WWE recently completed a house show @ Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Attendance was very good for a wrestling show @ Rupp, not quite a sellout but most of the available seats were packed. It was more people than a WCW Thunder taping I went to about six years ago @ Rupp. The crowd was pretty hot for the action and a lot of matches got changed from the initial card that was released a month before the show. Here’s my review of the action.
By the way, I’ve been a WWE fan for 11 1/2 years and this was my very first live WWE show. Crazy, eh?
-Viscera beat Tyson Tomko with a Viscera bomb @ 5:55:
Viscera got a good ovation from the crowd and nobody cared much about Tomko. Pretty bad match as you can imagine that was thankfully short. Only good highlight was Tomko stealing a fans hotdog before the match, tempting Viscera with it, and then tossing it away. *1/2
-Kervin White pinned Tajiri after grabbing onto the ropes to block a sunset flip @ 7:48:
Crowd didn’t care too much for Chavo’s new gimmick. Tajiri got a great ovation and a lot of “Tajiri” and “ECW” chants. A lot of people I was sitting by expected this to be an aerial match, but both men kept it on the ground. White exited the ring to the tune of “Just the way you look tonight.” White stalled far too much to make this match something to remember. *1/2
-Christy Hemme pinned Victoria with a sunset flip after Victoria missed a running
shoulder thrust into the buckles @ 3:44 (Maria was special ring announcer):
Victoria & Hemme both got face-like ovations from the crowd and the crowd didn’t really pick a favorite for much of the match. However, Victoria got a lot more mini chants than Hemme did if that’s any indication of who they were rooting for. Before the match Victoria tried to get Hemme to give her a “forgiveness hug” and Hemme resisted before giving in, allowing Victoria to cheap shot her to start. After the match, Victoria attacked Hemme and then hit Maria on the floor but Hemme & Maria came back and double-teamed her to run Victoria out of town. *
-Tag Team Championship Match: Hurricane & Rosey defeated The Heart Throbs to retain the belts after a Hurricane top rope splash off of Rosey’s shoulders (while Rosey was sitting on the top rope) @ 10:21:
This was actually the first tag team match I’d ever had to chance to witness in person. Heart Throbs got a terrible reaction as no one gave a crud about them. Hurricane & Rosey got a decent ovation and when they hit the ring the crowd worked up a big “Rosey” chant. Standard tag team match here, nothing special to report. **
-Jonathan Coachman came out and announced a change in a lot of the night’s matches. He said the Gene Snitsky vs. Big Show match was being changed to Edge vs. Big Show, the Shawn Michaels vs. HHH match was being changed to Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, and that the John Cena vs. Edge match for the WWE title was being changed to John Cena vs. HHH. Funny bit as he said that he called HHH to appear in Lexington and HHH said he would only wrestle “if he could fight for the WWE title.”
After that announcement Coachman invited Renee Dupree down (at which point the crowd headed for the concession stand in DROVES). After a weak promo, Eugene came out to a wild ovation with a monkey. Coachman gave Eugene two seconds to leave the ring and when he didn’t Dupree took his money, tossed it back and forth with Coach, and then ripped it apart. Dupree beat on Eugene for a little while with Coach, but after Dupree accidentally blasted Coach with a forearm off the ropes, Eugene hit Coach with a Rock Bottom and then Dupree with a Stone Cold Stunner to send them packing. Yuck.
-The Big Show defeated Edge (w/Lita) by DQ after Edge hit him with a chair @ 9:56:
Weak “you screwed Matt” chant at Edge that died down after the first ten seconds of the match. Big Show got a good reaction and Edge did as well, but the match followed the same formula as the Viscera-Tomko match. Lots of stalling in this one to start and then Big Show no-selling a lot of Edge’s offense. Snitsky tried to come down and interfere, but got blasted by Show. After the DQ, Big Show swatted the chair away from Edge and gave Snitsky a chokeslam. Funny moment as Snitsky finally recovered and the crowd chanted “you suck” at him. When are they gonna release this guy? *1/2 (sensing a pattern?)
-First intermission was announced
-Intercontinental Championship Match: Carlito pinned Shelton Benjamin with a Flair pin @ 19:16:
Crowd was really behind Shelton during the course of this match. Carlito didn’t get a good heel reaction on the way to the ring and Benjamin didn’t much either, but that changed after the match started. Lots of stalling to start by Carlito. This was the perfect example of a wrestler trying to carry an entire match on their shoulders as Shelton popped out his moveset continuously to keep the match going. Carlito busted out a few decent moves (swinging neckbreaker and a nice looking faceplant), but very little otherwise. Match had a lot of near-falls towards the end and Shelton had Carlito down for a seven-count after a spinning kick, but the referee was distracted trying to retie a turnbuckle Carlito had undone earlier. Crowd completed hated the finish here and I tended to agree considering that I guess Carlito’s finisher is to use the ropes for pins. ***
-Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair with Sweet Chin Music @ 13:36:
HBK got a MASSIVE ovation from the Rupp Arena crowd and Flair got a disappointing pop, although mostly cheers and a lot of people bowed down to him on the way to the ring. After he got inside the ring Flair cut a promo against the Kentucky Wildcats, ridiculed a guy’s girlfriend in the crowd, and then ridiculed a fat guy sitting in the first row by the aisle. Standard match you see on TV between these two with Flair working over Michael’s knee, applying the figure-four, getting it reversed, Michaels pulling down Flair’s tights letting the entire arena see his bare ass, Michaels throwing Flair off the top rope, and then hitting Sweet Chin Music. Still, nice to see these two in action live. ***1/2
-WWE Championship Match: John Cena pinned HHH with the F-U @ 20:56:
HHH got the biggest heel reaction of the night (although there was about 20% of the audience cheering him, go figure) and Cena got a massive face pop (although not as big as HBK). Good wrestling sequences littered this match and HHH took control after hitting Cena with a microphone on the arena floor. HHH mocked Cena’s “you can’t see me” gesture several times. The end came after Cena delivered a Five Knuckle Shuffle (which got a two-count), backdropped out of a Pedigree attempt, and blasted HHH with the F-U for the three-count. Afterwards, Cena picked up a microphone, said the crowd was great, said his chain gang is open to everyone, and left. ***1/2
Overall, I’d say this was a decent house show. The crowd was hot for most of the matches, but I was personally disappointed with some of the wrestling. It isn’t too much to say, though, that all of the matches after the first intermission saved this show entirely b/c the five matches beforehand were pure crap. Still, though, since WWE comes to Lexington about once a year I’ll probably get tickets next time, although I hope it’s Smackdown and not Raw.