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   August 23, 2014



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Cena rules at WWE in Detroit
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena is ready for action in Detroit. Photo by Brad McFarlin.


DETROIT ó Usually when WWE comes to town, itís for some sort of television taping, whether it be Raw, Smackdown, or a pay-per-view event. Friday, the company brought a rare house show to Joe Louis Arena, and while the action was solid in the ring, the attendance likely left a lot to be desired.

First off: The fans that were there were very loud and very active the entire night. They represented extremely well, from the first match to the last match. But only three small sections of the upper bowl (in the lowest-priced areas) were open, and the back quarter of the lower bowl was cut off for the staging area ó and all the seats available werenít even filled. It was no surprise when a return date wasnít immediately announced.

You can make all sorts of excuses for the low number ó itís nearly summer, itís a Friday, the beloved Tigers were hosting the Red Sox a few miles away in a game that drew nearly 40,000, it was too sunny out, etc. ó take your pick. Thereís no doubt this didnít reflect well on a major market such as Detroit.

However, as was mentioned, the in-ring was solid throughout the night ó all the competitors worked pretty hard and nobody was caught mailing it in, especially with a long jaunt to Madison, Wisconsin on deck.

The one thing this show exposed, however, is how WWE is clearly lacking any star power. If you take John Cena off this show, and he was only one of three people to ever main event a pay-per-view on this card, then itís really lacking. And perhaps that was a big reason why they didnít draw much at the gate.


The show opened with a WWE Tag Team Championship match that saw the Usos defend against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. The Usos came out to a huge ovation, and the Wyatt Family just appeared in the ring after two seconds of the lights being off. Crazy! Jimmy Uso hit a dive, as did Luke Harper at one point, but in the end, the Usos retained the titles when Jimmy rolled up Harper.

What was nice about this match is we saw a little more personality from the Wyatt Family.

Rusev beat R-Truth with the Accolade in a match that was more competitive than you would expect. Lana and Rusev were much hated, but the crowd didnít get behind R-Truth much here.

Next was a Fanís Choice Divas match. The fans voted 56 percent to 44 percent for the match that pitted Nikki Bella and Eva Marie against Aksana and Rosa Mendes to be a wrestling match instead of a dance-off. Being that I was at a wrestling show, I was OK with this. However, after the match, I was wishing it was a dance off.

Nikki Bella has improved a lot. In fact, once she got in the ring, it was like the match was on fast forward compared to how slow and plodding it was with everyone else. I am, however, somewhat worried for the safety of Eva Marie. At one point, and this couldíve just been a spot, but it didnít flow well at all, Aksana threw Eva Marie down, and it looked like it was supposed be under the bottom rope. However, all Eva got was face full of the bottom rope, snapping her neck back.

Then, Aksana went to hit a back elbow on Eva, but Eva wasnít every in the same ZIP code but sold it anyway. The coup de grace on this match was Bella hitting Aksana with her finishing backbreaker and Mendes trying to make the save, but somehow not being to overcome the ring apron, leaving her to look like a fish out of water trying to swim upstream. At first, I thought Eva Marie was holding her, which would explain this, however, Eva Marie was on a completely different side of the ring.

The best of the night was next, as Sheamus defended the United States Championship against The Miz in a very good match. We havenít seen Miz on television in a long time, but he showed no signs of rust here. He cut a pre-match promo about how movie stars such as himself usually have stunt doubles and donít put their faces at risk, so of course that built to a spot in the match where Sheamus finally hit Miz in the face ó and repeatedly.

Miz worked on the knee of Sheamus for a lot of the match and was even able to lock in the Figure Four Leglock in the centre of the ring, but Sheamus was able to make the ropes. Miz went for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Sheamus countered and hit a modified Brogue Kick, bad knee and all, to retain his title.

Sheamus was easily one of the most popular superstars on the show.

After intermission, it was time for some comedy, as 3MB (Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Hornswaggle) took on Los Matadores and El Torito. Hornswaggle was wearing a wig that was an epic mullet, so that was good. This naturally, was all comedy. Torito finally pulled the wig off, and right as things were getting ďintense,Ē Adam Roseís music hit and he and the Gluten Free Millennials came marching down to the ring. They did a lap, heading back up the ramp, and Torito hit Hornswaggle with a springboard moonsault to get the win.

I will say, the crowd was very into Rose, and many were singing along with his music.

The Intercontinental Championship was on the line next as Bad News Barrett defended against the former champion Big E. Of course, Barrett had some bad news for us before the match. Our sports teams stink, apparently. This was a competitive match, with fans actually engaging in a dueling chant for both men, believe it or not. In the end, Barrett used an eye rake to escape the Big Ending and hit Big E with the Bullhammer Elbow to win it.

The main event was next, as immensely popular John Cena took on Bray Wyatt in a no holds barred match. As any heel does in a house show main event, Wyatt stalled early. The Wyatt Family got involved early as Cena got fired up. After the trio put a beating on Cena, the Usos finally came running to the ring to a ear-piercing reaction and battled Harper and Rowan to the back.

With the odds evened, Cena and Wyatt used chairs, the ring steps, a guard rail, and even tables during their match. Wyatt even gave an impromptu karaoke session. After hitting each other with everything but the kitchen sink, Wyatt tackled Cena through a table and hit Sister Abagail, but Cena kicked out at two. Frustrated, Wyatt got another table from under the ring and set it up. Of course, this was his own demise, as Cena countered and hit the Attitude Adjustment through the table for the win.

Overall, it was a solid night, wrapping up right at the two-and-a-half-hour mark. Cena, Sheamus and the Usos were by far the most popular wrestlers, with Big E not too far behind. On the night, not too many heels were over a strong heels, so it should come as no surprise that Rusev and Lana got the biggest heel reaction.

RELATED LINKS

  • WWE Live in Detroit Photo Gallery

    Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.