Submitted By Tom Griffiths
Crowd was super-hot, extremely receptive, pretty much anytime anyone did a pose or taunt in order to attempt to garner a response the audience obliged in a big way. Being fifth row and on the ground I was in a position to feel the energy from the entire crowd and I can only image what it's like for the guys in the ring conducting a crowd that hot of that size. It's the first time I've been in that position and it was really something to behold. Also another observation was a lot of the guys were working quite light. I assume this is something they do for preservation on the long tours, although again first time being that close at a WWE show so maybe this isn't unusual and was down to my vantage point.
Only drawback was the sound. I had one of the speakers directly above me and the music and ring introductions were of a ridiculously high volume. At one point I could feel my plastic drink container vibrating in my hand. There were some children crying due to the volume ,and others with hands over their ears. When I came out of the arena during the interval I was literally half deaf in my right ear. They did seem to turn it down a little, I stress a little for the second half of the show, although there is a chance I may have just gotten used to it.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper
Ambrose was super over, probably the second biggest pop of the night and he did have the advantage of being out first. Massive heat for Harper as he was opposing Ambrose, I'd say third or fourth in that department on the show. Crazy heat for the match. They took the night off first two thirds of the match quite frankly. First third-half of the match was milking the crowd, headlocks, shoulder tackles, arm drags, that kind of stuff, in addition neither guy bumped a whole lot.
After the early exchanges I described Harper got the heat on Ambrose, simple stuff, a hope spot or two, Ambrose made his comeback, they did their signature moves, Ambrose suicide dive (the safest you've ever seen), his McGuiness clothesline (at the second attempt), his top rope elbow, Harper did his sit-down powerbomb for a near fall which was the strongest in the match. Ambrose won in ten minutes with Dirty Deeds.
Bo Dallas vs. Zach Ryder
Good reactions for both guys, although probably the weakest on the show, decent heat for the match. Bo got some cheap heat on the mic before the match running down Birmingham saying it was full of stupid people, Ryder then came out and cut a little promo of his own, they went back and forth for thirty-sixty seconds during which shameless plugging for the network was heavily featured in the verbal duel which didn't really get over, Bo made a remark which I found humorous about some homeless people being in attendance, the verbal jousting ended with Ryder punching Dallas in the face and the match was on.
The match was short, Bo took most of it and he had some fans but most treated him as a heel, Ryder made a short comeback and won with a Ruff Ryder in five minutes.
I think it was at this point we got a Lana and Rusev promo on the screen hyping the upcoming US title match, strong heat. (I did take notes during the show inbetween matches and time matches via my phone but time was limited.)
Lucha Dragons vs. Ascension
Really good responses for both as well as good heat for the match. Unless The Ascension have gotten more on previous shows during the tour, this the most amount of heat they've gotten in their careers by a million miles. Match was decent, double heat, Kallisto made the big comeback, did his spinning springboard crossbody, a handspring off the ropes into a jumping kick which didn't look that good, his hurricanrana face buster, he held open the ropes for Sin Cara to do his a suicide dive inbetween them. Kallisto hit his seated sliced bread followed up with a swanton bomb by Sin Cara for the win in seven minutes.
Connor video for Connor's Cure. Video was very well received, I didn't care to watch it after the philanthropy tweet, huge Connor chants following it.
Goldust vs. Stardust
Good match, nice response for Goldust's entrance, huge heel heat Cody chants from his entrance onwards, insane heat for this match, could make a case it was the second most heated match on the show, couldn't believe it. This type of thing happened on a number of occasions during the show but when Stardust had a chinlock on Goldust during the heat people began stomping to rally him and I'm not exaggerating when I say it sounded like an avalanche.
As I said match was good, they worked harder than most, Stardust milked the Cody chants as much as possible, the transition move going into the heat was Stardust spat water in Goldust's face, Goldust got a near fall with the Cross Roads, Stardust got a nearfall of his own with the Cross Roads. Finish came when Goldust returned the favour with the water then went for a sunset flip outside in, Stardust sat down on it and grabbed the ropes for the win in eleven minutes.
Following the match Goldust was left with the ring, he grabbed the mic and simply said "you guys are the best." I think he was genuinely touched by the response this match with his brother got.
WWE US Champion John Cena vs. Rusev
Crazy heat for Rusev coming out, easily the most on the show, although I'm sure it was largely pantomime boos. Lana cut a promo about the match at mania and how Rusev was going to win back the title. Thunderous reaction for Cena coming out, goosebumps stuff, Steve Austin like, biggest reaction easy. I'd say crowd was 80-20, maybe 75-25 Cena.
Match was good and probably the most heated, they worked fairly hard. They did a spot where Rusev chased a photographer who was getting close to his Russian flag during the heat, he then did it again a few minutes later and chased him up the entrance way, Cena came running out after him, decked him and raised the hand of the photographer. They did all their big signature moves, Cena when through his patterned comeback twice, he was cut off during his five knuckle shuffle on the first occasion.
Catatonic, superkick etc. from Rusev. Tornado DDT, springboard stunner etc. from Cena. Rusev went for a second catatonic and Cena reversed into a crucifix which looked a little sloppy but other than that the work was fine. Finish came when Cena powered out of The Accolade, huge "avalanche" during this spot, then shortly after beat Rusev with a solitary AA in thirteen minutes.
Following the match Cena put over the crowd and encouraged them to get louder, then in a surprise invited a mystery wrestler out to celebrate their birthday. The wrestler was Goldust. Cena asked the crowd to sing happy birthday, they did so, Goldust looked slightly embarrassed, they embraced, Goldust opened the ropes for Cena and we went to the interval.
Bella Twins vs. Paige & Naomi
Nice pop for The Bellas which surprised me, although I'm unsure how many knew the card. Naomi was in the same league as Dallas and Ryder in terms of responses, not that it was bad, in fact probably the weakest on the show. Big pop for Paige, although not at the level of Cena, Ambrose or Orton. But this was just after the interval and there were some late arrivals, I myself got back to my seat just as The Bellas were making their entrance, the lines were insane as I'm sure you can image.
Basic match, Naomi started, crowd were chanting that they wanted Paige from the outset, weren't overly interested in Naomi, to which an astute young man of probably eight near me said "give the people what they want." There was a little sloppiness early on with an ugly looking hurricanrana from Naomi as well as an awkward looking back bump on her part, but other than that the work was fine. Crowd didn't have quite as much energy second half of the show, could've been less enthusiasm due to seeing Cena, could have been burnt themselves out, could've been match quality, not entirely surely.
Saying all of that Paige was very over, she got the hot tag hit a handful of moves including some kicks which were much more solid looking them most on the show which I suspect was down to adrenaline due to the reception. I'm not convinced she didn't catch Brie with one of the kicks. Anyway, after the short flurry Paige won with P.T.O on Brie (I think) in six-seven minutes.
Rollins promo on the screen hyping up the main event, strong heat.
Ryback vs. Kane
Good reaction for Ryback, decent reaction for Kane. These two were by far the laziest on the show. Strength spots early on, then Ryback got a little shine followed by Kane getting some heat. During this period the most high impact move we got was either a double axe handle from the second rope by Ryback or a scoop slam by Kane. Kane worked a couple of holds, Ryback sold and sold, Ryback made a short comeback went for the meat-hook, Kane countered into a chokeslam for a nearfall, went for a second but Ryback countered and beat him with the Shellshock in ten minutes. It picked up last few minutes, but for the majority this was pretty bad, and subsequently had probably the least heat of any match on the show for large parts, although the crowd really liked Ryback and got into the finish.
Randy Orton vs. WWE Champion Seth Rollins
Big pop for Orton, I'd say third biggest on the show. Big reaction for Rollins, I'd say 60-40 maybe 65-35 boos. Probably fifth-seventeen in-terms of volume of reaction. Good match, really good heat. Toss up between this, Goldust-Stardust and the opener as far as what was the second most heated frankly.
They worked fairly hard, crowd got super loud again during this. Started out with some chain wrestling, Orton got the upper hand Rollins took a powder, went back and forth again Orton got the upper hand, Rollins took another powder, big "you sold out" from here on out which he milked, Noble (I think) grabbed Orton's leg and Rollins took advantage for the transition going into the heat, the "avalanche" came again here, Orton made a short comeback Rollins cut him off, Rollins crotched on the ropes for the transition move followed up by a superplex, they did a spot where Orton went for his powerslam Rollins held onto the ropes then ran at Orton and he caught him with it on the second attempt.
Rollins stole Balor's sling blade, double drapping DDT on J&J, kneeling superkick, drapping DDT on Rollins, all the big trademark moves. Orton got a nearfall with an RKO with a delayed cover, Rollins avoided the punt, Rollins got a nearfall on the curb stomp, then went for the phoenix splash, Orton moved Rollins landed on his feet and then got hit with a second powerslam. Orton then was preparing to hit a second RKO when J&J ran in for the DQ twenty four minutes in.
After the bell they triple teamed Orton at which time I was looking towards the entrance way waiting for the save but it wasn't necessary. Orton fought off all three, RKO each for J&J and an RKO with Rollins leaping from the second rope for Rollins to send the crowd home happy. As Orton was posing on the ropes post match he was clearly getting heckled by someone in the crowd in the first row or two as he gave them the middle finger.