KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE CROWN JEWEL REPORT
NOVEMBER 2, 2018
RIHAD, SAUDI ARABIA
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
Panelists: Jonathan Coachman, David Otunga, Booker T.
-The panelists hosted from a studio and talked about various matches and aired video packages building up Crown Jewel.
(A) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA beat RUSEV in 10:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
“Welcome to the grandeur, the magnificence, the first-ever WWE Crown Jewel,” said the narrator.
They went live to the arena with Michael Cole introducing the show. The graphic said they were in Riyadh. He said they were in a sold out King Saud Stadium.
(Keller’s Analysis: So no mention of “Saudi Arabia.” No scenes of the city.)
The ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Hulk Hogan. Hogan came out as they showed people in the crowd smiling and others clapping. Fireworks shot off as Cole talked about him being a multi-time world champion. He said he once held the title for four years – 1,474 days. “That is unthinkable!” said Cole.
Hogan entered the ring and ran through his catchphrases. He talked about flying on the jumbo 747 jet and landing “right here” and “I found out that the power of Hulkamania and the power of my Hulkamaniacs was stronger than ever right here at the Crown Jewel, jack.” He said it’s unbelievable to their host tonight and the show starts now. Renee said: “Amazing! What a way to start off Crown Jewel.” Hogan cupped his ears and the fans cheered as he posed. They went to a wide shot of even more fireworks shooting off, and then an aerial view of the outdoor stadium.
-The announcers were shown on camera discussing the World Cup tournament.
(1) REY MYSTERIO vs. RANDY ORTON – World Cup Tournament match
As Rey came to the ring slapping hands, a soundbite aired from him on split screen. He said this tournament is one of the reasons he came back to WWE. He said size isn’t his essence, and he doesn’t just rise to the challenge, he takes flight. He said he will land where he belongs – on top as the best. Orton came out next. A soundbite aired with him too.
Orton overpowered Rey first. Orton dropkicked Rey out of mid-air seconds into the match. As Rey made a comeback, the screen noted that Hulk Hogan was trending. (I’m not sure WWE wants to draw attention to what people are saying about Hogan on Twitter at the moment.) Orton caught Rey’s 619 and then gave him a DDT off the middle rope. When Orton set up an RKO, Rey countered and rolled up Orton for a three count.
WINNER: Rey in 5:00. (*1/4)
-After the match, Orton gave Rey an RKO as Rey began to celebrate. Cole said Orton was humiliated he lost the way he did. Then he slid him right out of the ring on his stomach. Rey splatted on the mat. Cole said Rey is hurt. Orton then dropped Rey over the announce desk. Rey clutched his abdomen.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to the match. Rudimentary. The in-ring wrestling and the announcing just sends a vibe of a house show in a newer market where they’re just working a basic “greatest hits” style of spots and match psychology for a novice crowd.)
Graves said Rey’s face broke one of the monitors clean in half. As the ref helped Rey to his feet, Rey was announced as the winner.
-They went to the announcers and talked about how the post-match attack could affect Rey in the semi-finals.
-Byron Saxton interviewed Miz who said the way the tournament is lining up, he feels awesome.
(2) THE MIZ vs. JEFF HARDY – World Cup Tournament match
A soundbite aired with Hardy as he came out first. Then Miz came out after the ring announcer listed his resume bullet point. The crowd counted along with Hardy’s near fall a couple minutes in, then chanted his name. He set up a Twist of Fate, but Miz blocked it. Hardy then hit the Whisper in the Wind for a near fall. At ringside, Hardy ran the ringside barrier and leaped onto Miz. Back in the ring, Hardy yanked off his shirt and climbed to the top rope. Miz rolled out of the way of the Swanton Bomb. Miz begged off and then threw Hardy into the middle turnbuckle. He tried to score a pin with his feet on the second rope. The ref counted to two. Miz, in a spot right out of the 1970s, raised his arms like he won and the ref informed him he didn’t. Hardy went for a schoolboy, but Miz kicked out. Hardy went for the Twist of Fate, but Miz countered and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. The announcers quickly went into damage control for Hardy, saying Miz didn’t walk through him like he predicted and he knows he was just in a fight.
WINNER: Miz in 7:00. (*1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Basic first-time-in-a-market style going-through-the-motions style match. The first two matches also have the pace and intensity of first round matches where the winners are pacing themselves for something more intense later.)
-A commercial aired for Survivor Series.
(3) SETH ROLLINS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY – World Cup Tournament match
The crowd seemed more excited to shout “Burn it Down!” during Seth’s entrance than they were for Hogan’s entrance. Lio Rush talked up Bobby during his ring entrance. He said, “None of you people will ever look this good. That’s why you don’t like him, because you’re jealous. But that’s okay because by then end of this tournament, you people will have no choice but to talk about my man, the Best in the World, Bobby Lashley. Cole said Lashley didn’t qualify for the tournament, but Raw acting G.M. Baron Corbin put Lashley in John Cena’s spot.
Lashley controlled early. Seth made a comeback and clotheslined Lashley over the top rope. Then he dove through the ropes and tackled Lashley. Seth sold that the back of his head the barricade. Back in the ring Seth climbed to the top rope, but Lashley met him at the top and punched him. Renee said this is easily the best they’ve seen Lashley. Seth sunset flipped and tried to turn it into a powerbomb, but Lashley landed on his feet. Lashley lifted Seth into a gut-wrench, but Seth slipped free. Seth leapfrogged Lashley which got a pop and then landed a sudden Stomp which got a big pop. That was good for the three count. Graves said somewhere Dean Ambrose is taking notes.
WINNER: Rollins in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re just rolling thorough the first round with short forgettable basic matches. They’re fine, but utterly rudimentary. I’m just thankful Rush didn’t shout on the mic throughout the match at all.)
-Saxton interviewed Kurt Angle backstage. He said he was once known as the best in the world and now he has a chance to prove it once again. Angle said people have doubted him his whole career. He said is here to write the next chapter and prove he is still the best in the world. He said it’s true, it’s damn true.
(4) KURT ANGLE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Drew McIntyre) – World Cup Tournament match
Fans chanted “You suck!” to his music as he walked out. The announcers chuckled. A soundbite aired with Ziggler on his way to the ring. Angle hit an early belly-to-belly suplex and then two released German suplexes. When he went for another, Ziggler grabbed the ropes. Angle tried to suplex Ziggler off the ring apron, but Ziggler elbowed Angle. Angle bumped to the floor. Ziggler then whipped Angle into the ringside steps. Ziggler settled into a sleeper. Ziggler went for a Fameasser, but Angle ducked and hit the Angle Slam for a believable near fall. Angle dropped his straps and let out a big yell. When he went for an ankle lock, Ziggler blocked it and landed a Fameasser for a near fall. Angle applied an ankle lock mid-ring a minute later. Ziggler lunged for the ropes, but Angle pulled him back to the middle. Ziggler eventually rolled out of it, but came up limping. He sidestepped a charging Angle, sending him into the ringpost. He then hit a Zig Zag for the three count.W
WINNER: Ziggler in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That sets up a nice face-heel match-up with Seth and Ziggler. It is a bit a surprise that Angle was eliminated this early. It seems like a meaningful win for Ziggler considering he’s often the designated jobber in situations like this. It’s probably good to not ask two matches of Angle in one night, though.)
-The announcers reacted to the state of the brackets. Graves predicted Miz wins.
(5) THE BAR (Cesaro & Sheamus w/Big Show) vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E w/Xavier Woods) – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match
There was one guy who in particular who was really, really excited to hear Big E’s introduction. New Day rode a giant “magic carpet” parade float-like structure to the ring. It wasn’t a fast moving magic carpet. A few minutes in Kofi danced as Xavier played the trombone. They built to Kofi hot-tagging Big E just as Sheamus tagged in Cesaro. Big E threw Cesaro around. He did the hip gyrations and then his running splash, but Cesaro lifted his knees. Sheamus tagged back in, but Big E caught him right away with a urinage for a near fall. Big E lifted Sheamus onto his shoulders and then Kofi leaped off the top rope and stomped him. Cesaro ran in to break up the pin attempt. Kofi gave Cesaro a Trouble in Paradise to knock him to the floor. Big E tagged back and and he launched Kofi over the top rope onto Cesaro. Big E then waited for Sheamus to stand. Big Show distracted Big E. Sheamus shoved Big E into Show, and Show then gave Big E a KO punch. The ref didn’t see it. Sheamus then landed a Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Cesaro in 11:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good basic tag match between these two teams with their signature crowd-pleasing spots.)
-Saxton interviewed Miz who was hoarse from what he said was a mule kick to the throat.
-Saxton interviewed Rey who said he’s been underestimated by bigger and better than Miz.
(6) THE MIZ vs. REY MYSTERIO – WWE World Cup Semi-Final
Rey landed a running slide splash from the ring onto Miz at ringside early in the match. After Miz dominated for a while, Rey teased a 619. Miz avoided it and gave Rey a Skull Crushing Finale for a believable near fall. Graves called it “nothing short of miraculous” that Rey was able to survive that. Miz threw a series of It Kicks. Rey ducked one and rolled up Miz for a near fall. Then he set up another 619 and this time hit it. Cheers. Kids jumped up and down in the crowd. Rey leaped off the top rope with a splash, but Miz lifted his knees, hitting Rey in his sore ribs from the Orton attack earlier, and scored the three count.
WINNER: Miz in 11:00 to advance to the finals. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: Another passable yet utterly skippable rudimentary match. Basically, smooth jazz elevator music version of pro wrestling. Basic solid storytelling with a near feel-good ending that was effectively teased before the Orton attack earlier helped Miz pull out a win.)
-In a backstage interview with Saxton, Seth said he’s facing adversity and he’s at his best when his back is against the wall.
(7) SETH ROLLINS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – World Cup Semi-final
Renee talked about Ziggler bragging about 12 years on the road without any real injuries or time off. (Are concussions not “real injuries”?) Cole said Miz is large unscathed through two matches and might have an advantage headed into the finals. Ziggler settled into an early side headlock. They cut to a wide shot of the arena. After a distraction at ringside by McIntyre, Zigger caught Seth with a DDT for a two count. Cole played up Seth having a bad neck. Ziggler settled into a chinlock on the mat again. Seth went for a splash in the corner, but Ziggler moved. Cole called it a crucial moment in the match. Ziggler made the cover for an undramatic two count.
They went into a series of leverage two count exchanges. Ziggler went for a superkick, but Seth blocked it and landed a ripcord knee for a near fall. Seth stomped the mat to get the crowd worked up. He had to fend off McIntyre on the ring apron. He then catapulted Ziggler over the top rope to the floor. He dove through the ropes onto both Drew and Dolph. He threw Dolph into the ring, but got caught with a Fameasser for a near fall.
Both were slow to get up. Ziggler climbed to the top rope. Graves said he doesn’t go up top too often. Seth ran up there to meet him and quickly superplexed him. He went for the Falcon Arrow, but Ziggler slipped out and hit a Zig Zag for a near fall. Ziggler went for another Zig Zag, but Seth held onto the ropes and then kicked Ziggler. He fended off Drew again, then climbed to the top rope. Drew shoved Seth off the top rope as Ziggler distracted the ref. Ziggler then connected with a superkick and scored the three count.
WINNER: Ziggler in 13:00. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Best match of the night so far, which is not a surprise, but also nothing particularly special at all.)
-After the match, Saxton told Ziggler on the ramp that the referee decision is final, but it doesn’t seem fair how he won. He said his win is considered an upset. Ziggler said people don’t believe in him, but the next time they see him in the ring, he’ll be holding the trophy because he is the Best in the World.
-Cole talked about the “very interesting finals” for the World Cup. Graves said they are long-time friends who have traveled and trained together.
-A WrestleMania commercial aired.
-They went to the announcers who talked about WrestleMania travel packages.
-A video package aired on Samoa Joe challenging A.J. Styles for the WWE Title.
(8) A.J. STYLES vs. SAMOA JOE – WWE Title match
Cole said Styles is the tenth longest WWE Title holder and, if he wins tonight, he’ll move into the number nine spot. They fought at ringside. Joe dropped Styles over the barricade. Cole said Styles avoiding getting counted out, even though it would have preserved his title, allowed Joe time to recover and thus get the advantage. Back in the ring, Joe kneed Styles to knock him off the ring apron. Then he dove through the ropes and elbowed Styles hard into the announce table.
Styles made a comeback in the ring briefly before being reverse-whipped into the corner and elbowed in the chest by Joe leading to a two count. Styles made another comeback, but Joe cut it short with a snap powerslam. Graves said Joe knows the moves Styles is about to make sometimes even before Styles decides to make it. Joe nailed Styles with a hard clothesline. Styles flip bumped. Joe made the cover, but scored only a two count.
Styles took control briefly, but on a rollup, Joe countered with a Coquina Clutch. Styles countered into a leglock. Joe rolled to the bottom rope to force a break. Styles landed a Pelé kick to stop Joe’s momentum again. Styles stood and played to the crowd. Then he landed a springboard Phenomenal Forearm for the clean win.
WINNER: Styles in 11:00 to retain the WWE Title. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: No surprise Styles won since Joe wasn’t the planned challenger on this show. A decisive win for Styles in the end, but Joe got the majority of the offense throughout so it was hardly a burial of Joe. It gives Styles a strong win in his ongoing long title reign. Joe now moves on to whatever is next for him outside of the WWE Title picture.)
-Acting G.M. Baron Corbin stepped out after being introduced by Hamilton. As he walked out, they cut to kids in comfy padded chairs. I know the U.S. corporate rented luxury suites at events, but it’s bad optics to show different “classes” of fans in Saudi Arabia here with some getting big comfy chairs in VIP areas.
(9) BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN
Heyman took over for Hamilton and introduced Heyman. Corbin held up the WWE Title belt. Then he bashed Strowman behind his head with the title belt. He told the ref to ring the bell. Lesnar then gave Strowman an F5 and scored a near fall. Cole was outraged over Corbin’s actions. Graves said it’s obvious that Corbin believes Lesnar is best suited to represent Raw. Lesnar gave Strowman another F5 for another two count. Lesnar looked less confident after that kickout. A third F5 led to another two count. Lesnar stood and looked angry. Graves said he’s never seen a look like that from Lesnar, but it’s the closest to doubt he’s ever seen. Lesnar delivered a fourth F5, but this time dropped Strowman over the top rope to the floor. The ref counted. Strowman beat the count. Lesnar went for a fifth F5. Strowman fought out of it and kicked Lesnar as he charged, but Lesnar immediately hit a fifth F5 for the win. The announcers stressed how Strowman endured being hit with the belt by Corbin and four F5’s before losing.
WINNER: Lesnar in 3:00 to capture the WWE Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: We can’t judge the decision pro or con until we see what they have in mind. I can’t imagine WWE fans are going to embrace a Lesnar reign when they were talked into believing he wasn’t a fighting champion in the lead-up to Reigns’s win. If this is to set up Seth being the one who ultimately beats Lesnar, which would have been a strategically sound move at Summerslam regardless of Reigns’s health concern that came up later and wasn’t foreseeable, it might make sense to do this.)
-They went to the announcers next to talk about Survivor Series and immediately talked about a Lesnar vs. Styles match at Survivor Series. They talked about the other champion vs. champion matches including U.S. vs. IC.
(Keller’s Analysis: If they give Styles a big win, that’s part of a worthwhile payoff to Lesnar winning the title, as that’d be a big boost to a champion in Styles who has been treated as secondary to the Universal Title situation. But having Lesnar beat Strowman under any circumstances and then beat Styles under any circumstances is bad for business if there’s not a very, very compelling master plan that plays out and pays off.)
-Shane McMahon danced to the ring and patted his heart and gave a peace sign and shook his fist. He had some words for Corbin as they stood by the World Cup trophy.
How have WWE’s Women really Evolved the last ten years? We went to a backstage source for perspective…
CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S “INTERVIEW FRIDAY” EPISODE OF THE WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST: Ex-WWE creative team member John Piermarini discusses with Wade the state of women’s wrestling today compared to his years with WWE in 2009-2010 with behind the scenes insights on how the WWE women were treated back then. He also reviews Evolution and the futures of Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Ronda Rousey, among others.
(10) DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Drew McIntyre) vs. THE MIZ – World Cup Final
to sure how many had this as their pick for the finals. The ref ordered McIntyre to go to the back because “this is one-on-one.” Wouldn’t that apply to every match that Drew is at ringside? Drew reluctantly left as Ziggler protested.
Miz attacked Ziggler from behind. The ref pried him off, but Miz pushed right through and attacked Ziggler again, throwing him to the floor. Miz went after Ziggler on the floor, but his right leg gave out. He fell and acted like he blew out his knee. He hopped over to Ziggler, who punched him a few times. The bell hadn’t rung yet to officially start the match. Miz reversed Ziggler into the ringside steps. Shane walked over to check on Miz. Miz insisted to the ref he was fine to keep fighting. He couldn’t stand, though. Miz said he heard a pop. Miz said, “I’ve never been injured.” Shane and several refs checked on Miz. He told them to leave him alone because he’s never been injured. The ref explained to Hamilton that Ziggler is the winner by default. Shane yanked the mic from Hamilton as he began to explain that Ziggler was going to win by default. Shane said it wouldn’t go down like that. Fans cheered. Shane said if Ziggler can’t go, then “I’m in.”
(Keller’s Analysis: This is truly one of the dumbest things ever, but hey it gets Shane one of the Saudi paychecks as an active performer!)
(10b) SHANE MCMAHON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Shane took off his jacket and had a sleeveless shirt underneath. Cole asked, “How is this even right?” Shane beat up Ziggler with his signature barrage of “punches.” Corbin interfered. The ref ordered him to the back. Ziggler blind-sided Shane with a Zig Zag and scored a two count. Shane fought back. Shane catapulted Shane into the top turnbuckle. Then he hit the coast-to-coast dropkick. He pulled Ziggler into the ring and scored a three count.
WINNER: Shane McMahon in 2:30.
-Shane celebrated in an over-the-top manner, slapping hands with fans and then bringing the trophy into the ring. He acted like James Ellsworth after beating A.J. Styles. Fireworks shot off into the sky. Cole said Shane didn’t compete officially in the tournament and is acting like he earned the Cup by running through everybody. Graves said possession is nine-tenths of the law.
(Keller’s Analysis: Only if this counts as a heel turn for Shane does this make even the slightest amount of sense. And even then, it makes a mockery of all the build up. I wouldn’t be shocked if Chris Jericho showed up to take exception to the “Best in the World” bragging Shane does at some point – Survivor Series, perhaps. There were some rumblings that Jericho confided in some friends he was headed back to WWE soon.)
(11) TRIPLE H & SHAWN MICHAELS vs. UNDERTAKER & KANE
DX came out first. Michaels took off his cowboy hat and smiled. Michaels pretended to try to run his fingers through his hair, then made a clown face when there was no hair. Then Kane came out. Then Undertaker came out as announcers gushed about how awe-inspiring the spectacle is. DX conferenced at ringside. Cole said they have been conspiring and have a plan. Cole noted the number one Twitter trend is #WWECrownJewel.
Fans chanted “Un-der-taker!” at the start. Then a “This is Awesome!” chant even before they locked up. When Triple H went for an early crotch chop, Kane gave him an uppercut. Kane went on offense with an armbar. Hunter reversed it and then pointed at Michaels and tagged him. Michaels entered with a top rope forearm to Kane’s arm. Kane shoved Michaels into the corner. Michaels fought back with chops and a neckbreaker. Kane sat up and grabbed Michaels by his throat. Michaels went for a sunset flip. Kane lifted him by his throat and went for a slam, but Michaels slipped free and teased a Sweet Chin Music. Kane tagged in Taker.
Taker did the throat slice gesture. Michaels did an augmented crotch chop at chest level. Michaels threw some chops, but Taker gave him a big boot. Taker began to climb for the rope walk, but Triple H intervened. A four-way brawl broke out. Michaels flipped into the corner on a Kane whip and hung upside down. Taker whipped Hunter into Michaels, and Hunter flipped to the floor. Taker grabbed Michaels by his throat and lifted him. Kane and Taker threw Hunter and Michaels out of the ring. Kane and Taker raised their fists in the air. DX ran into the ring and got the better of Kane and Taker, sending them to the floor. When Hunter and Michaels went after them at ringside, Kane and Taker got the better of the fight. It was a slow-walk style brawl.
In the ring it settled into Kane vs. Triple H. They exchanged chops mid-ring. Hunter DDT’d Kane mid-ring. Both were slow to get up. Hunter tagged in Michaels whip chopped away at Kane and knocked him down Michaels kipped up. “He’s still got it!” said Cole. Michaels chopped Kane and then turned and knocked Taker off the ring apron. “You still got it!” chanted the crowd. Hunter entered to help Michaels suplex Kane. They did it together as Taker made his way back up onto the ring apron. Michaels then leaped off the top rope with a flying elbow drop onto Kane. Michaels went for Sweet Chin Music, but Kane grabbed his leg and chokeslammed him. Taker tagged in and went after Michaels with punches in the corner. A battle chant of “Un-der-taker / HBK” broke out.
Taker whipped Michaels into the corner, then gave him a Snake Eyes and a boot to knock him down. He followed up with a legdrop for a two count. Michaels surprised Taker with Sweet Chin Music. Taker fell back into the ropes. Taker eventually sat up. He grabbed Michaels and threw him to the floor. He began to tear apart an announce desk. Cole said, “Undertaker has that look in his eye.” He lifted Michaels, but Hunter pulled Michaels free. Kane went after Hunter, but Hunter whipped him into the steps. Taker grabbed Hunter. Hunter said, “Go this way.” Taker awkwardly tried to direct Hunter the opposite way and reversed Taker into the barricade. That was a sloppy mess. Hunter leaped off the ring apron, but Kane caught him by his throat and slammed I’m into the announce table which had not been cleared of monitors and tablets.
Taker turned to Michaels and put him on his back on the ring apron. He then landed a running legdrop to his chest. Michaels bumped to the floor. Kane and Taker isolated Michaels and methodically beat on him. Cole called it “complete destruction.” Cole said pride is coming into play with Michaels as he survived the onslaught. Michaels eventually knocked Kane off balance on the top rope. Taker went after Michaels at ringside, but Michaels shoved him into the ringpost.
Kane lifted Michaels onto the top rope. Michaels fired back with some punches. Kane’s mask came off. Kane covered his face. Oh my God, that’s Glen Jacobs, the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee! Michaels climbed to the top rope and he moonsualted onto both Undertaker and Kane. “Shawn Michaels, shades of old!” yelled Cole. Graves said it ranks up there with one of the most insane moments he’s ever been part of.
Hunter crawled back up onto the ring apron after being out at ringside for a while. Michaels rolled into the ring. He crawled toward Hunter. Kane pursued him slowly. Michaels made the tag. Almost no pop. Hunter gave Kane a knee lift and then a running knee. Taker entered and Hunter gave him a spinebuster. Hunter flexed. He set up a Pedigree, but Undertaker backdropped out of it. Hunter blocked a chokeslam and a tombstone. He delivered a Pedigree. Kane went at Hunter. Hunter threw Kane out of the ring. Taker then surprised Triple H with Hell’s Gate mid-ring. Michaels re-entered the ring for the save, but Kane met him. Michaels escaped a chokeslam and superkicked Kane onto Taker, breaking up Hell’s Gate. All four were down.
Kane and Undertaker sat up. They waited for Hunter and Michaels to stand, then set up stereo tombstones. Michaels reached over and poked Kane in the eyes. Hunter then kicked Taker’s legs. Michaels superkicked Taker, then superkicked Kane. Hunter delivered a Pedigree and made the cover for the win. Michaels leaned in the corner and smiled with a little blood on his face. Hunter put his arm around Michaels in the corner. Cole called them “the four greatest of all time in one ring tonight with an epic performance that no one will ever forget… The performance that these four men put o for us tonight is historic, absolutely incredible. The passion, the emotion that was displayed tonight, D-Generation X rides again.” Pyro blasted. “Indeed, there should be a celebration of the greats of all time.” Hunter and Michaels posed together and did a Too Sweet hand gesture as fireworks shot off.
WINNERS: DX in 28:00. (*1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, another overly long lumbering match that no amount of ridiculously over-the-top gushing praise by Cole can’t reframe as anything else. I mean, yes, the effort was there, but the effort was sloppy, slow, and uncomfortable at times to watch. The crowd was “easy” and it seemed to please the crowd a lot of the time, although other times they weren’t popping when you’d expect, either. Once again Hunter aimed for epic and overstayed his welcome. Undertaker looks brittle. Kane slow. Hunter moves like the trees in Wizard of Oz. Michaels shows glimpses and didn’t embarrass himself. The effort and layout of the match would’ve paid off with a nice 28 minute match 15 years ago. It’s 2018, though. Vince McMahon was making fun of Nacho Man and the Huckster when they were much younger than these four are now. Really, though, Cole’s comments at the end felt so heavy-handed and desperate, it was a big turnoff.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: There was some news and decent action on this show, but not enough to justify the near four hours it took, and the news is more puzzling than satisfying at this point. It’s odd how strange a WWE event feels now without a women’s match. Oh, not one mention of Saudi Arabia, 2030 Vision, or how wonderful the city or country is.