Kalisto (c) vs Alberto Del Rio
Two out of Three Falls Match for the WWE United States Championship
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
(reviewed 01/13/2017) This is an interesting match, as it’s one of the best recent examples of a WWE match feeling great and exciting because it’s not totally worked like a WWE match. As you could guess, these lads play with the stipulation and basically work a typical lucha two out of three falls match, though it’s not quite ripped straight out of CMLL. Del Rio is a quiet, imposing bully, mugging to the crowd constantly like he’s in Arena Mexico, flexing the guns at one point in a great moment. The first fall is competitive and fast, with either man gaining the brief advantage by playing to their strengths and the size vs speed dynamic. Fed up with the situation, Del Rio whacks his opponent with a chair to lose the first fall by DQ before sending him crashing into the barricade and commentary table repeatedly, real intense and eye-opening stuff. After a brief commercial break, he yells at the time keeper to ring the bell for the second fall, quickly stuffing Kalisto with an awesome rope-hung double stomp to even the match up, pumping his fist as the referee counts. The third fall is much longer, combining WWE sensibilities with lucha pacing and offense, and while it’s not always perfect, it’s certainly fun to watch, highlighted by some great highflying by the champ and another gross double stomp on the floor by Del Rio. Avoiding the tree of woe double stomp back in the ring, Kalisto sends his opponent into the turnbuckle face-first and rolls him up for the win. Awesome little match here, fun and different in ways that really mean something, creating a memorable pre-show match that should have truly been on the main card.