get you $10 that spot gets on Fox News tomorrow. Stewart never broke character here and was helped up to a round of applause.
Renee Young talked with Cena, who said he felt what he did was right. Cena said he would talk to Rollins later tonight.
Randy Orton, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler and Ryback defeated Kevin Owens, Sheamus, The Big Show and Rusev (17:52)
Randy Orton pinned Sheamus with the RKO after the Big Show accidentally hit Sheamus with the Knockout punch. Among the highlights were Kevin Owens and Ryback engaging in a punching exchange like they were Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama. Lana came out in a bleached jean skirt. I could have sworn she walked straight off the set of a Whitesnake video. In the same vein, the new, skinnier Dolph Ziggler is wearing long sequined pants with black gloves. If the territories were still around, he’d be billing himself as a cousin of Shawn Michaels.
Postmatch, Owens and Rusev got mad at Big Show for costing their team the match, so they attacked him. Owens gave Show the Cannonball. The face team got back in the ring after Big Show got up. You would think this would lead to Show’s latest face turn. Instead, Ziggler gave him a superkick, while Cesaro and Ryback picked Show up so Orton could give him an RKO. Maybe Show really is retiring.
Wyatt did an interview saying the latest member of the Wyatt Clan was indeed named Braun Stowman.
Stephanie and HHH confronted Cena about slamming Stewart, a man he outweighed by 100 pounds. Cena said he was about to take a step up in weight class when he confronts Rollins tonight. Stephanie said he wouldn’t get the chance, and two security guards escorted Cena out of the building. Stephanie gave him the “You can’t see me” signal. So Stephanie was a heel tonight. Vegas should keep odds on this weekly.
HHH and Stephanie came out. Stephanie wished her father a Happy 70th Birthday and they actually led the crowd in singing “Happy birthday to you.” Stephanie appeared a little choked up. Crowd wanted Vince to come out, and HHH joked that he’s really pissed off right now.
HHH did a long speech about how Rollins is a winner who can outwork and overachieve his way to success. Rollins came out as the first man to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and U.S. Championship at the same time.
Rollins said he was joining the Mt. Rushmore of the WWE. Still funny to think of the Warrior on the Rushmore. Rollins said he became a legend last night after defeating Cena, and with the unveiling of the statue, he become immortal. Rollins said Cena has reached the heights he’s reached by working every day of his life for the past ten years, but to be the man you have to be the man. Rollins proclaimed himself the man.
When the time came to unveil the statue, underneath the curtain was Sting. HHH and Stephanie took off, while Sting sent Rollins packing after three punches. Sting closed the show by posing with the WWE Heavyweight belt. The crowd was probably tired, but the reaction to Sting was noticeably less than that of the Dudleys.
SUMMARY: The return of Sting would have meant a lot more if he had defeated HHH at WrestleMania. Now, it’s hard to really care because we’ve seen repeated examples of the WWE creative team not knowing how to use a talent cultivated in another company. In fact, Sting fell victim to it earlier this year.
This show had a great first hour. The announcers played the Dudleys return like it was a huge deal and Stowman like the next monster.
However, the WWE has an ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and they’ve certainly done that with the Divas Revolution. Tonight’s MizTV segment will go down as one of the year’s worst, one that threatens to push the entire division back into also-ran category. Contrast that to the Bailey-Sasha Banks match from just 48 hours ago–in the same building, from the same company–speaks volumes about WWE creative and its inability to create new stars, much less create revolutions.