This was my second WWE show in Sioux City after a Raw house show last year. I’d estimate the attendance at tonight’s show was about 3,000, which is maybe 1,000 fewer than the 2011 show. There were plenty of C.M. Punk and John Cena shirts in the crowd, even though Cena wasn’t booked for the show.
The show promptly began at 7:30 p.m. with an introduction from Tony Chimel, as well as the Smackdown TV intro on the new house show set.
(1) Sin Cara & Justin Gabriel beat Hunico & Camacho. This was a good opener, as it was a fast-paced, high-energy match with plenty of double-team moves and high-flying maneuvers. Sin Cara and Gabriel hit a double-team move on Hunico off the top rope for the win.
(2) Damien Sandow beat Xavier Woods (former Consequences Creed in TNA). Great heat on Sandow, who did a good job of provoking the crowd into continually booing him. During his promo, he mentioned that his opponent had competed all over the world and won seven titles, which was a good way of introducing Woods to the audience. Woods got some offense in during the match, but it was largely one-sided. A funny moment happened during the match when a young kid a couple rows back mistakenly yelled “Tiger Woods” instead of “Xavier Woods." That group of kids was hilarious all night because they were way into every match. As he was leaving after the match, Woods yelled to the crowd, “My hair is real!”
(3) Natalya beat Kaitlyn via submission. I think Natalya was supposed to be the heel for this match, but she totally got a face reaction, which continued throughout the match. Kaitlyn got a decent reaction, but not near what Natalya got. Pretty short match, overall, with Natalya dominating most of the way. Natalya won with the Sharpshooter.
(4) Ryback beat Drew McIntyre. It was nice to see Drew get his full ring intro, since he never gets it on TV anymore. Good crowd reaction for Ryback, who’s obviously had plenty of TV time lately. McIntyre tried to escape through the crowd at the start, but was persuaded back by the referee. It’s pretty impressive to see just how big Ryback is in-person. It was also interesting to see what he could do with a significantly longer match than the quick squashes we’ve usually seen on TV. McIntyre probably got in more offense and nearfalls than all of Ryback’s TV opponents combined. Ryback eventually hit Shell Shocked for the win, and led the crowd in a “Feed Me More” chant after the match.
(5) World Hvt. champion Sheamus beat Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the World Heavyweight Title. I was excited to see Ricardo Rodriguez, as he didn’t accompany Del Rio at last year’s show. Pretty good heat on Del Rio during his entrance. A funny moment happened when a former colleague who was dressed up as Sheamus got into a shouting match with Del Rio when he was walking down the aisle. Del Rio cut a promo about the audience being peasants, which drew the first (and only) “You suck” chant of the night. Big pop for Sheamus during his entrance. As it was essentially No DQ, the match quickly spilled out of the ring and into the crowd, which drew some excitement. Both men used an over-sized trash can, a steel chair, and a kendo stick on several occasions. Both also made it to a nine-count a couple times, adding to the sense of excitement during the match. The crowd definitely stayed involved throughout. Del Rio went to hit Sheamus with a chair, but hit Ricardo instead, which led to a Brogue Kick, and a ten count for the win. Easily the best match of the night.
[ Intermission. During the intermission, they played various WWE promos on the stage screen, including several for Raw 1,000 on Monday. ]
(6) Ted DiBiase beat Jinder Mahal. Mahal came out to absolutely zero reaction. He cut a promo in his language, drawing the only “What?” chants of the night. DiBiase got a better reaction, and cut a promo where he said it was his first match back from injury. He also gave a shout-out to the Iowa National Guardsmen at ringside. This led to a series of “U-S-A” chants during the match. Basic match, nothing too special. DiBiase didn’t seem to show any lingering effects from his time off. DiBiase hit Dream Street to pick up the win.
(7) IC champion Christian beat Cody Rhodes to retain the Intercontinental Title. Good reaction for Christian, and decent heat for Cody, with a few cheers mixed in. Earlier in the show, they played a pre-taped backstage promo from Rhodes on the big screen. Christian was very good about keeping the crowd engaged throughout the match, starting a slow clap on several occasions. Both hit a couple of top-rove moves, which the crowd enjoyed. Rhodes went for a moonsault, but Christian moved out of the way, and hit the spear for the victory. Neither of them hit their usual finishing move. Each tried it once, but both times the other countered it.
(8) WWE champion C.M. Punk beat Daniel Bryan and Kane to retain the WWE Title. All three received a great reaction from the crowd. After Bryan’s entrance, Chimel went to announce the results of a text poll asking if Bryan and A.J. should get married, but was interrupted by Bryan, who chanted “Yes!” Naturally, the crowd ended up voting “no." I was very excited to see C.M. Punk, in part because he was supposed to be here last year, but ended up being pulled from the line-up a couple days before the show. Punk and Bryan traded kicks on Kane early, which drew dueling “Yes!” and “No!” chants from the crowd. After a bit of back-and-forth, Bryan was eventually knocked out of the ring by Kane, who then battled Punk. Kane went for a chokeslam, which Punk countered. Bryan returned shortly thereafter, earning a big “Yes!” chant when he put Punk in the “Yes!” Lock. Punk was able to break the hold, though. Punk got a nice pop for the Macho Man elbow off the top rope. Kane went for another chokeslam, but Punk countered into a close nearfall. Suddenly, A.J.’s music hit, and she came running down the aisle with a chair. A.J. tossed the chair to Bryan, who went for a chair shot on Punk, but missed, allowing Punk to hit a quick GTS for the win.
After the match, Punk got on the mic and thanked all the fans for their support over the years, adding that fan support is a big reason why Raw has reached 1,000 episodes. He then went all around the barrier to slap hands with the fans.
The show clocked in at about two hours and 40 minutes, which was about 20 minutes shorter than last year’s show. This was a fun show, especially with having both a WWE and World Title match, which is rare. It was also a very different line-up from the show last year, which was nice too. One note: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth were advertised for the show locally, but were not on the card, having been part of the Raw tour. Tony Chimel thanked us for attending and did not announce a return date. Overall, I had a good time, and other fans around me seemed to enjoy the show as well.