WADE KELLER PODCAST - Royal Rumble preview with Sam Roberts
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I attended the WWE event in London, Ontario Sunday night. They were in Toronto on Saturday and headed to Detroit for Monday. London is right in between both cities and they are about two hours away. The crowd was about 6,000 people if I had to guess. Loud all night.
(1) WWE tag champions New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston w/Big E.) beat The Wyatts (Braun Strowman & Erick Rowan) to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Fun match with the crowd getting behind the Tag Team Champions. No pre-match promo from New Day. Kofi and Xavier worked with Big E on the apron. Basic tag match with Kingston getting the win for his team with the Trouble in Paradise kick.
(2) Sheamus beat Sin Cara. There wasn’t much of a reaction for Sin Cara. Sheamus won clean with a Brogue Kick in a relatively short match. Post-match, Sheamus asked for better competition.
(3) Apollo Crews beat Sheamus. Shortest match of the night that only went about three minutes. Sheamus did a good job of getting the crowd mad.
(4) Cesaro & Titus O’Neil beat The Social Outcasts (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) via submission. The heels worked over O’Neil for most of it. Cesaro got the hot tag and won with the Sharpshooter. Funny line from Bo Dallas: “Curt, let me know if you’re okay.” After he heard nothing he said: “Speak up, so I can hear you buddy.” It was funny.
(5) Darren Young beat IC champion The Miz (w/Maryse) via DQ when Maryse interfered; Miz retained the Intercontinental Title. Miz did a good pre-match promo about being the best technical wrestler in WWE because he’s the IC Champ and rattled off names of past champions like Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels. Young did a good job of fighting back after Miz was in control early. Young hit his Gutbuster finish, Maryse grabbed his leg, and the ref called for the disqualification.
Post-match, Young held up the title and the crowd seemed receptive to the idea of him holding it one day. I thought they did well.
(6) Sami Zayn beat Kevin Owens. Both guys were loved by the Canadian crowd, so Owens did a mid-match promo about how bad London, Ontario is. Zayn hit a few of his signature spots and won clean with a Helluva Kick. Funny KO moment after three straight two counts: “That was six!” Valid point. This was similar to a TV match for them. The crowd did boo Owens by the end and loved Zayn as much as anybody on the show.
(7) Women’s champion Charlotte beat Natalya to retain the WWE Women’s Title. Even though Natalya turned heel on television, she’s a face with the Canadian fans. She did a good job of starting up a “Charlotte sucks” chant. Natalya nearly won with the Sharpshooter. Charlotte came back with a roll-up with her feet on the ropes for the pinfall. The crowd gave Natalya a big post-match ovation.
(8) The Usos beat The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows). The crowd reaction for The Usos isn’t at the level it was for other live events I’ve been to. Kids used to go wild for them. This time it just wasn’t the same obviously because their lack of TV time. Anderson talked a lot of trash, which was enjoyable at ringside. Usos won when one of them (I think Jey) hit a top rope splash.
(9) WWE World Hvt. champion Dean Ambrose beat A.J. Styles and Seth Rollins in a three-way match to retain the WWE World Title. Best match of the night. I was impressed by the ovation that Ambrose received. Styles and Rollins were cheered quite a bit even though they are heels because the crowd knows how great they are. Lots of nearfalls with plenty of moments where two guys would be in the ring while the third guy was on the floor. Ambrose won clean with the Dirty Deeds on Styles. It felt like the longest match of the night in the 15-20 minute range. Not PPV quality, but close to that.
Post-match, Ambrose slapped the hands of the fans at ringside and took pictures with a lot of them. No return date was announced.
I’m a little surprised that there were no matches with weapons. Normally that has happened at every live event I’ve attended in the same building in the last decade. Nothing wrong with playing it safe, though.
(1) Dean Ambrose
(2) Sami Zayn
(1) The Miz