WWE Main Event
WWE Network
Episode 168
Watch: WWE Network

Neville vs Rusev

Two former NXT Superstars, both with first names lost in the transition to the main roster, clash in the opener of this week’s WWE Main Event. There’s a nice dynamic here: it’s the classic David vs Goliath story, but with two guys that play their respective roles perfectly. I don’t think there’s anyone on the WWE main roster that can rock the desperate babyface character better than Neville, and Rusev is still a very credible threat, especially with Lana at ringside.

As this match rolls on, Miz watches a monitor side-on backstage, his megaphone at the ready. Neville works Rusev down and shows off his impressive mat skills that people often forget can rival his high flying ability. Rusev reasserts dominance with a massive fallaway slam, sending little Neville bouncing to the other side of the ring. It isn’t long before it gets to the stage of the match where Neville is helpless, getting kicked around and hit with a variety of power moves that he’s helpless to reverse. But we all know this trope all too well, it’s only going to make his comeback sweeter. Whether or not he will be able to count himself among those that can pin Rusev clean remains to be seen. Neville breaks out of a Bear Hug and you can feel the crowd behind him as he regains his base, which is odd for WWE Main Event. Some wonderfully stiff kicks and athletic reversals see Neville back into the match. Rusev rolls out before a Red Arrow can be delivered, but gets hit with a springboard moonsault instead, Neville doesn’t want a countout victory however so he chucks Rusev back in and heads top rope again. Before he can fly, Lana nervously comes up the steps and… shouts at Neville? I guess it worked because he ends up careering face first onto the mat after the distraction gave Rusev time to recover. The glorious jumping side kick into The Accolade give Rusev the win.

Rusev’s flag that usually descends from above the ring gets caught in one corner, and Rusev blames literally everyone he can find, screaming at them and waving his own flag he brought with his entrance to compensate. Hilarious.

Bo Dallas vs Jack Swagger

You could hear a pin drop during both these entrances. WWE doesn’t even bother to pipe some hairdryers into this one. Strange because over here in the UK, people go wild for Bo, me included.

Just seconds into this match and Bo wins a little lock up, but instead of capitalizing on it he goes for quick victory lap right off the bat. Naturally, he eats a german suplex upon his return to the ring. Bo’s gimmick could be so much more, you need look no further than NXT for evidence of that. Vince walking out to call off his match was a physical representation of how little WWE cares though I suppose. He doesn’t even need wins, he can still be enhancement talent but having him cut promos like this (where he got the NXT crowd to support Batista) before getting beaten up would definitely make the audience care a little more, getting him to a similar status as Heath Slater. Instead, he shouts “BO-LIEVE” during rest holds. He somehow gets the upper hand and takes down Swagger,doing yet another victory lap around his body before Swagger snapped out of it and caught his leg mid celebration, locking in the Patriot Lock. Bo breaks out and calls for the Bo-Dog (to no reaction). He follows it through but Swagger impressively reverses mid air and once again gets Bo in the Patriot Lock for the submission victory.

The Usos vs The Ascension

Speaking of gimmicks that haven’t been handled well on the main roster (could be a long list mind you), The Ascension are here taking on the Tag Team of the Year: The Usos. Maybe it’s because they barely wrestled a match longer than three minutes during their entire NXT Tag Title reign, but there’s no denying that Konnor and Viktor have utterly failed to connect on the main roster. They have a dominant display in the early goings but it carries no weight. Jimmy gets the hot tag and delivers an energetic series of moves with dancing sandwiched in too. The casual dancing in between attacks doesn’t do much to improve The Ascension’s image.

Once again, The Usos try and get a ‘Superkick Party’ going but there’s no mimicking The Bucks. Tom Phillips yells “PLAYIN’ HARD IN THE PAINT” as Jimmy lands a Samoan Splash for the win.

Final Thoughts: A show packed with NXT graduates and mid carders. Nothing too special, but a solid show full of decent wrestling.