Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL – Sunday, April 26, 2015
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
Neville defeats Bad News Barrett at 10:38. Daniel Bryan was supposed to be defending the Intercontinental Title against Barrett here, but as it turns out Bryan was so injured that he would never wrestle again. Neville flies around to keep Barrett off balance, but the former five-time Intercontinental Champion withstands the onslaught and takes control as they head into the inexplicable pre-show commercial break. Barrett keeps Neville grounded for a bit, but gravity didn’t forget Neville for nothing, and he proves it during his comeback. Neville even survives the Winds of Change and Wasteland, which means Barrett has one big weapon left in his arsenal. Barrett sets up for the Bull Hammer but Neville avoids it and hits an enziguiri. Neville goes up top for the Red Arrow but Barrett shakes the ropes to knock him down. The persistent Neville gets another opportunity to hit the Red Arrow and this one finds its mark, and Neville gets the huge upset pin. This turned out to be a pretty good match, probably the best they had against each other.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Sheamus in a Kiss Me Arse Match at 9:16. These two have a surprising chemistry together, and both men work the early going at a fast pace. Sheamus takes it upon himself to slow the pace and keep Ziggler on the mat. Ziggler executes several comeback attempts but Sheamus is able to thwart most of them. Unfortunately for Sheamus he falls victim to a small package and Ziggler gets the pin. That means Sheamus has to kiss Ziggler’s arse. #ProWrestling, folks. They tease Sheamus fulfilling the stipulation for what seems like forever, and then instead of doing it he hits Ziggler with a low blow and a Brogue Kick. Sheamus then makes Ziggler kiss his arse. The match was good, the post-match was not.
The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston, w/ Xavier Woods) defeat WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya) at 9:36 to win the titles. Cesaro and Kidd have been the Champions since 2.22.15, and this is their third defense. The Champions are massively over in Chicago, and the challengers are getting a good heel reaction. These two teams are evenly matched, with a bigger power guy (Cesaro and Big E) and a smaller, agile, technical guy (Kofi and Kidd). All four men work a fast pace and the crowd is responding accordingly. Things get out of hand and the referee loses control and Kidd catches a Kingston Trouble in Paradise attempt and locks him in the Sharpshooter. Big E breaks that up. Woods distracts the referee and Natalya puts a stop to that. In the confusion Kingston traps Cesaro in a schoolboy rollup to get the pin and win the titles. Hot match, weak-ass finish. These teams have ridiculous chemistry though and it’s a real pleasure to watch them work.
Dean Ambrose defeats Luke Harper at 55:45 in a Chicago Street Fight. This match actually started at the beginning of the show, with plenty of brawling and weapons being used by both men. They make their way backstage and use various equipment against each other. Harper gets into a car and Ambrose hops in the passenger side window and they drive off! That’s certainly unique. The show then moved into the Ziggler v Sheamus and New Day v Cesaro & Kidd matches. Then when New Day is giving their victory promo they’re interrupted by Ambrose and Harper making their way back into the arena, apparently having been fighting this whole time. They make it back to the ring and bring a bunch of chairs with them. That proves to be Harper’s undoing, as Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on a chair to get the pin. That’s a little hard to rate because it was basically two matches with other matches separating them, but I appreciate them going for something different, and it was fun enough.
WWE United States Champion John Cena defeats Rusev (w/ Lana) at 13:35 in a Russian Chain Match to retain the title. Cena has been the Champion since 3.29.15, and this is his fifth defense. This is a “touch all four corners” chain match. I like how the announcers stress that the “Russian Chain Match” is somehow Rusev’s specialty, since he isn’t Russian and has never been in one of these matches anyway. Momentum swings back and forth and the crowd is mostly silent outside of a few “Let’s Go Cena / Cena Sucks” chants. The crowd chants for Lana and when she acknowledges them, Rusev sends her to the back. Now the audience really doesn’t care about what’s happening here. Eventually the crowd perks back up a little bit and both men touch three corners, leading to a standoff. Of course Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment, touches the fourth corner, and retains the title. This just never clicked at all and never captured the crowd. It’s rare that one of these matches overcomes the stupidity of the gimmick, and this one just couldn’t do it.
WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) defeats Naomi to retain the title at 7:18. Nikki has been the Champion since 11.23.14, and this is her sixth defense. Paige was supposed to get this title shot but Naomi attacked her after the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal and injured her, giving herself the shot in the process. This is an awkward heel v heel matchup, so the crowd is subdued to say the least. Naomi controls the match for quite a bit, despite the cheers and well wishes of Brie Bella and her ridiculous hat. The challenger shows off her athleticism and unique offense, even taking Brie out on the floor. Unfortunately for Naomi that proves to be her undoing, as Brie takes a cheap shot as soon as the referee is distracted. That allows Nikki to hit the Rack Attack to get the pin and a surprisingly big pop. This was pretty decent, with Naomi showing how criminally underused she’s been.
Roman Reigns defeats The Big Show at 19:46 in a Last Man Standing Match. These two take it right to each other, not holding anything back right from the get-go. Reigns quickly brings out a table and the crowd is happy about that. Show stops Reigns from using the table, and does the same with a kendo stick. Show doesn’t need weapons because he’s a Giant, he says. Reigns perseveres and eventually puts Show through a table with a Samoan Drop, no small feat. They continue to battle, and Show actually tries going to the top rope. Reigns knocks him down and sets up two tables on the floor. They don’t come into play yet though. Back in the ring Reigns hits two Superman Punches, but on the third attempt Show catches him and hits a Chokeslam through the two tables at ringside! Amazingly Reigns beats the 10-count. Show gets frustrated and starts clearing off the announce table. In the ring Show misses a Spear and crashes through a table. Reigns hits a Spear, and then they go to the floor, where Reigns hits another Spear through the barricade! Both men get back to their feet and they fight on the announce table. Reigns uses the stairs to propel himself into Show with a Spear through the announce table! Show gets to his feet so Reigns tips the other announce table over on top of the giant! That’s enough to keep Show down for a 10-count and earn a big pop from the crowd. See, Reigns gets cheered sometimes. This was a great use of the Last Man Standing match, and both men worked a smart style that played to their strengths. This was a shocker – quite an excellent match.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defeats Randy Orton at 21:02 in a Steel Cage Match to retain the title. Rollins has been the Champion since 3.29.15, and this is his first defense. Each man got to pick a stipulation – Rollins banned the RKO, and Orton picked the Steel Cage. Kane is “The Gatekeeper.” This is win by pinfall, submission, or escape the cage. Orton is the aggressor early on as Rollins makes several escape attempts. Rollins eventually gains control but can’t help himself from talking trash to the gatekeeper Kane, even though they’re both part of The Authority. J&J Security come out to try and assist, but Orton hurls Rollins into both men while trying to climb the cage, knocking them both to the floor. Without the RKO at his disposal, Orton turns to the Pedigree, but Rollins kicks out at two. Orton gets into a position for Kane to open the door, but Kane refuses to do so. Rollins comes charging in with a dropkick and Orton avoids it, sending the cage door right into Kane’s face! Now Kane is livid. J&J Security try to talk him off the ledge, so to speak, but Kane gets in the ring. Kane hits a Chokeslam on everyone, and lays Rollins on top for a pin but Orton kicks out. Orton is able to hit an RKO on Kane (which is legal), and Rollins sneaks in and hits Orton with an RKO of his own! Rollins then escapes out the door to retain the title. These two had a killer match at WrestleMania just a month prior to this, but this version failed to capture that magic. The focus on Kane and the multitude of interference in a match designed to keep interference out, which led to the finish, just didn’t cut it. Not a bad match, but a big disappointment here.
Had the main event delivered, this would have been a really good show, but as it stands it was pretty alright, with solid stuff throughout the mid-card and a shockingly good (Match of the Night) between Roman Reigns and Big Show. Aside from that match, most of what’s here has been done better elsewhere, so there’s not much to go out of your way for on this one.