For the first time in far too long, I got to take in a live wrestling show on Sunday night. This was one of the WWE SuperShows, featuring both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown wrestlers. It was also part of the Summer of Cena, with Cena in a six man main event. The announcement that Cena would be on the show made the ticket sales jump, including two extra sections being opened up the day of the show. Yeah there’s something to the guy. Let’s get to it.
This was one of the largest crowds I can remember for a Louisville show, with about 6,000 tickets sold. The show started just after 7pm so they were on time.
We got a quick video of Bianca Belair arriving and being glad to have fans back. Carmella interrupted and they bickered a bit.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bianca Belair vs. Carmella
Belair got a heck of a reaction and you can tell how over she is with the younger fans. They have something with her and I think they know that. This was a basic match with Belair doing the athletic stuff with the power and flips while Carmella was mostly left with the cheating. There was a notable moment where Carmella went down in the corner as Belair was trying to jump over her. I had seen on Twitter that Carmella might have had some issues staying in her top (which I didn’t notice live), but she might have gone down to cover things up. Belair retained at 11:45 with a small package to a very strong pop. C.
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
This was a non-title open challenge, but the match was listed on the preview. McIntyre got a big reaction too, but not much bigger than Belair’s. Jinder Mahal jumped McIntyre before the bell so he was fighting from behind. They beat each other up for a bit with their hard hitting stuff until McIntyre won with the Claymore at 7:15. This was really short and I was expecting a lot more. C-.
Jinder jumped Drew post match and got Claymored.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Natalya/Tamina vs. Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler
Natalya and Tamina were the faces here and it worked as well as it could have, meaning not very well in the slightest. These four just do not work that well together and you could tell watching here. The crowd did get a bit into things so it wasn’t a disaster. Tamina superkicked Baszler to retain at 8:52 after they were trying hard. C.
Of note, there was a kid behind me who was somewhere between 3-5 years old. He was there with his granddad, who didn’t seem to be overly familiar with modern wrestling. The granddad was talking to him throughout the match though, including asking if he thought Natalya would get out of trouble. The kid wasn’t quite sure which one Natalya was, but figured out that she was in red. This led to the most bizarre exchange I have heard in a long time.
Granddad: “Yeah Natalya is in the red. That’s Natalya Neidhart.”
3-5 Year Old Kid: “Like Jim The Anvil Neidhart?”
I had so many questions but this kid is being raised right.
Raw World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Kofi Kingston
This was supposed to be a handicap match but Xavier Woods was attacked in the back. He sent an angry Kingston on anyway and the singles match was on. This was pretty by the book with Kingston doing what he could but getting caught with the power. Kofi started making the comeback but got crotched on top, setting up the Hurt Lock at 9:56. Exactly what you would expect from these two in a ten minute house show match. C.
The Usos cut a quick promo on knowing they would win.
Intermission, with a few Guns N Roses songs. The Reigns promo from Friday aired with the missionary position line edited out.
Riddle vs. AJ Styles
Omos was here with Styles and it’s like watching Great Khali walk to the ring. There was no reference to Randy Orton, who was advertised for the show on Sunday afternoon before I made the drive. The crowd was behind AJ at first but he had them booing by the end. Riddle spanked AJ a few times to start so make your own GAY COMMUNITY jokes. Omos interfered but Charles Robinson heard him send Riddle into the steps. That was enough for the ejection, despite AJ dropping to his knees and begging. Riddle blocked the Phenomenal Forearm with a jumping knee and hit an RKO for the pin at 14:19. B-.
Raw Women’s Title: Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki Ash
This was interesting because of the entrances. The fans were mostly quiet for Ash (more on that in a minute) and not bad for Ripley, but they seemed to be in awe of Charlotte. That is how they should be too, as she carries herself exactly like her dad did. Charlotte comes off like the biggest star in the world and that is why she gets pushed like she does. The title reigns are still ridiculous, but when you see her in this mode, you get everything WWE sees in her.
The match itself wasn’t great, as Ripley is now a full on face (even high fiving fans and smiling a lot), with Charlotte as the big bad. That leaves Nikki, who had to keep stealing shots when she could. She was on the floor a lot while Charlotte and Ripley beat each other up and then stole a double pin as the other two were fighting over a rollup to retain at 10:20.
Two things about this match. First, Nikki’s gear was rather different, as the tights were the same color as the top, basically eliminating the thong look. I’m assuming this is to keep it more PG and it’s a better look overall. If nothing else, it’s a lot less distracting.
Second, there were two guys behind me who kept yelling/talking about how the crowd sucked for not cheering in the right way for the best match of the night, including not reacting to Nikki. As obnoxious as it is to actually shout at the fans that they aren’t cheering right, the silence for Nikki makes perfect sense. Prior to Money in the Bank and the superhero deal, Nikki was just there. She hadn’t won anything of note and she had barely been around in months.
Well then she changes her gimmick, still doesn’t win any major matches, and then she wins Money in the Bank. She cashes in the next night and….yeah it’s still just Nikki Cross but now as a superhero. It’s like she won the title with a cheat code, so why should she be cheered as some conqueror? The superhero deal works and will be a smash with kids, but it isn’t going to get over until she looks like she can beat some people instead of winning a ladder match and stealing the title. They haven’t put the effort in with her yet and the crowd reaction showed it.
Roman Reigns/Usos vs. Dominik Mysterio/Rey Mysterio/John Cena
Reigns got a big reaction. The Mysterios got a big reaction. John Cena got a gigantic reaction that felt like he was coming out for a pay per view main event. You can feel that he is on another level and WWE knows that too. This was a well put together match as Cena kept wanting Reigns, even coming in to try and get after him multiple times but kept getting held back.
Rey took a long beating and Cena FINALLY got the hot tag at about 15:00 in to blow the roof off the place. Cena had Jimmy in the AA but Reigns cut him off with a Superman Punch. The spear hit the corner though and Cena gave Reigns an AA, which he more or less no sold but left anyway, leaving Jey to take the AA for the pin at 17:03. Easily the best part of the show, just for Cena’s insane star power and the match getting time while being well put together.
Cena threw gear out to end the show.
Overall, C+, as it was basically an All-Star show for a good $33 seat. They have momentum right now, but that isn’t going to last forever. As for house shows, just keep them like this for now. You had a good crowd, top stars and strong reactions. Work with that for as long as you can and stop with the double house shows for the time being.
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