Attended the WWE House show in Florence, SC on Dec. 2, and had a quite enjoyable time. This is the first WWE live event I have attended since Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando, and my expectations were low coming into today, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of show WWE put on. I'd estimate 2500-3000 in the building, not a large crowd, but a very loud one when they wanted to be, probably 70% under 18. My friend and I were the only people in our section without children
1. Brodus Clay d. Michael Mcgillicutty in 7 Minutes
A fun, yet basic match. Mcgillicutty is a very underrated worker, and made Brodus look great in this match with his bumps. Clay was liked by the crowd, and danced with kids in the rings after his victory.
2. Zack Ryder issued and open challenged that was answered by Corey Graves, and NXT guy who used to wrestle indies as Sterling James Keenan. Graves cut a standard, but good heel promo, and by the start of the match he had gone from unknown to hated. Graves looks to be doing a punk rock gimmick, wearing a jean jacket, suspenders and big black boots. The suspenders seem like the perfect heel gimmick to use an illegal weapon if/when he debuts. Ryder won a 9 minute match that was quite good. A bit more serious than the opener, and really showcased the potential Graves has.
3. Santino Marella d. Lord Tensai in 8 minutes
I was initially annoyed at the Santino comedy match being a waste of Tensai, but this is his spot on the card, and that's all there is to it. That said, Tensai is a big scary dude who plays an awesome straight man for Santino's comedy. They told the story of Santino trying to lock up with Tensai and slam him, but Tensai always overpowering him. Santino eventually gets it however, and the place went nuts for it. He then pulled out the cobra and after a couple attempts hit Tensai with it and pinned him. Santino is a master of comedic wrestling, and had the crowd in stitches the whole time. Tensai is a fine worker, and would probably be better suited back in New Japan, but he's making very good money in WWE I assume, and is a good enough hand to make the matches entertaining.
4. Daniel Bryan, Kane, Ryback NC Hunico, Comacho, Punk
They announced this as the first main event of the evening. Match went about 20 minutes before Shield ran in and attacked Ryback. Ryback killed the three, then Team Hell No battled Shield to the back, while Punk attacked Ryback. Ryback caught punk and gave him the shellshock to a cheering crowd. Bryan was in for most of the time on the babyface side, and Punk was absolutely golden as a heel. He got 4 minutes of mileage out of taking his shirt off, constantly took any excuse to cheat, but was terrified to actually get in the ring, especially to face Ryback. There was a spot where Bryan accidentally hit Kane, and Punk was trying to instigate a fight between them, they chose to hug it out instead, and were attacked by Hunico and Comacho. The Crowd HATED Punk, with a few exceptions, all of whom were 18-40 year old men. I cannot praise Punk's shtick enough. Tanahashi or Okada probably deserve the Thesz/Flair award this year, but there's not another American close to Punk right now. Ryback was also incredibly over, second only to Cena in reaction tonight.
Intermission was about fifteen minutes, and the gimmick table was so packed that I could barely see it. Cena merch everywhere. This seemed to be the kind of audience they are aiming for, and it has worked.
5. Kaitlyn and AJ d. Eve and Rosa Mendes in 8 minutes
Eve left her partner, and Kaitlyn rolled up Rosa for the pin. Match was pretty awful, with the usual diva misses, and botches, but AJ was vey loved by the audience. The rest of the women were met with polite indifference however.
6. Antonio Cesaro d. Jack Swagger and R Truth in 13 minutes.
Cesaro cut a promo saying how everyone in Florence were dumb and uncultured, a light USA chant broke out, Cesaro says the fans are right to chant USA since he's the United States Champion. Swagger came out, and I had a major medical emergency, I had gone deaf, there was absolutely no sound in the building. R Truth came out and my hearing was immediately restored. The people in Florence were well aware what was up, as truth was probably the third most over guy on the show behind Cena and Ryback. Match ended when Truth hit Swagger with his finisher, then Cesaro threw Truth out and stole the pin.
7. John Cena d. Dolph Ziggler in a very good 25 minute match
They were pretty obviously working out the kinks for their ppv match. An awesome match that far exceeded the expectations I had of a mere house show probably ***3/4 or so, Vicki was kicked out about 7 minutes into the match. Story of the match was Cena hitting Ziggler, while Ziggler bumped like crazy, but would never let Cena hit any of his big moves. Last 8 minutes or so were particularly good. Cena locked in the STF, and Ziggler got the ropes. Ziggler then accidentally hit the ref, Cena locked in the STF again, and Ziggler tapped, but the ref was incapacitated. Vickie ran back down and threw Ziggler the briefcase, he hit cena, and then woke the referee up, but that took just enough time where Cena could recover and kick out at two. Ziggler came off the top, Cena caught him and finally hit the AA for the pin. If this any indication, the ppv match may be quite good.
This was an incredibly fun time, and was not only entertaining, but exciting. I would highly recommend attending a WWE house show if they are in your area.