Okay, it’s time to support a regime which thinks Human Rights are merely the things that get cut off when some-one has been caught stealing something, and to show that Vince will do literally anything if there is enough money involved. I guess the problem is, I am not looking forward to any match on this card. Nothing has grabbed my attention. I mean, nothing. Still, I watched it because… well, I am old and sad.
1) 20-Man Battle Royal for a chance to be beaten by AJ Styles later on
Like the outcome of the later match is going to be any surprise. So, this was the Kickoff Show’s match. It was a punchy-kicky battle royal and dull to boot. Humberto Carrillo won. And the 24/7 crap in the middle? Get f**ked. Yeah, not feeling this show already… (Naughty camera-person – an AEW t-shirt!)
2) Brock Lesnar v Cain Velasquez
After all the hype, all the family stuff, the history, everything else, we got… this. A non-wrestler gets the title shot. And he gets killed. A 3 minute match ending in a kimura lock. What a waste, what a joke. Then we have Rey Mysterio coming in, and then chair shots to Velasquez by Lesnar before Rey kills Lesnar with a heap of chair shots. Setting up for WM2020 maybe? Or a ‘chairs’ match at TLC maybe? Those 20 seconds of Rey with a chair was all that was worthwhile here. What a way to start the show… [Rey’s later brief interview is intense and angry – I liked it.]
3) Tag Team Turmoil World Cup Greatest Tag Team in the World EVAHH Elimination Match-Ups Tournament Thing
A bunch of Smackdown level tag team matches resulting in a final victory for Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows after 30 minutes. Look, it was not bad. Far from it. Entertaining enough, and I think Roode and Ziggler are vastly under-rated in WWE. However, after the Tag Team Tournament in AEW and some of those matches, I think I’ve been spoiled rotten because this did not feel like it ever got out of second gear. So, sue me, I’ve come to like my flippy pseudo-gymnasts. Anyway, like I said, certainly a fun way to spend half an hour. Hang on… a trophy that didn’t get broken? What alternate wrestling universe did I step into?
4) Cesaro v Mansoor
Mansoor had to win, and who better to carry him to a very good match than Cesaro? And this was quite a good match. Ceasro is under-rated, and why he hasn’t been a multiple-time world champion is beyond me. I liked this match. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t all Cesaro. Mansoor was definitely up for it, and help up his end of the deal. There is potential in this kid. But Cesaro deserves more in the WWE. Just over ten minutes of goodness that saw Mansoor win to the biggest pop I’ve heard at a WWE show in ages. Post-match, Monsoor is all emotional and delivers a fine speech.
[Bonus Thought: NXT are joining Raw and Smackdown on Survivor Series? Well, that could be interesting. I mean it. Colour me intrigued. I’m up for this…]
5) Braun Strowman v Tyson Fury
Do we call this a celebrity match? Or is it going to be Butterbean pt 2? No, this was a bad wrestling match, Fury looked like he was exhausted not long into it, and Fury won by countout, then Strowman got his heat back (I guess) by powerslamming him after the bell. This was a celebrity match. Lawrence Taylor has still had the best celebrity match I’ve seen (am I allowed to admit that in this day and age?) and this was not even close.
6) The 24/7 stuff sucks. A lot. Kill it. Kill it with fire.
7) United States Championship Match: AJ Styles v Humberto Carrillo
Can we say foregone conclusion, boys and girls? But, what happened to the AJ Styles who could put on a barn-burner with anyone? Sure, he’s older and has been WWE-ified, but this felt like it was recorded at 45 and played at 33 ⅓, and that definitely did not play to Carrillo’s strengths, so he never really got a chance to shine. Still, look, it was not a bad match, it was just nothing special. Styles won.
8) Natalya Neidhart v Lacey Evans
Interesting – they have to wear t-shirts! Okay, I can live with Natalya getting the nod to be a part of this. But Lacey Evans? Seriously? I could think of, I don’t know, a dozen women more deserving… but maybe it’s because of what needs to be presented in the ring in Saudi Arabia. Look, I am not going to play down the importance of this match. The fact that this has been allowed is nothing short of shocking. Both women played faces, they subdued a lot of stuff (especially the sexuality), and the result was the best match I have seen Evans have. Okay, it was not brilliant. But it was certainly watchable. A few times you could see Natalya guiding Lacey through the match. And Natalya won with the sharpshooter. Then afterwards they hug it out, and hug out with some woman at ringside (who I am going to guess was involved in making this happen). That emotion looked genuine – quite the rarity. Better than I thought it was going to be, that was for sure.
9) Flair’s Team v Hogan’s Team
No-one’s fooled – this is the real main event of the evening. I normally hate the commentary on WWE programming, but Michael Cole’s “helmet with a fist” comment made me laugh. (I remember, post-WMVI, the helmet with the fist and Venom’s column: ‘Ban the helmet or ban Hogan’… and I am now really outing myself as incredibly old.) Again, this isn’t going to win any MOTY awards and, really, the first half was dull… but then it picked up and it was just a lot of fun. I mean, I called the ending as soon as soon as the teams were announced. Reigns wins for Team Hogan with the spear on the opposing captain, Orton. Just fun. I’ll take a fun match.
10) Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt, the Fiend, whatever
You know, you’re only supposed to do a sequel if the first one was good. Well, the match these two had at Hell in a Cell was crap. Somehow, this was just as bad, maybe even worse. Seth has now killed every single finisher he has used in the WWE. They did it in the red light again. 20 minutes that felt like an hour. Dull. Bad. These two just have no chemistry in the ring. However, Wyatt won, is the new champion, so there is that. Still, not a good way to end the show.
So… we had two celebrity matches that sucked and a main event that sucked and continued to suck and is probably still sucking right now. There were no MOTY candidates. Styles-Carrillo was boring. The battle royal was a mess. However, the rest of the matches were fun, with MOTN being Cesaro-Mansoor. I said at the outset I was not looking forward to anything on the card, but the matches that were fun were certainly worth watching.
If you ignore the main event, this was a fair to middling PPV. The main event does drag it down a fair bit, though.
Tags: 2019, AJ Styles, Battle Royal, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Cesaro, Crown Jewel, Hulk Hogan, Humberto Carrillo, Lacey Evans, Mansoor, Natalya, neidhart, Rey Mysterio, Ric Flair, seth rollins, Tyson Fury, WWE