SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE “Live in London” Results
September 7, 2016
Report by VIP subscriber Alex
U.K. house shows are the equivalent of U.K. soccer teams touring the U.S. during pre-season; you don’t get many of the star names advertised in advance and the ticket prices are inflated compared to the domestic market. The arena was 80 percent full, which demonstrates the drawing power of the WWE. This is the third London show since April and another follows in November. It was originally advertised as a Network special, and announced before the brand split, which justified the high prices at the time.
(1) WWE tag champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E. w/Xavier Woods) beat The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Woods’s outside interference led to the New Day winning after Big E. hit his finisher. A good opening match with some nice sequences. Lots of exaggerated facial expressions on both sides gave the match a pantomime feel which sums up the feud. The New Day were the only act in the first half who were popular with all of the fanbase.
(2) Neville beat Bo Dallas (w/Curtis Axel). Dallas was accompanied by Curtis Axel, with both wearing Social Outcasts gear. Neville’s high spots popped the crowd. His post-match in-ring interview drew boos when mentioning his hometown of Newcastle. It would have popped the crowd if he was interviewed in advance and focused on the early years of his career in London.
(3) Braun Strowman beat Goldust. Goldust always gets a positive reaction in the U.K., as fans here always get behind the veteran performers. Goldust had more offence early in the match than you would expect if this was a match for TV. The result was never in doubt. Goldust left to a standing ovation from many fans on the floor and lower bowl.
(4) Big Show beat the Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) in a handicap match. A match played purely for laughs. Typical WWE sense of, ‘humor.’ The Big Show was blissfully unaware that the loud ’easy, easy,’ chants were an unflattering comparison to British ’70s /’80s wrestler Big Daddy.
(5) Cesaro beat Sheamus in the Match #4 of their Best-of-Seven series; Sheamus is now up 3-1. A good match with Sheamus having the majority of the offence. Some close near falls in the final stretch. Cesaro was popular with the older fans. Lots of Cesaro Section signs on the floor. The match was taped presumably with highlights to be made available online.
(6) Women’s champion Charlotte beat Sasha Banks to retain the Women’s Title. A good match with a safer approach than their previous encounters. Both women were very over. Charlotte has a confidence and range of heelish mannerisms that most of the heels in the first half lack. The match ended abruptly with the “roll-up and handful of tights” finish. Most in attendance would have been much happier for this to have lasted an extra five minutes with any of matches 2-4 being a squash.
(7) Roman Reigns beat Chris Jericho. Jericho tried in vain after his entrance to turn the crowd against him. With far more older fans in attendance than a usual house show this was destined to fail. A flurry of insults were met with loud cheers. One female fan was allowed to suspiciously get very close to the barricade for a verbal exchange with Jericho. Reigns was heavily booed throughout. Either his music is louder than everyone else’s on the show or they increased the volume to drown out the boos. A very good match by house show standards with a series of near falls on both sides. A number of parents with young children left after this match. Reigns has taken over from Cena with the children buying his merchandise and cheering his matches, but Reigns still seems miscast.
(8) Universal champion Kevin Owens beat Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins in a three-way match to retain the Universal Title. A very good match by house show standards to close the show, Sami’s flip dive to the outside on Rollins and Owens and a Rollins frog splash popped the crowd. Sami took the fall as expected. All three very popular with the crowd, the usual post-match ending of both faces hitting their finishers was well received.
OVERALL: Bayley and Enzo and Cass would have been hugely over with this crowd and stopped the lull in the first half. Their absence was a complaint amongst many fans leaving the arena. The top three matches, as expected, were strong which redeemed a poor first half. Overall it was the standard U.K. house show formula.