By Ryan Clark on November 4, 2012
Credit: Andrew Quirke & PWTorch.com
Long-time wrestling fan – the first live show I saw was Summerslam ’92 at the old Wembley Stadium, with the stunning Davey Boy and Bret Hart main event. It means other events have a lot to live up to. I’ve seen the full range of WWE shows since then from the bad (Damien Demento, etc. in Sheffield, Hulk Hogan, his cousin “The Predator” and Brutus Beefcake in Birmingham) to the surreal (a show in Sydney, Australia where I was so drunk I remember nothing) to the very good (Raw taping in Manchester with a great Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho Last Man Standing match).
This Manchester Raw show was going to be something special, as I was taking my 5-year-old son to his first show and was looking forward to watching his reactions. The arena was packed with a great atmosphere.
(1) Brodus Clay & Santino Marella beat Primo & Epico. Comedy opener and entertaining start to the show ending with a Brodus Splash for the pin.
(2) Michael McGillicutty beat Tensai. Can you believe Tensai got a TV victory over Cena not too long ago and is now doing jobs to guys hardly seen on TV? Slight difference to TV as Tensai acknowledged the growing “Albert” chants by playing up his disgust at them. Tensai lost to a roll-up, nothing wrong with this but crowd didn’t exactly engage with the lesser-known face.
(3) Divas champion Eve beat Layla and A.J. to retain the Divas Title. Before the match started, Vickie Guerrero came out to do her “Excuse me” schtick. The crowd went bananas booing her to the point where you couldn’t actually hear what she was saying. It would be great if she adapted the gimmick to being really nice to the crowd, but they still boo her because they can’t tell what she’s saying. There had been a fan vote via hashtag to decide whether A.J. Lee would be added to this match. Triple threat it was. A.J. got a good reaction, but after that the crowd was pretty dead for this until a big pop for a surprise title change with A.J. getting the three count. Naturally, this was short-lived as Vickie came out to re-start the match due to A.J. grabbing the referee’s hand to stop an earlier pinfall. Eve then retained in quick succession.
(4) John Cena beat Dolph Ziggler. Huge reaction for John Cena’s entrance. I suppose it all depends on where you sit in the arena, but where I was, it appeared to be a mostly negative reaction. Overall, this match went long with someone near me saying it went around 35 minutes. I’m not sure about that, but whether it was my son getting a little restless at this point, I didn’t engage in the match. I think I expected more from Ziggler. Vickie was removed from the ringside area, then later in the match after a ref bump, Vickie raced out with the Money in The Bank briefcase, but A.J. rescued Cena, walloped Ziggler with it, and then Ziggler took an Attitude Adjustment for the three count.
It seemed like Cena and A.J. were teasing a hug/kiss after the match, but it didn’t happen. I am not ashamed to say the highlight of this match was Cena engaging in what appeared to be the “Gangnam” dance to mock Ziggler’s showing off.
(5) U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro beat Zack Ryder to retain the U.S. Title. The crowd was into it mainly with “Woo Woo Woo” chants. To my surprise, this was the match of the night. Both men worked incredibly hard with tons of believable nearfalls near the end and big moves from the top rope. Cesaro eventually retained with his finisher – very good match.
Rhodes Scholars then came out for a Tag Title match next. Daniel Bryan’s entrance was something to behold as my son and thousands of other kids chanted “Yes!” at him. Great reaction for him.
(6) WWE tag champions Team Hell No beat Team Rhodes Scholars to retain the Tag Team Titles. The match itself was good, everything Bryan does in the ring looks a million dollars. Bryan wrapped this up with the No! Lock. After the match, some entertaining comedy with Kane playing the matador to Bryan’s bull with the tag belts. After the crowd demanded it, they did indeed “hug it out” to a massive reaction. Comically, Bryan then pinched Kane’s tag belt and sprinted to the back. The crowd loved all this.
Main event time and clearly it wasn’t going to be the pre-advertised No Holds Barred match between C.M. Punk and Cena. Punk came out, minus Heyman, to a mixed reaction, although there were noticeable “C.M. Punk” chants throughout the match. Ryback stormed out and, while his “Feed Me More” chant is over, I rather doubt that he is.
(7) Ryback beat WWE champion C.M. Punk via DQ; Punk retained the WWE Title. Tons of stalling early on and even then I don’t think the match went 15 minutes. Great stuff from Punk including telling the ring announcer to inform the crowd that “Millwall are best in the world” (Millwall being an unpopular “soccer” team in the U.K.). Punk delivered a Macho Man elbow and got in more offense than in the same match at Hell in a Cell. Eventually, Ryback hit the meat hook and was setting up for Shell Shocked when Rhodes Scholars interfered for the DQ finish.
Afterward, Ryback eventually sent all three heels fleeing and that was it. Tellingly, with tons of young kids in the crowd and with the show approaching the three-hour mark, I saw families leave partway through the main event. As Ryback posed in the ring after the match, everyone was heading for the exits. I reckon when he got to the top of the stage to turn round one final time to the crowd, there would have only been the cleaners left in. Could he be the next Tensai?
All in all though, magical night for my son and a highly entertaining show.
Posted in: WWE Results
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