Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN – Sunday, September 25, 2016
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton are on commentary.
Nia Jax defeats Alicia Fox at 4:55. Fox attacks right away and tries to stifle her much larger opponent, but that doesn’t get her very far. Jax uses her size and power to keep Fox off her feet. Fox gets a couple quick bursts of offense but Jax basically dominates. Jax finishes Fox off with a pop-up Samoan Drop to get the pin. Decent kickoff action for the time they got, and Jax looked suitably dominant here without making Fox look like a total jobber.
RAW Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) defeat The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) to retain the titles at 6:45. New Day have been the Champions since 8.23.15, and this is their fifteenth defense. Gallows and Anderson go for a quick win, as Gallows takes E and Woods out on the floor while Anderson goes to work on Kingston. The action is fast and furious, as they work a truncated version of the tag team formula. Kingston catches Anderson with Trouble in Paradise and E follows with the Big Ending but Gallows breaks up that pin. The referee has his back turned and Woods hits Anderson with Francesca! That gives E and Kingston the opening to hit The Midnight Hour to get the win. Good clean fun here but it also felt a little rushed. With the PPV running over three hours it’s amazing this match couldn’t crack seven minutes.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins defeats Brian Kendrick at 10:31 to retain the title. Perkins has been the Champion since 9.14.16, and this is his first defense (and also his first pay-per-view match). These two have a long history with each other, and it shows during the opening chain wrestling sequence. They trade submission moves, with both men trying their respective finishers, the Captain’s Hook and the Kneebar, which ultimately proves successful for Perkins. Solid first defense for Perkins, but it already felt like a lot of what was special about the Cruiserweight Classic was lacking here.
Cesaro  and Sheamus  wrestled to a no-contest at 16:36 in the seventh match of a Best of Seven Series. These two bruisers waste no time taking the fight right to each other, both in the ring and out on the floor. Sheamus takes the first sustained control by going to work on the back, which had been previously injured in the series. Momentum shifts back and forth as these two brutalize each other with strikes, suplexes, and submission moves. Cesaro spices things up with a Cesaro Swing and a nasty Tope Suicida (think Lita in 2004). Back in the ring Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick but Cesaro kicks out! The crowd is chanting “This Is Awesome!” Cesaro fights back with the Neutralizer but Sheamus kicks out of that! They spill out to the floor, where Sheamus hits White Noise. A Cesaro clothesline sends both men tumbling over the barricade and into the crowd. Both men are spent, and doctors determine that they can’t continue. The crowd boos this finish, but knowing what it led to, I’m perfectly okay with it. This was a brutal fight that built up perfectly and kept the crowd engaged the whole way.
Chris Jericho defeats Sami Zayn at 15:22. These two try working opposite paces, with Zayn trying to keep it up tempo, and Jericho working to slow things down. And that’s how the match goes for the first half or so, with Zayn controlling when the pace is quick, and Jericho controlling when it’s not. They trade lots of finisher attempts and near-falls, and in the end Jericho gets the win with the Codebreaker. I don’t understand why Zayn wouldn’t go over there. The match was good and had the crowd pretty jazzed, but it wasn’t too unlike something we could see on TV during the three-hour RAW era.
RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte (w/ Dana Brooke) defeats Bayley and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match to retain the title at 15:28. Charlotte has been the Champion since 8.21.16 (her second reign), and this is her first defense. All three women fight each other from the onset, with the challengers clearly focused on beating the Champion. That doesn’t work out so well for them, as Charlotte stays in control for most of the first half of the match. Charlotte focuses on Banks’ injured back from their match at SummerSlam. She also relies on interference from Brooke at ringside. In the end Charlotte outsmarts everybody and gets Bayley to knock Banks off the apron, and then drills Bayley with a boot to the face to get the win. Well that finish makes everybody except Charlotte look terrible. Solid match with plenty of action but lacked the spark the had in NXT.
Roman Reigns defats United States Champion Rusev (w/ Lana) at 17:07 to win the title. Rusev has been the Champion since 5.22.16, and this is his eighth defense. Reigns starts off slugging and Rusev quickly bails. It doesn’t take long for Rusev to rebound and take control, working over Reigns’ ribs. Reigns makes a few brief comebacks but Rusev has such an advantage that he’s able to subdue the Big Dog time after time. Rusev finally goes for The Accolade but Reigns slips out and hits a Spear! Lana pulls the referee out of the ring at the count of two! The referee then kicks Lana out of the arena! A series of reversals takes the match back to the floor, where Reigns hits the Drive By. Back in the ring Rusev hits a superkick for two! Rusev then locks on The Accolade. Reigns escapes and catches a charging Rusev with one more Spear to get the pin and win the title. Good back and forth between two bruisers that built up really well down the stretch. The crowd was actually behind Reigns here.
Universal Champion Kevin Owens defeats Seth Rollins to retain the title at 25:07. Owens has been the Champion since 8.29.16, and this is his first defense. Rollins is all fired up to start and Owens is trying to run away. Owens fights back with a short DDT and then goes to work on the back. The fight continues back and forth, with little of note happening. They fight both in and out of the ring, and Owens switches his focus to Rollins’ previously injured knee. Despite this, Rollins still jumps and springboards around quite a bit. Owens catches Rollins with a huge gutbuster off the top rope, and a quick Frog Splash right afterwards but it only gets two. Out on the floor Owens tries to put Rollins through the announce table with a senton but Rollins moves and Owens crashes hard through the table. Back in the ring Rollins hits his own Frog Splash on his injured ribs and gets a two-count. Chris Jericho makes his way out to interfere and the match just totally falls off the rails. To get even goofier, the referee gets bumped. Rollins tries to wake the referee up, and Stephanie McMahon brings a new referee out. Rollins, like an idiot, walks into a Pop-Up Powerbomb and gets pinned. This was just all over the places, with Owens working three different body parts, and Rollins still doing everything he normally does, basically negating all the work anyway. Then the last three minutes or so were tremendously overbooked and didn’t help keep Rollins strong, it made him look like a goof. Big disappointment here from two guys that I think are amazing.
A strong undercard had me hopeful for a sleeper hit of a show, but the main event was tragically disappointing. Sheamus v Cesaro was the undisputed highlight of the show, and a couple of other three-star matches make this a solid show. Had the main event delivered it would’ve been more than solid.