By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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WWE Live Event
Saint John, New Brunswick at Harbour Station
Report by Dot Net reader Josh Kotsab
A decent show already but sort of a small turnout compared to years past. This is the first show I remember WWE doing on a Sunday afternoon and in the summer to boot so I’m thinking the 3:00pm bell time may have something to do with the smaller gate.
1. “New Day” Big E and Kofi Kingston beat Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. New Day got the win with the Midnight Hour. No Xavier Woods on the show as he was over in England to accept his Guinness World Record. Something cool that the crowd really dug was that they used the giant inflatable box of Booty O’s for the entrance. The crowd got a real kick out of Kofi and E’s antics.
2. Rusev and Lana beat Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega. Vega cut off Byron Saxton’s intro of Almas. She said she was the only one who can do justice to an introduction for Almas. Good heat for Vega. A big pop for Rusev and an even bigger pop for Lana who made a separate entrance to her own music. The crowd enjoyed the pre match routine of each team. They did the old babyfaces pose in the corners and got a reaction, then the heels did the same to boos. They kept escalating their antics until Rusev and Lana kissed and challenged Almas and Vega to do the same. Almas finally leaned in for the kiss from Vega but she turned him down. Standard fair here with a good chunk of the match actually being dedicated to Vega vs. Lana in the ring. I took this as a good sign because it shows they’re dedicated to giving Lana ring time to improve. Lana and Rusev won after surprise interference by Aiden English to help them get a double tap out to dual Accolades.
3. Shelton Benjamin pinned Tye Dillinger. The crowd was happy to see the Canadian boy Dillinger, but the nostalgia in a mostly older audience was solidly behind Benjamin. The crowd seemed surprised he was there because he isn’t on TV much. Dillinger had a crowd pleasing Sharpshooter spot, but Benjamin got the win.
4. Charlotte Flair beat Carmella via DQ in a Smackdown Women’s Championship match. Pretty basic stuff. Carmella was a riot with her constant screaming and jaw jacking. Charlotte rather quickly locked in the Figure 8 only for Becky Lynch to hit the ring and attack. Asuka came out for the save and we had a tag match.
5. Charlotte and Asuka beat Carmella and Becky Lynch. I don’t remember a lot from this match mainly because I was so focused on the crowd. Despite WWE’s best efforts, Becky Lynch is NOT a heel. There were MAJOR Becky chants throughout the entire match, when she was squaring off with both Charlotte and Asuka, who eventually got the win.
6. Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows) pinned Luke Harper. Harper was obviously out alone after Erick Rowan’s injury. A standard popcorn style match. Harper showed a lot more personality than he does on TV. He consistently interacted with the crowd and one guy that cheered for him resulted in Harper saying, “Hey, buddy…shut up,” which got a pop from the crowd. Anderson won with a schoolboy after a Gallows distraction.
7. Shinsuke Nakamura beat Jeff Hardy and The Miz in a Triple Threat to retain the U.S. Championship. Each guy got a strong reaction, especially Hardy. A funny moment occurred when Hardy threw his shirt to high into the crowd and it got stuck in the arena’s big jumbotron. Miz hopped on the mic and did the Rick Rude line of “all you fat inner city Saint John sweat hogs keep the noise down while I take off my robe and show you what a real man looks like”. Miz kept doing this for each article of entrance gear he had (robe then glasses then headband) and each time the crowd booed louder and louder. A fun three-way including a fun spot where Miz, extremely successfully, used the Daniel Larusso wax on/was off technique on Nakamura’s kicks and then sold it as if he couldn’t believe it actually worked. Nakamura got the win after delivering a Kinshasa to Miz, who had just hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Hardy, who took the pin.
8. AJ Styles beat Samoa Joe to retain the WWE Championship. Last year I was critical of Joe for very noticeably taking it easy at the last house show here. He was whispering to Greg Hamilton and joking with referees despite being the vicious heel, and he kinda sat in the corner for most of the match without doing anything. This year was the opposite. Maybe it was because he was working with AJ, but Joe delivered as well tonight as he would on any TV match. A strong main event with AJ getting the win after a Phenomenal Forearm.
A side note about AJ. My Godson is a big Styles fan and we ran into him earlier in the day. My Godson was shy so I asked for him if AJ would take a picture with him. AJ flat out told me no that if he took a picture with him he’d have to take a picture with everyone else that was standing outside the mall that recognized him and he couldn’t do that because he had to take off. Usually that’s understandable, but then he just stood by his rental car for like 5 – 7 minutes not doing anything while he waited for Gallows and Anderson to come out. I get these guys are busy and have places to be but he was rather cold about the whole thing and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I think it speaks volumes that after this interaction my Godson got to the merch stand at the arena and suddenly decided he wanted a Rusev Day t-shirt instead of an AJ t-shirt.
1. Jeff Hardy
3. AJ Styles
4. Becky Lynch
5. New Day
1. The Miz
2. Zelina Vega
4. The Bar
5. Luke Harper
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