The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) vs. Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton, & Dave Batista)

Rich: This delivered. I initially thought we’d get a super slow one man tags in, Evolution control him in their corner, eventual hot tag-style tag match. We did… and THEN this thing went into hyperdrive and was one of the best 10-15 minutes on WWE PPV in quite some time. This reminded me of the really awesome TLC 2012 Shield match against Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback. They were all over the place, the second you forgot where one of the members was, he would fly in or double-team or do something incredible. Rollins and Ambrose stole the show here and everyone came out looking better which is the ultimate goal. Batista was Batista but I thought HHH and Orton looked great in taking The Shield’s punishment. Rollins off the balcony was incredible and should be in video packages for quite some time. This is the definite favorite for match of the night. ****1/4

Joe: This featured what felt like days of the most boring offense this side of a late 80’s Greg Valentine house show match, as Evolution managed to grind The Shield, one of the most exciting acts to come down the pike in decades, to an absolute halt. Zzzzzzz. Once Ambrose hot tagged Reigns, things picked up. This was like two matches in one.* for the endless Evolution heat spot, *** for the rest.

Bryan: This was an awesome match. At first it was a standard, technically good match but soon it evolved into something great once Roman Reigns got the tag. The brawl spots were great on the outside and through the crowd and Seth Rollin’s stage dive to the floor…man that was pretty awesome and should be on some highlight reels. Reigns getting the clean pin on Batista was pretty cool as well. Awesome match with tons of great heat. ****1/2

Jason: Back in 1994, British Bulldog went head first into the steps charging Owen Hart during a Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund title match and was knocked out for 15 minutes. Roman Reigns does it in 2014 and it does not factor into the match AT ALL! Why even waste a spot like that? I am still not sure of The Shield as babyfaces. It’s just weird watching them play the “in peril” roles multiple times in the match (I also thought their match vs. The Wyatts where they were the babyfaces was the worst of that series.) Anyways, once they quit doing that, it became a fun, wild match that we all come to know and love from the Shield. The match hit that very awkward point at the end as Trips, Orton, Ambrose, & Rollins walked through the crowd and poor Big Dave and Reigns had to just lay in the ring FOR EVER. Rollins dive was crazy…surprised Ambrose wasn’t killed on that spot. Anyways. Big Dave was chosen to be the Red Shirt in this match, right down to his trunks and ate the Superman Punch and Spear for the Shield victory. Rollins, Ambrose, & Reigns continue to shine in totally different ways. I’d still like to see them stay together for years (even if they go their separate ways…if that makes sense.) ***½ (Really, I’d give this ***⅜ if I could…but I find the Star Rating system to be too restrictive.)

Cullen: I’m worried coming into this match. The Shield seem impervious to bad matches in six-mans, but Evolution almost killed my love of wrestling 10 years ago and I don’t care for them any more today. Holy hell did I love the rest of this. Starts out as a wild brawl before becoming more a traditional six-man. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose both get to showcase how they’re two of the best faces in peril on the planet right now. Reigns getting the hot tag got a huge pop. Then things went nuts. Rollins is trying to kill himself. Ambrose, as great of a heel as he is, sells at an elite level as a face. Rollins, Ambrose, Orton, and HHH wipe each other out while Reigns and Batistsa hurl power moves at each other ‘til the finish. Loved this. Loved loved loved it. ****3/4

Seth: This is more like it. Slow start with Rollins-in-peril for what seemed like about 20 minutes. Which is fine because ROLLINS SELLING IS GOLD. Dean Ambrose’s great little quirks and mannerisms really shine when he has a little more time than on an average episode of Raw. Regins clearing house was actually just the apatizer here as the real show was the Orton-HHH vs. Ambrose-Rollins running battle into the stands which recalled the glory days of the Hardcore Title and falls counting anywhere. Not sure anything else can be called a suicide dive again after Rollins cross-body from the balcony. I don’t smoke, but man I need a cigarette after that, and I don’t think I’m the only won.  ****1/2

Maia: Looking at Evolution makes me want to tell Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, “See how much better you’d look if you just got a haircut?” If this were a Divas match, Evolution would dig their fingers right into those greasy scalps before the bell stopped vibrating and never let go. This match started slow (and yeah, there was some hair pulling), but the crowd woke up just in time to preach the truth: It was, in fact, awesome. ****3/4

Taylor: This match was awesome. But, really, what Shield match can we not say that about? The more the Shield appears on my TV screen the more it becomes apparent to me that ALL THREE of the Shield members will have a place in the main event one day. They are all so talented and all so different. Seth Rollins high flying was all great, as normal, and culminated in the ECW/New Jack type jump from the balcony. The Shield needed to win this match, but I want this feud to last months until perhaps Survivor Series when we get the WWE debut of the Wargames match. ****1/4

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Rich: Where to begin… the psychology was a mess when the match was made, Cena beat Wyatt cleanly at WrestleMania with minimal interference so he calls for a cage match. This whole psychology made even less sense when Cena spent a majority of the match doing the awful babyface WWE cage match logic of constantly trying to escape. It made even less sense because of the build to this match but whatever. The match itself stunk, absolutely slow moving plodding garbage with little to nothing to sink your teeth into. Cena isn’t a bad worker, he can elevate his game with a good worker. Bray Wyatt has exactly one good match and that was with Daniel Bryan. The rest of his “big” matches have been huge duds in my opinion. The Wyatts interfered at least 45 times throughout this match, preventing Cena from leaving through the cage. Just utter garbage from top to bottom, overbooked mess and nothing good in-between. DUD

Joe: I went into this grumpy, as watching Bray Wyatt holds about as much appeal to me as a Bullet Club run in. But this was even worse than I thought it would be. I don’t want to hear another word about how great Bray Wyatt is. He’s the shits, this storyline is the shits, and this match was the shits. -**

Bryan: I’m guessing a lot of people didn’t like this match. I thought it was fine. Nothing spectacular, but it was simple enough. There some cool spots here and there and some creative stuff throughout. Now with that said, the storyline here sucks. John Cena wanted a cage match because, despite pinning Wyatt clean at Wrestlemania, he wanted a match where the Wyatts couldn’t interfere. So every other spot had the Wyatts interfering. The finish was hokey, but is inoffensive. I’m not a fan of this feud continuing, and I think the storyline sucks, but this was a pretty solid steel cage match if you take that all away. ***

Jason: Apparently, psychological mastermind Bray Wyatt is not smart enough to tell his minions to climb the cage from the outside in as soon as the bell rings. And then John Cena plays the whole “I can’t jump out because a sheep man and a guy with a big beard will beat me up. I really thought I’d be able to escape after a vertical suplex.” Cage matches are so lame nowadays. Oh sweet! New Wyatt family member…nope. John Cena is just terrified of a five year old. Now…after finishing watching that “match,” I can say that it was one of the worst cage matches I’ve ever seen in my life. The ridiculousness of Cena’s complete and utter failure to win the match about 67 times over was asinine after the fourth failure. My gosh. I hated that match so much. Half way through…I was thinking…this is about *½, just like I rated their WrestleMania match. And it just kept going downhill from there. My gosh. I’ll watch the Gracie’s. I’ll watch the Young Bucks. I’ll watch Dino Bravo. Just please don’t make me watch another John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt match ever again. UPDATE: I dropped it from ½* to a DUD because of how much I never want to watch pro wrestling again after watching that match. What a horrid, horrid piece of crap excuse of “storytelling.” DUD

Cullen: The WWE takes something great, cage matches, and turns them into boring, anti-climactic melodrama by focusing on the escape the cage rule. That’s not what the cage is for. The cage should be for two men going in and beating the hell out of each other, bleeding, and ending it once and for all. Instead the WWE treats them like the perfect reason for more people to get involved. This was terrible. The worst case of WWE cage matches. The super heroic baby face is trying to run away minutes into the match, never giving the hell is comeuppance. Bray needs tons of interference to even be competitive. Forced, hokey spots of keeping Cena in the cage. Terrible ending. Why wouldn’t Bray just friggin’ pin him at the end? Why walk out of the cage? Pin him THEN walk out of the cage. D-U-D. DUD

Seth: Before we get to this one, my unpopular opinion is that the Mania match between these two was great until the finish – Cena winning clean was such a copout, but for as much as Rich and Joe hated on the storytelling, I thought it was great. Combined with the pop BNB got earlier, and the 90% heat reaction Cena now gets, WWE is in a pretty dangerous place, I think, with the “shades of gray” having been transformed into celebrated antiheroes and Skylar White-like (hated) babyfaces. Anyway, this match…there were a couple of momemnts I liked – the Luke Harper stare the first time Cena tried to climb out and the Rowan grabbing the door away from the ref and shutting in Cena’s face. But other than that, not so much. First of all, we KNOW Cena is taking a bump from the top of the cage, so all the “false finishes” were just lame. And then we had at least 3 “Super Cena” moments. And then the creepy singing kid. I guess I’m glad Bray went over instead of Cena winning clean, but the cage match just seemed like the wrong tool for this job from the start. *

Maia: How do you top a creepy children’s choir wearing lamb masks? Short answer: You don’t. That said, despite the ridiculous build-up to this bout, I enjoyed the up-and-down game of chicken between Cena and the Wyatts, even though the Wyatt Family gives me full-body skeeve. But then the children’s choir element was reintroduced, but so weirdly aggressively creepy that it wasn’t nearly as effective as the original choir. Mostly, this bout made me miss the days when the Wyatts mostly lived in the shadows. It’s like a horror movie: The more you see of the monster, the less scary it becomes. WWE should keep those creepers in the dark or risk diluting the effect. A far more suspenseful wrestling match simultaneously took place at our house, where the baby, freshly recovered from her first hot wing experience, stuck her hand in a bowl of salsa and then crawled back and forth between us in a failed attempt to jam at least one keyboard with mango. Way more dramatic. **

Taylor: One of the strangest and most (maybe only) compelling things about this feud is how closely the WWE toes the line of Cena becoming disliked by the majority of the fans. Cena is never turning heel and never should, but the WWE has always avoided even the slightest possibility of him becoming hated. The creepy kids choir was awesome, and Wyatt continues to cut some damn good promos. The ring work in this feud however leaves A LOT to be desired. This must have been the “come down” match of the night. There is no other explanation for how boring this match is and how I can’t for the life of me figure out why Cena wants to escape this cage. If he runs away before Wyatt does that mean the kids will like him again? WWE Steel Cage matches have so many flaws. This match was just filled with all of the trite WWE Steel Cage spots. The heel’s allies closed the door on the face. The face tries to climb over the top, but gets pulled back in. This match was just awful and pathetic. And this is coming from a guy who is a big John Cena fan who wants Bray Wyatt to succeed. ¼*

Paige vs. Tamina Snuka

Rich: This was fine. I don’t really get upset or excited about Divas matches much anymore. Paige looked good, Snuka was fine. It was solid. **1/2

Joe: Perfectly inoffensive Divas match. I think Paige & AJ are going to have some really good matches. **

Bryan: This was fine, but no one on Earth cared. Felt like the New Japan show from yesterday. Paige winning a bunch of matches is fine, but there needs to be more done to get her over. People like her, like her finish but don’t react because for years the diva’s division has meant nothing. It will take far more than Paige winning matches to get over. **1/2

Cullen: A bit longer than your usual divas fair. Not too bad either, given that standard. Tamina tosses Paige around a bit to build up credibility but Paige knocks off another diva as her reign goes on. Didn’t hate it. Sorta liked it. 

Seth: As an NXT fan, I’m obligated to love Paige, not that she makes it difficult to do so. This was probably the second-best worked match of the night which is both a credit to Paige and Tamina and an indictment of the most of the rest of the card. Paige’s submission finisher is kind of awesome. Watchable filler..  **1/2

Maia: Paige is a badass. She’s one of my favorite things about the WWE right now. And it’s nice to see Tamina do something besides sulk behind that mincing moron A.J. Lee. I was not disappointed by this bout. I’m not mad at it, as I’m told the kids say. ***1/2

Taylor: Okay, I have declared Paige as the best Diva to ever enter the WWE Divas division. Her selling, moveset, offense, comebacks, etc are realistic and beat out any Diva ever. Tamina however is in the bottom barrel of Divas. I was interested to see if Paige could pull out a decent match out of her. The match was decent. A lot better than the typical Divas match. Props to Sara Del Ray for the work she has done with Emma and Paige. The future of the Divas division looks brighter than ever. *3/4

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

Rich: I loved how this match started off with Bryan attacking Kane during his entrance and it was a good brawl overall but there was a lot here. Daniel Bryan hit Kane with a Kendo stick, Kane threw a TV into ice water, Bryan used a forklift to bring Kane back to the ringside area and he jumped off the forklift… Would you believe me if I said that was just the first half of the match? Seriously, they transitioned into more kendo stick shots, Kane put Bryan through a table, then lit a table on fire to throw Bryan into. Kane ended up falling into the fire, rolled back into the ring and Bryan got the win. I enjoyed this, it was a crazy fun brawl. I’m having a huge issue with the way the commentary is building Bryan up. We keep hearing he’s beating all the odds, pulls of upsets, his miracle run continues, etc. They has a shelf life before people turn on him and get bored, they need to transition him into a dominant champion, he’s not chasing anymore. He had a ton of offense in this match and didn’t look like he was going to lose at any point yet the commentary continued talking about him defying odds. It’s just weird. Anyway, back to the match, I enjoyed it and it fit the Extreme Rules gimmick. ***

Joe: I’m having trouble coming up with words for this. It was…something. This entire show was…something. Weird match, weird show. I don’t think the match was bad, but I wouldn’t call it good either. It was a collection of memorable visuals, from Kane nearly electrocuting everybody, to the Ezekial Jackson cameo, to the (slow developing) forklift spot, and culminating with the flaming table. My only gripe? Kane rose from the dead, and apparently this feud isn’t over. Kane needs to fade back into the mid card, or better yet, just go away. It’s a one note gimmick that is horribly dated. ***

Bryan: I thought this match was great. It exceeded all my expectations coming into the bout. The middle part where they were brawling backstage was kind of uninteresting, but at least it was something different as they don’t really do a ton of brawling to the backstage. The forklift was corny too, but after that it was really fun and heated. The fire spot was pretty cool as WWE hardly ever uses fire. I don’t like the idea of Bryan continuing to feud with Kane because if they had a straight up match it probably wouldn’t be as good as this, but this was a fun brawl with some unique spots. And FIRE. ****

Jason: Pet peeve. The moron announcer announcing the main event as “the following match is…” Seriously. It is the main event. Make it a big deal! Well…tonight was summed up by Kane selling the floppy WWE signage from the table (Bryan had ripped that off, but the rest of the table cover didn’t come with it.) Seriously, though, I think that Cena-Wyatt killed my soul, as I want NOTHING to do with any more WWE tonight. As Kane and Bryan mindlessly brawl in the back, I wonder, “Is Kane (at 47 years old) the oldest guy to main event a WWE PPV since Hulk Hogan at SummerSlam 2005? I may be totally off, but I can’t think of anything offhand. Well, if you enjoy no psychology, plunder, and Hulk Hogan throwing a Fireball at Ultimate Warrior attempts at fire, this match was for you. Bryan wins after Kane runs from a bunch of guys chasing him with fire extinguishers…That sucked. *

Cullen: Bryan goes at Kane while Kane is still making his entrance. They definitely got the heat right early on for the main event after the travesty of a cage match earlier. Bryan hates Kane, he can’t wait to get his hands on him, simple stuff. I had reason to worry when this started. There were 40 minutes left in the show. No Kane match should go that long. Mercifully, it did end pretty early. More importantly, the match itself was pretty good. Bryan is going to be the underdog champion because of his size, injuries, multiple opponents, etc. But one one one, he’s the ass kicker. And he did that against Kane. Sort of a weird layout to this one, like with the most spectacular spot (until fire came into play) being a transition. This went about as well as I hoped it would. Not something I’d watch again but it’s a fine opening chapter in Daniel Bryan’s title reign. **½

Seth: This match was held back by the same unusually sloppy production as much of the rest of the night (the direction seemed off, as we seemed to get the wrong camera angle at key moments in many matches), especially the camera catching the guy with the fire extinguisher by the barrier running into the shot before Kane even went under the ring for the gas can. Some cool stuff backstage, who doesn’t love a good car windshield spot? And the forklift was cool, but again, the production left something to be desired as if there was a pop for the forklift, we couldn’t hear it over the engine noise. It’s probably a testament to the consistency of his work, that this was one of Byran’s more underwhelming matches in recent memory. Pretty blah match to cap a pretty poor card overall. **

Maia: There was some A+ material in this bout (forklift? Yes please), but it sort of felt like going over to someone’s house for dinner and they’ve spent a zillion dollars on every high-end kitchen gadget and free-range artisan everything, but then they serve you underseasoned meat and boiled vegetables and a mousse that didn’t quite set because money can’t buy skill. It was like a musical with really great spoken dialog and ho-hum production numbers. It was like an underfilled water balloon. It was like a comparison that was trying way too hard. Did this match have a lot of potential? Yes. Yes. Yes. Did it truly deliver? No. No. No. **1/2

Taylor: I recently watched Daniel Bryan’s first two matches vs. Takeshi Morishima circa 2007. In the first match Morishima knocked Bryan’s eye out of socket. In the start of the second match Daniel Bryan started the match in a frenzy of furious forearms, strikes, kicks, etc. to get revenge on Morishima and to break down the much larger adversary. I was practically begging for a start to this match with Kane to be the same way. It is the perfect time for it. Bryan wants revenge on Kane, Kane is the larger opponent. I instantly put these high expectations in my head because of this. The match did start off that way, but Kane quickly got the upperhand and Bryan instantly went into his classic underdog mode. Which Is fine, because Bryan plays the underdog babyface better than any wrestler in the world, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to be the bad ass submission machine once in a while. This quickly turned into an Attitude Era Hardcore Match. The forklift spot took way too long and took away from the match. Kane might have succeeded in being one of the few wrestlers to make a Daniel Bryan match feel flat. A table lit on fire couldn’t even make this match more exciting. **1/2