WWE Super Show-Down
October 6, 2018
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Venue Melbourne Cricket Ground
Watch: WWE Network
Meet our previewers:
- Joe Lanza: The most compelling voice in wrestling media. The leader of the hardcore wrestling intelligentsia. A reasoned and well-explained man. As always, I don’t predict winners in WWE matches.
- Suit Williams: Suit is always around to do previews and reviews of various shows on this site. Today, he’s reviewing a show that may or may not be canon. Find him on Twitter @SuitWilliams.
- Barry Hess: Voices of Wrestling columnist; follow him on Twitter @BFHess171
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Joe: Bell-to-bell this has been a good feud. The issue, of course, is the continuing decline of WWE’s ability to control the emotions of the fanbase with their storytelling. International crowds are always a wildcard, so I’m curious to see how the Australian fans react to each woman here.
Suit: WWE chugs along as planned, with Becky being an abrasive heel getting massive cheers, and Charlotte being a stoic babyface to little positive reaction. I would imagine this will be a continuation of the feud to Evolution, where Charlotte will finally stand tall with the title to a poor reaction. That involves Becky retaining, so I’ll pick her. Prediction: Becky Lynch
Barry: In my Hell in a Cell preview I said the match between Charlotte and Becky Lynch was the most important match of the women’s revolution, in terms of booking, to date. The fact that Lynch won clean in the center of the ring leads me to believe that at least one person behind the curtain understood that to be true as well. Thankfully this remains the most compelling story on the main roster and has not been consumed by a potential ‘Roaman Effect’ (yet). Lynch continues to carry a giant chip on her shoulder even after winning the title and the crowd continues to support her. International crowds are always difficult to predict, however, I’d anticipate a lot of love for both performers, which would make for a fantastic atmosphere and actually add a layer of drama to the story WWE is trying to tell. Lynch is unquestionably a heel character, however, her actions haven’t been so over the top that it comes off like the storytellers are forcing the audience to feel one way or another. I’ve really enjoyed the pacing of this story, it has the feel of something that is prepared to play out over the next few months. I’m reminded of the lengthy feud between Charlotte and Sasha Banks in 2016, where the Raw Women’s title pinballed back and forth between the two every few weeks. I hope that’s not the plan here, but with the Evolution pay-per-view coming at the end of October it’s certainly a strong possibility. The match at Hell in a Cell told a solid story: Lynch is as good as she says she is and when actually given the opportunity she can prove it. I’d like to see a more intense battle this time around. If the match is structured properly it could enjoy a TakeOver-type feel that is virtually non-existent on main roster shows. A match of the night (morning?) contender for sure. Prediction: Becky Lynch
Asuka and Naomi vs. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
Joe: It’s easy to forget the IIconics are on the main roster, as they’ve been complete non-entities. Returning to Australia, they should get a great reception. In another era, you’d capitalize on the opportunity of potentially looking like megastars in front of a huge hometown crowd and put them over, but those days are long gone. Can you believe Asuka is less than a year removed from winning the Royal Rumble? She’s the most egregious misuse of talent that I can recall in recent WWE history.
Suit: Asuka had the longest undefeated streak in modern pro wrestling history of over two years. She’s currently doing odd-couple comedy with Naomi against a lower card, comedy tag team. And she’s gonna lose to them. Prediction: The IIconics
Barry: I’ve never really been crazy about the IIconics gimmick dating back to their time in NXT. There’s nothing particularly egregious about the act, they’ve just always come off as pedestrian in a division of large personalities and above average in-ring performers. This is their big moment and I hope they take advantage of it. It’d be a shame if they came out and delivered a disingenuous swerve promo to heel on the crowd before the match. Asuka and Naomi are treading water right now so let the hometown heroes have their moment in the spotlight. Prediction: The IIconics
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
Joe: I’m probably the low man on the Cesaro & Sheamus tag team run. I concede that neither guy was ever going to gain much traction as a single, so on paper, the tag team was a good idea, but to me, while they always have good matches, their bouts are also always a bit underwhelming. I’ve long since tired of the New Day’s act. It’s time to split off Big E. You could always keep New Day going as a traditional two-man tag team.
Suit: While both tag rosters are paper thin, Smackdown’s are putting on consistently good matches. While I’ve run out of patience with the New Day outside of the ring, their in-ring is always solid. With a team that they have a lot of experience against like the Barrrrrr, this should be a good little tag match. I’ll say the New Day retain, as I don’t have an idea as to who the Bar would defend against. Prediction: The New Day
Barry: I would have liked to see the fact that The Bar ended New Day’s record-breaking streak as champions inserted into the build (has there really been a build?), especially after all the surprising callbacks mentioned on Raw this past Monday. In fairness, I may have missed that plot point Tuesday night as the segment involving these four fell victim to the Fast-Forward button. That’s to take nothing away from these performers, it was just one of those nights and I needed to hit the big stuff and move on with my life. Depending on the amount of time this match gets this could be a fun little match or drawn out and boring. I can see this slotted as a cool down match on the card. When can we get more of New Day and SAnity? That was fun. Prediction: The New Day
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy
Joe: Murphy has easily been one of the five best bell-to-bell WWE wrestlers this year, and Ced isn’t far behind. This is the match I’m looking forward to the most, but there’s always the danger of the 205 Live matches getting shafted on time on the main roster show. If they do get time, this could easily be the best match of the night, especially if the Australian crowd gets behind Murphy strong and it has good heat.
Suit: These two had an absolute stormer on 205 Live earlier this year in Cedric’s hometown. If they’re given the same leeway in this match, Murphy’s hometown should go crazy for it. However, the 205 Live matches on main roster shows haven’t reached the levels that the TV matches have, so I’m a little hesitant about this one. As for a winner, I think Murphy will pick up the win here. It feels about time for Alexander to lose, plus a stellar match and a title change may get some more mainstream interest in 205 Live. Prediction: Buddy Murphy
Barry: If WWE wanted me to care about 205 Live it would tell me to tune in and watch, which it never does. I don’t know why 205 Live is still a thing. I hear the matches are great. Maybe if it was 1998 that would mean something, but it’s 2018 and I can see great matches anywhere without having to add another hour of WWE programming to my week. No, I’m not going to stop watching Raw or SmackDown Live instead. Good talk. Prediction: Buddy Murphy
WWE Championship – No Count-out, No Disqualification WWE Championship
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Joe: I’m not a fan of Samoa Joe, B-movie psychopath, but the matches have delivered, and even with warts this has been a much better overall feud than AJ/Nak. The stip scares me, as this could end up getting silly, but this is a match I’m genuinely looking forward to.
Suit: This feud has drifted to the silly, with Samoa Joe taking a page from Josephus of the NWA and going to AJ’s house while he was on the road. If Joe wasn’t as dynamic of a performer as he is, this would be typical WWE schlock. This should be an escalation of their impressive match at Hell in a Cell, and may actually benefit from not being restricted to the Cell last month. I’m going to say that AJ wins because I have a sinking feeling that we will be getting another Miz World Title run in the near future. Prediction: AJ Styles
Barry: I really want to love this feud, but there have been a few glaring inconsistencies in terms of the in-ring performances that have taken away from my overall enjoyment. The first two-thirds of the match at SummerSlam lacked the kind of intensity the build demanded, which left me slightly disappointed even with the hot finish. Contrarily, the rematch at Hell in a Cell had the kind of intensity I was looking for at the opening bell, but as the match went on the action devolved into an ordinary contest devoid of the animosity that should be driving the conflict at all times. The fact that AJ Styles has yet to acknowledge that he tapped out really bothers me. I don’t have a problem with the finish (even though Joe didn’t need to be protected), but don’t just have the babyface champion completely ignore the fact that he attempted to submit. At the very least have the commentators address it, which they have not really done. The No count-out, no disqualification stipulation also makes no sense because it was presented as a necessary stipulation to ensure we get a clear winner. Nothing about this stipulation would prevent the Hell in a Cell finish from reoccurring. Shouldn’t it be a submission match instead? All that said, I’ve really enjoyed the week-to-week build of this feud. Joe’s promos are in a class of their own. Prior to Hell in a Cell, I said this story has walked right up to the edge of ridiculous but hasn’t crossed that important line. Surprisingly, the home invasion angle, or tease more accurately, this past Tuesday was consistent in that regard. In spite of the logic gap, the stipulation should at least ensure we finally get an intense match from start to finish. I keep waiting for Joe to win the championship in these matches and it’s yet to happen. At this point, I don’t think it will happen, but it should. Prediction: Samoa Joe
The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella) and Ronda Rousey vs. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, and Sarah Logan)
Joe: All the talk this week is on Real Shooter Brie Bella, after busting The Miz open hard way at HIAC, cold-cocking Ruby Riott in the jaw, and knocking out Liv Morgan with a kick to the dome on RAW. There’s no question she’s been sloppy since the return, and let’s be honest, she wasn’t exactly a super worker in her prime. In a vacuum, too much is being made of the Morgan incident. These things are going to happen in pro wrestling, which is physical and dangerous. Nothing gets my eyes rolling harder than frame by frame breakdowns of in-ring accidents and fans assigning blame for injuries. Accidents and injuries are part of the deal, they are never going to stop happening, and you have to be able to accept that as a fan or find a new hobby. In the big picture, Liv getting knocked loopy isn’t a big deal. However, there is something to be said about the pattern developing with Brie, who is not good, never was good, and often that also equals dangerous. Morgan will be OK, Miz will survive from being punched by a 100-pound woman, and Ruby Riott snuck in a well-deserved receipt. I don’t have a problem with booking Brie moving forward, but I do think the company would be wise to continue hiding her in six-woman matches like this one before one of these botches turns into something more serious.
Suit: I just don’t understand the appeal of the Bella Twins, but not everything is for me to understand, so it’s whatever. Ronda has been very good in the ring, but her last match with Alexa Bliss has me extremely concerned that WWE really doesn’t understand Ronda’s appeal. You wouldn’t bring in Mike Tyson to go the distance with Bart Gunn in Brawl For All, don’t have Ronda do the typical babyface underdog thing. My expectation is for this to somehow set up the rumored Nikki Bella/Ronda Rousey match at Evolution. The best outcome of this match is getting Liv vs. Brie in a UWFi shoot fight at Evolution. I wouldn’t be surprised if Liv has been watching Gary Albright tapes in preparation for her return. Prediction: Bella Twins & Rousey
Barry: This is a pretty straightforward attraction match. The Bellas and Riott Squad should carry most of the action, Ronda should get the hot tag, clean house and the crowd cheers. Nothing wrong with that on a show like this. Prediction: The Bella Twins & Ronda Rousey
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins) vs. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre
Joe: They used a non-finish in a championship Hell In A Cell Match to set up a mid-card six-man tag on the next show. This is exhibit A on how to destroy a stipulation, but as stated elsewhere in this preview, the days of that kind of stuff mattering in this promotion are long gone. They’ll run Hell In A Cell again next year, right on schedule, whether they have hot enough programs to warrant the stip or not, and nobody will bat an eye.
Suit: My interest in this has somewhat peaked since they’ve teased turns from both Ambrose and McIntyre on Raw. I don’t expect it to pay off here, but I’ll say The Shield wins to set up a tag title rematch at the Saudi Series. Prediction: The Shield
Barry: Raw has been in serious need of a good old-fashioned blood feud for a long time. In the week’s prior to Hell in a Cell, the action between these six had a refreshing sense of urgency that Raw desperately needs; the groundwork for a heated story was in the making. Since Hell in a Cell that urgency has shifted, not disappeared but noticeably shifted. Brock Lesnar is once again looming in the background of the Universal Championship picture. Aside from a brief moment of surprise, what did that really achieve? How did that help advance the story of these six in any way? These six guys are the principal performers on Raw every week. They are the focus of multiple segments and last week they were part of a well-told story that was woven throughout the entire episode, which is something that doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should anymore. Ok, so it’s not Hogan and Andre. Fine. It was still a compelling story. And then Hell in a Cell happened. I bet the finish of the Hell in a Cell main event looked great on paper. I can see someone pitching it and making it sound totally amazing. We’ll have chaos on top of the cell, chaos on the side of the cell, Brock breaks the door down, chaos everywhere. What will happen next, tune in tomorrow night, folks. Goodnight! In reality, we got two guys tip-toeing around the top of the cell, two guys executing a dangerous bump devoid of any emotion or meaning on the side of the cell and two guys taking a nap inside the ring while it all unfolded. I want to say this match is a chance to get back on track, but Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Lesnar are already scheduled to meet at Crown Jewel so I’m not sure what it would mean if this match did get things back on track. Prediction: The Shield
WWE Championship #1 Contendership
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
Joe: Even though The Miz has gotten the better of Bryan at every turn, it still feels too soon for Bryan to beat him, even if I’d like nothing more than for Bryan to move away from this tired dud of a feud and into the title picture against the likes of Styles and Joe.
Suit: I have lost all interest and patience with the Miz, which is why watching him win this match via nonsense is gonna suck. My interest in Daniel Bryan has evaporated since his return. Thus, this highly-hyped match is one of my least anticipated of the night. Miz has done everything he can do at his level, so my expectation is that he wins this and eventually beats AJ Styles for the WWE Title. Thanks for re-signing, Dan! Prediction: The Miz
Barry: I agree with Joe, it doesn’t feel like the right time for Daniel Bryan to beat The Miz. That said, patience and restraint aren’t exactly virtues of WWE storytelling. The temptation of the big pop will be too much to resist. Bryan will get his title shot only to be screwed by The Miz and this story will continue. I get most people are over this story. I’m enjoying it and I’ll leave it at that. Prediction: Daniel Bryan
Bobby Lashley and John Cena vs. Elias and Kevin Owens
Joe: We’ve entered the “big stars for the international market as we try to sell 50,000 tickets” portion of the show. I’m not as down on the John Cena’s and Undertaker’s parachuting int o work these wacky international shows as others are. In a promotion where results do not matter and people in power admit that’s the case, there is no harm in John Cena dropping a five knuckle shuffle on Kevin Owens and putting away Elias with whatever they call the STFU in the PG era.
Suit: Other than the possibility of seeing John Cena interact with Lio Rush, there’s nothing to say about this. Lashley has dealt with Elias and Owens on his own the past few weeks on Raw, thus negating Cena’s presence, but having John Cena on to play the hits won’t hurt anyone. Prediction: Lashley and Cena
Barry Hess: At the end of the day this is a glorified house show and this is a very house show-esque type match. John Cena has great chemistry with Kevin Owens and Elias and it will be fun to see him back in the ring again. I’m not expecting Open Challenge Cena in there so I won’t be disappointed. I have no time for Bobby Lashley. I thought he sucked the first time around and despite being told how great he was in TNA he sucks now. Also, Lio Rush is on my no-fly list as long as he’s holding a microphone. I can’t stand his voice. Do your flips, have great matches, please put the microphone down. I know I’m in the minority on this one (if not completely alone) but I’m just being honest. Prediction: Bobby Lashley & John Cena
Triple H vs. The Undertaker
Joe: I’ve never been a fan of Triple H and have always been indifferent to The Undertaker, but I’ll admit that I have some interest in this. Two mega stars in front of a huge international crowd, which should provide something we rarely see in this company outside of WrestleMania – a true big match atmosphere. This will unquestionably be egregiously masturbatory, but even if it’s the overly wrought dick stroking session I expect it to be, it will also be something that this company struggles badly to be these days. Interesting.
Suit: These two have been verbally stroking themselves off for weeks, and despite Undertaker’s declining physical capabilities, there is no chance this goes less than 30 minutes. This has trainwreck potential, especially after the last time we saw the Deadman in a main event capacity. They use every trick in the book to get this one over, we might even see one of them bleed. Shawn Michaels and Kane are going to be there, so they’ll get involved. They’ll do their best to make this memorable, for better or for worse. Prediction: Undertaker
Barry: This is exactly how WWE should be using its ‘Legends’ acts. This story isn’t interfering with current talent, it’s not suffocating weekly television and it’s compelling within the vacuum it occupies. Remember when WWE wrestlers used to talk you into buying a ticket? I don’t care how many writers they have behind the curtain, nobody can write charisma and timing. Triple H’s initial promo to begin the build to this match was great. The altercation between Shawn Michaels and Undertaker was one of the most compelling segments of Raw in years (more of an indictment than praise admittedly). The Undertaker looked respectable against Rusev at Greatest Royal Rumble, but Triple H is not Rusev and that’s an issue. But here’s the thing, you’ve got over 100 years of professional wrestling experience in and around that ring. Pro wrestling experience. Not performance center sports entertainment …and action-type experience. I expect to see a beautiful smoke and mirrors show. And I’m fine with that. I think we’re ultimately on the road to Undertaker and Michaels meeting in a WrestleMania match to retire Undertaker. The Undertaker is my favorite wrestler of all time and I’d like to see his career end on a high note. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of that sweet melody. Prediction: Triple H