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On this date in wrestling history, Jon Moxley defeated Scotty Vortekz at CZW's 2009 "Starting Point" show, held at the former ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Five years later, Moxley's alter-ego Dean Ambrose is living large and leaving it all behind in WWE. He made a splash on last week's SmackDown and no doubt his peers in the "E" are set for a Big Show tonight. This evening's show was recorded in Ottawa, Canada.
If you're watching on SyFy, no doubt you're still recovering from the last few minutes of Arachnoquake. The show opens with a recap of the ongoing quest by Seth Rollins to cash in the briefcase on John Cena at the best possible opportunity. If you missed the end of last week's show, Cena and Reigns formed a temporary alliance and mutual admiration society as Ambose chased Rollins out of the arena. Lots of players in WWE's top tier right now.
After the recap, Lana escorts Rusev to the ring area and Lana grabs a microphone to give mad props to Vladimir Putin. She says that Reigns will be proven as impotent as the leaders of Canada and the United States. Reigns comes out to the ring through the crowd, receiving a raucous reception from the live crowd. Face to face with Rusev, Reigns has a choice word or two for his sizable rival. Seems like a safe bet Reigns is honing his talking skills in his spare time. A ref arrives to officiate the action and the behemoths are ready to collide but Lana and Rusev withdraw to bide a little time. They'll meet again in the main event. Cole and JBL tout the WWE Network, mention that Orton and Y2J are set to meet later in the evening...and we have commercial sign.
Returning to the show, the guys in the truck roll footage of the Funkadactyls' nuclear meltdown and AJ skips out to mix it up with Cameron. Another recap reminds us how AJ got the strap back from Paige. Battleground will feature a rematch between the ladies for the Divas title. Cameron gets a quick leg up on Paige, putting her on the mat and trying to mess up her pretty face. No, really. Some mat-heavy work from the ladies follows with Cameron holding a clear advantage for much of the fight. She pushes AJ a bit too far though as AJ gets that all-too-familiar crazy look in her eyes and begins fighting back with a vengeance. Cameron slides out of the ring and looks like she's heading for the back but Naomi sneaks up behind her and tosses her back into the ring. AJ hits Cameron with a Shining Wizard and gets the three-count.
Result: AJ defeats Cameron by pinfall.
Backstage, Randy Orton says he'll introduce Orton to the Legend Killer and it's time for another break in the action.
After WWE pays some bills for network prime time, Fandango and Layla head out first, followed by Adam Rose, Summer Rae and a gigantic entourage full of costumed shenanigans. An interesting matchup for this contest, for sure. The match gets underway but the real action unfolds outside the ring as the ladies go at it. Fandango steps out to intervene and gets counted out, giving rose the win. Rose celebrates by hitting a shell-shocked Fandango with a Party Bomb.
Result: Adam Rose defeats Fandango via count out.
Jericho talks backstage about his enthusiasm to meet Bray Wyatt in the ring at Battleground and then he proclaims that he's good to go against The Viper later tonight. Back after these messages.
Okay, during the commercial break a special Money in the Bank rematch was arranged: Summer Rae will wrestle Layla later tonight and Fandango will serve as the special guest referee. The match so nice, they booked it twice.
In-ring action resumes with The Usos going up against Titus O'Neil and Heath Slater. JBL teases that "Slater and the Gator" could form a new team called "2-Man Band." Ah, Bradshaw is a sucker for the classics, eh? Slater sells an awesomely delivered kick to the face, Usos deliver a Samoan splash and it's all over.
Result: Usos beat Heath Slater and Titus O'Neal by pinfall.
At Battleground, Usos will face the Wyatts in a 2 out of 3 falls contest for the titles. The Usos cut a lighthearted promo in the ring, complete with pantomimed moves and satirical commentary. Let's watch some commercials.
Jericho gets a big ovation from the people of Canada as he prepares to revisit his 2007 feud with Orton. Bray Wyatt interrupts briefly on the Tron, imploring Y2J to "save" himself and Orton saunters out to the ring to eventually get down to business. The guys commence fighting and Jericho takes charge quickly, knocking Orton on to the floor as Cole says it's time for commercials again. How convenient.
After a flurry of blipverts, we're back in the ring with two of WWE's heaviest hitters as Jericho is still taking the fight to Orton. Randy eventually tips the scales and gets Y2J outside to toss him around a bit before sliding him back in the ring. Hard to see a clean finish here but at this point, a legit contest could end in either man's favor. Some back and forth near-falls are followed with a sleeper hold by Orton but Jericho escapes momentarily. Orton remains on the attack, though, and picks apart the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla for a stretch as the commentary guys remind us of this WWE Network thing. It's going to be bigger than ICOPRO, folks. Probably. Jericho shows some signs of life, slowly coming back against Orton's lumbering offense and amping up the crowd as he goes. After a power struggle in the corner, Y2J comes off the ropes with a cross-body but he still can't seal the deal. The guys fight some more and Jericho locks in the Walls but Orton gets to the ropes, prompting a break. Orton then gets back on top of things, laying out Jericho with a DDT and prepping for the RKO. Jericho counters with a Lionsault and gets ready to cover but the Wyatts' ringtone provides a momentary distraction and Orton lands a second RKO and pins Y2J.
Result: Orton defeats Jericho by pinfall.
Some more commercials happen and SmackDown is back for the Summer Rae/Layla rematch. The ladies start fighting but Fandango breaks it up only to start a one-man dance party (starring him) in the center of the ring. The two Divas think about it and then decide to join up and beat the guy down in the ring as a team. After they send him packing, the women bust a few moves as a duo. Not much wrestling but a bit of feel-good silliness sometimes goes a long way.
Result: Layla and Summer Rae ends as a no-contest.
Cole says there's no more laughing when we get to the main event. Let's hope the sun comes up tomorrow morning, though. Hold that thought; time for another break.
Back in the squared circle, Goldust is poised to wrestle Curtis Axel as Stardust and Ryback watch from outside. Stardust engages in a little extracurricular activity on the floor, getting the crowd riled up and stealing JBL's hat. Goldust eventually beats Axel rather quickly and Ryback jumps in to put the hurt on Goldie but Stardust minimizes the damage when he blows an handful of some kind of gold glitter into the big man's face. The Rhodes brothers are bathed in gold light as Rybaxel looks back at the ring from the ramp and wonders what in the hell just happened.
Result: Goldust beats Axel by pinfall.
Bo Dallas is coming up next after some alcohol advertisements and PSAs.
Diego and El Torito are chomping at the bit for a piece of Bo Dallas and they're getting their chance tonight as both dudes will take on Bo Dallas in a handicap match. Bo tells the crowd that he's not heading into the ring alone, though, as he considers the entire audience to be his partner. Good luck with all that. Diego has the moves right now but Bo is working the crowd and getting some good reaction. Apparently it works well for him as he gets a quick pin on Diego. After a short celebration, he grabs Torito and throws him into the ring like a lawn dart. Dallas feigns surprise and concern at his own actions but them puts the baby bovine down on the mat once more. Looks like there might be an anger management problem lurking beneath that sugary-sweet exterior.
Result: Bo Dallas pins Diego, defeating Diego and El Torito in a handicap match.
After some more paid advertisements, SmackDown is back and it's time for the main event. It's something of a gamble to put both guys in the ring at this point because neither dude can take a clean loss (or injury) this close to Battleground. Rusev and Reigns are ready to rumble and the Shield alumnus has most of the crowd on his side. The heavyweights lock up in a meeting that is infinitely more exciting than the time Lesnar met Goldberg at WrestleMania 20. Cole asks JBL who has the advantage on paper, apparently unaware that tonight's match is actually being contested on a mat made of canvas. Hold that thought for a look at some commercials.
Rusev is all over Reigns as the match is back on the air. Reigns hits three consecutive headbutts to gain a fleeting advantage but Rusev is in full-on "crush" mode. He sets up Reigns for what looks like a Great Khali vise grip thing but ends up doing a little more mat work instead. Reigns dredges up a batch of intestinal fortitude and takes charge, delivering some thunderous blows to the big Bulgarian before loading up the Superman punch and moving into a spear. Orton interfers from the outside, ending twhat could've been an instant classic with an anticlimactic DQ. Reigns repays the favor by plastering Orton with a Superman punch but Resev takes out Reigns shortly thereafter with a big ol' kick. Orton slithers into the ring to deliver a suplerflous RKO to Reigns and it's lights out and curtains for this week's show.
Result: Reigns wins after Rusev gets a DQ due to interference by Orton.
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Mike Bessler is a Contributing Writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated.