By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big News: Randy Orton will face Seth Rollins in the main event of Extreme Rules of winning a three-way match over Roman Reigns and Ryback.
Byron Sexton was on commentary for the "convalescing" Michael Cole. Fortunately, he delivery didn't make it seem he was preparing to call Amen Corner this weekend. They opened by showing highlights of HHH's victory over Sting because of course they did.
The Opening Segment: Setting up the main event for Extreme Rules.
The Big Show stood beside the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy as Seth Rollins, Kane and J&J Security stood in the ring. Rollins announced HHH and Stephanie McMahon were on vacation. Rollins said the lesson from WrestleMania was that the Authority always wins, bringing up HHH and the Big Show. Then he turned he attention to Kane, then was left speechless since Kane came up empty at WrestleMania, and simply said "Kane was there."
Kane was the comedy center of the segment because no one could think of anything to thank him for, then his interview was interrupted by Randy Orton, who reminded Rollins of his loss at WrestleMania. Orton wanted a title shot and asked Director of Operations Kane, who instead ordered a three-way match to determine the challenger for Rollins at Extreme Rules. Kane announced it would be Roman Reigns (mostly cheers), Ryback (could all but said "yeah, right") and Orton. Kane said each participant would compete in singles matches tonight and Orton would face Kane immediately.
Randy Orton defeated Kane by DQ in 6:55
Orton went for the RKO but Kane rolled out of the ring. Then Orton dropped Kane against the timekeeper's table, but Kane hit Orton for the DQ. Orton is a top-level player and he couldn't pin Kane? The gimmick was Kane was supposed to injure Orton with a chair so he wouldn't be able to compete in the main event tonight (this wasn't explained in commentary), but Orton escaped a choke slam and got out of harm's way.
A.J. Lee Retirement Announcement
In a surprise, Sexton, JBL and Booker T. acknowledged A.J. Lee's retirement and aired her farewell tweet. JBL actually promoted #thankyouAJ.
Brad Maddox, who wasn't introduced or even named, consoled Kane on his loss. Kane ignored him, but Rollins scolded Kane and said the first priority in the Authority is to protect him. Basically Rollins was mad Kane didn't injure Orton and teased recommending to HHH and Stephanie that Kane should lose his job as Director of Operations. Kane responded by putting Rollins in a match immediately.
Sexton announced that Cole suffered a bulging disk (VERY careful with how that sentence is typed) after the F-5 from Lesnar. Cole is even rumored to be considering legal action against Lesnar.
Seth Rollins defeated Neville in 11:37
So you were expecting a young superstar who got "NXT" and "Let's Go Neville" chants to be put over here? Say, like, Ricky Steamboat in 1978 when Ric Flair put him on the map in one night? Instead, they made Neville the next Evan Bourne in one night. Rollins took 75% of the offense and pinned Neville after some minor interference from J&J Security with a curb stomp. Then Rollins curb stomped Neville again.
I recently heard a theory that HHH was trying to keep as many guys at NXT from getting called up because he had no confidence that they would be booked properly on the main roster. This match did not dispel that theory. Rather, it was Exhibit A because you could tell the fans were ready to get behind him.
They congratulated the Rock on Furious 7 finishing first at the box office over the weekend.
John Cena came out and mentioned that the City of Austin declared today "WWE Day." He got 60-40 cheers and put over the U.S. Championship as a symbol of excellence. He mentioned the John Cena U.S. Open Challenge giving anyone an opportunity to face him. He mentioned a potential rematch with Rusev at Extreme Rules, then called out the first challenger for the Open Challenge.
John Cena defeated Stardust to retain the U.S. Championship in 13:05
Cena hit a reverse springboard stunner followed by the AA for the pin. Near the end, Stardust escaped an STF and hit the Cross Roads, but Cena kicked out. Stardust got near falls with a Reverse Blockbuster, a DDT (where Cena landed badly), a moonsault press and an Alabama Slam, which led to JBL dropping Bob Holly's name. Two seemed to be on different pages early but it settled into a good match.
Naomi and Paige defeated the Bella Twins in 4:57
Bad match with a finish that was all screwed up. Naomi in the Rear View on Nikki, but Brie made the save. Paige ran in and gave Nikki a Super Kick. Somehow, this was supposed to tell the story that Brie had accidentally knocked out her sister. Naomi used some weird head scissors to drive Nikki into the mat that didn't look convincing at all for the pin. Awful.
The Prime Time Players then followed with a promo that was equally as bad. They started by making fun of the New Day. Titus O'Neal referred to Xavier Woods as "Buckwheat." Remember that one the next time Vince complains he can't any corporate sponsors. Then they made fun of the Ascension with tinfoil wrapped in safety cones in disguise as spiked shoulder pads. Darren Young tried to use ketchup as face paint. A promo that was the sound of one hand whacking.
Ryback pinned Luke Harper in 2:45
Luke Harper was shown power bombing Dean Ambrose through a table to explain Ambrose's absence tonight. Ryback got the pin with the Shellshock.
The New Day did an interview with Renee Young. Looks like they've given up on New Day as faces because Renee asked them about the fans chanting "New Day Sucks." Woods scowled until his partners started clapping. Big E. Langston showed off his personality where he told a story about signing an autograph for a young fan he met the previous day. New Day is on track to become insincere heels.
Lucha Dragons defeated New Day in 3:00
Kingston interfered giving Kalisto an illegal kick while the referee's back was turned. Woods looked at him like he had made the right move trying to cheat to win. Kalisto gave Woods a facebuster, then hit Langston and Kingston with a twisting tope. Sin Cara made a blind tag and pinned Woods with a Swanton. Fans continued to chant "New Day Sucks."
Roman Reigns defeated the Big Show in 10:39
Booking here made sense and Reigns was roundly cheered. Show was great with a mixture of power moves and good agility for a 475-pound man in his early 40s, doing baseball slides and even the old Vader Bomb. Reigns sold the whole way but he didn't lose the crowd, and hit a series of Superman Punches followed by a Spear for the pin.
Kane left a message with an unknown person to tell HHH and Stephanie everything was under control. Natalya, Cameron, Summer Rae and Alicia Fox came in and sweet talked him into staging a Divas Battle Royal next week, which he begrudgingly agreed to.
Sheamus came out to a heel reaction, stealing a line straight from Rick Rude telling the crowd to take a look what a real man looks like. He said he was out to rid the world of worthless underdogs like Dolph Ziggler. He bragged about his size when Mark Henry interrupted him for the monthly "hometown guy returns to do a job" routine.
Sheamus defeated Mark Henry in 2:33
Sheamus' tries to get heat by screaming "Are you not entertained?" Sheamus won after a chop block followed by a Brogue Kick.
Bray Wyatt did his first promo since losing to the Undertaker at WrestleMania. He proclaimed himself the new face of fear. Well, Meng is selling cars now and the Barbarian's daughter can't even stay with TNA.
Ryback said he would win the main event three-way.
The Miz defeated Damien Mizdow in 4:58
Damien Mizdow was cheered but the crowd heat wasn't as sustained. Seemed the fans were worn out by this point. Mizdow hit a combination facelock backbreaker into a neckbreaker. The Miz tried to kick Mizdow low, but Mizdow caught the leg and said "Really?" Mizdow put punches to the Miz, but Miz spun him around and got the pin with a schoolboy while holding the trunks.
Orton did a promo saying he had nothing against Reigns and Ryback, but tonight he would be the winner of the three-way.
Randy Orton won the three-way by pinning Ryback in a match that also included Roman Reigns in 5:12
Rollins, Show and J&J Security came out midway through the match. Reigns did a tope onto the Authority, only to have Show deliver a knockout punch on Reigns. Rollins ran in at this point, but Orton teased giving him the high-angle DDT. J&J Security intervened, but Ryback laid both of them out. As Ryback finished off Johnny Mercury, Orton hit Ryback with the RKO for the pin.
After the final bell, Rollins attacked Orton and gave him the curb stomp, then posed over him.
SUMMARY: With no Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Paul Heyman, Dolph Ziggler, HHH or Stephanie McMahon, it was a wrestling heavy show. Going against the NCAA title game, it seemed the producers knew this show wasn't going to match the ratings of last week, which was expected since it wasn't coming the day after WrestleMania. The decision to have Neville job was just so stupid.