After my little hiatus from blogging and watching wrestling, I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things with WWE. I watched Hell in a Cell last month, but most of it drifted past me. I feel like a lot of these big WWE shows have been kinda samey and state this year.
I’m hoping a change of scenery might help WWE with this show. As the event is being held in Melbourne Cricket Ground with a crowd of 70,000 +, I’m hoping this show might feel different from the usual fare.
The New Day (C) vs The Bar (Smackdown! Tag Team Titles)
I’ve seen both teams have several great matches over the past few years and they can probably do this kind of match in their sleep. It was a silky smooth opening match though, with fine execution and pacing so it’s a 3/5 for me. Truthfully, I wish both teams had been given more time as they’re capable of much more than this. I think Xavier Woods has improved immensely over the past few years too – that the New Day have gone from being a regular team of Kofi and Big E with Woods on the outside to a mixture of all three wrestling is a testament to his abilities.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Charlotte (Smackdown! Women’s Title)
I enjoyed this match more than their match at Hell in a Cell – I felt there was much more intensity here. I didn’t mind the ending either – a cheap DQ win for Charlotte extends the feud, which is quietly one of WWE’s best right now. The post match with Becky stopping Charlotte’s assault was fantastic – this quasi-heel Becky Lynch is fantastic to watch. She’s not the usual sterotypical WWE female heel, but determined and focused, willing to do anything to be the best. 3.5/5 for me and again, I wouldn’t have complained if this had been longer either.
Kevin Owens and Elias vs Bobby Lashley and John Cena
This match was just a routine house show match (house shows are the untelevised shows WWE does, that usually focus more on crowd interaction than in-ring action) giving the crowd a chance to see John Cena and was pretty quick and inoffensive. I did enjoy Kevin Owens sitting on a stool next to Elias during Elias’ song (a decent acoustic version of Thunderstruck by AC/DC), the visual just made me laugh. It was odd seeing John Cena with that much hair though…it was all I could focus on for most of the match. A typical 2.5/5 for me; there was nothing wrong with the match, but it’s not worth going out of your way to see.
The IIconics vs Asuka and Naomi
I wasn’t keen on this match at all…I didn’t think the IIconics had much of a connection with their native Aussie crowd and the match was pretty short and sloppy. Post match, I found myself wondering why WWE have let Asuka fall so far..her invincible aura from the past two years is almost completely gone, despite Corey Graves’ best efforts on commentary. A 2/5 for me and a match that could easily have been left off the show entirely.
A J Styles vs Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)
I enjoyed this match….it felt like a natural next chapter in the feud. This was a slower, more focused match than their Hell in a Cell match but it was still entertaining. I’m surprised Joe lost again though…I get the feeling WWE don’t want Joe on top, which is a shame as he’s doing his best work since his TNA glory days from 2005 – 2007 with Styles and Christopher Daniels. I grade this match 3.5/5, it was a fine No DQ match.
The Bella Twins and Ronda Rousey vs The Riott Squad
I wasn’t too excited for this one, mainly because I knew the Riott Squad were just fodder for Rousey and the Bellas. I feel for Ruby Riott as I think she’d be great as a never say die face (like she was in NXT) but is instead stuck in a weak faction. This match wasn’t great either, with Riott and Rousey easily the best in ring peformers here. I guess it was short, but again I could have lived without seeing this match. Why not do Riott vs Rousey for the title instead? A 2/5 here, maybe that’s harsh, but I can’t defend matches by saying they are short!
Cedric Alexander vs Buddy Murphy (WWE Cruiserweight Title)
This match was an excellent advert for 205 Live, a fast athletic match where hometown hero Buddy Murphy won the title. Murphy had the crowd behind him, unlike the IIconics earlier in the evening and that enhanced this match. I’d say this was match of the night, a superb effort with some great spots (the top rope Michinoku Driver from Cedric was fantastic) that would make me want to watch 205 Live…if I had time. Not quite a 4/5, but a solid 3.5/5.
The Shield vs The Dogs of War
I loved The Shield in their initial WWE run; those wars against Team Hell No and The Wyatt Family were fantastic. This match was a nice reminder of those unpredictable struggles and the call backs to the ongoing storyline (such as Ambrose turning and Dolph Ziggler being the weak link) were excellent. Plus, Australia seems to like Roman Reigns so expect every big show to be held in Melbourne from now on…OK, that was mean.. A solid 3.5/5 again.
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz (WWE Championship No.1 Contender match)
Seriously, what was this? I was actually really looking forward to this and was getting into the match, then it ended via a Bryan small package after a few minutes….I have absolutely no idea what this was meant to achieve. Bryan didn’t look good in victory, the ending felt flat and one of the hottest feuds of recent years has pretty much ended with a whimper. I can’t rate this match, it’s far too short, but I’m disappointed. I had a feeling this match could steal the show and unless someone is hurt, I’m not sure why it went the way it did.
Triple H (with Shawn Michaels) vs The Undertaker (with Kane)
Where to start with this one? I try not to rant with these recaps, but I might struggle here….
Let’s start at the beginning…I’m actually not a big fan of either wrestler. I missed out on the glory years of the Attitude Era as I didn’t have the means of watching WWE. I didn’t get to watch WWE until 2002, which was the beginning of Triple H’s reign of terror on RAW. Years of watching him forced down our throats on RAW really put me off HHH; truthfully I’ve never seen him as one of the greats despite all his title reigns and years on top. I think he’s a competent in ring performer who was simply overpushed for many years
Meanwhile, Undertaker’s return in 2002 as the heel American Bad Ass led to a few dull years before a return as the all conquering ‘Dead Man’. I get why The Undertaker is popular – older fans love the zombie gimmick and the streak was an awesome idea. It never appealed to me though…I’ve never really been a fan of big men in wrestling anyway due to the lumbering matches they produce. I do think Undertaker is pretty capable for a big man, but there are years of his career that are a complete waste. Think 1991 – 1996 or those interminable periods in the mid 2000’s, such as his feuds with Heidenreich or The Dudleys. Sure, he’s had some great Wrestlemania matches but he’s faced some great opposition (CM Punk, Shawn Michaels twice, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar) while working a limited schedule that allows him to rest up for most of the year.
So you can imagine how bemused I was when, out of the blue, we were promised ‘the last match in this ‘legendary’ feud. I thought the last match in the HHH vs ‘Taker feud was in 2012. Also, does anyone else see HHH vs ‘Taker as a legendary feud? Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat was a legendary feud. Ric Flair vs Sting was a legendary feud. Steve Austin vs Vince McMahon was a legendary feud. HHH VS ‘Taker doesn’t have that same magnitude to me, especially when deep down I get the feeling that HHH is trying to emulate Shawn Michaels by having legendary matches with ‘Taker. Was anyone really clamoring to see HHH and Undertaker again?
Sorry to go on, but it’s all building to the main reason for my frustration; Fifteen or so years after HHH and Undertaker were all over WWE shows, they’re headlining. In 2018, there is no need for HHH and Undertaker to be wrestling, never mind headlining. Wrestling depends on older stars creating newer stars by letting up and coming talent conquer them, but HHH and Undertaker never did that in the 00’s and 10’s. As a result we’ve got a permanent glass ceiling in place. Only Attitude Era stars (Michaels, HHH, Kane, Undertaker, Big Show, Jericho and Mark Henry) or WWE’s projects (Lesnar, Orton, Cena and Roman Reigns) have managed to stay above the ceiling; any other wrestlers are stuck forever underneath. In 2018, I want to see new stars. I want to see new stories play out. I don’t want to see veterans going through the motions, replaying feuds I wasn’t interested in five, six years ago. The problem is, WWE is going to suffer intensely when the Attitude Era stars finally retire for good; Orton and Cena are coming to the end of their full time careers too and Reigns doesn’t have the crowd behind him at all. Who will headline then? WWE haven’t created any new stars who have the crowd’s support and that will be a problem in the next few years.
Anyway, sorry the match….I thought it was a slow, self indulgent brawl between two performers who have seen better days. I’ll give them some credit – the effort was there and the match did pick up in the second half. There was lots of smoke and mirrors though, such as the change in stipulation to a No DQ match at the opening bell, frequent involvement of Michaels and Kane and a tedious fight into the crowd.
The end made little sense either. Michaels helped Triple H win and both celebrated like it was a big deal. Then Undertaker and Kane celebrated with them…before jumping Michaels and HHH and leaving them laying. The talk is that there will be a tag match at WWE Crown Jewel in a few weeks, with Kane and Michaels involved. I’ve resigned myself to a Shawn Michaels comeback – he’s one of the greatest of all time, but it’s been some years since he was in a ring and I don’t want him to return and damage those memories.
I’ve given the match a score of 2.5/5. The more spirited second half of the match and the involvement of Michaels made me up move the grade up a bit. The crowd were into the match too, so that helped. I’m not looking forward to seeing these four tangle again in a few weeks though…this and the Bryan – Miz match have ended the card on a sour note for me. Plus I’ve got a nagging feeling now….did HHH arrange this match solely so he could get a win over ‘Taker? Anyway, my apologies…WWE doesn’t get to me like some fans, but this match just struck a nerve.
Verdict – a very up and down show. Some of the matches were really good and make me want to see more of the feuds, some of the matches were irrelevant. Thow in two very strange final matches and I’ve gone away with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. That’s a shame because I was quite high on Super Show-Down going into the Bryan – Miz match. Overall Super Show-Down tallies a score of 2.80/5.00. That’s above average, but it could have been higher. In fact, cut the two women’s tag matches, give the opener and Bryan vs Miz another ten minutes at least then cut the main event in half and this would have been one of the WWE’s better shows this year. A shame really, I hadn’t expected much from this show and I was almost pleasantly surprised.