The Big Takeaway:
Roman Reigns is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion on a program that featured the return of Vince McMahon in an on-screen role for the first time in over a year. Reings got a very positive response all night and defeated Sheamus in a match he had to win, or else get fired.
Stephanie McMahon started the show. Michael Cole announced that HHH was in a hospital nursing injuries. It sounded like the crowd noise was artificial, even though the show was live. Which shows how much faith the fans in Philadelphia had in regards to cheering the people the company wants cheered. She said Roman Reigns had attacked not only HHH, but the COO and his boss.
Reigns came out. There was a small "Thank you, Roman" chant. Reigns said he was a father and today was his daughter's birthday. But he didn't feel bad at all about whipping HHH's ass. They teased Roman was going to get fired. Stephanie brought up Reigns losing another chance at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, called him a failure and a disgrace. Reigns said Stephanie was the disgrace, so was HHH and their whole family.
Stephanie slapped him repeatedly. She said she wasn't going to fire Reigns because her husband asked her not to. She said someone wanted to see Reigns tonight, and that was her father. So Vince McMahon makes his way back to TV tonight.
You might be reading this and wondering since Stephanie slapped Reigns about eight times, how did Reigns get his comeback? The answer is there was none. At this point, I'm wondering who Stephanie is going to wrestle when she headlines WrestleMania because she's more protected than Reigns is. I can't believe they castrated him like that after last night.
Dean Ambrose (C) and Dolph Ziggler went to a no contest in a nontitle match (12:20)
Kevin Owens came out and attacked Dolph Ziggler, then gave Dean Ambrose a Pop-Up Power Bomb. Owens gave Ambrose another Pop-Up Powerbomb. When Ziggler went for a comeback, Owens gave him a Pop-Up Powerbomb, as well. They were in the midst of a good match where Ziggler gave Ambrose a Superkick, but Ambrose bounced off the ropes and gave Ziggler a clothesline. Looks like a tease of a three-way match down the line.
Owens was interviewed by Jo Jo backstage. He was almost in a catatonic state and vowed to put Ambrose in an actual asylum until he gets his Intercontiental Championship back.
The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno were backstage. They challenged the Wyatt Family to a match tonight in a rally around the ECW banner interview to get the natural Philadelphia response.
Bo Dallas and R-Truth went to a no contest (3:25)
Just went you thought an episode of WWE Superstars had broken out, the whole matchup was a backdrop to Vince McMahon coming into the building.They got a couple of spots into the match when Vince showed up in a limo. Stephanie wanted to join Vince, but he insisted she go back to Connecticut and nurse HHH back to health.
Vince then did the routine he did years ago when he stopped a house show match with Taijiri and Rhyno in progress, as he walked into the ring and ordered R-Truth and Bo Dallas out. Vince came out and said that Reigns had to be cowering backstage in fear of what Vince was going to say to him. After a commercial where Vince sat in a chair at ringside long enough to let the second hour arrive, he ordered Reigns to come out.
Vince ordered Reigns to apologize. Reigns just shook his head. Then Vince ordered Reigns to get down on his hands and knees to apologize. Nothing doing. Vince said there was a time where he would beat an apology out of him. When Reigns just smirked at him, Vince teased squaring off with him. He took off his coat.
Then Sheamus stepped out and said he wanted to beat an apology out of Reigns himself. He wanted to challenge Reigns tonight. Sheamus talked about putting the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Then we got the typical McMahon swerve where Vince asked the crowd if they wanted the match, then shot them down. Reigns asked why not, and siad Vince once had big grapefruits, but now they've become shriveled up prunes now. He said McMahon was 70 years old and time was passing him by.
McMahon was so incensed, he granted Reigns the match. But if Reigns didn't win the title tonight, he was fired. Then Vince kicked Reigns in the balls and walked off. It really says something about the power of your champion when the crowd was more fired up for the tease of a McMahon-Reigns match than another bout with Reigns. The stipulation practically guarantees a title switch tonight.
Alberto Del Rio and Rusev defeated Jack Swagger and Ryback (6:30)
Rusev and Alberto Del Rio each hit separate thrust kicks on Jack Swagger and Rusev scored the pin. Match came and went. Swagger gets a reaction for someone who has barely been on TV over the past year.
We got our third installment of the Rosebush. Adam Rose talked about Charlotte cheating against Paige to win at TLC, and how Becky Lynch was worried Charlotte was becoming too much like her father. Rose told Lynch not to worry because Charlotte would still need 16 world titles, 4 marriages, 4 divorces and multiple fortunes to win and lose to become too much like her father. Well, Charlotte is following in her father's footsteps in several of those areas, too.
Want worse? The Rosebush preempted Tyler Breeze's ring entrance. I know I'm becoming a broken record regarding not showing Bree'e entrance, it show some proper priorities for the love of God.
Neville defeated Tyler Breeze (4:56)
The Miz came out and started shouting instructions to Neville. Then Miz started leading cheers for Neville in his usual obnoxious way, which got Summer Rae mad at him. After a Superkick, Neville won with the Red Arrow. Neville started rolling his eyes at Miz when he started taking credit for Neville's win. WCW's booking committee would be proud of how quickly the WWE has made Breeze a midcarder in record time.
Miz talked with Neville backstage. Miz said he could pull enough strings to get Neville cast in the 8th Star Wars movie. But in exchange, Miz wanted Neville's British accent because he wanted to be the next James Bone. Miz proclaimed he could make Neville into the next Daniel Bryan. Neville warned Miz that if he ever tried what he pulled tonight again, he would stick a light saber where the sun doesn't shine. But didn't Neville win?
The Wyatt Family did an interview backstage. Luke Harper said they were the way into the see of woe. Eric Rowan said they were the way into eternal pain. Braun Strowman said they were the way to go among the lost. Bray Wyatt said they were the Angels of the dirt, and they would bury Team Extreme in the same city they were born.
The Wyatt Family defeated Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno and the Dudley Boyz in an Extreme Rules match (15:29)
A wild brawl as you would expect. The unsung hero was Luke Harper, who channeled his inner-Dreamer by taking lots of crazy bumps. That included a Superplex off the top rope onto a chair. Later, Dreamer gave Harper a Death Valley Driver off the ramp through two tables. Strowman took his monthly push into the announcer's table fall. The Dudleyz hit Harper with the 3-D, which everyone thought was the finish. They brawled all over the arena. Wyatt pulled Ray out of the ring. It ended when Rowan gave Rhyno a splash through the table for the pin. Very entertaining because it was something different from what we usually get on Raw, as opposed to Impact, where they had four matches a month like this one.
The New Day came out in a somber tone showing still-frame highlights from last night's TLC match with Lucha Dragons and the Usos. Kofi Kingston talked about how he felt like he got hit with a Mack Truck. Big E. Says matches like last night's change your perspective, so he called out the Usos. New Day acted like they wanted to bury the hatchet and call a truce. Big E. Wanted Lucha Dragons to join them. Kofi pinned over Sin Cara and said the Dragons were his son's favorite tag team.
Kalisto brought up Xavier Woods throwing his trombone against his back. Woods admitted it was brash but he apologized. Jey Uso said he heard a better apology from his 3-year-old. Woods said they all took the tag team division to the next level, and the match was for the fans. The New Day wanted to shake hands, and they all shook hands. After the Usos and Dragons left, the New Day fell into their standard routine screaming at the top of their lungs how they were the tag team champions, which included Woods doing a reverse worm. Dragons and Usos ran back in the ring and cleared the ring of the New Day.
Lynch and Charlotte were backstage laughing with Flair. What did I miss here?
Charlotte and Becky Lynch defeated Alicia Fox and Brie Bella via submission (3:24)
Charlotte has apparently stolen Stephanie's gimmick of turning babyface and heel over 24-hour periods. Finish was Flair tripping Alicia Fox, which Lynch didn't see. Lynch got the submission on Fox with the Disarm-Her. Lynch acted like everything was great and they had won fairly, not realizing how they won.
Titus O'Neal and Darren Young were trying to hawk merchandise from WWE.Com, which are 25% off. Titus could have a future as a Michael Strahan-type host after his wrestling days are over.
Roman Reigns defeated Sheamus (C) to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (16:54)
These last two night have done wonders for Regins' career. The same Philly fans that booed him out of the building in January for winning the Royal Rumble went nuts for this title switch. It was also well booked. Vince was at ringside, living and dying with every near fall. At around the 11:00 mark, Reigns hit a head butt that busted him up hardway. But it came right at the finishing sequence, so they couldn't stop it or else it would have killed the momentum. Reigns hit a spear, it Vince pulled the referee out of the ring. Sheamus came back to hit White Noise, but Reigns kicked out.
Vince talked to the referee on the apron. As he did so, Del Rio and Rusev ran out to attack Reigns, who responded by giving them both Superman Punches, and then he hit Vince with a Superman Punch. Vince sold it like he was dead. He didn't move for the rest of the show. Sheamus responded by hitting the Brogue Kick, but Reigns kicked out. Sheamus set up for another Brogue Kick, but Reigns hit the spear and the pin for the title switch.
It was a good world title celebration with Regins dumping Vince's body off the apron. No boos at all for Reigns as he posed with a big smile on his face. You could almost feel the redemption inside him in a year where's he come full circle.
These are the nights where you get so frustrated with WWE booking because this show was booked so well, you wonder why they can't put shows together like this more often. They pressed the right buttons with Reigns over the last two nights, figuring the best way to win over the fan base is to beat up two of its biggest targets: Vince and HHH. Plus, it was wise to get the belt to Reigns on this night, because the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania are crowds most likely to hijack shows and boo Reigns. A win all around and a good show.