9/18 WWE in Huntsville – Second Detailed Report on Universal Title match, Reigns’s over-due babyface act, overall crowd reactions

Roman Reigns (credit Scott Lunn @ScottLunn © PWTorch)

WWE Raw Live Show Results
September 18, 2016
Huntsville, Ala. at the Von Braun Civic Center
Report by VIP member Joe Beason

The floor was sold out but the middle and upper deck was pretty thin. I would say probably between 2,500 and 3,000 total. This is my first WWE house show in 10 years, so I don’t know how it stacks up to what the usual in Huntsville has been.

Before the show started, Byron Saxon interviewed a little boy and his father in the cheap seats. They were both attending their first live event and he ended up giving them first row tickets.

(1) Bayley & Sasha Banks & Alicia Fox beat Raw Women’s champion Charlotte & Nia Jax & Dana Brooke in a six-woman tag match. Banks didn’t do a lot in the match. She only took one flat back bump that I noticed, so I guess she is still resting her injuries. Bayley worked the majority of the match for her team. Banks got the win by making Dana Brooke tap out to the Bank Statement.

(2) Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) beat Titus O’Neil. Not surprisingly, the crowd was not into this match at all. Young won with the Gut Check. Even though this match was relatively short, it felt a lot longer due to some nerve hold spots with Titus and Darren that failed to get the crowd into Darren’s comeback.

(3) Braun Strowman beat Sin Cara. I was very surprised at how over Sin Cara was during this match. He got a good reaction coming out and the crowd was really into his comeback spots. Strowman looked strong by managing to sell but still never leave his feet. Strowman won with his version of the dominator.

(4) Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) beat Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel. A solid tag match with some comedy spots worked in that made for a fun match. Like Sin Cara in the previous match, Golden Truth was much more over than I expected.

Next was the U.S. Title match. Lana cut a pretty generic promo before the match to get the fans riled up. Rusev got the most heat of the night. Roman Reigns then came out to a 90 percent positive fan response.

(5) Roman Reigns beat U.S. champion Rusev (w/Lana) via DQ; Rusev retained the U.S. Title.  At one point the ref, ejected Lana from ringside to a huge pop. Shortly after that, Rusev hit Roman with the ring bell, right in front of the ref, for the DQ finish.

Post-match, Rusev beat down Roman briefly until Roman made his comeback, punctuated by a spear. Roman spent a lot of time post-match with ringside fans. He made his way down both sides of the aisle, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. He also applauded the fans and waved to the crowd from the stage before leaving. This was the first time I have ever actually seen Roman appear to care about his fans. It really stood out to me that his lack of playing to his fans or even just acting like he cares about them has probably played a part in his rejection. I still think he is better off as a heel but if they are going to keep him face, I think he needs to start doing more things like this to connect to the fanbase.

[Intermission. Byron Saxton gave away a copy of Pat Patterson’s new book to a guy in the crowd that answered three multiple choice Patterson themed trivia questions.]

(6) WWE tag champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods w/Big E.) beat Enzo Amore & Big Cass and The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) in a three-team match to retain the Raw Tag Titles. I saw more people wearing Enzo & Cass shirts before the show than any other wrestler’s merch, so it was no surprise that they got the biggest pop of the night. No pre-match mic work from The New Day and Enzo was cut off by the Stars before he could really get started. Primo & Epico tried to sell some timeshares to Puerto Rico before the match. Enzo worked the majority of the match and I was reminded how good The Stars can be when they are given some time to be on offense. Woods placed Epico back first over his knee and Kofi hit a double stomp from the top for the win.

(7) Cesaro beat Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows). I was excited at the prospect of this match but a little disappointed in the execution. I guess I shouldn’t have got my hopes up for a house show match, but I really think these two could put on a really good match with proper time and motivation. The match was built around Cesaro’s European Uppercuts, Big Swing teases, and Gallows interfering behind the ref’s back. Cesaro finally stopped a Gallows punch and hit him with a European Uppercut. He then turned his attention back to Anderson, hit the Big Swing and got a quick tap out with the Sharpshooter.

(8) WWE Universal champion Kevin Owens beat Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins in a three-way match to retain the Universal Title. After the last match, my expectations had been properly adjusted and I was able to enjoy this match for what it was. Most of the match featured Owens fighting either Zayn or Rollins while the other lay on the floor. It was about as formulaic as a Triple Threat Match could be, complete with a Tower of Doom spot when Owens powerbombed Rollins while he superplexed Zayn. Rollins hit the Pedigree on Zayn, but Owens tossed Rollins out of the ring and stole the pin.

After the match, Rollins chased Owens to the back. The crowd chanted for Zayn as he slowly made his way to his feet. Zayn closed the show saying he felt like he let himself and the fans down by losing but their support really meant a lot to him. He promised that he would eventually become Universal Champion and talked about how much WWE loved Huntsville. A good babyface close the show promo. No return date was announced.

All in all, a fun show for $25 bucks and something nice to do on a rainy day, but also a reminder of why I haven’t been to a house show in a decade.

Biggest Pops

(1) Enzo & Big Cats
(2) Roman Reigns
(3) Sami Zayn

Most Heat

(1) Rusev and Lana
(2) Primo & Epico (for interrupting Enzo’s pre-match routine)
(3) Charlotte

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