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WWE Live Event
Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Report by Dot Net’s Jason Powell
The attendance seemed to between 3,000 and 4,000. It was the lowest turnout I’ve seen for a WWE event at Target Center in years. Perhaps this explains why the WWE broadcast teams plugged this particular live event on Raw and Smackdown this week. Update 1: I forgot to mention that the state high school hockey tournament is taking place in St. Paul, which legitimately sells out the Xcel Energy Center, and surely had an effect on WWE attendance.
Eden Stiles and Greg Hamilton worked the event at ringside. I have no idea why they needed two hosts. From our middle of the lower level viewpoint, it was impossible to tell whether Hamilton was male or female until he was shown on camera and spoke. Nice hair.
1. AJ Styles beat The Miz. Both wrestlers worked showed a lot of light. It’s a house show. Who can blame them? The crowd was really hot for Styles. Miz went took the mic at one point and it seemed like he reversed his lines, as he delivered an insult and then went to his “when my hand goes up” line even though he didn’t put his hand up until then. Styles got the win with a springboard forearm.
2. Darren Young and Jack Swagger beat Adam Rose and Curtis Axel. Why wouldn’t Young and Swagger form a team? Strange. Fans still digs the “We The People” line. Axel typically gets a big hometown reaction, but the thrill seemed to be gone. Rose tapped to Swagger’s ankle lock.
Bray Wyatt delivered a promo on the big screen. There’s nothing to fear and he fears no man. At this point, I was fearful that the advertised Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens main event had been bumped by Kane vs. Wyatt. We ended up getting both matches.
3. Ryback beat Neville. I couldn’t help but feel like the show would have benefitted if Ryback had faced Miz, and Neville had faced Styles. Why not give the hardcore fans a treat by giving them something out of the ordinary featuring two wrestlers they enjoy? That said, I liked this match a lot. It didn’t last too long, but Neville performed some crowd pleasing high spots and they worked pretty well together. Ryback did not play to the crowd nor go for heat. Even he doesn’t seem to know what he is at this point. The crowd still cheered him and chanted “Feed Me More.” Poor Neville is just so wasted on the main roster.
4. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) beat The Uso Brothers to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. The Uso Brothers must have earned this title shot when they lost to Sheamus and Rusev on Smackdown last night. New Day some mic work and Woods played his trusty trombone. The crowd liked both teams and there were loud “New Day Rocks” chants. In the end, Woods distracted the ref while Kofi was being pinned. Jeyimmy kicked Woods off the apron and then walked into Trouble in Paradise, leading to Kofi getting the pin. The crowd gave the Uso Brothers a nice round of applause after the match.
5. Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens by DQ in an Intercontinental Title match. Owens was disqualified for blowing off the refs count while attacking Ambrose, who was tied up in the tree of woe. Owens cut a promo about how how much Minnesota sucks and said he wins because he is from Canada. Owens told fans that the Kevin Owens Show was just beginning. He went to attack Ambrose after the match, but Dean hit Dirty Deeds. Ambrose was the most popular wrestler on the card.
6. Charlotte fought Becky Lynch to a no-contest in a Divas Championship match. This match should have been advertised as I really believe the women are starting to bring in more female fans. I was thrilled to see this match added and was just starting to enjoy the match when Charlotte suffered a cut after taking a knee from Lynch. Charlotte stayed down and covered her face. Lynch just stopped what she was doing and showed concern. Charlotte received medical treatment and the match was quickly called off with Eden announcing that the match was a no-contest. Charlotte had her face covered as she headed backstage. It was difficult to tell what the exact injury was given that she had her face covered.
7. Kalisto beat Sheamus to retain the U.S. Title. Kalisto vs. Del Rio was advertised. I was shocked to see Sheamus if only because Kalisto only seems to work against Del Rio. Sheamus controlled the bulk of the match. The show continued with some blood spots still in the ring from Charlotte’s cut. I didn’t notice any type of disinfectant work being done to that area of the ring, but it’s possible I missed something. Sheamus also bled hard way from the forehead, but it was not severe and the match continued. The match overstayed its welcome by a few minutes.
Update 2: Dot Net reader Cory Spartz passed along footage of the blood spot being cleaned as Charlotte was being taken backstage, so I did indeed miss that.
8. Kane beat Bray Wyatt in a street fight. The screen graphics for fire used during Kane’s entrance looked old school Nintendo quality. Kane appeared to be carrying some extra belly weight. The crowd came to life when a table was introduced. Kane ended up chokeslamming Wyatt through the table. For all I know, they announced the next seven WrestleManias will be held in Minneapolis, because I was racing out of the building to beat traffic the moment the referee made his three count. Eden headed toward the production area during the main event, so I figured I could get a head start too.
Overall, a solid live event. The fans who attended were vocal, but the atmosphere was pretty weak due to the small turnout. I noticed more female fans than usual, including two who were making out hot and heavy in the concourse. Well, unless one of them was actually Greg Hamilton. Call me a pig, but you’ll get no complaints from me about PDA when it involves HLA.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...