So, as ever, excellent effort with the opening video. Heymans narration tied together everything that’s been building to this match, leading nicely to the No Way Out bit at the end, and it didn’t feel forced or tacked on.

Credit where it’s due. I didn’t (and still don’t) like the ladder stipulation that was thrown onto this match, but you knocked this potential mess of a match out of the park. Actually putting some thought in between the spots, and weaving together a fun story with Matt actually having a good plan for once (making up for the climbing on the shoulders spot at the start!) by trying to take out everyone by the knees. That was something I don’t recall seeing in a tag team ladder match before, and I always appreciate seeing something different – especially in these kinds of matches that tend to just be spot fests.

Plenty of stuff to like and love in this match beyond the knee work. Love London taking that bump off the apron, and you also making sure that you can’t powerbomb Billy Kidman. The entire segment of the match with O’Haire was great, I thought, and he looked like a real difference maker as the muscle for Hardy in taking out London and Kendrick, while the diva’s portion was a fun moment too, wrapping up that sort-of mini angle that’s been going on for a while now.

I’m still going to be a jerk and complain about a few things though; the tables being introduced into a ladder match irks me a lot of the time – especially these multi man ladder matches. There’s enough bells and whistles with eight guys, a muscle and two run ins from divas, without pulling out tables too imo. Just call it a TLC match instead? Kidman getting up far too quickly from the Doomsday Device seemed weird, and I didn’t think the Bashams or Rey had been sufficiently worn down enough to not only stay down for the entirety of the Hooliganz/Mattitude portion of the match, but to still be out by the time O’Haire hit his Swanton and forcing Shaniqua to run out. Felt like there should’ve been something in between all that to explain why the three of them were all down for so long.

However, you done a much better job explaining how everyone fell by the wayside toward the end, with Danny and Kidman taken out, Matt taking a sick sounding bump to the outside, Rey eating the spinebuster onto the ladder and Shannon getting a hero spot by taking out Doug too (which will no doubt piss off Matt), and I thought Kidman and Danny being the last two – having been the first two taken out in the finishing stretch – was sensible (for a number of reasons in Kidmans case) allowing Kidman to finally get the monkey off his back and do something good.

The addition of Cole’s commentary had shades of J.R’s call in the Jeff/Taker ladder match – and that’s a good thing. Right team won, glad there wasn’t a swerve for swerves sake, and now you can tie up the WGTT/Rey&Kidman angle at WrestleMania. Great moment to kick off the show, and with the reaction of Matt here too, it clearly sets up him chewing out Shannon moving forward from here too.

Enough of that technical shit” lol. Might’ve been my favourite line throughout the night. A Cruiserweight match with minimal story was always going to struggle to follow a ladder match opener, but the action you wrote here was perfectly fine, and lived up to the standards you’d expect from high calibre cruiserweight wrestlers like Chavo and Noble. Chavo cheating right from the beginning was a nice way to cut to the chase, but I especially enjoyed – as mentioned – the point where Chavo poked the eye after some nice wrestling exchanges. That was great.

Finish was spectacular though – you don’t see too many top rope powerbombs, and the way you got to that was excellent too. Glad that didn’t result in a kick out either – not a typical finish, but it absolutely SHOULD be the end when it happens. Top work. Not the finish I expected or predicted, and not even the post match I was anticipated, as I was sure Tajiri and Juvi would’ve played some kind of part in the match or directly after it to set up an expected multi man match for WrestleMania. The tense handshake after was good though.

The brief Regal/Show dialogue was perfectly fine and a nice segueway into the video package – which, again – was top notch. Great choice in the music (wherever you pulled that classical tune from, lol) to compliment the pompous attitude of Regal, and I remember d12 being a thing in the early to mid 2000’s too, so that’s timely. Something I don’t think I mentioned in feedback recent either, but running Cena/Show at this point, prior to WrestleMania, is a good move. Seems a logical match for Regal to put Cena in, and gets Cena/Show out of the way, rather than running it at WrestleMania.

Some of the match felt similar to the real life meetings these two have had, but what else are you going to do; you can’t exactly reinvent the wheel with Big Show matches against plucky underdogs. Cena learning from his mistake of locking up by stamping the feet was a smart little move, and the addition of Regal at ringside on commentary added a different dimension to the match too. Big Show attempting to climb up top came across as forced though, if I’m honest, and just there as a reason for Regal to tell him what to do. Just doesn’t seem like a Big Show thing to do at this stage of his career, and at this point in a match.

Show focusing on the back made plenty of sense, and him dipping into Regals playbook with submissions, rather than some boring rest holds made the match a little different, though the highlight throughout was definitely Regal’s commentary. A bit like my nit picking in the opener, it felt as if Cena’s recovery after the Power of the Punch was too quick. Super Cena levels of recovery to kick out, and then have the wherewithal to beat Show to the knucks and the energy to kick him away. Aside from that, this was a solid finish; Cena getting his shot in on Regal, and finally answering the question of whether he could FU the Big Show.

Nice non-interview with Lesnar. Heyman rules.

Lol at Holly wearing a WrestleMania shirt because he isn’t important enough to have his own. This was definitely something different. Unique approach to have the entire thing happen outside of the ring. Fuck me, a powerslam on concrete – ouch. A lot of this felt like two blokes having a dig at each other after a night out with the eye gouging etc, with the odd wrestling move thrown in for good measure. That trademark Holly kick to the gut/groin with Benoit on the railings was a lovely bit of creativity on your part too.

Where this match really excelled was in the way you continued to write it as if it was a legit fight. No setting up tables or ladders. Holly gets his hand on an announcers chair?? Chuck it at Benoit. Rips his t-shirt off – choke Benoit with it. The imagery of Holly’s eye swelling and Benoit’s being bloodshot was awesome. Probably could’ve done without the headbutt trading, but at the same time, I can get why you’d go there, given how nasty the two have gotten toward one another, and I really dug the finish. Benoit releasing the Sharpshooter to dive right into the Crossface, and Holly passing out rather than submit was pretty much perfect. Holly loses nothing in defeat, but Benoit gets a hard fought win.

While I’m a big proponent of not overdoing the pin attempts in matches like this, I’d just be careful you don’t go to the well with that idea once too often. There was the wild ECW style brawl on Raw last month that had one or two pin attempts, and I want to say there was another one the month prior. It absolutely gets the point across that the guys hate each other and have no interest in ending the match early, but if you do it for every grudge match, it loses some of it’s impact in my eyes.

So, this was certainly more about the story than the match, with the shortened write up. No complaints for me, and a smart move on your end, I think, so as not to get burned out. Just your run of the mill tag match for the most part, but pretty telling where the frustration came from with Bradshaw when Simmons got a break and still couldn’t make a tag, forcing Bradshaw to do it all himself, then Simmons tagging himself back in later. I loved that you didn’t go overboard with the betrayal, and avoided a prolonged attack after the match. Him costing Simmons, then the reaction after the match was far more impactful than a long beatdown and say, Simmons getting busted open, or leaving on a stretcher. Tremendous.

You were in a bit of a tough spot with this Taker/Angle match, I thought. Big call as to how much you would have Taker on the receiving end, three weeks back into being the Zombie, or whether you’d sacrifice Angle to keep Taker looking invincible. I’d personally say that I think Taker was selling a little too much here – though I’ll concede this was an impossible predicament for you – if Taker squashes Angle, then what becomes of Angle?

There was probably a better middle ground you could’ve found, maybe with Taker dominating a lot more in the early going, or having a sustained early comeback before succumbing to the ankle work again, rather than a prolonged period on his back with Angle picking him apart and working over his ankle. As it was, the action was pretty good, and Angle looked great with his systematic attack on the ankle, briskly moving from one spot to another to weaken the body part.

Again, in terms of finding the balance between not squashing Angle and not having Taker have to sell too much, him being out on the floor after the Angle Slam wasn’t a good look for The Deadman imo. Considering the Angle Slam is hardly the most protected finishing move – it took a super Angle Slam to beat Brian Kendrick (or London) iirc a while back – having Taker struggling to beat the count, and Angle forcing the referee to stop the count makes Taker look far more vulnerable than he should be as a recently returned Deadman.

I fucking loved the counter from the big boot into the ankle lock though. That was superb – yet simple, so simple, actually. Yet it was brilliant too. Finish seemed a little rushed, and after everything he took, it might’ve been nice to see Taker draw out the finish a little longer by punishing Angle, but I wont complain about Taker getting the clean, decisive victory here in the end. Angle remaining steadfast in his convictions after the match and refusing the show of respect from Taker was all kinds of awesome. I’m loving this version of Kurt Angle, and this surely cements him as a heel – if he wasn’t already cemented in that regard.

Wait – a man in a balaclava coming after Taker??


I kid.

Well strike me down. I floated it as a possibility that this would happen, but err’d on the side of caution and didn’t predict the Jericho surprise appearance. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, so I might’ve had TOO BIG of an expectation for the reveal of who it was that took out Taker, but this lacked just a little bit of a punch for some reason. I think part of the issue, is that this felt like a moment that should’ve closed a show, given how long this angle has been running. Instead, you’re forced to move past it and refocus on the main event. Yet, there’s no reasonable way you could’ve had this match main event the show over Eddie/Brock.

Still, now that we know the culprit, and your excitement for this upcoming Raw, I’m expecting the mother of all follow ups from Jericho.

Man, I gotta say, the Cole/Tazz interplay is so good in this. It always has been, but on this show in particular, it’s standing out. Their back and forth during the entrances for the main event was just fantastic. Felt so authentic, it was as if you could’ve taken this word for word from conversations they could’ve had in real life. Great stuff, as was the image of the blood still being on the title belt from Smackdown.

Start of the match was perfect too. Followed on perfectly from the build to the match, with Heyman in the head of Eddie, and played off spots from the first match between the two nicely, I thought, as well. Lesnar going for the Fallaway Slam multiple times was a good call back, and you did a good job of explaining how big a turning point it was in their first match. The utter dominance from Lesnar could’ve got boring, but I didn’t find myself drifting or losing interest at all. Obviously, part of that is down to the great little additions from Heyman, and Eddie’s brief flurries, but a bigger part was the way you wrote this. Kudos.

Heyman continually poking the bear by winding up his own client, firing him up to destroy Eddie was great, as was the response from Lesnar, leading to him busting Eddie open once again. Smart on your part that it didn’t take anything major to do it, and it was merely a result of the wound not recovering from Thursday. The fact it took about half the match for Eddie to finally get some offence in – and last ditch, save-the-match offence to boot – tells the story of Lesnar’s dominance. Clearly, the action picked up from that stage though, with Eddie making much more of a fight of it.

Again, the match married up to the story coming in beautifully, with Heyman snatching the belt from Eddie to stop him from using it, and Lesnar then using it for a hell of a near fall spot. I still worry about how you’ll pull off the Trips/Lesnar match with them being two of the biggest heels in the company, but this little tease was still terrific. After the earlier Jericho appearance, we didn’t need another Raw invasion, so the music distraction works for me, and also plays up Triple H being the Cerebral Assassin and finding a way around his ban from Smackdown events.

Finish was a truly chaotic, high octane scene. The two near falls for Eddie and Brock, with Heyman getting punched for his troubles inbetween, was all fantastic in whipping your audience into a frenzy, and I LOVED the way Eddie countered out of the Rear Naked Choke. We’re so used to seeing the Bret Hart run up the ropes spot to break out of sleeper type holds, so this was a welcome change, and it brought back around to the earlier exposed turnbuckle!! Fucking awesome. Awesome finish. It’s not quite on par with the January First match, but it’s damn close. Tremendous main event, and a huge, HUGE moment for Eddie to knock off Lesnar for a second time.

You always deliver with these events. This was no different. Could've easily been a throwaway event, but it was anything but.

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