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WWE Live Event
New York, New York at Madison Square Garden
Report by Dot Net reader Bill Dempsey
The place was about 90 percent full. They were showing Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle on the jumbotron before the show started.
The show opened with Shane McMahon coming out, talking about it being an emotional return to MSG for him after eight years away. He introduced two of his kids in the front row and just did some general hype work for the show. AJ Styles interrupted and said he had cleared every hurdle to main event WrestleMania and they took it away from him. Shane said he coughed up his chance on Smackdown Live but gave him a chance at redemption tonight and introduced a surprise opponent for AJ – Randy Orton.
1. Randy Orton beat AJ Styles. Orton won with an RKO counter to the Phenomenal Forearm. Fun match, a lot like their SD match last week. Orton kept going for the RKO outta nowhere the entire match and AJ worked the knee a bunch. Instead of countering the forearm in mid air, Orton caught AJ while he was on the top rope, held him there for a second, then ran into an RKO. Kinda weird. Good match.
2. Heath Slater, Rhyno, and Kalisto beat Breezango and Curt Hawkins. Slater was very over. Rhyno got a big chant during the match as well. Breezango is a lot of fun live. There was a finisher run at the end with everyone hitting everything and Breeze walking into the gore for the win. Short and sweet.
3. Dolph Ziggler beat Apollo Crews. Ziggler won with a Zig Zag. Both guys hit all their stuff. You’ve seen this match a hundred times.
4. Dean Ambrose beat The Miz, Baron Corbin and Luke Harper in a Fatal Four-Way to retain the Intercontinental Title. The match was kind of a mess, but Harper was a blast to see live. Miz was good too, but there was no real flow to this for most of the match, though it picked up a bit towards the end. I still think a Corbin/Ambrose WM match has potential.
5. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) beat Kevin Owens. Owens was great here, attacking Brock while he was trying to take off his t-shirt. Owens knocked him back into the corner and hit the cannonball and a swanton bomb. Then Brock woke up, hit three Germans and an F-5 and that was the whole match. The atmosphere was great, but as much as it makes sense in retrospect, I was really hoping for something more from this. The crowd chanted for Goldberg at the end.
7. Nikki Bella, Tamina, Becky Lynch, and Asuka beat Alexa Bliss, Natalia, Carmella, and Mickie James. The crowd was lit for Asuka. They chanted for her the whole match. She finally got the hot tag at the end, cleared the ring of all the heels, and tapped Carmella with the Asuka Lock. She looked ready for prime time and got a suitable reaction.
8. American Alpha beat The Usos to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Good house show match. AA still isn’t that over. The Usos weirdly are. Not weird because they are doing good work, just weird that they seem to be getting pops as heels, especially at the expense of the most white meat team on either roster. AA won with a top rope Steiner bulldog. Lots of kicks from the Usos prior to that.
9. Bray Wyatt beat John Cena to retain the WWE Championship. Both guys were over and the crowd was hot for most of the match. Bray took a voluntary count out when he couldn’t pin Cena after Sister Abigail, but Shane came back out and restarted the match with no count outs and no DQ. Bray went to work on Cena with a chair. They left the ring and Cena suplexed Bray on the ramp then got a guardrail and set that against the ring. Bray suplexed Cena on the guardrail, then rammed him into a chair, then put him through a table and still couldn’t get the pin. Cena popped up, took a shot in the nuts, and Bray pinned him. After the match Wyatt set up another table, but got AA’d though it to send the crowd home happy. Or mad, I guess, depending on your feelings for Cena.