Location: Raleigh, North CarolinaAnnouncers: Michael Cole, Booker T, Jerry Lawler
WWE Tag Team Title Match
Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger vs (C)R-Truth/Kofi Kingston
For starters, let me just say that this Raleigh crowd was 100x better than the Greensboro crowd at Raw just two weeks ago. A great crowd can enhance a great show or even carry a poor one. Props to Raleigh for bringing the noise last night and bringing some respect back to North Carolina.
Great opening choice for the ppv. These men treated us to a ppv quality tag team match that helped remind us that the titles actually meant something once upon a time. I am hoping R-Truth and Kofi Kingston find some fresh blood to have matches with, allowing Ziggler to flourish on his own. He is too talented to be stuck in the tag team scene or managed by Abraham Washington.
WWE Divas Title Match
Beth Phoenix vs (C)Layla
Brief “We Want Kharma” chants to start the match. I would love to see a Beth Phoenix/Kharma feud heading into No Way Out or Summerslam. However, right now, we were treated to a very good women’s title match.
|Yeah, I guess I"m okay with her staying on TV|
World Heavyweight Title Match:
Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. (C)Sheamus
Pre-PPV, I assumed Sheamus would retain, but there were several points in the match when it looked like Del Rio or Jericho would steal a victory with a well timed submission hold. The unpredictability and frantic finish really helped take this match to the next level. Sheamus won, and at this point he should have. This was a very good match and each guy came off looking strong. Couple of interesting notes to the match though:
Sheamus as Champ: He is still a relatively new World Champion and he deserves more time with the belt. However, management has to be somewhat concerned with the reaction he is receiving. Despite being pushed as a heavy face, Sheamus has been receiving a mixed reaction with most crowds. This can be hidden by editing over on the taped Smackdown, but live ppv crowds expose the facade.
Jericho lost his 5th consecutive PPV in a row and it looks like he will be taking some time off soon to tour overseas with his band Fozzy. Hopefully he returns to wrestling when the tour is over. Chris Jericho is still a huge name, great wrestler, and he immediately adds legitimacy to any feud he is in. Jericho’s absence leaves Sheamus to continue to feud primarily with Randy Orton. I could see either Orton/Sheamus at No Way Out or a triple threat match between those two and Del Rio.
The Miz vs. Brodus Clay
The best part of this match was Bodus Clay’s new ring attire: the back of his singlet featured the evil mask from Super Mario Brothers 2 that chased you whenever you picked up a key. Go on, tell me I'm wrong.
The Miz's de-push continues, as he loses a semi-squash, very typical "Brodus Clay" match. Maybe next time he’ll catch R-Truth instead of letting him fall after a top rope dive.
This match, as well as the Ryback “match” later on were not even advertised for the show. The WWE would be better served eliminating these filler matches, seeing as the bouts with real earning potential don't even get enough time as is.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Christian vs. (C)Cody Rhodes
After winning a “People Power” battle rumble on the pre-show, Christian was given the choice between challenging Cody Rhodes or Santino Marella for their respective championships (I have to say that I absolutely love the white Intercontinental Championship belt. Now if only they’ll replace that stupid spinner belt with the WWF Championship belt). He takes out Cody after a short, solid little match.
I like both of these guys, but it was nice to see the WWE give Christian another title run. Hopefully this frees up Cody to become involved with the main event scene over on Smackdown. I think he’s ready for it.
WWE Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. (C)CM Punk
If there was ever a match destined to be called by Joey Styles, it was this one. The crowd was on fire for this match. And unlike when John Cena comes out to a “mixed reaction” or Hogan/Rock at WM 18, the crowd was truly split between these two men. The dueling “CM Punk/Daniel Bryan” chants added a level of electricity to this match.
Watching this match instantly brought back memories of RVD vs Jerry Lynn at ECW Living Dangerously 1999. The chemistry that both those men and Punk/Bryan have is unparalleled.
Slightly controversial ending with Punk reversing the Yes Lock into a pin, but with the hold still applied. Immediately after the three count, CM Punk tapped out from the pain. Hopefully this continues the feud and we get another Punk/Daniels PPV matchup. Is it too much to hope for an Iron Man match?
Joey Styles @JoeyStyles
OH MY GOD! @CMPunk & @WWEDanielBryan had one of the greatest WRESTLING matches I have ever had the pleasure of watching. #WeGotWrestling
Camacho vs. Ryback
No ppv is complete without the obligatory Ryback squash match. In all seriousness, what more can they do with this guy? What is his ceiling? If it were ten years ago I’d say give him the Hardcore Title and let him just run through the likes of Hardcore Holly, Steve Blackman, Perry Saturn and Stevie Richards till his heart is content. Today, I can only watch him defeat Tyler Reks, Heath Slater and local jobbers so many times. Regardless, Ryback is undefeated and serenaded with Goldberg chants from smark crowds. I don’t see any other conclusion other than having Kevin Nash end the streak with an assist from a taser carrying Scott Hall.
TWEET ALERT WWE Creative @WWE_Creative
People were clamoring for Camacho vs. @Ryback22 instead of more time for @CMPunk / @WWEDanielBryan #DUIPPV
John Laurinaitis vs. John Cena
The crowd’s “This is awful” chant did a better job describing what took place than I could with 10,000 words. This match was as bad as the WWE title match was good. Just like the entire world predicted, Big Show interfered and cost John Cena the match up. He did this presumably to win his job back. We can now look forward to Big Show vs John Cena headlining No Way Out. Joy.
I’m not going to deride the predictable Big Show swerve. In fact I’m going to applaud Vince McMahon for not re-writing his show even after everyone knew the ending to his main event last Monday night around 11:07 pm. Vince once completely rewrote the script for WrestleMania 10 after Lex Luger got drunk in an NYC bar the night before the event and told everyone he was going to become champion. However, I cannot forgive the “wrestling” match that passed our main event. John Cena needs to get on the mic and publicly apologize for trying stealing The Rock’s shtick. Using the ring bell, grabbing a headset and getting on the the mic mid-match have all been done before, and with much more flair. I swear I thought Cena was going to grab the video camera as his next attempt to be original or entertaining. John Cena comedy hour mixed in with garbage spots is not my idea of a main event caliber match.
TWEET ALERT: In reference to the Cena/Laurinaitis match
Mick Foley @realMickFoley
Just a shame @CMPunk & @WWEDanielBryan only got to enjoy their MOTY status for less than an hour.
TWEET ALERT: David Shoemaker @AKATheMaskedMan
Love that the dad of the Cena Fan Family is more surprised than his kids.
Aside from the abortion that was called a main event, this was a pretty solid show. Punk/Bryan delivered even with insanely high expectations. The four way World Heavyweight match was excellent. The Divas championship match was the best women’s title match I’ve seen since Trish Stratus/Mickie James at WM 22. Captain Charisma returned and won the Intercontinental Title. The Raleigh crowd was hot all night, appreciating quality wrestling while simultaneously crapping all over the main event. Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk is a must watch for any wrestling fan.
Grade: B solid event that was worth purchasing if only for the WWE title match.
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