American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX – Sunday, October 26, 2014
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
Mark Henry defeats Bo Dallas at 0:35. Dallas cuts his usual awesome promo before the match, but that’s where the awesome ends. Henry throws Dallas around and finishes him off in short order with the World’s Strongest Slam. Nothing to see here.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler defeats Cesaro in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match at 12:25 to retain the title. Ziggler has been the Champion since 9.22.14, and this is his fifth defense. Which of these two have had more abandoned pushes? Ziggler has been around a lot longer so it’s probably him. They wrestle on the mat for a while and trade holds and counters. Cesaro utilizes the Cesaro Swing and covers for two. Ziggler reverses that cover into an inside cradle to win the first fall at 3:35. That was moist and made Cesaro look like a chump. Cesaro dominates the second fall but Ziggler won’t go away. Ziggler focuses on the arm, and uses that as an impetus to win the second fall and thus the match with a superkick and the Zig-Zag. Sure, I get where arm work leads to that. This was well wrestled but having Ziggler win two straight falls begs the question of why even make it two out of three falls in the first place?
Nikki Bella defeats Brie Bella at 6:25. The loser here will have to become the other’s “personal assistant” for 30 days. Call me silly but I like old school stipulations like that. Brie is all fired up but Nikki is ready for her with some dubious tactics. Nikki tries to take a break on the floor but Brie wipes her out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Brie hits a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Nikki comes back with the Rack Attack but it only gets two. Brie tries the Yes Lock but Nikki reaches the ropes. Nikki pops up and hits a forearm smash, and one more Rack Attack gets the pin. They kept this pretty short and basic, and kept it to their strengths pretty well, resulting in a surprisingly decent match.
WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust & Stardust defeat The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) at 10:20 to retain the titles. Gold & Stardust have been the Champions since 9.21.14, and this is their second defense. Jimmy and Jey start off hot, but the Rhodes brothers are able to calm them down pretty quickly. This pretty much follows the tried and true tag team formula, but the Usos were pretty over (and pretty great) at this point so at least the crowd is into it. When the referee loses control Stardust is able to catch one of the Usos with a kick to the back of the knee, allowing Goldust to hit the Final Cut to get the pin. Nothing wrong with the work here, but they had about 300 matches against each other and this on in no way stands out from the pack. Good call keeping the belts on Gold and Stardust though.
John Cena defeats Randy Orton in a Number One Contender’s Hell in a Cell Match at 26:25. Winner gets to go on and face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Championship. Orton is 3-2 in Hell in a Cell matches (including a victory over Cena, as well as Daniel Bryan and Sheamus); and Cena is 1-2. These two know each other very well, and waste no time attacking the other with aggression. Orton gets a bulk of the offense for most of the first half of the match, controlling Cena both in and out of the ring. A chair is introduced early in the match, and Cena adds a table about halfway through. When Cena starts to fire up with his shoulderblocks, Orton catches him with an RKO from out of nowhere! That gets a two-count. Orton then hurls Cena into a table leaned into the corner and that also only gets two. Orton gets frustrated and brings the steps into the ring, but that backfires when he gets dropped on them. Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Orton breaks it up with a low blow. Orton sets up for the Punt but Cena counters into an STF! Luckily for Orton he’s able to crawl out to the floor to break the hold. The finisher parade continues, with both men getting to kick out of each other’s big moves. Cena brings in another table and sets it up near the corner. This time he’s able to hit the Avalanche AA to get the win. This was like most other Cena v Orton matches, so I’m glad they went on in the middle of the show. They certainly worked hard and made the World Title something worth fighting over a shot at.
United States Champion Sheamus defeats The Miz (w/ Damien Mizdow) at 8:30 to retain the title. Sheamus has been the Champion since 5.5.14, and this is his sixth defense. The champ uses his power and aggression to keep Miz on defense. Miz tries to fight back but Sheamus punishes him both in and outside of the ring. The challenger gets some token offense on Sheamus, and even manages to hit the Reality Check but it only gets two. Mizdow distracts the ref long enough for Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale but Sheamus kicks out! Miz hits the Awesome Clothesline and then goes up top. Big mistake – Sheamus catches him on the way down with a Brogue Kick to get the pin. Not much to see here, but at least they kept it simple and high energy.
Rusev (w/ Lana) defeats Big Show at 8:00. This is a brawl from the start, and Rusev quickly decides to attack Show’s left knee, which is smart. Rusev wears Show down, but Show is fueled by the power of America! Or something like that, who cares? Mark Henry comes down late in the match for a closer look, just as Show hits a “Chokeslam For America” (thanks Michael Cole) but it only gets two. Henry inadvertently distracts Show and both big men get kicked in the jaw for their troubles. Rusev kicks Show in the face two more times and then locks on the Accolade for the tap out win. That was no technical masterpiece, but it was effective and I appreciate Rusev going over super clean and super strong, even taking Henry out on the way.
Divas Champion AJ Lee defeats Paige (w/ Alicia Fox) at 6:55 to retain the title. AJ has been the Champion since 9.21.14, and this is her first defense. This is right around the four hundredth time these two have wrestled each other. Momentum swings back and forth a bit, but Paige takes the first sustained advantage. Fox interferes where she can but it doesn’t do much good. After a brief spat on the floor, back in the ring AJ locks on the Black Widow to get the win. Not much to see there, as this feud was beyond stale by this point. Despite what some corners of the internet would have you believe, neither of these wrestlers are particularly good.
Seth Rollins defeats Dean Ambrose in a Hell in a Cell match at 14:00. Ambrose wants to start the match on top of the cell, which never ends well. J&J Security (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) try to talk Rollins out of going up top, so Rollins instead tells them to go up there and bring Ambrose down! They oblige and get beat up for a bit, but their distraction is enough for Rollins to climb up and attack from behind. Rollins tries to escape and Ambrose follows him down. About halfway down they trade some shots and both men fall, breaking the tables below. Medical personnel try to talk both men away on gurneys but Ambrose will have nothing to do with that. When they finally make it into the Cell, it’s all Ambrose all the time. Ambrose make yells about how Rollins stabbed him in the back, a nice reminder that this feud has decent reason for being in the Cell. Corporate Kane comes out to help Rollins, spraying a fire extinguisher in Ambrose’s eyes. That allows Rollins to hit the Buckle Bomb into a table. Back in the ring control goes back and forth, as both men look for the knockout blow to win the match. When Ambrose appears to have things well in hand, the lights go out. A voice comes over the loud speaker, and a lantern appears in the center of the ring, with a hologram coming out of it. Bray Wyatt then sneaks in and attacks Ambrose, allowing Rollins to score the cheap pin. That finish sucked for so many reasons. Number one – it was goofy and it was super elaborate for not that sophisticated of a plan; number two – it never made any sense beyond “Wyatt and Ambrose are feuding next, so Wyatt should attack Ambrose;” as usual with Wyatt the promos never made any sense; number three – why go through all that trouble to attack someone in a match with no disqualifications; and number four – it’s 2014 give me a break. The match was going along just fine until that stupid AF finish.
The main event could’ve been something very good, maybe even great, but that finish just infused the whole thing with a lethal dose of poison that ended the whole event on a sour note. Not that there was much to see before that anyway, as the tired Cena v Orton combination provided the evening’s best match at 3.25 stars, so it’s hardly essential viewing. In fact you could skip this show altogether and not really miss out on anything.