12/28 WWE in Pittsburgh, Pa.: Tye tests heel role, Becky Lynch back with Naomi vs. Riott Squad, Styles vs. Mahal in cage, Breezago vs. Bludgeon

Charlotte (photo credit Brandon LeClair © PWTorch)


DECEMBER 28, 2017

(1) The Usos defeated New Day and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. The match started with a continued emphasis on “Gable and Benjamin are heel now even though we didn’t really do anything to turn them heel.” Kofi took his shirt off and was deciding where in the crowd to throw it. Benjamin stole it from him and did the same thing for a few minutes before ultimately throwing it on the ground outside the ring. The match ended with the Usos having a super kick party and one of them (I’ll never learn which one is which) gave Gable the splash from the top rope for the win.

(2) Sin Cara pinned Tye Dillinger. Of all the matches that have ever happened, this is certainly one of them. Thought it was interesting that Dillinger was working as a heel which gave me hope that maybe they are trying to do something with him and then he ate a pin and my hope died like his career.

(3) The Riotttttttt Squaddddd (in the form of Ruby & Liv Morgan) defeated Naomi & Becky Lynch. I have just an irrational hatred for Liv Morgan. I don’t think she’s good at anything in or out of the ring. So throwing her on after the Dillinger mess didn’t do much for me but it was nice to see Becky back. Not much of note happened. Ruby rolled up Naomi for the win.

(4) The Bludgeon Brothers beat Breezango. They ran a short Fashion Files video of The Ascension giving Breezango a pep talk. The Bludgeon Brothers came out with a different video on the Jumbotron. Also, they didn’t have their absurdly large hammers and Rowan was wearing a new mask. At the beginning of the match, Harper gave Rowan his motivational face slap. Fandango tried doing the same thing to Breeze which was pretty funny. Bludgeon Brothers squashed them. They used a double team powerbomb as their finisher instead of the move they have been using. Fandango ate the pin.

(5) Bobby Roode & Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton beat Baron Corbin &Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. This is the first match of the night where it finally started to feel like a wrestling crowd. All three of the babyface team were definitely over, Roode the least of the three. Nakamura is so naturally charismatic. If the plan is for him to win the Rumble and face A.J. at Mania, which I think it is, they need to stop making him look like such a goober and take his character seriously. Randy Orton is still super over. He got the best reaction of anyone in the match and, for the love of everything holy, I don’t know why. He’s nothing but a cool finisher. Other than that, he’s the most bland, dull, boring babyface there is. Now I’ll climb down off my soapbox. Owens was the only one of the heel team to get some positive reactions. The other two were booed. This was easily the best match of the nightOrton hit Sami Zayn with an RKO to end it.

(6) Rusev Day & Mojo Rawley beat The Ascension & Zach Ryder. This was a really weird match. I had no idea who the heels were and who the babyfaces were. I’m sure the intent was for Rusev Day and Mojo to be the heels, but Rusev is maybe the most popular act going right now and Mojo was doing his usual playing to the crowd. Looks like he’s using some kind of shoulder tackle thing as his new finisher which makes sense since I’m pretty sure the only move he knows is a shoulder tackle. He pinned Ryder for the win.

(7) Charlotte defeated Natalya and Lana and Carmella to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title: I was excited when the fatal four-way was announced and then my excitement turned to dread when Natalya and Lana were the first two in the ring. I have no use for the crazy cat lady heel gimmick and, while it did appear that Lana has noticeably improved, she’s still not close to the rest of them. Charlotte got a great reaction. There was wooing by the crowd through the whole match. She’s a star. She tapped Nattie out with a Figure-Eight to end it.

(8) A.J. Styles beatJinder Mahal in a steel cage for the WWE Championship. I’ll preface this by saying that I have no use for Jinder Mahal. I think he should be buried on the card far enough for him to wave to Tye Dillinger. That said, he got the most legit heel heat of anyone tonight. He got the loudest boos so obviously he’s still connecting with fans. He cut a short promo prior to the match that was met with even more boos. A.J. Styles got the reaction we come to expect from Styles. He once again did his best to make Jinder look good throughout. The Singh Brothers eventually locked themselves in the cage to help Jinder until one of them received a Styles Clash. The match ended with a race as Styles was climbing out of the cage as Jinder was trying to escape through the door. Once Styles got to the other side of the cage, he kicked the door closed on Jinder and jumped to the floor which was met with the biggest eruption from the crowd of the night.

FINAL NOTES: I’m 30 years old and this is my first WWE live event. It was also the first live show for my oldest son who is 8 and my 13 year old brother-in-law who came with me. We sat in section 212 which is in the upper level of PPG Paints Arena directly across from where the ramp was set up. The tickets were $20 a piece. Outside of 10 sections of so in the area where I was sitting, the rest of the upper deck was curtained off. My guess is of the available seats, 65-70 percent was full and for most of the show it was a rather tame crowd… I am a rather loyal listener to the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast. It has been my first stop on my daily podcast list to help me get through my work days for months now…

If you attend a live event for any pro wrestling event, please send a report like the one above to pwtorch@pwtorch.com.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS REPORT: 12/27 WWE in Detroit, Mich.: Babyface works as a heel, and most popular wrestler today works on heel team, Styles vs. Jinder in cage

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