In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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WWE Super Showdown will be held in the Mohammed Abdu Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the fifth event held in Saudi Arabia as part of multi-show deal with the Saudi government. I’m not fond of these Saudi shows as they tend to derail, detour and/or disrupt current storylines. They feel like glorified house shows at best, propaganda at worst. The only minor and debatable upside is that due to the money involved, there are matches we’d otherwise never see, but even that “benefit” is usually hampered by the lack of adequate build and other long term consequences.
1. Bayley vs. Naomi – Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: It’s the FIRST EVER women’s championship match in Saudi Arabia. Will this be the beginning of Naomi’s third Smackdown championship run?
Since Naomi returned, she has been buzzing around Bayley with her eye on the championship. Naomi finally earned her chance when she defeated Carmella for the opportunity to face Bayley in Saudi Arabia. I’m intrigued at how this match will play out in the ring, since the women will likely have a limited set of moves they can perform as well as a limited amount of emoting.
Prediction: I think there is a chance for Naomi to win so the WWE can tout another “FIRST EVER” but I’ve got Bayley retaining.
2. Seth Rollins & Murphy vs. The Street Profits – Raw Men’s Tag Team Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: After randomly involving themselves in the Monday Night Messiah’s business, the Street Profits try to win gold for their first time in the WWE at the expense of Seth and Murphy.
I’m thinking the reason the Street Profits, Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford are got involved in this whole Messiah business (after saving Kevin Owens from a post-match attack) is because (and this is completely my guess) the Viking Raiders refused to go to Saudi Arabia. The Street Profits faced Seth and Murphy in individual matches in the lead up. If all the players are motivated, this should be the match of the night.
Prediction: This might be the belt most likely to change hands on the card. Seth doesn’t really need it and it could be hot-shotted to the Street Profits to give them something to do. I’m playing it safe and going with the champs to retain.
3. R-Truth vs. Erick Rowan vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade vs. A.J. Styles – Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match
Story in a nutshell: The Saudis REALLY like pointless trinkets, this time it’s trophy and not a cup.
It’s a gauntlet match with only two wrestlers having any issues going into it, Rey Mysterio and Andrade. Both were taken out with a hammerlock DDTs to the concrete in their pretty intense feud (and kudos for both of their miraculous recovery just in time for Super Showdown).
Prediction: With rumors of AJ Styles facing Undertaker at WrestleMania, it would make sense for AJ to win the trophy. Plus, it would go nicely with OC’s Best in the World prize. Andrade and Rey are both involved in a storyline with the rest of the Hispanic contingent, Rowan has his cage gimmick and R-Truth has his R-Truth gimmick. The only thing that gives me pause is with Lashley in limbo thanks to Rusev’s contract situation, the trophy can give him something to do. Especially if AJ Styles takes his nascent feud with Black all the way to WrestleMania instead of facing the Undertaker.
4. Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin – Steel Cage Match
Story in a nutshell: We are all trapped in Purgatory, doomed to relive all the variations of a King Corbin and Roman Reigns match.
This is what we can only hope, pray, sacrifice our loved ones to dark long-forgotten gods, will end this interminable feud. For month’s these two have gone back and forth with the source of the conflict being Corbin’s jealousy of Reign’s being more popular with the wrestlers backstage. Now, it will finally be settled in a cage match in Saudi Arabia.
Prediction: Reigns wins, but this isn’t ending. They’ll be face to face one more time inside the Elimination Chamber.
5. The New Day vs. The Miz & Morrison – Smackdown Men’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Can Morrison complete his triumphant return to the WWE by winning tag team gold with his long-time friend and tag partner, Miz, or will the New Day’s power of positivity shine triumphantly?
Morrison recently returned to the WWE after years away doing nothing the WWE will recognize and picks up pretty much where he left off. He and the Miz have won an opportunity to face the Smackdown tag team champs, Kofi Kingston and Big E.
Prediction: I see New Day and Usos penciled for Wrestlemania as one of the “steal the show” matches, so while this does not preclude the New Day from dropping the belt and either them or the Usos winning it back later, the WWE has been pretty good in not passing their belts back and forth recently. So, New Day wins.
6. The Fiend vs. Goldberg
Story in a nutshell: Goldberg: “Who’s next? Fiend’s next.” Bray Wyatt: “Okay, see you in Hell!”
I am disappointed with the existence of this match. The narrative of the Fiend character is that he’s only gone after the wrestlers that have wronged Bray Wyatt in the past. Seth and Bryan were both told “he remembers” in reference to the times they got one over on the Wyatt family. When he fought the Miz it was as Bray and not the Fiend. So why would Fiend face Goldberg? It’s a big match for Saudi Arabia and they want the Fiend, that’s why. What is aggravating is this had a simple fix, instead of Goldberg appearing over satellite that first week, he could’ve been in the arena, Bray (not Fiend) could’ve accepted his challenge right there and lost the belt. Then the Fiend could’ve won it back in Saudi Arabia. The WWE, instead of maintaining a long-running narrative, went for the easy money. Disappointing.
Prediction: At some point, Goldberg will spear Fiend who will no-sell it. One or more spears later, depending on the length of the match, Goldberg will then Jackhammer Fiend and pose or lean against the ropes with the camera fixed on him. Fiend will rise behind him where Goldberg, with confused look on his face, will take the Mandible Claw.
7. Brock Lesnar vs. Ricochet
Story in a nutshell: How hard will Lesnar swat down the fly that has been annoying him for a month now? Will Ricochet put up a valiant fight before defeat, or will he go the way of former champion Kofi?
Ricochet has been a bee in Lesnar’s bonnet for a while now. On the January 20, 2020 episode of Raw, Ricochet confronted Brock who kicked Ricochet in the crotch. In the Royal Rumble Ricochet got some measure of revenge, being instrumental in helping eliminate Lesnar with a poetic shot to the dangly bits of his own. February 3, 2020 Ricochet wins a shot at the title, defeating Rollins and Lashley in a triple threat match.
Prediction: Well, it isn’t going to be any fun predicting Lesnar as the winner, so I’ll go with an under/over. 180 seconds from the moment of first offensive contact. I’m taking the under.
-The Viking Raider vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson – Kickoff Show
Story in a nutshell: The former War Machine faces the former Bullet Club in what would have been a dream match in another life.
There is not much to say here other than someone liked the indies. OC has been tied to AJ Styles and the Raiders to the Seth Rollin’s story. This would be an interesting match anywhere else in the world.
Prediction: The Viking Raiders win. Let’s move on.
-Humberto Carrillo vs. Angel Garza
Story in a nutshell: What was a feud over Latino pride that started when Andrade took out Carrillo, has now spilled out into a personal rivalry between cousins.
I’ve been a big fan of this storyline between Rey, Angel, Humberto, Andrade, and Selina Vega. Recently, Selina added Angel Garza to her charge to combat Humberto Carrillo, a move Carrillo sees as a betrayal from his cousin. The stakes have been personal indeed. Unfortunately, this seem like a “cut and paste” of this week’s Raw. Still, can be match of the night.
Prediction: Carrillo wins since Selina won’t be there to help Angel.
-Mansoor vs. Dolph Ziggler
Story in a nutshell: Mansoor needs to be spotlighted in Saudi Arabia.
I feel bad for Saudi Arabian wrestler, Mansoor. I really like the guy and think he has potential, but he has been the face (through no fault of his own) of the propaganda inherent in these Saudi Shows. With all of his successes in these shows, why isn’t he a permanent fixture on TV? At least in the microcosm of Saudi Arabia (compared to the whole world, obviously), the fans get to cheer on one of their own. And who can make you look better than Dolph Ziggler?
Prediction: Mansoor wins.