By: Frank Hyden
BAD- R-Truth beat Drew Gulak
It wasn’t that long ago that Gulak was presented as a serious wrestler. He was Daniel Bryan’s trainer and even beat A.J. Styles on Smackdown. Now he’s wrestling R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship. The match was okay but these guys deserve better.
GOOD- Roman Reigns beat Jey Uso to retain the WWE Universal Title
This match was good but it wasn’t nearly as great as it could have been. The PG era of WWE prevented this match from being all it could be. For starters, the absence of blood. Whether some people like it or not, or if they’re just used to the PG stuff, blood elevates a match. It takes a match to the next level, a level you just cannot reach without blood. All this talk about unleashing hell and all that, and this match looked exactly the same as every other match. There was nothing that made this match stand out or made you go “Whoa….”. I’m not saying every match should have blood, nor am I saying that every card needs blood.
However, this match needed blood. The storytelling was there, the emotion was there, but this match seemed like an ordinary run-of-the-mill match. There was nothing separating it from others. This was like watching a PG-13 slasher film. Yeah, it could still be good but it’s never going to be as good as it could have been. This goes hand in hand with WWE’s problem with the hyperbolic way they hype matches. Sasha Banks told Bayley Friday on Smackdown that she was going to end her. Yet they wrestled a fairly regular match. A good and violent match, but a normal match. Drew McIntyre had previously told Randy Orton he was going to kick his head clean off his shoulders, yet won that match with a freaking backslide. That would be fine if he attacked him after the match and tried to hurt him, but instead he celebrated like he had won the Super Bowl. If you’re going to have people talk shit, they need to back it up or else it loses its impact. If every other word out of your mouth is fuck, it loses its impact. However, if you use it selectively, it becomes so much more powerful. Jey and possibly Jimmy Uso should have been stretchered out covered in blood. That would be something worthy of being on a card called Hell in a Cell. This match easily could have been on Smackdown. Again, this was a good match but wasn’t as good as it could have been.
BAD/GOOD- Elias vs. Jeff Hardy ends in DQ
The DQ finish sucks, though I know they want to extend the feud. The match was fine up until the DQ, though it would have fit better on RAW. Hardy getting himself DQ’d fits with Hardy’s reckless persona.
GOOD- The Miz beats Otis to get the Money in the Bank contract
The match was your basic Miz vs. Otis match. Tucker turned on Otis and cost him the contract. They’re on different brands, though, so one will have to be traded or something. The Miz with the contract is way more interesting to me, but I’m sure Otis fans are upset.
GOOD- Sasha Banks beat Bayley to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion
This was a good match. It didn’t quite reach the levels of violence equivalent to the hype for the match but it came closer than the other matches on the card. Banks hit the Bayley-to-Belly onto a ladder for a near-fall then locked in a Bank Statement with a chair to get the submission and win the belt. They used the cage fairly well.
BAD- Bobby Lashley beat Slapjack
The match was okay but nothing great. Lashley won with The Hurt Lock. Retribution seems like a dying angle already.
GOOD- Randy Orton beat Drew McIntyre to become the WWE World Champion
I’m generally not a fan of Orton because it seems like he does everything deliberately and slowly. His promos and matches just don’t match the intensity you get from others. I’m probably a little too hard on him for that, though. This match was also good like the other HIAC matches and it actually had the biggest bump of the night as McIntyre fell off the side of the cage through the announce table. He was probably a good 10 feet up when he fell so it was a pretty damn big bump. After that, Orton hit him with a RKO and won the title. I don’t think they’ll have Orton hold the belt for too long but WWE usually has guys hold belts for a minimum of a couple months or so so I don’t know. Maybe they’ll do a thing where McIntyre chases the belt for months and wins it again at WrestleMania?
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank