Scottrade Center – St. Louis, MO – Sunday, May 19, 2013
KICKOFF MATCH: The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Tony Dawson and Josh Mathews are on commentary. They start with some chain wrestling and Miz scores an early flapjack. Miz gets an O’Connor Roll for two. He follows with a backslide for another two-count. Miz continues to outmaneuver his mustachioed rival until he runs into a Stun Gun. Rhodes delivers the Rope-hung kick to the gut for two. He keeps up the pressure, wearing Miz down and keeping him on the mat. Miz tries to fight up but Rhodes knocks him right back down. Finally Miz is able to put together a string of moves and he gets the crowd behind him. A series of reversals ends with Miz catching Rhodes coming off the second rope and cinching on the Figure-Four Leglock for the tapout win at 4:45. That was a fine preshow match, as it got the crowd going and gave the babyface a nice win.
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Chris Jericho vs. Fandango (w/ Summer Rae)
Rematches are EXTREME! They start off with some basic back and forth stuff, and Jericho looks motivated due to losing to the debuting Fandango back at WrestleMania 29. Jericho dominates, throwing Fandango around both in and out of the ring. Fandango catches Jericho coming back in the ring and puts the boots to him. He wears Jericho down with a variety of offense, including a slingshot legdrop for two. Jericho fights back with a belly-to-back suplex. He fires up now and gets the crowd behind him, hitting the bulldog. Jericho tries the Walls of Jericho but Fandango avoids it. Fandango rolls through on a high cross body block attempt and gets a near-fall. He follows with a Mafia Kick for another two-count. Fandango keeps Jericho down and goes up top for the guillotine legdrop but Jericho avoids it. Jericho hits a Lionsault but it only gets two! A series of reversals ends with Jericho locking on the Walls of Jericho. Fandango reaches the ropes. He then lands a solid enziguiri to knock Jericho down. Fandango goes up top and leaps right into a Codebreaker! That’s enough for Jericho to get the pin at 8:35. So Fandango’s win at WrestleMania means just about nothing now, but it was a still a solid match. Jericho did his best to help Fandango get over, and it worked. For a short time.
MATCH #2: United States Championship Match – Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose
Kofi has been the Champion since 4.15.13, and this is his second defense. They start with chain wrestling, and it’s important to note that Ambrose is riding solo tonight without the backup of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Momentum shifts back and forth but Kofi strikes first with a monkey flip and then his mounted punches in the corner. Ambrose catches him with a boot to the face and a hard clothesline. Cole calls this a “traditional match.” Traditional matches are EXTREME! Ambrose keeps Kofi grounded and works him over. He even uses the Cross Face Chicken Wing and locks on a body scissors! Kofi escapes and goes on the attack, flying all over the ring. He hits the Boom Drop and signals for Trouble in Paradise but Ambrose avoids it. A series of reversals ends with Kofi hitting the S.O.S. for a near-fall. Kofi goes up top and Ambrose knocks him down. Ambrose goes up and hits a nice butterfly superplex for a two-count. Kofi fights back with a springboard cross body block for two. He sends Ambrose to the apron and hits Trouble in Paradise. Ambrose falls to the floor, and he is out. Kofi has to go outside to retrieve Ambrose. Back in the ring Kofi only gets two. Kofi tries another Trouble in Paradise but misses and gets caught in the ropes. Ambrose hits the Headlock Driver and gets the pin to a huge pop at 6:48. Well they easily could have gone twice as long as that, but this was really good for less than seven minutes. Their styles meshed together surprisingly well, and both men worked a fast pace that kept the crowd happy.
MATCH #3: Strap Match – Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
The turnbuckles are equipped with lights on top so we can keep track of who has touched which turnbuckles. Amazingly, JBL does not immediately call the match “monkey butt ugly,” so I’m not really sure what to think right now. Sheamus takes the first advantage and touches one corner, but Henry quickly cuts him off. Henry ties Sheamus up a bit and drags him around to touch the corners. Sheamus grabs on to the bottom rope to halt Henry’s progress. Henry clotheslines Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus gets to the apron and snaps Henry’s neck on the top rope. Sheamus goes around the turnbuckles on the outside and touches three of them before Henry clobbers him back to the floor. Henry works Sheamus over, and then puts Sheamus on his shoulder to walk around touching turnbuckles. Sheamus touches the buckles behind Henry, and when Henry realizes it he stops the progress for both men. The strap finally becomes a prominent weapon, as Sheamus lays into Henry with it. Sheamus touches three buckles again but Henry cuts him off. They take it to the floor and Sheamus ties Henry up in the ring post. Sheamus pulls Henry hard into the post and then they head back in. Once again Sheamus touches three buckles, and Henry catches him on his way to the fourth. Henry goes for the World’s Strongest Slam but Sheamus slips out and hits a Brogue Kick! Sheamus touches the last buckle to get the win at 7:57. That was an okay power match that they wisely kept short. I’m not sure how the final spot didn’t result in a stoppage, but it’s wrestling, so okay.
MATCH #4: Number One Contender’s “I Quit” Match – Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter)
This was supposed to be Dolph Ziggler defending the title in a Triple Threat match, but the Champ is out with a concussion so we get this instead. Both Del Rio and Swagger have established submission holds, so it’s a good choice for the match gimmick. Colter cuts a tremendous pre-match promo to really get the crowd riled up. JBL gets all political on commentary but Lawler reels him in.
Del Rio starts off hot, clotheslining Swagger to the floor and wiping him out with a suicide dive. He tries a shot with a kendo stick but Swagger avoids it and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. They continue to trade control back and forth, both men taking it to each other with ferocity. They make it back to the ring and Swagger wears Del Rio out with the kendo stick. Swagger starts attacking the knee and ankle, which sets up for his Patriot Lock finisher. Finally Del Rio blocks the stick but pops up right into a clothesline. Swagger ties Del Rio up in the ropes and repeatedly cracks him across the chest with the stick. Del Rio will not quit though, and he grabs Swagger in an armbar while tied up in the ropes! Swagger takes the microphone from the referee and bops Del Rio in the face with it to break the hold. He grabs a chair but takes too long and Del Rio is able to catch him with an enziguiri. Del Rio tries to capitalize but Swagger kicks his leg out of his leg. Seconds later Del Rio is able to put together a flurry, including a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and the superkick, in both cases using the non-injured leg. That’s great. Del Rio goes back to the kendo stick and uses it to hit a nasty backstabber. He tries the Cross Armbreaker but Swagger avoids it and hits a powerslam. Swagger hits a Swager Bomb to the back and then a Gutwrench Powerbomb. Del Rio still refuses to quit. Swagger hits another Gutwrench Powerbomb but the answer from Del Rio is still No. The frustrated Swagger gets locked in the Cross Armbreaker, but he’s able to reverse it into the Patriot Lock. The sneaky Colter is able to make the referee thing that Rodriguez threw in the towel, and thus Swagger gets the victory at 10:30.
Another referee comes out to explain to the first one what happened, and the first ref asks for an instant replay. The referee decides that if Del Rio is able to continue, the match will restart. Del Rio gets back to his feet and Swagger goes right after his injured leg. The resilient Del Rio is able to go after the arm and he cinches in the Cross Armbreaker. Swagger almost counters out but Del Rio adds a leg scissors and Swagger clearly says “I Quit” to get the win at 0:48 (11:18 total match time). That was actually really good and intense, but the finish was so needlessly overdone. In general, according to WWE rules, a referee can’t call what he can’t see, referee’s decisions are final, and they do not use instant replay. So why did all of these things happen just so that Swagger could say I Quit in the end. Without the re-start kerfuffle I would have ranked this higher. I maintain that Alberto Del Rio was an underrated babyface.
MATCH #5: Tag Team Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship – Team Hell No vs. The Shield’s Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins
Kane and Daniel Bryan have been the Champions since 9.16.12, and this is their eighth defense. I expect the action to be fast and furious in this one. Rollins and Bryan pair off, while Kane battles Reigns. Kane hits a DDT on Reigns, giving the Champions the first opportunity to double-team. Bryan puts Rollins in the surfboard and Kane adds a low dropkick for a one-count. The Shield comes back as things stay chaotic. Reigns tries to powerbomb Bryan from the top rope but Bryan counters with a rana. Kane grabs both Rollins and Reigns by the throat and forces them to the floor. Bryan follows them out with a suicide dive to take them both out. Back in the ring the Champions continue to dominate. They take Reigns out with a double-team. Kane hits Rollins with a flying clothesline from the top rope and Bryan follows with the diving headbutt for a two-count. Bryan is able to trap Reigns in the No! Lock while Kane unsuccessfully tries to keep Rollins at bay. Kane flattens Rollins with a Chokeslam, and then Reigns drills Kane with a Spear. Reigns shoves Kane into Bryan to take him out. Rollins catches Kane with a knee from the top rope, and Reigns follows with a Spear. Bryan breaks up the cover. Bryan takes it to Reigns and tries the No! Lock but he can’t cinch it in. Reigns puts Bryan on his shoulders and Rollins flies off the top rope with a knee drop to get the pin and make it a clean Shield sweep at 7:23. The action obviously never stopped, but even so the match felt a little on the short side. But they did pack a ton of stuff in and the Shield came out looking great, so mission accomplished.
MATCH #6: Extreme Rules Match – Randy Orton vs. Big Show
They immediately start slugging at each other, with Orton looking especially motivated in front of his home town crowd. Show isn’t impressed with that though, and he quickly takes Orton off his feet and knocks him to the floor. Orton gets control of a kendo stick and uses it as a weapon, but Show retaliates with a right hand and a headbutt. Show then breaks the kendo stick because he’s strong and stuff. Orton finds another kendo stick under the ring but Show breaks this one too. Everything Orton tries Show has an answer for, even when he tries to use a ladder. They head back to the ring and Show is dominating. Finally Orton is able to put a few strikes together and he takes Show off his feet with a dropkick. Orton delivers mounted punches in the corner and Show shoves him down to the mat to reclaim control. Show brings a ladder and a few chairs into the ring. He sets up the ladder between the two chairs and lays Orton across. Show goes for a Vader Bomb but Orton moves out of the way! That’s a cool spot. Orton capitalizes with a Rope-hung DDT. He then hits the RKO and Show kicks out at two! They head out to the floor and Orton finds a chair to abuse Show with. Back in the ring Orton continues the chair abuse until Show cuts him off with a Spear. Both men are down. They struggle back to their feet and Orton catches Show with an RKO right onto the chair! Orton then drills Show with the Punt to get the pin at 13:01. That was much better than I was expecting it to be, with a simple story and cool spots. The hometown crowd reactions certainly helped too, but they built the match well anyway. Fun stuff.
MATCH #7: Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena vs. Ryback
Cena has been the Champion since 4.7.13, and this is his first defense. The Champ is coming into this match with a bad Achilles tendon, which gives Ryback a bit of an edge. Ryback strikes early and is able to counter all of Cena’s attacks. He catches Cena coming off the second rope with a powerslam. The challenger is looking dominant in the opening minutes. Ryback press slams Cena with ease and then hits a powerbomb. He waits for Cena to get back to his feet and charges, but Cena pulls the top rope down and Ryback crashes to the floor. Cena goes out and brings a table in the ring, but he’s not able to capitalize. Ryback is able to hit a backpack stunner, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in WWE use before. Cena tries to fire up but Ryback catches him with a fallaway slam right through the table! Ryback charges at Cena but misses and his shoulder makes contact with the ring post. Cena hits the Protoplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Ryback slips out and hits a vicious spear. Ryback goes for another powerbomb but this time Cena slips out and hits one of his own! Back on their feet Cena charges in with what I can best describe as a jumping hug, which Ryback slams his way out of. Ryback hits the Meat Hook and Cena looks worse for wear. Cena gets back to his feet and ducks another Meat Hook, and then puts on the STF! Ryback is out and Cena goes to the floor to bring in another table. Ryback is able to make it back to his feet and he simply slams Cena down on his face. That looked awesome. Ryback goes for the Shell Shocked but Cena counters and hits an Attitude Adjustment through the table! Both men are down. Back on their feet Cena goes up top and Ryback pulls him down with the Shell Shocked. Cena barely gets back to his feet at the count of nine. Ryback goes out and grabs a steel chair but before he can use it Cena spears him through the barricade! They make it back to their feet and battle through the arena. Ryback rips apart a retaining wall and blasts Cena with it. Cena makes it back to his feet and puts on a sleeper hold. Ryback gets up and Cena puts him on a table, and then puts him through it with an elbow drop. Ryback gets to his feet and Cena sprays him with a fire extinguisher. Cena then hits Ryback in the face with the extinguisher, twice. Shockingly, Ryback gets to his feet. Cena goes for the AA again but Ryback slips out. Ryback picks Cena up and runs him thrugh a piece of the Extreme Rules set! Referee Charles Robinson runs backstage, where officials and medical crews are assisting both men. No bell rang, but the match is clearly a no-contest just shy of 23 minutes. I actually enjoyed that match, even if they could have cut a few minutes out. It was a solid heavyweight bout with two powerhouses throwing everything they had at each other. I’m a little tired of Last Man Standing matches ending with a draw like that, but at least they did a pretty big spot to get there.
MATCH #8: Steel Cage Match – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Triple H surprises Lesnar by attacking him during his entrance, and that gives “The Game” the upper hand. They head into the cage and HHH is in control, throwing Lesnar around the cage and hitting a spinebuster. Lesnar fights back and repeatedly slams HHH’s head into the cage. Momentum continues to shift back and forth between the two bitter rivals. Lesnar misses a charge into the cage and hits his knee, and he aggrevates the injury when he delivers a powerslam. HHH goes after the knee and hits the facebuster. Lesnar comes back and targets the arm he has broken twice previously. HHH goes back to the knee and tries to escape the cage, but Heyman slams the door in his face. Lesnar hits the F-5 but HHH kicks out! Heyman gives Lesnar a chair, which the Beast uses expertly. Lesnar tries another F-5 but his injured knee prevents him from completing the maneuver. HHH attacks the knee and then grabs the chair to do more damage. He wears the knee down and puts on a Figure-Four Leglock. Lesnar is able to escape and he tries climbing out over the top. HHH stops that with a chair shot. Lesnar is screaming in agony and HHH knocks him back to the mat. A confident HHH pulls out a sledgehammer from the top of the cage, but Lesnar stops him before he can use it. Lesnar tries to use HHH’s favorite weapon, but HHH counters with a Sharpshooter! I don’t think I’ve seen HHH use that before. Lesnar grabs the sledgehammer as Heyman gets in the ring. HHH hits Heyman with the Pedigree, and then hits Lesnar with one as well. Lesnar kicks out! Once again HHH picks up the sledgehammer but Heyman surprises him with a low blow. Lesnar cracks HHH in the jaw with the sledgehammer and then picks HHH up to deliver an F-5. That’s enough for Lesnar to get the pin at 20:08. That was a little plodding and had too much Heyman involvement. Triple H shouldn’t need that much protection to job to a guy of Lesnar’s caliber. It all just came off somewhat flat.