Seth Rollins (C) defeats Elias to retain the Intercontinental Title
The Reality: This may be the hardest match of the night to pick, if not necessarily predict. Which is to say that I really really love both of these performers and want nothing but the best for them both, although I agree with all the signs pointing to an Elias victory. This is a function of not just his momentum — moving him from novelty act to integral part of the show’s midsection — but Seth’s incredible past few months, have propelled him back into the stratosphere he was before blowing out his knee in 2015. While it’s unlikely to happen, there seems to be no good reason for Seth to not be next in line for a shot at Lesnar (or, at the very least, whatever is left of Roman after he *finally* beats Brock).
After the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad match between Lashley and Zayn — legitimately the worst PPV match I’ve reviewed since I started these in 2013 — this match might be seen through rose colored glasses, but having watched it with friends who are not necessarily wrestling fans, I’m inclined to believe this was as good as it seemed when I was watching it then and for a second time this morning.
Elias did the best job out of anyone not named Ronda Rousey establishing themselves as a meaningful player going forward, looking every bit the mid-card god in the ring he seems like he should be with the way he looks. Whether or not he’ll be able to reach the brass ring remains to be seen, but he’s one of several young performers who have put themselves in place to be the future of the company from a marketing perspective while backing it up in between the ropes. And, if nothing else, this matches clearly establishes that.
There’s also a real, crackling chemistry between these two performers, with both men feeling like they sincerely have to “pull out all the stops” in oder to gain an advantage over the other. Seth has reached a level of performance where everything he does has significance, because everything he does progresses his character forward. It imbues meaning and adds value into things as big picture as the IC championship, or as small as grabbing tights to end a match against a tough competitor.
This wasn’t my match of the night, but it’s definitely the best match of Elias’s career, a showcase for he, Seth and the IC title. Which ain’t bad.
Match +.7 | PPV +.6