5/20 WWE in Paris, France: Seth vs. Jinder, KO & Sami & Joe vs. Reigns & Strowman & Lashley, Balor vs. Corbin, Jax vs. Banks vs. Bayley vs. Bliss

Jinder Mahal (art credit Joel Teach © PWTorch)


MAY 20, 2018

Strong attendance tonight in Bercy Arena for the annual Paris visit from WWE. According to one of the French hosts, there were around 11.000 people. Hot crowd all night long as usual here. WWE does not come that often so people are always happy to see some live action and interact with the wrestlers. From my previous experiences, the Paris crowd is usually “Vince McMahon friendly” – some heels might get cheered a bit, but babyfaces are very rarely booed.

(1) Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy beat The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) and Rhyno & Heath Slater to retain the Raw Tag Team championship. Solid opener to warm-up the crowd. Lots of theatrics between each actor to warm up the crowd. B Team got actually a lot of heat during the match, and Rhyno got some ECW love. The Deleters of World won with a double Sister Abigail on Curtis.

(2) Cedric Alexander beat Mustafa Ali to retain the cruiserweight championship. 205 Live is obviously a way less popular show so crowd was not sure how to react at the beginning. Both performers were really strong and showed a lot of athleticism, bringing the crowd along with them for a competitive match-up. A small fan section was constantly chanting “We Want Petiot,” referring to a French wrestler named Clément Petiot during the Cruiserweight Classic. Cedric won with the Lumbar Check and both men shook hands after the match.

(3) Chad Gable & Zack Ryder beat Goldust & Mojo Rawley. The most quiet performance of the night. Gable and Ryder got some decent pops, and Goldust got a bit of nostalgia love. Mojo was strongly booed during the whole match.

(4) Finn Balor beat Baron Corbin. Corbin attacked Finn before the beginning of the match to set-up a long comeback from Finn. Finn was quite over and had a good connexion with the crowd, while Corbin was fine as a heel and got lot of heat. He is an impressive performer to see live. Balor won with the Coup de Grâce.

(5) Nia Jax beat Sasha Banks and Bayley and Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. Fine match with some very talented women. Alexa tried to ally herself with Bayley and Banks at the beginning, but they left her alone with Jax in the ring. At some point Banks gave a crowd pleasing 619 on Bliss. Bayley, Banks, and Alexa all got their moment with the crowds; Alexa was actually way too over with the crowd for a heel. Lack of support for Nia Jax though, but the crowd was behind her when she started her comeback to eventually pin Alexia after an impressive double Samoan drop on Bayley and Alexa.

(6) Seth Rollins beat Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Match of the night. Seth was incredibly over with the crowd, hot and chanting his name during the whole match. Jinder got the most heat of the night as well. Seth selling Jinder moves was strong and helped carry this match. Around the end of the night Rollins powerbombed Singh onto Jinder on the turnbuckle. Seth then gave the Curb Stomp to Jinder for the win.

After the intermission, Elias and Bobby Roode were in the ring (we missed their entrances). Roode was getting the crowd behind him to convince Elias to chant with him. Elias reluctantly accepted and told us to shut up while he was thinking about a song. The crowd then started singing the French national anthem (La Marseillaise) up until Elias cheap shotted Roode. After a small beating, Bobby recovered and gave Elias the Glorious DDT.

(7) Ronda Rousey & Natalya & Ember Moon beat Mickie James & Ruby RIott & Liv Morgan. All three faces were quite over with the crowd, with Ronday gaining the most appreciation from the fans. Ember started the match then quickly tagged Natalya, who got most of the beating up unil a very hot tag for Rousey. She cleared house with her stiff looking judo moves and locked into the armbar Mickie who quickly tapped.

Then it was time for the main event. The heels came first, with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens on KO music. Strong positive reaction for them – likely partly due to the fact that they are from Quebec. We were expecting them to trash talk us a bit in French. KO got the mic, waited a bit, and actually said: “They don’t deserve me speaking in French” much to the disapointment of the crowd – clever way to get some heel heat. Samoa Joe then came out to loud “Joe” chants. Faces were out next, with Bobby Lashley (decent pop), Braun Strowman (monster pop, in the likes of Ronda), and Roman Reigns (“polarizing” pop – I would say that one-fourth of the crowd was booing at that moment).

(8) Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley beat Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe. Good match, the crowd was really into it. Lashley took a long beating from a vicious Zayn before hot tagging Strowman, who in turns hot tagged Reigns a some point to a ear-breaking pop. It was hard to hear the boos at that point. Reigns gave Owens the spear for the pin and the win. The faces stayed around the ring for some pictures and celebration with the fans.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun show with a hot crowd. Seth is incredibly over as expected and brings some prestige to the Intercontinental Title – he does have the looks of a top babyface. Reings, Strowman, and Rousey were just behind. Honorable mention to Balor who had a good connection with the audience while performing.
On a side note, my last event here was five years ago. At that time, the main event was John Cena beating a (recently turned heel) Ryback in a tables match, while team Hell No were defeating Big E & Dolph Ziggler. Only returning performers from this night were Heath Slater (who last at the time in the opener against R-Truth) and Zack Ryder (who jobbed at the time to Cesaro).

NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REPORT: 5/19 WWE in Amsterdam: Styles & Club vs. Nakamura & The Bar, Hardy vs. Rusev, Carmella vs. Becky, Aleister Black vs. Wolfe

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