This past Sunday, I attended the SmackDown House Show at Madison Square Garden. I usually don’t venture to the Garden for House Shows because it’s either expensive as hell to drive there or we take the train. I’m not a big train guy because I don’t like strangers and I like to be able to come and go as I please. WWE was advertising Brock Lesnar and I found good seats at a good price so I figured it would be worth heading to MSG.
I sat just to the right of the entrance ramp. That seems to be my spot. WWE lists those seats as “obstructed view” so you can find them in lower sections at good prices. The only thing you can’t see is the Tron, but who really needs to see that anyway when there are a thousand other video boards across the arena. When I go to WWE shows, these are the seats I tend to look for.
Just before the show started, Daniel Bryan appears via a taped message to hype the crowd. They countdown to ten to start the show, the SmackDown TV open plays and they shoot off some smoke and away we go.
The first person out was Shane McMahon. He was advertised as making a “special appearance”. His sons were sitting ringside. It was tough to hear what he was saying at first because the audio in the arena was rather crappy. His being there brought out AJ Styles. Styles was there to complain about not having the opportunity to challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania after losing to Randy Orton. Shane said if AJ wanted an opportunity he could have one against this man…Randy Orton.
It’s like this stuff is all a set up. It’s like Shane knew AJ would come out and he’d just have Orton ready for a match with him.
Randy Orton pinned AJ Styles (***)
They got about 15 minutes and it was pretty basic stuff early on with AJ using rest holds and working over the leg to set up the Calf Crusher spot for later on. The odd thing about this match was AJ wrestled in a shirt. You never see that. Things picked up when the guys started hitting their signature moves. Styles was getting ready for a springboard move when Orton caught him and gave him the RKO off the top rope.
Kalisto, Rhyno and Heath Slater beat Breezango and Curt Hawkins
Quick match. There wasn’t really much to it. The crowd still sings Fandango’s song and chants “ECW” for Rhyno. Rhyno got the win for his team with The Gore.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Apollo Crews
The match was decent enough but had no heat. The fans don’t want to boo Ziggler and just don’t react at all Crews. Crews could’ve used another 6-12 months in NXT. He’s got a great look and is super athletic. He’s just got no charisma and the fans sense that. Plus he’s been booked like crap since he got called up. Ziggler won with the Superkick.
Dean Ambrose retained the Intercontinental Championship in a Fatal 4 Way Match with The Miz, Luke Harper and Baron Corbin. (***3/4)
Easily the best match of the night. The crowd reacted well to all four guys and all four guys busted their tails to put on a very entertaining match. My favorite part of the match is when Miz, Ambrose and Corbin traded at least 20 school boy attempts in like a minute. Later on in the match with the other three men down after big moves Miz, tried to steal pins on each of them but was unsuccessful. In the end, Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on The Miz to retain his title.
If I have one nitpick about this match it’s this: On SmackDown, Corbin nearly “killed” Ambrose by dropping the forks of a forklift on him. Yet here Ambrose was right as rain. He showed no ill effects and didn’t even have his ribs taped to give the illusion he was hurt.
Brock Lesnar defeated Kevin Owens
It was a rough week for the former Universal Champion. He lost his title in 20 seconds to Goldberg at Fast Lane and here he didn’t fare much better. He jumped Lesnar as Brock was taking his shirt off and got a near fall with a top rope senton but after that it was a trip to Suplex City and an F-5 and that was it for KO. The whole thing was over in less than three minutes.
The crowd chanted for Goldberg and Lesnar was lurching around like something was going to happen but nothing else did. It was then time for intermission.
Asuka, Nikki Bella, Tamina and Becky Lynch beat Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Natalya and Mickie James
This was the first bout back from intermission. They aired an Asuka hype video before the match to familiarize the crowd with the NXT Women’s Champion, but they didn’t need it. She was clearly the most over of the eight women. This match was rushed through. It last maybe six minutes. No one really stood out but Asuka got the win for her team getting Carmella to tap to the Asuka Lock.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Champions American Alpha defeated The Usos to retain the Championships
This was another match that was rushed through and the crowd was dead for it. That may be due to the fact that SmackDown pays zero attention to their Tag Team Division. I have no doubt in the right setting these two teams could tear the roof off an arena. In the end, Alpha retained with the Top Rope Steiner Bulldog.
WWE Championship Match: Champion Bray Wyatt pinned John Cena to retain the Championship (***1/4)
This was the longest match of the night by far going almost 25 minutes. It was pretty even early on but about ten minutes in, Bray hit Sister Abigail and Cena kicked out. Bray decided he was done for the evening and took his title and got counted out. Shane McMahon came back out and said things weren’t going to end like that and restarted the match as a No DQ, No Count Out Match.
The match turned into a fun brawl at this point. They brawled up the ramp and used weapons such as tables, the guard rails and chairs. Each man kicked out of each other’s finishers. In the end, a low blow stopped of all things Cena and Wyatt retained the title.
Wyatt got on the microphone after the match to tell us how much he hated John Cena. He hated him so much he wanted to end his career and was about to put Cena through a table. Of course, it was Wyatt who went through the table with the AA courtesy of Cena to send the fans home happy. The show was just under three hours.
Say what you want about Cena, the man is WWE’s biggest star and the fans react to him as such. The crowd was mild at best all afternoon but when Cena came out they were loud as can be.
All in all it was a fun afternoon of wrestling. I’ve been to worse House Shows and I’ve been to better ones but I feel I got my money’s worth and that’s all you can ask for when you purchase a ticket to an event like WWE.
WWE announced a return date of July 7th to MSG for a RAW Brand House Show.
Check out my YouTube Channel for my exclusive video from the MSG Show.
Follow me on Twitter too!