Keep It Short and Sweet
Stephanie McMahon comes out and talks about how Triple H is not here tonight. She begins to talk about Roman Reigns and out comes the number one contender. Reigns comes out and talks about beating Triple H last week and that he will win his title back at WrestleMania. She tries to slap him, but he catches her hand and says he is going to be the authority.
WWE realized that they needed to do two things. 1. Have Roman Reigns face the most hated heel in the ring. 2. Have it short and to the point. Roman is not terrible on the mic, but the more he speaks the more the fans tune out. He got to the point and kept it intense. I liked this segment and think it could set up for an attack later.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
The first match on Raw featured a rematch from Smackdown and it started off slow. Owens locked him in and then Styles connected with a dropkick. Styles catches himself on his feet and then gets thrown into the barricade heading into a break. Leg scissors and a kick to the back of the head gives Styles plenty of time to regroup. Styles hits some kicks, punches and then a splash into the corner. Styles hits a face first buster and then gets a two count.
Styles misses a kick and Owens clotheslines him inside out. He plants him with a nice reverse neckbreaker for two. Owens misses a cannonball and Styles connects with a fireman’s carry into a neck breaker. They fight in the corner and both men head up top, with Owens hitting a Frog Splash for another close two count. Another break and Owens chops Styles in the chest. Battling back, Styles hits a few elbows. Styles puts him in the Torture Rack and then drops him on his back. From the top, Styles hits an impressive powerbomb, but Chris Jericho comes out and mocks him. He tries the calf killer, but Owens rolls him up off of the distraction and picks up the win. After the match, Kevin Owens cuts a promo saying that it is his show.
Dolph Ziggler comes out and says that there is no one more fitting than Dolph Ziggler to beat him at WrestleMania. Out comes The Miz and he states his claim on getting a title shot. Sami Zayn comes out and talks about wanting a piece of Kevin Owens.
This was the perfect balance of great splash moves, an intelligent storyline and the right pace to build the final move. Styles and Owens are so good together, with both men executing to near perfection. They gave us a lot, but not EVERYTHING. The battle back and forth made both men look great and the passion bled out. Great match and an excellent back and forth to end the match. This was great stuff to see. What was excellent is that the match was about 25 minutes and felt like 10. That is the sign of a fantastic match that draws you into every second, every move and develops more than one story. Excellent 25 minutes of television with more interest in this title than recent memory.