WWE LIVE: Sydney, Australia
September 15, 2017
As attended by Anna Bauert
View from row 2, seat 7.
The Qudos Bank Arena security guy
seemed highly amused by the crowd the whole night.
Me in my Dilapidated Boat t-shirt. The anticipation was overwhelming.
No, Rich Swann. I cannot handle this.
JoJo introduces Jason Jordan-Angle’s dad to the ring to kick off the show. Angle is met with a serenade of “You suck!” – it’s an overwhelming display of love, and Kurt Angle looked over-the-moon to be there. Actually, that seemed to be the majority impression from the roster tonight. And from a company of people who spend most of their careers travelling, it was really great to see.
Papa Angle announces the first match of the night: A Battle Royal to determine the #1 Contender to Miz’s IC Championship.
BATTLE ROYAL: Goldust vs Titus O’Neill vs Elias Samson vs Jason Jordan vs Apollo Crews vs The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) vs Beauty and the Man Beast (Health Slater & Rhyno) vs R-Truth vs Dean Ambrose
Goldust was out first, and from a personal viewpoint but also because it’s freaking Goldust, it was really cool to see him. The man is a living legend. Titus Worldwide BAAAAABEY was out next repping himself – though no actual mention of the brand or his connection with Crews or Tozawa tonight. We did get a whale's vagina bark though, so that was cool (*please see earlier podcast for reference, otherwise, I am sorry).
Next out was Elias... I did not know Elias would be here tonight. And as a result, I may have popped a little harder and louder than anyone else in that arena. Unfortunately, no John Mayer performance. The crowd was sadly a little quiet on his reception. My overriding impression of the audience was they were majority casual viewers, but in regards to Elias, I have a strong feeling in a year’s time Sydney will be feeling the toasty warmth and comfort of a good roasting, topped with a guitar smash chant. Just like a mother’s hug.
A lot of boos for Jason Jordan (apparently nepotism really isn’t appreciated in Australia). Beauty and the Man Beast (I will never not call them that) came out to a giant pop, and a lot of people took the time to remind each other “He has kids”. They left a dramatic pause before Dean Ambrose music hit, and the Shield lover in my heart did a tiny backflip before I remembered I was in mourning since they pulled Seth Rollins from the tour without a word. Ambrose received one of the biggest pops of the night.
I loved this match. It was a great way to open the show, but the thing that really got it over for me was how much fun they all seemed to be having. As I said, pretty much every single person on the roster seemed happy to be here. I don’t know why that struck me so much, but maybe because I know what that flight from America is like.
Some extra highlights:
- Goldust and Titus had a chop-spot in the corner that both they and the crowd really got into
- Slater and Rhyno corpsed during a spot where they were manhandling someone. I have no idea what happened. I like to think it had something to do with Cheez Whiz
- Goldust was eliminated by R-Truth. I just really appreciate the continuity there (which didn’t happen a lot tonight)
- The Miztourage launched Bubba Angle into the ring-post, after which he proceeded to slide out between the 1st & 2nd rope (CHEKHOV’S GUN)
- The Miztourage were generally really great tonight -- but more on that later
- Miztourage eliminated Dean Ambrose, much to the horror of the crowd
I still Bo-lieve too, buddy.
And with their backs turned, celebrating their victory and momentarily forgetting one of them would now have to turn on the other for total domination, Jason Jordan slid back into the ring like it were a DM and toppled Dallas & Axel over the top rope via DISTRACTION FINISH. (When will these kids learn?!)
More booing for nepotism, but good on the Adonis nonetheless.
Enzo Amore vs Akira Tozawa vs Adrian “King of the Elves” Neville
Enzo was out first to a pretty decent pop. As you can tell by my accompanying video, I was thrilled. Tozawa came out to a more tepid reception – and this goes back to the majority crowd being casual viewers who definitely missed the NXT tour last year, otherwise, they would know better. The King also came out to a nice reception as he skulked his way to the ring.
Enzo's seen things.
Enzo started the match by doing his best impression of a constipated seal before immediately being chucked out of the ring by Neville. This was the on-going theme of the match. Alex Pawlowski would’ve loved it.
Most of the in-ring action was largely Neville vs Tozawa, but momentarily turned into Neville vs the crowd. Neville stopped a few times to address the chants of “You’re a wanker” / “Neville’s a wanker” – the 2nd time to which he rolled out of the ring to pull Enzo in, only to throw him out again.
Neville looked like he was having a lot of fun messing with the crowd and beating up the good guys (Good guy. Tozawa. The other is debatable). It ended with Neville beating Tozawa, and tossing the title across the ring before strutting out, shooting death-stares and yelling insults. Neville got in the face of one guy by the entrance who was trying to rile him up. The same guy was quickly kicked back to his seat by security after he apparently called the guard a “wanker”...
Neville's altercation with a not-so Good Brother.
BUT WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT: This young man in what I’m guessing would be his early 20s was a part of a group sitting at the end of my row. Before and after every match, they would run over to the guard rail for photos, mowing us down in the process. At one point about ¼ way through the 1st half, one of them kicked over a lady soda onto her son’s memorabilia without a second glance. They were told repeatedly not to run down by me, the father next to me, security... yet to no avail. The reason I bring this up is because of the conversation the woman had with the father on my other side. Her son is 12, and she said this was okay for now, but he will not be allowed continue his fandom of wrestling when he grows up so he doesn’t become like one of those boys. The father of the 10-year-old agreed. It made me really sad.
TAG MATCH: Sheasaro vs The Hardyz
The Crimson Dream. That's not my camera, he's just that white.
So... Sheamus is white. Really white. Like, impressively so.
Impressive pop for the Hardyz – there were a lot of ‘Jeffs' dressed up in the crowd tonight.
I was a little surprised by how many “delete”, “Brother Nero”, and “obsolete” chants there were. Having said that, I also witnessed one of the sweetest father/son bonding sessions over the Hardyz tonight, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
Sheasaro (no I will not call them The Bar) are really damn good together. Remember how this all came about? The seemingly never-ending best of seven before randomly being thrown together by Mick Foley?? Good call, Santa. Good call.
Sheamus was met with a lot of “You look stupid chants” which, from his tired look of desire to brogue kick every single person in that stadium, tells me he gets this a lot. There was also a chant of “Where’s your sunscreen?” to the Irish Cream, which I found a little silly. I mean, obviously, he’s used it all.
A very entertaining match with Jeff taking the brunt of the hits, but fortunately no teeth were lost in the making of this match. Matt won with the pin on the Ginger Ninja.
The Hardy Boyz: bringing people together since '93
BATTLE OF THE MYSTICS: Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor
(a.k.a. The battle of the awesome entrances.)
I’ve heard a lot about what it’s like to experience Bray’s entrance live. It 100% lives up to the hype.
Fireflies, now on 4G.
Wyatt attacked Balor pre-bell and pre-jacket take off, and a few people in the crowd seemed pretty upset by that. Fair enough, I guess. It is a really nice jacket.
There was a surprising amount of “Husky Harris” chants. At one point someone attempted a “Wyatt’s a cheater” chant which quickly failed -- I can safely bet they weren’t referring to his in-ring methods.
I hate to say it, but seeing Bray live made a little sad for a couple of reasons:
- It reminded me of the time when crack-den houses and bug projections were the biggest problems with the SD WWE Championship. Nowadays, I long for those bugs.
- His booking. I was sold tonight; this guy is fantastic. He deserves a decent enough story to match.
Balor looked great in-ring, I swear that kid eats air for dinner. I legitimately could’ve washed my shirt on his abs.
Demon deep in thought.
Bray did his signature exorcist bend in the corner, the kid next to me commented his hair looked like spaghetti. And thus enlightenment was achieved.
Balor eventually won with the Coup de Grâce. Balor then jumped on the mic to cut a really cheesy speech which sounded a tad by rote. He mentioned the Australia/Ireland comparison, which I guess is a thing. Both nations are known for drinking, and technically a lot of our ancestors are of his people, so, sure. (Except me. I’m one with the OG convict, Pete Dunne)
WOMEN’S MATCH: Sasha Banks vs Mickie James
vs Nia Jax vs Emma vs Alexa Bliss
Sasha was out first and seemed to have a lot of fun interacting with the crowd during the entrances. Good to see the flappies were out in full force on Mickie James (which reminds me to order the custom-made Ya Boy ones for SRS this Christmas). Emma came out to her new theme – “It’s All About Me”. I guess this is her version of “Burn It Down”, which got me thinking pyromania and narcissism would make a very interesting tag team.
Lots of Emma chants, which was really nice to hear.
It’s impressive to see Jax do those monster moves. At one point, she grabbed Banks by the ankles, dragged her out of the ring and tossed her into the guardrail like a damn ragdoll.
There was a fun continuation of the storyline between Bliss and Jax, with Bliss about to launch herself from the top rope before Jax caught her in the act, which lead to her slowly backing down. They would later get into an argument which ended in Bliss slapping Nia, before instantly regretting every decision she’s ever made up to that point in her life.
There was a combined effort to get Jax over the top rope. Emma and Alexa teamed up against Sasha, which is a duo I am all for moving forward. Bliss eventually won with the pin on Emma, because of course she did. A very entertaining match, all the women looked strong and had spots to shine.
IC TITLE: Miz vs Jason Jordan
(a.k.a. When The Miztourage won my heart)
The Miz was met with a bunch of “Where’s Maryse?” chants, quickly followed up by “Who’s your daddy?”. It was at this point he called for the mic to ask for clarification from the crowd, and, well... the video speaks for itself. The Miz is next-level supreme.
At one point, someone behind me attempted a “Maryse is divorcing you” chant, which was instantly shut down by the guy next to him with a “not cool, man”.
And then there’s The Miztourage.... where the hell do I begin? Every time they came out tonight, they owned it. From patrolling the perimeter, to stepping in where needed, to trolling the crowd, reacting in horror to near pinfalls – I am wholeheartedly behind the side-part and blinged-out jacket that is Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas. And really, with a jacket like that, Bo Rida is just begging to come back. They’re the gift that keeps on giving.
Bo-Rida going in for the kill.
They were eventually ejected from ringside by the ref. Miz soon followed as he attempted to take his championship and leave, before being chased down by J-Angle and pulled back into the ring. At this point, Dallas & Axel ran back out for a beat down, quickly followed up by R-Truth and Dean Ambrose for the save.
Of course, Papa Angle couldn’t stand the injustice of seeing his son so ruthlessly beaten and declared a 6man tag, to which the crowd cheered and cheered... What a guy.
The rest of the match saw a lot of crowd-trolling from Miz after a choir of “Miz is a wanker” chants (which Ambrose seemed highly amused by). R-Truth took the brunt of the beat down as the crowd chanted for Ambrose to jump in. Team Face eventually won. Fun match.
Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns in a Street Fight
Just a girl, standing in front of a monster.
Asking him to throw an office chair.
Did I mention upon arrival to the stadium, I got into a heated debate with a 10-year-old over why Braun Strowman would beat Roman Reigns? It was at this moment I realized I had far exceeded my potential in life, and everything from here on is just a downward spiral.
I took a video of Strowman’s entrance. I don’t know if you can tell, but I think he’s great.
Reigns came out to a 55/45 boo/cheer ratio, which is a change on last year’s pure face response. It seems Smarkicitis has finally hit Australia.
At last year’s show, I told my friend during Strowman’s match that I thought I could take him. They turned to me with concern and uttered the words, “you have no chance in hell, and please never try.” Considering he makes Reigns looks small by comparison, I think I will have to accept defeat.
Strowman dominated from the get-go. He raaaaawr-ed, he posed, he did his tongue thing where it looks like it’s trying to escape his own mouth. He stepped on Roman like a boss -- I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had gotten an “O’Doyle Rules!” out of him tonight.
Reigns was the first to pull out a table to the crowd’s delight. However, Strowman in true heel-fashion quickly put it back. Reigns pulled out a second table and was met with “ECW” chants, to which he shrugged and eventually came back with, “This is WWE”. You got them there, Roman.
"Braun like stairs. Stairs friend."
The stairs eventually made their way into the ring, and Strowman was satisfied playing with his second-favorite toy (unfortunately, we did not witness any office chair throws tonight). Strowman finally set up a table in the ring through which he was Samoan-dropped by Reigns. The table would never work again.
Reigns set up the final table in the corner, and eventually we all got what we came for (and I made sure I took as much advantage as I could – see video).
Reigns won, which I expected yet I still think is incredibly bizarre given they showed us footage from last week’s RAW re. Strowman instilling the fear of God into Brock Lesnar. Yet Reigns can still beat Strowman clean, because even though you travel forward in time when coming to Australia, we are at least a year behind in bookings. So that’s that.
"I'm just saying,
I think Seth has a better shot at a shampoo endorsement than yo--"
Unfortunately, Harambe moved out of there in defeat too fast for me to get the photo of my life. My ultimate goal is a video of me attempting to run at Braun Strowman, and inevitably bouncing off him to the ground. I’m pretty sure that’s all any girl wants, really.
My giant butterfly flew away too fast.
Reigns stayed in the ring for a while to pose, and hung around to take photos and sign autographs. I will say this: Reigns is good. He’s really good. And it’s shitty that the biggest reason people dislike him is due to the push. I get the frustration, but that within itself is frustrating. Roman Reigns is essentially the ‘Fetch’ of wrestlers.
There was a huge queue for merch after the show, which I stupidly joined only to discover all of Braun’s shirts were sold out. Standing in line for half my life did give me a good opportunity to hear some general feedback from passers-by leaving the arena: they were overwhelming positive reviews, but it seemed a lot of people were disappointed by the final match. It did seem a little shorter than usual for a main event, but I think people just really wanted more from the street fight.
I can’t complain though. I got to see Braun throw stairs. (it’s really about the simple things in life...)
All in all, it was a great night. I wasn’t too sure what to expect since, out of last year’s tours, I enjoyed NXT a lot more than the main roster show. The production was really tight and everyone on the roster delivered. It may sometimes feel like a year out of canon to the current product, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s show.