Well, WWE fans, the Super ShowDown has come and gone. Realistically, I could leave the recap right here, and there would be very little information missing. However, the talent deserves more respect than that, even if the show itself was fairly awful.
While the crowd in Saudi Arabia appreciated the show more than a typical American audience, ShowDown did not live up to the ‘as good as if not better than Mania’ hype or its ‘Super’ moniker.
USOs vs THE REVIVAL
The kickoff show delivered a little more than I expected. It had a good pace and some fun moments that warmed up the crowd. The short match ended predictably with Uso signature superkicks and an in-ring pinfall. Perhaps WWE creative has more in store for these tag teams as they do work well together.
Winners: The Usos via pinfall
SETH ROLLINS vs BARRON CORBIN
For the Universal Championship
While many fans (including myself) saw this match as the necessary prelude to Brock Lesnar arriving with his Money in the Bank briefcase to cash in on the winner, Rollins and Corbin delivered a good match. Rollins sold his injured ribs well, and Corbin played into it. Although Corbin attempted to hit Rollins with a chair, the referee stopped him. This gave Rollins an opening to roll up and then pin the challenger.
Following Rollins’ win, Corbin viciously attacked the champ. As expected, Lesnar’s music hit and the Beast, his briefcase, and Paul Heyman entered the arena. Alas, Lesnar should never send an advocate to do the work of the Beast Incarnate. Pauley failed in his attempt to hand off the case to the ref, so the cash-in never happened. Meanwhile, Rollins hit Lesnar with some solid chair shots and eventually curb-stomped the Beast who was on top of the Money in the Bank Briefcase.
THE ‘DEMON’ FINN BALOR vs ANDRADE
For the Intercontinental Championship
This match grabbed my attention, as I still hold fond memories of Fergal Devitt from the Independent circuit. Coming on the heels of an opening match that amped the crowd, this match was met with less enthusiasm than I expected. The action was delivered at a good pace, with both competitors delivering expected moves. Andrade saw the IC Belt within his grasp after hitting Balor with a Hammerlock DDT. The champ retained after kicking out then executing a top- rope facebuster followed by his traditional Coup de Gras.
Winner: Finn Balor (retained)
SHANE McMAHON vs ROMAN REIGNS
These two put a bit of effort into a match that lacked a sense of purpose. While the pace was slow, the match featured what you would expect from a contest featuring Reigns and Shane O’Mac. Failed Superman punch, strong powerbomb, attempted Coast-to-Coast along with interference from Drew McIntyre all leading to a knocked-out referee, a Claymore from McIntyre to Reigns, a revived referee, and a McMahon victory by pinfall. What can I say, Roman? Authority always wins.
Winner: Shane McMahon via pinfall after interference from Drew McIntyre
LARS SULLIVAN vs LUCHA HOUSE PARTY
Ummm, well they all got together in the ring, Sullivan received a bloody mouth and a win because of a three-on-one disqualification for his trouble. He also pummeled the LHP team after the fact. The crowd was asleep for this one and really who can blame them. A bigger question, what can the WWE do to make Sullivan a character who is at least a little compelling?
Winner: Lars Sullivan via disqualification
TRIPLE H vs RANDY ORTON
In a match that seemed to be more hype than substance from the get-go, the COO and the Viper entertained the crowd, who at one point had a ‘this is awesome’ chant going. The match felt slow but did feature the traditional brutality we have come to expect from these two veterans. Orton took the action outside the ring to toss Trips into the announce table and the stairs.
Back inside the ring, the crowd enjoyed a series of missed finishers and kick outs at 2 and a half. Back outside of the ring, Triple H smashed Orton onto the announce table four times, to the delight of the Jeddah crowd. Instead of finishing what he started, Triple H spent a little too long posturing, and Orton returned to the ring. When Hunter entered the ring, the Viper landed an RKO ‘outta nowhere’ for the pin.
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall
BRAUN STROWMAN vs BOBBY LASHLEY
The big guys put on a respectable show that had some powerful moves and more athleticism than what might have been expected. Strowman spent a bit of time chasing Lashley in and out of the ring. Once Lashley started to set up to go high risk, Strowman brought him down, body slammed Lashley and finished him with a running powerslam.
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall
KOFI KINGSTON vs DOLPH ZIGGLER
For the WWE Championship
With Brock Lesnar’s failed cash-in attempt, it was hard not to wonder if the Beast and his advocate would make an attempt on the WWE Championship belt. It might have made for an interesting few moments, but it did not happen.
What did happen was Kingston and Ziggler putting together a well-paced match. Drawing in the crowd with several attempted pins, the competitors offered the crowd some bits of flash and panache. The match also featured some well-placed interference by Xavier Woods. The unnoticed superkick Woods hit Ziggler with led to Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise for the pin. In a post-match interview, Ziggler called for a rematch inside a steel cage. The saga continues…
Winner: Kofi Kingston (retained) with interference from Xavier Woods
50-MAN BATTLE ROYAL
This happened, and that is close to all there is to say about the biggest royal rumble in WWE history. Just my opinion, but match that is as over-hyped as this rumble should at least offer the competitors individual entrances. Yes, I know this is time-consuming, but I get a child-like sense of glee counting down to see who is next. The match had what anyone would expect. Guys were trying to outmaneuver other guys to be the last one standing inside the ring.
When the dust settled, the final half-dozen combatants were Elias, Cesaro, Samoa Joe, Ali, Mansoor, and Ricochet. Samoa Joe went over the top rope courtesy of Ali and Ricochet. The pair exited at the hands of Cesaro, later ousted by Mansoor. Eventually, Mansoor prevailed over Elias, and the crowd went wild.
THE UNDERTAKER vs GOLDBERG
These two legends graciously lent their names and images to the less-than-super ShowDown. I am sure they received adequate compensation. I hope they can both still walk without assistance.
Having said that, the classic entrances from Undertake and Goldberg brought images of much younger men to mind. However, a good bit of ring rust also entered the squared circle. The difficulties were mostly Goldberg’s. He bladed ahead of the match for dramatic effect, but that was not necessary. The drama was real when Goldberg hit his head on the mat during a Tombstone Piledriver. Later, Goldberg hit Taker with an ugly Jackhammer nearly landing the Deadman on his head. After a few more botches, in what was an anticlimactic attempt of self-preservation, Undertaker ended the match by hitting Goldberg with a chokeslam.
Winner: The Undertaker via pinfall
Whatever my feelings about the machine that is the WWE, I have a strong and sincere respect and appreciation for those performers who quite literally put their lives on the line to thrill the crowd and please management. Because of that respect, I will not declare the show a failure. However, WWE clearly was just going through the motions and fulfilling contractual obligations. Everyone involved with the Super ShowDown, from the performers to the crowd, to the fans watching at home deserved better.