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Tampa Bay Times Forum – Tampa, FL – Sunday, July 20, 2014
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
In the first Kickoff match, Adam Rose (w/ Layla & Summer Rae) defeats Fandango at 1:21. Fandango gets distracted by Layla and Summer, both of whom slap him in the face. Rose hits the Party Foul to get the pin. Layla looked amazing out there. Not much else to see.
Second up on the Kickoff, Cameron defeats Naomi at 3:12. The Funkadactyls explode! Naomi is the aggressor here, and she’s also the only competent wrestler in this match. Even so, Cameron grabs a quick schoolgirl rollup with a handful of gear to get the pin. The sooner they can move Naomi on from Cameron the better.
In a Best Two out Of Three Falls Match, WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeat The Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) at 18:50. The Usos have been the Champions since 3.3.14, and this is their sixth defense. Rowan and Harper use their superior size and strength to dominate the first fall. Jey gets beat up for a while but eventually makes a hot tag to Jimmy, who comes in and gets drilled with a big boot by Harper and that’s enough for the challengers to win the first fall at 4:46. Harper and Rowan dominate the second fall too, showing some great teamwork in the process. Jimmy slips out of a back suplex and makes the tag, and Jey scores a quick rollup on Harper to win the second fall at 8:12. The third fall really gets crazy, with both teams picking up the pace and battling back and forth. Of particular note is Rowan being able to superplex both Usos at the same time, which is just a great spot. The crowd stays juiced throughout the third fall, especially when the Usos use double superkicks to take both Harper and Rowan down. The Usos then climb to the top rope and hit Harper with a double Superfly Splash to get the pin. This was just all good stuff, with the first two falls coming to logical conclusions after solid action, and the third fall all four men just let it all hang out. This is going to be hard for the rest of the card to top.
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee defeats Paige at 7:02 to retain the title. AJ has been the Champion since 6.30.14, and this is her first defense. Paige dominates a majority of the opening minutes, with an answer for everything the Champion tries. Things get heated down the stretch as AJ locks on the Black Widow, which Paige counters out of it. Paige hits the Paige-Turner but AJ kicks out at two. After a series of reversals AJ is able to hit a Shining Wizard to score the pin. This wasn’t one of their stronger efforts, with a couple of really noticeably blown spots. They’re still both better than the average Diva, so this was decent but disappointing.
Rusev (w/ Lana) defeats Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) by count out at 9:45. Swagger starts off hot and sends Rusev running a couple of times, but the Bulgarian Brute is able to withstand the attacks and quickly take over on offense. That goes on for a little bit and then Swagger makes the big fiery comeback and traps Rusev in the Ankle Lock. Things look bleak but Rusev is able to reach the ropes and roll to the floor. Swagger goes out to the floor and puts the Ankle Lock on, and Rusev is able to use momentum to pull Swagger right into the steel ring post. Rusev makes it back to the ring while Swagger cannot, giving Rusev the countout victory. These two had really good chemistry together, and worked a solid formula match with intensity. I also don’t mind the finish because it lends itself to a rematch, and I’d like to see that.
Chris Jericho defeats Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) at 15:03. I’m still not really sure entirely what this feud was about, per se. Both men have the match we’re conditioned to seeing them have, Jericho hitting all his signature spots and Wyatt relying on help from Rowan and Harper. The referee gets wise to the Wyatt Family antics and dismisses Harper and Rowan to the locker room. Can someone explain the crab walk thing that Wyatt does to me? He just does it, then flips over and goes on about his business. It’s really stupid. I kind of hate his whole character actually. They do some more wrestling and then Jericho gets the pin with a Codebreaker From Out Of Nowhere to get the pin. You know, if they really wanted to put Bray Wyatt over, they’d have him destroy Jericho, and then beat him in the rematches too, not this 50/50 booking bullcrap that everyone else gets. Now, I like and respect Jericho and his body of work is great. Jericho has been willing to put over young guys (to the extent that they allow him to), and that is admirable. But he’s been doing it off and on for a few years now and it really just doesn’t mean anything anymore. I understand Bray Wyatt v Chris Jericho sounds great on paper, but in practice it was kind of a wet fart.
The Miz won a 19-man battle royal over Alberto Del Rio, Big E, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Diego, Dolph Ziggler, The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Ryback, United States Champion Sheamus, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Xavier Woods, and Zack Ryder to win the vacant Intercontinental Title at 14:11. The title has been vacant since 6.30.14, when Bad News Barrett had to forfeit it due to injury. Khali eliminates Woods and Ryder before being dumped out by a number of superstars. Sin Cara goes out next thanks to Bo. Axel eliminates Truth, and then Sandow eliminates Axel. Diego dropkicks Sandow out, and then Ryback eliminates Diego. Sheamus and Ryback face off, and Sheamus eliminates him with a Brogue Kick. Bo Dallas eliminates O’Neil. Ziggler gets rid of Del Rio. Cesaro strikes next, tossing first Big E and then seemingly tossing Kingston out. Kingston lands on Big E’s shoulders, and is able to finagle his way back to the ring. That ruled. Moments later Cesaro dumps Kingston out for real, and then Slater takes advantage by dumping Cesaro out. Sheamus destroys Slater and knocks him out. Ziggler is able to eliminate Dallas and then Sheamus. It appears to be down to Sheamus and Ziggler, but Miz has been hiding out on the floor for a while so he’s still in it too. Ziggler and Sheamus struggle back and forth and Ziggler is able to knock the U.S. Champion out. Miz then predictably dumps Ziggler out to win his third Intercontinental Title. This was fun enough, but the finish was pretty hackneyed.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena defeats Kane, Randy Orton, and Roman Reigns in a Fatal Four Way Match to retain the title at 18:16. Cena has been the Champion since 6.29.14, and this is his first defense. Orton and Kane are both members of the Authority, so it seems likely that they will work together. That’s exactly what happens in the first parts of the match, but Cena and Reigns fight back and end up facing off with each other. The crowd seems to be mildly entertained by that idea, but Kane and Orton break it up before anything can happen. Bummer. It doesn’t take long for Orton and Kane to turn on each other. Cena and Reigns finally square off and the crowd firmly stands in Reigns’ corner. Reigns goes through a hot streak and dishes out multiple Superman Punches and Spears, including one on Orton that sends both men crashing through the barricade. The parade of finishers sends the match to its conclusion, and Cena is able to hit Orton with an Attitude Adjustment right onto Kane (who was down after taking a Spear from Reigns), and that’s enough to pin the Big Red Machine. Cena retains, duh. I admit I wasn’t all that excited to revisit this match, but it was actually a lot of fun. It was pretty typical of most WWE Fatal 4-Way matches, but they kept the action moving and did enough signature moves and big spots to keep the crowd popping. Kane ate the pin, just like he should. I forgot how much the crowd was into Reigns here.
The opener rocked it, the main event over-performed, and Rusev v Swagger was a nice midcard match so I shockingly can recommend this show. I know many were disappointed in the fact that the advertised Seth Rollins v Dean Ambrose match didn’t go off quite as planned, but I liked their interaction and knew it would lead to more matches later so I’ll allow it. Had Jericho v Wyatt been any good I would have even better things to say about this show. As it is, it’s pretty solid stuff.
Tags: Battleground, John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns