The Quick and Dirty: Vince insults Shane, Dean gets under HHH’s skin, Sami Zayn is on the main roster and if you bought a Y2AJ shirt, it’s already out of style.

Three Things to Watch if You DVR’d:

  • 1) Vince/Shane at the top of Hour 1
  • 2) Kevin Owens/Neville at 23 minutes into Hour 1
  • 3) New Day vs. Y2AJ at 50 minutes into Hour 2

Recap and Review

We are live from the Windy City.

A recap of Vince’s promo from last week and The Undertaker’s response serves as a prologue to our evening festivities.

Here Comes the Money! Shane McMahon is out and almost stumbles during his shuffle but recovers

Shane runs down Vince, and says Vince has lost his touch with his business, his fanbase, reality, Shane and Shane’s sons. Shane says it his destiny to be in control of Monday Night RAW and that the Authority and the backstage politics are going to stop because it’s “choking the life out of the business.” He sees guys who get no breaks and guys who “get all the breaks but have no talent.” There will be a new legacy when Shane is in control of Monday Night RAW.

*DONG* Psyche! “NO CHANCE!” Vince is struts out and mocks the crowd for being disappointed by the lack of the “Under” (no taker). The crowd calls Vince a posterior vortex and Vince trolls them for their lack of staying power, which results in a chant for CM Punk. Vince says Shane has a look of fear. Vince has rewritten the will and whilst doing so, found a photo of he and Shane before going to Shane’s first wrestling match. Vince smashes the photo. Shane grew up never being disappointed in his dad. “I’m Vincent Kennedy McMahon…you’re just Vince’s son.” Then Vince invokes the grandsons and how they’re going to watch their father fail them but Vince will be there as an example of a strong father figure. “It’s totally ironic that my greatest creation will put to rest my greatest failure.” I’m guessing this doesn’t mean WrestleMania will destroy the International Bodybuilding Federation or the XFL.

Vince calls for the world’s worst security, who wait for their time cue and head to the ring. Shane will go peacefully. Then one by one they enter and you wouldn’t like Shane when he’s angry. He takes out four men, he’s a McMahon.

Thoughts: Vince had a couple of great lines wrapped up in moustache twirling. Say what you will about the over emoting, Vince does know how to phrase a good cut to the quick insult when he’s not hung up on certain buzzwords or his thesaurus, and the closing line was very strong. I question the need for Shane to “break the fourth wall” about pushes and backstage politics. This being Chicago perhaps they felt the need to tweek the more knowledgeable fan base. It’s one thing to say there will be a change in philosophy and to play the voice of the fan, it’s another to take a passive aggressive swipe at employees while literally telling us talent doesn’t matter in this imaginary world. Unless of course the implication is that the people who have no talent but get all the breaks have the last name McMahon. Somehow I doubt this to be the case.

Kevin Owens vs. Neville

Owens berates Cole and Neville’s heritage as Owens beats down the Man That Gravity Forgot. The beating stops when Neville gets his knees up on an Owens running senton. Kick to the head and hurricanrana sends Owens out. Owens dodges Neville’s moonsault plancha to the outside and rams him into the stairs.

Owens with a headlock as we come back. Irish whip into turnbuckle, but Owens misses the cannonball. Neville goes for a german suplex, but it’s reversed. Owens goes for another cannonball but gets an enzuigiri. Owens rolls to the outside and Neville hits a shooting star press to the back on his feet Owens. The crowd loves it. Neville rolls Owens back in and hits a standing shooting star for two. Neville places Owens on the top turnbuckle but gets thrown for a flip and meets a kick. Owens misses a double jump moonsault and Neville hits a superkick. Neville hits a corkscrew 450 off the second rope and gets a two as the crowd buys the finish. Neville goes to climb the turnbuckle but gets rolled up with the schoolboy by Owens for the three.

Owens beats down Neville post-match but when he goes for a powerbomb to the apron…SAMI ZAYN IS HERE! They exchange blows as Owens rolls Zayn into the ring. Double leg by Zayn and the fists continue. Owens throws him off and stands to face Zayn but retreats to a kick from the apron by Neville. Clothesline by Zayn sends Owens to the outside, who grabs his belt and heads up to the ramp as Neville and Zayn celebrate.

Thoughts: Really enjoyable match with more indie feel than WWE. I don’t think Neville’s going to be part of this program, but he deserves better than he’s getting (hear that Shane?).

Really loved the timing of the Zayn entrance during the powerbomb (which commentary failed to specifically connect, as I say “That’s what you’re here for Byron! To fill in NXT gaps!”). This was also the crowd in which you make this move, as the “play to the smarks” that I referenced earlier works in this case, you debut a guy where he’s going to get a great reaction.

The Rock blueballs us by way of video tweet. Per agreement of living the gimmick, all his social media must be shot in a gym at all times so we know he works out. Here’s a teaser for WrestleMania…and that’s it.

Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler are pretending to talk as Zack begs off at the sight of a scrunchy-faced Stephanie McMahon. “Stay hyped,” she sarcastically says to Zack and mentions Dolph took a tweet down earlier today that criticized the Authority. Dolph brings up the continuity of the Survivor Series win that took the Authority out, which gets no-sold about as well as real life. BUT THIS TIME it’s for good. Sure it is. Steph drops the word “decimate” (a favorite of Vince) about The Undertaker/Shane match as she punishes Dolph with a one-on-three against the League of Nations.

Brie Bella vs. Summer Rae

Brie Mode (wah wah wah wah). We get a plug for Total Divas where the story revolves around a scooter. Daniel Bryan says in a total deadpan that they don’t listen to Nikki, which is why they’re happy. Natural comic timing. A short match ends in the patented Distraction Schoolboy Finish when Lana’s music hits and Summer Rae rolls Brie up for the three. A two match winning streak for Summer Rae! Donna Martin graduates!

Lana is in the ring as Brie is arguing with the referee. Kick! Wham! Bella Buster! Byron Saxton is absolutely perplexed as if he’s been sleeping the past three weeks on commentary, which is a possibility.

Dean Ambrose is here for the top of hour two. Both Bradshaw and I question Dean holding his arms out in silence. HHH planned for Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Plans change. He’s hijacking WrestleMania at Roadblock. Here’s Dean to talk about “respect” and HHH…and as if listening to this past week’s Shake Them Ropes they absolutely turn it on its head about respecting Dean. Well played. Dean rambles a bit about HHH buying a suit and shoes, then never mind. He wants to be champion.

Behold the King. HHH is out. HHH mocks the fantasy. He’s keeping the title as long as he wants. He reference what he did to Roman but thought Dean would know better. Then HHH threatens another trip over the announce table. Dean likes the idea and he’ll stand on the table after he wins “..and then you can suck it.”

HHH says Roadblock is just a stupid marketing gimmick. Dean is more “Speedbump” or “Pothole.” More comparisons to Roman. Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. Dean namedrops his old history teacher. Being delusional got him this far, which is better than what HHH is. HHH is driven unlike Dean. They tease a fight.

HHH blueballs the crowd and instead he’s going to delegate. It’s Ambrose versus “The New Face of Fear” Bray Wyatt. Reality is the Authority always wins, and Dean will learn this.

Me: “Dean needs to learn this? Hasn’t he been paying attention to product? Guess he joins Jerry Lawler on the list”

Thoughts: It’s a new spin on the “I respect you HHH” promo that always finds its way into HHH programs, and the twist is a positive. I liked Dean’s intensity on the big finish in the first part of the promo, but letting it go on past “suck it” was an absolute “no no wait we have to remind the people the McMahons are in charge” move, as if we’d forget. It was a natural ending to a great babyface build into a PPV that let people get excited he might have a chance, then it turned into HHH getting the smarmy last word. Sure Dean gets the upper hand at the end of the show, but commentary could say HHH made the match during the commercial break out of anger. Give people double the optimism. This was an example of taking wind out of the sails of enthusiasm by hanging around too long. But, we get Bray and Ambrose later, hopefully not in an “Exploding Monitors” match.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The League of Nations

It’s an elimination tag match. Your League participants: Sheamus, Rusev, and Bullet Club Barrett (check out his followers of late on Twitter). We get a beatdown by the League with frequent tags, a Rusev dropkick, and plenty of Barrett offense. The crowd is not impressed. Sheamus foolishly asks whether or not we are entertained. JBL compares the League to the Four Horsemen and Ole Anderson rolls over in his grave. Dolph gets a hope spot on Sheamus with a DDT, then Barrett misses a shoulder tackle. After clotheslines and a neckbreaker on Barrett, Dolph kicks Rusev out of the ring. Barrett schoolboy for two, superkick by Dolph for the three. A superkick on Sheamus gets a save by Rusev at two. Rusev misses Dolph and is sent flying out of the ring. An attempted Famouser results in Dolph sliding between the bottom and middle rope to get a kick by Rusev, and the dazed Dolph gets a Brogue Kick for the three.

Thoughts: Barrett takes the sacrificial fall. I’d love to say that this is leading to something or that Dolph grabbing the tights on a rollup was a sign of things to come, but that went unmentioned. Overall this was just to show that Stephanie is evil. Skippable.

Becky Lynch knocking on the Divas Locker Room door because “we’re next.” Sasha comes out and berates Becky, Becky returns serve. If it wasn’t for Charlotte, etc. Ric Flair is called a Hugh Hefner wannabe, Becky is called a Leprechaun, Becky drops the “Lass Kicker” pun. Both put on their glasses. Boys would make passes at either of these women in glasses.

Team Bae vs. Team BAD

Imagine not liking Team Bae. The Flairs are out to judge, or Charlotte’s out to judge and Ric is out to leer. Tamina beats on Becky like a…orange haired face in peril. Hot tag to Sasha. Clotheslines. A fast backstabber into Banks Statement.

Charlotte jumps Sasha post-match. Becky gets beaten down as well. Charlotte stands tall, both literally and figuratively.

R-Truth is dressed as a pizza delivery man, which naturally attracts Mark Henry. He has a deep dish pizza for Goldust. Why in the Blue Blazer would he do that? To show that he’s a tag team partner. Goldust exclaims he is lactose intolerant and (because Vince likes flatulence humor) declares to whomever’s not checking other channels that if he ate the pizza, his butt would explode. R-Truth would know that if he were a real partner. This is how Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey bonded, right? Mark Henry happily takes the pizza left by the feuding “partners” and declares his love of Chicago, which is a great food city.

Y2AJ vs. The New Day

Awww Chi-Town! Kofi tells us stakes are at an all time high. In 197 days, we’ll see the most positive reign in history. Big E says they have matching team tattoos. Kofi and Xavier disagree. A joke about a unicorn on Big E’s butt is mercifully cut off by Jericho’s countdown.

Commentary can remember that Y2J first appeared here in 1999 but can’t remember what happened last week. New Day won their first tag team titles in Chicago. Something has to give. Jericho and Kofi start and the crowd wants AJ. Kofi and Big E are sent outside and Y2AJ get synchronized pescados. Xavier throws a tantrum as we go to break.

Big E is on Jericho as we return, and the crowd doesn’t like that Xavier has interfered to give New Day the upper hand. Unicorn Stampede on Jericho. Jericho rallies as Big E comes in after an irish whip to a Y2J boot. Kofi tagged in and gets an enzuiguri allowing Jericho to make the hot tag. Teased finish with a Styles moonsault into a Scorpion Death Drop (someone correct me if this has another name). Kofi makes a tag unbeknownst to Styles who is caught on a springboard dive into a Big Ending. Jericho barely makes the save. Jericho hits lionsault and tags AJ. Springboard 450 on Kofi and Big E drags Kofi out of the ring for a save. AJ dives outside to take Big E. But Big E holds onto the leg and Kofi wraps up AJ for a two count that everyone thought would be a stolen pin. Kofi with a thrust to the throat and a kick but momentum takes Styles to the corner. Y2J tags in and gets the Walls of Jericho. AJ takes out Xavier who is reaching for Kofi. Kofi takes out AJ with a spear into the barricade. Blind tag to Big E. A Codebreaker turned into a Big Ending. New Day retains.

After the match, the New Day celebrates, and as AJ checks on Jericho, gets a Codebreaker for his troubles, then a second then a third. T-shirts to go on clearance after a week. Jericho shoves one down AJ’s throat and calls him a Shane (son of a bitch).

Thoughts: I believe I had that (See last week’s report or Shake Them Ropes). Good match while it lasted. Even with the two or three week oasis, AJ-Jericho is the call. I’m dying for a stipulation. I like Jericho, but in the ring

A video plugging the Rock at WrestleMania.

Renee in a motorcycle jacket asks Y2J for his thoughts. Jericho was mad at the chants for AJ. Well, he hid it very well until they lost. I guess this is as good a way to get there as any. The shorter route that they had been winning until AJ let him down was probably easier, but it might lead to some good angry Y2J promos.

Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze

After initially being flustered, Breeze gets the upper hand with a superkick off a Kalisto dive from the top rope. Breeze works the headlock until Kalisto reverses, hits the rollover kick, a corkscrew then the Salina del Sol. Quick.

Thoughts: How happy will Breeze and Neville be to do that Cruiserweight tournament? Squash match for the US Champ.

On the Network, we’re getting Roadblock, a Stone Cold Podcast with Mick Foley, the Hall of Fame induction and WrestleMania. NXT noticeably absent from the plugs.

Hall of Fame: The news was broken by CBS Sports that the Big Boss Man will be inducted. Do they leak it to different mainstream sites each week?

The Lucha Dragons are walking, and Jojo stops Kalisto. Jojo found a Superstar she can look down upon. Kalisto talks Eddie Jericho and Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania in Hispanic star namedrop bingo. Ryback interrupts. Ryback rambles his way into a challenge for Kalisto and he’s going to tear the wings off the Social Butterflies.

Ryback vs. Curtis Axel

The Social Outcasts are out to a rousing ovation. Bo is sad because Ryback doesn’t want to be on a team. Our cultural reference of the week is the new Ghostbusters movie. Tonight it’s Axel’s turn to face Ryback as we mourn the feuding defunct Team Rybaxel

Running knee and a “Go to Sleep” motion gets the crowd chanting CM Punk. A shoulder block dazes Ryback. Axel gets some punches, then Ryback pummels him. Shellshock. Victory.

Thoughts: Not the most impressive win, but I guess there’s a point to it. Skippable

Vince is backstage talking attendance records. Concerned Stephanie is here to talk about Shane. What if… No, Vince has this.

Stephanie: “But what if you don’t”
Me: “Re-write continuity the next week to pop the quarter rating?”

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray cuts a promo about doing what Dean couldn’t, destroy Brock Lesnar.

Bray is out sans his cult, Bray beats on Dean and gets control with his running crossbody block as we go to commercial. During the break, Bray slapped Dean’s face into the apron and got a superplex. Bray suplexes Dean again and taunts. Dean gets knocked off a corner turnbuckle after a defensive kick to the outside. Bray runs halfway around the ring as he and Dean pound each other with simultaneous clotheslines. Both beat the countout and growl at each other.

A slugfest leads to Dean attempting the Lunatic Lariat only to be met with a clothesline and senton for two. Dirty Deeds is thwarted. Bray rolls out and a dive by Dean he is stood up into a failed Sister Abigail that Bray turns into a Rock Bottom into the barricade. Back in the ring, Dean hits a Lunatic Lariat this time. Top rope reverse bulldog and the lights go out as the Wyatts have appeared. DQ finish.

The Wyatts stand strong over Dean and BEHOLD THE KING. The Wyatts watch HHH walk to the ring with perverse interest. HHH loosens his tie after a nod of approval but the Wyatts aren’t leaving. Bray gets in HHH’s grill. Oh, this is intriguing. The crowd wants it. Bray caresses the title and with a laugh, walks away. HHH is taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves. HHH is setting up a trip over the announce table. Ambrose was playing possum and catches HHH with Dirty Deeds.

Ambrose grabs the belt, staggers in the corner and gives a glance to the WrestleMania sign.

Thoughts: Hard hitting match with Ambrose and Wyatt. Loved the Wyatt-HHH tease a lot. WWE booking says whomever is left lying wins at the big event, so bet the house on HHH.

Final Thoughts: A really strong match between Neville and Owens, Team Y2AJ’s breakup gives us another story. A little placesetting for the McMahons along with the HHH-Dean Ambrose go-home were fun. Tune into Shake Them Ropes this week for more.