A month ago the WWE Live Tour was in town so I checked it out. The Summer show I went to was a RAW show and this one was for Smackdown so we get a different cast of characters this time.
Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: New Day – Big and Kofi (c) vs The Revival
Fun opener. Big E is truly as hilarious in person as on TV. From the dancing to laying across the turnbuckles like below, the man loves to have a good time and it’s infectious.
The Revival is a much better act in this environment when they can do the full extent of their act, as opposed to on TV when they don’t have the time. Here they did an extended mishap to bickering to suckering in the opponent bit that was pretty funny right up until the swerve was revealed. Performances like this are what you get when you go to a house show as opposed to TV or even a pay per view where they have to stick to the action and to whatever the finish is supposed to accomplish or move forward in the angle. Whenever someone tells you house shows are the best it’s because of matches like this one. All four guys are pros at this and put on a good one to kick things off with a successful defense for the champs. Perfect way to open the show.
Dana Brooke vs Tamina
This was pretty short. Both ladies got a some offense in for a few minutes before Dana won with a roll up. Although this match didn’t have any significance in the grand scheme of things it’s good to see Dana getting a singles match and a win on a show; hopefully this will lead somewhere for her in the near future, because she’s improved by leaps and bounds over the time she’s spent on the roster.
Apollo Crews, Shorty G, Gran Metailk, and Lince Dorado vs Cesaro, Robert Roode, Dolph Ziggler, and Luke Harper
And here’s your get everyone in, multi-man tag match! In this particular case we have eight guys who can all do a lot of good stuff, and they all got some stuff in which made for a entertaining affair here. The kids, including mine, love the Lucha House Party guys and they did not disappoint while Crews and G got plenty of cool moves in and the heels played off of them great. This was one of the last appearances in the company for Harper, who has since moved on. If you ever read this Luke, thanks for everything. It was great to see you in action all these years.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Bayley (c) vs Nikki Cross
Bayley and Nikki have been going at it for a while, including a few times on TV, so they’re pretty familiar with each other. Bayley has really embraced her heel persona and employs a lot of classic heel stuff like going outside the ring to stall, and getting on the mic to run down the fans. The match itself was pretty good and both ladies got all their important stuff in. Bayley retained the title by using the ropes to help with the pin. Bayley’s effort to work heel over the last few months is to be commended and the entire slow burn of her turning that transpired over a five month period was some good storytelling. There’s another gear she can hit, in my opinion, and hopefully she gets there.
Roman Reigns vs Baron Corbin
If you need any proof as to why Roman has the position he has in the company, you would have gotten it here. He got the loudest pop of the night, the whole building was behind him, and several chants broke out during the match. He’s clearly more comfortable in front of crowds than he’s ever been and is having lots of fun out there. While a lot of my fellow Reigns fans want him to be doing bigger things that midcard feuds like he has this year you can’t say that he isn’t personally enjoying it out there. Corbin got a ton of heat from the crowd; I’ve seen him live three times this year and each time he gets it good from the people in the building. I know he isn’t a darling of smart fans and workrate marks, even though he isn’t a bad worker at all, but the people who come to just watch the show react to him exactly the way you want them to if you’re a promoter.
As for the match itself, it was a good one. Both guys worked the crowd great, everything was smooth and well executed but not so much that it looked choreographed or anything. And there were some cool counter sequences like we’re used to Reigns matches, like the finish here:
This match could very well have served as the main event for the night, and really felt like it’s place right before intermission was basically a ‘if you need to get home early, here’s what we know you really came to see so we’re good now’ move. And while I enjoyed what came after if for some reason the show had to end here it would have been fine with me.
Intermission happened and then……
NXT Cruiserweight Title Match: Lio Rush (c) vs Angel Garza
These two went from tearing it up on TV several times to doing it again here. Lio has since lost the title to Garza but here he was the defending champion making a homecoming title defense, complete with a DC flag for his entrance:
The match itself wasn’t too far off what they’ve done on NXT TV, and that’s not an issue because it was every bit as good. Lio got the win here as expected. Garza, now the reigning cruiserweight champion, is a big star in the making and Lio has done well for himself since coming back to join NXT after things went a sideways on the RAW roster. They put on a good one here and 2020 should be a year where they do even more of that.
Intercontinental Title Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Mustafa Ali
Nakamura doesn’t defend too much in front of the TV cameras but he has been doing it on the road for what that’s worth. Sami Zayn was with him, and he did his shtick on the mic to get heat as well as he does on TV.
The crowd went along with it, too. Pretty good match as both guys are pros and Nakamura can still turn it on when needed. Ali does great work as a babyface. After several minutes and copious interference Zayn does a run in to get Nakamura DQ’ed, and the beat down is on until……Daniel Bryan comes in for the save! Crowd shows him some love and we get in ‘impromptu’ tag match!
Bryan and Ali vs Zayn and Nakamura
This went on for a few minutes, was pretty good action, and the good guys won. It’s good to see Sami get in the ring again, as great as he’s been doing as Shinsuke’s manager these past few months.
Here’s where I got to make a quick point. Some of the interactions that take place on TV are to set up house show matches. These Ali/Nakamura matches have been going on for a bit but there’s never been a title match on TV or a PPV. I know that sucks but there’s gotta be something to get you out of the house and come to these things. That’s always been how it works.
And now onto our…..
Now I don’t check the sheets to see what the lineups are for these shows so I had no idea who the challenger would be. I figured it would be the Miz given who all had been on already, but I was wrong and we got:
Universal Title Match: The Fiend Bray Wyatt (c) vs Braun Strowman
This was a last man standing match, good way to keep Braun from having to take a pin in defeat. It also allowed both men to use tables, chairs, etc to cover for them both not exactly being superior in ring workers. The end result was a good, entertaining match between the two. They both get a lot of crap for their in ring skills but with the right setup they can both have entertaining matches just fine. It’s always better to give the boys and girls what they need to entertain than to try and make them get by on the sanctity of pure workrate. The red light thing during the Fiend’s matches doesn’t bother me so much but I get why you may not care for it. Anyhow, Bray retains the title but not in a way that makes Braun look bad.
Once again a good time was had. I’ve said before how much I prefer going to house shows instead of Monday Night RAW. Better atmosphere, more fun, different kind of crowd. People are there to have a good time and not try to get themselves over. This was no exception. Next up is the Holiday Tour. As always you can check out my full photo album here.