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WWE Live Event
Amherst, Massachusetts at Mullins Center
Report by Dot Net reader DJ
The Mullins Center itself was about 3/5ths of the way full. The entire upper section was empty, but the crowd itself did not seem bad. A decent crowd, nothing crazy. This was an event that was largely families and some college students. It wasn’t necessarily an internet savvy crowd by any means like Full Sail – which was kind of odd to me because this arena is right in the middle of the UMass Amherst campus.
1. Dean Ambrose beat The Miz (w/Maryse) and Baron Corin in a Triple Threat to retain the Intercontinental Championship. I arrived to my seat about halfway through the match. I assume Miz cut a pre-match promo against the crowd like he did in Albany, but I can’t say for sure. He generated plenty of heat throughout the match, especially with his “Yes!” chants. Ambrose was mega over, especially with the kids, while Corbin was sort of just there. The match was solid, but unspectacular. Ambrose got the win with a Dirty Deeds on to Miz after a Maryse interference backfired in about 15-18 minutes of action. Nothing special, but entertaining enough.
2. Kalisto, Heath Slater, and Rhyno defeated The Vaudevillians and Curt Hawkins. This was about 8 minutes or so. The crowd was pretty dead, minus some “EC-Dub” chants for Rhyno. Kids do love Kalisto, but he wasn’t mega over by any means. Most of the match was building a hot tag from Slater to Rhyno and he eventually hit the Gore for the win. I missed a lot of this match because a kid a few rows above me held up a Curt Hawkins sign for almost the entire match. It baffled me that out of the 3-5 signs in the arena, Hawkins got one and someone willing to hold it up the entire bout. The crowd was pretty quiet despite Slater’s best efforts to win over the crowd.
3. Dolph Ziggler defeated Apollo Crews. Ziggler won in about 12 or so minutes. Ziggler confused me. He seemed to be playing babyface (pointing at fan made signs, high fiving a girl in the front row, putting his hair in a “man bun” to a modest applause), but also played a heel (yelling at fans, dirty tactics to Crews throughout the match, etc). I’m not even sure he knows, he seemed to be just having fun…which I understand is done often at these live events, but it confused me as someone who follows the product weekly. Crews had flashes of offense and the match did pick up nicely towards the end, but a lot of the early minutes were Ziggler playing with the crowd. He eventually won with a Super Kick. It was one of the better matches, despite Crews unfortunately sort of just being there.
4. Bray Wyatt beat Luke Harper to retain the WWE Championship in 10:00. Are you worried Wyatt/Orton might main event WrestleMania? I wouldn’t when Wyatt doesn’t even main event house shows. Wyatt’s entrance was over and pretty cool live. Harper seemed to get a lukewarm reception. The match was the most disappointing in the night from my opinion. I know both men can go, and while I didn’t expect a PPV quality match, I expected more than their signature spots and some back and forth for 10 minutes. Wyatt cut a promo before the match against Harper that was a bit uninspired, but he seemed none too affected by his house burning down. He appeared normally as if nothing happened. I’m not sure how WWE Live follows the main “canon,” but it was confusing as a fan to see Wyatt so normal given the circumstances of his storyline. Wyatt eventually won with the Sister Abigail and Harper received a respectful applause afterwards. Harper sold the “agony of defeat’ in the ring…but then quickly was cheery and flexed to the crowd, which was a bit out of character. Again, he seemed to be having fun and I’m not too critical about that at a house show, but it just seemed odd to me. I was overall very disappointed.
5. Mojo Rawley defeated Konnor (w/ Viktor). This was rough. The crowd was very excited for the second half of the show and Mojo was the first star they saw. Fans just didn’t get him. Nothing for the Ascension either. This was a painfully dull six or seven minutes of action. Mojo eventually won with some sort of elbow to Konnor against the corner, but this was just bad all around.
6. Alexa Bliss beat Becky Lynch, Mickie James, Carmella (w/James Ellsworth), Natalya, and Tamina in a Fatal 6-Way to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship. This was about 10 minutes or so as well. Lynch was wildly over and Natalya got a decent amount of cheers. Mickie got a respectful response. Overall, this was a bit chaotic and hard to follow. Three women were generally in the ring at a time and changing in and out, while the others laid on the floor outside the ring. Tamina seemed to play a babyface and did pretty well, better than I recall her being in the ring prior to her last televised appearances. Bliss eventually rolled up Lynch for the win after an Ellsworth distraction. Lynch struck Ellsworth for pulling Carmella out of the ring, leading to the rollup. Another match I was a bit let down by. I would have preferred a one-on-one women’s match and then another tag team match or something to feature for the women. I wasn’t a fan of them having one match with six superstars. There wasn’t anything that really stood out.
7. John Cena defeated AJ Styles in an Amherst Street Fight. This was about 20 minutes, finishing right up at the exact 9:30 PM mark. Cena was mega over – the only one to bring the Mullins Center to their feet. AJ was solidly booed with a mix of cheers, but this was a Cena crowd all the way. Kids were immensely excited and their were plenty of women and even college males with Cena apparel (the Pabst Blue Ribbon shirt was quite popular among the college crowd). Anyways, the match started with AJ avoiding Cena and constantly rolling outside of the ring. He then cut a promo on the crowd and said he was leaving. Cena pulled him back in and the match ensued. Both kicked out of their respective finishing moves. There was some brawling outside of the ring, with Cena using a guardrail as a weapon. Styles used a steel chair and put Cena threw a table. Eventually, Cena hit the AA to Styles through a table for the pinfall. The crowd was very excited and that concluded the show. It was a fun match, but nothing exceptional to write home about. It was cool for me to see these two square off in person, knowing we may not see it again with Cena’s lighter schedule. It was an entertaining house show street fight. I expected more going in, but it was enjoyable enough.
Overall, I found the event to be a fun diversion. I think it was an excellent show if you are a family. It is clear that these shows are for families. As a longtime fan, I got to see some of my favorites in person for the first time and can say I saw Cena vs Styles live. That is about it for me though. This show, in my opinion, was booked the Sunday after Spring Break for a reason. I think they wanted the families from the surrounding areas more than a college audience. There were plenty of students, but it felt like many students were there for a causal get-together – people who don’t know much of the product but wanted to see it for the novelty. There just weren’t many people with a passion for the product. And that also disappointed me, but it was a fun night overall. The crowd was okay, the action was fine, and I saw some talent I’ve long admired in my 10-plus years of fandom. That’s worth the $20 admission price.