By Ryan Clark on January 18, 2013
Credit: Jonathan Krukoff & PWInsider
Bell time was 7:30, my wife and I arrived around 6:30 and it was already filling up with people. Long lines for merch and food. I was planning on picking up a Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio shirt but there was only merch of the big stars (no Punk stuff though- sold out?). I settled on a $20 program.
Things kicked off a few minutes after 7:30. I don’t think you realize how much of a wrestling nerd you are when you recognize Tony Chimel and Charles Robinson.
Match #1 The Usos vs Prime Time Players:
Very fun match, both teams got strong reactions from the crowd. I especially enjoyed Titus O’Neil reactions to the crowd. Usos win the great opening match.
Match #2 Curt Hawkins vs Justin Gabriel:
Kinda quiet at first, but Hawkins has some great heel antics and the 99% babyface-loving crowd was behind Justin. Good solid ten minute match by both men- Justin Gabriel with the win.
Match #3 Divas match- Aksana vs Layla:
Layla is freaking hot. One of the times I was glad I got third row seats lol. Aksana did some great heel stuff. At one point, she acted like she was going to high five a male fan, then walked away. Layla went to the fan and hugged and kissed the cheek of the lucky SOB. Layla won to the delight of the babyface-lovin crowd.
Match #4 Heath Slater (w/ Jinder Mahal) vs Kofi Kingston:
Heath Slater cut a promo on how Alaska is cold and the fans should be thankful to see him and Jinder Mahal, saying, “Smackdown is over, now its time for the main show to begin!” He and Jinder were about to start rockin air guitars, but then Kofi’s music hits to the delight of the fans.
A lot of stalling and showing off on Heath Slater’s part. Kofi won the lengthy match with Trouble in Paradise. Jinder interrupted the celebration and talked smack and then got hit with Trouble in Paradise.
They then announced a 6-man tag match..
Match #5 Daniel Bryan, Kane & Randy Orton vs the Shield:
I was very happy to see both Team Hell No and the Shield- talk about a treat.
Strangely, it didnt hit me that this would be a match with the Shield until Randy Orton was the third babyface out. Cool moment was a smattering of us fans looking around, “Where’s the Shield? ..there! They’re up there!” (Coming through the crowd.
Also, I didn’t realize that the Shield wrestled in their gear. Kinda funny. I noticed when Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins were in the match the action was pretty good. Actually everyone was great.
Not a lot of Randy Orton until he received a hot tag, he had a couple of minutes until Roman Reigns brought a chair into the match causing a disqualification. Kane and Orton with their finishers.
Daniel Bryan went for a hug with Randy Orton, Orton turned around to Kane and they talked for a bit before finally Kane hugged Randy Orton soon joined behind by Daniel Bryan, hahaha.
Orton slapped hands with the crowd for a bit.
Thankfully, I have read a couple of live reports before so as soon as Tony Chimel started talking I went to the merch booth and got an autographed poster by the time the rest of the crowd found were told of the autographed posters.
Match #6 David Otunga vs the Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle):
Man, people love Khali live and truthfully it’s hard not to. Otunga worked Khali’s knee throughout the match. Late in the match, Hornswoggle got involved after Otunga was picking on him. Hornswoggle did a couple moves then Khali finished Otunga off then Khali and Hornswoggle danced and celebrated with the crowd.
Match #7 Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs Sheamus (non-title match)
Barrett came out first and cut a promo how Alaska is a hellhole, and got some pretty good heat with the crowd. I raised my fist as he did and I think he saw me lol. Sorry, mark-out moment.
He then introduced his next opponent, “the next victim of the Barrett Barrage”
Sheamus came out to a great pop and interacted with the crowd as he did his usual pre-match stuff. I yelled “fellaaaaaaaa!” And my wife asked me why I did that, lol (she’s new to the current WWE product).
Easily the match of the night. Not because other matches were inferior but I think its impossible for these guys to not have a great match (I have seen them fight a couple times before on TV). If you haven’t seen these two go at it, I highly suggest finding a match on YouTube or Hulu.
There was probably more offense for Barrett in this match on a 60%-40% ratio. A kid nearby kept yelling for Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick throughout the match, I thought that was kinda funny.
Sheamus hit a surprise Brogue Kick to win the match. Very good stuff, even though these guys are brawlers, it was an extremely fluid match with great story.
Match #8 Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez.. but you already know that) in a audience-choose-the-stipulation-match-via-Twitter (they chose no DQ) for the World Heavyweight Championship
Big Show out first, looked like he was slightly limping. He did the somber/angry no-reaction to the crowd heel bit.
This match seemed slightly confusing, I realized how much the crowd plays into the match and how much WWE and maybe all of wrestling relies on the babyface-heel dynamic.
This was a crowd that was very pro-babyface, but most were cheering for Big Show. Throughout the match Ricardo and Del Rio seemed to try to play to the crowd in a babyface fashion (clapping hands, etc) which the crowd did follow along, but the crowd was probably 65% for Big Show.
Two tables were broken and one chair was used, and I think Ricardo used the belt on Big Show before Del Rio did his running back-of-the-head kick for the pin. Del Rio and Ricardo celebrated with the crowd for a bit as they went up the ramp and Big Show eventually slowly got up and was supported by the crowd. Show left the ring relatively quickly which confused the fans and some booed for no acknowledgement. Big Show eventually turned around to the crowd and pointed his finger upwards with a cheer from the crowd to end the show and send the fans home happy.
Announcer Tony Chimel again thanked the crowd. No return date was given.
BTW my wife really liked the show, she enjoyed it a lot compared to the moments she’s seen Raw hahaha (yes, she saw the Mae Young/Hornswoggle New Years on Raw bit)
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