3/9 WWE in Minneapolis: Miz says Lesnar won’t make it to WrestleMania, ref calls off match after a few moves without explanation, plus Seth & Reigns vs. The Bar

Brock Lesnar and The Miz (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

MARCH 9, 2018

Please send results of live events you attend to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thank you! Also, please include any photos you take of either the arena setting, entrance stage, and clear pictures of wrestlers on way to ring or inside the ring.

Attendance appeared to be around 7,000, give or take. The lower bowl and floor were largely filled. The upper deck was sparse, with 80 percent of it tarped off. Considering all of the local advertising that Lesnar would be featured against The Miz, it seemed disappointing for a Friday night event, especially as infrequent as WWE comes to this market. The show was light on stars otherwise, though, as they seemed to cut back on payroll to make room for Lesnar’s appearance fee.

Elias opened the event by playing the guitar. The crowd was really into him and yelled “Walk With Elias.” Then, as usual, he “turned heel” on the cheering fans by bashing the Minnesota Vikings and the city of Minneapolis. Braun Strowman’s music played and he got a big pop.

(1) Braun Strowman defeated Elias in a short match with a powerslam. Braun asked the fans if they wanted another and he gave another powerslam to Elias.

(2) Cedric Alexander beat TJP with the Lumbar Check. This was easily the longest and most competitive match of the night. The crowd was moderately into what was happening – not disinterested, but not passionately pro-Cedric or anti-TJP.

(3) The Revival beat Rhyno & Heath Slater. The crowd chanted “ECW!” early. Then the crowd chanted “He’s got kids!” Dash and Dawson won with their Shatter Machine finisher. An okay tag match, but it had a “preliminary match” vibe to it.

The Miz came out with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. This is Axel’s hometown, and his father (Curt Hennig) and grandfather (Larry “The Axe” Hennig) were big figures in this town, which was reflected with a little extra reaction to him. Miz was loudly booed as he took digs at Minnesota. When Axel talked, the crowd cheered him. Bo, in a funny touch, tried to cover Axel’s ears as Miz ripped into the Vikings. Miz also mocked the Vikings for losing their chance to go to the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles led by – and he sneered with disdain as he said it – Nick Foles. He said that the Vikings let three quarterbacks go in free agency and will probably lose all of them and miss out on free agent Kirk Cousins. Miz shifted to saying this match is of massive important because it pits the two most fierce badasses in WWE history (fans laughed at the preposterousness of Miz grouping himself with Lesnar like that). He said he will prove to be the tougher of the two.

Brock Lesnar’s music then played. And played. And played some more. It was almost as if they ere teasing that he no-showed, although that wouldn’t make any sense because he was framed as a mega-babyface here since this is his home market and where he wrestled in college (University of Minnesota) and became the NCAA Heavyweight Champion. After well over a minute of his song playing, he walked out and was followed closely by Paul Heyman. He was cheered. Not monstrous mega-over. The mainstream casual fans have been conditioned through TV to see him as a disloyal heel, and Heyman is anything but a babyface, so when Lesnar’s music stopped, there was largely silence. A “Suplex City” chant gained a little steam, but it took a while and wasn’t intense. Lesnar smiled and stared down Miz with the red belt over his shoulder.

Miz said: “Two champions standing in the ring, two of the toughest men in all of WWE.” Laughter from Lesnar and the crowd. He then claimed his IC Title is the most prestigious in all of WWE. “I’m the one who makes it to each and every show. You are just a paper champion.” He said Lesnar looked confused, which is understandable considering the school he went to – the University of Minnesota. In the intruding quote of the night, Miz said “At WrestleMania, the reason you’re not going to be there isn’t because you signed with UFC or because you have something else going on. It’s because tonight I’m going to kick your ass all up and down this ring.” Heyman snickered in the background. Miz continued: “I’ve beaten them all. I’ve beaten John Cena. I’ve bean Roman Reigns.” Lesnar snatched the mic away from Miz and handed it to Paul Heyman.

Heyman then introduced himself in his typical style. He introduced Lesnar as being from the University of Minnesota. He paused for cheers. Then he finished introducing Lesnar.

(4) Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) fought The Miz (w/Miztourage) to a no contest. Lesnar suplexed Miz to start. Bo charged into the ring and Lesnar suplexed him. Then Curtis charged in and Lesnar suplexed him. He then went back to Miz and suplexed him a second time. Then he gave Bo an F5. Then he gave Curtis an F5. He let out a big yell and the fans cheered. He walked over to Miz and gave him an F5. When he stood over all three bodies, the ref called for the bell. The crowd was confused. Heyman got up onto the ring apron and handed Lesnar his WWE Title belt. Lesnar held it in the air and some fans cheered. His music played. The referee explained his decision to Lesnar who seemed displeased that the beating was stopped prematurely. The ref begged off. Lesnar gave him an F5. Lesnar’s music restarted and Heyman gave him his belt back. Lesnar held it over his head and five seconds later they were on their way to the back.

This just felt like a ripoff. It wasn’t meant to “get heat for Lesnar with smart fans” as allegedly his short match in Chicago last weekend was. This was a non-match that left fans, based on body language, confused, wondering if that was really it. It was telling they didn’t have Lesnar pin Miz, but instead had a puzzling sudden no-contest ruling by the referee. My interpretation was WWE believes Lesnar is on his way out the door and they wanted to protect Miz from having a house show loss to Lesnar on his ledger.

In an awkward transition, the lights went out and a video played. Then trainers came out to check on the referee and the ring announcer began promoting various merchandise.


(5) Apollo beat Curt Hawkins in a one-sided match. Afterward, Hawkins said he was planning to make history tonight in Minneapolis by ending his losing streak, and he wasn’t done yet. He said he wouldn’t leave until his 180 match losing streak ended. Goldust then came out.

(6) Goldust beat Curt Hawkins. Goldust got a nice reaction. He won quickly with his Shattered Dreams. As he left, he saluted the crowd in a way that made it seem like he was saying good bye for the final time. He doesn’t have any particularly strong connection to this market, although he’s been wrestling here on and off for 25 years. I wonder who Goldust would have wrestled had Hawkins not issued that challenge after losing to Apollo? Goldust was dressed and made-up, presumably for another match, right? (It’s just one of those silly things WWE doesn’t care at all about, and they’re probably right that it’s not a big deal, but it’s still stupid when you think about it.)

(7) Alexa Bliss (w/Mickie James) beat Bayley and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat match to retain the Raw Women’s Title. Bayley refused a hug and worked subtle heel against Sasha for most of the match. Alexa watched from ringside, satisfied to see the two former friends beating each other up. It was long and drawn out because this was already the second-to-last match on a weak line-up filled with matches barely fit for a Main Event taping or pre-Raw dark matches. Mickie broke up a pin by Sasha on Bayley at one point. In the end, they went into a sequence of near falls where Sasha tried to pin both Bayley and Alexa over and over one after another rapid-fire, but eventually Alexa knocked Sasha outside of the ring and she gave Bayley her finisher and won. Bayley looked dejected afterward, slapping the mat in frustration. Not a lot of crowd heat.

(8) Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns beat The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) via DQ so The Bar retained the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles. Rollins got the biggest pop of the night, rivaling Lesnar’s for sure. Reigns got a mix of cheers and boos, but mostly cheers – as is the case at most house shows, especially when he’s teaming with a Shield member. Reigns took a beating for a few minutes to start the match, then hot-tagged Seth, who took an even longer beating in a formulaic tag match. Seth eventually hot-tagged Reigns who got a big pop and rallied. Cesaro entered the ring with a chair and hit Reigns on the back. The ref called for the DQ. Rollins and Reigns got in some signature moves after the bell to give the crowd a chance to pop. The finish was predictable as The Bar wasn’t going to pin either of these two, but they weren’t going to do a title change.

FINAL THOUGHTS: On a House Show scale of 1-5, this was a 2. Not quite average. The star power depth really stood out. There was no Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt, Asuka, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, or Finn Balor, likely kept off the show to keep the show profitable with Lesnar there. But considering Lesnar did barely anything once again, it left the show feeling paper-thin. No match ever got out of third gear, and most of it was fought a slow and steady second gear. Consider out of eight matches, one was a non-match with the action clocking in well under two minutes with Lesnar-Miz, plus two Hawkins squash losses and a one-sided short match to open with Braun-Elias, that left four actual competitive matches, of which two of them were lacking star power (Cedric-TJP and Revival-Rhyno/Slater), it just felt phoned in and shallow.

Please send results of live events you attend to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thank you! Also, please include any photos you take of either the arena setting, entrance stage, and clear pictures of wrestlers on way to ring or inside the ring.

NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REPORT: 3/10 WWE in Oshawa, Ont.: Takeaway from first WWE main roster event in 20 years, Seth & Balor & Reigns vs. Miz & Miztourage

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