Now this was a feel good moment. Photo credit: WWE.com
Dolph Ziggler pinned Damien Sandow in a decent pre-show bout. I was expecting a passable kick off match here but it exceeded that for me, with worthy efforts from both wrestlers, especially the always reliable Ziggler. It was by no means the best pre-show bout I've seen but it was enjoyable enough.
Alberto Del Rio (c) forced Rob Van Dam to submit in a Battleground Hardcore Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. In their finest singles contest to date both men delivered stellar performances, utilising steel chairs, a trashcan and a ladder (although unfortunately no table which the fans, and myself, seemed keen for). Ricardo Rodriguez also played his part as he attacked the champ with a bucket to halt an armbreaker attempt, only to soon fall victim to a vicious kick to the head by his former boss on the outside, thereby taking him out of the match. Del Rio's submission win came after he latched on his armbreaker while RVD's arm was wrapped in a steel chair.
While it was a fun watch, I still couldn't help but feel a bit deflated at the result. I just feel Del Rio as champion has worn thin by this point and RVD would be the ideal wrestler to bring interest back to the title again.
The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) defeated The Great Khali and Santino Marella in an uninspiring tag bout up until the finish when Cesaro applied an impressive giant swing on Khali for the winning pinfall. Most of the match was pretty drab to be honest, with most men bar Antonio giving average showings.
Curtis Axel (c) pinned R-Truth to retain the Intercontinental Championship in a fair outing. Both wrestlers were competent and delivered worthy efforts but I simply struggled to get engaged, much like the fans in attendance who soon lost interest. Not a bad match by any means but not one I'd recommend.
AJ Lee (c) bested Brie Bella to retain the WWE Divas Title in a passable affair. For some reason they had AJ target Brie's arm early on, which had no effect later as Brie seemed to use said arm with no problem as she made a comeback. The match could've been allocated a little less time too, it began to drag as the charismatic champion dominated. That all being said the bout was better than I'd predicted, but still nothing that special.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust bested The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) in a dramatic tag contest to gain back their jobs in WWE. As expected it was an exciting ride, with effective near falls and solid wrestling to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, and an electric crowd too.
Of course the legendary Dusty Rhodes also played his part as he blasted Dean Ambrose with a bionic elbow and distracted Reigns so son Dustin could take him out, leaving Cody to hit the Cross Rhodes on Rollins for the vital one-two-three. As a nice touch various members of the locker room came out to celebrate (including 'Fit' Finlay and Arn Anderson).
Bray Wyatt pinned Kofi Kingston in a decent enough match up. Much like the earlier IC Title contest we received admirable displays from each wrestler but it felt like it was lacking a bit.
CM Punk beat Ryback in a match with a drab first half but satisfying second. While Ryback dominated the bout became rather tedious, but Punk (who delivered a worthy performance) as any good face does made a comeback and brought some much needed excitement back.
For the finish Punk managed to low blow Ryback with a swift back kick for the winning pinfall as the referee was distracted by Paul Heyman at ringside, who was about to strike his former protege with a kendo stick.
Randy Orton versus Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship ended in a no contest after Big Show came down and KO'd two referees (the first one when Bryan locked on a Yes Lock and the second being the returning Scott Armstrong who ran down after the first ref was taken out), Bryan and finally Orton. It was a strange and anti climatic end to the event, and one that made the already fairly weak build up to the title clash seem worthless.
The actual match itself had been solid for the most part, with stellar wrestling on both men's behalf and exciting near falls and submission attempt. The fans in New York also provided a terrific atmosphere for the top contest of the night, being thoroughly behind Bryan.
Overall it was a rather forgettable pay-per-view for the most part, with most bouts ranging from fair to average. That being said my highlights were RVD versus Del Rio, Cody and Goldust versus The Shield (at least we got a feel good moment from that) the second half to Punk versus Ryback and the majority of the main event.