By Alan O'Brien for WrestlingObserver.com
The Main Takeaway:
WWE really wants you to like Titus O’Neil.
The Usos pinned Adam Rose & Brad Maddox (7:30)
But first, viewers were treated to the now obligatory Adam Rose C-show pre-match promo, in which he blames the fans for his previous gimmick not getting over. This was the same old, same old - delivered in a weird hybrid of his the Adam Rose voice and Ray Leppan’s actual voice - with one exception. He finished by introducing us all to the returning Brad Maddox.
Brad gets some mic time of his own as he rushes down the ramp, calling the fans “morons” and reminding them that he was fired as RAW General Manager in this very building last year. He attributes his black attire and new dyed-blonde hair to an “identity crisis” and has just enough time to favourably compare the latter to the “puke-orange” University of Tennessee colours before the producer cuts him off abruptly!
Boring match here, with The Usos coming off poorly for taking so long to put away jamokes of this stature. Not helped by Tom and Byron on commentary, who bury Maddox by speculating that he may have been the worst general manager of all time.
Personally, I thought he excelled in that role. The role of wrestler? Not so much. Although Bradley had the words “REAL GOOD” embroidered on his black tights, his heel work was anything but here - including a seemingly never-ending heat segment at the expense of Jimmy Uso.
Jimmy eventually tagged out when Brad apparently attempted a Rough Ryder in the corner, crotching himself on the top rope. Jey came in off the lukewarm tag and cleaned house, leading to the finish of stereo superkicks to Adam Rose followed by a Superfly Splash from Jimmy. Poor Adam. This time last year he was wrestling on the Survivor Series main card.
- Tom Phillips, now sporting facial hair in an attempt to make him look older than 16, throws to a video package featuring Titus O’Neil helping to raise money for a Navy Seals Museum. This featured Titus smiling widely, shaking hands and bumping fists. It also featured his advocate-in-chief, Batista, telling us how great “The Real Deal” is. Is he over yet?
- Backstage, the lovely Jojo wants to ask Titus some hard-hitting questions about his vital main event match with Heath Slater tonight. Titus cuts her off to do some dumb comedy with tag partner, Darren Young. Darren has bad breath! He’s going to turn Heath Slater into the ONE MAN BODYCAST! Oh man, my sides. He then finishes this lead balloon of an interview by creeping everyone out, hitting on the lovely Jojo (“You don’t have to buy a t-shirt, ‘cause I’d give you one! Woooo!”). Is he over yet?
Naomi w/Sasha Banks and Tamina submitted Alicia Fox w/Brie Bella and the worst hairstyle ever (5:53)
Seriously, Foxy’s new hair needs to be seen to be believed. She has voluntarily given herself the largest receding hairline known to womankind. It’s incredible.
The third Bella worked face here, falling victim to the dreaded distraction finish. Usual bad divas match, in which they poorly attempted some silly looking athletic spots with no underlying psychology. Also featured the loudest spot call in history, when Naomi emerged from the corner after rubbing her buns in Fox’s face, shouted “RANA!” on camera, and then proceeded to do a ‘rana.
Finish made Fox look like an idiot (as all WWE babyfaces apparently should), voluntarily running over to swat away both Sasha and Tamina from the apron, leading to a rollup and Naomi’s new submission finish - a leg-based head-and-arm choke. Looked kinda crummy, to be honest. Kinda really crummy.
Titus O’Neil pinned Heath Slater (6:35)
The “Terrible Announcing Line of the Night” award goes to Byron Saxton, who proclaimed upon Slater’s entrance that he is “like a cat who refuses to use the litter box….he does his own thing!” Jesus.
Either Byron or Tom helpfully informs us that these two men formed a tag team on this very programme just over a year ago. The now-defunct SlaterGator also featured on last year’s Survivor Series main card. Their opponents? Adam Rose and The Bunny!
Long shine segment for Titus consisting solely of him slapping Heath in the chest repeatedly. Nice moveset there, homes. Heath eventually transitions to the heat by raking the eyes off a slam attempt. Titus’ comeback emanates from a Slater headlock and consists of a big boot and what can only be described as a pumphandle drop. Genichiro Tenryu, I hope you’re taking notes.
The finish was a Clash of the Titus off a top rope flying nothing attempt from Slater. We then get an overlong in-ring celebration from Titus. Awkward. He eventually resorts to leaving the ring and imposing the Millions of Dollars chant on an unwilling child at ringside. Seriously, is he over yet?
A bit of a showcase for O’Neil, who has emerged on the scene three decades too late to avail of the natural charisma and star quality he so plainly has. Unfortunately, these days, not being able to work is a major drawback. This is the guy who managed to get two bad matches out of Sami Zayn, remember? Rest of the show was a non-event really, with none of the wrestling climbing above adequate. Far cry from the Sasha/Becky and Neville/Owens matches of the last few weeks.