Izod Center – East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, May 4, 2014
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
El Torito (w/ Diego & Fernando) defeats Hornswoggle (w/ Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) at 10:35 in a WeeLC Match. They’re going all out with this one, with a little person commentary team, ring announcer, and referee. The shenanigans begin right away, and Torito is at least a step ahead of the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Torito is the first one to introduce plunder, as he finds a miniature chair to bring into the ring. Mahal tries to interfere but Torito is able to hinder Jinder straightaway. Hornswoggle takes advantage off of that and Slater gives him a small stepladder, but Hornswoggle misses a splash from the top. After a commercial break everyone is involved in a brawl on the floor, with the 3MB in control. Hornswoggle clears off the mini announce table and puts Torito through it with a splash off the apron. Los Matadores and 3MB continue to help their charges as much as they can, and it results in a lot of tables being broken. In the end Torito hits Hornswoggle with a seated senton through a table to get the pin. That was absurd in every possible regard, and a great deal of fun.
Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman defeats Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) and Rob Van Dam in a Triple Threat Elimination Match at 12:34. This one has no tags and is every man for himself. As you would imagine the action starts off hot, with all three men looking to score the first elimination. Cesaro uses an early Cesaro Swing on Swagger, but RVD breaks that up. Having Heyman and Colter at ringside is a bit of an unusual dynamic since WWE has been so light on managers for so long. I like it though. Cesaro is able to hit the deadlift superplex, and RVD follows with an immediate Five-Star Frog Splash to eliminate Swagger at 6:26. Cesaro and RVD have a good back and forth exchange, and when RVD tries to use a trash can to augment the Five-Star Frog Splash, it backfires on him. Cesaro then hits The Neutralizer on the trash can to get the pin. This was a good choice for an opener, with a fast pace and plenty of action. It’s also exactly the role RVD should’ve been filling at this time, so everything just clicked here.
Alexander Rusev (w/ Lana) defeats R-Truth & Xavier Woods in a Two on One Handicap match at 2:43. Rusev attacks and takes Woods out before the bell can even ring. He beats Truth up for a short while and then puts him away with The Accolade. That did a good job making Rusev look like a beast, which is exactly what should’ve happened.
Bad News Barrett defeats Intercontinental Champion Big E at 7:56 to win the title. Big E has been the Champion since 11.18.13, and this is his sixth defense. Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and Rob Van Dam in a tournament to earn this title shot. He’s already a three-time Champion at this point. Both of these men are big bruisers, and their styles mesh together pretty well both in and out of the ring. In the end, Barrett is able to catch Big E with the Bull Hammer to win the Intercontinental Title for the fourth time. This wasn’t much different than a match they would have on TV, but it was okay enough for the time they got.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeat Evolution (Batista, Randy Orton & Triple H) in a Six Man Tag Team Match at 19:56. Everyone finds somebody to square off with, and they brawl for a short while before the referee regains control and Evolution isolates Rollins in their half of the ring. Eventually Ambrose gets a hot tag but it doesn’t take long for Evolution to cut him off and turn him into Ricky Morton for a while. When Ambrose is finally able to make his hot tag, it’s a little jarring to hear the crowd going crazy for Reigns. The match completely breaks down, with everyone pairing off and brawling all over the place. Orton and Ambrose and HHH and Rollins fight through the crowd, leaving Reigns and Batista alone in the ring. Rollins takes everyone out with a dive off the balcony, in a very cool visual. Meanwhile, Batista hits Reigns with a spinebuster and goes for the Batista Bomb but Reigns escapes and hits the Superman Punch. Reigns does some weird gyrating and then drills Batista with the Spear to get the pin. This was such a natural feud and everyone executed it perfectly. This was a great chaotic six-man tag, and it did a lot to make all three guys in the Shield look like a million bucks.
Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeats John Cena at 21:11 in a Steel Cage Match. The blood feud that has escalated into a cage match starts with a headlock. Of course it does. They work a slow and methodical pace, with Wyatt controlling a bulk of the action, doing all the stuff he usually does. Cena introduces a sit-out powerbomb into his repertoire (at least, I think he does, I don’t recall seeing him use it before). Even though it’s in a cage, Rowan and Harper find ways to interfere and keep Wyatt in control. Cena faces three-on-one odds and does pretty well for himself, as anyone who’s watched WWE in the last 11 years or so would be able to tell you. Eventually Cena gets ready to escape the cage, but the lights go out, and when they come back on some kid is singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with a distorted voice. That distracts Cena long enough for Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail and walk out the cage door. That was a powerfully boring encounter, with the cage playing no part in keeping the Family out of it, and a ridiculously stupid finish that did nothing to help Bray Wyatt look like a threat. Just nothing but poop here.
WWE Divas Champion Paige defeats Tamina Snuka at 6:15 to retain the title. Paige has been the Champion since 4.7.14, and this is her second defense. Tamina won a battle royal on Main Event to earn this shot, so you know they’re really taking this seriously. Paige uses her speed and agility early on, but Tamina counters with her brute strength. After some non-descript back and forth action, Paige locks on the PTO to get the tap out win. Solid win for the Champion there, but not much to the match really.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan defeats Kane at 22:30 in an Extreme Rules Match to retain the title. Bryan has been the Champion since 4.6.14, and this is his second defense. The Champ attacks Kane during his entrance and away we go. Weapons get involved early on and both men use them to their advantage. The fight spills into the backstage area, where things really get out of control. They destroy some jabroni’s rental car as they continue to brawl backstage. Bryan uses a crowbar to knock Kane out, and then the real challenge of moving “dead” human weight becomes an issue. He brings Kane back to the ring with a forklift, and wears him out with more weapons shots. Bryan uses the Yes Lock and augments it with a kendo stick, but Kane is able to slip out to the floor. Bryan tries a dive but Kane catches him and delivers a Chokelsam through the announce table! Kane pulls out another table and lights it on fire, but Bryan is able to knock him off the apron and through the flaming table! Back in the ring Bryan hits the Knee-Plus to get the pin and retain the title. Title programs with Kane aren’t all that exciting anymore and this one didn’t do much for Bryan, but the Champion did get to pin Kane perfectly clean with his finisher, so it certainly didn’t hurt. This was a solid hardcore match, which is not exactly Bryan’s specialty, but they made it work.
The main event was decent enough, and the preshow and opening matches were fun. Evolution v The Shield certainly stole the show, and those four matches make this a worthwhile show. The Cena v Wyatt match was brutal, but everything else was either decent or short, and at 2:40 the whole show breezes by pretty quickly. Solid but unenthusiastic recommendation here.