Sunday, 03 August 2014 14:43
By Frank Anguiano
WWE ran Lubbock, Texas for the first time in nearly two years, and it showed this Saturday Night. A loud, enthusiastic crowd filled about ninety percent of the lower bowl of the United Spirit Arena. This larger than I expected, especially when I was able to secure a seat in the sixth row for sixty bucks just a few days before the show.
The crowd was into the show the whole way, never once letting up or taking a break. They were also a model WWE crowd, heavily cheering every babyface and booing every heel (with the exception of Randy Orton.) They made for a very fun show and every performer on their show was on their game.
*Goldust and Stardust beat Rybaxel in about nine minutes to start off the show in a big way, The crowd loved Stardust and Goldust, and they were at the top of their games, and Rybaxel, especially the Big Guy did a great job getting heat. Cody was especially great, showing off a completely different offensive arsenal for the Stardust character. In the end, Stardust hit Ryback with a big dive on the outside and Goldust pinned Axel with the Final Cut.
*Adam Rose beat Damien Sandow in eight minutes. Sandow came out in a cowboy hat, blue jean shirt, and Daisy Duke shorts, which is an unfortunate image I may never get out of my head. Sandow tore into the fans with a promo about how stupid Texans look and drew a ton of heat. Rose had a lot of support, despite his character not getting over very well on TV. He also showed some very nice moves in a good little match, beating Sandow with the Party Foul.
*The fans choice’ was next, which could have been a match or a dance-off, with a match winning 51 to 49 percent thankfully. This lead to the extremely odd team of Big E and Diego of Los Matadores (with Torito) beating SlaterGator. Titus O’Neal drew a lot of heat especially, antagonizing a fan in the front row that a lot of the guys actually seemed to know. This was a surprisingly entertaining match. Diego showed some great selling here, and the fans were ready for the hot tag. SlaterGator cut off the face team and looked to be heading to victory until Torito came in and distracted Titus, leading him running straight into the Big Ending for the win.
*The WWE showed the Connor the Crusher video which drew huge applause from the fans in Lubbock, and brought on a few tears (I already cried the first ten times and watched it.) They showed the number where people could donate Connor’s fund, and I’m sure they raised some money tonight, which is great for everyone. They also aired the first of four WWE Network previews.
*Dolph Ziggler beat Alberto Del Rio in fifteen minutes in the best match of the night. Del Rio was on the top of his heel game. Annoying front row guy had a little piñata, which Del Rio broke over Tony Chimel’s head. Del Rio then spent at least three minutes stalling, including trying everything to get a Ziggler handshake. He even threw Annoying Guy’s hat across the arena! The match built up with a ton of great false finishes that had the crowd rocking. Eventually Ziggler caught Del Rio with a superkick, followed directly by the ZigZag for the win.
*AJ beat Natayla and Paige in a Triple Threat to retain the Divas’ Title. Paige did the AJ imitation and had really good heat. Nattie was almost as over as AJ which is saying something, as AJ was super over. But before the match started, Paige tossed Nattie out and jumped AJ. They continued the injury angle from Smackdown, and AJ was carried out. They did a spot where Nattie had Paige rolled up while they were carrying out AJ. Paige and Nattie worked a solid matchup until the end, when AJ ran back out, caught Paige in the Black Widow and Paige tapped out.
*Rusev beat Jack Swagger in twelve minutes. The crowd was so hot at Rusev and Lana did you could barley hear Lana speaking. This angle is really over, especially in a place like Lubbock, where they take their patriotism seriously. “We The People” is super over here! After a solid match Rusev got Swagger trapped in the Accolade, and when it looked like Swagger was gonna break the hold, the crowd seemed ready to come apart at the seams, but Rusev got the hold back and Swagger tapped out.
*In the main event, Dean Ambrose and Big Show beat Randy Orton and Seth Rollins by dq in about fifteen minutes. Rollins was booed soundly, but Orton was the only heel to get a big pop. Ambrose was way over, and the crowd seemed surprised to see Big Show, who looked pretty slimmed down. Orton comes across a huge star live. Show and Rollins did some fun big man/little man spots. Ambrose’s selling really got the crowd behind him, and when he flattened Orton with hard clothsline that crowd was rocking. In the end, Show got the hot tag and had Rollins ready for a chokeslam, when Orton came in and hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase for the DQ. Show responded by knocking Orton out and Ambrose bashed Rollins with his briefcase and Show chokeslammed him to send the fans home happy.
*Show and Ambrose took their time greeting the fans and Show cut a brief promo at the top of the stage, saying he had been coming to Lubbock for twenty years and thanking the crowd for a great show.
*Even without so many of the big stars, this was a really fun show. The crowd genuinely got into every performer and was loud for every match. No bathroom break matches tonight! I think Lubbock has earned itself a TV Taping sometime in the near future.
1. Swagger and Zeb
3. Big Show
4. Orton (he was the biggest star there, really.)
1. Rusev and Lana
3. Del Rio (especially as the match went on)