Toyota Center – Houston, TX – Sunday, September 20, 2015
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) defeat Neville & The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) at 9:55. The Lucha Dragons and The Ascension have fought each other about 4,000 times on Superstars or Main Event, so at least they’re moving up in the world by getting on the Kickoff show. Kalisto could be the next Rey Mysterio if they choose to push him as such. Neville and the Dragons knock their opponents to the floor and all hit dives at the same time. Then they take a commercial break. WE come back to Stardust and the Ascension in control. They work Kalisto over a bit until Neville gets the hot tag. Stardust and Neville battle it out until Stardust hits the Queen’s Crossbow to pick up the win. Good choice for the Kickoff show here, as they brought a lot of energy and good spots to warm the crowd up.
Kevin Owens defeats Intercontinental Champion Ryback at 9:32 to win the title. Ryback has been the Champion since 5.31.15, and this is his fourth defense. He uses his power in the early going, but Owens is able to use the ring post to his advantage and he targets Ryback’s shoulder. That would neutralize the Champ’s power and make it difficult to perform his finishing move. Sounds like good strategy to me. Owens relentlessly attacks the shoulder, and when Ryback makes the comeback and tries the Shellshock, Owens rakes the eyes and rolls Ryback up to get the pin. That was pretty well worked between two guys I wouldn’t sure would mesh together. I think they could do better, and hopefully the finish means they have more in mind for them.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) at 13:42. Rusev is the aggressor early on, warding off Ziggler’s attacks. Every time Ziggler tries to fight up he just gets slugged back down. All of a sudden Ziggler hits a Fame-Ass-Er for a two-count. Ziggler continually tries to use the Sleeper, but Rusev is able to thwart that maneuver. Summer gets frustrated by all the back and forth action, and she accidentally falls into the ring. The referee ejects her from ringside, and she throws her shoes in frustration. One of her shoes accidentally hits Rusev, and Ziggler is able to hit the Zig-Zag to get the pin. The work in this match was rock solid, save for one extended spot where Rusev acted like he had gotten a pin when he hadn’t, but this storyline continues to be going nowhere anyone cares about.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) defeat WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) by disqualification at 9:57. New Day have been the Champions since 8.23.15, and this is their second defense. The energetic challengers control the early parts of the match, while the Champs do their best to either avoid or cheap shot their opponents. Woods playing a trumpet at ringside is just about the best thing ever. Eventually the Champs take control and isolate Bubba Ray for a while. Of course the hot tag is made, and D-Von comes in a house afire. The Dudleys hit Kingston with the 3D, and Woods comes in to break up the pinfall and cause the DQ. This was a decent tag formula match, and I think the DQ in this case is the right call. You don’t want the champs to lose the belts, and you don’t want the hot returning babyfaces to lose momentum either. This lets the feud continue, which is fine by me.
The New Day brings in a table and tries to put the Dudleys through it, but it backfires and Xavier Woods takes a 3D through the table instead. Good stuff here.
Charlotte (w/ Becky Lynch & Paige) defeats WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella & Alicia Fox) at 12:41 to win the title. Nikki has been the Champion since 11.23.14, and this is her thirteenth defense. She has no Championship advantage here, since Stephanie McMahon declared that if she lost the match via countout or disqualification that she would lose the title. That makes Nikki fight a lot harder in the early going, working on Charlotte’s knee and lower back. Team B.A.D. is shown watching on a monitor backstage. Nikki spends a great deal of time working on Charlotte’s knee, even using the ring post to her advantage. A fight breaks out on the floor but nothing really comes of it. Charlotte makes the fiery babyface comeback and sells her knee the whole time. Nikki cuts her off and goes to the second rope, but jumps right into a Spear! Charlotte then puts on the Figure-8 and Nikki taps out! Charlotte is the new Divas Champion! So Nikki puts Charlotte over clean, via submission, right in the center of the ring. But no, by all means, let’s keep complaining about how she broke AJ’s meaningless record. This was a rock solid match, with Nikki showing off good heel tactics and Charlotte showing great babyface fire. Charlotte is quite clearly superior, but Nikki held her own and is better than a big segment of the IWC will give her credit for.
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman) defeat Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho at 13:04. The crowd seems pretty happy to see Jericho here. Early in the match the goal is to show how big and powerful Strowman is, and they do a solid job of that. Everyone keeps this moving along pretty quickly, with plenty of offense coming from all over. Strowman is so dominant that it takes two Superman Punches from Reigns and a flying clothesline from the top rope by Ambrose to take him off his feet. Ambrose takes Harper out with a dive to the floor, and Reigns levels Strowman with a Spear! Jericho tags himself in and hits a Lionsault but Strowman kicks out. Wyatt throws Reigns into the guardrail, leaving Jericho all alone. Jericho tries the Codebreaker but Strowman catches him and hits the Over-the-shoulder flip facebuster. Strowman cinches in a Lifting arm triangle choke and Jericho passes out. This was good clean fun and the result was certainly correct. Even with 4 of the same six participants, this didn’t come close to matching the Wyatt Family vs. Shield matches, but this was not without its charms.
John Cena defeats WWE United States Champion Seth Rollins at 15:45 to regain the title. Rollins has been the Champion since 8.23.15, and this is his first defense. The Champ wisely tries to end the match early with moves like a blockbuster, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to keep the great John Cena down. Rollins dominates for a good long while, thwarting all of Cena’s comeback attempts. Finally, Cena comes back with a Code Red (!) for a near-fall. Cena tries a super Attitude Adjustment, and Rollins rolls through into a powerbomb position, which Cena then counters with a hurricanrana! What did Cena have for breakfast this morning? The back and forth continues, as Rollins’s cockiness continues to cost him. Cena busts out a tornado DDT for two. Say what you will, but Cena has his working boots on tonight. After some more back and forth goodness, Cena lands a combination of an inverted vertical Suplex, the Cena Slice, and the Attitude Adjustment to get the clean pin and become a five-team United States Champion. These two are natural opponents and have great chemistry. Cena was showing off all kinds of cool moves that I don’t often see him do, and Rollins looked great in dominating Cena for such a long period of time and for all the cool offense he can do. What I love about Rollins is how he can continue to draw heel heat when he executes babyface-type high-flying moves. That’s a rare skill. I don’t quite get why Rollins had to lose so clean to Cena, but I guess everyone does so I shouldn’t be surprised. Still, great match, awesome performance by both men.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defeats Sting at 15:20 to retain the title. Rollins has been the Champion since 3.29.15, and this is his ninth defense. This Sting’s fourth-ever match in WWE. Sting attacks the Champion right off the bat, which is obviously smart. Rollins tries his best to avoid the fired up challenger, but Sting is just all over him both in and out of the ring. Finally, Rollins catches a break when Sting brings him up on the announce table, as the Champion is able to shove Sting over to the Spanish Announce Table, smashing it. Rollins considers leaving the match outright but thinks better of it and comes back to lay a beating on the WCW Legend. Rollins dominates Sting for several minutes until he goes for a springboard maneuver and Sting catches him and launches him back into the guardrail! Cool spot. Sting has his second wind now, and he knocks Rollins to the floor and follows him out with a dive from the top rope! Go Sting. Moments later Rollins fights back and hits a Buckle Bomb, and Sting is pretty obviously hurt. The referee and the trainer are checking on him. Everyone decides that Sting is good to go, and when the match resumes he locks Rollins in the Scorpion Deathlock! The crowd pops big. Rollins escapes and they trade reversals until Rollins traps Sting in an inside cradle to get the pin. Sting made a hell of a showing here, and it was cool to see him main event a WWE show.
This is a very solid card up and down, with Seth Rollins really bringing the goods in the last two matches and standing out as the clear star of the show. The mid-card is good but not spectacular, though things pick up pretty nicely for the six-man tag right before the double main event. Like most WWE pay-per-views from 2015 it’s mostly forgettable, but it’s entertaining enough to watch once.