VANCOUVER – It has been quite a while since a WWE show had been held in Vancouver, BC, so the ravenous fans on Canada’s west coast packed the Pacific Coliseum to show their enthusiasm and were extremely boisterous throughout.
As the crowd streamed into the arena they eagerly lined up to pick up whatever WWE merchandise they could; and popular sellers were not only CM Punk and Daniel Bryan t-shirts, but John Cena ones – who wasn’t even on the wrestling card. Another coveted item was WWE championship replica belts, though, curiously enough they weren’t being sold at the arena and instead fans had brought them from home.
Match #1 – Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship between R-Truth, Curtis Axel and Big E Langston
As R-Truth made his way out to the ring, the crowd sung along and shouted loudly in unison ‘What’s up’. Next, Curtis Axel made his way down and was booed pretty heavily. To further antagonize the crowd when he reached the ring he blew out snot from his nose at the crowd. After that Big E Langston came out and while the fans cheered heartily it admittedly wasn’t as loud a reaction as R-Truth had gotten.
Much of the early goings of the match involved Axel stalling outside the ring until both R-Truth and Langston forced him into the squared circle. From there R-Truth and Langston double-teamed Axel until they inadvertently struck each other. Axel took ample advantage and eventually sent Langston to the outside and rammed him several times into the ring post and barricade.
After that the match was primarily conducted between Axel and R-Truth, who proved to have some good chemistry in the ring together. The finish for the match came when Langston returned to the ring when Axel was unaware and hit his Big Ending on him for the win.
Match #2 – Hunico versus Xavier Wood
It was readily apparent as each wrestler made their way to the ring that the crowd had only a passing familiarity with each competitor. However, as the match wore on they managed to win them over. Both demonstrated some flips, and reversals which eventually saw Wood scoring the pinfall.
Some brief time for either one on the microphone to explain the reason for the match would have been all that was needed so that the crowd would have invested in the contest from the beginning.
Match #3 – Bella Twins versus AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka
Originally, it was announced that there would be a WWE Divas Championship match between Brie Bella and AJ Lee, but it was not to be after AJ Lee came out to announce that she didn’t feel like defending her title. In response the Bella Twins challenged her and Tamina Snuka to a tag match which the crowd were very eager to see.
The early portions of the match involved each of the Bella Twins against Tamina Snuka due to the fact that AJ Lee avoided getting into the ring. Yet, once Snuka had managed to trap Nikki Bella through the use of her tremendous strength, Lee entered to further punish her. As the match wore on Nikki Bella managed to tag her sister who eventually got the win with a Bella Buster on Lee after Snuka had been taken out by a double team.
Being that the WWE has tended to feature the Divas almost exclusively in tag matches of late now might be the time they introduced a WWE Diva Tag-Team Title so they’ll have something to compete for.
Match #4 – WWE Championship Match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton
There was some muttering amongst those in attendance that the WWE Championship match was so early in the card, but once Daniel Bryan’s entrance music hit it was quickly forgotten in a series of deafening ‘Yes’ chants. Surprisingly Orton also got quite a few cheers as he made his way to the ring and throughout the match he received a mixed reaction from the crowd.
The match started with a very methodical pace with Orton stalling outside the ring where he used the full 10 count to his advantage. Eventually, though, the two combatants locked up and battled back and forth until Bryan dropkicked Orton over the top rope. Yet, when Bryan tried to take advantage of Orton’s vulnerability outside the ring, the champion turned the tables and threw him hard into the steel steps. Orton further punished Bryan by pulling him into the ring post and laying his arm over the steel steps and stomping on it.
Eventually, the action returned to the ring and Orton managed to hit a Superplex on Bryan which the challenger barely managed to kick out of. After some struggling between the two Bryan managed to take back the momentum and hit a Hurricanrana on Orton from the top rope. Bryan next hit a flying tackle on Orton who was outside the ring. Just as it appeared that Bryan was about to put the finishing touches on Orton, Kane appeared at the top of the entrance ramp and made his way down.
Bryan was completely transfixed by the distraction which allowed Orton to hit the RKO for the win and retain his title. After the match, it appeared that Orton along with Kane might take some liberties with Bryan, but Mark Henry made his way to ringside for the save which allowed Bryan to get a couple of shots in on Orton before both men left the ring.
During the early portions of the match, there were several points were one or both competitors were down on the mat for lengthy periods of time. While this helped to sell the impact of the wrestling holds there was annoyance from some in the crowd who felt it was being overdone.
Match #5 – Los Matadores versus 3MB
After the intermission the fans in attendance were treated to a very spirited tag-team match, but the reaction from the crowd appeared to take the wrestlers a bit by surprise. While Los Matadores were cheered to a degree it was readily apparent that 3MB members Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal were the crowd favorites.
The match itself was a very quick paced affair with Los Matadores utilizing a number of high flying maneuvers, while 3MB countered with their strength and technical ability. The end came for 3MB when Los Matadores managed to hit their Double Samoan Drop on Drew McIntyre and get the pin.
Nevertheless the crowd gave 3MB a standing ovation after the match.
Match #6 – Fan Choice Matchup – Fandango, accompanied by Summer Rae versus The Great Khali, accompanied by Natalya
For a choice of matches the crowd was offered a Dance Off or a One-on-One Matchup. While it was a narrow contest, the crowd chose the Dance Off. Fandango and Summer Rae competed first and the crowd lustfully booed them throughout. The Great Khali and Natalya followed them and easily won over the crowd and the contest.
Afterwards Fandango got on the microphone and accused Canadians of knowing nothing about the art of dance and challenged The Great Khali to a one-on-one match which the immense WWE Superstar accepted.
As the match got underway, The Great Khali easily overpowered Fandango, but Summer Rae jumped on the ring apron and distracted him which allowed Fandango to cut his knee out from under him. From there Fandango tried to press his advantage, but eventually The Great Khali landed a powerful kick and followed it up with a thunderous chop to Fandango’s head for the win.
After the match Natalya put Summer Rae in the Sharpshooter to the great delight of the crowd.
Match #7 – Luke Harper versus CM Punk
Prior to the match there was some speculation that the contest might involve Bray Wyatt taking on CM Punk, but instead Punk’s opponent was Luke Harper, though Wyatt would accompany him to ringside.
As the anticipation built, the crowd chanted for CM Punk over-and-over until finally his entrance music played and the arena exploded. It was easily the biggest pop of the night and many fans stood throughout the match to cheer Punk on.
With regards to the match, it would best be to describe it as Harper using his power to combat Punk’s technical skills. It was an intriguing contrast in styles and Wyatt added to the match by distracting Punk numerous times. Some interesting spots were Punk hitting Harper with ax handles off the top rope, Punk with a dive of the top rope onto Bray Wyatt who was outside the ring, and a vicious big boot by Harper on Punk which almost got him the win. However, after striking both Harper and Wyatt Punk was able to hit his patented finishing maneuver, Go To Sleep, for the win.
As Punk celebrated the win he spoke a few words to the crowd joking how much easier it was getting over the border in BC compared to other places, and thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting them.
With that he returned to shaking the hands of the fans at ringside and the crowd slowly started to file out happy and satisfied with the wrestling action they had seen.