this was my first live WWE event since the RAW/SNME taping at Verizon Center in July 2008. this was also the first time I had ever been to a non-televised event. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but GAWDAMN, this show far exceeded my expectations.
first off, John Cena was not there, due to the hip injury he suffered on Tuesday nite. I’ve heard he’s listed as day-to-day, and since he missed the previous nite’s show, I wasn’t expecting him to be in DC. RAW ring announcer, Justin Roberts, announced that they would give full refunds to Cena marks within the first hour of the show. he also said that Big Show would replace Cena in a steel cage match against Wade Barrett, in the main event. Show came out to cut a promo, but the audio mix sounded a bit off, and it was difficult to make out what he was saying. this would be a common theme thruout the evening whenever someone would get on the mic.
12-Man Battle Royal: Winner Gets A Match with Daniel Bryan for the United States Championship
participants included: Ted DiBiase (winner), Zack Ryder, Primo, Yoshi Tatsu, Mark Henry, William Regal, DH Smith, Vladimir Kozlov, Alex Riley, and three members of Nexus (David Otunga, Husky Harris, and Michael McGillicutty)
this was a great match to open the show with, plenty of action from beginning to end. the final four came down to the three members of Nexus and Mark Henry. crowd was really behind Henry as he eliminated Otunga and McGillicutty. as he attempted to eliminate Harris, DiBiase rolled back in the ring, underneath the bottom rope, and dumped them both over the top rope. so much action to keep track of, I totally missed it when Ted originally left the ring.
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov d. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (Nexus) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
I was hoping for a title change here, or at least the opportunity to see Gabriel land a 450 splash. Nexus controlled the match, using frequent tags and referee distractions to work on Kozlov. eventually tho, Kozlov made a hot tag to Santino, which turned the match in their favour. Santino gave both Slater and Gabriel, The Cobra, and he and Kozlov pinned them simultaneously.
Gail Kim & The Bella Twins d. Melina, Alicia Fox, & Maryse
each gal was dressed in a Santa’s Helper outfit. the divas sure are nice to look at, and even nicer when you get to watch them from the front row at ringside. this match originally started off as a dance contest, as each Bella did the worm. after a few more dance moves, Melina, Alicia, and Maryse jumped on Gail and the Bellas to officially start the match. there was a guy sitting a few seats down from me, who drew the ire of Maryse, as he kept waving a rubber chicken at her. Gail pinned Melina for the win. Maryse grabbed the rubber chicken after the match, and ran back to the locker room.
John Morrison d. Sheamus in a DC Street Fight
Sheamus came out in his full king attire, complete with his green cape, and crown. he cut a promo on Morrison, but again there were issues with the soundboard, so I couldn’t make out too much of what he was saying other than he was going to make Morrison bow to his king. this match had plenty of great high-impact spots. Sheamus went under the ring to grab a kendo stick, which he used to administer some hard shots to the back of Morrison. I could definitely see the red marks on his back. Morrison got a bamboo stick, and administered a few lashes to the back of Sheamus. the action spilled out to the floor, where Sheamus grabbed a chair. when they got back on the ring, Sheamus went back on the offensive, and tried to give Morrison a Celtic Cross thru the chair, which Morrison escaped out of. with Sheamus dazed, and sitting on the chair, which had been set up in the middle of the ring, from the previous spot, Morrison delivered a spinwheel kick to the side of Sheamus head, and got the pin.
The Miz d. Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship
Orton came out to the biggest pop of the nite. I should also thank Randy, b/c I got some great shots of him on the turnbuckle prior to the match. The Miz came out along with his protege (and DC native) Alex Riley. true to form, Riley was carrying the Money In The Bank briefcase. this was another great back-and-forth match with plenty of near pins, and tease spots involving both guys finishers. Riley did his thing on the outside, interfering several times while the ref was distracted. Riley’s interference lead to Miz’s Skull-Crushing Finale. after the match, the anonymous RAW GM sent a text msg to Justin Roberts. he said Miz would hafta leave the ring, and Alex Riley would hafta wrestle Orton. this would be a quick squash match, where Orton got the pin following an RKO.
Daniel Bryan d. Ted DiBiase to retain the United States Championship
it was nice to get a second look at the Bellas, who accompanied Bryan to the ring, and Maryse, who accompanied DiBiase. there were a lot of “you tapped out!” chants directed at DiBiase. in addition to the awesome technical display from both wrestlers displayed, this match had plenty of comic relief spots, as well. the rubber chicken guy made his presence felt once again (much to the chagrin of the security guy I was sitting next to) Bryan asked for the rubber chicken in the ring, which got some laughs from the crowd. Bryan and DiBiase did a spot where they criss-crossed back-and-forth. Bryan stopped, but DiBiase continued to do this for about 10 seconds. Bryan gave DiBiase a helicopter spin for like 20 seconds, which got a nice pop from the crowd. DiBiase was out of sorts, and tried pinning the referee, which got a three-count from Bryan. Maryse got a helicopter spin from one of the Bellas, which also got a pop from the crowd. Maryse followed DiBiase’s suit, and attempted to pin him, which got the other Bella in the ring to administer a three-count. Bryan showcased a few submission moves including a modified surfboard, and his finisher, the LeBell Lock. propz to DiBiase as well. he doesn’t get a chance to showcase his talents on tv, but he definitely has some in-ring skillz!
DH Smith d. Tyson Kidd
two guys who don’t necessarily get a lot of tv time. Kidd was last seen boasting that he would be the next US champion, right before he was squashed by Mark Henry on the latest episode of RAW. Smith is the son of Davey Boy (RIP) so the pedigree is definitely there for this guy to be a force in the future. Kidd’s bodyguard, Jackson Andrews, was at ringside, but didn’t do much. Smith won with his father’s patented finisher, the running powerslam. Andrews got in the ring, after the match, and received a similar fate. Smith musta slammed him something fierce, b/c Andrews immediately rolled out of the ring, and stumbled all the way back to the dressing room.
after a brief intermission to set up the steel cage, it was time for the main event.
Big Show d. Wade Barrett
Barrett came out in his Nexus shirt, so it will be interesting to see where he goes, the next time he surfaces on RAW. I don’t think he’s beeon on tv since he lost to Cena at TLC, two weeks ago. Barrett tried unsuccessfully several times, to climb out of the cage. Big Show landed a few slaps across the chest, which the entire arena could hear. I’m pretty sure I saw Barrett say “FUCK!” after one of them. Barrett managed to get in a few moves, but Show took control, and won with a chokeslam. I wasn’t expecting Show to scale the cage, but he could’ve chokeslammed him, and then exited thru the cage door to win. maybe I’m nit-picking, but what’s the point of a cage match, if u can win by pinfall. propz to Show for filling in for Cena. Smackdown’s loss is RAW’s gain!
this was a tremendous card from top to bottom, and to sit just a few feet from the ring, was an added bonus. I must’ve taken about 150 pics. I’ll have time this weekend to sift thru them, and I’ll have a few posted by Tuesday. hats off to the entire roster! a lot of wrasslin’ fans stay away from house shows, b/c they think since it’s not on tv, nothing’s gonna happen. BUT, house shows are where you get the actual wrestling, b/c they’re not out there advancing storylines with 20-minute promos. on the imdb ratings scale, I give this show a 9/10
biggest pops of the nite go to Randy Orton (by far, the most over with the crowd) Morrison, Show, and Henry when it was down to him and Nexus in the battle royal
biggest heat of the nite goes to Nexus, The Miz, and Sheamus
Match of the Nite: John Morrison vs. Sheamus
Diva of the nite: Maryse
but wait, there’s more to the rubber chicken guy. my friend remembered him from a RAW show in 1997! he was about to take an awesome pic of the Road Warriors, but rubber chicken guy walked right in front of his shot. my friend met him after the show, so he could email him the photo. rubber chicken guy said he would sign a release, if he could get in the ring one time.
WWE returns to the Verizon Center on June 20 for the Fatal Four-Way pay per view. tix go on sale tomorrow at 10 AM.