By Kevin Chiat
The show opened with Triple H on the video screen announcing Shawn Michaels as the Guest GM. HBK came out to a big reaction and announced that the Rollins vs Ambrose main event would be a cage match. (I actually came in late and missed this, but Michaels put up his entrance on periscope).
First match was Finn Balor vs Neville for the NXT title. I got in just as Finn was making his entrance, no war paint obviously but he was wearing a Devitt like jacket. Finn worked subtle heel, they had a good match with both guys doing dives to the outside. Finn hit the Coup De Grace to a kneeled over Neville for a two count. Neville missed on a Red Arrow, leading to the double stomp by Balor for the win. They shook hands after the match.
Second match was Adam Rose vs Fandango. Pretty standard house show match with comedy spots. Fandango won with the Falcon Arrow. Rose looked in better physical shape than last time I saw him live.
Third on the card was R-Truth vs Luke Harper. Lots of comedy in the match, as sick as I am of Truth on TV, he’s a really seasoned house show performer. He had the crowd chanting Whomp there it is, which he should bring to TV, cause it at least would be a new element to his act. Harper won with the clothesline.
Fourth on the card was Orton vs King Barrett. The King came out first and did a really good job of using England’s current dominance over Australia in The Ashes cricket series for cheap heat. Orton came out to a really big pop. Really good WWE main event style match. My favourite moment was when Orton took a little kid in the front row’s Cena cap, and put it on Barrett. Orton then did the You Can’t See Me hands before punching Barrett. Orton won with the RKO to a big pop.
After intermission Bo Dallas came out and did his normal promo. Before he could finish HBK came out. Bo did a good job taunting Michaels for being retired. Michaels then superkicked Bo to a giant pop.
In the women’s match, the Bellas came out as faces but worked the match as heels (except when Nikki led Yes chants for Brie doing the Bryan kicks). Emma and Natalya won when Emma rolled up Brie. Emma was wearing Australian flag gear.
Owens came out to a big pop but worked heel against Cesaro. Really good match which could have gone another five minutes. Cesaro won with the swing into the Neutraliser.
Main event was Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose in a cage match for the WWE title. My match of the night and it was about as good as I can imagine a modern WWE cage match being. I enjoyed it more than any of their PPV matches. Seth worked the knee and Dean sold it as a major weakness when he was trying to climb out. Lots of great spots, at one point Dean was hanging from the turnbuckle in tree of woe position and Seth did a double stomp onto Dean’s chest. Seth also did the Hogan heel spot of taking his belt off and whipping his opponent. Dean eventually got the belt off Seth to whip him back. They went to the top of the cage, leading to a superplex from the top of the cage for the matches big spot. Seth won by slamming Dean’s head with the door, leading to a Pedigree and Seth escaping out the door. After the match Seth beat up Ambrose. Seth brought a table out, setting up Ambrose for a splash through the table. Ambrose escaped, hit Seth with Dirty Deeds and then gave Seth an elbow through the table. Show ended with an Ambrose promo.
The Rod Laver Arena was pretty much completely sold out, the biggest WWE crowd I have personally been in. Overall it was the best house show I’ve ever seen in Australia. I really hope they look at doing a Beast in the East style Network special next year.
1. Ambrose vs Rollins
2. Cesaro vs Owens
3. Tie: Neville vs Balor/Orton vs Barrett
Cheers Dave, hope this is helpful
Submitted by Alvin Lim
– Show was sold out with est. 13k-14k in attendance. Big mix of kids with parents and hardcore fans.
– Big pop for the Roddy Piper tribute video they aired before the show started.
– Jojo comes out to offer refunds for the first 20 minutes due to John Cena’s absence, but urges us to hear the announcement from the guest GM before deciding.
– HHH appears on screen to introduce HBK as guest GM. Michaels comes up to a huge pop and makes the main event a steel cage match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title and introduces the first match for the evening.
NXT Champion Finn Balor def. Neville with the Coup De Grace Double Foot Stomp
Neville is over with the younger members of the audience while Finn played the heel. Not being on the main roster yet may have affected Finn’s popularity with the general audience. His shirts were one of the least popular at the merchandise stand. An entertaining enough opener with the usual flips and dives from both which drew the audience in.
Fandango def. Adam Rose with the Falcon Arrow
Our Superstars match of the night. Rose has nothing without his entrance and entourage while Fandango strangely feels like a nostalgia act with the Fandangoing already. Both men need new gimmicks.
Luke Harper over R-Truth with the Discus Clothesline
Truth is great with crowd interactions, getting the arena to chant “Whoomp, there it is!” like it was the 90s again. His appeal to the live audience is evident although his TV exploits are tiresome. Lots of stalling at the start with Harper getting tired of Truth’s constant appeals to the crowd, even sitting down in a chair at ringside to protest. After a teased countout of 9 at one point, Truth falls to the Discus Clothesline but goes to the back with a nice applause from the crowd.
They played a nice video for Connor Michalek at this point and Jojo advertised that one could help the cause to fight paediatric cancer by buying Connor bracelets from WWEShop. Nice charity bit and the video was very touching.
Randy Orton def. King Barrett with RKO
Barrett came out to laugh at the Australian cricket team’s performance against England for easy heat. Many “You’re a wanker!” chants following this. Orton is the master of doing so much with so little. He is a true star and gets maximum mileage from all his moves. At one point, he took the cap off a fan at ringside and asked him why he was wearing Cena gear when Cena wasn’t there. He then proceeds to put the cap on Barrett and did the “You Can’t See Me” handsign before laying in a European Uppercut. He hits the RKO for the win to bring us to intermission.
Intermission was followed by Bo Dallas interrupting Jojo’s announcements before HBK superkicks him as Bo was running his mouth about HBK being old and a has-been for the big pop.
Emma and Natalya def. The Bella Twins when Emma school girls Brie Bella
Nice pop all around to all the Divas but this was my time to hit the merchandise stand, coming back only for the finish.
Cesaro def. Kevin Owens with the Neutralyzer
Nice pops for both men. Owens is a tremendous heel and plays the part fully. He stopped short of high-fiving a young fan at ringside and later flinged sweat at him instead. It’s these little things that he excels at, such as responding to chants for a table by slapping on a headlock and not giving the fans what they call for. Cesaro’s feat of strength of the night was performing his inverted olympic slam move on Owens. He gets the pin after a 9-revolution Giant Swing and a Neutralyzer.
WWE Champion Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose in a steel cage match
Long main event that the fans got into at the end with all the teased finishes, the highlight being Rollins dangling over the floor as Ambrose held him by his hair from the top of the cage. Both men are over and Dean possibly more than his TV push. Ambrose gets his knee worked on and sold it all the way through the match, even after it was done. The finish comes when Rollins slams the door into Ambrose’s head before hitting the Pedigree and crawling out the door. In a post-match brawl, Ambrose manages to put Rollins through a table to send the fans home happy.
1) Randy Orton
3) Dean Ambrose
A fun show, even without the initially advertised Hulk Hogan and Cena. The newer guys carried the 2 main events very well, which is a good sign of renewal in the company, even as they endeavour to find and groom the next big thing to replace Cena.