“IT’S TIME, IT’S TIME, IT’S RIDAYH TIME”
– Vader, who is probably booked on today’s show
Truthfully, this worked out quite nicely. I had to pick up a weekend shift in order to spend my afternoon with you, beating the shit out of a dead horse (which would make this the least bloody trip to the Kingdom to date) – but it’s all worth it, because to quote Vince McMahon, “LIFE SUCKS AND THEN SAU-DI!”
My home of Ottawa is buried under about a foot of snow, in the midst of our worst storm of the year – and speaking of shallow burials …
WE ARE LIVE from Ridayh!
I actually watched the last few minutes of NXT UK prior to this, and got my first look at Kay Lee Ray, and possibly Toni Storm unless she’s previously competed in a Royal Rumble and NO I don’t want you to tell me all about it because I assure you, I won’t remember it. Anyway, those two were having themselves a swanky little hardcore match, including Ray attempting to behead Storm with a chair for the win, which somehow didn’t immediately get her booked on today’s show. Literally the only thing missing would have been a post-match interaction with an irate Mean Gene getting into a pissing match her. “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE YOUNG WOMAN????? ARE YOU JOHNNY RAY? ARE YOU SLIM RAY? ARE YOU KAY LEE RAY?” “WHO WANTS TO KNOW?”
At the North American studio, SCOTT STANFORD is talking up DAVID OTUNGA‘s lawfirm, and CHARLY CARUSO freestyles “well hopefully there will be no legal conflicts on today’s show”. And hopefully Dolph Ziggler’s long golden locks helps channel his inner Cinderella and gets him married off to Saudi royalty where he’s never seen again. Unfortunately he’s more likely to do like Rapunzel and let us all down.
MICHAEL COLE, COREY GRAVES, and “BEAUTIFUL” BYRON SAXTON welcome us to the arena, and just in time for…
THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. THE OC
Representing the OC tonight are Karl Anderson and Festus, while the Viking Raiders are made up of former Angels utility infielder Erick Aybar. Cole talks up Gallows and Anderson making their names in Japan, and he’s one mention of “The Orient” away from turning into full surrogate Mike Tenay. Aybar is slammed onto Karl Anderson via his partner in the kind of spot I always enjoy when there’s one fat tag-team partner. Gallows hits Erick with a big boot and works a chinlock to keep the smaller Viking trapped in their corner. I’m beginning to doubt that Erick is a real Viking, those aren’t the arms of a man who’s spent his life powerfully rowing. He DOES, however, need to trim the old hedges, as there’s a frightening inner thigh perm poking out his trunks. Even Aybar doesn’t have that much hair on his face. I can’t even keep track of what’s happening here, I’m fully distracted by the gooch pelt which is rolling around right in the face of the camera. The ladies need to wear 75 layers, but THIS is acceptable. That was the visual equivalent of wnyxmcneal in the comments section, and worth as many downvotes. Thankfully this ends when Aybar misses a high flying move and the OC hit him with the Magic Killer at 9:45. -***** just for the goddamn wooly mammoth.
TUWAIQ TROPHY GAUNTLET MATCH RULES
– Two Superstars will enter to begin the match
– When one Superstar is eliminated, a new Superstar enters
– Elimination can occur by pinfall, submission, disqualification, beheading, or count out
– The match continues until one Superstar’s remains will be declared the winner of the prestigious Tuwaiq Trophy
RON TRUTH vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (with Lana) (in the Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet)
The fans give a standing ovation for “OUR TROOP”. Meanwhile Lana, cosplaying as a human lightbulb, appears for about 6 tenths of a second before retreating backstage. This level of oppression immediately gets Lashley an enormous cheer. The front row is once again filled by Saudi Royalty aimlessly walking back and forth and looking completely uninterested in being here – it wouldn’t be a Super Showdown without them! Sadly, the recliners have been retired. The crowd dies (figuratively, let’s be clear) as neither of these guys are particularly interesting, but they wake up when Truth scores an unexpected pinfall when Lashley accidentally slams into the ringpost and trips over Truth off the bounceback at 5:37. Lashley then spends the next 2 minutes showing the kind of fire that would have been nice DURING their match, leaving Truth easy pickins for …
RON TRUTH vs. ANDRADE (in a non-title Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match)
Truth is bleeding, so a front-row Saudi elite hands him a pair of protective gloves which prevents the spreading of disease and incriminating fingerprints. Despite coming off a 30-day suspension, and Truth being a puddle, Andrade can’t put him away as quickly as he’d like. A running knee to the corner gets 2, as Truth keeps fighting. He blocks the hammerlock DDT, so Andrade exposes his knee for a direct strike, but misses and hits the ring post. Both guys bang heads together, and Truth falls backwards onto Andrade to score a pin without realizing it at 5:00.
RON TRUTH vs. ERICK ROWAN (in a non-cage Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match)
Corey: “You’re supposed to be a journalist Cole, what’s in the cage?” Given where we are, my guess is an actual journalist. Rowan starts dropping elbows, and the announcers sell that he could put him away any time he wants. Rowan charges, but Truth pulls down the ropes and the big man tumbles to the floor. Truth is right behind him with a suicide dive, which doesn’t result in suicide much to the dismay of the fans in attendance. Rowan, angry, throws Truth face first to the ring steps, so Truth tries to hide under the ring. Rowan refuses to let him get there, lest he pull out a weapon or possibly Titus O’Neil, and Rowan uses the stairs as a weapon to get DQ’d at 2:26.
RON TRUTH vs. “THE FUTURE OF TNA” AJ STYLES (in a Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match)
AJ Styles gets the first superstar pop of the night, and he endears himself to me by doing all of Truth’s dance moves in an amazing display. Styles keeps carrying on like the ring is a giant game of DDR, and refuses to attack until Truth gets up. Dancing Styles is going to be the focal point of thousands of GIF’s by late afternoon, you mark my words. Styles finally goes to the Calf Crusher, and Truth immediately taps 2:41.
“THE FUTURE OF TNA” AJ STYLES vs. REY MYSTERIO (in a Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match)
Mysterio no-shows, which doesn’t seem to concern AJ in the least. And the reason for this is because backstage, Rey is being assaulted by TERRORISTS and left for dead. Styles cuts a promo announcing himself as the winner by forfeit, and demands the bell be rung to announce him as the winner. The ring announcer gives an ominous announcement that AJ Styles’ “opponent” has 10 seconds to get to the ring. As AJ starts counting, we see the OC getting straight killed backstage by an unseen presence … followed by black boots. The crowd has a collective orgasm, and then … GONG!
“THE DEADMAN IS HERE” reads a sign as I’m scanning furiously for Jamal Khashoggi, but instead THE UNDERTAKER emerges from a smokey haze. That 10 second count is long out the window, given it takes the old man at least that long to take a single step. Styles is irate because “he’s not suposed to be here!” which gets him a chokeslam, and Taker wins the Tuwaiq Trophy! Well now that’s a fun twist, for once Undertaker stole someone else’s urn! ***1/2 for being a perversely fun mess.
THE MIZ and JOHN MORRISON vs. THE NEW DAY (with pancakes) (for the WWE Smackdown tag-team titles)
If you thought they’d run out of ways to throw Kofi vs Miz at you, hold on to your hats! In fact, I’m so done with this combination I’m going to turn things over to special guest recapper, Eric Bischoff.
First of all, thank you Chris for that warm welcome. Not sure I deserve it, but I digress. Now, about Miz and Kofi was it? You said they’ve wrestled a lot of times. I don’t even want to ask where you got that, I have a pretty good feeling – and in fact, I’ll just call it as I see it. How the fuck would Dave Meltzer know how many times Miz and Kofi have wrestled? Has he been to every one of their matches? No, he hasn’t. He isn’t in Saudi Arabia, I know that for a fact, he’s too much of a pussy to show his face there without a hijab. Instead, he’s relying on his “sources”, and I use that term lightly, truthfully what they are are stooges, that’s all. Guys who need to see their names in print, getting positive press, because they live and die by that stuff. But they don’t know, and Dave Meltzer sure as shit doesn’t know. Now, that’s not to say that it’s not true, have they wrestled a lot of times? Possibly. I wasn’t involved in any of that, and I’m not going to speculate, unlike certain dirtsheet writers who need to get their 10,000 words in from the basement of their mother’s home in Sacramento or wherever the fuck he’s from. But I wasn’t involved in any of their booking, that’s not my strength. If they were paired a lot of times, it was probably Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan. And I love Kevin, don’t get me wrong, I’d have a beer with him right now – and that goes for anyone, even Dave Meltzer. But I get so sick of these guys who act like they’re in the know because they “heard” it was a fact. It’s not a fact. Get it straight. Now this match, is it a five star match? No. But I liked it. And maybe it’s not for everyone. I like savory foods, maybe you like sweet. I don’t like IPA’s, I’m happy with a Coors light quite frankly. But that finish, ugh, a chair and a handful of tights at 13:02 to give us new champions? I dunno man. We were always bad at finishes, and this was no different.
Sorry folks, Eric had to head back to Wyoming – he popped a Blue Chew around the 6 minute mark of that last match and I shudder to think about what might have happened if he’d stuck around.
Backstage, BUDDY MURPHY makeover has him looking like a wannabe thug from Montreal. One gold chain and a 2008 Honda Civic to go with that hair and he’s set.
ANGEL GARZA vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
I’m glad to see nothing has changed in the 25 years since WCW introduced the luchadores; if you’re Latin, you’ll either tag with or face other Latinos, and there will be absolutely no deviation. In the words of Konnan, I represent cuz La Raza represents me! Cole tries to explain the heat between these two, which has something to do with Andrade and Vega, but NOT Angel’s late uncle Hector “There’s A Crack In The Sack” Garza. Angel is playing a proud but arrogant Latino, which isn’t to be confused with Carrillo’s proud but humble Latino character. The crowd’s response is summed up by the front row, where the entire Royal family has fallen asleep. Carrillo gets slaughtered, but comes back with a Canadian Destroyer (as a transition move?!?) to no reaction at all, and that just makes me sad. Following a missed moonsault, they trade some sad pinfall attempts, and one of them holds with Garza scoring the win at 9:36. I should have had Bischoff recap THAT match, but he’s already bailed out of here, screaming for Mrs. B. *1/2
SETH ROLLINS and BUDDY MURPHY vs. THE STREET PROFITS (for the WWE RAW tag-team titles)
I’ve never seen the Profits wrestle, but I’m glad that the Spirit Squad were able to recycle their old gear. Though Angelo Dawkins needs to go easy on the cheeseburgers, the embroidered “MITCH” across his tights is stretched about as far as it’s going to be able to go. The Royalty have all thrown on blue masks; is Seth Rollins infected with the CoronaVirus? He’s definitely sweating like he’s battling a violent new flu; screw the Monday Night Messiah nickname, he’s now the Carrier of COVID, with his stable, the WuHan Clan. The Profits hit the champs with a double DDT drawing a “THIS IS AWSOME” chant, but Montez’s tope con hilo is caught – leaving Dawkins in charge of hitting a high risk move, which he does admirably. Dawkins tries to isolate Murphy, but Rollins stomps his face into the ring mat and Murphy gets the pin at 10:39. ** Buddy looks far too self-satisfied for a guy who’s no longer sleeping with Alexa Bliss. Alexa, call me. A Deep Six is only half the move I’m prepared to show you.
Earlier tonight, the OC overcame an attack from Erick’s snatchpatch.
DOLPH ZIGGLER (with Bobby Roode) vs. MANSOOR
Roode is tossed before we even get started, leaving Ziggler alone to battle with Mansoor and his suddenly out of control backne. I’m actually rooting for Dolph in this one , hoping the fans are so passionately invested in Mansoor that Ziggler is lost for good during the ensuing riot. Dolph stomps on Mansoor’s hand and asks him “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” – possibly looking for a safe way out of the stadium. Mansoor’s eyes light up like an 1848 gold prospector, but nothing pans out and he’s suplexed onto his shoulder. A Fameasser misses, and Mansoor hits a slingshot neckbreaker. A few nearfalls fail to wake up the crowd; so Dolph hits a Zigzag which Mansoor kicks out of. We’re still not getting much from the fans, maybe he’s more of a Jeddah guy. A violent DDT from Mansoor rings Dolph’s bell like Anita Ward and Mansoor finishes with a moonsault with the knees driving into Ziggler’s chest at 9:17. That finish looked like it smarted, yikes. **
BYRON SAXTON joins Mansoor to celebrate another big hometown win. He thanks the fans for giving him hope, and says that the Saudi’s have proven “we are here to STAY!” Should we alert homeland security?
RICOCHET vs. BROCK LESNAR (with Paul Heyman) (for the WWE world heavyweight title)
Well much as I’d like to see Ricochet dig deeper than he ever has before and pull one out of his ass, it would be silly to finger him as the prospective winner of this one. 3 suplexes, F5, we have a winner at 1:30. Ricochet’s going to have to knuckle down if he plans to bounce back from that stinkfest.
“KING” CORBIN (with slaves) vs. ROMAN REIGNS (in a steel cage match)
I was hoping Corbin would reveal they actually had to battle inside of Erick Rowan’s cage, but the Baron lets me down one more time. Roman applies the padlock to the innards of the cage, and that just sets Corbin into a white hot rage and he attacks before the bell! Is that a crime punishable by public stoning? Can it be? Corbin uses his early advantage to scale the cage at a speed usually reserved for the broken down and feeble, allowing Roman the 21 minutes he needs to recover and pull him back in. Roman heads up, but Corbin stops him with … is he blowing him? They head back in together where Corbin hits the Deep Six and they lie around spooning for awhile. Apparently Corbin is seeking the key to the door which is in Roman’s pants, but he comes up empty. A chokeslam or something gives Corbin the key, and he gets the door unlocked. Roman stops the escape, but Corbin keeps his advantage and demands the door be opened. Corbin heads for sweet freedom, but Roman slams the door in his face. Baron sells long enough to not sell it at all and hit a chokeslam again. A game of I Spy spots the chain that formerly held the door closed, and Corbin taps into his Golden Gloves background looking for a KO. As he approaches, Roman bursts forward with a Superman Punch for 2. They head up to the top together where they dangle – Roman almost gets out, but Corbin holds on to the vest to keep him from falling. Back in, Roman hits a pair of Superman punches and grabs a hold of the chain, like a true babyface! Superman Punch with the chain, and mercifully this drek ends at 12:52. 1/2* “IT’S OVER!” declares Roman.
NAOMI vs. BAYLEY (for the WWE Smackdown women’s title)
Diversity! Acceptance! Breaking barriers! Somewhere, underneath their ring tights, double XL t-shirts, hoodies, heavy bathrobe, and two piece snowsuit, there lies a couple of ladies who are wrestling for a championship for the first time on Saudi Arabian soil! Naomi doesn’t even need her glow routine, the laser pointers and hostility provide an excellent substitution. Bayley tries to heel it up by backtalking some men in the crowd. Naomi hits her with a mule kick and the splits for 2. A legdrop gets 2 while Cole carries on about Naomi being the most athletic woman they’ve ever had. Ninja Warrior Champion < the splits. Naomi goes for a monkey flip, but Bayley shoves her off and hits a clothesline. Naomi hits a springboard enzuigiri and follows with a jawbreaker to send the champ reeling, and a springboard dropkick sets up a clothesline for 2. Naomi is so distraught she smiles and gives an “awwww shucks”. Bayley to Bayley out of nowhere gets 2, and they suckered me, I thought that was it. Naomi fights off the Bayley comeback to go for the split legged moonsault, but Bayley traps Naomi’s legs in her oversized shirt and drops a knee to the face to get the pin at 11:31! *1/2 Here’s hoping the Saudi Royalty is so incensed over a heel using the modesty clothing as a weapon that moving forward they’ll …. oh hell they’ll just be ordered to stay home.
GOLDBERG vs. THE FIEND (for the WWE Universal title)
Somehow Goldberg manages to shake the Saudi security team a good 2 minutes before he gets to the stadium ramp; and let’s be clear, he’s not exactly cat-like. And as someone who doesn’t watch the shows weekly, I remain ever impressed with Bray’s freak show entrance – a fantastic makeover for a guy who was essentially DOA from a character standpoint 2 years ago (more Skull than 8-Ball). I also refuse to jump on the Eff Goldberg bandwagon; if a couple of guys on the roster could channel even a fraction of that charisma and (more importantly) that intensity into their work, we’d have a few more stars on our hands. Off the bell, Goldberg gets face to face with the monster and doesn’t so much as flinch. And then out of nowhere we get a spear for … 1! And THAT is the first time he looks moderately shaken, giving Fiend a chance to strike with the Mandible Claw! Goldberg fights it off, and nails another spear, setting up another and looking PISSED! It connects, as does a fourth, and Fiend instantly kicks out again! Goldberg gives a “What the Actual Fuck?!?” look to the ref, and again Wyatt strikes with the Claw, and Goldberg is caught good this time, frothing like a rabid dog and headbutting his way loose. Fiend drops, and Goldberg goes straight to a Jackhammer and WINS THE TITLE AT 2:53! Holy hell – ballsy ass booking headed into Wrestlemania!
Before we can even celebrate though, the Fiend is back on his feet and the lights go out … where the Fiend just disappears? What?
I’m delighted they finally figured out how to book Goldberg over the last couple of years after completely blowing it on the first go-around, and he can still go about as well as he ever could (which really isn’t the point where he’s concerned, you’re there for a couple of minutes of hard hitting action), but where I’m really let down is that this show wasn’t the catastrophic flaming mess of hot garbage I come to expect from my Saudi shows! It felt like a normal PPV! The whole charm of these bad boys is watching everything that could go wrong go exactly that way, with ridiculous forced pushes of whoever has caught the prince’s eye all in the name of the almighty holla dolla bill. My heart is broken. I may never recover.
At least until Crown Jewel. Then I’m back, baby!