Date: April 1, 2022
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
It’s the go home show for Wrestlemania and that could mean a few things. On one hand, it means we could be in for the last big push before the biggest show of the year, which means an exciting night. On the other hand, it could be WWE putting in as little effort as possible as they have more important things on their minds. Knowing WWE, I’ll go with the latter almost every time. Let’s get to it.
Commentary welcomes us to the show and gives us a video package on Andre the Giant to hype up his namesake battle royal.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Tommaso Ciampa, Cedric Alexander, Ivar, Erik, Madcap Moss, Drew Gulak, Shelton Benjamin, Mansoor, Shanky, Jinder Mahal, R-Truth, Akira Tozawa, Reggie, Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, T-Bar, Damian Priest, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Finn Balor
This field is lame even by this match’s standards. Only Ziggler, Roode and Balor get entrances. It’s a brawl to start with Tozawa being eliminated, followed by Reggie, who makes the dumb choice of flipping around on the apron. There goes R-Truth, followed by Mahal, the latter of whom goes out at the hands of the Vikings. Benjamin knees T-Bar out and it’s time to start brawling near the ropes. Moss knocks Gulak out as I continue not remembering that Gulak works here.
Cue Happy Corbin to praise Moss but almost low bridges him out by mistake when Balor reverses a whip into the ropes. Ciampa sends Moss to the floor but this time Corbin makes the save. Corbin leaves so it’s time to settle down again. Crews knocks out Alexander and Azeez gets rid of Benjamin. Mansoor’s slingshot neckbreaker is blocked and Ciampa knees him out. The Vikings eliminate Crews but get tossed by Shanky and Azeez, leaving them with the giant showdown.
They fight near the ropes and both get tossed out, leaving us with Priest, Balor, Roode, Moss, Ciampa and Ziggler. Balor and Priest remember that they had a feud for a bit and slug it out until Balor tosses him out. Roode puts Ciampa on the apron and Ziggler hits the superkick for the elimination to get us down to four. That leaves Balor to clean house but he can’t get rid of Roode. Ziggler goes to help Roode but Moss tosses Ziggler and Roode. Balor charges at Moss and gets sent out to give Moss the win at 7:11.
Rating: C-. This was every lame battle royal you’ve seen and that is what the Andre battle royal seems to be. It’s everyone without stuff going on at Wrestlemania being added in to a match on TV, which doesn’t make it feel special. Instead, this feels like a match that WWE has to do and picks a random person to win. Moss is part of a bad angle with Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre, but it isn’t like the match has any history or importance for the most part.
Post match Moss celebrates his win but asks what you should call a battle royal with the smartest Texans. A CATTLE royal!
Intercontinental Title: Ricochet vs. Humberto vs. Angel
Ricochet is defending because this is what the title has become these days. Angel and Humberto share an entrance and their chyron says Los Lotharios, which is a bit of a weird way to set up a triple threat. Ricochet gets knocked into the corner to start, with Angel biting his finger. The obvious double teaming begins and Ricochet gets caught with a running knee to the face. Ricochet fights up and manages a double hurricanrana, because that’s something people can do. Angel catches him on top with a super armdrag though and we take a break.
Back with Ricochet having to fight off the numbers game again, which allows the double teaming to take him down. Humberto nails a spinwheel kick for two, which doesn’t sit well with Angel. The Wing Clipper is loaded up but Humberto rolls Angel up for another near fall as greed enters the equation.
Ricochet uses the distraction to crossbody them down, setting up a rolling dropkick to Angel. The standing shooting star press gets two on Humberto with Angel making the save. Humberto gets backdropped to the floor and an enziguri drops Angel. Ricochet drops Humberto onto Angel, setting up the 630. That’s not enough so Ricochet goes straight to Humberto with the Recoil for the pin to retain at 11:15.
Rating: C+. The action was ok, but the fact that it was a relief to see Ricochet beat a tag team to retain the Intercontinental Title tells you everything you need to know. Ricochet at least comes off as a winner to save the slightest bit of face, but he needs a lot more to make up some of the last few weeks. Now he can move on to a singles challenger, but him sitting on the sidelines might be best for both himself and the title at the moment, as WWE doesn’t seem to know any better.
Long video on Kevin Owens vs. Steve Austin. Owens wanted a way to Wrestlemania so he challenged Austin to come on the KO Show. One day Owens remembered that he hated Texas and started insulting it so he wants the embodiment of Texas to show up. Austin responded from what looked to be some road out in the wilderness, which sends us into the Austin highlight reel set to Bawitaba by Kid Rock because 90s.
Naomi/Sasha Banks vs. Queen Zelina/Carmella
Non-title with Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley and Natalya/Shayna Baszler at ringside. Carmella kicks Banks to the floor to start, allowing her to get in some dancing. Zelina hits some running knees in the corner and Carmella is back in for a chinlock. That’s broken up and Banks gets in a shot to the face, allowing her to get over to Naomi for the tag. With Carmella dispatched, a Vader Bomb hits Zelina and Naomi adds the split legged moonsault for the pin at 3:26.
Rating: C-. This was about as filler of a match as you can get as they were thrown out there to set up a match that isn’t going to have much interest no matter what they do. The Women’s Tag Team Titles continue to be absolutely nothing and I can’t even get annoyed at the champs losing two days before their Wrestlemania title defense. Nothing match with nothing teams getting ready for a nothing match. Why is this a surprise these days?
Ronda Rousey was training earlier today (appeared to be with Shayna Baszler) and insisted that she was controlling her anger. She’ll be seeing her baby before the show, where she’ll rip off Charlotte’s arm.
Video on Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey, looking at their respective in-ring/cage careers. Both dominated their sports and now it is a clash of the two titans, which would have been a bit better had they not already had a Wrestlemania match. It is also presented as a battle of holds, with the armbar/ankle lock vs. the Figure Eight. In other words, this sounds better in theory than it has been in reality.
Here is Charlotte for a chat. She praises the video and says it was more dramatic than Coda. She is going to destroy Rousey and, after mocking the WHAT chants by suggesting they are saying WOO, Charlotte declares herself cool. Every woman wants to be like her and every man just wants her. Having people want her autograph and pictures is cool, just like leaving Wrestlemania as the Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Video on Roman reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. I believe they’re fighting soon or something.
Rick Boogs plays Shinsuke Nakamura to the ring so Pat McAfee gets on the announcers’ table….but Austin Theory trips him up. McAfee gives chase to the back, where Theory runs into Vince McMahon’s office. That slows McAfee down but he kicks the door open, with Vince coming out and threatening to fire him. McAfee seems worried and goes back to commentary.
Rick Boogs vs. Jimmy Uso
Shinsuke Nakamura and Jey Uso are here too and McAfee is back on commentary. Boogs curls Uso to start before throwing him down. Jimmy is right back up with a whip to send Boogs into the post to cut him down but Boogs manages to gorilla press Jimmy….from his knees. Boogs stands up and drops him into a fall away slam, because that’s something a person can do. Cue Theory to grab a cup of ice from a fan and throw it at McAfee, who manages to keep his cool. Cue Finn Balor to go after Theory so all six get in the ring for the double DQ at 3:08.
Rating: D+. That gorilla press alone was worth seeing but that’s all they had in such a short match. Normally I would have an issue with WWE doing so many things in one match, but this is a bit of a weird situation. Balor vs. Theory is a feud that has been going on in recent weeks, though Balor isn’t even on Wrestlemania. I’m not sure why they are building feuds for beyond Wrestlemania, but we seem to be ready for a six man tag here to keep it going even further.
Usos/Austin Theory vs. Finn Balor/Shinsuke Nakamura/Rick Boogs
Joined in progress with Nakamura getting two on Jey. The running knee to the ribs in the corner gets one but a quick shot allows Jey to get over to Theory. Nakamura knees Theory in the ribs as McAfee is VERY pleased with the fans not liking Theory. Boogs comes in and grabs the rotating back and forth gutwrench suplex for two.
It’s off to Balor, who gets sent outside for a cheap shot from Jey to put him down. The villains glare down at McAfee and we take a break. Back with Jimmy missing a splash in the corner but Jey knocks Boogs off the apron to cut off a tag attempt. Balor hits the basement dropkick to rock Jimmy though and it’s a double diving tag to Nakamura and Theory. Nakamura gets to clean house, including a kick to Theory’s head and the sliding German suplex.
Everything breaks down and Boogs is sent hard into the steps. Balor comes in to clothesline Theory to the floor, setting up the big running flip dive. The Sling Blade connects back inside and it’s the shotgun dropkick to knock him down again. A distraction lets Theory break up the Coup de Grace though and the ATL finishes Balor at 11:29.
Rating: C. I knew this was coming and I still cringed at the pinfall. For the life of me I don’t get why WWE feels the need to do this, but if Theory isn’t US Champion by the end of the next pay per view (at the VERY latest), this is another entry on the long list of stupid things WWE has done. The US Champion shouldn’t be losing most of the time, but this is what, three or so falls he has taken to set up a match he isn’t even in? It’s another case of WWE feeling like they are trying to make things worse for someone they seem interested in pushing. Only WWE, thank goodness.
Post match McAfee gets on the apron to stare Theory down but he manages to keep his composure.
Here are Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss for Happy Talk, complete with a table to hold Angela the sword. Moss brags about winning the Andre the Giant battle royal earlier, but Corbin says he was supposed to do that. Corbin is euphoric and thinks that could be his new name. We look at how he got the sword and Corbin brags about everything he has done at Wrestlemania over the years.
The sword is more of an insurance policy and he could decapitate someone with the thing. How depressing is it to name the sword after McIntyre’s dead mother? Corbin: “What does Drew McIntyre’s sword and his mother have in common? He lost them both.” Cue McIntyre, who knocks Moss out with one shot on the way to the ring. McIntyre grabs a chair and throws it at Corbin’s head (that was smart), causing the sword to fall down. The set is cleared out and McIntyre cuts the table in half.
Back in the ring, McIntyre stable the mat a few times to make fire and pyro go off to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. Oh they didn’t care. It was clear that this was designed to be a way to have a show before Wrestlemania and nothing more. None of the matches were good and a lot of this was about hyping things up. This has been the case for a pretty long time now and that reputation is why I was at other shows on Friday night and the only part I saw that night was at a restaurant between other events. It wasn’t that the show was bad, but rather that it was unimportant and WWE didn’t care. That’s as bad of a feeling that you can have and it was on in full display this week.
Madcap Moss won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal last eliminating Finn Balor
Ricochet b. Angel and Humberto – Recoil to Humberto
Naomi/Sasha Banks b. Carmella/Queen Zelina – Split legged moonsault to Zelina
Rick Boogs vs. Jimmy Uso went to a double DQ when Jey Uso and Shinsuke Nakamura interfered
Austin Theory/Usos b. Shinsuke Nakamura/Rick Boogs/Finn Balor – ATL to Balor
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