Barnett's In Person perspective from the 9/3 WWE Smackdown and Main Event tapings in Minneapolis
By Jake Barnett
In Person Smackdown and Main Event Tapings perspective from 9/3 in Minneapolis
1. The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle) defeated Craven Knyte and Arya Daivari in a Handicap Match: Pretty much what you would expect. Watching Khali try to walk in person is painful, even for those watching. This one was quick and fairly painless, and it was nice to see a couple of local guys like Knyte and Daivari get a chance to wrestle in front of several thousand people.
WWE Main Event:
1. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) defeated Justin Gabriel: You could have gotten two piss breaks and a run to the beer stand in during this match, and still have caught all the important action. The crowd sat on it's hands for most of this one, and I couldn't blame them. Fandango won with the Alabama Jam and got a polite pop for the finish, but I think most had checked out.
2. R-Truth defeated Damien Sandow: I liked Sandow's mic work before the bell. He immediately got some heat with the crowd, and R-Truth benefited from it throughout the match. This one wasn't as long as the first, but it still seemed to drag a big until R-Truth finally hit the “What's up?” for the clean win. R-Truth picking up the win was a bit inexplicable, but the crowd liked this match better than the previous one and so did I.
3. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt) defeated The Prime Time Players: A pretty one sided affair with Harper hitting his nasty big boot on Darren Young to pick up the victory. I liked this match a lot simply because it was the first time seeing the Wyatt's in person (other than at the airport on a lark) and they really do bring a lot of atmosphere to the arena. Bray Wyatt hit his finisher and trash talked to close the TV taping, and then spent some time jawing with the ring side crowd. The Wyatt's surprisingly are getting more cheers than boos, at least in Minnesota, which was interesting considering their portrayal on television.
WWE Smackdown Taping:
The TV taping began after the locker room emptied on to the stage, sans Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, and Hunter was in the ring with Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero. The Shield were at ringside guarding the ring. Triple H monologued a bit about Cody Rhodes firing himself (think Bret screwed Bret), and said that he learned a lesson about respect. Triple H said that the COO is the public representative of the WWE, and therefore he was the WWE. He gave Cody Rhodes a chance to fight for his job, and he lost. He then turned towards the stage and said he wanted to give everyone a chance to speak up, and that he didn't want anyone to fear for their jobs.
He opened the floor to the wrestlers, none of whom were quick to speak up. Damien Sandow stepped up and kissed Hunter's ass, saying he liked the firing of Cody Rhodes and called Hunter a fearless leader. Hunter said he appreciated the remarks, but this town hall wasn't about everyone kissing his ass. Kofi Kingston stepped up and said the locker room was afraid Hunter was going to take their livelihoods away due to what he did to Cody Rhodes, and he didn't see how that was good for business.
Heath Slater made some nonsensical remarks about Big Show, and Hunter remarked that he obviously had emptied the entire contents of his mind. RVD then spoke up and said that he thought things were going to be better when he was brought back, and said the vibe he was feeling in the locker room, like, wasn't cool dude. Hunter said he'd been waiting since like 2000 for RVD to call him dude again. Ryback complained about being called a bully, and said what happened to Ziggler on Monday was out of his control. Hunter empathized and booked a rematch between Ziggler and Dolph. He also booked Kofi vs. Curtis Axel, and said Daniel Bryan can face any member of The Shield that he wants. His final action was to book RVD vs. Orton to open the show.
The opening segment really seemed to drag on live. The crowd desperately wanted to see Daniel Bryan, but they didn't right away, and I think it might have been the right move given the reaction he got later. Nobody really stood out verbally aside from Hunter, and guys like Big Show, Miz and Ziggler stll look like weepy push overs for not taking any kind of stand whatsoever. Did Big Show rope all the babyfaces into a ponzi scheme?
1. Randy Orton defeated RVD: Del Rio sat in on commentary. Orton won clean with the RKO after about 15 minutes, but there was a commercial break in there where the did some rest holds. The finish came when Del Rio took down Ricardo on the outside, and then RVD retaliated with a flip to the outside. Orton took advantage from there. Del Rio attacked RVD after the bell and applied the cross arm breaker. Overall I thought it was a pretty good match, but the commercial break kind of killed the crowd, and they didn't really get back into the match until the closing sequence. Del Rio looked good in the attack after the bell, but the crowd wasn't that into it. He didn't get much of a reaction at all.
Backstage, Bryan spoke to Renee Young and said that since he knew his match wouldn't stay one on one, he would let The Shield decide who got beat up first. He said he knew he could beat any member of The Shield, just like he knew he could beat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. It was a solid short promo, and the crowd was anxious to see him.
AJ was shown backstage as she walked up to Alicia Fox, Layla, and Aksana. She said she wanted to put the title on the line against one of them, and not one of the total divas. They all got catty and swore revenge on the reality stars. It was as bad as you'd imagine.
2. Ryback defeated Dolph Ziggler: A pretty quick deal that saw Ambrose on commentary. He later interfered at ringside and walked Ziggler into a meat hook clothesline. Ryback hit shellshocked for the win. It was fine for a short match, but I expected Ziggler to be more over than he was. They haven't done him any favors lately with the Triple H story.
3. Kofi Kingston defeated Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) in a non-title match: Axel got some really nice applause for being the hometown kid, and there were even dueling chants for he and Kofi during the match. Kofi won with the SOS after a match that never really seemed to get out of first gear. It was helped a lot by the crowd.
4. Naomi (w/Cameron) fought Brie Bella (w/Nikki) to a no-contest: I think I heard the hard camera operator fart during this match, and he was across the arena from me. The crowd could not have cared less about any of this. AJ and the divas from the earlier segment all ran down and attacked everyone, leading to a no contest. AJ cut a short promo after the match, but I don't remember much about it.
5. The Real American's defeated The Uso's: Cesaro pinned Jimmy Uso (I think) after Swagger pushed him off the top rope into a European Uppercut. This was another short match, so there wasn't much to react to. It was fine for what it was, but I can't make heads or tails of the tag division. Doesn't seem like anybody is getting a real push to go after The Shield.
Triple H walked up to Big Show and told him what 3MB had said about him earlier was unacceptable, and he was giving him a match with them so he could take out some of his rage. Triple H told him to use them as human stress balls. Seems as if we are going to get Triple H vs. Big Show before long, if I had to guess.
6. Big Show defeated 3MB in a handicap match: Show threw The Shield around for a few minutes and then hit a double choke slam on Jinder and McIntyre before hitting the KO punch on Slater. This was a squash in every sense of the word, but I don't think it really did much for Show. 3MB are are a total joke. Hunter came out and beckoned Show backstage, and The Shield walked right by me to make their entrance down through the crowd.
7. Daniel Bryan defeated Seth Rollins (w/Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose: Far and away the most exciting match of the night. The crowd came alive for Bryan, and they were with him for every second of the match. There was a yes/no punch exchange between Bryan and Ambrose, and Bryan's offense got huge yes chants throughout. Bryan hit a sweet looking German Suplex throw, and The Shield got great eat for their interference. Reigns hit a clothesline on the outside that got huge boos, and so did the distraction that led to Bryan releasing the Yes Lock.
Bryan picked up the win after he caught Rollins coming off the top and applied the Yes Lock. He was distracted by the other Shield members, and quickly disposed of them. He then hit a running knee on Daniel Bryan for the clean win, and the crowd loved it. He quickly escaped the ring to get away from The Shield, and celebrated up the ramp. The taping closed with good heat, as Orton snuck out behind Bryan and hit him with a belt shot.
Dark Main Event:
Randy walked down to the ring and then Vickie came out to mock Daniel Bryan. She said he better get up, because she promised the people a Championship Match.
1. Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton by DQ in a WWE Championship Match: Back and forth action for a quick period until Bryan locked in the Yes Lock. Orton teased tapping, but The Shield ran in and caused the DQ. RVD, Dolph, and Kofi ran down to even the odds. The show ended with everybody hitting their finishers on Rollins to send the crowd home happy. RVD got some nice chants and everybody shook hands at ringside.
Overall, most of this show was pretty mediocre aside from the main event, which everyone unanimously loved. Bryan was mega over, but the other faces are clearly suffering from this current storyline, as nobody got much love other than RVD and Bryan. My wife and brother attended with me, both of whom are casual wrestling fans, and they were pretty bored until Bryan woke everybody up.
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