Thursday marked the first time the WWE has been in Anchorage since 2005. While the product and talent isn’t as strong as it was back then, the show still delivered. Below are the moments that made me mark-out and the moments that made me hate professional wrestling.
Myself and all the other losers who spent over $100 on ringside seats got an earful of Titus O’Neil’s in-ring vocal work. This was a good thing. O’Neil played the crowd well and showed off his taunting prowess.
Heath Slater tore it up. He came out and got quick – albeit cheap – heat with some Alaska bashing. Then he put on a decent match against Kofi Kingston. If you aren’t sure who Slater is, just think of the most rock ‘n’ roll dude ever and there you go. Like Mick Jagger – or Mark Wahlberg’s character in Rock Star.
Seeing Randy Orton’s tribal ink up close was pretty sick. I usually see it on television and think it’s cool, but man was it breathtaking in person.
Speaking of Orton, his match was up there with the best of the night. He joined Team Hell No to take on The Shield in a six-man tag affair. Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan put on a clinic when they were paired in the ring. Kane did stuff that Kane’s been doing for the last 20 years, and his hair looked faker than ever.
Roman Reigns ended the match by getting disqualified for a chair shot, but not before Orton had the chance to steamroll through The Shield after receiving a hot tag. When Orton goes into Apex Predator mode he becomes probably the second or third most dangerous human on earth.
More positives from that match were Dean Ambrose’s facial expressions and overall selling ability. He’s great at walking the fine line between over-the-top and genuine.
Justin Gabriel finished Curt Hawkins with a killer springboard moonsault. And get this: Curt Hawkins helps train The Rock when The Great One needs to get back into ring shape. He then jobs for Justin Gabriel at house shows. Wrestling is a fun business.
It wasn’t a good night for fans that enjoy a heel victory every now and then (me). The booking was awful. I understand the need to pander in wrestling, but matches lose steam when the outcome is obvious. Every face won, and every purist-wrestling fan lost.
Randy Orton received a massive pop from the crowd. I couldn’t believe how over he was. You’d think people would have turned on him after all his suspensions for abusing steroids. How can you root for a wrestler who isn’t clean?
Sheamus and Wade Barrett had the match of the night. I’m throwing this in the “lows” section because the match of the night featured Sheamus.
The WWE creative team can’t be thrilled about Albert Del Rio’s crowd reaction. They put the title on him and have pushed him as a baby face, yet he basically worked his match against Big Show as a heel.
Big Show and Del Rio had a solid match (mainly thanks to a couple table spots); however, it’s a little disconcerting when the bad guy gets a bigger ovation after the final bell.
There was a rumor started by me that Undertaker was going to kick off his WrestleMania program at the show. Despite how much sense the move made, it turned out to a lie.
I hope Great Khali one day gets his hands on footage of Great Khali wrestling and realizes it’s time to call it a career.
The amount of John Cena shirts being worn at the Sullivan Arena was sickening. But don’t get mad at me Cena backers; this is exactly the kind of hate you all have been conditioned to rise above.
Lord Tensai, who is currently my favorite wrestler for a whole host of serious and not serious reasons, was absent from the show. I’ll cope but that one cut deep.
As I said in the opening sentences, the show was a success. Maybe we were just so thirsty for wrestling up here that a mediocre show was enough to satisfy. I don’t think that was the case, though.
Now let’s start the eight year countdown to the next WWE event in Anchorage.