I went to a WWE SmackDown house show on Sunday September 23rd in my hometown of London, Ontario. I would guess the attendance was about 5,000 people. We were sitting sixth row, so we had a great view of the action.
At the beginning of the 3pm show, Dolph Ziggler was shown on the video screens cutting a promo about his match against Tyson Kidd.
1. Tyson Kidd d. Dolph Ziggler
The crowd was very supportive of the Canadian Kidd while Ziggler got some cheers, but he did a good job of limiting those by taunting the crowd as much as he could. They worked for about 12 minutes. When you see Ziggler work in person you can really tell that he does all of the little things right. Kidd's an awesome worker too that just needs the chance to showcase that on television on a regular basis. Kidd won with a cradle after battling over a submission move. It was the best match of the day, in my opinion.
After the match, Ziggler said that even though he lost he was still Mr. Money in the Bank and he may cash in his briefcase later.
2. Kofi Kingston d. Ted Dibiase
Dibiase looked bigger in his return from injury. He worked as a face. Early on, Dibiase's nose started bleeding. The doctor ran out to ringside while the ref put on the white gloves. Dibiase shook Kingston's hand and then gave him a clothesline. Kingston fought back for the win with Trouble in Paradise. Post match, they shook hands. The crowd wasn't into it that much obviously because there was no story with the two of them.
Ring announcer Tony Chimel encouraged us to vote, via Twitter, for the stipulation of the Sheamus/Del Rio match. It was either a street fight or 2 out of 3 falls. They put the hashtags on the screen and you had to put #wwelondonon on them as well.
3. Natalya d. Rosa Mendes
Pre-match, Rosa spoke in Spanish to get some heat. Natalya worked as a babyface in her native Canada. She led the crowd in "Canada" chants a few times. Of course Rosa is Canadian as well. She was born in British Columbia. Rosa doesn't get many matches on TV, but she did fine here in the 8 minutes they were given. I think being in the ring with the best diva worker Natalya certainly helped. It's a shame that Natalya isn't pushed more on television because she's so skilled in the ring and involving a crowd in her matches. Natalya won by putting her in the Sharpshooter. She started to apply the move when she was on her back. Rosa tapped out quickly.
4. Kane & Daniel Bryan d. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil)
We loved this. It's one thing to see how much the fans react to the Kane/Bryan duo on Raw & SmackDown, but to experience it live is another story. Early on they grabbed a fan sign that said "I'm the tag team champions" and took turns holding the sign up as they yelled about it. The heels worked over Bryan. He tagged in Kane, who dominated the challengers. Kane was setting up for the Chokeslam when Bryan tagged himself back in, put Young into the No Lock and got the submission win.
Post match, Kane and Bryan argued again. Bryan was doing yoga to calm himself down. Kane took both tag titles and then Bryan was crying about it. Kane felt bad, so he gave him one of the titles. Then they hugged it out. After the hug, Bryan took both tag titles and ran away with Kane chasing after him. All of the pre-match and post-match hijinks made the whole thing last about 20 minutes. It was fine by us because we absolutely loved the Kane/Bryan team.
Intermission. It was a 15 minute break.
5. Wade Barrett d. Yoshi Tatsu
Barrett did a pre-match promo as people were still returning to their seats. I'm surprised Tatsu got as much as offense he did, but Barrett finished him off rather easily with his elbow shot to the head.
6. Ryback d. Jinder Mahal
It went about 8 minutes. The crowd was into Ryback early, but then he was selling Mahal's offense in the middle of the match, so the crowd was losing some interest. Ryback finished it off with his Shell Shocked finisher. After the match, Ryback led the crowd in "feed me more" chants and the fans were into that. Not many "Goldberg" chants for the record.
The main event was next. They had about 30 minutes until the end of the show, so they did a lot of pre-match stuff. Ricardo Rodriguez ripped up a kid's Sheamus sign and then the kid was very sad about it, so Sheamus gave the kid his t-shirt. Before the match started, Tony Chimel announced that the voting was in and "Street Fight" won as the stipulation.
7. Sheamus d. Alberto Del Rio in a Street Fight
They used kendo sticks and chairs as weapons. They worked for about 15 minutes. The crowd was into it even though it's a match we've seen on PPV many times in recent months. Both guys worked hard and the chemistry was there. Del Rio went for the Cross Armbreaker. Sheamus fought out of it and won the match with a Texas Cloverleaf.
Post match, Del Rio and Rodriguez attacked the arm of Sheamus with chair shots. They left proudly. Dolph Ziggler's music started up and he came out there with his Money in the Bank briefcase along with referee Jack Doan. Just as he was about to cash in, Sheamus got to his feet and gave him a Brogue Kick. That made everybody happy.
When the show was over, Sheamus spent a few minutes interacting with fans. He signed autographs, took pictures with kids and went around the entire building mingling with the people.
3. Daniel Bryan
1. Alberto Del Rio
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. Wade Barrett
All of the wrestlers worked hard, the fans were into most of the matches and the crowd was loud as usual. I've been to dozens of house shows in my life and they are generally a good time. This was no different.
It wasn't the best house show I've ever been to. It wasn't the worst either. As usual, it was two hours and thirty minutes of solid entertainment.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook TJRWrestling.com on Facebook