I’ve woken up for hockey games before, but this was the first time I woke up early (4 AM to be exact) for any kind of wrestling event .There was something exciting about getting up this early for wrestling. By the time it ended, I was glad I watched it live. Like most shows, nothing was perfect, but it was extremely entertaining. Most matches were well done well in terms of work rate, and I’d highly recommend watching this special.
Chris Jericho vs Neville
In my opinion, this was a perfect match to start the show. Although I saw Jericho at a house show back in February, it was awesome to see him back on televised programming. Also, the crowd popped huge for Y2J, and it woke me up. The spot of this contest was Jericho’s springboard dropkick. I kept expecting Neville to counter the maneuver, but he took it well. After the series of counters and moves on the apron, the match picked up the pace. The initial setup for the red arrow felt too forced, and not as natural as it normally is. When it was Neville’s time to shine, he impressed me as he usually does. His speed and intensity got the crowd back into the match, not just with his moves, but his selling. This contest took time to get good, but that finishing sequence was done beautifully. I was convinced Neville had this, but they gave us an awesome swerve with Jericho countering and winning with the LION TAMER. Overall, this was a good match to warm the crowd.
Paige vs Tamina vs Nikki Bella
I’m starting to get very annoyed by Tamina. She made zero effort in breaking up the school boy pin right in front of her, it’s like she didn’t care. I just thought she didn’t mesh well with the other two divas. Once Nikki and Paige were in the ring, the match quality increased, not by much though. Paige botched her selling when Nikki was driving her into the turnbuckle with her shoulder. The spot of the match was definitely the powrbomb-superplex. I wasn’t sure if it was Paige or Nikki, but someone was calling their spots way too loud. With an obvious result, this match fell flat for the most part.
Kofi Kingston vs Brock Lesnar
Brock was looking in excellent shape, and by that I mean he was looking more lean than he did at Mania. Kofi did a fantastic job at selling his fear of Lesnar, but some of it may have been real. This contest had a comedic aspect, along with a serious aspect. I just love how Lesnar can do nothing more than a german suplex and still keep the audience hooked. Each suplex looked deadly, and I applaud Kingston for selling them well. There’s no doubt that this was a glorified squash match, but overall a solid way of reminding the fans that Brock is a god amongst men.
Finn Balor vs Kevin Owens
It wasn’t until this point I realized this was the second last match on the card, as some of the other scheduled matches were dark matches. The streamers gave me chills, it made Balor look like the biggest star in the company. Right away, these men began to work an epic match. The spots they did in the opening were a clever way of keeping the crowd pumped for Finn. The environment was right for Balor, but it was just as right for Owens because this audience despised him. His heel character has never been so fitting for a particular crowd. Owens continued to look amazing while destroying his opponent in the middle of the match. This style was only making it better for the inevitable Balor comeback. It came across to me that Kevin’s rage was coming from his dislike of Japan. I was also surprised he landed the five knuckle shuffle, but it was clearly done to maximize his heat with a pro Cena crowd. Owen’s sell of the pelay kick was the spot of the match for me, simply because of the way he fell. My eyes lit up when I Balor landed the Coup de Grace, I honestly thought it was over. That near fall might have been one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. By the end I had a difficult time typing this review and watching the match because it was that good. I can’t remember the last time I marked out as hard as did for Balor getting the pin. That moment just felt amazing, and could already be considered a classic for the WWE.
John Cena & Dolph Ziggler vs Kane & King Barrett
Is this another sign that Barrett’s getting a push? With two television wins and a main event spot, things are looking good for the King. Jokes aside, this could have easily been the match before the previous one. Topping Balor vs Owens was going to be a tough task. Say what you want about Cena, this man is an international sensation, and it was shown through the crowd. In fact the match didn’t feel like it mattered until John was first tagged in. I can understand the WWE’s logic of wanting to put their top guy on last, his presence alone carried the contest. While John’s popularity stood out, the start was extremely slow and slightly dull. From a wrestling stand point, both Cena and Dolph looked great. I liked Cena’s ability to sell a beat down for a majority of the match, while Ziggler gave the crowd a reason to pop with a solid hot tag. Barrett also looked fluid, if his character had more credibility his work rate would have been more noticeable from the start. When I figured this would close out the show, I wasn’t exactly glued to the TV, but these men found a way to make it work. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining bout.
Besides the one match on this card, I felt the superstars that were showcased did an awesome job. The match placement felt odd, but once I got over that, I truly enjoyed this special. I definitely thought it was worth getting up early for. Also, the commentary was exceptional, I don’t know what changed, but Saxton and Cole meshed well together .The low point of the show was undoubtedly the divas match while the high point was Balor vs Owens. Overall, I give this show a 7.9/10.