Submitted by Tom Griffiths
Brandi Runnels was our ring announcer. She started off by introducing our General Manager for the evening, Ric Flair. Flair started off his two minute promo by asking the crowd where he was, of course to encourage the crowd to shout the name of the place. He then attempted some "woooo interaction" with the crowd which didn't get as over as I expected. He continued by talking about Rollins' injury and said he's had surgery (news to me), and announced the two main events. Ambrose-Owens got a big reaction, Show-Kane was met with laughter! To which Flair replied "oh come on!" The Dudleys then made their entrance and this was the last we saw of Flair.
Dudleys vs. New Day: Non-Title 2 on 3 Tables Match
New Day got a mixed reaction and not as big a one as I expected, not to say they weren't over. Dudleys were well liked. Very slow pace, extremely careful with each other, lots of working of holds early and comedy from New Day, back and forth match, got the heat on Devon, Bubba made the comeback, what's-up spot, got the tables, back and forth, 3-D on Woods for the win in ten minutes. Below average house show match. (Notes on this weren't the best as I was late arriving to my seat and there were issues with congestion in the area.)
Short Tyler Breeze promo on the screen, cheat heat and talking about that he was going to beat Ziggler.
The Miz vs. Cesaro
Arguably the most over match of the night. Miz's old-school heel stuff worked wonderfully and Cesaro was over huge during the match. Also there were a number of Cesaro Section signs which he acknowledged. Started off with Miz getting some cheat heat on the mic, it then turned into a bit from a comedy show as he acknowledged a guy a couple of rows from the front who was on his phone during this. Miz asked who he was talking to, the guy said his mum and of course was made fun of. Miz then requested silence while he took off his glasses and every time he went to do so in a dramatic fashion the crowd would boo so he would lower his arms, and so on. This went on for about three minutes but was entertaining.
The match itself was wrestled at snail pace. I'm not kidding when I say I had the opportunity to watch a move, write down what a saw in casual fashion, and then look up in time for the start of the next move. In fact I did this several times during the match! Cesaro got the better of some chain-wrestling early, hit a couple of headscissors, Miz took a powder, was chased around the ring, got back into the ring and caught Cesaro with some stomps coming in to begin the heat, Cesaro made his comeback with some extremely light regular uppercuts, caught Miz with a light running uppercut on the outside up against the rail, put on the sunglasses and performed a flying body press whilst wearing them for a nearfall, swing tease, there were massive swing chants on few occasions during the match, another swing tease in here somewhere, Miz chop-block, figure four attempt reversed in a small package for a nearfall, Miz was caught with an uppercut with a little more mustard on it while jumping off the top for a nearfall, Miz scored a nearfall with his short DDT, there was a comical 20 second backslide battle, 30 rep swing, sharpshooter for the win in ten minutes. A good slow-motion match.
NXT Champion Finn Balor vs. Sheamus
Really good reaction for Balor coming out and I saw plenty of Balor Club shirts, decent boos for Sheamus and he did have some supporters. Crowd was quietly captivated by the match so there wasn't sustained strong heat, but they popped for all the big spots, and there were numerous strong lets go Balor & NXT chants. Balor looked a real star in person. He's chiselled out of stone, a good looking guy, good in-ring charisma, great worker. If he can improve his promos I think Vince is going to love him. Just hopefully he doesn't go crazy the demon gimmick. This match was night and day in comparison to others in one respect. It wasn't New Japan, but these guys worked stiff! They didn't take each others heads off, but there was solid contact on a number of occasions. Solid lock-up to start-off with, Balor slapped Sheamus' ass for a bit of comedy, reasonably loud you look stupid chants, Sheamus got some cheat heat on the mic for a couple of minutes in response to this, they worked a few headlocks, Balor got his shine including a dropkick which caught Sheamus bang on the chin, Sheamus cut him off and got the heat during which Balor was cursing up a storm at times dropping F-Bombs while selling.
DDT from Balor for the transition move, stiff forearms, chops and body punches throughout the match coming from both directions, careful Somersault Plancha to the outside from Balor right in front of me, top rope double foot stomp on the back for nearfall from Balor, Sheamus scored nearfalls with a Novocaine and an Albert Bomb, Balor scored one with a bicycle kick and his Curtain Call style move was teased, there were this is awesome chants in here somewhere, there was a top rope striking battle, Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick, posted his shoulder shortly after, Balor followed-up with the Coup De Grace for the win in seventeen minutes including Sheamus' promo. They worked pretty slow, but as I said they were stiff and the work-rate was there. Both guys were sweating buckets by the end! Hats off to both guys, really good house show match.
Bo Dallas vs. Curtis Axel
Decent boos for Bo, polite response for Axel. Nothing to it, Dallas got the heat, whipped Axel into the corner, roll-up coming out of the corner for the win in about thirty seconds.
Bo then got on the mic throwing a tantrum saying he wasn't ready, and then challenged anybody to come out and face him. Truth took the challenge and was a super babyface with the fans at ringside showing special attention to everyone around the rails. Also his entrance got pretty over about halfway through. Dallas then revealed to Truth that he thought Hornswoggle or El Torito would take the challenge, said he didn't want to fight, and instead wanted a dance-off. Truth took the challenge and Bo went first doing some wacky dancing to I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred which turned him semi-babyface. Then Truth's turn came and he seemed awfully prepared for this impromptu dance-off as he pulled out a glove and began dancing to Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Seconds into this Bo jumped him and the match was on.
Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth
Again nothing to it, bit of heat from Dallas and then the Lie Detector for the win in thirty seconds. Truth danced his way up the ramp and Axel came out and joined in, meanwhile after they'd disappeared, feeling humiliated Bo ran backstage. His performance was very good with what he was asked to do.
Connor video package with a nice reaction.
Big Show vs. Kane: Street Fight
Not much of a noticeable reaction for Show coming out and he's still sporting that knee brace, nice nostalgia pop for Kane. They worked very slow, not Cesaro-Miz slow but pretty slow, Show did some warm-up exercises and took a powder or two in the early going which eventually gained some decent heat heel, some chumps tried to start a please retire chant that failed miserably and Show made fun of them for it, Kane attacked him on the outside after taking a powder, little brawling on the outside, Kane took a whip into the steps for the transition move going into the heat, while Kane was selling on the outside a while later, he sneakily got a kendo stick and went to work on Show's leg with it, all the weapon involvement got pretty over with the crowd, Show gained the advantage and broke the kendo stick saying he didn't need it, a while later Kane introduced a chair and hit Show in the stomach and back with it, the story was he needed weapons to overcome the giant, Show hit a spear to go back into the heat, there was a spot where both guys had each other goozled and Show hit the Chokeslam for a nearfall, Kane made his comeback, dropkicked Show's knee sending him headfirst into a chair Kane had set-up there earlier in the match.
Kane went fishing for more weapons and accidently pulled out a broom for a comedy spot, he then got a table, Show hit his knockout punch while standing on the outside when Kane poked his head through the ropes which gained a nearfall, Show was apoplectic over this which garnered a few laughs, Show then set Kane up on the table, climbed to the top and was chokeslammed through the table for the Kane victory in ten minutes. Wasn't a bad match, wasn't worse than some other matches on the show. After the match and Kane had gone to the back, Show got to his feet and got some thank you Big Show chants and fell back down for some comedy, the ref then climbed on him and attempted to score a three count which he counted himself but Show kicked-out powerfully sending him flying for another comedy spot. Show got a nice babyface reaction heading backstage which was nice to see, I think the guy gets a raw deal. Not sure whether the announcement of the match caught the crowd off-guard or his performance won them over.
Divas Champion Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella & Alicia Fox: Paige as referee
Decent reaction for Paige but I expected bigger, I think she did too judging from her body language, although maybe I'm wrong. Good reaction for Charlotte & Becky, Becky much like Truth was a super babyface with ringsiders, especially a guy in her Lass Kicker shirt and a few guys near-by in Balor Club shirts. Paige wasn't kayfabing it up at all prior to the bell, seemingly sharing a joke with Charlotte, although only people close such as myself would've noticed. Was a nice little house show match, no blown spots, all the girls were solid and at times weren't as careful as the men, Becky looked especially good, very smooth. Also to be a pig I had a fun time staring at her ass which was directly in front of me while she was waiting for a tag.
Some simple chain-wrestling early, the babyfaces worked over Brie, bit of back and forth, the heels got the heat on Becky, there were some Becky's awesome chants during the match, needless to say they really liked her, some heel tactics behind Paige's back whist she was arguing with Charlotte which happened frequently, Charlotte made her trademark comeback, Paige was pulled into an accidental spear and took a powder, Charlotte got distracted by this and Fox took advantage, second ref appeared, there was some double teaming on Charlotte during this period as Becky was still down selling, babyfaces made a short comeback and scored the win with the Figure Eight/Armbar double submission in ten minutes. Paige ambushed the babyfaces in the aftermath, she then took a T-Bone from Becky and a big boot from Charlotte and then took a powder as the babyfaces celebrated with both their music playing. There was no boos for them or anything, well not that I heard.
Tyler Breeze w/Summer Rae vs. Dolph Ziggler
Decent heat for Breeze, big pop for Ziggler, although not huge superstar reaction which nobody got. Very good heat for the match, touch-and-go between this and Cesaro-Miz for most heated match of the night, strong lets go Ziggler chants during the match. Simple character stuff early with some basic stuff and posing, Ziggler started the match in a t-shirt, Ziggler had his shine, chased Breeze round the ring who used Summer as a shield, Summer dramatically screamed for some comedy, Ziggler was pulled throat first into the middle rope for the transition move going into the heat, Summer interfered numerous times behind the refs back, Breeze leaped off the second ropes and was caught with a dropkick in mid-air for the transition move, Ziggler made his comeback, from this point on they worked at regular speed with regular intensity.
Breeze got a nearfall with a version of the backstabber, Ziggler scored one with the fame-asser, Summer hit Ziggler in the head with one of her shoes, Breeze followed-up with an unprettier for a nearfall, Summer was caught with her shoe off by the ref and with encouragement from the crowd he kicked her out, Summer was great throughout this match, very animated, Ziggler Superkick tease, beautiful Lance Storm-Jerry Lynn pinning combination sequence, six or seven, superkick from Ziggler for a nearfall, strong this is awesome chants, feet on the ropes nearfall for Breeze, Cena punch-for-punch spot, Zig-Zag for the Ziggler victory in fourteen minutes. Really, really good house show match. Match of the night. Big-time respect for Ziggler after watching this, he worked harder than anybody else on the show and was the driving force in the match. Both guys are huge Shawn Michaels fans as seen in their work and they have really good chemistry. Really looking forward to the PPV match providing they're allowed to have a great match.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Mixed reaction for Owens and a big one although probably not in the top three or four. Owens was tremendous getting into it with three or four kids before and during the match, one little boy was in a John Cena shirt and Owens asked him where he was and claimed to be the new John Cena, he was jawing with some older people as well. He's so animated, charismatic and vocal, carried himself like a real star. Also he doesn't look overly chubby in person. Big pop for Ambrose, biggest of the show, although nothing compared to his one in April. Owens did have the title with him as I heard he didn't on one of the previous shows. Good heat for the match, a close third in that department. Owens immediately took a powder and Ambrose went after him with great urgency, for the most part they worked at regular speed with regular intensity, early brawling, Ambrose got his shine, Owens got some heat, Owens hit a gutbuster for a nearfall, Ambrose hit Tornado DDT for one, majority of the trademark moves were hit, Ambrose did his suicide dive right in front of me.
Owens scored a nearfall with his second rope twisting fisherman's buster, slapped Ambrose around which drew another comeback, superkick tease, McGuiness clothesline tease, Owens hit the superkick, Ambrose kicked out of the pop-up powerbomb, Owens grabbed a chair, ref took it off him, Ambrose followed this up with a roll-up for nearfall, Owens tried to leave, Ambrose threw him back in, was looking to finish him off when Owens hit him with chair in the stomach for the DQ in thirteen minutes. Not as good as Ziggler-Breeze or Sheamus-Balor, but it was a good match and they worked pretty hard. Big Smoz for the aftermath. Owens continued the beat-down on Ambrose, Ziggler hit the ring, Sheamus then hit the ring, then Cesaro, then New Day, then The Dudleys. One of the biggest reactions of the night for this. Babyfaces cleaned house and Ambrose threw Owens back in the ring who took a 3-D and Dirty Deeds to send the crowd home happy. They then applauded the crowd and acknowledged certain people in it as the show finished.
Fun show. As normal pretty much everybody worked quite slow and very carefully with each other. Being at ringside it was interesting seeing the guys do something then wait two-three seconds for the reaction before doing something else. Was second row two seats from the aisle on the left hand side facing down. Crowd was nowhere near as hot as the show in the same building in April, not that they were dead or anything, but they were super-hot then and at about 40-50% of that volume today. Could've been due to the winter WWE blues, could've been lower enthusiasm with no Cena, Orton, Rollins or Rusev (back when he was a hot heel) this time, could've been due to it being an early evening Sunday show as opposed to a Saturday night show. Maybe a combination of all three.
For this reason entrance pops were tough to gauge, there was no real great wall of sound reactions like Cena's, or Orton's, or Rusev's this time, and even Ambrose and Paige's weren't nearly as big. Crowd reactions were again unique in comparison to America. Pantomime is part of the culture over here so old-school heel shtick worked really well, also rest-holds got very over in-terms of immediately evoking heavy support for the babyfaces with stomping and clapping. So essentially very old-school. The simple fundamentals worked well. Although of course this is different with more hardcores.