12/17 WWE in Rochester results: Vetter’s review of Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship, Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Priest in a street fight, and Omos vs. Akira Tozawa


By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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WWE Live Event
December 17, 2023 in Rochester, Minnesota at Mayo Civic Center
Report by Dot Net contributor Chris Vetter

I’ve literally seen AEW, WWE or WCW in a dozen different cities across MN, WI, Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, but this is my first time having traveled to Rochester for a wrestling show.

This venue is a half-circle structure. I’ll estimate the crowd at 3,500 to 4,000 but this building was fairly packed. The floor and lower bowl were sold out and the upper tier was two-thirds full.  WWE was here in December 2022 but it was a snowy, icy month so I skipped it. However, this year, we have no snow at all in western Wisconsin; I ran Sunday morning in 34 degree weather, which is rather unheard of this close to Christmas.

The show started at 7 p.m. sharp!

1. Jey Uso defeated Finn Balor at 13:11. Balor had a “Matt Cardona-style” match. He stalled and they took turns playing to the crowd. Loud “Yeet!” chants throughout, which I find really annoying. Balor would hit a move and pause to flex and really milked the boos from this hot crowd. The finish came with Balor missing the top-rope doublestomp. Jey hopped to his feet, hit a superkick and a spear for the pin. Satisfying opener.

2. Chelsea Green and Piper Niven defeated Kayden Carter and Katana Chance to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles at 9:05. This was really good. Piper showed off her power advantage early on with a shoulder tackle, and she placed both opponents side-by-side and hit a massive Vader Bomb that got one of the biggest pops of the night. In an equally cool move, Katana did a handstand on Kayden’s shoulders before hitting a splash onto an opponent. It was really impressive live. There were some decent nearfalls here, too, but in the end, Piper hit a running crossbody block on a seated Katana for the pin.

Omos and MVP came out. Omos got on the mic and started to cut a babyface promo, talking about how being in the WWE has allowed him to travel all over the world and see all the wonderful places… and Rochester is the worst place he’s ever seen. Sure, we all knew where he was going, but it was fun to get there. MVP pulled out a stack of money, claiming it was $10,000, and he would give it to anyone who could knock Omos off both his feet. Out came Akira Tozawa!

3. Omos (w/MVP) defeated Akira Tozawa at 4:59. Tozawa did his stupid dance he’s been doing with Chad Gable and Otis of late. What a visual to see them stand toe-to-toe at the bell because of the sheer height difference. Tozawa hit some chops and dropkicks which didn’t budge Omos at all, and he ran, terrified. MVP used his cane on the floor to strike Tozawa, drawing some boos. In an impressive spot, Omos stood on the floor and gave Tozawa a Gorilla Press over the top rope into the ring. Tozawa did hit some Yes Kicks and a top-rope missile dropkick, but Omos nailed the chokeslam for the pin. This was more fun than it had any right to be.

4. Nia Jax defeated Shayna Baszler at 5:02. Nia attacked from behind as Shayna was removing her shirt, and she hit a Samoan Drop. Shayna stomped on Nia’s elbow and worked over the arm, and she applied a crossarm breaker, with the crowd taunting Nia to tap out. However, Nia hit the Yokozuna butt drop from the corner for the pin. Not terrible, but this certainly didn’t have the crowd’s interest as much as the first three matches.

* A backstage vignette from Damian Priest, who said he would beat Cody Rhodes later in a street fight. (I don’t think he said “Rochester.” Point being, this same clip could probably be used in city after city.)

5. LA Knight and Kevin Owens defeated Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa at 6:42. Knight came out first and did his “Let me talk to you!” bit. He didn’t add much before introducing Owens, who got a massive pop. They donned Santa hats at the bell. One of the heels snapped Owen’s arm across the top rope, and they extensively worked Kevin over. Knight got the hot tag and hit a running boot in the corner. Owens hit a Stunner, and Knight made the pin on Jimmy Uso. I didn’t realize the match was this short until I looked at my stopwatch because it felt like they got a decent amount of offense in.

6. Cody Rhodes defeated Damian Priest in a street fight at 10:15. Another massive pop for Cody. Cody hit an impressive delayed vertical suplex, as Priest is no small man to hold upside down that long. They brawled out of the ring and toward the entrance stage, then back to ringside. Priest pulled out a kendo stick and he struck Cody several times on his back and thigh, not his stomach. Priest rolled to the floor and pulled a table out from under the ring, which POPPED the crowd. Priest immediately slid it back under the ring, and waved at us, laughing that he was refusing to use it, and of course, he got booed too. In the ring, Cody finally got the cane and he hit Priest a few times — same thing, on the back or front thigh. Cody hit the springboard Disaster Kick. He got the table (massive pop!) and he powerbombed Priest through the table in the ring. He then hit the CrossRhodes for the pin. These two worked hard. Cody autographed a piece of the table and handed it to a young kid in the front row.

* Intermission. Cody stayed at ringside, walked around the ring, signed autographs and posed for photos the entire 15-minute break. Really cool he did that.

7. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins defeated “LWO” Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro at 6:49. Not terrible but closer to the Shayna vs. Nia match in less crowd response. It must be stressed how jacked and ripped Montez is right now; it felt like 18 months ago he was on the verge of breaking out as a singles star and that window has closed for now. However, seeing him stand toe-to-toe with Del Toro was startling, not just because he’s taller, but just the muscle mass advantage. Dawkins hit a D’Lo-style Sky High powerbomb for the pin. Okay match but nothing stood out, either.

8. The Miz, Johnny Gargano, and Tomasso Ciampa defeated “Imperium” Gunther and Ludvig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci at 11:18. Imperium came out fist, then DIY, then Miz, who got a bigger pop than I would have anticipated. This match felt like three chapters, one for each of the babyfaces. Imperium worked over Ciampa extensively. Miz was begging for the hot tag, and it appeared Gunther was going to let Ciampa tag out so he could get his hands on Miz, but then Gunther grabbed Ciampa’s ankle and kept working him over. Gunther made the hand gesture toward Miz that implies Gunther has ‘large balls.’ Funny. Gargano finally got the hot tag and he cleared the ring. He finally tagged in Miz, who hit a top-rope crossbody block on Gunther. (There were so few top rope moments on the show, this stood out.) Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale faceplent on Vinci for the pin.

9. Seth Rollins defeated Drew McIntyre and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Triple Threat to retain the World Heavyweight Championship at 16:46. Nakamura rolled to the floor at the bell, so Seth battled Drew. Nakamura got in and fought Rollins while Drew recovered on the floor, and for a bit, this sure felt like a handicap match. We did have maybe a minute in the middle where Drew and Nakamura traded blows in the ring, but this was basically two-on one. Seth nailed a dive through the ropes to the floor (which was actually the only dive of the whole show!) The heels went for a team suplex, but Rollins turned it into a double DDT. Drew hit the Claymore Kick on Nakamua and went for a cover, but Rollins hit a Stomp on McIntyre’s head. Rollins then took a few steps back and waited for Drew to get up on his hands and knees, then Seth launched off Drew’s back and hit the Stomp on Nakamura’s head for the pin.

* Seth got on the mic after the match and the crowd chanted “CM Punk!” Rollins thanked the fans for being there and supporting him and WWE. The show ended just before 10 p.m. CST.

Final thoughts: What a great house show. Lots of top stars, lots of champions wearing their title belts. Sure, everyone will have a favorite who wasn’t there, but this was a star-studded event, and this crowd was hot for all of it. I have been at a WWF/WWE house show in past years where a Bull Buchanan came to the ring and a quarter of the crowd hopped up and left for the concession stands (not an exaggeration, either!) This show didn’t have that. The crowd was into everyone they saw. Great pops for the babyfaces Cody, Seth, Owens, Jey Uso, LA Knight, and to a lesser extent, Miz.

I mentioned my travels for wrestling at the top. I was living in southern Minnesota in 1998 and went to a Nitro in Minneapolis, then later that week, went to a WCW house show in Sioux Falls, S.D. That show was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The crowd was eager to see the top WCW stars who had been in Minneapolis days earlier: DDP, Goldberg, Sting, Nash, Luger, etc. None were there. It was a whole show of B-list roster members, with a lethargic Konnan-Scott Hall main event that was downright terrible. Fans left MAD. I listened to the fans in the hallways as they left and they were not eager for WCW to come back. I tell that story because WWF/WWE has never made that mistake in the shows I’ve attended. Sure, there aren’t “three-star matches,” but the fans came to see the stars, and they got them here.


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