Ok folks, welcome to the final part of my mini journal covering the UK shows.
The first thing that hit me by tonight was how low the attendance was compared to RAW. The entire top tier of the arena was covered with black curtains and it looked like a TNA show. That being said though, i must admit that i enjoyed Smackdown more than RAW this week.
As always, the atmosphere of being there will make most shows look good but i preferred tonight’s offering because it had more wrestling action.
Lets run through the events. Warning, this will contain SPOILERS!
The first dark match was Chavo Guerrero with a hometown "hero" called Mason Rice. These dark matches are usually just squash matches but in this case Mason Rice looked like the real deal, he beat Chavo clean and looked like the British version of Batista (No not Rob Terry, let’s not go that far!)
Then we had the dire NXT show. We had Goldust come out and ask Aksana why she slapped him, Aksana explained that she wanted to stay in the USA as a resident and was cut off by Naomi challenging her for a match later in the evening. Aksana stupidly asked for Goldust’s opinion as a "Pro", Goldust told her to accept the match and get beat (guess what happened? yup she lost, but that was later on.)
They also had an arm wrestling challenge in which Kaitlyn won, and a guess the superstar quiz from old school photos.
All this was amasingly poor and no wonder bad comments are made, you kind of get the feeling they are just going through the motions. Whoever thought that doing this kind of concept with just diva’s and just giving them useless challenges to do all the time needs their head testing. Other NXT seasons were not great but at least they had wrestling in it.
From that we then had a match recorded for Superstars which was Drew McIntyre versus Kaval. This match was most probably my favourite of the night, they got a good 15-20 minute spot here and they played to each others strengths. Kaval had been someone who i’ve always taken interest in from his Low-Ki and Senshi days and it was nice to finally see him in person. However, as usual with Kaval’s situation with WWE, he was defeated, but at least it he wasn’t squashed.
Then Smackdown began. The show started off with Edge coming out and talking about he was going to become the Heavyweight Champion at Survivor Series only to be interupted by The Nexus who surrounded the ring. Moments before attacking Edge, Vickie Guerrero interupted and informed us that Teddy Long had problems at customs and couldn’t attend the show, so she would be in charge for the evening.
Vickie informed everyone that the match between David Otunga and Edge would be a lumberjack match.
After the break we had Alberto Del Rio take on Kofi Kingston in a pretty solid match where Del Rio got the victory using his armbar submission. After the finish Rey Mysterio ran out and gave Del Rio a 619.
After this we had Natayla versus Layla in a pretty basic Diva effort with Natayla winning with the Sharpshooter.
Kane was seen in a backstage area looking at a smashed up area where Kane had delivered a promo at the start of the show with Paul Bearer. Kane then noticed the Urn on the floor and knew something had happened to Paul and started searching for him.
Next came Edge versus Otunga in a lumberjack match which ended with Kane jumping the rail and choke slamming Edge behind the officials back, obviously meaning that Otunga is still a member of The Nexus. One thing that is worth noting is that upon the completion of the match Edge managed to get Michael McGuilicutty cornered and speared him with the help of some of the lumberjack’s, this appeared to be something that wouldn’t air on telelvision and was done more to satisfy the crowd. We will have to see this Friday whether it makes the cut.
The next match was Dolph Ziggler against MVP for the Intercontinental Championship. This was a solid match which ended with Dolph hitting the Zigg Zagg near the ropes. As Dolph pinned MVP he took MVP’s foot off the bottom rope during the pin to ensure the ref didn’t see his actions and thus retaining the title.
After this we had Cody Rhodes come out and give all the Englishmen some grooming tips on how to brush our teeth whilst handing out mouthwash and toothbrushes to fans at ringside. Cody then introduced his latest grooming video. I have to be honest on this one, i wish he came up my seat and smelled the breath on the guy next to me because he was right, he stunk! More on that one later…
Then came the main event of Big Show versus Kane, which as you can imagine was exciting as it sounds. The match ended when Edge arrived on the stage with Paul Bearer tied and gagged in a wheelchair. This distraction allowed Big Show to hit the choke slam and pick up the win.
Once the show finished Alberto Del Rio joined Kane in a tag team match against Edge and Rey Mysterio which ended when Edge hit the spear on Del Rio after he recieved another 619.
All in all i thought it was a solid show. There was nothing spectacular about it but it put on some good solid wrestling matches which were entertaining.
The attendance situation dissapointed me with Smackdown as i struggle to believe they couldn’t have sold out the top tier as they did with RAW, or is the ticket sales that bad these days?
As for the guy with the bad breath, he kept burping in my direction which made me feel sick, he had drank too many beers to care. It never suprises me that there are always fans that comes in pairs. One that thinks they know everything about wrestling and spend the entire show telling the other guy what is happening and giving them latest backstage gossip.
Then we have the drunk, yes like the guy behind me all night who had problems navigating his lips as everytime he decided to shout something and spat on the back of my head! (I’m still wondering if this was Jack Swagger to be honest!)
There is the protective parents who are always telling the drunks to shut up because they are swearing infront of their children and then there are the always the people who you can’t help but wonder how they survive in todays society. There was a guy yesterday with long hair wearing his long black undertaker type coat and kids foam belt on his shoulder walking around like he’s a champion. A kid asked him where he got the belt from and he replied "ebay" before pulling a smug look and walking off like a twat, i mean come on! I sometimes wonder why i’m associated with these people!
I haven’t got any problems with fans and it is completely your choice how you act but as i 26 year old adult, i would not consider badly dressing up as a wrestler, losing all hygiene ambitions and getting a 12 quid foam belt and prancing around an arena like a wrestler. At least get a replica belt that looks impressive!
Anyway it’s my rant over about strange fans and if the guy i just mentioned is reading this column then take note or email me to let me know what the hell you were thinking!
Overall a solid week for WWE on this UK Tour. They have done about as much as possible when they have a PPV in less than 2 weeks and can’t do anything outside of the PG rating.
Children are a fact of wrestling and this was never more evident by the fact of how many families were in attendance in the last 2 nights. Yes it’s good but it doesn’t stop you from putting on some quality wrestling, it takes time and effort and if you make more about competition (like this weeks Smackdown) than silly talking segments (Like this weeks RAW) then you can still please all types of audiences. It was hard to judge the shows because of the difference in attendance but i have to say that the Smackdown crowd were just as loud as the RAW crowd here.
With big Superstars like Undertaker, HBK, Triple H, Jericho and Batista not being on mainstage TV, i think WWE have done considerably well passing on some of the bigger opportunities to the younger guys such as Sheamus, Dolph, McIntyre, Rhodes, Dibiase, Kingston, Kaval and Del Rio. They are starting to look like regular names and i wouldn’t be suprised to see them in main events in PPV’s soon. Months ago i felt WWE were at a crisis point with the roster but i do think they are starting to turn the wheels on it’s younger stars, who knows maybe they won’t all work out and maybe they’ll require older names at certain situations but it does look a lot brighter than it did last year.
Thank you for taking the time to read my small journal entries and i hope they have been a small insight to what the shows have been like in the UK.
Also check out some of the photo’s i’ve taken from the show tonight which have just been added to the site! Thank you!