I am definitely looking forward to this, but I am also looking forward to getting past this so we can finally completely focus on WrestleMania 32. Since I like having the main event at the top of my articles I will list the matches in reverse order. Most recent match will be a the top of the post.
- Triple H (c) v Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Title--Triple H enters first which is odd for a variety of reasons. The old school fan in me prefers the idea that the champion should always enter last, but I respect them doing this here as this arena will go wild for Ambrose. In that regard, I can understand sending the heel out first. Part of me wonders if Triple H wanted this title run just so he could wear that particular version of the WWE Title. It looks sharp.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance and they showed him leaving his locker room which was a nice touch. They kind of feel each other out for a bit and this match gets the "CM Punk" treatment. That's not a great sign.
The announce team tells an interesting story here with the idea that the usually "on the fly" Dean Ambrose has an actual gameplan here. I thought that kind of interesting.
Anyhow, this match kind of dragged for me for a while. The moment that it turned was on the apparent title win by Ambrose that was waved off because his feet were under the ropes. Triple H then attempted a dirty pin with his feet on the ropes and business immediately picked up.
Dean's failed attempt to put Triple H through the announce table with an elbow as his undoing. In an interesting finish Dean scrambled back into the ring to avoid getting counted out and ate a Pedigree. Winner: Triple H (and still WWE World Champion)
- Sami Zayn v Stardust--Sami's entrance rules. Great music, great energy. This match made me look at my phone though. There was one spot where Stardust chased Sami until Sami pulled down the rope and Stardust went out of the ring. It was so goofy and illogical that I couldn't believe it.
This match also felt entirely too long. The narrative they are pushing that this will be a big win for Zayn really falls flat when you think how unimportant Stardust is. Zayn gets the win and this match is mercifully over. Winner: Sami Zayn
- Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper v Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman--They introduced an interesting wrinkle here as Bray cut a promo coming down the aisle which was pretty cool and it seemed to indicate that this was going to be Bray and Harper v Lesnar.
Before Brock's music even hit a "Suplex City" chant broke out which is a good sign of a hyped crowd.
Lesnar beats Harper in a fairly typical Brock Lesnar match. Bray never actually got involved in the match at all. The announce team immediately mentions that Brock Lesnar is "supposed" to have Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania while Lesnar and Bray Wyatt continued their staredown as Bray backed up the ramp and Brock made his exit from the ring. This seems to raise some questions about where we are heading after this show as the Bray/Lesnar thing does not seem to be done. Winner: Brock Lesnar
- Charlotte (c) w/ Ric Flair v Natalya for the WWE Divas Title--I what is no secret I do not care for Charlotte in general, but this match was pretty good. The crowd was into it and firmly behind Natalya. Ric Flair was as entertaining as ever at ringside. He distracted Natalya and Charlotte wins with her feet on the ropes. Throughout the match I felt like Charlotte did a good job being really deliberate and playing to the crowd to get heat FWIW. Natalya showed good fire as the home country favorite. Winner: Charlotte (and still Divas Champion)
- The Revival (c) v Enzo and Cass w/ Carmella for the NXT Tag Titles--The live crowd was into the Enzo and Cass intro gimmick. I don't really get it, but it seems to work. The Revival is far more my speed.
I don't watch a ton of NXT, but I thought this was pretty good. Cass using Enzo as a weapon works pretty well, and on the other side I like the old school tactics of The Revival. Them working limbs, and cutting off the ring is a quality throwback to the tag team wrestling I loved as a kid.
The crowd gave this one a "This is awesome" chant and I'd tend to agree. The match was chaotic in a good way. The Revival finally hits their finisher to retain. Winners: The Revival (and still NXT Tag Team Champions)
- Chris Jericho v Jack Swagger--What an absolutely odd opponent for Jericho in Toronto. Jericho did a great job on the mic to get the crowd against him though to his credit. The number of Canadians doing the We The People thing with Swagger was fairly shocking IMHO.
Both guys worked hard here and although I proudly admit my bias against Jericho, I will have to say that guy put a ton of effort into making a headlock interesting.
The same crowd that booed Jericho during his promo seemed to get behind him during the match. The crowd was not terribly vocal though and the match even got the dreaded "CM Punk" chant at one point. It's hard to blame them though as you've got the freshly turned Jericho in there who they probably want to cheer, but he's heeling on the town and all that. Then the guy he's wrestling is a "Real American." You've kind of got a recipe for a dead crowd.
Jericho eventually gets the victory with the Walls of Jericho. Winner: Chris Jericho
- New Day (Big E/Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods) (c) v League of Nations (Wade Barrett/Sheamus) for the WWE Tag Titles--Pre-match saw the New Day do one of their typical bits. They showed off the new Booty-Os cereal box. This had a couple of amusing things, but was a bit of a miss for me.
As for the match itself, I thought it had a lot of solid action. Sheamus going up top and hitting a shoulder block was nice as was Kofi reversing the Cloverleaf into a pinning attempt.
Xavier Woods distracted the ref while the Barrett had a pin, and New Day wins. As you commonly see, New Day acted more like heels than League of Nations, but it didn't matter as Toronto was completely behind the New Day. Not a bad start to the show. Winners: New Day (and still WWE Tag Team Champions)
Overall I thought this was a really good show, but my expectations may have had something to do with that. For one I did not believe we'd get some wild angle that was going to impact the Reigns v Triple H match at Mania. Second, I was fine with that.
If I was desperate to see Roman Reigns moved out of the WWE World Title match at WrestleMania then this result tonight might have bothered me more.
One last note that I almost mentioned earlier, I really like the look of these WWE Network specials. They have that more basic house show look and feel to them and I think the simplicity works really well.