House Show Report!

Hey Scott:

Hope all is well and that the impeding Rogers buyout somehow makes you a very rich man so you can stop taking that payola from TK.
I’ve been a reader since the Wrestleline days and figured I’d pass on a report of tonight’s WWE house show in Kitchener in case you’re interested in reposting!
Take care,
Lanny Cox
Yeah, gotta love that Rogers buyout of Shaw, where it had to go through a strenuous government approval process from a bunch of old rich guys who likely all stand to make millions from it.  I’m sure my experience as a Canadian will be wholly enriched by it.
WWE Road to Wrestlemania @ The Aud – Kitchener, Ontario – Mar. 26/2022

With COVID restrictions finally loosening in the vast frosty expanse of southerwestern Ontario, I was able to take in a WWE house show this evening and had a great time despite not really following their TV shows for a few years. The building was definitely not at capacity (maybe about 60%, if I were to hazard a guess), but the crowd was hot throughout. Title belts seemed to be particularly hot sellers at the merch table, though the layout of the area made it difficult to get much of a close look. You might say that championship opportunities were hard to come by?
Moving on..
Kevin Owens opened the event with a KO Show featuring Trish Stratus, who also doubled as the guest host and was included in a pair of relatively-forgettable vignettes with Rhea Ripley and Austin Theory. Alpha Academy interrupted to hefty boos, though it felt like more general dislike for Gable/Otis than a statement on anything they had to say (including the “Shoosh” catchphrase they’re pushing). The customary heel beatdown commenced shortly thereafter, Seth Rollins ran in to make the save (while drawing arguably the biggest pop of the night), and Owens called down the Street Profits for a triple threat tag opener.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins def. Alpha Academy and The Street Profits (14:00)
Great opener and my pick for match of the night workrate-wise. Chad Gable’s status as an amazing wrestler is no hot take at this point, and he looked great in selling for the Profits as well as laying in his own offense, drawing audible “Oooh”s from the crowd by catching Montez Ford in a beautiful Northern Lights suplex while Montez was sling-shotting into the ring.  I also believe it’s no hot take that Otis Dozovic is an absolute unit of a man, and he wins my “Get a Load of This Guy!” Carny Attraction award of the evening.
Owens and Rollins were also impressive, with Owens fearlessly busting out sentons and moonsaults despite being a week out from a Wrestlemania main event. Seth had the scariest spot of the night with an ill-caught tope suicida that sent him head-over-heels a la Orange Cassidy at Revolution a month ago, before following up with a Blackout on Gable for the win.
R-Truth entered to cut a promo of his own and yelled “WHAT’S UP” somewhere between 60 and 70 times, as most of us have now come to expect over the past decade. VEER CAME, then went, by beating down R-Truth to a lukewarm reception. R-Truth recovered and expressed his desire for Veer to COME back to wrestle him, but was confronted by Omos instead. Truth tried to convince Omos that he (Truth) was Omos’ father. Omos kicked Little Jimmy into the crowd, thereby escalating the situation.
Omos def. R-Truth (1:00)
This was not at all good, but mercifully brief, as Omos steamrolled Truth after a couple of corner elbows and a chokeslam. I would’ve been happier with Veer.
Finn Balor def. Damian Priest (10:00)
This match was highlighted by a pair of 8-year-olds in the seats below us that marked out really hard for Priest and constantly referred to him as “Two Face”. Coincidentally, the match was somewhere in the two-star range, with a whole lot of punching and kicking early on before we got the usual Balor spots toward the end. Balor won with the Coup De Grace. Balor mugged to the crowd post-match, at which point one of the two 8-year-olds screamed “WHY DIDN’T YOU DIE?” at the top of his lungs. I took satisfaction in knowing I had now gotten my money’s worth with over an hour of show remaining.
Riddle def. Austin Theory (8:00)
I’m not sure if I’m 100% sold on Theory, but I immediately understood why WWE brass would be. The man is currently jacked to the nines in preparation for Wrestlemania and carries himself with an unbelievably convincing level of arrogance – think prime Mr. Perfect or Narcissist Lex Luger vibes. Riddle held up his end as well, seemingly carrying Theory through a tight, fast-paced bout that saw Riddle reference Randy Orton’s mannerisms (to huge pops) and make several attempts at an RKO before finally connecting for the win.
Rey & Dominick Mysterio def. Bobby Roode and the Miz (8:00)
The overness of Rey Mysterio may only be matched by the level of hate directed toward the Miz in Kitchener this evening. We’re talking Puerto Rico/deep South stab-a-man levels of nuclear heat, with security needing to talk down a pair of fans who had left their seats for the barricade in order to berate Mizanin (including one who’ll have a hell of a story to tell to his classmates at recess on Monday morning). The match was fun if not show-stopping, Dominick looked solid, and a double 619 drew a particularly loud reaction before Dominick connected with Three Amigos and a decent-looking frogsplash for the victory.
Becky Lynch def. Rhea Ripley (17:00)
This match was an odd deal in that WWE had been running a local media angle with Trish Stratus causing Becky to be held up at the US-Canada border, and I was expecting the match not to happen due to Becky’s recent injury and Wrestlemania being on the horizon. However, this was all seemingly ignored with Becky entering as though none of this had happened, and the two worked a solid match with quite a few high spots from Ripley including a delayed vertical suplex that would’ve made Davey Boy Smith blush, as well as cannonball off the apron to a standing Becky. The two teased duelling submissions and a series of near-falls before Becky secured a roll-up with her feet on the ropes to retain her title.
Following the match, Trish hit the ring and Rhea sent Becky packing to close the show.
Overall impressions: Yeah, it was good. This is only my second house show in 30 years of being a wrestling fan, and who are you to judge me for indirectly supporting a Saudi royal or two for the sake of a few hours of entertainment? Go outside, touch grass, watch some live rassle with your friends and loved ones, it’s well worth your while.