WWE headed back to Saudi Arabia, with the chance to make an impact. Several superstars had the chance to pick up gold and gain momentum on the road to WrestleMania 36.
Super Showdown was an important event for everyone taking part. Fans saw more history made, as Goldberg stepped back into the ring, and several title bouts that no one wanted to miss out on were on the card.
With such a stacked and eventful card, there is plenty to discuss; but just how good were the matches on the night?
Did these bouts live up to expectations, and how strongly will Super Showdown affect the road to WrestleMania?
The Viking Raiders vs. The OC
This was a match that really did fit the Kick-Off Show perfectly. With the OC winning the Best Tag Team tournament the last time the WWE was in Saudi Arabia, it made perfect sense for them to take part in this week’s Super Showdown event and prove they are still the top tag team in WWE (a statement that is near impossible to support). The Viking Raiders are a hot, well talked about team in the company right now and their charisma was sure to get the crowd excited early on, so the booking was a solid fit for the Kick-Off show to get the energy nice and high. Now, the match itself didn’t have anything noteworthy take place.
It wasn’t a memorable bout and there was nothing special to take away from the collision. Both teams had a decent showing, and this was a simple tag team match that those in attendance did seem to enjoy as they expressed through chanting “this is awesome”. The Viking Raiders continued to impress and proved there is more to come from them, but there is no denying that Anderson and Gallows really needed this win after a tough few weeks behind them. The Viking Raiders won’t suffer from this loss and we can expect to see the two teams collide again soon.
Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match: R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Andrade vs. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker
I don’t know about you, but I love a Gauntlet Match! We don’t get to see them very often but when we do, we can see standout moments, career highlights and breakout performances for certain superstars. During Super Showdown, six of the most talked-about stars of Monday Night RAW took part in the Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match and the man we were all talking about come the end was R-Truth.
Now, we had some amazing superstars competing in this match up with varying styles that made this interesting to say the least! Bobby Lashley and R-Truth kickstarted the action and once everyone on Twitter had got past Lana’s very brief appearance, the attention was totally on the action in the ring that appeared one-sided for much of the match. This would have been a great opportunity for Lashley to gain some much needed momentum on a big stage, but a surprise win for Truth shaped this Gauntlet match. We did see Lashley deliver a brutal attack on Truth following his loss, which was fitting to Lashley’s character to have this response to a loss and he needed to make an impact before heading backstage.
What would follow saw R-Truth really given the opportunity to have the spotlight he deserves. After pinning Andrade and Erick Rowan’s disqualification, Truth went on to face AJ Styles. During his time in the gauntlet match, Truth had his left arm targeted by Andrade and a powerful performance from Rowan made it clear that the former champion took one heck of a beating, and while he did end up tapping out to Styles he had the memorable performance that deserved.
Andrade needed, and should have received, a far better showing with the error here being the fact he was booked in this match when arguably he should not have been included this time around.
Then, we had one of the biggest moments of the night! After Styles orchestrated an attack on Rey Mysterio, The Phenomenal One was about to win the match, but the appearance of The Undertaker changed the game drastically! There has been plenty of talk regarding The Deadman and Styles coming face to face in a dream match, and at Super Showdown the foundation was set for their possible WrestleMania encounter with The Undertaker winning the Tuwaiq Trophy.
This was an entertaining Gauntlet match. The grading is lower here simply because the wrestling wasn’t strong enough, but the booking was smart, Truth had a great showing and of course, the Undertaker made an appearance and won the damn thing!
SmackDown Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. The Miz & John Morrison
The build to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and Miz and Morrison was strong and effective and when it came down to the in-ring action. This was a fun match that showcased the strengths of both teams. The friendship and chemistry on both sides of the ring were clear and while it’s been nearly eleven years since The Miz and John Morrison have held gold together, they worked incredibly well as a unit.
The match was full of great spots and while there wasn’t a strong focus on storytelling, this was a solid bout that sparked change in the tag team division. The win for Miz and Morrison was well received from the crowd and it’s a refreshing victory that opens very exciting creative doors for both teams who took part on the road to WrestleMania.
Angel Garza vs. Humberto Carrillo
We have seen Angel Garza and his cousin Humberto Carrillo collide a couple of times now and with the pair performing so well together, there was no one who could have complained about seeing them share the ring once again. Both men are future stars with so much talent and together they know how to work an excellent match and that’s exactly what we saw from them at Super Showdown.
Their family ties, and the story we have seen being told between them, really adds so much more to their collisions. There is a personal attachment and it’s that story of the younger cousin trying to get the upper hand that keeps everyone invested. The fast paced Lucha Libre style was once again on show here in an entertaining action-packed bout that saw Garza score yet another victory.
Carrillo won’t suffer from this loss, but he does need to gain some momentum. As for Garza, this is a man taking full advantage of the opportunities he is being given and it was great to see both men work such a big stage early in their careers.
RAW Tag Team Titles: The Street Profits vs. Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy
This was the best tag team match of the evening. It was clear from the beginning that The Street Profits had the advantage of being a tag team for longer than Rollins and Murphy. Their frequent tags and teamwork was evident from the get-go and saw them gain the advantage several times throughout.
Of course, the champs did also utilise some great teamwork, but it must be noted they are a growing team with limited experience working together. Their sneaky tactics were effective once again and resulted in the pair retaining the titles.
This match was strong, and the wrestling was great resulting in an entertaining match, but it would have been great to see this bout given more time! An extra ten minutes or so would have made this a major standout of the evening, a breakout performance for the Street Profits and even a potential match of the year candidate, but this was an entertaining encounter nonetheless.
Mansoor vs. Dolph Ziggler
Mansoor is an incredibly talented WWE Superstar with a big future ahead of him. We are yet to see a great deal from him, but what we have seen from him so far has been very impressive. His latest showing took place at Super Showdown this Thursday against Dolph Ziggler – a smart opponent for the up and comer.
I was surprised to see how much Ziggler dominated a good chunk of this match and the bout itself didn’t really stand out on the night, becoming quite forgettable on a card that was so incredibly stacked. Ziggler did play the role of the cocky veteran well which added to the match but overall, I don’t feel as though we saw the best wrestling of either man. The end result did predictably see Mansoor pick up another big win and hopefully, we see more of him in the coming months.
WWE Championship: Ricochet vs. Brock Lesnar
After a month of build up, Brock Lesnar and Ricochet finally went one-on-one with the WWE Championship on the line. Now, this was a frustrating encounter. The video package and the build were so strong here and Ricochet has built momentum so well in recent weeks that it was important that he at least had a five-minute showing. While he never stood a chance of dethroning The Beast, it would have been great for him to have a similar showing to the likes of Finn Balor for someone like Ricochet could have really benefited from such booking.
It’s going to take a lot to turn things around for the former United States Champion who took a quick loss as many predicted. I do believe that he deserves better and it’s a shame he was used this way and the match was booked in this manner. A clear message has been sent however to Drew McIntyre here in this match.
Steel Cage Match: Baron Corbin vs. Roman Reigns
The rivalry between Baron Corbin and Roman Reigns has been going on for quite some time now and WWE have exhausted all they can with these two, but the pair looked to officially conclude their rivalry at Super Showdown inside a steel cage.
While the majority of the WWE Universe are pretty bored of this heated rivalry at this stage, the two superstars do have great chemistry and have put on some strong matches. This steel cage encounter was definitely another good match to add to the list. There was a good full use of the cage and the chain and the chemistry between the pair was evident as always. I do think this match would have benefited from being longer but we have seen so much from the pair that it is hard for them to pull something new out of the bag. It was no surprise to see Reigns score the win here.
SmackDown Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Naomi
It is, of course, great to see women continue to make history in this sport and Naomi and Bayley achieved another historic moment when they competed in the first women’s championship match in Saudi Arabia. It was brilliant to see the crowd so invested in the action and the two women did work very well together after a decent build to the encounter over the past few weeks.
Naomi’s athleticism was on full display from the get-go and the viciousness of Bayley came into play throughout ready to take away the momentum of her opponent very quickly. The pace of the match changed depending on who was in control and there was a sense that this was one of the most unpredictable matches of the evening. After some close calls it was Bayley who picked up the victory and retained her title but there can be no denying the amazing performance from Naomi.
WWE Universal Title: Bray Wyatt vs. Goldberg
Where do we begin with this one? In what should have been another epic performance from The Fiend that showcased his dominance and saw him put away another big name in WWE, the company went ahead and made an extremely controversial decision that has frustrated many fans.
After defeating The Fiend in a very short space of time to become the new Universal Champion, Goldberg has shifted the scene on the road to Wrestlemania. Personally, I do not understand the logic behind this booking when the WWE had such incredible talent in the form of the Fiend, a man who has dominated the wrestling world over the past six months it doesn’t make sense to have him lose in this fashion to Goldberg. Seeing where things go next will be vital to how big of a mistake this was
Super Showdown 2020 sure has left a bitter taste. While we had some incredible performances and amazing moments that have affected the road to Wrestlemania there were booking decisions throughout the night that has affected several superstars massively and not for the best. Crowning Goldberg the new Universal Champion has angered many of the WWE Universe and this decision has changed the build to Mania in a major way.
On a more positive note we had some historic moments like The Undertakers appearance and the Women’s Title match, alongside the quality of some of the bouts of the night have made this a special event and fans are very much talking about Super Showdown.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @TezangiVictoria. Thanks for reading!