WINDSOR — While the show might’ve been lacking on star power, WWE’s visit to the WFCU Centre on Saturday greatly entertained the enthusiastic crowd on hand.
With WWE splitting the roster up into two tours (the other was in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday), the other group is clearly more loaded (CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, The Big Show and The Shield are all on that tour), but that didn’t deter the audience in Windsor from having a great time in WWE’s first event at the WFCU Centre, a venue that opened in 2008.
WWE has continued to make serious strides when it comes to making the standard house show have a bigger feel for the live audience. Ever since making the change to have house shows have a more “TV-like” feel with a stage and video boards, the experience has been greatly enhanced. The only thing that could be improved upon was the sound. Entrance musics really couldn’t be heard well, and hearing promos was impossible unless the crowd was completely silent.
The crowd in Windsor was loud all night for the show, which started at 7:30 p.m. and ended just after 10 p.m., a big contrast from recent television tapings this reporter has attended, where the crowd started out hot but quickly fell off. Here in Windsor, the crowd, filled with a good mix of children and adults, was loud all night.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
The opening bout was a battle royal with the winner becoming the No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. The match featured Fandango, Damien Sandow, Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, Brodus Clay, Tensai, Big E Langston, NXT’s Xavier Woods, Dolph Ziggler, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, R-Truth and Ryback.
The superstars immediately ganged up on Fandango, with Woods eliminating him. There were some anticipated big man spots between Ryback and Langston, as well. The match came down to Mahal and Slater teaming up on Ziggler. Well, you do the math here. Ziggler eliminated them both before Sandow came back after slipping out under the bottom rope earlier. Sandow hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Ziggler was able to fight him off and win it.
Sandow cut a promo after. Being in Canada, he of course made sure to say, “Silence, eh!” and “you’re welcome, eh!” to much heat.
He asked anyone to come out and face him and got Big E Langston. It didn’t go well for Sandow, who fell to Langston’s Big Ending.
Next up was the Prime Time Players against Mahal and Slater. 3MB got a long heat spot on Young, but O’Neil got the tag, came in and took out Mahal, finishing him with the Clash of the Titus.
Next up was a women’s attraction between AJ and Naomi. AJ made sure to note she wasn’t about to defend her title in Windsor. Of course, this led to Naomi winning the match with a leg lariat.
The fan’s choice match was next, and boy, did we get one pulled over on us here. It was a Twitter poll for whether you wanted the R-Truth/Fandango match to be a one-on-one match or a dance-off. Shockingly, a dance-off won. That lasted about 10 seconds. Fandango did his dance but then attacked R-Truth during his. This led to a match, which R-Truth won.
We came back from intermission with a tag team bout between the Prime Time Players and the Wyatt Family — Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Hopefully they used the intermission to reinforce the ring for this one, because there were some big boys in there. The Wyatt Family picked up the win after Bray Wyatt distracted Clay, allowing Harper to hit a discus clothesline on Clay to end it. After the match, Wyatt hit the downward spiral on Clay.
Big underdog Woods took on Ryback in the next bout. Naturally, barely anyone knew who Woods was (well, except for the 10-year old behind me, who apparently watches NXT). So Woods had no heat, but he quickly was able to get the crowd into the match. He started out hot, slapping Ryback and laying in kicks after Ryback tried to bully him. Ryback took over but was unable to put Woods away. Woods would press with some roll-ups that were close, but Ryback rallied to hit the meat hook clothesline and the Shell Shock for the win. Woods got a nice ovation from the crowd for his effort.
In the main event, Alberto Del Rio defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler.
If you’ve ever been to a WWE house show with Del Rio in the main event, you know to expect a lot of stalling to start. This was no different.
Del Rio spotted a child on the outside and took his sign. He then taunted the fan, faking giving it back before yanking it away. This happened several times and was rather funny. He tore it up into many pieces and then made it rain with sign pieces.
In the ring, both men worked the crowd into a frenzy with throwing their shirts into the crowd. Del Rio whipped his at a fan in the front row, surprisingly, before Ziggler threw his deep into the floor seats.
The two had a good match. After a Fameasser to a huge near fall, which the crowd completely bought as the finish, the crowd really thought Ziggler could do it and win the title.
Unfortunately, the finish was weak and contrived. The referee got in the middle of things and Del Rio more moved him to the side than shoved him. Del Rio locked in the armbar, but as he had it, about 10 seconds after the “shove” the referee called for the bell. Everyone thought Ziggler had submitted, but instead he was awarded the win by disqualification. This was no good.
Del Rio tried to hit Ziggler with a chair after, but Ziggler ducked and hit the Zig Zag to send the crowd home happy, briefly celebrating with the title after.
All-in-all, it was a good show, although one lacking on star power. Del Rio, Ziggler and the Wyatt Family got the biggest reactions, with AJ not too far behind.