Hey, one and all, welcome to another Rhys Review article, and one that people can argue has more star power value behind it this time around. But I’m not one for caring for star power, I’m more into if an event looks appealing to me, I will go cover it and share my experiences with all of you on the site. This time around, I managed to get some tickets to see World Wrestling Entertainment, or simply WWE, live in person with the venue in this case being the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. It’s only a 2 minute walk from my student accommodation really, so I could have just rolled out of bed if I was having a bad day or something. Luckily I was having a decent enough day where I didn’t need to do that.
Before I get into the actual review, I’d sincerely like to thank CLIConline for managing to give me the tickets to go to this event in the first place, if it wasn’t for them giving me this chance, as well as countless others in the past, like winning 3rd place in the CLIC awards for a past article I posted on this site, as well as showcasing many articles I have posted here onto their main website. I really wish their time wasn’t coming to an end in a few weeks, if there was/is anyway to make them stick around for a little while longer, I’d get on that path in an instant. So, if this is indeed the last hurrah for CLIC, then I’ll do it with a bang for them.
Now, the Motorpoint Arena… this was the first time I ever went to a show of anything there and despite the major queues outside before going into the building, that process went by rather quickly. But the process of trying to buy merchandise, snacks and beverages, going to the toilet and the overall seating arrangements, that was not so fun. There were nowhere near enough sales points for different merch and snackage stands from the start, to intermission, to finish. It took me a good fifteen minutes to buy a five pound bracelet when it only took me less than five minutes to get into the building – how does that work? The toilets had queues lasting outside for a good 5 minutes, so I had to wait awhile before I could actually do. And the drinks, guys, seriously, guys. If you plan on wanting to buy food and drinks inside this venue: don’t. It cost me 4.30 for a small Diet Pepsi & Bacardi and 4.50 for a pint of Strongbow, where it wouldn’t even cost me that much to buy four from the corner shop! I didn’t even bother with food because it didn’t look all that appealing either and the queues once again. And on a final bit of awkward times for the venue is the seating. I loved the space of the venue, that was great, but the way in which they labelled where you had to sit was beyond a hassle. I ended up moving a total of three times due to being in the wrong seats when I honestly thought I was in the right seat. Maybe it’s because it was my first time there and I didn’t understand the layout so I won’t say it was their fault by any means.
Maybe I should get onto the actual show instead of finding every flaw in the actual building I was watching this show in, yeah? So, the show started with an opening package showcasing some WWE Live shows, things for the WWE Network, the regular opening sequence as if this was a part of a regular televised WWE show, and then a short promo package by WWE’s Executive Vice President and (storyline) CEO, Triple H, greeting us to the live event and telling us to enjoy the show. Following this, the Ring Announcer for the night, Eden, arrived to get the crowd going and announcing the matches for the rest of the night.
Zack Ryder defeated Bo Dallas
This was a fun little opener that saw two men who hardly appear on the main WWE programming being brought in. Some boos to Bo who did his usual ‘You just got to BO-LIEVE!’ and saying that Cardiff is in England. Ultimately it was the Long Island Iced-Z who got the win with the Rough Ryder Leg Lariat.
Tag Team Match
Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) defeated The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
This match honestly came as a surprise to me as I didn’t expect to see two teams who made their tag team marks for themselves in the developmental brand known as NXT (seriously guys watch this show, it’s a hour long every week and it’s so worth the watch), to be in a live event like this so fast. It just made you appreciate how far they have come as separate entities.
Either way this was a nice tag team match that showed The Acension dominating over the lighter opponents (and no dreaded ‘HYAH!’ chants at Konnor, thank Christ). And the Lucha Dragons – seeing what they can do on television is one thing, but seeing the things they do live, it’s truly a breath-taking thing, especially from Kalisto. With Rey Mysterio gone from WWE now, it seems if anyone were to be a suitable ‘replacement’ for Mr.619, it would be this guy.
But still, it was a short, high-impact match that ended with the Lucha Dragons getting the wins from the Salida del Sol by Kalisto followed by a Swanton Bomb by Sin Cara.
Stardust defeated Goldust
Before this match started we had Stardust, the former Cody Rhodes (which chants of his name affected him during the actual match) trying to hype the crowd up in asking them if they want to see a live television episode of Monday Night Raw from Cardiff sometime in the future (which would in fact be amazing to happen sometime), except he was just fibbing with us! After this we get a match with him fighting his older brother, Goldust, in what should have been a singles match on this year’s Wrestlemania in my honest opinion. This match was a reason why these two brothers facing off against either other could have worked so well on a massive stage like Wrestlemania. Oh well, there’s always next year.
But seriously, real talk. Goldust, a man who has been wrestling for around 25 years or more, closer to 30 I believe, and seeing him pull out moves like Sunset Flip Powerbombs and other moves that talents in their 20s have trouble executing, when he is in fact 46, it’s truly unbelievable. After his younger brother ended up getting the win, the crowd showed a similar opinion to mine by chanting ‘You’ve still got it,’ to the WWE veteran. Granted, to ‘still have it’ you would have needed to lose it in the first place, something which Goldust has never done, but I digress. He briefly thanks us all for being an awesome crowd and he went to the back with his head held high despite losing the match.
Before the next match began we got a short video package talking abut the creation of the Warrior Award, inspired by the late Ultimate Warrior for ‘warriors outside of the company’ and the impact they have made, and its first inductee, Connor “The Crusher” Michalek. To sum up as quickly as I can, Connor was an 8 year old boy who passed away in 2014 after a tough battle with neck and brain cancer and he gained major media attention after visits from his favourite WWE Superstar, Daniel Bryan. The point of the video was to pull at people’s feelings, which despite it clearly being a marketing gimmick to get more media attention to the company (which I somewhat do and don’t blame them for doing honestly, a lot of other companies in the world have done this very same thing), definitely worked on me as it always does. It was mentioned that they would be selling special bracelets in the merch stands where all the money would go towards the ‘Connor’s Cure Charity‘, a non-profit charitable organization, which is funded through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. That was the only thing I bought at the stands, honestly because of the meaning behind it, even before seeing the video package dedicated to the little kid.
Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper
The next match woke people up more as it included the Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, who a large variety of ages were interested in seeing. For bit of the match he was having a bit of a loopy and humorous time with the referee while still bringing it to the massive beast, Harper.
The match, in all honesty, may have dragged out a little bit but the other people didn’t seem to mind it, especially when Dean hit what I believe was a DDT for the pinfall victory. He was very much the best reaction of the night up to this point.
Next we had intermission, and as I have already talked about the venue and its selling stands there’s not much to say here, except for how there seemed to be even more people in the arena at this point compared to when the show started, which was really bizarre, and of course annoyed me to no end, because… people. Although I will say, they must have known how busy intermission would be as it seemed to go on for a lot longer than other intermissions I have been a part of, which was a nice thing. Made waiting 15 minutes to go to the toilet a lot less annoying – actually no, nothing excuses that.
Paige & Naomi defeated The Bellas Twins (Brie & WWE Divas Champion, Nikki)
After intermission we got some diva action, and it was honestly a nice match that actually had a majority of the people in the crowd interested in it? Yeah, I know! People, actually interested in seeing the women – in a match! Scandalous I know! Everyone seemed to be way into our beloved waifu Paige (or maybe that’s just what I call her).
Naomi was also as athletic as she usually is here, pulling out moves that makes me wish people could chant for her more often instead of chant solely for Paige, though I can’t really blame people because, well, it is Paige! And The Bellas were on point with their mean girls attitudes and how they incorporate it into their in-ring styles. It shows how long they’ve come since they were first a part of the WWE.
In the end, Paige got the submission win with her PTO (Paige Tap Out) submission, which is even more painful to see live than it is to see on screen. As they walked up the ramp, Paige and Naomi held up some kind of blue shirt. I believe it was something from England which got some boos. Oh, ladies, we love you still, but don’t give us Welsh people reasons to boo you, that’s what The Bellas are for. But seriously, all women did great, they should be proud.
Before the next match began, we saw a short video promo from the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, talking about Randy Orton.
Kane VS Ryback
‘The Big Guy loves Cardiff!’ – Ryback
‘For the record, I hate Cardiff!’ – Kane
That’s how this match started and how it went on throughout was a serious of powerful holds and moves executed by these two beasts of the squared circle. Ryback, to my surprise, had a lot more chants and cheers during the match. I say surprise because I remember a time, at least on television, where Ryback as a character was going nowhere, and as a result I thought people wouldn’t care anymore, even if they wanted to focus on him again. But here he is again, getting a lot of attention and a lot of people/kids wearing his t-shirts. It’s nice to see that he’s doing well for himself. Also, as I said with Goldust being a product of the foundation of youth in terms of his in-ring style, Kane is more or less on a similar scale where a man with his size (over 7 feet tall, and around 320 pounds) and age (47) doing the moves he does is really amazing.
Even still, it was the big guy who defeated the demon here with his Shell Shocked finisher in a nice display of strength, lifting him easily over his head.
Main Event: WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Singles Match
Randy Orton defeats Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security) via DQ, Seth Rollins retains
This match was easily the best match on the card for multiple reasons, the crowd was most interested in this as it has two of WWE’s biggest stars doing battle; cheering/booing who they felt like and getting involved with many different chants. It had both talents playing their roles well and ultimately working well with each other in the ring, with both bringing out moments that had people on their feet towards the end of the match. It was truly amazing to see both of them doing what they do best live, as it was to see everyone else doing the same thing; this match drove that point home more than anything else.
Of course, in the end, it was J&J Security (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) (who tried to interfere multiple times during the match to help the champion) who stopped the match by attacking the Viper (Orton), helping Rollins retain his title to the displeasure of 95% of people in the arena (me not being one of them). Orton then finished the two off with his (out of nowhere) RKOs to send the people home happy.
And honestly, that’s the way I felt after this show was done, happy. I mean – sure there are things that could have been done better, like the dealings with merchandise selling, food & drink choices, the prices of all of that at the venue, even the choice of where people were seated (I really don’t like having so many kids around me constantly yelling in my ears every ten seconds, what person likes that honestly?) But those aside, the whole show itself felt somewhat like a regular Pay Per View from WWE. I mean not like Wrestlemania/Summerslam/Royal Rumble level, but it felt bigger than your average Raw/SmackDown show, it was just done really well. I’d definitely go to another one of their shows if I was given the opportunity again.
So, thank you guys for reading my review of the WWE in Cardiff, and a thank you that will never stop to CLIConline for giving me the tickets to see them in the first place. Hopefully you can find a way to stick around for a while longer, but if that isn’t the case then maybe you always have a special place in my, and everyone’s hearts.