WWE Super Show-Down 2018
October 6 2018
We’re in Australia for financial reasons at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Victoria. The crowd is 70,000+ so I’m mainly watching this to see what the crowd is like. Because it’s a big crowd, it’s a big show and that means four hours of run-time. Urgh. Commentary comes from an assortment of cross-branded dudes and Renee Young.
WWE Smackdown Championship
The New Day (c) vs. The Bar
These two are both rock solid tag teams. The surprising part is that Big E doesn’t wrestle. Instead we get the super rare Xavier/Kofi pairing. It’s a fairly spirited opener. I’m not convinced any of it is above house show level work but Cesaro is so good that it doesn’t matter. New Day retain. No surprises. Crowd enjoy themselves. Perfectly acceptable opener.
Final Rating: **3/4
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte
Becky Lynch – what an Ace looks like. Charlotte – what WWE think an Ace looks like. They’re doing a decent job of carrying on with this feud, even if they haven’t gotten the heel/face alignment right AT ALL. Further intensified here by the Aussies cheering loudly for Becky. I don’t get why they think Becky is a heel for her actions at all. Anyway, the crowd reactions are at least reactions so we’re ok. For all the storyline they still haven’t had a match that jumped out at me. It’s been far more about the Lynch arc and rise to the title. I don’t believe the ‘Charlotte is bad’ argument either. Just that she’s had a lot of time in the spotlight when there wasn’t a lot of spotlight. WWE tend to run into trouble by doing this; making only one star in a division so no one can get over unless they’re wrestling the star (see Hogan, Austin, HHH, Cena, Lesnar, Reigns). Which is weird because every time WWE has been successful there have been multiple over people at the top. Anyway, Becky gets herself disqualified on purpose and that’s the only heat she gets all match. So they finally get the desired dynamic and even then Charlotte is mouthing off about it being “my title”. Is it though?
Final Rating: **1/2
Promo Time: Elias & Kevin Owens
Elias threatens to do some AC/DC, which if you know anyone from Australia, is pretty damn popular. Then heat etc. Bobby Lashley interrupts.
Elias & Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley & John Cena
Cena only turns up for the big pay days; WrestleMania, here, Saudi Arabia.
Big Match John has actual hair. It looks odd. He’s been out in China working for whatever promotion Jackie Chan runs. I really don’t understand Lashley. Apparently he was good in TNA but I can only assume that was either a lie or there was some external factor that radically altered him. He’s so dull and he works most of the match while Cena stands on the apron. Then Cena tags in, hits three moves and pins Elias after some kung-fu shit. This was goddawful. Ten minutes I’ll never get back. Cole refers to Cena as, and I quote, “the greatest of all time”. Greatest what?
Final Rating: ¾*
Iiconics vs. Asuka & Naomi
The Iiconics are home so they finally have a crowd that gives a shit. Peyton Royce has gotten badly lost in the mix on the main roster. Billie Kay didn’t even stand out on NXT! Asuka dancing with Naomi and feeling the glow is quite beautiful. The crowd are in favour of the home talent but they do their usual shtick. Poor Peyton is getting worse in front of my very eyes. The Iiconics win to a sizeable pop but honestly, the act is bad. Asuka didn’t even turn up here and I don’t blame her.
Final Rating: ½*
No Count Out
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
I loved their match at Hell in a Cell. They start strong with AJ showing a lot of fire and passion. His title run is proof that a) Indie talent can be successful in WWE and b) you can have a successful babyface title run in 2018. Joe plays the monster role, sometimes completely ignoring AJ’s hardest shots. A lot of the bigger spots are extra tasty. The quebrada inverted DDT is swank. Joe lariats AJ so hard he bleeds from the mouth. Lovely! This is the kind of hungry match you see on the Indies all the time from guys who want the world to see what they can do. WWE let the brakes off here and the result is a cracking match up. They end up going to plunder to take it to another level, which in turn leads to Joe collapsing with a bad knee. The great part of all this is that even with Joe’s injury it still feels like it could go either way. AJ’s sniper offence on the knee is what finally drops the monster in his tracks. There’s a nice wrinkle on the ‘no count out’ stip where Joe gets rocked by a Phenomenal Forearm and AJ has to lift him back into the ring. Likewise Joe having to use the Coquina Clutch as he can’t lift AJ for the Musclebuster. I also dig Joe remembering to let go when he finds himself pinned like at Hell in a Cell. Joe tries for the ropes but they don’t come into play here as it’s no DQ and Joe taps out in the Calf Killer. AJ saw the weakness and went after it. Another successful multiple match feud from AJ Styles. He’s been WWE’s best in-ring performer since he walked in the door.
Final Rating: ****1/4
The Riott Squad vs. Ronda Rousey & The Bella Twins
This is Ronda’s first match in Australia for WWE.
You’d think they’d want to build Ruby up as a challenger for Ronda. Having Liv and Sarah eat abuse from Ronda beforehand. Liv meanwhile is out for revenge on Brie, which the crowd are into but they immediately cut it off and have Brie botch something else (failing to grab Liv’s tongue, leaving Liv looking stupid again). They leave Ronda out of this match for most of it, instead isolating Brie, and then Nikki. I know Brie is the weakest wrestler on the face team but I don’t want to see a match that’s 70% Brie. Ronda gets a hot tag and turns up the volume. It’s Goldberg-esque. The big problem they have and did have with Goldberg, is building worthwhile challengers. Her already winning the title doesn’t allow a path of wins leading in either. Ronda ends up beating Liv and Logan at the same time with armbars, which about sums up how superior she is. I didn’t get the need for this to be trios until RAW happened with the turn.
Final Rating: **
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy
If you’ve not been watching 205 Live you might not realise how awesome this is about to be. Murphy has been killing it. So has Cedric. So has Mustafa Ali. Buddy is from Melbourne so he’s pretty popular and comes out second. Bit of a contrast to him getting heat everywhere Stateside.
The way Cedric moves around the ring here is above everyone else on this show, including AJ Styles. It’s incredible. His kick-outs are so well timed. His movements into pinfalls are next level good. Murphy has gone from being a nobody in a middling tag and in Alexa Bliss’ shadow to being a genuine star. It’s all helped along by a hot crowd that pop huge for Buddy kicking out of the Lumbar Check. Murphy hits his new finisher, name of which I don’t know, and that’s it after a shade over ten minutes. I don’t know if WWE weren’t expecting this to pop as huge as it did but I could have gone for at least another five minutes of this.
Final Rating: ****
Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler vs. The Shield
Dean Ambrose is the main topic of conversation as the heels have been trying to provoke him into turning. As Renee points out, and she would know, Dean is the most loyal guy around here. Which is weird really because the story should be about Braun, the Monster Among Men and how he’s been marginalised by the Shield. Passed over when the trigger should have been pulled last year. All to suit Vince’s obsession with making Roman the Biggest of Dogs. Strowman should have beaten Brock when he was still hot and WWE fumbled the ball.
In the interests of full disclosure I mute the show at this point so I can listen to Dirty Dragan playing Pokemon Yellow on a splitscreen. Could I have waited until later to finish the WWE show? Sure! But I don’t have that much time in my life so this is the nature of the beast. Luckily its WWE and I don’t really need to hear it.
Anyway; I’m very into Drew right now. I think he’s easily the guy that stands out in these tags because he’s not been crushed by years of horrible booking recently. It’s almost an advert for getting the fuck out of WWE for a few years and working the Indies. They gather steam here towards Dean Ambrose being positioned for a heel turn as he’s with the bad guys as they surround the ring but he doesn’t do it. Braun is fairly subdued, perhaps irked by his de-push. He does a marvellous jobs of smashing into all three of the Shield when they’re going to do their powerbomb. Ambrose takes out Ziggler for the win.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
They’ve been building towards this since D-Bry came back from injury, and on Talking Smack before that and going back to Bryan’s original WWE debut, but now it’s more important as the winner is facing AJ Styles. The reaction for Bryan is very strong. Miz keeps stealing Bryan’s spots, which is fair play because he stole that Busaiku Knee from KENTA. Bryan gets a roll up to complete and total silence and wins in two minutes. I look forward to AJ vs. Bryan to total silence in Saudi Arabia. Maybe they can do a Malenko-Benoit from WCW Hog Wild.
Final Rating: *
Triple H vs. The Undertaker
I’m not watching this. It wasn’t that good when they were both young and reasonably healthy. Now they’re both old, slow and boring. Taker should have stayed retired. I can’t believe people actually want to see this. Anyway, the match gets 45 minutes of PPV time including entrances. Larry Csonka gave it a DUD. That’s all you need to know.
Doing a big PPV quality show in Australia was clearly a good idea. The draw being stupendously high. Maybe WWE have figured out they can make money outside of the USA? Only took them 26 years after SummerSlam in Wembley! Make sure you catch Joe/AJ and the cruiser title here. The latter is indicative of the good series on 205 Live this year. The former a reminder that WWE is now borrowing old TNA feuds as they are creatively bankrupt.