Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose
Number One Contender’s Match
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
(reviewed 01/13/2017) I remember this getting lots of mixed reviews from people at the time, so I’ll give it a go now to figure out what’s what. Unsurprisingly, Lesnar dominates the match early on, flooring his opponents with suplexes and strikes in and out of the ring, nearly putting Reigns away with an F5 before Ambrose breaks up the pin. Ambrose, still reeling from earlier punishment, cheekily slaps Lesnar before eating a series of mean knees and Germans. Great goofy facials and selling from Ambrose, per usual. Reigns nearly wins the match himself when he hits a spear on Lesnar as he goes for the F5 on Ambrose. A Superman Punch sends Lesnar to the floor, where he’s able to catch Reigns in a fireman’s carry, but Ambrose low blows him and the Shield boys buddy up, sending the Beast through the commentary table with a double-team powerbomb. Reigns has been selling his arm real big for a few minutes now, and while I’m not sure where it came from, it’s fairly good stuff as he and Ambrose begin to go at it. A strike exchange sends Ambrose into the ropes for one of his better rebound lariats, putting both men down as Lesnar stumbles back to his feet on the floor. The Shield boys settle their beef to take care of him, tossing Lesnar into the barricade before hitting a second powerbomb through a commentary table. They bury him under the remains of the two commentary tables, stacking all sorts of break-apart slabs of wood atop him, which is funny and a nice touch. Reigns takes control with his superior strength and striking, but the resiliency of Ambrose will not be denied for long, as he sends his former partner into the ring post on a spear attempt, hitting the Dirty Deeds for a nearfall. As soon as Reigns begins to make a comeback, Lesnar bursts back into the ring and suplexes the both of them before collapsing again. Reigns connects with a spear, but Lesnar traps him in a kimura before the Big Dawg can make the pin. Ambrose wallops both of them with a chair a few times, sending Lesnar to the outside before he’s caught with a really great spear to give Reigns the win. Fun match here, obviously reminiscent of the Lesnar/Cena/Rollins three-way from Royal Rumble 2015. While this match lacks the wild nature and roller coaster pacing of that match, this bout is far more structured and has a few more clever touches that I appreciate, though I’m not sure anyone here had as good a performance as Cena did in the earlier match. Still, this is quite enjoyable, one of the better WWE matches of the year in a fairly stacked year for the promotion.