– Air Date: April 28, 2016 (Apr 27 in Canada)
– Location: Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH
– The Big News:
There was another interesting confrontation between AJ Styles and Roman Reigns. Also, the League of Nations appear to be done.
– Show Recap:
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Roman Reigns came out to heavy booing (and some cheers). Jerry Lawler even mentioned it, saying it’s fun to boo Reigns and he doesn’t mind it. Reigns said he superman-punched Styles in the mouth, and would do it again at Payback. He did it because he doesn’t believe Styles’ claim that he isn’t behind the attacks of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
Reigns wanted the truth directly from Styles, but he got The Miz and Maryse instead. Miz introduced Reigns to Maryse and people clapped for her. They kissed. Miz said he warned us about Styles, Gallows and Anderson. He made a convoluted analogy to Shawshank Redemption, called Reigns the warden, and concluded that Styles would walk out as WWE Champion.
Miz said he deserved some recognition for this and he kissed Maryse again. Reigns punched him in the face. Miz fell to the outside and Maryse checked on him. Reigns handed the Intercontinental title to Maryse, said “nice to meet you,” and held up his WWE title belt.
This was fine for what it was. I must point out that Reigns did not use his new catchphrase here or at any point during the show, thankfully. They announced Reigns vs. Miz, and that Miz is the one who requested the match. They didn’t mention who he asked, because nobody is in charge of Smackdown.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed the League of Nations. Sheamus said no three men could beat them, and they proved it at WrestleMania when they beat New Day. Alberto Del Rio said they got rid of the weak link in Wade Barrett, and Rusev said you might as well call them the united nations. Goofy.
Kalisto, Sami Zayn & Cesaro beat League of Nations via countout
They announced earlier that this was basically an open challenge issued by the League. LON weren’t getting along right off the bat, as they kept blind-tagging themselves in. They got the heat on Zayn, but as Del Rio sized up a superkick, Rusev made a blind tag.
They argued in the ring, so Sheamus jumped in to break it up. They shoved each other for a bit until Del Rio walked out, which got a mixed reaction. Rusev held Zayn and tagged in Sheamus, who came off the top with a double axe handle, but Zayn moved and Sheamus nailed Rusev. Sheamus and Rusev then shoved for a bit until Rusev walked out, leaving Sheamus alone.
Zayn made a hot tag to Kalisto who hit a hurricanrana and springboard crossbody. Cesaro then tagged in and hit an uppercut and diving crossbody. Sheamus actually kicked out, so Cesaro hit a million uppercuts and dropkick. Cesaro went for the swing but Sheamus bailed and walked out.
Instead of going after Sheamus, they all just stood there and watched as the referee counted him out. They played Zayn’s music as the good guys posed. I have no idea why they couldn’t just pin Sheamus.
After a break, the League argued backstage. Rusev pushed Del Rio, then Sheamus shoved them both into a door. He yelled that the League was done and walked off. Rusev yelled, “Forget your league!” That’s one way to do a breakup, I guess.
They aired the Owens-Zayn video package from Raw.
Baron Corbin beat Damien Sandow via pinfall
After Dolph Ziggler attacked him on Raw, Corbin watched his back as he walked down the aisle tonight. Sandow didn’t get an entrance, if you were wondering. Some people chanted “Let’s go Sandow” as Corbin beat the crap out of him outside the ring. Corbin won in 2 minutes with End of Days.
Backstage, Renee caught up to AJ Styles. Styles said he doesn’t care what Reigns thinks. He’s going to take the title away and Reigns won’t be calling him a liar, he’ll be calling him champion. Styles doesn’t answer to Reigns and will step on his cape when he wants to. Styles added that he’ll be at ringside for Reigns’ match tonight.
Ambrose Asylum with Natalya and Women’s Champion Charlotte
This was the top of the hour segment. They showed a replay of Chris Jericho getting the best of Dean Ambrose on Raw. Ambrose remained outside the ring by the announce table and said he would get to his part-time position in a moment, but he wanted to talk about his full-time position first.
He said Jericho made a mistake by letting him go (from the Walls), because Ambrose doesn’t let go, and he was going to plant Jericho in the middle of the ring and beat him at Payback. Ambrose said he would turn Bon Jovi (Jericho) into Meatloaf.
It was time for Ambrose’s part-time position, so he jumped in the ring, called himself a multifaceted entertainer, popped a Tic Tac, and introduced us to the Ambrose Asylum. He brought out Natalya, who said his set reminded her of the dentist’s office.
Ambrose showed a clip of Charlotte tapping to Natalya but being saved by Ric Flair, and asked how things were going to be different on Sunday. Natalya said she would have Bret Hart in her corner. That brought out Charlotte and her dad (Ric Flair).
Charlotte called it disturbing that Natalya was parading Bret around after everything he’s been through. Natalya said Charlotte should look in the mirror and see who was standing behind her.
Charlotte said the difference was that Flair is legendary, but also her coach. Natalya called Flair a creepy old man who knows Charlotte isn’t good enough to win on her own. Bret would be there on Sunday to stop Flair from interfering and Charlotte will tap again.
“Stop me?!” said Flair, who claimed he owned Bret Hart in WWE and WCW. Flair said he would’ve beaten Bret on the moon if Vince flew them there. (This is where they cut out Flair telling Natalya to kill herself from the live taping.) Natalya told him to settle down and told Charlotte it’s time the fans get a champion they deserve. People cheered. They faced off and that was pretty much it.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady beat Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel (w/Heath Slater) via pinfall
New Day came out, kicked out all three announcers and took over on commentary. Enzo and Cass won quickly with the rocket launcher. The highlight of New Day on commentary was Byron Saxton being forced to sit on the floor. The Vaudevillains had come out on the stage to watch the match, and Big Cass called them soft afterwards. Again, the fans really liked Enzo and Cass.
Backstage, Goldust told R-Truth it felt good when they danced last week. Before he could finish, Truth said Goldust looked happy in a team with Fandango, so he got himself a different partner in Tyler Breeze, who showed up. Truth deemed them “Gorgeous Truth,” and they left. Fandango showed up to console Goldust. Breeze didn’t say or do anything. Truth used a small tree branch as a selfie stick.
They aired a promo for Primo and Epico who discussed Puerto Rico’s crippling economy. (Not really.)
Apollo Crews beat Stardust via pinfall
Crews won quickly with the spin-out powerbomb.
They aired a replay of the Shane and Stephanie stuff from Raw. Ranallo said everyone has been raving about the job Shane has done, and Lawler scoffed.
Non-title Champion vs. Champion Match: WWE Champion Roman Reigns beat IC Champion The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
Styles came out before the match to sit at ringside. Reigns hit Miz with the drive-by and faced off with Styles, who tossed his chair aside. As they mouthed off, Miz attacked Reigns from behind, tossing him head first into the announce table and steel post to gain control.
There were some brief dueling chants for Reigns, and Styles couldn’t help but look around at the crowd. Reigns came back with a Samoan drop, fists, clotheslines and more clotheslines. Reigns sized up the superman punch but Maryse pulled Miz out of the ring.
Reigns went after him, but Miz dropkicked the steps into Reigns. Miz followed with a DDT in the ring for a two count. Miz went for the skull crushing finale, but Reigns fought out with elbows and followed with a spear for the win. Average match at best, about 12 minutes.
Styles jumped in the ring afterwards to face off with Reigns. Gallows and Anderson made their way down and Reigns went after them, as an annoyed Styles looked on. Gallows and Anderson got the better of Reigns and Styles wasn’t stopping them.
The Usos ran out to make the save. After Jimmy Uso superkicked Anderson, Styles got in his face, perhaps to settle things down. However, Jimmy dropped Styles with a punch and superkicked Gallows. Styles came right back with a jumping kick on Jimmy, and Gallows knocked Jimmy out of the ring.
Styles got in Gallows’ face, but Gallows nudged him aside and ate a spear from Reigns. Styles tried a Styles Clash but Reigns back body dropped him out of the ring. Reigns posed with his title as Styles yelled at him from ringside. This was really good.
– Final Thoughts:
This was a very bland show until the very end. The angle with Styles and Reigns wasn’t historically good or anything, but it’s so refreshing seeing two top guys feud over the title in an intriguing storyline that doesn’t involve company management in any way.
Also, unless I missed it (and I don’t think I did), they did not air the Chyna tribute video.