WWE – Super Showdown (Cert 12)

2 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 232 minutes approx.

Having proven that a live supershow held overseas is no longer a logistical nightmare with regard to different time zones thanks to the WWE Network, Vince McSenile sends his troops down under for this huge stadium show marking the first time WWE has paid a visit to the antipodes since 2002!

Unlike their Saudi paymasters, WWE didn’t have to acquiesce to any ludicrous demands like filling the card with retired legends, requesting deceased wrestlers, and keeping women off the show, but then again I don’t think the Aussies’ budget is as deep as the Saudis’. But it was decided that the current roster wasn’t strong enough to headline this super show which meant dragging the rusty old timers out for one last hurrah.

Ironically, the main event in 2002 was a Triple Threat for the WWE title with The Rock defending against Brock Lesnar and Triple H. I bet you can’t guess which one of these three was back to headline this show? Hint: it’s not the Hollywood guy or the Paul Heyman guy. However, unlike the last show, there are actually some Australian wrestlers on the card, and no Outback Jack wasn’t one of them.

Super Showdown took place on October 6th 2018 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia before a crowd of approximately 62,000 (announced as 70, 309) with commentary provided by Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young.

As ever, while my match review won’t contain any results or major spoilers, expect plenty of opinion and backstory to the matches.

 

WWE Smackdown Tag Title Match – The New Day (c) vs. The Bar

As if to illustrate how this is pretty much a big scale house show, we open with the 100th meeting between The New Day and The Bar over the past month. Not to say it wasn’t a good match as it was, but the champs have only just won titles and having seen this plenty of times before recently, there is little to get enthused about. Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston worked the match employing what looks like a nifty new finisher.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

Turning Becky heel after building her up as a sympathetic underdog was a shortsighted mistake philosophically, but ironically has made her MORE popular than she ever was. Despite continuing to portray Becky as evil, the cheers get louder and heartier and the fans here in Oz are also on board with supporting Becky and ignoring WWE creative’s foolish whims.

Charlotte wasn’t necessarily booed as such here but Becky was heavily cheered more which says it all really. Match was really good as expected up, at least until the lame finish, designed to prolong the feud for a little longer so it served a purpose in the long run, but should have been saved for a TV rematch not a huge stadium show. 

Bobby Lashley & John Cena vs. Kevin Owens & Elias

For some reason, Elias’ rendition of the riff from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck has been edited off this release. However, the big story was John Cena, interrupting the making of a new film in China with Jackie Chan to appear on this show. Having grown his hair out, Cena now resembles JBL much to everyone’s amusement.

Worse still, because he is now Hollywood’s property and insurance against injury is costly, Cena only worked for 40 SECONDS in this match, debuting a new finisher so lame and wimpy it makes the Attitude Adjustment look like Mitsuharu Misawa’s Tiger Driver ‘91 on Toshiaki Kawada from their classic June 3rd 1994 match! 

The Iiconics vs. Asuka & Naomi 

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are the first of the Aussies to appear and they get a polite response since they are heels, yet they cut a babyface promo about coming “home”. They were called up to the main roster from NXT to Smackdown after Wrestlemania 34 and were instrumental in Carmella cashing in her MITB briefcase on Charlotte to win the SD Women’s title.

Since then they’ve been presented as a comedy act with hardly any wins to their name but they are on home turf so maybe the booking will be in their favour. my Goddess Asuka has dyed her hair with florescent yellow streaks so it glows in the dark in tandem with Naomi’s outfit! Match was what it needed to be.

WWE Title No DQ, No Count Out Match –  AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe

You may have noticed that all of the SD titles are on the line here whilst all the RAW champions are in tag matches. Anyway, this match continues the Styles vs. Joe feud after a controversial finish to their match at Hell In A Cell, hence the relaxed rules stipulation.

Great action as usual from these two, starting off as a standard, hard hitting wrestling match before a chair was brought into play then a table and it got nasty real quick. Not overtly hardcore but enough stiff shots and brutality to elevate the intensity levels en route to making it the best match on the show.

Ronda Rousey & The Bella Twins vs. The Riott Squad 

Coming into this match, the big story was Liv Morgan who Brie Bella accidentally KO’d by kicking her in the face during a match on RAW, leaving her with a concussion a week before this show. Luckily, Morgan recovered and was cleared to work, so if her shots to Brie look a bit stiff you know why.

Basic house show match with Rousey getting the hot tag after Nikki Bella was beaten on, doting her thing and sending the fans home happy. Apart from Brie grabbing Liv’s tongue (eww!) there was little newsworthy about this match. Trivia note: Rousey lost her UFC title in Melbourne, ending her near 3-year title reign, making this an emotional return for her.

WWE Cruiserweight Title Match – Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy

If you don’t watch 205 Live or have never watched NXT then you might not know who Buddy Murphy is. He is a former NXT tag champion with Wesley Blake, who were managed by one Alexa Bliss, now Murphy’s real life fiancé. After splitting up, Murphy dropped weight to join the cruiserweights on 205 Live in early 2018.

And him being the other Aussie on the show explains the phenomena of a cruiserweight match placed so high on the card and receiving a sustained enthusiastic response from the fans. The result of the match having this much investment meant the action was just that bit crisper and both guys worked hard, but this was the hometown boy’s time to shine and the crowd were with him.

The Shield vs. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre

A bit like Becky Lynch, Strowman is still getting face pops despite turning heel on Reigns the night after Summerslam, although to be fair the Shield did attack Braun first. Aligning Strowman with Ziggler and McIntyre was meant to get him booed but it hasn’t worked, although this has elevated his partners, especially McIntyre.

To be honest this match seemed to go on forever and while the work was solid, there was a lull in the middle that caused it to drag. The tension within the ranks of The Shield, specifically with Ambrose was again teased otherwise this was your typical house show/TV main event match eked out beyond its usefulness. 

WWE Title No 1 Contender’s Match – Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

A feud that has been brewing for years and so far has run across two PPVs already, the stakes were raised with the winner getting a future title shot at the WWE Champion. So, this should make this grudge match something pretty heated and dramatic right? If you’ve answered “yes”, you’ve clearly never heard if McBooking…

Last Time Ever No DQ match – Triple H vs. Undertaker

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally the last time ever these two legends will face off in a WWE ring, cross out hearts and hope to die, no returns thank you! That is the promise for this mega main event spectacle sold as the sole reason to watch this show because none of the current full time roster have the drawing power to headline and event of this magnitude.

To add some spice to this final, last ever, never to be seen again meeting Kane was in Undertaker’s corner and Triple H has Shorn Michaels in his. No, that wasn’t a typo – HBK not only cut his hair short he’s now shaved his head bald!! And at the last minute, this was made a No DQ match although surely two such seasoned veterans as these two need smoke and mirrors to get their match over?

Sadly, they did. Some might have bought into the hype and get some nostalgia from seeing this match up again but there is no escaping the fact neither man can perform at a top level anymore and it showed here. Basically, go back at watch their earlier matches but watch them on slow motion and you have an idea of how this Botchamania worthy embarrassment of a snooze fest played out. A ten-minute showcase for Auld Lang Syne would have worked – this went 27 minutes! And the post match shenanigans suggests this isn’t over after all.

 

Bottom Line:

I’ve referred to this event as a glorified house show throughout this review and frankly there is little argument to make against this. I’m not being churlish, the evidence is in the line-up – the only “fresh” match is Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy, everything else is a rematch or a minor variation of matches from prior PPVs and TV feuds that make up the cards of their non-televised events.

At the risk of appearing ageist or disingenuous towards Triple H (49) and Undertaker (53), this shouldn’t be a main event match in 2018. It wouldn’t be for Wrestlemania, Summerslam or any US PPV and I get their marquee name value added something in selling this show, but the pay off just wasn’t commensurate to the weeks of build up on TV for this writer.

One thing this show does do is remind us of how important the women are to the WWE product now. After the sausage fest that was the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi “Women’s rights? Pah!” Arabia the three matches on this card reminded us of the variety and colour they bring to a WWE card, especially now they focus on them as wrestlers and not eye candy.

Tl;dr – Nothing to see here except the Cruiserweights nearly stealing the show.

Best Match –  AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

 

Extras:

German Language

Disc 2 Only:

Monday Night RAW August 20th 2018 – The Era Is Back!

Monday Night RAW September 3rd 2018 – Is It respect? Or Is It Fear?

Monday Night RAW September 10th 2018 – I Will put you Down!

Monday Night RAW September 17th 2018 – Standing In My Corner Will Be My Brother Kane!

Monday Night RAW September 24th 2018 – And Then It Got Personal

 

Rating – ** ½    

Man In Black

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