Last night, WWE made its triumphant return to Madison Square Garden, for “Supershow,” the first event held there since an episode of RAW last November. While this was just a house show, to be sure, the evening felt as close to a pay-per-view as you could get.
First of all, nothing beats the Garden. Granted, I have little basis for comparison (just the Hammerstein Ballroom for One Night Stand in 2006, which was a completely different experience), but as soon as the show began, I could tell that the superstars were amped up to be performing in front of a very special audience.
I’m not going to rate any of the matches, because I feel that everything plays differently live, for better and worse. I’m just going to give my general impressions.
Anyway, here’s my review of the show:
Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
As soon as Tony Chimel announced the competitors, I wondered if Drew McIntyre was as boring in real life as he is on TV, and despite the thrill of seeing him live, he really is. The crowd was stoked for Kingston, and I can see why. He’s a real dynamo, and a treat to watch.
The match itself was okay. Kingston did his best to flop around to put on an exciting show, but McIntyre just weighed the whole thing down. It felt like a lot of punching, interrupted by the occasional jump.
I remember being excited to see them wrestle at Over the Limit because I thought they were evenly matched, and because every member of the new generation—Kingston, The Miz, Jack Swagger, John Morrison, Sheamus, Evan Bourne, among others—have stepped up.
I was wrong about that then and I’m wrong now. They just don’t click. Maybe it’s McIntyre, or maybe it’s their lack of chemistry. Either way, this wasn’t much of an opening contest, but the crowd seemed happy.
Tag Team Match: MVP & Christian vs. Luke Gallows & The Mystery Man (Joey Mercury) of the Straight Edge Society (w/ Serena)
You can never go wrong with a match featuring MVP and Christian. They made a good tag team and the crowd was into every move they made. MVP seemed particularly excited about being in the arena, selling his reactions every step of the way. Christian is very athletic, and also didn’t disappoint.
Special mention should be made to Gallows and Mercury, who made a pretty good tag team. Gallows has a lot of potential as the next great “big man” and Mercury held his own nicely against MVP and Christian.
This match was probably better suited for TV, but a solid tag team match nonetheless.
Kane vs. CM Punk (w/ Serena)
The first huge pop of the night was for Kane. Punk got a pretty big pop, too, preaching to the crowd about all their alcohol consumption. It was great. As someone who doesn’t drink, do drugs, or smoke, I held my hand up quite a few times in an attempt to pledge to the Straight Edge Society...I don’t think it worked.
But then the match started, and it was as if there were no pops at all. You might have been able to hear a pin drop. The crowd was dead, and I don’t think it was because they were already drained, I think it was because the match itself was pretty boring.
These two had a couple of good exchanges at the end and the finish got a big reaction, but the rest just didn’t have anyone interested at all.
Fatal 4-Way Match for the United States Championship: The Miz (c) vs. R-Truth vs. Evan Bourne vs. Mark Henry
Given that Miz, Truth, and especially Bourne were involved, you would think that this would be great. It wasn’t, but it was still pretty good.
Miz played the cocky heel, Truth was the fan favorite, Henry played the “monster,” and Bourne, of course, flew all over the place. He’s really amazing. He’s so fast, so energetic, and he sells like crazy. It’s really a testament to his ability that, despite all of his quick moves, he always stays in character.I’m pretty sure this match had the same ending as the 4-way from RAW earlier this week, except with Bourne getting in the big spot instead of John Morrison, but it was still very entertaining.
No Disqualification Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger (c) vs. The Big Show
Believe it or not, I was looking forward to this one, mostly because I knew it would improve on their match from Over the Limit, which was only five minutes long and ended in a disqualification. The stipulation here guaranteed more leeway with the action and a clear-cut winner.
And it was everything I hoped it would be. Swagger struggled to outwrestle Big Show, to mixed results, while Show played the power game, also to mixed results. This reminded me of the great matches Show had with Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, though this definitely wasn’t as good.
The stipulation was used sparingly and effectively, playing a large role in the end, in which Kane came out, choke-slammed Big Show, then Swagger pinned Show, and then Swagger himself was choke-slammed by Kane.
These two still have a lot potential together, but this was a step in the right direction.
Six Diva Tag Team Match: Eve & The Bellas vs. Maryse, Michelle McCool, & Layla
This match probably tied Punk/Kane as the worst of the night, but instead of silence, the crowd chanted “this is stupid” and “boring” pretty vehemently. While I do think the match itself was weak, it was probably given harsher treatment on the sole basis of being a divas match, which is a shame.
I will say that Eve, The Bellas, and Layla have all gotten a lot better in the ring since I last saw them, but not enough to make this at all good. Maryse and McCool are solid athletes, but aren’t really capable of carrying the action. This was an OK match that deserved more respect than it received.
Randy Orton vs. Edge
I wasn’t sure if Orton would be able to compete, given that I read that he was being kept out of action until Fatal 4-Way, then it occurred to me that this event was at Madison Square Garden, and no way was Orton missing it, unless he was too injured to be performing in the first place.
He received a massive pop that set the tone for the match. The action itself was kept short and sweet. I’m not sure if it was even ten minutes long, which definitely helped.
This resembled the kind of great match you would see on TV and not on a pay-per-view, but if this is the best Orton can do while injured, it’s still better than most.
WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Sheamus
The main event had that “big fight feel.” It felt more like a pay-per-view main event than any other of the matches. Sheamus looked unstoppable. Cena looked ready to go. These two fought for about 20 minutes, and every one of them was thrilling.
Sheamus controlled most of the action, but this didn’t feel like a typical Cena match. They traded plenty of counters at the end, and even though this was just a house show, it looked like it could go either way. That’s how good it was.
I’ve really come around to Sheamus as a main-eventer, and Cena consistently proves why he deserves to be the top guy in the business. I can’t wait to see these two go at it again on pay-per-view.
Afterwards, Wade Barrett and the Nexus bombarded the ring, and then Edge, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, and Kofi Kingston all made the save and fought them off with Cena. It was a predictable, yet awesome, ending.
Was it a great show? Not really. The absence of Triple H, Undertaker, Batista, Chris Jericho, and Rey Mysterio was definitely disappointing, and a couple of the matches flat-out stunk. But there was still plenty of talent and work-rate to enjoy, and the main event left everyone cheering.
At the end of the evening, Cena got on the microphone and announced that he was looking forward to returning to the Garden for WrestleMania XXX, but if this show was any indication, I hope it’s sooner than that.