The event, with JoJo as ring announcer, kicks off with the New Day delivering a full promo. Xavier Woods, a native of the Atlanta area and born in nearby Columbus, Georgia, leads off by singing “Georgia on my Mind” and says that Georgia is the best state in the United States. He’s quick to point out, though, that the people of Georgia are not great, even using the phrase “dumpster fires.”
Usos/Ryback def. New Day
This was a solid match with all the spots you’d expect from this group. New Day was in full form all night, including a sneaky impressive moment with Woods holding himself horizontal off the top turnbuckle to the outside of the ring so he could play Francesca 2 for the crowd.
The faces get the win, unsurprisingly, and look good in the process. The kids love the Usos, and Ryback did some quality work, including a splash from the top turnbuckle and a whip-to-gorilla press-to-shoulder slam combo that wouldn’t be a bad finisher. He gets the pin on Woods.
Titus O’Neil def. Stardust
Both men do excellent work feeding off the crowd, including Stardust asking that a particularly noisy group of kids be removed from the arena. Even as a heel, though, a number of kids were seen wearing Stardust gear. O’Neil gets the win on the Clash of the Titus, which sounded particularly impactful. Similarly, his chest slaps on Stardust were among the loudest moves of the evening.
Here we get a video promo from Kevin Owens, who will later face Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. He says that he’s hoping to beat Dean Ambrose for his title and get the “hell out of this town” for more of his usual textbook heel play.
Hype Bros. def. Los Matadores
The Hype Bros. absolutely fantastic for such an environment, but this one isn’t just about yelling for the crowd. Zach Ryder, in particular, pulled off some interesting moves in the ring, including a flapjack variant, and Mojo Rawley is a ball of energy that seems to really resonate with the home crowd. The finish is a Hype Ryder, which is a fun, traditional tag finisher that could be a good fit on the main roster.
As for the unsuccessful Matadores, it’s a bit disappointing to see that they’re still using that gimmick. Rumors that they were being re-packaged are not true, at least as far as this event is concerned.
Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Championship Match)
These two have certainly had plenty of work together in recent months, but they put on another solid show here. Dean Ambrose got a big reception from the crowd, and Owens again displayed his abilities as a heel, taunting young fans all the way to the ring.
Both men performed their signature moves, but as usual, they also mixed in plenty of other stuff both in and out of the ring. Ambrose reversed one pop-up powerbomb into a hurricanrana and there were plenty of finisher setups. Overall, it's nice to see top-level talent commit to a live-event match.
R-Truth/Damien Sandow def. Curtis Axel/Heath Slater
Axel and Slater open with a cliche but still funny promo where Axel reveals that he is all kinds of stomach issues because the “way they’re makin’ the bacon in Macon is makin’ me sick.”
Truth and Sandow did the expected crowd work with Truth’s catchphrases, as Sandow was doing the Sandizzle gimmick we’ve seen a couple times. Mainly a nondescript match, but the crowd was into the call-and-response.
We hear from Rusev, booked to replace the injured Sheamus, who cuts a video promo mocking Reigns for losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship..
Charlotte def. Paige and Becky Lynch (Divas Championship Match, Triple Threat)
It was a pleasant surprise to get this match at the event, and the three women were received well by the crowd. Despite her clear heel status, Charlotte was met with a smattering of cheers and plenty of “Woooos,” although unfortunately, her father was not in attendance.
There was a decent spot with Paige locking in the PTO on Charlotte, only to have Becky Lynch break it up and put Charlotte in the Disarm-Her. Charlotte kicks Paige, who was focused on Becky outside the ring, and rolls her up for the lone heel victory of the evening.
After the match, Paige gets a microphone and leads the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Becky, who turned 29 years old. While that doesn’t fit very well into the storyline, this was really the lone departure from the WWE programming “canon,” and it was fun moment.
Roman Reigns def. Rusev w/ Lana
Reigns got the largest pop of the evening, and the layout of the arena led to some suspense as it isn’t completely obvious which entrace he would use to come to the ring.
The match itself is solid and surprisingly lengthy, including a well-done interruption when Rusev picks up a microphone and says when he was booked to come to this town, this match was for the world title.
That’s not entirely true, since Sheamus was booked for the spot until after Reigns lost the belt, but it was still well done by Rusev. Since it isn’t a title match, he turns to leave, but Reigns catches him at the entrance stage, issues a quick beating and takes him back to the ring. We get multiple false finishes, as Reigns apears set for the Superman Punch, but Lana provides a distraction.
A bit later, Reigns manages to escape the Accolade, and it isn’t long before he hits the Bulgarian Brute with a surprise Spear for the victory.Published 01 Feb 2016, 14:32 IST