7/16 WWE in Bangor, Maine Detailed Report – Excellent U.S. Title main event, Heath Slater bleeds heavily in ref-stoppage match, attendance down vs. MSG


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WWE Live Show Results
July 16, 2016
Bangor, Maine
Report by Brandon LeClair, PWTorch correspondent

WWE makes a habit of visiting Bangor once or twice a year, and they typically draw pretty good crowds. Tonight they took a double hit. First and foremost, there were no real major stars advertised for the show, since they’re all working MSG. Secondly, WWE decided to (once again) book two Maine shows on back-to-back nights. Bangor and Augusta are an hour and twenty minutes apart. We just don’t have the market to support two events with the same crew that close to each other.

I would estimate attendance to be about 1,700, give or take (in a 5,500 seat building.) The floor seats looked to be pretty much all accounted for, and the cheap-o $15 sections were quite full. Everything else was sporadic, with dozens of full rows completely empty, even the risers centered with the ring. I’ve been coming to Maine house shows for 17 years and I’ve never seen one sell this poorly. I expect more of the same in Augusta on Sunday.

(1) The Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) beat Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) in 10 minutes. Fun opener. Truth and Goldust really got the crowd riled up. Mostly comedy spots. At one point, Goldust delivered an atomic drop to both Breeze and Fandango. Truth entered the ring, and Goldust was so excited that he gave him an atomic drop too. Truth rolled around, selling the hit, while Goldust apologized profusely. He Truth he’d make it up to him. So, as Truth got back to a knee, Goldust atomic dropped himself onto Truth’s leg. It got a huge pop. Truth copied Breeze’s turnbuckle pose several times to the crowd’s delight. Truth and Goldust won the bout with a roll up.

(2) Titus O’Neil beat Heath Slater by referee stoppage in 6 minutes. Slater played the cowardly underdog to Titus, who threw him around the ring and delivered a bunch of chops that didn’t seem to sting all that much. Nothing of note until the two collided mid-ring, sending Titus crashing to the mat and leaving Heath hunched over. The referee immediately threw the X and pulled gloves from his pocket.

From my vantage point in the front row (back to Heath), I thought Titus was hurt and bleeding. Heath eventually turned around and revealed a big gash just to the right of a his right eye. He was dripping blood all the way down his chest. The doctor ran out and checked out Slater while Titus rolled around the mat, seemingly in actual pain (but possibly just selling). Heath screamed some profanities as the doctor told the referee that the match couldn’t continue.

Slater had some tissues over his eye and he scurried pretty quickly to the back. He seemed quite upset. Titus got out of the ring very slowly and seemed genuinely rocked. He looked out of it. He seemed to regain his composure, though, as he started slapping hands and grabbed a small child from the crowd to hoist him up. I hope both guys are all right.

They played a video package while the referee came in and cleaned the blood off the mat.

(3) Sasha Banks beat Summer Rae in 5 minutes. Sasha got a substantial pop. She seems to really enjoy coming back to Maine to perform on the “big stage,” since she wrestled here frequently pre-NXT. Summer did a lot of taunting and screaming and complaining to the referee. Sasha carried herself with her typical swagger. She hit the diving double knee drop from the corner, and then locked on the Bank Statement shortly after (sans double knee backbreaker transition) for the submission win.

Post-match, Sasha posed for the crowd and made her way around the whole ringside area, but would not slap hands with anyone. She seems to still be playing the Boss as a heel gimmick, despite being a babyface. Gives her a bit of an edge.

(4) Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) beat IC champion The Miz (w/Maryse) via DQ; Miz retained the IC Title in 13 minutes. The Miz and Maryse hit the ring to some great heat. Mia cut a brief promo welcoming Bangor to the 102nd (I think) day of his “never-ending” Intercontinental Championship Tour. He did his whole schtick before Darren Young’s music hit. Young got a surprisingly decent pop, though I think the majority of it was for Bob Backlund, who accompanied Young to the ring. Backlund was fully committed, giving Darren a pep talk in the only way he knows how – his eyes popping, veins bulging, spit flying until he’s red as a cherry.

Maryse and Backlund had their fun at ringside, each taking turns getting involved. This would eventually lead to the finish. Young locked The Miz in the Crossface Chicken Wing, at the request of Backlund. Maryse hopped on the apron, distracting the referee. Mia tapped wildly. At this point, Backlund hopped on the apron too, attempting to get the referee’s attention to alert him of the submission. The referee turned his back, but Young had let go. Meanwhile, Maryse slapped herself in the face, grabbing the attention of the referee. She told the official that Backlund had hit her. The two went at it verbally for several seconds before the referee told Backlund he’d have to leave ringside. Maryse and Miz gloated, but Young caught the champ with the Gut Check for a two count. Shortly thereafter, Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale, but Young kicked out at 2-and-nine-tenths. It was a great false finish. Young got the upper hand again, but Maryse grabbed his leg and prevented him from attacking Miz. This caused the disqualification. Post-match, Young hit the Gut Check again and got a warm reception from the audience.

(5) Big Show & Kane beat The Vaudevillians (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) in 5 minutes. The Vaudevillians attacked Show before Kane hit the ring, attempting to get the upper hand. As soon as Kane’s music hit, the duo rushed outside. Quick match with very little offense from the Vaudevillians. They briefly isolated Big Show and got him down, working strategically on his leg and making frequent tags in and out. He eventually got the hot tag to Kane, who took out both English and Gotch with ease. Show returned to the ring for a double chokeslam finish.

Post-match, Big Show slapped hands with the fans as we headed to intermission.

(6) NXT Women’s champion Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) beat Alicia Fox in 6 minutes. Back from the back, Women’s Champion Charlotte made quick work of Alicia Fox in a non-title match. Dana Brooke was at ringside riling up the audience. Charlotte did a lot of trash-talking and belittling of Alicia, who got some basic offense in and not much else. Late in the match, she hit her patented scissors kick for a near fall, but got distracted by Dana briefly after, allowing Charlotte to get a quick roll up for the win.

(7) Enzo & Big Cass beat The Dudley Boys in 13 minutes. You wouldn’t have known the building wasn’t sold out when Enzo & Cass’s music hit. The place exploded. Enzo hit the ring with so much energy, you’d have thought it was WrestleMania. He is so unbelievably electric. They cut their usual promo and the crowd ate up every work, yelling along with the whole thing. Enzo had a little quip about Milton Bradley games that was quite funny. They were about to to spell it out for us when the Dudley’s music hit.

Bubba and D’Von played excellent heels. Bubba continued to trash talk Enzo throughout the match, and informed the crowd that he’d “had enough of you Canadians.” Enzo did a lot of ducking and dodging early on, then Bubba invited Cass to be tagged in. The big man (who is even bigger in person than I expected) cleaned house. Eventually, Cass took down the Dudleys with a pair of big boots and tagged Enzo back in to connect with the Rocket Launcher splash for the win. Cass grabbed a mic and they finished the S-A-W-F-T promo, to the crowd’s delight. The pair circled ringside and slapped hands and took pictures with everyone they could possibly reach. They genuinely appear to be having the time of their lives.

At this point, it was time for our main event…

(8) U.S. champion Rusev (w/Lana) beat Kalisto, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro in a Fatal Four-Way ,atch to retain the United States Championship in 17 minutes. What a match! Truly, one of the more entertaining house show bouts I’ve seen in the last several years. The action started immediately as Lana circled ringside, shouting instructions at Rusev. Lots of flips and dives from Kalisto, and a few teases from Zayn and Cesaro. At one point, Sami dialed up a dive onto Cesaro, but Cesaro saw it coming and hopped all the way over the barricade and deep into the third row. He and Sami had a laugh at that. Mid-match, the babyface took turns trying to superplex Rusev. He thwarted all of their attempts, until Sami and Kalisto worked together to get his arms hooked.

In one of the best comedic moments of the night, the crowd broke into a weak “USA” chant while Rusev was giving Kalisto a methodical beatdown. Many fans at ringside (myself included) noted that no one in the match was American. Rusev, quick on his feet, motioned to Lana and screamed “tell these idiots there’s no one from America in this stupid match.” Lana immediately grabbed a microphone and said, “There is no one from America in this stupid match!” That earned a “Thank you, Lana” chant. Cesaro reached under the pair and the delivered the impressive (but overdone) powerbomb-superplex combo.

After clearing the ring with an Uppercut train, Cesaro locked Rusev in a Sharpshooter, which drew the attention of Lana. She got herself ejected from ringside, sending Rusev into a fit. The action became fast and furious after that, with Sami hitting a Heluva Kick on Cesaro, then getting caught with a Salida-del-Sol by Kalisto. Kalisto spun around and ate a superkick from Rusev, who locked on the Accolade for a quick tap out victory.

After the match, Rusev continued to punish Kalisto. Eventually, Sami and Cesaro returned to their feet and made the save. The two babyface fed Rusev to Kalisto, and helped him lift up to deliver a triple powerbomb. Kalisto had a tremendously tough time supporting Rusev, even with Sami and Cesaro at his side, but it was quite a sight. The three babyfaces took turns doing each other’s signatures (dancing to Sami’s music, chanting Lucha, and doing Cesaro’s double-arm gun taunt.) They, like Enzo & Cass, made sure to reach everyone at ringside that they could. Cesaro stole the lone videographer’s camera and started filming the audience, and Kalisto and Sami. Sami posed like Shawn Michaels, and Kalisto snuck up behind him and did Triple H’s taunt, mimicking what Hunter and Shawn would do during their mid-2000s DX run. It was quite funny. The three seemed to really be enjoying themselves.

Overall, a passable show that was really saved by the main event, and the charisma of Enzo & Cass. A plea to WWE: please stop booking Maine concurrently with Madison Square Garden. This is the second time in less than a year, and it’s killing attendance.

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