Best match: The Shield vs The Wyatt Family
Worst match: AJ Lee vs Cameron
(Preshow): Cody Rhodes/Goldust vs Ryback/Curtis Axel w/ Larry Hennig ***1/2
Hot opener, crowd was rockin'. Cody looked phenomenal. Hopefully WWE will give him a big singles push because he's certainly earned it with his work over the last year. 'The Axe' sure looked smaller than I remember. Rhodes Bros. win by pinfall.
1)Intercontinental title: (C)Big E Langston vs Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter **
It's really a shame Swagger wasn't blessed with charisma; he sure was blessed with pro wrestling talent. A guy with his gifts shouldn't be doing clean jobs to Big (Double) E('s). Not that he hasn't gotten chances the last few years that he's summarily blown. Noticed with no shock that Swagger's mouth was bloody after a collision with Big's knuckles. And they said RVD was dangerous! The champion retains via pinfall, of course.
2)WWE World tag team titles: (C)The New Age Outlaws vs The Uso Brothers **1/2
For the Usos, its only a matter of time, and perhaps finding the right gimmick. The ability is there, as are the genetics. But in a minor surprise, BadAss and Road Dogg's extra innings in the sun continue for awhile longer. Champs retain by pinfall.
3)Titus O'Neill vs Darren Young *1/2
Gotta feel a little bad for Titus. Despite a great reaction for the Rhodes Bros. match, the crowd piped down during the opener and midway thru this one you could've heard the proverbial pin drop. Neither were bad matches, nor is it a lousy audience. They do know what they want to see, however, and its not RAW prelims. Titus wins via pin.
BTW, Bad News Barrett came out what felt like 12 times and delivered bad news to the Minnesota fans. These spots were horrid, and got progressively worse. Barrett used Daniel Bryan's name in one spot to try to grab some cheap heat, then in the next went after the local NFL squad. Innovative! The third spot was just to remind fans that the Hulkster will be hosting Mania; absolutely zero fan reaction to Hogan's name. After that I stopped listening.
4)The Shield vs The Wyatt Family ****1/2
A legitimate match of the year candidate; not just from WWE, but any company. What a thing of beauty. I admit to occasionally being prone to hyperbole, but I think this may have been the best US 6 man tag match I've seen since Freebirds-Von Erichs circa 1984. All six guys had their working boots on, even the Wyatt family member who clearly shares DNA with The Warlord (in appearance only; Erick Rowan actually shows the ability and willingness to improve). The fans went absolutely apeshit the entire way, nearly 30 full minutes. I remember thinking this during his Rumble match vs Bryan, but it sounded sacrilegious; now I'll say it out loud: Bray Wyatt is already a more complete pro wrestler than either his father or Godfather. No, he hasn't had a dozen 5 star classics like Barry Windham, but its only a matter of time. What a natural. Ambrose is an old school heel; no danger of fans turning him into a babyface. He's hateable for all the right reasons. Seth Rollins was superb, at times resembling a taller AJ Styles. Even a huge WWE cynic must admit Roman Reigns is completely deserving of his push. Bray pinned Reigns to win the match for the Wyatts. Great booking.
5)Divas Title: (C)AJ Lee w/Tamina Snuka vs Cameron *
I love AJ, and truly sympathized her spot tonight. Nobody could have followed that last match. However, my sympathy blew away by the time this clunker ended. AJ didnt have her usual excellent timing or effort, and Cameron has also looked better. Wrestling-wise, that is; both opponents looked as crazily hot as ever. But their match was ice cold. Cameron got the duke by DQ.
6)Batista vs Alberto Del Rio *1/2
Wow. I knew Big Dave would get a hostile reception, but this was ugly. Absolutely NO audible mixed in cheers. The instant Batista started on offense, a chant of "Boring!" broke out. This wasn't 'turn heel' heat, or even boos that are generally in the spirit of pro wrestling, like Cena gets. This was legitimate, intense dislike. I realized that fans dont wanna see Batista turn heel-they want him to GO AWAY. His jerky personality shines thru, and fans these days seem more aware of wresters' out of ring positives and negatives. Yes, he won the Rumble, but can WWE still go ahead with plans to have him main event Wrestlemania 30? Only if they figure out a way to stick Daniel Bryan in there as either his opponent or the 3rd man in a 3 way match. Batista wins in a longer than expected snoozer.
7)Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Worlds Heavyweight Title: (C)Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus vs John Cena vs Cesaro vs Christian ***1/2
Very good Chamber match. Fans were galvanized by Bryan. Sheamus and Cesaro started things out in a somewhat lackluster opening 5 minutes, but as soon as the number 3 man entered, it improved drastically. Star of the show: Christian. He showed at Summerslam vs Del Rio that he's actually better than most people knew, and tonight he took his big PPV main event spot and shined. Like the Hell in a Cell gimmick, the Elimination Chamber matches suffer with the lack of juice. And because there's no blood to add instant gravitas, guys are forced to do more dangerous stunts and take crazier bumps to make fans think they're seeing something huge. Sheamus was pinned first, followed by Christian. Cesaro meanwhile celebrated his big push by tapping out to the same guy that pinned him cleanly on TV 6 nights ago. As many expected, the Wyatts showed up and took care of Cena's chances of winning his 43rd World title, for tonight anyway. Also as most foresaw, Kane came down and helped eliminate Bryan, much to the crowd's chagrin. But even though it may have been predictable, it was still the right way to go. At this point, there's only one time and place to reward Daniel Bryan and his gargantuan loyal following with a World title: at WM30. I'll admit I threw up a little in my mouth when Michael Cole told us that Randy Orton vs Batista would be our Mania main event. But unlike in years past, I have faith that WWE brass will do the right thing, and find a way to end the years biggest show with the company's most popular wrestler by miles holding the strap at the end.