Thanks to rajah.com reader Tom Skulley for sending this in:
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Special Host: Dasha Fuentes
It has been almost 2 years since I went to a house show and they have certainly improved their overall presentation. They had the video tron there, more of a bigger stage with lights, camera to record them cut promos back stage and show the entrances, smoke for some of the entrances, etc. Quite honestly, the only thing missing from TV was the pyro. We were in the first row of the lower bowl almost in the center of the arena.
Mickie James & Becky Lynch vs Natalya and Carmella w/James Ellsworth
Special guest referee Alexa Bliss
One of the best matches of the night. Saw the old school tag team method where the heels would work over the babyface in their corner, other babyface try to come in and interfere, get cut off by the referee, and simultaneously see the heels double team (in this case triple team) the babyface. I am not much on Ellsworth but he played the goofy heel well here and took a couple old school Bobby Heenan manager bumps. Match consisted of Mickie getting worked over most of the match by the heels. Alexa got bumped out of the ring by Becky, Carmella rolled her up, Becky kicked out at 2 after the new referee came running down the aisle, which ended up reversed into a cross armbreaker on Carmella and she tapped out after about 18 minutes. Very good opener.
Mojo Rawley vs Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler played to the crowd some by teasing the crowd with his shirt and doing the hip gyration. Mojo Rawley is a bigger guy than I thought. Mojo did the “hulking up” a few times when Ziggler would hit him. He would pretend like it didn’t phase him and then go on offense. He also did the spot where he was down in the 3 point stance and wouldn’t allow Ziggler to move in the ring. Played up to the crowd. A few near falls here with Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag. I actually thought this would be a heel win here, but Mojo ended up hitting his finisher after about 12 minutes.
American Alpha vs Heath Slater & Rhyno vs Breezango
In contrast to Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable is much smaller in person. He is only about 5’7” and maybe 165. Slater is still over with the crowd and had a good “I Got Kids” chant going. Fashion Police had their “tickets” with them and were handing them out during the match. Breezango did the spot where Fandango accidentally hit Breeze, which got a good reaction from the crowd, but they eventually hugged it out. American Alpha are very good ring technicians and make you wish they had more time on TV to showcase what they can do. End came with Fandango taking AA’s finisher. Went maybe about 10-12 minutes.
Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin
Corbin cut a promo backstage stating how he was going to take the I-C title and be in for a beating. I thought this was awesome. It gave people the feeling that it was a big match and not a random throwaway match on a house show. Ambrose came out to one of the biggest pops of the night. Match was fantastic. Both guys gave the same effort they would have on TV (similar to the match I saw in Orlando) and certainly didn’t “mail it in.” No one in WWE has wrestled more matches in 2015 and 2016 than Ambrose. Much respect to that. Corbin has really improved his ring presense and drew good heat from the crowd with multiple “Corbin sucks” chants. I can definitely see Corbin as a main event player in the next 12 months or so. Ambrose did the suicide dive through the ropes which drew a huge pop as well. Dean won with Dirty Deeds after about 25 minutes.
Kalisto & Apollo Crews vs The Ascension
The Ascension hasn’t had a lot of TV time lately, so I think a lot of people weren’t too familiar with them. I honestly, don’t know which one is Connor/Victor, but the smaller guy spent most of the time in the ring. The match consisted of Kalisto getting worked over and doing a lot of selling as one would expect. The Ascention mocked Kalisto with the “lucha dragon arm motions” several times which of course drew some heat. They had the trampoline for Kalisto’s entrance there which I thought was pretty cool. Crews ended up getting the hot tag, did some of his high spots, picked up Kalisto and catapulted him onto the smaller Ascension guy for the pin after about 15 minutes.
Luke Harper vs Erick Rowen
Rowen had a bag with him that he brought to the ring. He had 2 balloons inside that he was going to hand out to the crowd. He faked handing them out a few times, then reached to hand them over a kid, but pulled them back and popped them both. Reminded me of something Ted Dibiase would do in his million dollar gimmick in the 1990’s. Rowen also had the mask with him. He took it off and pretended to talk to it several times. Developed some character, which is what they should do on TV to help him along. Lot of back and forth near falls with this one. Harper won with some type of power bomb in about 13 minutes.
AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
All 3 had great entrances. They had the smoke for AJ who probably received the biggest pop of the night. Bray had his lantern with him along with his fedora and usual ring gear. Orton’s entrance was excellent as well. A lot of the match consisted of 1 of the 3 getting thrown out of the ring and the other 2 working inside. Comedy spot was Orton/Bray working outside the ring and then Orton took a handful of someone’s popcorn and ate it.
Later in the match, Bray threw Orton into the steel steps which made the crowd cringe. Other than that was a pretty safe match by all 3. Bray tried for the Sister Abigail on AJ which was broken up by Orton, who in turn hit the RKO for the win after about 20 minutes.
No return date announced. Solid show and had an enjoyable evening.