Live from Newark, NJ, it's WWE Main Event! Announcer Tom Phillips (alongside Byron Saxton) welcomes us to this edition of the show. Once again, I am Mitch Nickelson and I'm here to walk you through this week's show. I was worried that three straight days of live WWE programming would be a little bit of overkill, but both Money In The Bank and Monday Night Raw were pretty above average nights. With Cesaro advertised to take on Dolph Ziggler tonight, I'm excited about one more!
I like doing a play-by-play format, but I'm going to ease up on the matches and just do more of a summary. Personally, I enjoy the matches way more when I'm not trying to keep up with typing everything I see. Cesaro's music kicks us off.
Battleground Intercontinental Promo
Cesaro is standing in the ring with a long black robe and an eye patch. He's joined by his advocate, Paul Heyman. Heyman says that he knows how to deliver on a promise. He reminds us of Brock Lesnar conquering the Streak. He says that we were promised a match between Cesaro and the "perennial runner-up," Dolph Ziggler. Apparently that match isn't happening. Boo.
He shows the clip where Kofi upset Cesaro last night on Raw. He talks about how every action has a reaction. He says that Cesaro, like a true Superman, took matters into his own hands. Heyman warns about the next piece of footage being rather graphic. We then see the beatdown that Cesaro gave Kofi after his loss on Raw.
Heyman says he's unimpressed with the crowd's scorn. While Cesaro won't be competing in his scheduled match tonight, we are assured that he will be competing in the over the top rope battle royal for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground. Paul Heyman is then interrupted by Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler mentions that line where he was called a perennial runner-up. He reminds them of his past Money in the Bank victory. The crowd cheers for that. He also reminds them of his cash-in for the World Championship, which gets him more cheers. Lastly, he says that maybe, just maybe, people will remember when the hardest working man in sports entertainment will become our Intercontinental Champion. He asked Mr. Heyman when his client has achieved any of those goals. He calls him a big, fat, zero. As he's calling him a James Bond villain, Big E's music starts playing.
Big E reminds Ziggler and Cesaro that he is a former Intercontinental Champion. Even though he's strayed from the path of righteousness and excellence, he has a chance for redemption. This civil-rights era preacher gimmick is growing on me. Before he says too much more, Rybaxel decides to join in on the promo party.
Ryback starts out by calling everyone cornballs. I find everything this man says hilarious. Axel calls himself The Ax-Man™ and Ryback The Big Guy™. I'm glad that those names are sticking. They say they can't be stopped as RVD's music begins. Decent reaction for him.
RVD talks about everyone having accomplishments as the crowd does an E-C-W chant. He mocks Rybaxel about not really having any accomplishments except copying his ring gear. He says that all of the guys are good, but only one of them is good enough to be R-V-D. He isn't able to finish his initials before a melee breaks out.
Rybaxel gets dumped out of the ring as RVD, Big E, and Ziggler stand tall in the ring. Heyman and Cesaro look on from the top of the ramp. The announcers also mention that Damien Sandow, Kofi Kingston, and the Great Khali will be in the battle royal at Battleground.
Backstage, in some really badly lit part of the arena, Erick Rowan is putting his sheep mask on. Luke Harper tells New Jersey that they're coming. Rowan simply says, "Run." They're in tag team action next.
Back from the break and we learn that the originally scheduled match between Ziggler and Cesaro has now become a six-man tag match. RVD, Ziggler, and Big E will take on Cesaro and Rybaxel. That should be good.
There's a Raw Recap showing the returns of The Miz and Jericho from last night. A feud between Jericho and Bray Wyatt is awesome. I can't wait to see where this goes. There's a graphic advertising Jericho's return to Smackdown this Friday. R-Truth and Xavier Woods are now standing in the ring.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. R-Truth and Xavier Woods
This match was fairly uneventful, which isn't too surprising. R-Truth and Xavier Woods are glorified jobbers. Woods did a pretty impressive spinning DDT onto Rowan at one point. Rowan got the winning pin after hitting a side-slam onto Woods.
Winner by pinfall: Harper and Rowan
The Funkadactyls vs. Nikki Bella (Handicap Match)
This starts out as a rematch from last night. As the former lackeys of Brodus Clay make their way to the ring, we are shown a highlight of the return of A.J. Lee on last night's Raw. Back in the ring, Cameron and Noami still have issues and act annoyed at each other. Nikki Bella makes her way out to the ring next. As she gets in the ring, Stephanie McMahon appears on the big screen.
Stephanie tells Nikki that she understands how unfair it was for her sister to abandon her and leave her in a handicap match last night on Raw. Stephanie says that in the spirit of fairness, she's assigned her a new tag team partner. That partner is Alicia Fox. Nikki doesn't look happy about her teammate.
While the match goes on, Alicia acts way too enthusiastic for her partner, but it works pretty well. The crowd chants along with her. Cameron tags herself in at one point when Naomi didn't want her to, furthering their tension. When Nikki made her way to her corner to make a tag, Alicia pulled her hand away and gave Nikki a kick to the face instead. Ouch. Cameron successfully got the pin.
Winners by pinfall: The Funkadactyls
Cameron celebrated by herself outside the ring. Nikki held her mouth and pouted alone in the ring.
Renee Young Asks Sheamus About His Open Challenge, Cue Del Rio
Renee asks Sheamus why he issued a challenge for his United States title on the Fourth of July edition of Smackdown. Sheamus says that it's because this is America, the land of opportunity. He promised to be a fighting champion. That's what the WWE universe deserves. He acts all patriotic and says that it's the birthday of the country that he's grown to love. The opportunity to fight him is for anyone at all. I'm rooting for Rusev.
Del Rio joins the interview. There goes my Rusev wish. He talks about fighting in the battle royal in three weeks at Battleground. But since one title is not enough, he's taking Sheamus up on his challenge. The six-man tag match happening later in the night is advertised again.
Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton discuss the ladder matches from Money In The Bank. We now see a Raw Rebound, recapping the John Cena stuff. A graphic is then shown for Battleground's main event, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship fatal 4-way between John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Kane.
More Renee Young! Now With Heyman And Cesaro
We're treated to another Renee Young interview, this time with Cesaro and Paul Heyman. She asks Heyman if there's a reason why he's trying to keep his client out of tonight's main event six-man tag match. He insults her by saying that the peroxide has affected her brain. He says that his client in not afraid of competition.
He talks about how the mantra of many champions in the WWE as of late is to forfeit rather than fight. He says "Yes" over and over to jab at Daniel Bryan. He then says that he's afraid that he has some "Bad News" for her. His client does not forfeit; his client fights. He says that his client will win the battle royal at Battleground and his victory speech will be in five different languages. I think Cesaro then counts to five in five different languages. I understand him say "five" at the end, but that was it. Context clues, people.
Paul Heyman leans back in and says in a quiet voice, "five." He does it again, this time with Cesaro as well and says "five" again. Renee Young tries to act annoyed, but she cracks a little smile as she holds back the laughter. That segment ended surprisingly charming.
Dolph Ziggler, Big E, and RVD vs. Rybaxel and Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman)
Cesaro is the last one to come out. Tom Phillips explains that he's got a scratch on his eye and will be wearing the eye patch for 48 hours. Apparently this was announced on WWE.com. I've been offline most of the day today, so I missed that.
Cesaro was reluctant to first get into this match. Curtis Axel had to tag him in against his wishes. Ziggler targeted his eye, which wasn't very nice of him. He even ripped his eyepatch off. After Cesaro tagged back out, he made his way over to Heyman and kept favoring his eye. There was a break at this point in the broadcast.
After the break, Tom reminds us that all six of these athletes will be in the over the top battle royal at Battleground. With Ryback gaining control over RVD, Cesaro willingly tags himself into the match. I guess he's not too worried about this eye at this point. Rybaxel works with him as they tag in and out, keeping RVD from gaining control.
For some insane reason, Ryback climbs to the top of the turnbuckle late in the match. He goes for a splash onto a fallen RVD, but misses as he rolls out of the way. This gives RVD the chance to hot tag to Ziggler. He goes nuts onto Cesaro, finding his Famouser onto Cesaro. He goes for the pin, but only gets two. Heyman looks a little disheartened on the outside.
After a missed attempt at a Zig-Zag, Dolph manages to connect with a devastating DDT. Axel stopped the pin attempt that followed. A massive brawl followed that ended with Ziggler finally hitting his Zig-Zag onto Cesaro. He went for the pin and got it.
Winners by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler, RVD, and Big E
The winning team celebrated in the ring. The camera also showed Heyman having a great expression of concern. The three victors celebrated in the ring as the show ended.
Mitch's Final Thoughts:
Cesaro's eye injury and the upcoming Intercontinental battle royal were the focus of the night. All of it was enjoyable. Heyman is gold in everything he does, so lots of him makes for a fun hour. The six-man main event was the best match, not that it had a ton of competition. The Nikki Bella and friends stuff was okay, but nothing amazing. Alicia Fox kicking her in the face was pretty stiff looking, though. The Harper/Rowan match was a squash, so I can't give too much praise there.
Sometimes it's the little things that shine. Renee Young trying her best to not burst out into laughter was a highlight of the night. I'm also becoming a huge fan of the meathead-bully gimmick that Rybaxel has going on. Let those guys keep that up, please.
All in all, this was an hour that was well spent. WWE seems more and more exciting as of late, so join me next week as we keep up with all of it.
Follow me on twitter, I'm easy to find @MitchNickelson . And if you're feeling nostalgic for Bobby Heenan, head on over to my local newspaper to read my recent review on his autobiography from over a decade ago.