WWE – Super Showdown 2020 (Cert 15)
1 disc (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 191 minutes approx.
I suppose it was an act of purest optimism to expect WWE to start taking these blood money shows more seriously after last year’s Crown Jewel was actually pretty good, and actually progressed some major storylines with a huge Universal Title change!
The second Saudi Arabia Super Showdown was a return to the largely uninspired filler event despite TWO titles changes and the first ever Women’s title match on Saudi soil, relying on tired old feuds, inconsequential bouts, a faux prize tournament match and another mind-boggling main event to make up the time in a half-packed stadium.
At least the journey home was incident free and everyone due to appear on Smackdown Live the next night was able to, which I guess can be seen as a positive, though this is clutching at straws on that front.
Super Showdown took place on February 27th 2020 at the Mohammed Abdu Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with commentary provided by Michael Cole and Corey Graves.
As ever, while my match review won’t contain any results or major spoilers because the DVD back cover artwork does that for me, expect plenty of opinion and backstory to the matches.
Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match – AJ Styles vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Erick Rowan, vs. R-Truth vs. Andrade
Or the “prestigious” Tuwaiq Trophy as it was referred to here, despite it being a quickly made up gimmick to get people on the card whilst sucking up to the hosts. Anyway, without giving too much away the idea was put R-Truth over as a serious competitor rather than a exhausted comedy act in lasting longer than anyone expected him to.
It might have worked too if a) nobody has seen R-Truth as a serious worker in a decade and b) the whole thing descended into a farce by really being an elaborate way to set up a Wrestlemania match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker, executed in the usual ham fisted, counterproductive, nonsensical way WWE does.
WWE SD Tag Title Match – The New Day (c) vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Since they won’t pull the trigger on Miz going beyond IC status as a singles wrestler, he’s been pushed back into the tag team ranks with his returning partner John Morrison (Spade/Blaze/Nitro/Mundo/Hennigan/Impact). It’s fair to say Morrison’s comeback hasn’t been newsworthy, barely lasting a minute in the Royal Rumble and retreading the same old ground as before.
But with New Day having beaten everyone else on SD, throwing M&M straight into the tag title mix offers some freshness to the division if only temporarily. As it happens, this was probably the strongest match on the card but even then, it was only a fine TV match at best, which gives you some idea how bad this show is. Spare a thought for Kofi’s back as he missed a big dive and landed hard of the floor instead. Ouch!
Humberto Carillo vs. Angel Garza
This battle of the real life cousins could have been the show stealer but it wasn’t to be. Nothing wrong with the work but the crowd didn’t care no matter how much they tried to fire them up with their flashy Lucha moves. Their match on RAW a few weeks earlier was better though this wasn’t bad per se, just there – shame as both have potential to be decent mid-card stars give the chance.
WWE RAW Tag Title Match – Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy (c) vs. The Street Profits
Having created a new stable around Seth Rollins as the Monday Night Messiah, the usual move is to have them win some gold to establish them as a force which in this case meant the RAW tag titles. So, of course they had two singles wrestlers defeat the Viking Raiders and not the monster team AOP. It’s good for Murphy now he’s getting something of a push but this really feels like a consolation prize for Seth having to turn heel after dropping the Universal Title to The Fiend.
Nothing wrong with the match except the Saudis didn’t know how to react to the OTT Profits and everyone working at half pace. Montez Ford however hits a Frog Splash even RVD in his prime would be envious of, otherwise this was a pedestrian affair.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Mansoor
You know the drill by now – Mansoor is locked away in a cupboard and only brought out for these shows to have an established talent put him over for that feel good moment Vince would normally deny the hometown hero back in the US or UK. Maybe if other countries and US cities had the same reputation as the Saudis, Vince wouldn’t be so petty like this.
On this occasion, it is not just Ziggler but Bobby Roode who have the privilege of falling to Mansoor, who has great potential but has nothing beyond his relevance as a Saudi wrestler. Not as good as the great match against Cesaro at Crown Jewel but it served its purpose.
WWE Heavyweight Title Match – Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Ricochet
Yes, Ricochet is Lesnar’s next victim, having run afoul of The Beast prior to the Royal Rumble then playing a part in Brock’s elimination from the Rumble match. Ricochet then won a triple threat over Rollins and Lashley to earn this execution…I mean, title shot.
Going into this match, we ask ourselves would Vince fly Ricochet half way around the world just to be killed by Lesnar or will we have another entertaining Brock vs. little guy match following from his bouts against Styles, Bálor, Bryan and Mysterio? Let’s just say it took us less than 90 seconds to find out…
Steel Cage Match – Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Welcome back my friends to the feud that never ends! These two have had regular matches, tag matches, No DQ matches, TLC matches, Falls Count Anywhere matches, even a Loser Eats Dog Food match, but it STILL wasn’t enough! Hopefully this is the end of it as I’m sure even Reigns and Corbin must be as bored of it as we are.
Proof, if needed, of this was the deathly silence from the crowd as the combatants went through the motions and did stuff. Sorry, I really can’t muster the energy to even be snarky about this, It happened, it’s over let’s move on and never speak of it again.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match – Bayley (c) vs. Naomi
And now to the history making moment of the show! Last time Natalya and Lacey Evans became the first WWE women to break the Saudi Sausage Fest streak, now Bayley and the recently returned Naomi compete for a Women’s title for the first time in Saudi Arabia!
Both ladies are covered from head to toe in body suits and wore T-shirts over those in case they offended Saudi sensibilities too. Match was okay and they worked hard, but with little heat. Presumably the crowd was still sleep following the previous match, aside from a few fans singing to Bayley and didn’t stop even after she heeled them.
WWE Universal Title Match – The Fiend (c) vs. Goldberg
This probably seems pretty random as Goldberg hadn’t been seen since destroying Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam last year at The Fiend needed an opponent. The set up was literally Goldberg appearing on SD for a satellite interview and Bray Wyatt interrupting, leading to him being told “You’re Next!”.
Now, despite being 55 years-old Goldberg still sees himself as a superhero to kids and therefore shouldn’t be losing to a gimmick like The Fiend. Meanwhile, The Fiend has been no selling everyone for the past six months so him putting a 2-minute man like Goldberg will kill his aura. So what do you do? The real answer is “Don’t book the match in the first place” but Saudi money talks and you can figure out the rest…
One-step, forward three steps back. That pretty much sums up this show in a nutshell after Crown Jewel set a new benchmark for these Saudi Arabia shows as more than a throwaway PPV if you put some effort into them. Then again, since they are essentially stand alone affairs from the storylines leading towards the US PPVs, what can they do?
As we have seen on prior shows, WWE is not afraid to give the Saudis some big match-ups we’d not normally see, though these are mostly featuring older stars since, like their human rights attitudes, their tastes in wrestling is also 20 years behind the rest of the world. The problem is that it ends up having a knock on effect on the plans for the US PPVs which is really were the focus should be.
I’m not sure if this is a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” for WWE or simply greedy Vince painting himself into a corner, but the law of diminishing returns on these Blood Money shows is back in effect after the brief glimmer of hope that was last year’s Crown Jewel event. A skippable event even with the two title changes.
Best Match – The New Day vs. The Miz & John Morrison (by default)
Rating – **
Man In Black