Best Match — New Day vs. The Usos
Worst Match — Punjabi Prison, The Great Khali…an answer to a question no one asked.
I’m sure my judgment was clouded by watching the G1 right before it, but this PPV just seemed boring and gimmicky. Even Owens vs. Styles was dull and tarnished by the lame finish. The flag match reminded me of something out of the 80s…it wouldn’t surprise me if the exact same match was contested by Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff. The crowd was absolutely dead, which didn’t help matters.
– Lance Wroblewski
Thumbs way down
Best match: Usos vs New Day
Worst match: Punjabi prison
What a pile of boring, plodding garbage this show was. Following the G1 for the first time sure gives a new perspective on how bad the WWE product is. Orton’s 2017 is giving Kane a run for its money re: “perpetually involved with the sh*ttiest matches/angles/gimmicks.”
– Eric Bonin
Best Match: Usos vs. New Day
Worst Match: Punjabi Prison Match.
Really enjoyed the tag opener. I was highly entertained by this one, great hot crowd and exciting back-and-forth action with clearly defined heroes and villains. Unsurprisingly, the match with the least convoluted booking and finish was the one that I felt landed the best!
Nak/Corbin obviously didn’t set the world on fire and doesn’t feel like the best use of Nakamura, but it wasn’t a bad match aside from the extended bearhug spot that felt as though it deflated the crowd after the hot opener.
AJ/Owens was really solid, but just like their last PPV bout, they booked a finish that took the wind out of the sails of the overall match and with this finish here, you pretty well saw the babyface get bested fairly clean by the heel to win, which felt off kilter.
Cena/Rusev felt hampered by the overbooking of the flag match rules and took what felt like a long while to heat up. Certainly not the best match these two have had or could have, but I really liked the shots of Cena in the Accolade on the entrance ramp.
Throughout the night, the commentary was a glaring negative, in particular I thought they did a really poor job of getting anybody over (Corbin might’ve been the outlier here). Specifically, JBL is such a gasbag that most of what he says is eye-roll-worthy and asinine, which is a detriment to the in-ring competitors (since he says so much BS) and it’s not like Byron or Tom really compensate with their own credibility here.
And it’s not as though the three-man booth can’t work when you contrast it with the UFC booth from last night. I’m a massive Dom Cruz fan and think Stann has incredible poise and presents an excellent produced on-air talent and along with Anik, somehow Cruz and Stann were able to get fighters and the live action in a shoot over far better than these WWE commentators. Cruz and Stann communicate the action so precisely and inform the viewer to “fill in the gaps” with their level of knowledge and expertise, I’m constantly puzzled as to why WWE doesn’t utilize the simple, straightforward storytelling on commentary that would actually enhance their in-ring product.
Women’s match wasn’t anything special. I like Becky Lynch and Charlotte and think WWE does a tremendous job in Naomi’s overall presentation which makes her look and feel special, but the match didn’t make anybody feel special and the finish fell flat since they haven’t really built Nattie up as a killer contender.
Main event was rough, must’ve been a really tough watch for those live since the double cage seemed to make for some obstructed viewing of the action and the gimmick’d cage and abundance of rules was too silly for me.
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So much about this match, much like all of the Mahal/Orton PPV matches, simply didn’t feel like a world title bout and aside from Jinder’s walkout and the Singh brothers killing themselves with crazy bumps, I’m fairly disinterested and apathetic to the entire run. The finish was odd and goofy but compared to the worms and the haunted houses, this was probably the least kooky Randy Orton PPV finish of the year.
– Jeff Parker
Thumbs down show
Best match: New Day vs The Usos
Worst match: Nakamura vs Corbin
In large part because of our Observer subscriptions, a friend and I signed up for NJPW World and we’re watching our first G1. After watching like four straight great days of G1, a lot of this was just brutal. They’s not even in the same league. And the fact that Nakamura is having a match like the one he had with Corbin while the G1 is going on, with one great match after another, is honestly kind of sad.
– Matt Singer
Thumbs way, way down. Best match was Styles vs. Owens despite an awful finish. Worst is hard to choose, but I’d say Corbin vs. Nakamura because both guys came out looking worse than when they went in. Terrible show.
– Josh Abbott
Thumbs in the middle
Best Match: Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles
Worst Match: Baron Corbin vs Shinsuke Nakamura
If anything, the cheap finish for Corbin collecting a DQ loss to Nakamura was to set up a phony “even steven” so Corbin can get a semi-clean pin at SummerSlam, since he’s in for the monster push and Nakamura is likely to go the US title route vs the “real” workers like Styles, Owens, and Zayn.
While Natalya is clearly a hardcore favorite, the women’s title is mostly dead with Naomi unless they are in Florida. With SummerSlam in NY, who knows how the crowd will react.
With a tag team problem on Smackdown (Colons out of action and American Alpha disbanded), the obvious choices are reforming the Harper/Rowan tag team or giving a big push to the Singh Brothers (sort of a thank you for all the abuse they take) as a transition to a new babyface team moving up from NXT.
– Jeff Cohen
Hard to switch gears from 5 days of G1 to this but here we are.
English-Dillinger: This was fine for pre-show. Unfortunately look like these two are headed for yet another match.
Tag Titles Usos-New Day: This was great. Really cool spots. Actually swerved me as when I saw NO Big E and Woods figured he was taking the fall. Nice clean finish too.
Nakamura-Corbin: Figured be a screwy finish with this being second. Nakamura tried to make the match work but Corbin just isn’t there yet. Silly finish but I can understand trying to protect both guys. Be more creative though.
Women’s 5 Way: 3 of the 5 were pretty good. Lana and Tamina really dragged this down. Nice surprise seeing Natalya winning to spice things up.
US Title Style-Owens: match was building well then, a bad trend, another flat finish. I assume they will address this on Smackdown but the announcers not paying any attention to Styles shoulder looking to be up did it no favors.
FLAG Match Rusev-Cena: Not that the match was bad work wise but this was dumber then I thought before hand.
Bennett-Zayn: This was good enough. 50-50 at its finest.
Mahal-Orton: Layers of smoke and mirrors. This was not good at all. Crowd was dead. Work rate was dead. Just bad. Not house of horrors bad but a solid contender for runner-up worst match of the year.
Thumbs Down show. My expectations were super low and this show did not even meet those. I know they are building to Summerslam but I fail to see the point of pointing on these extra shows with booking like this.
Best Match: Usos-New Day
Worst Match: Prison match.
– Mike Flynn