By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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WWE Live Event
Kallang, Singapore at Singapore Indoor Stadium
Report by Dot Net reader Peter Lin
Attendance was roughly 7,000 (about 65% capacity with most filling up the more expensive seats). Mike Rome was the ring announcer.
1. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson beat Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre. Corbin came out first and got a lot of heel heat. He seemed perfectly happy to play along. McIntyre got a bit of a mixed cheer, but by far the biggest pop was for Styles. Pretty average back and forth match. Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Corbin for the win.
2. “The Kabuki Warriors” Asuka and Kairi Sane beat WWE Women’s Tag Champions “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in a non-title match. The IIconics showed up first and quickly ran their mouth about Singapore’s heat and humidity for the easy heel heat. They said the titles were not on the line because we don’t deserve that. Heat for them was mixed, as they were ridiculously entertaining with their antics. Asuka and Kairi’s entrance naturally got a big pop. Sane hits the Insane Elbow on Royce after Asuka prevented Kay from getting into the ring.
3. Braun Strowman beat Cesaro. This was an epic back and forth hoss match with Cesaro more than holding his own against Braun and demonstrating his strength. Cesaro is still one of the best wrestlers in the world and Braun was no slouch either. The crowd really wanted to see Cesaro do the big swing, but although it was teased, it never happened. Cesaro attempted a Neutralizer, but Braun reversed it and hit the Running Powerslam for the win. After the match, they brawled a bit more, and Cesaro pulled out a table to the delight of the crowd. Unfortunately for him, Braun overpowered and powerslammed the Swiss Cyborg through the table.
4. Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. It was the first of several title matches of the night! Becky was (not surprisingly) super over and received a huge pop when her music hit, with fans singing along. The muusic is cut short when Alexa showed up and ambushed Becky on the ramp. Alexa got into the ring and taunted Becky about being a coward, which fired up Becky and the match was on. Alexa got in some amazing offense and even went up to the top rope near the end of the match. Becky reversed a schoolgirl pin into the Dis-Arm-Her for the win.
A relatively short intermission took place.
5. “The Revival” Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson defeated Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship. Dawson really got into it with the fans at ringside, which was a treat because this kind of organic heel-fan interaction was really missing from the first half. Ryder jumped to the fan’s defense and it was all awesome. Zack gets a lot of “Woo woo woo” chants and hit a Rough Ryder on Dash, but it was not enough to get the pin. They got the first “This is awesome!” chants of the night and they were well-deserved! Curt ate the Shatter Machine and The Revival retained. Zack and Curt stayed in the ring after the match for the audience to show them some love. Arguably (and surprisingly) the match of the night for many.
6. Ricochet beat Robert Roode and Samoa Joe to retain the U.S. Championship. Each man received a huge pop and Joe seemed particularly pleased with the audience’s love. Ricochet got the biggest pop of course and the new champion seemed very comfortable with the belt. Roode and Joe ganged up on Ricochet, but ultimately their alliance fizzled after both men broke up each other’s pins. There was a cool ending sequence with Ricochet hitting Joe with a dropkick, reversing the Glorious DDT, and then doing a standing shooting star press onto Roode to retain. I think fans wanted more from all three, but the truth is that even without the high spots, it was a very entertaining, well laid-out match.
7. Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the Universal Championship. The house lights darkened and the spotlight on the ring intensified to a warm off-white colour, creating a big match/NXT Takeover feel. It was the main event! Nakamura and Rollins were both super over, and Rollins was impressed when the crowd kept singing Nakamura’s theme even when the music ended. In response to some fans, Rollins started waving his fingers like a conductor to encourage the singing. The singing eventually subsided and was replaced by dueling chants.
However, the opening back and forth pace was a little slow and it became clear that crowd may have become fatigued two hours into the show. Some elements of the crowd started CM Punk chants, which then evolved into “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks”. There were chants for the New Day as well as Rusev Day chants. It was all very rude of the crowd and to both wrestlers’ credit, neither man reacted to the chants, which would only have encouraged more of such behavior.
Eventually the pace picked up and the dueling chants returned along with the second “This is awesome” chant of the night. Nakamura kicked out of a frogsplash and they traded a series of near falls before Rollins finished off the night with a Stomp. Nakamura walked up the ramp to a standing ovation and Rollins stayed in the ring, laid the belt on the mat, and gave a deep bow to Nakamura in a great show of respect. Rollins interacted with the fans to close out the show.
Final Thoughts: All in all, a fantastic and brilliantly paced card. There were no changes to the card announced so fans got exactly what they came for. The production level was through the roof compared to previous years with extra lighting and screens. The event started on time and ended almost exactly 2.5 hours later as promised. WWE comes to Singapore every two years, but this was by far the best show in recent memory.
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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...