Raw and Smackdown in London: My Experience

WWE made their bi-annual trip to the UK this week and I was lucky enough to attend both shows at the O2 Arena.

First was Monday Night Raw, WWE’s biggest weekly event.

The arena was completely full and the usual ‘Woo!’ chants rung out as UK fans saw their first WWE live event of the year.

Roman Reigns opened the show to a loud, loud chorus of boos – from this point forward, I knew the crowd was going to smarky.

WWE didn’t even try and hide it when they broadcast the show 5 hours after the segment occurred, they let the boos rain down on Roman.

Match of the night followed imminently, as Seth Rollins put his Intercontinental Championship on the line against Kevin Owens.

The Musclebuster onto the apron looked exceptionally painful and the ending sequence of Rollins Curb-Stomping Owens as he entered the ring was unique and perfectly executed.

Rollins was hot with the crowd and easily the biggest babyface of the evening, followed by Elias.

Bobby Roode secured his qualification in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match by defeating No Way Jose and Baron Corbin – Jose really got the crowd going and fans sung Roode’s Glorious theme at the top of their lungs.

The B-Team of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas also managed to get over with the crowd as they defeated Breezango in a match I missed as I was getting a beverage (sorry!).

Ember Moon continued to impress in the women’s division as she teamed with Sasha Banks and Natalya to defeat The Riott Squad.

Moon’s Suicide Dive is easily the best in the company at the moment, the quickness with which she flies out the ring is majestic.

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt beat The Revival, Alexa Bliss beat Mickie James and Bayley and Sami Zayn cut a really good promo on Bobby Lashley, threatening to expose him on next week’s Raw.

Irishman Finn Balor teamed with Braun Strowman and surprisingly lost against Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, a man for the home nations of each side of this particular tag match.

In the main event, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens and Elias had a good match to qualify for Money in the Bank.

Elias was extremely over with the crowd, with them regularly chanting ‘Oooh Walk With Elias!’ to the tune of Seven Nation Army.

Lashley’s sisters got a few chants too, both are audible in the WWE YouTube video of the main event.

Kevin Owens got the win via a Frogsplash with the help of Sami Zayn and it kicked off a dark six-man tag match with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns helping out Lashley against Elias, Zayn and Owens.

On the way out of the arena, NXT Superstar Trent Seven ran away scared from a fan dressed as Kane, Joe Coffey walked past and we got a wave from OTT Wrestling Champion Jordan Devlin.

After a late train home, it was back to square one for Tuesday’s Smackdown Live.

With seats closer to the action, we got to witness AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura’s best match to date.

As a note, nearly half of the top section was closed off for this show and the audience was visibly younger in age than the day before but it felt much louder.

First, Daniel Bryan came out to a massive pop – The GOAT is loved wherever he goes.

He easily saw off the threat of Big Cass – a segment in which Cass did nothing but annoy the crowd, so good heel work I guess.

The first match was Xavier Woods and Big E versus Sheamus and Cesaro, a match we have seen plenty of times on television before.

It was impressive nonetheless, with Xavier Woods winning the match for New Day and gaining them a place in the Money in the Bank match.

Accompanied by Zelina Vega, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas made his Smackdown Live debut.

He quickly beat an enhancement talent in a squash match before Vega cut a scathing promo declaring Almas as the best performer in WWE.

Becky Lynch was able to beat former Absolution stablemates Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville before the main event of Styles and Nakamura.

 

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Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles

This particular match was to decide what stipulation their Money in the Bank match will have, with the winning deciding the implications.

 

A brilliant back and forth led to a brilliant spot from Nakamura where he pretended to be low-blowed by Styles whilst the official had his back turned.

This distracted Styles and led to Nakamura hitting the Kinshasa and pinning Styles.

 

On 205 Live, Tyler Bate performed alongside Kenny Williams, a former ICW Zero-G Champion.

Their Fatal 4-Way was rounded out by TJP and Kalisto, with Bate picking up the pinfall victory with the Tyler Driver 97.

Bate was easily the crowd favourite here, with continuing support from the crowd who stayed behind to watch the cruiserweights.

‘Flash’ Morgan Webster made his WWE debut in the main event alongside Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali as they faced James Drake, Joseph Connors and Drew Gulak.

Ali picked up the win for the face team in a fun match that saw Webster busted open.

In the dark main event, The Miz and Jeff Hardy battled for the United States Championship.

Hardy, who was visibly hurting, came out in facepaint and The Miz was brilliant with his heel work as it was apparent this match was not going to feature on television.

He mocked Hardy and his brother Matt’s ‘Delete’ chants occasionally before losing to Jeff thanks to a beautiful Swanton Bomb.

Overall, Wrestlaholic UK had a great time in London for Raw and Smackdown in shows that were full of action and fun – we can’t wait for next year!

 

 

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