Finn Bálor is the WWE Universal Champion. Let that sink in. A guy who frequently attended Bray Wanderers games in his youth is the first WWE Superstar to win a main title in his debut Pay-Per-View.
For some bizarre reason, Finn (real name Fergal Devitt) did not win the title in the Main Event of the evening, with two matches (well, one weird Roman Reigns and Rusev no-contest and one Brock Lesnar massacre of Randy Orton) being put on after what was the 5th title match of the evening.
Losing challenger Seth Rollins was critical of the Brooklyn crowd booing the new RAW belt, sending out this tweet to the WWE Universe after the event.
More important than a title's appearance is what it represents for the men fighting over it. You really let me down tonight, Brooklyn.
— Seth “MR. MITB” Rollins (@WWERollins) August 22, 2016
The Usos, The Hype Bros and American Alpha defeated Breezango, The Ascension and The Vaudevillains.
In a truly formulaic 12-man tag-team match which we saw on Smackdown Live on Tuesday, the babyfaces beat the heels with Jay Uso stealing the pin from American Alpha. If that is to be the beginning of a feud between the two teams, so be it.
Sami Zayn and Neville defeated The Dudley Boyz
Slightly more entertaining match between the two former NXT champs and the ECW legends but nobody wants to watch the Dudleys any more, no matter how many pre-show matches WWE puts them in.
Sheamus defeated Cesaro (1-0 Sheamus in a Best of 7 contest)
Of course we’re delighted for the Irishman getting the first win in this contest, but it’s really hard for a fan to have any interest in this feud when the company clearly don’t. Sheamus won with a Brogue Kick after a bit of cheating. Both men deserve much better.
One funny talking point pre-match was League of Ireland side Bohs tweeting their support of the Cabra man.
Jeri-KO defeated Enzo and Cass
The Main Show kicked off in truly entertaining fashion, with Enzo and Cass really playing up to their home crowd in New York. Enzo Amore is outstanding on the mic and Big Cass is improving rapidly. Jeri-KO are a great heel team and won with a codebreaker on Amore. Cue a chorus of boos after a fitting start to the show.
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks to win the Women’s Championship for a Second Time
This was an extremely impressive match, especially now that rumours are circulating that Sasha was carrying an injury that will keep her out for over a month coming into the match. This really entertaining bout from one half of “The Four Horsewomen” ended in Charlotte countering The Boss’s “Banks Statement” finisher into a pin to become the first woman to hold this incarnation of the Women’s Championship for a second time.
The Miz defeated Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Championship
This was technically a good match to watch but seemed rushed. The Miz won with his trademark “Skull-crushing finale” after a trademark distraction from his wife; former Divas Champion Maryse. Hardcore wrestling fans might refer to this as a “toilet break” match.
AJ Styles defeated John Cena
Match of the night and what a moment for internet darling AJ Styles against wrestling’s biggest star John Cena. Styles beating Cena clean is a legitimate sign of the dawn of a new era for the company, and there was an emotional moment at the end of the match when Cena left his “Never Give Up” wristband in the middle of the ring and saluted the crowd. With the 15-time champ off for 3 months to film a movie, could this be the beginning of a retirement tour for ‘Big-Match John’?
Gallows and Anderson defeated The New Day by DQ so New Day retain the Tag Team belts.
This was really disappointing. Jon Stewart, yes, that Jon Stewart, showed up early in the show and re-appeared to be in New Day’s corner for this match. Needless to say, Stewart should be kept far away from any wrestling ring in future. Big E’s comeback for the New Day was admittedly awesome, but it would have been nice to see all the former-Bullet Club men pick up legitimate, clean wins.
Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE World Championship
Despite an electric build up by the two incredible fan favourites, this match’s bizarrely low placement on the card really took the sting out of the encounter. In typical Ziggler fashion, he performed incredibly well and produced a few good spots, but lost clean to a “Dirty Deeds” from the champ. Unfortunately, one would imagine it’s back to the pre-show for Ziggler by the time Backlash rolls around.
Nikki Bella, Natalya & Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch, Naomi & Carmella
This match, originally slated to include the actually suspended Eva Marie’s long-awaited re-debut, instead saw the return of former Divas Champ and reality TV star Nikki Bella. She won with her finisher, but nobody who watches wrestling week-in week-out really had any interest once Nikki had made her entrance.
Finn Bálor defeated Seth Rollins to become the first WWE Universal Champion
What can you say about this match that hasn't already been said? Two incredible competitors put it all on the line and The Demon King came out on top over the ever-impressive Rollins. The belt may be embarrassing to look at but it doesn’t take any of the shine off the Irishman’s incredible rise to the top of the WWE ladder. What could possibly be next for the Wicklow native?
Roman Reigns and Rusev’s US Title match was abandoned after an attack on Rusev by Reigns
ROMAN REIGNS IS HEEL. FINN BÁLOR IS A CHAMP, AJ STYLES BEAT CENA CLEAN, DEAN AMBROSE IS HAVING A PROPER TITLE REIGN. ALL IS RIGHT IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT.
Roman finally took the plunge into fully-fledged bad guy territory with his brutal attack on the US Champ. Only time will tell what happens next for ‘The Guy’, but finally he can embrace the boos that have surrounded almost every arena he has entered over the past couple of years.
One hilarious moment was when a guy sporting a Mayo jersey decided to have a go at the 4-time WWE Champion after his attack.
Brock Lesnar defeated Randy Orton by TKO
This was a weird match. Lesnar dominated the Viper, despite receiving an RKO on the announce table, and left him lying in a very non-PG pool of his own blood before the match was given to the former UFC Heavyweight Champion via TKO, which is a very rare way of ending a match in the WWE.
— WWE (@WWE) August 22, 2016
Smackdown Live general manager Shane McMahon tried to defuse the situation (despite the fact it would have been more appropriate for Mick Foley or Stephanie McMahon, you know, his actual bosses on Raw, to get involved) but was hit with an F5 by ‘The Beast’, much to the horror of advocate Paul Heyman. Lesnar leaving dominant over the whole company was a weird way to end the show,and one could say that Bálor leaving with the new belt would have fitted the PPV's 'party' vibe better, but overall, it rounded off an impressive PPV quite nicely.