SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MAIN EVENT #327
JANUARY 2, 2019
AIRED ON HULU STREAMING TV
REPORT BY MIKE MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Main Event cold opened with a ten-second graphic in memory of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
Announcers: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph, and Percy Watson
REASONS TO WATCH…
– Hawkins turns to ref for strategic guidance mid-match.
– Solid tag team performance by the Revival.
(1) TITUS O’NEIL vs. CURT HAWKINS
The ring announcer and commentators were sure to point out Hawkins’ losing streak, but indicated that the new year could be a new start for his record. There were some conflicting feelings in the arena as the crowd started an early “Let’s go Hawkins” chant for the underdog, but Hawkins immediately resorted to the chicken heel tactic of bailing out to ringside to avoid O’Neil.
The match started at a deliberate pace, with O’Neil tossing Hawkins around with power moves. Each time, Hawkins stopped to gather his thoughts and sulk a bit. Unable to thwart O’Neil‘s strength, Hawkins eventually asked the referee, “What am I supposed to do?!” out of frustration. Hawkins got into position to roll O’Neil into a pin, but the big man wouldn’t budge. This led to more power moves from O’Neil, who maneuvered Hawkins into the corner.
O’Neil slowly wound up and landed a giant vertical slap to Hawkins’ chest, with pleasing auditory results. This got a nice pop from the crowd – O’Neil sensed this and worked the crowd into a swelling buzz as he delivered a second and third chop. The commentators described this battery as a “holiday bonus.”
Hawkins had a brief comeback using mild heel maneuvers – playing possum to yank O’Neil’s neck down across the top rope, and multiple stomps to his prone opponent. Hawkins managed two two-count pins during this stretch, and his comeback climaxed with a devastating chinlock.
O’Neil got to his feet and whipped Hawkins into the corner before bringing back the power moves, laying out Hawkins four times before landing a big body splash in the corner. Hawkins, staggered, wandered into the “Clash of Titus” power bomb and pin for a three count.
WINNER: Titus O’Neil by pinfall.
(Meyers’ Analysis: The match went how anyone would expect. Hawkins‘ inability to outthink O’Neil’s power was amusing, and I’ve never seen a wrestler ask a referee how to deal with such odds. It was nice to see O’Neil get the crowd wound up with his fantastic chops.)
-Main Event recap session:
- Replay of Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre in a steel cage from Raw
- Match rundown for upcoming PPV Royal Rumble
- Replay of John Cena’s in-ring confrontation with Becky Lynch from Smackdown
- Replay of John Cena & Becky Lynch vs. Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega from Smackdown
(2) TYLER BREEZE & ZACK RYDER vs. THE REVIVAL
The Revival made quick tags like a veteran team to start the match, but Breeze had things under control, repeatedly getting the upper hand over Wilder and Dawson before tagging in Ryder. Ryder and Breeze knocked the Revival out to ringside, still with the advantage, but eventually Breeze was lured into a 1-2 clothesline trap by the Revival. Wilder, the legal man, waited in the ring as the referee counted to eight before the stunned Breeze finally rolled back in.
The Revival went back to work in the ring, having their way with Breeze using various tag team maneuvers. After a content-free break, Breeze and Dawson were both prone on the mat, crawling toward their respective corners to tag out. In what looked to be the same hot tag session we’ve seen 1,500 times, Wilder had dashed around the ring and yanked Ryder off the ring apron, preventing the tag. Wilder retreated back round to his corner and Ryder hopped back up onto the apron but was immediately met by Dawson, who knocked him to the floor again.
With Ryder neutralized, Dawson maneuvered Breeze into the Revival’s corner, tagged in Wilder, and the duo performed a Hart Attack and cover of Breeze for a two-count. Wilder locked Breeze in a crossface chinlock variant in the middle of the ring. Breeze escaped the hold and stunned Wilder with a few high kicks, but Wilder managed to tag in Dawson who entered and took a kick of his own from Breeze, followed by an enzuigiri. Breeze and Wilder tagged out simultaneously, and Ryder charged in to get the upper hand, landing big moves against both members of the Revival, culminating with a double Broski Boot in the corner. Ryder dragged Wilder to the middle of the ring and covered for a two-count.
The match flourished with a nice series of double team maneuvers, blind tags, and near falls. The Revival executed the Shatter Machine on Breeze, allowing Wilder to cover for the three-count.
WINNERS: The Revival by pinfall.
(Meyers’ Analysis: This match had a foregone conclusion, as the Revival‘s upcoming Tag Team Championship rematch had already been advertised on this episode of Main Event. One of the best arguments for the Revival being a great tag team is their ability to get into and out of trouble so quickly. It feels like they’ve been in a lot of jams together, and know just how to extricate themselves – they are a bona fide tag team.
It was interesting to see the Revival perform the Hart Attack. The early Raw crowd wasn’t very excitable, but I can imagine seeing a hot PPV crowd popping for this move – especially if the show were north of the border.
Has anyone paid attention to Breeze‘s entrance music? It runs parallel with Shawn Michael’s music: Self performed, with lyrics about one’s own beauty.)
SHOW SCORE (0-10): 7.4
FINAL THOUGHTS: Main Event returns to normal after a holiday break. The first match was skippable save for a few brief moments of inspired comedy by Curt Hawkins. The second match featured bursts of quality tag wrestling, which is the merely the expectation at this point. Hopefully a preview of the soon-to-be tag team champions in the Revival.