By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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WWE Live Event
Brighton, England at Brighton Centre
Report by Dot Net reader Gaz Williams
Brighton Centre is a fantastic venue for WWE as it isn’t a big place, so even the cheap seats have a good view of the ring. There were a few blocks of empty seats dotted about which was surprising as it it usually packed out.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the U.S. Championship. Dueling chants of “let’s go Hardy” and “Nakamura” for most of the match, started with some basic hold and counter hold grappling, Nakamura mocked Hardy’s dancing so Hardy responded in kind, then followed a strong back and forth contest that gave both men a chance to show off their signature moves. Shinsuke got the pin after he knocked Hardy off the top rope as he went for a Swanton and finished him with a Kinshasa. Great opener that has the crowd pumped up. Side note: My son got a bit upset that Jeff lost. I managed to console him but haven’t the heart to tell him it’s not a real fight.
2. Trent Severn defeated Zach Gibson to retain the Progress Atlas Championship. A Moustache Mountain chant was heard from a few areas of the crowd, but I did hear a kid behind me asking their parents who Trent was. Gibson came out to boos from the same sections and gave a cheap heat promo telling us how much better Liverpool is the Brighton (guessing this was so those unfamiliar with them knew who to root for). Gibson spent most of the match working over Trent’s left arm and quickly shutting down Trent’s flurries of offense. Finished with Trent making a comeback and getting the pin with the Burning Hammer. Pretty standard match but the wrestlers held the crowd throughout.
3. Naomi and Asuka vs Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Asuka is still over in a big way despite how poorly she is being utilized at the moment. Unfortunately, this match never really got into a higher gear, Asuka started but the heels gained the upper hand once Naomi tagged in, she was isolated for most of the match, Asuka got a hot tag and won after Sonia tapped out to the Asuka lock. Overall a very forgettable match.
5. Andrade Almas defeated Shelton Benjamin. Shelton was out first, Andrade stepped into the ring and immediately attacked Shelton, Andrade then stood on the turnbuckle, mouthed off to the crowd, went back to Shelton… Paydirt, 1…2…3, match was over, the entrances took longer.
6. “The Bar” Sheamus and Cesaro defeated The Usos and New Day in a Triple Threat to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles. Big E and Jay started out, not much action to begin with as it was mostly E starting “New Day Rocks” chants but thankfully they got going just as it started getting tedious, they exchanged punches for a bit, Jay tagged in Jimmy, and E tagged in Kofi, who twerked for a bit while Woods played trombone, they fought until Jimmy got tagged by Cesaro. The Bar quick tagged to isolate Kofi until he hit an S.O.S. Jay got a hot tag and the match broke down. After superkicks and finishers galore, ended when Jay went to dive outside but Cesaro rushed in and rolled him up just as he was about to jump. As good a match as you’d expect from three teams that have worked together as often as they have.
Intermission took so long to get my son a snack that I didn’t have time to get a half time beer.
7. Rusev and Lana defeated R-Truth and Carmela. R-Truth’s entrance rap is old as hell, and it hasn’t been improved with Carmella joining in, but when he asks you “What’s Up” you can’t help but join in, Rusev and Lana were over in a big, big way, “Rusev Day”/”Lana Day”/”Lana is the best chants” all over the place. They had a dance break which seemed to lead to a dance off which Rusev was convinced to attempt a spinaroonie, Truth went for a sneaky roll up then Aiden English ran out from the back and jumped Rusev, Mella and Lana beat him up and he got Machka Kicked out of the ring, they all celebrated, this segment went on for waaaaaay too long. Side note: If you chant “Rusev is the best, Rusev Number 1” he will tell you off!
8. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated “Sanity” Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain (w/Eric Young). Sanity were out first (minus Nikki Cross) Gallows and Anderson came out to a loud “Too Sweet” chant but got jumped by all three members as they entered the ring, Dain took Gallows to the outside and we have Young and Wolfe working the match, bell finally rang, Anderson took a beating thanks to the heels keeping him in their corner with quick tags, double team moves and Dain getting involved whenever the ref was distracted. Gallows eventually tagged in and took out Sanity while Anderson recovered, they then won with a Magic Killer on Wolfe. An enjoyable, if short, tag match, why these teams aren’t featured more prominently I don’t know.
9. Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Both women received mixed reactions, but the majority of the crowd was definitely in Becky’s corner. A well fought back and forth match with Charlotte getting a slightly greater amount of offense, she had some convincing nearfalls even though I can only recall one title change happening at a house show in the last decade (I wasn’t there but the Usos won the tag titles, I can’t remember who they beat). Towards the end of the match, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville ran out followed by Asuka and Naomi, they had absolutely no influence on the match it was bizarre. Charlotte got a fallaway slam and went for a moonsault, but Becky got her knees up and capitalized for a pin. A great match ruined by pointless interference.
10. AJ Styles defeated Samoa Joe and Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat match to retain the WWE Championship. Match of the night and the only one that got a “this is awesome” chant (and rightfully so). Joe had the upper hand early on but was eventually knocked out of the ring, the crowd went nuts as Bryan and AJ shook hands and proceeded to wail on each other. They fought briefly until Joe interjected and Bryan went to the outside. They worked this match brilliantly with each man getting their moments to shine. I could go on at length with a play by play but I’ll just cover a few high spots….
– AJ tried for a suplex on Joe but couldn’t get him over so Bryan helped
– AJ went for a superplex on Bryan but Joe got himself into a powerbomb position for a Tower of Doom
– Bryan ran across the ring to hit multiple corner dropkicks against both AJ and Joe
– AJ set up for the springboard DDT but Joe ran in, AJ struck out with a kick and hit a reverse on Bryan and a normal of Joe
At the risk of sounding like a “smark”, it was epic to see three guys whose careers I’ve followed for so many years competing in a WWE main event. It ended when Bryan was knocked to ringside and Joe went on the attack, AJ charged him but got tossed over the ropes, landed on the apron and came flying back with a Phenomenal Forearm for the win. An amazing match!
Final Thoughts: The beginning and end were fantastic but the middle dragged a bit due to the meaningless filler and I would easily put this in my top five live events (nothing will ever beat Insurrextion 2001). The low point, no doubt, was the irrelevant interruption in the Becky/Charlotte match as it served no purpose and I felt ruined a main event quality match. I asked my son what he favorite bit was he said “the last fight”, he also said my favourite bit “was Becky”, which my wife found highly amusing.
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