Thanks to Michael Sullivan for sending this in:
The show was advertised as "Ron Simmons Appreciation Night." To clarify, Tallahassee is the home of Florida State University, where Simmons starred as a three-time All-American defensive lineman before he became a pro wrestler.
The matches were pretty much identical to the house show from Mobile the night before.
Match #1: Tons of Funk (w/ the Funkadactyls) def. Team Rhodes Scholars
Sandow and Rhodes suffered the ignominy of a Double Stink-Face, and Sandow took the pin after a Double Splash.
Match #2: Justin Gabriel def. Jinder Mahal
Gabriel has grown his hair quite long. Mahal and Drew McIntyre (who had a later match) were both introduced as members of the Three Man Band, but they didn't come out together, and neither appeared at ringside to support the other.
After the match, as Gabriel made his way up the entrance ramp, he was assaulted by Bray Wyatt and the Family. Rowan was wearing his Nightmare Fuel mask. Wyatt cut a short promo, promising to return later that night. If I had to gauge the general reaction of the arena, it would be, "What the f!*# was that?"
Match #3: Naomi def. one of the Bellas (sorry)
Vickie Guerrero came out to introduce this match, and she got the most heat of the night. She forced the referee to boot Cameron from ringside. Naomi is super-athletic — she did a kip at one point, she nailed a great leg lariat, and she did a forward roll through a clothesline (in a sort of R. Truth-esque manner, if that makes sense). But she did botch about four moves in a 5-minute match. A work in progress, but very promising.
Match #4: Dean Ambrose def. R. Truth
Fans had the opportunity to vote for a Street Fight or a 2-out-of-3 Falls match. The Street Fight was the overwhelming winner. Ambrose came through the crowd without the other SHIELD members, but they showed up after the finish. Truth botched Ambrose's Headlock Driver a little bit. Truth looked to be in serious trouble from the 3-on-1 after the match, but Team Hell No came out for the save. That led directly into the next match.
Match #5: Team Hell No def. The SHIELD
The match ended by disqualification when Ambrose attacked Kane. After the match, Bryan performed a choke slam on Rollins. This led to an argument between Kane and Bryan as to who performs the choke slam better (Bryan insisted that he'd "invented the choke slam"). Bryan tried to demonstrate his version on Kane, but his tag team partner wouldn't budge, and eventually put his hand around Bryan's throat. Bryan went down to one knee to beg Kane not to choke slam him… thankfully, Rollins interrupted with a run-in, and Bryan and Kane hit him with a double choke slam.
Intermission: Autographed 8x10s of John Cena def. parents' wallets
Segment: Ron Simmons Appreciation Night
JBL came out to provide the introduction, and insisted that the crowd boo him (since he wasn't used to cheers). Simmons came out wearing a #50 Seminoles jersey. He gave a long, emotional speech, and we saw a video package (basically the same one from the Hall of Fame ceremony, with footage from his induction included), plus a video greeting from current Florida State football head coach Jimbo Fisher. Simmons was also given a commemorative plaque. He closed the night with — no exaggeration — a "DAMN" that I could feel reverberating through my chest. That man has some lungs.
Match #6: Luke Harper def. Alex Riley
The match was originally supposed to involve Bray Wyatt, but after cutting a longer promo, Wyatt insisted that he wouldn't fight Riley unless he could beat Luke Harper first. This match was sub-Divas level entertainment. I think I understand what Harper was going for in terms of in-ring psychology, but he just came off as lethargic. Riley tried to pump up the crowd, but he was somehow managing to perform the Seminole Chop incorrectly. He was moving his arm horizontally, and certainly not to the rhythm of the War Chant. I'm pretty sure he would have gotten booed mercilessly, but his arm motion was so foreign that most of the crowd didn't realize he was failing to execute the Chop.
Match #7: Zack Ryder def. Drew McIntyre
Ryder was still way over, even with his hair un-spiked and his skin un-bronzed. He got a bigger pop than Ron Simmons. McIntyre was great — there's nobody on the roster for whom there is a greater gap between skill level and spot on the card. After the match, McIntyre basically no-sold Ryder's finish. I mean, he was holding his head, but he race-walked up the ramp immediately after the three-count. I couldn't tell if he was legitimately injured or angry (I didn't see anything occur in the ring that looked dangerous), but it was kind of an odd note.
Match #8: John Cena def. Ryback
This was a Tables Match for the WWE Championship. They did a couple of cool spots with Ryback throwing the ring steps at Cena, but missing and destroying tables on accident. One of the tables just exploded. Anyway, Ryback had Cena up for Shell Shocked, then Cena abruptly hopped down and immediately AA'd Ryback through a table for the win.
bray wyattCody RhodesDamien SandowDean Ambrosejustin gabrielr-truthRon Simmonsteam hell noThe ShieldThe Wyatt FamilyWWEWWE Live EventHave a news tip?Attended an event and want to send a live report?