1. Poison Rana
What can I say, I mark for Reverse or inverted moves that make the cool move even cooler. Poison Ranas are pretty high on the list of “are you sure you know how to take this/are you sure you can pull this off without killing me” moves and when executed properly and at the right moment, they are as a good a “stand up even if you’re at home and mark” move. I do have a criticism for it on the next page however, but let’s focus on the fact Neville is an instant highlight and should be US Champ instead of Del Rio. If you recall, Cena did not kick out of the Red Arrow.
2. Neville’s Release German Suplex
Easily, one of my favorite subset of moves in all of wrestling are suplexes; especially overhead. I especially love them as counters and Neville had a beauty of one to counter Owen’s reckless charge into the corner. I also like when smaller guys are allowed to throw bigger guys around when it makes sense to do so. I hate when a guy is pigeonholed into “high flyer” and isn’t so much as allowed to hit a scoop slam even if he’s only wrestling a guy fifteen pounds heavier. Rey Misterio only started doing suplexes as a tribute to Eddie. Remember when you were second grade and everyone lost their mind when you picked that fifth grader up? Just me? Anyway, more throws and slams for the little guys please. If Brock can manhandle dudes that outweight him by a full adult, I can buy a professional athlete body slamming a normal sized heavyweight.
3. Neville’s Sell for the Super Kick
I’m definitely a “cool moves” sort of guy, but I wouldn’t love them nearly as much if people didn’t make me believe they had an impact. Neville takes another spot with his beautiful “slowly falling down, getting tangled in the ropes, then hitting the floor” sell of Owen’s super kick. It’s the sort of thing you’d see in a kick boxing match. The lights get turned off temporarily and your body just goes limp. I’m not a fan of how many of his contemporaries would have sold that kick. You know the sell, where the guy gets hit and hurls himself into the announce desk like he was shot out of a t-shirt cannon. Less is more.
4. Dean Wrestling…for a while
It was beyond refreshing to see Dean Ambrose “Master Grappler” for several minutes. Dean’s booked in a weird way where a lot of his detractors are convinced he is way worse than Roman at best and absolute garbage at worst. The guy has the chops (and not just his punch chop combo) to put on some good to great matches and I like the story at least as I saw it was “Dean has nothing against Ziggler and will exchange holds with him, but once Ziggler starts throwing kicks to the mush, all bets are off.” His performance was good, but not without criticism.
5. Ziggler Showing his Catch-as-Catch Can Skill
Ziggler is complicated. On one hand, he bumps like a face in peril coated in Flubber. On the other hand, he is about a smarmy a jerk as Cena but not as good on the mic. There’s an undeniable amount of talent in the guy and if WWE were not so set in their “There can be only one” mentality, Ziggler could be the Foley tier of credible face world champions. For the record, the tiers are Austin Tier – No. 1 Guy but can be beat by…Rock Tier – Arguably as over if not more so than No. 1 Guy and is equally credible. Foley Tier – actual underdog that loses more than the other two tiers but when the chips are down and nobody expects it, pulls off the miracle upset and people don’t see it as a fluke.
Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of Ziggler, but like most people in wrestling that display a certain level of talent, I root for their success and like to see what they can do when given an opportunity other than “make these more important people look good.” It’s nice to see him basically as an equal to Dean. There were moments when he had to make a comeback, but it wasn’t the typical ‘Ziggler takes a beating, strings together a whole punch of Attitude Era midcarder finishers and maybe wins, maybe loses.” It was nice to see guys wrestling instead of brawling.
6. JBL/Dean Complementary Talking Points
I found it nice that during the course of Dean and Ziggler’s match, JBL made the comment that it would be difficult to imagine Dean on Letterman (which is now Colbert’s show, but you know, JBL’s references are pretty dated.) He made his usual “LOONTIC FRINGE MAGGLE” declaration but then slowly integrate the talking point that Dean is also pretty crafty and not a complete loon. So Dean wins his match and immediately cuts a good promo on the sort of changes we can expect when he wins the belt. Replacing Cole with a Fish tank is one of those things I didn’t know I wanted until someone mentioned it. It’s kooky, but not “stab a mannequin with screwdrivers” sociopathic. It has elements of Dean being a quirky guy instead of a guy that tries to hit people with TVs that are still plugged in to a power source. More of this please and thank you.
7. Tyler’s Leg Scissors Takedown into a Single Leg Crab
There wasn’t much to R-Truth and Tyler (only Truth highlight is the guy is in his forties and still has pretty nice abs) but Tyler got the W and got to show off some of his in-ring prowess. Shades of RVD, as JBL said with the Leg Scissors Takedown, but I love how he transitioned it into a Single Leg Crab even if nobody’s tapped to that since Lance Storm and his ginormous wang were a fixture on the roster.
8. Kalisto’s Sell for the Back Stabber
I will defend ADR’s ring work until I’m (red.white,green) blue in the face, but his character arc is doing him no favors and his “kill Lucha guys” routine was old when he did it to Misterio. But this is the positive portion of the column, so let’s give Kalisto some credit on that incredible sell of the back stabber and those kicks to break up the most convoluted finisher set up since the W-O-R-M
9. The Entirety of Cesaro vs Roman
Full disclosure: I wanted to sit in the Cesaro section with HHH as the Siwss Superman advanced closer to the belt. But, and this is the thing that gets lost in the constant deluge of “smarks only love their own fantasy booking” on every wrestling site with open registration, I’m not mad that he lost because he was treated like he mattered. The commentary put him over, he got HHH to treat him like this generation’s Benoit (wrestling wise) and then went out there and tore the house down with a very game Roman. Cesaro is almost like a living cheat code. He has this lithe, but still muscular frame that allows him to hit cross bodies and Cesaro Crushers like it ain’t no thing. He can go hold for hold with the best of them. His uppercuts look painful and he has this ridiculous level of strength that let’s him launch guys the size of Roman in the air like they’re in a Capcom vs Marvel game. Roman has improved leaps and bounds in his ring-work even if super critical me still is waving at the bandwagon instead of booking a seat on it. But he’s explosive and getting better at doing things inbetween his Exclamiation Point Spots. That release German Suplex was pretty choice. This was by no mean a carry job, but Cesaro is still the stand out in the match. Dude did a cartwheel across the top rope! I’m a grown man and I almost jumped out of my bed. Could you imagine being a kid watching that? Cesaro is so much money in the making it’s funny in that “I’m trying not to cry” sort of way.
Cesaro is my favorite type of wrestler – the wrestler that treats this like it’s actually happening and not like he’s an randomly selected videogame character there to see what your signature and finishing moves look like. How many people not only avoid the apron drop kick, but counter it into something, in this case a crowd popping big swing? Who counters a jumping punch with an uppercut? I’m still bummed he didn’t counter the spear into a Sharp Shooter, but maybe they’re saving that for the week Vince gets heat stroke and HHH slips us a Cesaro vs Roman match for the belt.
10. Drama! Intensity! Women’s Wrestling
There’s been much back and forth about bringing a real and very tragic death into this feud. I am of the mind that heels should be despicable if they eventually lose in the end. That said, I think the abrupt nature in which Reid’s death was inserted into this feud was poorly handled and I don’t care who signed off on it. If you’re going to do that, it’s gotta be after blood – so to speak- has been spilled. Paige has to have come up short and becomes desperate to get in Charlotte’s head. There needs to be a build. I know some people would still be outraged they went there, but it might work better if Paige is the one to bring it up, Charlotte attacks, then we get the sit down interview about Reid. I don’t know. It’s a touchy subject I rather they not have breached, but it has been written.
Now, I put this here with the best moments of the night because they’re making an attempt to finally push a non Bella involved single’s feud as important. Charlotte’s delivery could use work, but Paige was very good, the intensity was there, and neither woman mentioned who the other was sleeping with or which of them had the most male admirers and female haters. The road to progress starts off bumpy before it gets paved.