May 22, 2016
City: Newark, NJ
Venue: Prudential Center
Commentary: Michael Cole, JBL, Byron Saxton
German Commentary: Sebastian Hackl, Carsten Schaefer
Spanish Commentary: Marcelo Rodriguez, Carlos Cabrera
Portuguese Commentary: Marco Alfaro, Roberto Figueroa
Russian Commentary: Moti Margolin, Zhan Pomerantsev
Japanese Commentary: Reiji Sato, Funaki
Ring Announcer: Lilian Garcia, Eden Stiles
Official Theme Song: “Fire” by PVRIS
“We make our own rules.”
Tornado Tag Match
The Usos vs Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
(referee: Ryan Tran; ring announcer: Lilian Garcia)
Result: Luke Gallows pins Jimmy Uso after the Magic Killer
Nice match. The Usos ran out to meet Gallows and Anderson on the ramp before the match started, and the fight was off to a frantic start. Both teams did what they do well: Gallows and Anderson showed overwhelming power, The Usos showed more speed. Both teams looked like they were fighting angry, and that helped add some emotion to the match. The match started with almost a brawl, then settled into a more methodical pace midway through. There was plenty of outside violence, but only one weapon was used, and in a unique way. This was a good way to start the show.
US Title Match
Rusev w/ Lana vs Kalisto (US Champ)
(referee: John Cone; ring announcer: Eden Stiles, Lana)
Result: Rusev wins via submission with The Accolade to become a two time US Champ
Really good match. Rusev dominated the match immediately and put Kalisto in a bear hug. The commentators did a good job of putting over an injury to Kalisto’s back that was caused by Rusev a few weeks ago. That would come into play later on in the match. Before that though, Kalisto managed to mount a fun, high-flying comeback. The finish was very well done and very convincing.
A trailer for the upcoming movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
New Day comes out. Woods is still upset about The Vaudevillains destroying his time machine. Big E still doesn’t want to call it a time machine. Big E also has two tools with him. They’re hoes. One is named Aiden English and the other is Simon Gotch. They are about to be put in the ground.
Tag Team Title Match
New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E w/ Kofi Kingston) (Tag Champs) vs The Vaudevillains
(referee: Darrick Moore; ring announcer: Lilian Garcia)
Result: Xavier Woods pins Simon Gotch after a shining wizard to retain the titles
Good match. Since New Day has become a babyface team they haven’t been as dominant, but this showed them using teamwork (and dirty tactics) in very good ways. The Vaudevillains looked very good as well, and dominated a good part of the match. Their teamwork was very much on display in the match too.
Renee Young catches AJ Styles in the back and asks if Gallows and Anderson will be involved later. Styles just says he’s going to win and be phenomenal (as he enters The Club’s locker room).
Recap of the IC Title feud.
Fatal Four Way Intercontinental Title Match
Kevin Owens vs Cesaro vs Sami Zayn vs The Miz (IC Champ) w/ Maryse
(referee: Dan Engler; ring announcer: Eden Stiles)
Result: The Miz pins Cesaro after Sami Zayn hits a Helluva Kick on Cesaro
What a great match. The action started strong immediately after the bell rang and it stayed exciting for the duration. As much as the buildup has seemed like two separate feuds pushed together, all four of these guys mixed it up very well. Extremely well. Lots of great near falls, nice combination moves, and some good story elements were all represented in the match. So good.
Renee Young, Corey Graves, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler are excited about the show so far.
Recap of the Ambrose/Jericho feud.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose
(referee: Rod Zapata; outside referee: Ryan Tran; ring announcer: Lilian Garcia)
Result: Dean Ambrose wins via pinfall after Dirty Deeds on thumbtacks
This wasn’t very good, and it seemed to bomb with the crowd. They barely reacted even when Ambrose jumped from the top of the cage. This thing was too gimmicky. It quickly turned into both guys repeatedly climbing the cage to go for weapons, using them once, then forgetting about them. It was repetitive and didn’t allow the guys to build any kind of rhythm. It was like they were trying to convince us that the match was violent simply by having a bunch of stuff in the ring. There was a bit of a buzz in the crowd later in the match when Ambrose pulled a bag of thumbtacks out of the bucket hanging above the ring (and some cheers when the tacks were used), but it wasn’t enough. The match was way too long and felt like it was even longer because of how it dragged. I kind of doubt we’ll see another Asylum match any time soon.
Recap of the Natalya/Charlotte feud.
Women’s Title Submission Match (Ric Flair banned from ringside)
Natalya vs Charlotte (Women’s Champ)
(referee: John Cone; ring announcer: Eden Stiles)
Result: Charlotte wins via submission with the Figure Eight to retain the title
This was another match that fell short of expectations. For two people that have submissions as finishers, the submission psychology wasn’t great. They just kind of randomly went for submissions without much of any kind of discernible game plan. Then there were more shenanigans with Dana Brooke showing up in a Ric Flair robe to provide a distraction. Kind of a garbage finish, and it’s making me care for Charlotte even less than I already did. I’m not excited by the thought of watching her lose, I’m getting tired of watching her in matches. I suppose the only good thing that came from this is that Dana Brooke is apparently aligned with the Flairs. That’s not really good for the audience, but it’s good for Dana Brooke since I expected to see her flounder with Emma out indefinitely. Dana is a better sidekick than a leading lady.
Recap of the Reigns/Styles feud.
World Heavyweight Title Extreme Rules Match
AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns (World Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Mike Chioda; ring announcer: Lilian Garcia)
Result: Roman Reigns wins via pinfall after a spear to retain the title
Great match. Really great. It was better than I expected. I expected it to be good since Styles was in it, but it exceeded my expectations. Styles looked phenomenal, of course, but Reigns also looked really good. He did what he does best and it worked very well. He and Styles work well together in (and around) the ring. I’ve been really enjoying the Reigns/Styles story building up this match and this was a really good payoff. I expect it will continue, but even if it doesn’t it was really well done. Even the chair had a character arc that was paid off tonight.
Styles and Reigns entered the crowd early and did a tour of the arena smashing each other’s heads into things, but once that was over the match got really, really good. It was more violent than the Asylum Match, but the violence came from devastating moves (and a couple of announce tables). Sure, Gallows, Anderson, and the Usos got involved, but even that was well done and worked to make the one-on-one match even better. This is easily my favorite Roman Reigns (solo) match.
After the match, Seth Rollins returns and gives Reigns a Pedigree. Rollins holds the title belt in the air as the show ends.
This show was pretty uneven. The first three matches were good, but not spectacular. They would’ve been standouts on RAW or Smackdown, but on a PPV they were solid but not amazing. Then the IC title match tried to steal the show. Great match. But then the Asylum Match and submission match were big disappointments and it felt like the show was about to crash and burn. Thankfully, the main event saved the show and really shined. Overall, I’d say the World Heavyweight and IC title matches are must-see, the first three matches are worthwhile, but I doubt I’ll ever watch the Asylum or submission matches again.
Match of the Night
AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns
I really thought the IC title match was going to be the best, but the main event edged it out. It’s the combination of story and great action that put it over the top for me.