The WWE took a trip Down Under to bring us Super Show-Down. Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look to see if it’s worth your pocket money.
It seems as if “bonus” PPV (ish) events will become increasingly familiar on the Network. After all when the WWE is chasing new subscribers a show every four to five weeks simply doesn’t cut the mustard does it? Be damned those (like myself) who would argue that less is more and having more frequent “special events” simply means that as a whole those we do see become less special. Still, this was a huge Australian show in front of a colossal crowd and was certainly packed with names so there were reasonable expectations going in, one way or the other.
Despite the presence of Ronda Rousey, John Cena and four title matches the hype for this card was largely based solely around the “last time ever” you would see Triple H Vs The Undertaker. Of course hindsight shows that what we expected all along, the subsequent DX Vs Brothers of Destruction tag team encounter, actually happened so this wasn’t quite the “last ever” in the strictest sense. Neither was it in any way any good at all. That the promotion who once mocked WCW for presenting a Roddy Piper / Hulk Hogan match in 1997 would bring us this in 2018 is perhaps beyond parody. The addition of Kane and Shawn Michaels at ringside suggested that whoever booked this has the sense to realise distractions would be necessary but then those same people gave the match itself almost thirty minutes. It felt like three hours. It was slow, plodding and almost bereft of drama. And it was up there / down there with the worst matches on a grand scale such as this that I’ve ever seen.
Thankfully the undercard did provide some much better moments; tying for best match of the night, for my money, were the WWE Championship Match and the Cruiserweight Title match. Of course there were so many AJ Styles / Samoa Joe matches over the summer into the autumn that it’s almost too difficult to place this one in the feud (and circumstances meant the WWE had to drag it out even further) but as the supposed climax of a heated and dramatic feud this more than delivered. It rewarded those of us who pay attention to matches with some great nods to their previous matches and had a great grasp of the psychology of the feud (which can be something of a lost art these days). Of course even with “home town” boy Buddy Murphy in it the Cruiserweight title match couldn’t quite live up to the star power of that match but it was just as good in the ring. Although only given ten minutes the two assembled the kind of match that people who watch 205 know happens on an almost weekly basis. It’s a real shame that some fans can’t get past the bad old mediocre days of 205 Live and aren’t watching the “best kept secret” of WWE now. Hopefully matches likes these will persuade more fans to get on board.
The Shield against The Dogs of War (Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre) was a top notch tag team match which went down well, even if now just a few short months later it all seems so out of date given what has happened since. John Cena and Bobby Lashley against Kevin Owens & Elias is less successful and the fact that it was most memorable for Cena’s new hairstyle says it all. This was house show central all the way. Expectations would have been higher for the “Number One Contenders” match between The Miz and Daniel Bryan but that went less than three minutes. As such I don’t mind that quick finish (not every big match needs to go thirty minutes) but whilst it gave Bryan revenge for previous mis-deeds by Miz AND set up Bryan Vs AJ Styles I might have preferred something a bit more meaty here.
The Smackdown Women’s Title match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte was a minor disappointment too. It seems like Smackdown is the land where feuds over titles get prolonged by non-finishes. It was a “necessary” step along the way to their match at Evolution but given the fueds we’ve seen with AJ Styles against Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe this year it all seemed a little familiar. I didn’t expect much from Ronda Rousey & The Bella Twins against The Riott Squad so wasn’t disappointed in that one; it was what it was although it seemed a wasted opportunity NOT to flick the switch on the Bella heel turn here ahead of Evolution. It was a lot better than the tag match which pitted The Iiconics against Asuka & Naomi. It seems like the “homecoming hero” thing doesn’t automatically work in 2018 as the match had very little heat; or maybe fans just didn’t care about the decidedly mediocre “action” on display. The Smackdown Tag Team Title match that opened the show between The New Day and The Bar was the perfect opener for the show in that it whizzed by at a fast pace and had plenty of action to savour.
Much like Greatest Royal Rumble, if you treat this as a “non-canonical” house show that just happened to have camera’s there you’ll get more out of Super Show Down than treating it as a true “PPV”. There was some great action, there was some very bad action and there was a main event that I never want to see again for as long as I live. Still, if you cherry-pick the good moments there’s more than enough quality on here to somewhat while away the time.
Format reviewed: DVD
Photos courtesy of Fetch and WWE.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Super Show-Down which is out on DVD Monday 26 November. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here