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Kickoff Show Singles Match Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
RESULT: Mojo Rawley wins via pinfall; Rawley pinned Hawkins after a tilt-a-whirl powerslam.
THOUGHTS: Well, it was a match, I'll say that much. It's good that the announce team acknowledged that Mojo's out on his own now with Ryder on the mend. Considering the rumored notion that WWE brass has a vested interest in what Mojo has from a singles standpoint, his run should be interesting at the very least. Mojo's got that fun, loop-de-loop style of energy that should help him fare well on the Smackdown midcard until "Zack Daddy" makes his return.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/11 Brian - 1/11 Greg - 2/11 Julie - 0/11 Nick -1/11
Women's Singles Match Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
RESULT: Becky Lynch wins via pinfall; Lynch pinned James after a countered roll-up into a jacknife pin.
THOUGHTS: I liked the dual-minded psychology played by Mickie here, working on Becky's left arm, not just to take the Dis-Arm-Her out of play, but to use Becky's own technical savvy against her. Becky getting the win off the roll-up was fine; Mickie isn't hurt by what could be considered an upset loss, and Becky gets the rebound following her failed attempt to regain the SD Women's Title.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 2/11 Brian - 1/11 Greg - 3/11 Julie - 0/11 Nick -1/11
Handicap Match Apollo Crews & Kalisto vs Dolph Ziggler
RESULT: Apollo & Kalisto win via pinfall; Crews pinned Ziggler following a spinning sit-out powerbomb.
THOUGHTS: Great heelish forethought by Ziggler; what's to stop him from evening up things by taking out an opponent pre-match? Other than that, it was a so-so match (with the crowd CLEARLY on Ziggler's side, who'da thunk?) and even Kalisto's comeback didn't elicit a huge response.
Ziggler losing out and then Pillmanizing Crews' leg works; it's the character development Dolph sorely needed, the kind that Brian and I talked about on Friday, and he was spot on about Ziggler snapping after a loss and going postal with the chair. Now we see where Ziggler falling further down the rabbit hole will take him.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 2/11 Brian - 2/11 Greg - 4/11 Julie - 0/11 Nick -3/11 (LOCK)
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Tag Team Turmoil American Alpha (c) vs. The Ascension vs. Rhyno & Heath Slater vs. The Usos vs. Breezango vs. The Vaudevillains
RESULT: 1st fall: Rhyno & Slater pinned Breezango (Rhyno gored Fandango) 2nd fall: Rhyno & Slater pinned The Vaudevillains (Slater rolled up Gotch) 3rd fall: The Usos pinned Rhyno & Slater (Jimmy Uso superkicked Slater) 4th fall: American Alpha pinned The Usos (Gable rolled up Jey Uso) 5th fall (Final): American Alpha pinned The Ascension (Gable pinned Viktor following Grand Amplitude)
THOUGHTS: A fun match overall; Heath & Rhyno dominating the first half didn't surprise me; if you're former champions, why should you be any less hungry to win the gold than the other teams? I liked that the animosity between the Usos and American Alpha is being revisited here, as things tapered off around the time of the tag tournament late last year.
With the Usos nearly costing AA the straps here, you can expect them to revisit that feud going into WM 33, where we can get a more fleshed-out and big-time match between the two teams.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/11 (1st pick) Brian - 4/11 (1st pick) Greg - 6/11 (1st pick) Julie - 2/11 (1st pick) Nick -5/11 (1st pick)
Women's Singles Match Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
RESULT: Double countout; Neither Nikki nor Natalya could make it back to the ring before the ref's 10 count.
THOUGHTS: One of Nikki's better in-ring performances; nothing mind-blowing, mind you, but still an all-around solid affair between her and Natalya. Nikki using John's STF was a nice touch of irony, as well as Natalya underestimating Nikki's technical prowess.
Double countout pretty much means this feud must and will continue, and I wouldn't be surprised if they mix it up in a No DQ, No countout-type scenario at some point in the next few weeks.
I say that after seeing Maryse get "powdered" during a Nattie-Nikki backstage brawl, so it seems like that rumored mixed tag match for Mania might not be just a rumor...
WK KING OF PPV: (No match winner, so standings remain the same) Ken - 4/11 Brian - 4/11 Greg - 6/11 Julie - 2/11 Nick -5/11
Singles Match Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
RESULT: Randy Orton wins via pinfall; Orton countered a discus clothesline into an RKO (OUTTA NOWHERE!) for the win.
THOUGHTS: Best match of the night so far, which I didn't doubt. Harper fought tooth-and-nail with Orton, matching him move for move, as well as matching his intensity, and really looked like he could pull the win a couple times in the match, especially after that pair of jaw-jacking superkicks (Orton's really underrated when it comes to selling, those looked NAAAASTY).
Harper gets a big-time singles rub with Orton, looking great in the loss, and Orton keeps his momentum from the Royal Rumble rolling into WM 33.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6/11 (LOCK) Brian - 4/11 Greg - 6/11 Julie - 4/11 (LOCK) Nick -5/11
Smackdown Women's Championship Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Naomi wins via pinfall; Naomi pinned Alexa following a split-legged moonsault.
THOUGHTS: It was a really good match, albeit with a couple miscommunications near the end; it just suffered from coming right after a barn-burner in Harper versus Orton, which explains the lack of reaction during the bout.
Alexa's growing frustration was understandable, as she's underestimated Naomi for weeks and just assumed she'd roll through her on the way to WM 33, whereas Naomi never lost her focus. The whole WK Krew felt a win IN her hometown might have been more worthwhile for Naomi, but good for her in any case.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6/11 Brian - 4/11 Greg - 6/11 Julie - 4/11 Nick -5/11
WWE World Championship Elimination Chamber Match John Cena (c) vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Bray Wyatt wins via pinfall; Wyatt countered Styles' Phenomenal Forearm into Sister Abigial for the win.
THOUGHTS: Awesome match, all around. They had Cena and Styles start, which I thought was the right call and not only made for a great call back to their feud, but also a fun first 5 minutes. The pacing went to the wall from the get-go and never really slowed down for too long.
Ambrose was his usual crazy, risk-taking self, Corbin steamrolled the other competitors and looked like a beast, Miz was advantageous, Wyatt picked his moments of brutality, and Cena and AJ continued their tit-for-tat as to who would be more determined to win over the other. Everyone had a role to play inside the Chamber, and did so wonderfully.
Wyatt pinning Cena clean as a whistle surprised me, as well as a lot of the live audience, as it seemed like we were all expecting some sort of shenanigans leading up to his exit from the match, and the crowd was near silent, as if they had to be sure Cena was actually gone. It wasn't near the shock level of Taker's streak ending, but it certainly brought that high-energy pace to a near-screeching halt.
So while it seems like Orton-Wyatt is set in stone for WM 33, there ARE seven weeks remaining until then. It'll be interesting to see how confident WWE is in Orton and Wyatt to build up to a serviceable main event-style match, or if they may pull an audible with a few weeks to go.
To be honest, though, I think changing things up at that point would make whatever build-up coming out of it last-minute and rather slap-dash. They've had this angle with Orton and Wyatt slow-burning for months, so to pull the plug on it with only weeks to go would be an insult to both men.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 8/11 (1st pick, WINNER) Brian - 5/11 (2nd pick) Greg - 6/11 Julie - 6/11 (1st pick) Nick -5/11