Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow & Brian Damage
The first PPV of the new era according to the WWE’s billing culminates with AJ Styles challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE title. Elsewhere, PPV debuts for The Vaudevillains and Enzo & Big Cass, Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens, IC Champion The Miz vs Cesaro, an announcement from Vince McMahon on who will be booking Raw and more.
WWE United States Title Kickoff Show Match: Ryback vs. Kalisto
Craig: Again?! This didn’t interest me ahead of WrestleMania and with little or no further build or storyline development since, it interests me even less this time. Another event where I skip the pre-show then… Also interesting that in early May the WWE are bringing out a DVD set on the US title yet don’t deem it to be worthy of appearing on the main card of an event in consecutive months…
Winner: Kalisto probably
Jamie: Is this a joke? Is this match really booked, again? Well, to be fair, plenty of people missed it at Wrestlemania while they were looking for their seats so here’s another chance…
Winner: Kalisto, I guess
Brian: Ugh! The Big Guy vs the little guy one more time. Seeing as Kalisto defeated Ryback at Wrestlemania….I figure Ryback goes over this time around. I hope not, but I think Ryback gets the title.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
Craig: If the WWE are serious about Corbin, which the Battle Royal win at Mania could suggest, then this has to be a quick and ruthless win. A total squash? Not quite but if this is a back and forth contest it hurts Corbin due to how Ziggler is perceived nowadays.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Jamie: Corbin should win this, right? That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if he loses in order to prolong this into a full blown feud but by that point nobody will care because the big bad guy will have already be proven to be beatable.
Winner: Baron Corbin, I hope
Brian: Normally I would say that Dolph Ziggler would win this considering Corbin has had the upper hand every week. I don’t think that’ll happen here. Baron Corbin needs to get over and I see DZ doing the J.O.B.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Vince McMahon announces who will control RAW
Craig: I don’t really know what to expect with this. The fact it’s still up in the air shows how meaningless the Shane vs Undertaker WrestleMania match was but we’ve done that before. I have no idea what will happen here, none at all. A list of possible ways that every Monday Shane can win the right to book Raw?
Jamie: Shane McMahon was unsuccessful in his attempt to take charge of Raw at Wrestlemania, but was handed the reigns anyway. Thus I have no interest in this announcement because there’s every chance that Vince will just change his mind 24 hours later.
Brian: Logic says it will go to Shane McMahon…but this isn’t about logic is it? Whoever gets the power , will certainly mean we will not hear or see the last of the other. I predict a McMahon civil war.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Craig: I cannot wait for this. This should be excellent. A long story that the WWE highlighted beautifully on Raw with a fantastic video package. Two great workers and a feud fans can buy into – and have – is all it really takes. Who wins? We all do by getting this match on a PPV. Oh, an actual winner…
Winner: Sami Zayn
Jamie: I still don’t understand why this was not booked at Wrestlemania, for the IC Title. Oh well, better late than never. I already know this will be a fantastic match, but just how fantastic is open to debate.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Brian: Without a doubt, this will be the match of the night. These two have an amazing chemistry together. It just flows naturally, much like Flair and Steamboat had.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose
Craig: *sigh* I can’t help feeling sorry for Dean Ambrose. Not that getting put with Jericho is a bum draw, of course it’s not, but it’s an indication that the WWE don’t have anything for, or don’t know what to do with, Dean Ambrose and that is unfortunate. He shouldn’t have a talk show segment on TV and he is definitely being wasted whilst being lost in the shuffle. A real shame. Still, this match, as meaningless as it is, should be a good one and a good chance to show how good Ambrose is with Jericho putting him over.
Winner: Dean Ambrose.
Jamie: I like Jericho, I like Ambrose, I know they are both really good but yet I’m not interested. Is it just me? I’m also starting to lose faith with WWE over Dean Ambrose. He should be Johnny Rotten but WWE seem to think he’s more Jon Bon Jovi. Surely he wins this match though, but then again it seemed certain that Jericho would fall to AJ Styles…
Winner: Dean Ambrose, I hope
Brian: Could be good, should be good…will it be good? Probably, I just haven’t been able to get into these two guys feud. I mean fighting over a talk show?
Winner: Chris Jericho
WWE Tag Team Tournament #1 Contenders’ Match: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains
Craig: Another match am really looking forward to. I love a tournament and I love tag team wrestling – I was always going to be excited about this. Factor in I like both teams a lot then this should be good fun. The programme between whoever wins here and New Day will also be very good.
Winners: Enzo & Big Cass
Jamie: A #1 contender’s tournament?! I like it. It wasn’t so long ago that the four most likely for the WWE Title were just lobbed into a fatal four way, but here we have a properly structured tournament just to get a shot at the tag titles. This is my kind of sports entertainment. Two entertaining teams facing off in a logical competition to reach their sporting goal. That’s sports entertainment.
Winners: Enzo & Big Cass
Brian: It is so refreshing to see two brand new teams battling it out for the right to face the New Day for the tag team titles. It shows a new commitment to the division. My guess is that the Vaudevillians win and face the New Day.
Winners: The Vaudevillians
WWE Women’s Title Match: Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Natalya (w/Bret Hart)
Craig: There’s no doubting this will be a good match from a technical standpoint. Worried the addition of Ric Flair and Bret Hart might overshadow proceedings which would be a shame when you consider there’s enough quality in the ring for that to be the focus. Also, shouldn’t it be Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart in her corner? I like Natalya, I really want her to win this but can she? I’m not convinced. But if there’s going to be a title change then it’s this one.
Jamie: Having read an interview with Bret Hart saying that he has no interest in appearing on this show I can’t help be turned off – this is due him recently having an operation. My Hope is that Hart just neutralises Flair so that the ladies can have a fair fight. I have my doubts though…
Brian: Should be a really good match if their NXT match was any indication. Natalya really is such a tremendous wrestler and vastly underutilized.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz vs. Cesaro
Craig: I never thought I’d say it but I’m enjoying The Miz at the moment. The WWE appear to have finally worked out how to book him in the cocky and brash way he should be booked. The addition of Maryse has certainly helped him a great deal. I anticipate a stellar match between the pair with The Miz bumping expertly for Cesaro here and both guys coming out looking good. I see The Miz retaining though. It won’t be a clean win but it’ll keep The Miz strong.
Winner: And still IC Champion The Miz
Jamie: The Miz still doesn’t do much for me and I can’t help but see this as another false dawn for Cesaro. Should be a good match though…
Winner: The Miz
Brian: Cesaro deserves this title and I am really pulling for him to get it. Miz is a great heel and I actually have started to appreciate his work. With that said, Cesaro needs this title (in my opinion) to validate all the crap he had to endure over the years in his WWE tenure.
Winner and new IC Champion Cesaro
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles
Craig: So many questions about this one, isn’t there? What will The Bullet Club’s involvement be? Does this lead to The Shield reforming? How much longer can the WWE persevere with a champion that’s supposed to be a babyface but is getting jeered so heavily? Can AJ Styles do it, though? I have my doubts. After all, WrestleMania was the crowning of Reigns as the face of the company so they wouldn’t undo that work the following month, right? And the WWE aren’t stupid enough to align Reigns with the Bullet Club members, are they…?
Winner: And still WWE Champion Roman Reigns
Jamie: I’ll be honest, I’ve not really followed this rivalry because I’ve turned off the last two or three episodes of Raw half way through – it lasts so bloody long and I’ve got football to watch! I am intrigued by this match though, lots of factors potentially in play. I am 99% sure that this will have all kinds of shenanigans, because I fully expected it at Wrestlemania and it never came. Hopefully this time…
Winner, and new WWE Champion: AJ Styles
Brian: It is great to see AJ get this shot so soon in his WWE tenure. With that said, he doesn’t stand a chance to win the title…at least just not yet. I predict a full fledged heel turn for Roman Reigns here.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Craig: This card is undoubtedly better than WrestleMania on paper. It’s fresh, features new talent and the matches just seem to gel well and don’t suffer as a result of trying to cram as many superstars as possible into them. Add in the fact it is a May bank holiday over here then I am unquestionably staying up for it and anticipate, and expect, a pretty good show.
Jamie: I’m somewhat intrigued, which is more than I was a couple weeks ago. Still, save for Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens there’s not a must see match here. If I hear rumours of this being good then I’ll give it a look on Monday or Tuesday. If not then I’ll give it a miss and catch Zayn vs. Owens when I can.
Brian: Is it weird that I am looking forward to this show more than I did for Wrestlemania? It has the potential to be (pardon the pun) phenomenal. Here’s hoping it is just that.