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Prudential Center – Newark, NJ – Sunday, May 22, 2016
Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton are on commentary for the main show. Saxton and Mauro Ranallo handle the Kickoff match.
Baron Corbin defeats Dolph Ziggler at 7:06 in a No Disqualification match. Ziggler starts off on fire, but Corbin quickly takes advantage of the stipulation and takes control of “The Showoff.” Corbin wears Ziggler down but can’t put him away. Ziggler has a lot of fight left in him, as he kicks out of the Deep Six. He comes back with a tornado DDT and the Fame-Ass-Er but that only gets two. Corbin avoids a superkick and delivers a blatant (and awesome low blow) to stop Ziggler in his tracks. End of Days is enough for Corbin to get the pin. Energetic little kickoff match there, with a phenomenal finish.
The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) defeat The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) at 8:33 in a Texas Tornado match. The fight starts in the aisle way but quickly finds itself in the ring. The Usos are the aggressors early on. Gallows and Anderson return the favor, as Cole mentions that they are former three-time IWGP Tag Team Champions. That’s a neat little fact that adds to their credibility. After some back and forth brawling, Jimmy goes up top but Gallows avoids the splash. One Magic Killer is enough for put the Usos away. Good way to open the show, with hard work from all four participants here.
Rusev (w/ Lana) defeats United States Champion Kalisto to win the title at 9:32. Kalisto has been the Champion since 1.24.16, and this is his fifth defense. I love that the United States Title is being contested between a Champion from Mexico and challenger from Bulgaria. Rusev dominates, using his considerable size and power advantage. Kalisto makes it interesting with some high-flying attacks, but Rusev powers his way back into control. When Rusev locks on the Accolade, Kalisto taps out quickly, making Rusev a two-time United States Champion. Solid big v little matchup there, with Rusev looking dominant and Kalisto getting just enough offense to elevate it above a squash.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods, w/ Kofi Kingston) defeat The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch & Aiden English) at 6:12 to retain the titles. New Day have been the Champions since 8.23.15, and this is their twelfth defense. Remember when the Vaudevillains were a thing? You can always tell New Day’s less important defenses when Woods is one of the participants. They basically work a truncated version of the tag team formula, since nobody in the history of ever thought the Vaudevillains had a chance here. Big E takes English out with the flying unicorn, and Kingston hits Gotch with a kick to the head from the apron. Woods hits the Shining Wizard on Gotch to get the pin. Short but energetic stuff here.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/ Maryse) defeats Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn in a Fatal Four Way match at 18:18 to retain the title. Miz has been the Champion since 4.4.16, and this is his third defense. Zayn takes Owens out with an immediate Helluva Kick, which is awesome. Cesaro hits Miz with a running European Uppercut, so we’re down to Zayn and Cesaro, which is a match I’d pay to see every time. It doesn’t take long for Miz and Owens to get back involved, as the action never stops. Maryse interferes on Miz’s behalf, so the referee doesn’t see him tapping out to Cesaro’s Sharpshooter. The crowd heat builds and builds as all four men unleash signature moves and awesome spots on each other. Zayn drills Cesaro with the Helluva Kick, but gets pulled out of the ring by Owens. While Zayn and Owens brawl on the floor, Miz steals the pin to retain the title. This was great! All four men filled their roles expertly and hit all the spots while never resting. Zayn letting his hatred of Owens cost him the match worked perfectly for his character and that feud, and Miz getting the pin off someone else’s move works for him. Outstanding.
Dean Ambrose beat Chris Jericho at 26:21 in an Asylum Match. This is a Steel Cage match with weapons hanging from trusses above the cage. Also, only pins and submissions to win, no escape. Ambrose controls the early going, using assorted weapons like a mop. The pace is excruciatingly slow. Jericho tries to leave the cage, even though he can’t win that way. This match feels like it’s never going to end. The crowd finally perks up when Ambrose pulls out a bag of thumb tacks. They tease the tacks several times and finally deliver when Jericho tries a Codebreaker but Ambrose catches him and drops him hard. That was cool. Ambrose follows with Dirty Deeds on the tacks to get the pin. Boy this just went on forever (who let it go over 26 minutes?) with only a few minor pops until the finish. This just didn’t work at all, even a little bit.
WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte defeats Natalya in a Submission Match at 9:30 to retain the title. Charlotte has been the Champion since 4.3.16, and this is her third defense. Charlotte’s father Ric is banned from ringside. Both women try wearing down a body part, which is always good strategy in a submission match. This goes on for a bit and Natalya finally puts on the Sharpshooter. Ric Flair’s music hits and out comes Dana Brooke dressed like the “Nature Boy,” fooling approximately no one. Brooke distracts Natalya long enough for Charlotte to get the advantage and lock on the Figure-Eight to get the win. This was dull and the finish was painfully dumb.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns defeats AJ Styles at 22:12 in an Extreme Rules match to retain the title. Reigns has been the Champion since 4.3.16, and this is his second defense. These two waste no time tearing into each other, and the crowd wastes no time telling Reigns how they feel about him (they hate him). The fight goes all over the arena, Attitude Era style. They battle on the announce tables and Reigns delivers a back body drop from one table to another and Styles crashes hard. Cool spot. They go back to the ring but are quickly back on the floor, where Reigns powerbombs Styles through the other table! Styles fights back and tries the Phenomenal Forearm but Reigns counters with a Superman Punch! That’s another cool spot. Reigns goes outside and hits a vicious Spear. Back in the ring it’s time for The Club to interfere. They hit the Boot of Doom and put Styles on top but Reigns kicks out! The Usos come out to even the odds and the crowd is not pleased to see them. Both teams are dispatched and Styles hits a Styles Clash but it only gets two! Styles hits another one on a chair but it only gets two! He unloads on Reigns, plus the Usos with a multitude of steel chair shots. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm again and Reigns Spears him right out of midair to get the pin. Awesome, balls-to-the-wall main event there. They really loaded up on bells and whistles but it all made sense and made both guys look great. I know it’s fashionable to hate on Reigns, but Styles wasn’t wrestling himself here. They have great chemistry as opponents, and I think this was the match that made people realize Styles was going to be a player.
While Reigns is celebrating, Seth Rollins makes his return from injury and hits Reigns with a Pedigree! Rollins wants back the title he never lost.
Two great title matches out of seven total make this an automatic thumbs-up show. The undercard is decent, and If there wasn’t a lull of boredom between the IC and World Title matches, this show would be pretty amazing, maybe even an all-timer. As it is, it’s still a good show well worth making time for.
Tags: AJ Styles, dean ambrose, extreme rules, Roman Reigns, WWE