WWE Super ShowDown is the third event produced as a result of a 10-year strategic multi-platform partnership deal between WWE and Saudi Arabia, in support of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s social and economic reform program.
No place for a woman in the ring, despite an attempt from WWE to have Alexa Bliss compete against Natalya in a country who is still not keen to. Renee Young was again tolerated at ringside. Again, Sami Zayn was not allowed to participate, when Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and John Cena refused to. Aleister Black was also blacklisted this time.
You expect some title to change hands, even if you know it won’t happen. You want something great when you know it will lack action, mostly under nearly 40°C. You know the crowd will be dead, like for The Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel. This whim we called Super ShowDown was nothing more like a terrifying, odd, and dangerous $50 million house show. If my fellow writers were more inspired than I was, I apologized to them. But the fact is nothing felt important in it for me, nothing clicked, there felt like there was no real effort out there, and it went way too long. (Steph)
The Revival vs. The Usos (Steph)
No Cruiserweight or RAW Tag Team Championship in the pre-show, but The Usos vs. The Revival. And it wasn’t that bad. The two teams offered a pretty good match, even if they are capable of a much better one. Close to Match of the Night…
WWE Universal Championship Match: Champion Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Amanda)
Rollins had his ribs taped as a result of Brock Lesnar’s attack on Monday Night RAW, and the spectre of Lesnar’s promised cash-in hung over proceedings. Corbin looked to capitalise on Rollins’ injuries and hung him over the ropes several times in the early going. He kept working over the ribs and effectively prevented Rollins from building any kind of momentum but couldn’t keep him down and blamed the ref several times for counting too slow. Rollins fought back into it and Corbin took a break on the outside. Rollins landed a suicide dive and rolled him into the ring.
Corbin rolled out of the other side so Rollins repeated the process. They both kicked out of numerous pin attempts, including Rollins kicking out of a Deep Six. Corbin tried to bring a chair in and the ref made him get rid of it. Baron Corbin yelled at him yet again and this time the ref yelled back. Rollins rolled Corbin up for the pin while the ref was yelling. Baron Corbin delivered End of Days while Rollins was celebrating. Brock Lesnar arrived with Paul Heyman and a chair. Heyman tripped getting into the ring and dropped the briefcase, distracting Lesnar long enough for Rollins to low-blow him and grab the chair. Then Seth Rollins gave Lesnar some honest payback, wearing the chair out on his back and Stomping his head into the briefcase. No cash-in, just some interesting bruises.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Champion Finn Balor vs. Andrade (Steph)
They advertised the Demon, we had the Demon. After one of its most ugly entrances in this character, Finn Balor had to deal with a tough Andrade in another solid match. This match would have come off much better with a crowd that cared and not necessarily with The Demon. Andrade showed he has the potential to become Intercontinental very soon.
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon (Steph)
Since his draft to SmackDown Live, Roman Reigns has been Shane McMahon’s favourite punching bag. With Drew McIntyre by his side, it was obvious Reigns had zero chance to win. Shane controlled over Reigns, which was completely laughable. The “Best in the World” Shane McMahon won another PPV match. And Roman Reigns will have to compete against Drew McIntyre very soon…
Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party (Amanda)
Only one of Lucha House Party was allowed in the ring at one time, which initially equated to Sullivan destroying them one by one. Kalisto was wiped out first, then Sullivan threw him into the corner for Lince Dorado to tag in. Sullivan was bleeding from the mouth, but whatever caused it didn’t affect him. Sullivan knocked Kalisto off the apron and pushed Dorado off the top turnbuckle to join him, then caught a volley of kicks from Gran Metalik which didn’t even take him off his feet. Kalisto tipped Sullivan over the ropes and off his feet, but only really succeeded in enraging him. Metalik and Lince Dorado took Sullivan’s feet from underneath him when he climbed the turnbuckle, then got themselves disqualified because they wouldn’t stop kicking and punching him Lucha House Party beat Sullivan down in the ring and started to leave, but Sullivan caught them part way up the ramp and destroyed all three.
Triple H vs. Randy Orton (Tom Mimnagh)
Triple H and Randy Orton have plenty of history, from their time together in Evolution, right up to their alliance in The Authority in 2013. While their interaction in the past few years may have been minimal it didn’t stop their match here feeling heated and important. Nothing was at stake of course and both men are well past their prime, but two old hands with decades of experience between them gave this match a big fight feel as they made their way to the ring. Of course, Triple H coming down to the ring on a motorbike definitely helped in that respect.
From an in-ring perspective, it wasn’t anything we’ve not seen before from Orton and Triple H but it was pretty solid all the same. Both were cagey in the early going until Orton crashed shoulder-first into the post and Triple H began working on the arm and hand. Orton would regain control dominating for a while before Triple H made his comeback following a pretty tedious resthold. From then on out it was a pretty even contest, but the slow pace absolutely sucked the life out of the audience until the final stretch when Orton hit the RKO after countering a Pedigree attempt. The crowd came alive for the near falls towards the end and Orton hitting the match-winning RKO was very well received. Perhaps a touch too long, this was still a very serviceable outing from both men.
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley (Steph)
The “big men” match started off strong but they got tired and it quickly faded. It ended up ok. But it definitely could have been better…
WWE Championship Match: Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (Steph)
The match was not that bad, but there was no crowd to make it more legit. Ziggler commented on his loss, saying now that we all know Kofi is a coward. He out performed Kofi and was the better man and but it should have been him, but Woods helped him win. He demanded a rematch in a steel cage match, which could be even more interesting, mostly if it happens in the US soil.
50-Man Battle Royal (Tom Mimnagh)
There’s something amazing about the visual of a battle royal. Seeing such mass of humanity all in the ring at the same time is pretty awe-inspiring, and while the results of these matches often flatter to deceive, it certainly provides a spectacle. I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever seen a 50-man battle royal before this show, but it was certainly a match to look forward to on this show. Having the likes of The Miz, Ali, Samoa Joe, and Jinder Mahal hype the importance of the battle royal during the earlier part of the show certainly emphasised that this was a prestigious and important match even though, again, nothing was really at stake. Predictably (I imagine for time reasons if nothing else) most of the competitors came out at the same time which prevented the vast majority of them being perceived as major stars, with only The Miz, Samoa Joe, Cesaro, Titus O’Neill, Elias getting a proper entrance.
The match itself was pretty standard battle royal fare for the first few minutes with The Singh Brothers, Eric Young, EC3, Gallows and Anderson, and several other midcarders chucked out to minimal fanfare. Logistically, the sheer number of competitors made it necessary to get a significant chunk of the wrestlers out of the ring fairly quickly in order to actually make anything that happened in the match visible to the audience. However, once the numbers thinned out a bit there were some fun moments. Heavy Machinery, AOP and The Viking Raiders facing off was a nice preview of what could potentially happen within either the Raw or Smackdown tag division. Titus O’Neill had a little run in the middle of the match before being eliminated by Shelton Benjamin. It became clear halfway through that Chad Gable, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ricochet and Rusev were all being wasted in this type of match, given that I didn’t even realise they were taking part until that point, but at least they all had an easy night. In the closing moments, it did occur to me that Samoa Joe vs Ricochet might be something I’d like to see in the future. Having Ricochet, Mansoor and Ali face off against Samoa Joe, Cesaro and Elias felt very similar to the final moments of the 2018 Royal Rumble, but on a much less significant scale. While I was not familiar with Mansoor outside of one solitary NXT match, I absolutely understand the logic of having the hometown guy win the match and with WWE returning to Saudi Arabia frequently for the next eight years, Mansoor winning makes a whole lot of sense. A decent battle royal overall, but one that was hampered by the number of entrants rather than improved.
Undertaker vs. Goldberg (Humza)
“They did it!” I’m sure that was what so many people, including myself, wanted to say after watching the ‘dream match’ between Bill Goldberg vs. The Undertaker. Unfortunately, those words were not uttered by anybody that tuned into to watch the Saudi Arabia event. The match was instead a collection of clunky, dangerous, and depressing moments that made you pray for the end of both men’s respective in-ring careers.
As expected, the entrances were spectacular, building a level of excitement for this long-awaited showdown. The energy and enthusiasm from the uneducated Saudi crowd was encouraging, adding to the big fight feel, and even the opening spears from Goldberg delivered the kind of quick start this match needed. However, it was all downhill from there. After only a couple of exchanges, that did not look very smooth, Goldberg dived into the turnbuckle for a spear, knocking himself loopy and opening up a huge gash on his head in the process. From then on, an already technically inefficient WCW legend was walking around without his senses, looking for the guidance of a brittle Undertaker.
‘The Deadman’ did his absolute best, and a lot of respect has to go out to the bruised and battered veteran, but he was fighting a battle that he could simply not win. Undertaker waiting for a dazed Goldberg to turn around for a chokeslam felt like it went on for an eternity, Undertaker was very nearly spiked on his head when he BRAVELY took the jackhammer, and the attempts at tombstones during the climax was anything but pretty. These are just a few of the horrific moments in this match.
In the end, Undertaker left the victor, but his facial expression after the three-count said it all. There was no winner in this match, not Undertaker, Goldberg, WWE, and certainly not the fans. Had Goldberg not knocked himself out early on and the match gone according to plan, the tone of this review may have been very different, but that’s simply a ‘what if?’ question now. No real wrestling fan will take pleasure in watching the demise of two beloved legends like Goldberg and The Undertaker, but for their benefit and ours, we can only hope that was the final time these two Legends decide to lace up their boots.
WWE Super ShowDown results
– The Usos defeated The Revival
– WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) defeated Baron Corbin
– WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Finn Balor (c) defeated Andrade
– Shane McMahon defeated Roman Reigns
– Handicap Match: Lars Sullivan defeated Lucha House Party
– Randy Orton defeated Triple H
– Braun Strowman defeated Bobby Lashley
– WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler
– 50-Man Battle Royal: Mansoor won over Sunil Singh, Samir Singh, Karl Anderson, Eric Young, Humberto Carrillo, Shelton Benjamin, Luke Gallows, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Brian Kendrick, No Way Jose, Mojo Rawley, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Tony Nese, Tucker, Otis, Akam, Rezar, Erik, Ivar, Titus O’Neil, Buddy Murphy, RAW Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, Chad Gable, Apollo, Jinder Mahal, Xavier Woods, SmackDown Tag Team Champion Rowan, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Matt Hardy, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, Cedric Alexander, Sin Cara, Robert Roode, The Miz, Ali, Ricochet, WWE United States Champion Samoa Joe, Cesaro, Elias, Oney Lorcan, Drew Gulak, Mike Kanellis, EC3, and Akira Tozawa. The final 6 were Mansoor, Ricochet, Ali, Cesaro, Samoa Joe and Elias.
– The Undertaker defeated Goldberg
All pics courtesy of WWE