by Adam Salzer
Welcome, everyone, to another edition of Making the Grade. It's our last PPV of 2016, will we go out with a hit, or will it be a total clunker. Read on and find out!
Kickoff: Rusev v. Big Cass
At least Enzo admitted he was a moron for trying to bang Lana?
Grade: D, really? A countout? Aren't the faces supposed to win the kickoff shows?
Tag Titles: New Day (c) v. Sheamaro
They're gonna lose tonight, aren't they...
Grade: B, a little too schmozzy for my liking, with too few tags and too much brawling, but that finish with the false tag was absolutely brilliant.
Sami Zayn v. Braun Strowman, 10-minute Challenge
Genius idea, really, Sami lasts ten minutes, looks great, Strowman doesn't lose, is still a beast.
Grade: B, that is exactly what they needed to do, I just feel they wasted too much of the 10 minute time period with the whole towel gimmick.
Chris Jericho v. Seth Rollins
This is Seth's first non-title PPV match of his last 17. It shouldn't be, Jericho should be US champion, but this should still be a great match.
Grade: A, as expected, beautiful match, KO pulls the Ellsworth and ruins everything by trying to help.
Cruiserweight Title: The Brian Kendrick v. TJ Perkins v. Rich Swann (c)
This should be lots of fun, I still don't understand what makes Rich Swann "outlandish"...
Grade: B, decent, if a bit short. I liked the double superkick spot at the end to make sure Kendrick wouldn't break up the pin.
Raw Women's Title: Charlotte Flair v. Sasha Banks (c), 30-Minute Ironman Match
This ends one of two ways, someone scores the tie-breaking fall with seconds left on the clock, or we go to sudden death overtime a la WrestleMania XII
Grade: C, this gets marked down for two reasons, first Sasha can't hold out TWO MORE SECONDS to end the 30 minutes? Second, Sasha is a four-time women's champion but has yet to successfully defend the title...EVER... Why would anyone ever consider her championship material at this point?
Universal Title: Roman Reigns v. Kevin Owens (c)
Owens retains here, but how is the question.
Grade: A, I thought this was a great match. There were a few logical fallacies, mainly Roman no selling the cannonball spot to leap up into a Superman Punch, and we'll talk about the aftermath below, but the match itself was solid.
Average Grade: B-, Solid, above-average showing tonight by the Red team.
Neville's heel turn: A nice surprise return, and then an immediate heel turn, and the crowd was behind it. Beautiful stuff.
The Legit Fluke: So disappointing I'm removing another half point.
The Return of Shieldish: WWE tries to set up a tag match for the Rumble, except that the crowd LOVES Jeri-KO and doesn't want to see them get beaten up. Plus they don't know whether to cheer for Rollins or boo for Reigns, so this just isn't working.
Final Grade: C+, booking gives and booking takes away, and we end up losing a half-grade overall.
That's it for Making the Grade for 2016. I'll be back here in SIX WEEKS, can you believe it, for the 2017 Royal Rumble! Keep an ear on The Rundown for minisodes during our winter break, regular episodes will return on Thursday, January 12th with our 7th season premiere!
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