By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big Takeaway:
Though it wasn't as flagrant as last week, the tease continues to a future HHH-Seth Rollins match. Tonight, HHH booked Rollins into two matches to prepare him for Night of Champions. Rollins came out on the short end of both of them. Sting made periodic appearances on the show, finally tossing Rollins' statue into a trash truck to end the show.
Seth Rollins starts the show. He tried to get the crowd to chant for Sting, which worked. It would have been a bad sign if they hadn't because Baltimore was one of Sting's strongest cities in his prime. Rollins said he was going to crush Sting's legacy. Crowd started chanted "boring." He said two first ballot Hall of Famers will vie for both of his championships at Night of Champions. That's weird. Sting was on the ballot I got last Thursday, just like last year. Rollins vowed to get his statue back.
Sting showed up on the TitonTron standing beside Rollins' statue. Sting said Rollins was the man---the man without a statue. Sting dared Rollins to come get the staute.
Sheamus came out and wondered if Rollins knew how stupid he sounds. Rollins asked if Sheamus knew how stupid he looked. Rollins said he looked like Ronald McDonald with a bad haircut. Sheamus told him not to bring his family into this. Sheamus teased cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase at Night of Champions. Of course, that's something that was established 3 months ago, but they 3 hours to kill on Labor Day.
Stephanie McMahon talked with Rollins backstage. He wanted to know where HHH was to see if he had a plan. HHH was behind Rollins the whole time and wondered if Rollins doubted if Stephanie could handle things. HHH said Sheamus was going to wrestle Randy Orton tonight. Sheamus vs. Orton is officially the new Lawler vs. Dundee.
Then HHH said Rollins would wrestle twice to prepare for Night of Champions. Rollins would have a champion vs. champion match against Ryback. Can you believe a match like that is being given away on a throwaway holiday show? 20 years ago, that would have headlined a PPV. HHH also booked Rollins and the New Day in a trios match against the Prime Time Players and Cena. Rollins said he could handle it because he's the man.
Sasha Banks defeated Paige in 9:55.
Sasha Banks won after Naomi started to run in the ring, causing the referee to stop her. As Paige tried to pick Banks up, Banks pinned her with a small package. Paige bumped hard but there was only mild interest from the crowd.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns defeated the Ascension (2:52)
Just a squash. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose gave Viktor the Doomsday Device. Ambrose pinned Viktor with Dirty Deeds. The theme with Ambrose and Reigns is they are now looking for a third partner for their six man match with Bray Wyatt, Braun Stowman and Luke Harper.
Afterwards, Stowman, Wyatt and Harper appeared on the TitonTron. Wyatt said the apocalypse were waiting for them at Night of Champions.
Ryback did an interview getting over his catchphrases when Kevin Owens showed up eating an apple. Owens told Ryback not to bite off more than he could chew.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback defeated WWE Champion and U.S. Champion Seth Rollins in 17:42 in a nontitle match.
Rollins did a great job in this match, but the crowd heat was really disappointing. After Rollins hit three consecutive topes, Ryback got back in the ring and hit a meat hook clothesline that popped the crowd. Rollins hit a enzuigiri, then Sting popped up on the TitonTron again wondering where Rollins was. That distracted Rollins, and Ryback got the pin with a small package. 2nd straight match with that finish. During the match, JBL talked like the match was a title vs. title match and Rollins could become the Intercontinental champion if he beat Ryback. At this point, I was sure JBL would have rather been watching the Ohio State football game than the show he was commentating for.
After the match, Sting appeared on the screen again and put a Sting mask over Rollins' statue. Rolins pitched a fit.
Backstage, Rollins was furious looking for Sting when The New Day popped up trying to give him a pep talk. Xavier Woods had his trombone back. Rollins started to scold New Day when Edge and Christian popped up. Edge reminded Rollins about what happened last December when his goons threatened to break Edge's neck in order to get Cena to bring the Authority back. Edge challenged Rollins to go after him again. Rollins stormed off saying he had a lot on his mind.
With Edge and Christian still there, Woods said he had been waiting for this day for a long time. He played something on his trombone. Then Christian brought out his kazaoo and played it while Edge chanted "New Day Sucks." Big E. put a stop to that by attempting to eat the Kazoo, but failing. The sight of Big E. with the Kazoo in his mouth was just the best. The Dudley Boyz showed up and told New Day that the Prime Time Players would get a rematch against New Day next week for the World Tag Team titles. The winners would face the Dudleys at NOC. Then Bubba Ray started chanting "Get the tables" in the same cadance as "New Day Sucks."
Summer Rae came out, supposedly to apologize for the situation with Lana and Dolph Ziggler. She asked for Rusev to come out. She said Rusev had given her the courage to pose for this month's IronMan Magazine, several photos of which were displayed. Rae talked about how Ziggler tried to seduce him, and she started to lose her train of thought talking about Ziggler's body. She started to cry, but the crowd chanted "boring." Rusev accepted her apology. Rusev said it wasn't Rae's fault, it was Ziggler's.
Rusev started to cut a promo on Lana. He mentioned that Lana was suppsoedly not in Baltimore because of a broken wrist, but she was really suffering from a broken heart. Rusev told Lana that he would never in a million years make her feel the way Ziggler made her feel right now. Ziggler came out and said he knew Rusev would never make her feel that way Ziggler makes her feel, because Lana told him that last night. Ziggler called Rusev a liar and said Lana knew Rusev is lying. Ziggler said Lana told him to give Rusev a message, and Ziggler superkicked him.
Orton was shown talking with Reigns and Ambrose backstage.
Randy Orton defeated Sheamus (15:50)
Orton kicked out of White Noise, then sidestepped the Brogue Kick and hit the RKO for the pin. Michael Cole said this was the rubber match in the series the two have had over the past few months. They've had a series for the past 28 months. Sheamus worked hard trying to get heat because every match was having a rough time trying to get a response tonight, much less one that the crowd has seen 100 times.
After the match, the Wyatt Family surrounded Orton. Harper blindsided Orton with a superkick. Strowman put Orton into the head-and-arm choke and left him laid out. Stroman gave Orton a twisting power bomb. JBL explained that the Wyatt Family took out Orton so he wouldn't be able to team with Reigns and Ambrose at NOC.
The Dudley Boyz defeated Los Matadores (1:35)
Devon Dudley pinned Fernando after the 3-D. Fernando accidentally hit Diego. Then Torito jumped up on the apron, and Fernando slapped him.
Postmatch, Diego kicked Torito in what appeared to be the blowoff to the gimmick. The Dudleys came back in the ring and gave Diego a Super Bomb through a table.
Cesaro and the Miz went to a double countout (4:09)
The Big Show came out and chased the Miz around ringside. Miz ran through the crowd. On his way to the back, Show gave Cesaro a Knockout punch. Cesaro can't even get a win over Miz? Cesaro posed with JBL's cowboy hat. Cole blurted out "Who said he doesn't have charisma?" I'll bet if he checks out one of those Stone Cold podcasts he keeps promoting on the Network, he'll find out.
John Cena and the Prime Time Players defeated WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day and WWE Champion/U.S. Champion Seth Rollins (12:57)
Cena pinned Kofi Kingston after an AA. Afterwards, Cena did the Millions of Dollars dance with Titus O"Neal and Darren Young. Once again, the highlight of the match was Woods and his ringside antics. He's now playing the trombone and Big E. sways his body while he holds opponents in various holds. Woods was absolutely hysterical. It's been a long time since I've seen a gimmick like New Day go from horrid to being the best in the business.
Postmatch, Rollins was upset about being on the short end of two matches tonight. Once again, Sting appeared on the screen, where he appeared with the statue. Turns out, Stingg was backstage in front of a trash truck. Sting pushed the statue into the truck, whee it was crushed to its demise. Sting rode away on the truck.
Main event was the only thing of interest on the show. From this point on, it's football season for the next four months, and it's going to be a tough go trying to build interest.