10/19 WWE in Bangor, Maine: Reigns no-shows after being heavily advertised, Ronda shines as fan-friendly star, Braun gets babyface pop for attack on Drew and Dolph

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss (photo credit Brandon LeClair © PWTorch)


OCTOBER 19, 2018

If you attend a live event, please send results in the format of the following report to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!

Last night, WWE made their annual stop at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. In keeping with recent traditions, they’ve opted to double-book the state this weekend, seemingly splitting their audience. There must be a financial incentive for them to continue to book the state of Maine this way, but, as a long time attendee of house shows in Maine, I can say with absolute certainty that attendance has suffered greatly since this became the trend.

Last night’s show looked to have drawn somewhere in the 2,000-2,500 ballpark in a 5,500 seat arena. I’d put attendance roughly on par with the last show at this venue, a Raw event headlined by Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in August of 2017.

One important thing to note before starting out – Roman Reigns was a no-show. He was heavily advertised on all television and radio promotional material, as well as WWE’s website, and the arena’s website. Radio, TV, and the arena had him facing Braun Strowman in a Universal Title match, while an email blast sent out by WWE on Thursday said he’d be involved in a six man tag match between The Shield and Strowman, Ziggler, and McIntyre.

Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show after we kicked off with a “welcome” from acting General Manager Baron Corbin on the big screen.

(1) Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin in 9:00. Finn received a very warm welcome on his way to the ring. Corbin jawed with him and the fans in the early going and dominated the early portion of the match. The action spilled outside where Corbin utilized the ringside area to punish Finn. Finn barely made the count back into the ring, but then began his comeback. Balor hit a Slingblade on Corbin and headed to the top rope for a Coup De Grace, but Corbin popped up and pulled him off the ropes by the throat and into a killer looking backbreaker. Shortly after, Finn caught Corbin off guard with a roll up for a victory.

Corbin attacked Finn after the match and grabbed a microphone. He told the referee that, as acting General Manager, he was restarting the contest under no disqualification rules. He retrieved a chair from ringside.

(2) Baron Corbin defeated Finn Balor in 1:00. Finn fought off Baron’s attempts with the steel chair for a moment, and nearly hit the Coup De Grace again. Baron caught Finn with a chair shot to the stomach and then to the back for a quick three count. Corbin taunted the fans as Finn returns to his feet and received respectful applause from the crowd.

(3) Sasha Banks & Bayley & Dana Brooke defeated Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan & Alicia Fox in 9:00. No Sarah Logan, not sure why. Big reactions for both Bayley and Sasha Banks. Bayley started the match off trading a series of holds with Alicia Fox. Lots of little comedic spots that got the crowd really behind Bayley. The action picked up as the heels took turns dominating and isolating Bayley and Dana. Lots of teasing for the hot tag into Sasha, who was doing a nice job riling up the crowd behind her teammates from the apron. Sasha finally got the tag and cleaned house. Bayley and Dana returned to clear out Ruby and Alicia while Sasha locked in the Bank Statement on Liv for the tap out victory. Post-match, the babyfaces slapped hands and took pictures around ringside and up and down the ramp.

The lights went out and a promo package for Evolution aired as Elias got set up in the ring. Elias talked about how he’d eaten a famous Maine Lobster Roll but found Connecticut’s to be better. He said he wrote us a special song because people had been bugging him more than usual today. He sang a pretty generic tune that, while lacking creativity, managed to generate quite a bit of heat. He was interrupted by No Way Jose.

(4) Elias defeated No Way Jose in 8:00. Lots of comedy in the opening minutes, with Jose distracting and frustrating Elias with his dancing. From there, a fairly standard bout with Elias getting in the majority of the offense and No Way trying to play catch up. After a brief back and forth sequence at the end, Elias hit the Drift Away for a clean victory.

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Byron Saxton promoted Evolution for the second time of the night, before introducing a women’s tag team match.

(5) Ronda Rousey & Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss & Mickie James in 10:00. Alexa & Mickie shared some comedic bits prior to the match, with Alexa shadow boxing on Mickie and Mickie pretending to sell some of her hits. Nia received a warm welcome, but by that point, chants for Ronda had already broken out. Rousey received a huge reaction, and she soaked it all in. Ronda started off the match with a coy Alexa, who did everything she could to duck and dodge Ronda’s offense. Alexa, as always, was a true highlight. Her mannerisms, little quips, and general demeanor are so believable and she does a fantastic job feeding the babyfaces in the right way. The middle of the bout saw Bliss and James cutting off Nia Jax and keeping Ronda on the sidelines. Bliss popped her arm out of socket to temporarily stop the action, but used it to get a cheap shot on in on Nia and prevent a tag. Nia eventually got a hot tag back to Rousey, and Ronda went into her signature judo offense. Jax hit a big Samoan Drop on Mickie and Ronda locked in the arm bar for the tap out. Rousey and Nia made the rounds at ringside and Ronda individually thanked each person as she slapped their hand. She was more than happy to sign autographs and take pictures as well. A total class act.

Byron sent us to intermission.

(6) Chad Gable defeated Jinder Mahal in 10:00. Jinder cut a brief promo before the match, but it was very hard to hear because of his delivery. Something about the new peaceful gimmick he’s doing. Slow, plodding match. Gable was not particularly over with the crowd, so it was very hard for people to get invested into this one. Mahal dominated the majority of the match with some aid from Sunil Singh at ringside. Gable caught Mahal off guard with a school boy for the win. He left in a hurry afterward. In the ring, Jinder grabbed Sunil and tossed him to the mat. Sunil pleaded with Jinder, who took a deep breath and calmed down.

(7) The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) defeated The Revival in 8:00. Great reaction for the B-Team, though I think the audience just likes chanting along to their music. Dallas & Axel appeared to be having a good time. The Revival were effective at jawing with the crowd, but overall, the style of the match wasn’t very conducive to a lively audience. Bo and Curtis got a surprise win and left quickly, leaving Dash and Dawson to stew in the ring. Nothing special here.

Byron introduced the main event, again plugging the Network, and specifically, Evolution. One sole mention of Crown Jewel being free if you sign up today.

(8) Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre by DQ in a Raw Tag Team Championship Match in 22 minutes. Ziggler & McIntyre retain the titles. Some confusion in the crowd, given that Reigns and Strowman were both advertised. Very quickly, the savvy fans in the audience remarked that it was likely both would interfere, causing the match to be switched to a six man tag. That didn’t happen. Instead, the four worked a match similar to what we’ve come to expect from this bunch. Good, solid tag team action. McIntyre stood out, dominating both Rollins and Ambrose and just towering over everybody. He’s a true specimen, a total star, and the crowd reacted to him as such. By about the fifteen minute mark, I realized they were going all the way with this match. It wound up being one of the longer house show bouts I’ve ever seen. Deep into the match, the action really picked up, with chaos spilling to the outside between Dean and Drew. A weak “This is Awesome” chant broke out. Not quite, but it was very good. Rollins and Ziggler exchanged a plethora of near falls before Ziggler finally caught Rollins with a low blow right in front of the referee for a DQ.

After the bell, McIntyre and Ziggler started to beat down Dean and Seth. That’s when Braun Strowman’s music hit. Braun hit the ring and beat down both McIntyre and Ziggler. He threw Drew into the steps at ringside and dropped Dolph with a Powerslam. He gave a menacing look to Rollins and Ambrose, but left them alone. He began to leave, but he turned back, grabbing McIntyre and throwing him into the ring where Seth and Dean had recovered. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Drew and Seth followed it up with the stomp to send the fans home happy.

A bit of a strange show. The lack of Roman Reigns didn’t seem to put a damper on anyone’s night, quite honestly. I never heard a chant for Roman, never heard anyone asking for a refund. Nothing of the sort. No mention was made of Reigns at all. Strowman’s brief appearance was odd, but the crowd seemed really delighted to see him. They reacted to him as a babyface, and he played to them like he was one. Overall, a weak card because the stars were all packed into tag team matches. It left a lot of undesirable, lower mid-card fodder. Still, I came solely to see Ronda Rousey up close, and for the first time, and so I didn’t leave disappointed.

Biggest Pops:
1. Ronda Rousey
2. Seth Rollins
3. Dean Ambrose
4. Braun Strowman
5. Bayley/Sasha Banks (tie)

Most Heat:
1. Elias
2. Alexa Bliss
3. Dolph Ziggler


If you attend a live event, please send results in the format of the following report to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!

NOW CHECK OUT THIS REPORT: 10/15 WWE Raw On-Site Report: Crowd reactions in Philly for Trish & Lita, Ronda, Reigns, Braun, dark match, more off-camera and crowd notes

2 Comments on 10/19 WWE in Bangor, Maine: Reigns no-shows after being heavily advertised, Ronda shines as fan-friendly star, Braun gets babyface pop for attack on Drew and Dolph

  1. Good recap!
    I guess we know why Roman wasn’t there now…
    The song Elias played was actually an Alice in Chains riff.
    I thought with 5 more mins the Revival match would have been pretty great. Good old school tag team work.
    I also wish they wouldn’t split the shows in Maine. When they just do one, it is full with a much better atmosphere.

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