By Mike Omansky
Return date announced: Saturday Dec. 26th, holiday tour.
Tickets went on sale after the show at box office.
Presale at Ticketmaster also. Code: HOLIDAY
Crowd into show, but most alive for 3 big matches:
-- Lesnar-Show (Lesnar most over wrestler of the night)
--Cena-Rollins -- really into it in last 10 minutes, after Cena put on STF and there were near escapes from the cage.
Untelevised matches, prior to broadcast:
1. ZACK RYDER W BO DALLAS, rough-Ryder and pin.
2. MARK HENRY W BRAD MADDOX, squash, under a minute, slam and pin.
No offense for Maddox.
By Bryan Revello
Cool notes/observations from the MSG show last night:
Randy Orton was more over with the crowd than expected.
The New York crowd still eats up Zack Ryder.
There was a buzz in the building that Ric Flair would be on the show but it did not happen.
Did anyone count the number of suplexes that Brock gave to Big Show? I lost count after 3.
The women’s match had a worse reception than anticipated although I did hear one “I love you Becky” chant in my section.
The crowd loved Brock Lesnar and popped hard.
The New Day are just as amusing in person.
Brad Maddox received quite a few “who are you?” chants.
The Jericho-Owens match was a delight to see live.
The steel cage came down as quickly as any steel cage I have ever seen live.
If this event was advertised around Brock Lesnar, why did Brock-Big Show semi Main Event?
Everybody in the crowd knew Kane was coming.
The presale code for the upcoming December 26th event at MSG is holiday.
Thumbs up, not a runaway good show but almost consistently good. I expect to se e a lot of thumbs down for the slower pace, and the idiot Houston fans were quick to boo (what do you expect, they have to deal with the Astros and the Texans) but this was one of those solid cards that I just can’t complain about.
Best fight – again, no FOTY candidates but it’s got to be Cormier/Gustuvson. I don’t particularly like Cormier but I have to give him tons of credit for outstriking the striker and proving he deserves the title. Alexander, on the other hand, fought a horrible strategy and how he got three rounds can only be explained by it being in Texas. It’s a state law that you can’t put on an MMA show in Texas without a screwed up decision.
Worst fight – no real glaring candidates but I have to go with Bader and Evans because I just kept thinking, the winner of THIS is going to get a title shot? It just showed exactly how weak 205 is.
Jordan and Magomedov was not good, but when you get an injury in the first round, all you can do is all you can do, so I can’t fault them for that.
The only other comment I have is Sage Nothcutt. If this kid has the talent to fight his way up the ranks, he’s going to be a mega-star and from what I hear, Dana White knows exactly what he’s got. He oozes charisma like and early Rock and as my wife put it, “that is one good looking guy”. I’m not going to say he’s going to be a male Ronda Rousey (although with the talent he could be) but he’s going to be a huge star.
I missed the first prelim and most of the 2nd. (Lewis-Pesta & S. Pettis-Cariaso)
Thumbs way up. Mostly lackluster on paper, almost all entertaining in reality, and the main was just epic.
Best fight: Cormier-Gustaffson
Worst fight: surprisingly, Benavidez-Bagautinov
Best performance: Cormier, Gustaffson but plenty of standout performances
Worst performance: Jouban
KO: Martins, Tumenov
Sub: Namajunas (default but would have won it most nights)
Picked up watching with Chris Cariaso dominating Sergio Pettis for the last couple minutes of the fight, but Pettis had apparently won the 1st & 2nd very wide. Stunning UFC debut from heavily hyped Sage Northcutt, who looks like Action Figure Ken (as in Barbie), blowing away the smaller but weight-missing Francisco Trevino with a blitz of strikes, TDs and G&P.
Rose Namajunas unsurprisingly far too skilled for Angela Hill and outstrikes her, takes her down, takes her back, sinks RNC and hooks as Hill rises, figure-4s the leg for good measure, and puts her to sleep standing. Brazilian veteran Adriano Martins catches previously unbeaten Russian Islam Makhachev coming in with a right hook and scores an upset one punch KO. Albert Tumenov just shreds Alan Jouban, doing a paint job from the opening bell and not letting Jouban even get started, or last long enough to pull his usual comeback, ending it with a clean KO. Texas ref on the case with the stoppage. Yair Rodriguez takes a competitive card sweep UD over Dan Hooker, with one sorta hometown 30-26, despite breaking a foot early in the fight.
Julianna Pena just too big and strong for Jessica Eye, who for some reason chose to challenge Pena at her forte of grappling and performed well, but not well enough. Jess is just too small for bantam but they don't have flyweight. Some weird reffing in the 2nd docking Eye a point for a first offense and then restarting them standing when Pena had been in top position at the foul, but didn't change the outcome.
Joey Benavidez pretty much paintjobs Ali Bagautinov in a fight conducted almost entirely at long range for a UD with one 29-28. Crowd doesn't like any of it but a couple of flash TDs were the extent of Ali's effective offense.
In a fight between totally opposite styles and physical types, tall rangy Russian Ruslan Magomedov methodically drills human bowling ball Shawn Jordan for three rounds with every strike in the book as Jordan lumbers in looking for a bomb or a TD. He's only successful a couple of times and Magomedov does considerable damage the rest of the time for a UD with one 29-28. I gave him a 10-8 in the 3rd. Magomedov is like a HW Mousasi, who I believe I saw in his corner. Nobody's going to be in a hurry to fight him.
Ryan Bader displaying recent acquisitions of hand speed and actual footwork does a 3R paint job over long inactive Rashad Evans, who looks great till the fight starts. He looks tiny next to Bader who beats him to the punch all night and takes hiom down whenever he wants to. Shad has very little offense. Have seen people call this 'close' and even giving it to Evans, neither of which are anywhere near reality in this or any other dimension. 30-27 X 3 was the only possible score.
Tyron Woodley-Johny Hendricks scrapped when Hendricks got sick making weight. Tyron gets the WW title shot. Hendricks will be considered a MW from now on and will look like Sky Low Low up there.
Daniel Cormier defends the LHW title vs. Alexander Gustaffson and they blow the roof off the joint. Cormier takes the 1st with an early tiltawhirl slam and top control which was one expected scenario and I think everybody started thinking 'oh well'
Alex blasted back in the 2nd keeping long range, beating Cormier to the punch, busting him up and taking HIM down TWICE. Cormier comes back late in the round with damaging uppercuts from collar tie, and all the sudden this fight was even and belonged with both their fights with Jones.
The 3rd ventured into epic territory with Cormier dominating most of the round and busting Alex up, mostly with those inside uppercuts, but at the very end of the round Alex floors Cormier with a massive knee and left hook and has the ref looking VERY close. This was each guy earning a 10-8 round, so I scored it 10-10.
The 4th was also hard to score, as Alex has by now successfully turned it into a boxing match, but isn't necessarily winning. Cormier is the aggressor, but Alex is doing most of the landing, but very little left on his punches. Alex starts figuring out the uppercuts. Cormier landed a big clean right late and I thought that would tip the round on the cards but personally I thought it was even also..
Both were battered and exhausted in the 5th, but Cormier kept his pace up and Alex' output dropped severely, so Cormier clearly won the round. So you had Cormier clearly winning two rounds, Alex one, and two could have gone either way or even. I had 49-48 Cormier but I score rounds even when I think they are. One judge split the swing rounds, one gave both to Cormier, and one gave both to Gustaffson, so it ended up a 48-47 split, 49-46 SD for Cormier, who afterward thanked Gustaffson on the mic for 'making me a better fighter and a better man'. Can sure make a case for Alex having been involved in the two best LHW fights ever. Great fight.
Best match: Sheamus and Rusev v. Ziggler and Orton
Worst match: Cena v. Rollins
While the show had its moments, the good bits were sparse and mostly featured the mid-card. On the plus side, the opening tag match featured some excellent wrestling and The New Day cut an entertaining, creative promo.
Outside of that, the in-ring action was disappointing, particularly the main event. Having a good main event is tough as it is, but it might be impossible for Rollins and Cena to work a good WWE cage match.
How you doin' Dave,
Thought it was an ok show. As the show was going on I was very much disappointed, as I didn't expect it to be a show mainly consisting of house show matches, in some cases reduced house show matches, as this was not the case with Beast In The East, but I felt the main event was very good, and given time to digest and understand what they were presenting I thought it was fine.
In fact I enjoyed Rollins-Cena more than their outings at Summerslam or Night of Champions, as I myself like a methodical pace to my wrestling with bursts of increased tempo as I find it more captivating and dramatic, and also providing timing is good it usually produces greater importance and emphasis on moves and sequences, as well provides more time for selling. On the other end of the scale I thought the New Day-Dudleys finish was incredibly lazy, as we just recently saw the exact same finish.
Another thing to note is that I did have some technical problems. Whenever I watch a PPV on the network I always do so on a 15-20 minute delay, as I have found that it largely prevents freezing you sometimes get, which can be particularly irritating mid-match. However on this occasion the stream stuttered throughout which was far from ideal. Whether the two were connected or it was the fault of my internet or otherwise I do not know, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Thumbs In The Middle
Best Match: Cena vs. Rollins
Worst Match: Dudleys vs. New Day
Just wanted to give some feedback on the live WWE show from MSG. I gave the show a thumbs up, it was a fun show to watch and just the feel and vibe of watching a show from Madison Square Garden is always awesome. Too bad they don't run regular television from MSG very often, apparently due to financial reasons charged by MSG? But awesome to see a show from the "Mecca of professional wrestling" as the late great Gorilla Monsoon would always say. I think the best match of the night would be tie between the main event cage match and the I/C title match and the worst match of the night probably the Divas tag match since this "feud" with Page and her teammates really has no direction and is confusing, but I digress! lol
1. Shemus / Rusev VS Orton / Ziggler - Good opening tag match to get the crowd going, didn't think it really mattered who won this match, but a good opener as Orton and Ziggler get the win.
2. Stardust VS Neville - Awesome Neville match as always, good to see Neville get the win. Not really digging the comic book aspect of this feud, but understand it since it's geared for a younger audience really and seems to be a way of promoting the new video game coming out this month.
3. Team Bella VS Team PBC - Um. Ok. This whole angle between both teams is just confusing and seems to lack focus. They need to get back on track with the divas revolution and have great divas matches for the title, not waste time with confusing angles and soap opera drama. They can do better then this and they have the talent, but choosing an off direction. Let's see, Paige turns on her teammates for no reason, but continues to team with them, and then the match ends with her teammates turning on her. Waste of time trying to figure this out. Just get back to focusing on great matches for the title, especially with Charlotte as champion who is extremely talented.
4. Jericho VS Owens for the I/C title. Great match, both competitors awesome. Jericho always has great matches and Owens is just incredibly talented and has really impressed with every match I've seen with him so far. I hope they keep the I/C title on him for a long time. Good win by Owens, gives him credibility for beating Jericho, and Jericho does not look bad or hurt by the loss since Jericho at this point in his career still looks good regardless if he wins or loses.
5. New Day VS Dudley's - Good tag match with two great teams. I was very annoyed by the New Day gimmick when the first started and just hated it. But amazingly these 3 guys were able to turn a goofy gimmick into a positive and actually make it work. As goofy as the New Day gimmick is, they are actually getting it over and it's been entertaining and fun to watch. The Dudley's are always impressive and their return to WWE has just been awesome so far. Good match with Dudley's winning by DQ. It continues the feud for both teams which is a good thing.
6. Lesnar / Big Show - Basically a squash match for Lesnar beating the crap out of Big Show but very good as it worked just watching Lesnar and his crazy strength throwing Big Show around like a rag doll. Lesnar seemed to be in a very good mood for once and appeared to be having fun which is a good thing. Awesome feats of strength as I'm sure picking up the Big Show is not an easy thing. But the crowd was way into it and it worked.
7. Cena / Rollins cage match - Very good main event and good cage match. Sometimes cage matches don't work and take away from the match. But these two have good matches with each other and good chemistry. Cena seems to be stepping it up lately with having good matches starting with his Owens feud. I've hated just about every Cena match in existence and I'm just tired of seeing the guy and having forced down our throats for so many years on TV. But my opinion really changed after his matches with Owens and Cesaro. Good win, but makes the champ look weak and Rollins needs to look as strong as possible as the champion. They already portray Rollins as a crybaby world champion who constantly complains, which seems to be the wrong direction in my opinion. And with Cena taking time off soon you would think it would make sense for him to drop the US title. Make Rollins a duel champion again as that seemed to work. Not sure where the Rollins and Kane feud can go,
since that's not really a match I want to see or an angle that is very interesting.
Anyway, it was a good live show and great production by the network. Awesome promos about MSG cut by both Paul Heyman and Chris Jericho. The only negative of the show would have to be the announcing. The new guy Rich Brennen was actually not that bad and seemed to be doing well. But I can't say the same for JBL or Bryan Saxton. JBL just babbles with his 30 year old references and he seemed to be hazing the new guy Brenned and Saxton just sat there not really saying much of anything. Bad announcing and commentary really takes away from the matches and the program and this seems' to be happening way too often. But otherwise a great show and very entertaining.
Two thumbs up. A good solid show and then the main event happened which was just fantastic.
Best fight: Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson. Again, really great stuff here. Back and forth match, and until the last round where they both gassed out, the entire fight was non-stop action. I had Cormier winning and was happy to see that he did. Judging was a bit odd, with one of the judges giving the fight to Cormier 49-46 which seemed odd, but the right man won either way in my eyes.
Worst fight: Joseph Benavidez vs. Ali Bagautinov. Nothing really at all interesting happened here. The Magomedov fight wasn't amazing either, but I seemed to be more into that one because you at least had the broken rib story going on there. Neither guy really tried to do anything crazy. Very safe fight that left everyone bored and booing in the building. Benavidez won, but this didn't make me want to see him face Johnson anymore, if that's what Dana was hoping for.
Best Fight: Cormier vs. Gustafsson
About as good as you can hope for from a card with five straight decisions. I had Cormier 49-46 but it was close. The UFC 193 promo at the end walked a fine line between genius and super cheesy but it came off on the right side of that. It should be really effective if enough people see it.
Overall: Thumbs up. My main question going into this event was will the live special be presented more like a PPV or more like a house show. In some ways it resembled both. Honestly, I think it provided a template for what a three hour RAW could be. Let the stories be told and developed in the ring, let the wrestling take precedence over the backstage drama and book finishes that accomplish the goals at hand without leaving the fans disappointed.
Best Match: Very enjoyable cage match between Rollins and Cena. The Kane factor developed the story without compromising the drama and story be told in the ring.
Worst Match: The Diva's Tag was lame.
1. Sheamus and Rusev vs. Ziggler and Orton. Standard formula tag match that built nicely to a hot tag and peaked with a climatic finish. I enjoyed the body slam story during the heat. A looser Orton who is enjoying himself is a better version of Randy Orton.
-I can do without the RAW recap. Especially, being it is the third time I have seen the same replay in a week.
2. Stardust vs. Neville. The action was crisp, the template was basic, the crowd was tepid.
-Top notch Heyman mic work. No matter main stream press, tv promo, or ppv interview, the guy knocks it out of the park.
3. Team Bella vs. PCB. The bulk of the match was slow. This is not a problem if the heat builds anticipation for the hot tag and consequential uptick in pacing. The story in the match prevented this from being the case. As a result, the crowd waited a long time to be disappointed.
4. IC title match: Jericho vs. Owens. Heartfelt and crowd engaging promo from Jericho to start. Good to descent action throughout with some nice transitions and near falls towards the end. I appreciate Owen's breaking the rules to retain the title. He is a heel who is good enough to be competitive, but needs to cheat to win. Good match.
5. Tag Team Title: The New Day vs. Dudley Boys. The action in the match was enjoyable, the finish was lame. With that said, 1 lame finish on the show is better than every Raw. Moreover, if they did not want to switch the belts on this occasion, they accomplished the goal and gave the crowd a little extra something to pop for.
6. Big Show vs. Lesnar. Simple and effective in story and execution. Make Lesnar look vulnerable at the beginning, ensure he looks invisible by the end.
7. US Title Match: Rollins vs. Cena. Deliberate pacing almost to a fault at the onset. The longer the match lasted, the better the action was. By the end, the drama was at an appropriate level for main event title match inside a cage In MSG. Great effort by Rollins and Cena and a fitting capstone to the event. The Kane factor effected the finish, but did not compromise the enjoyment of the match.