WWE Super Showdown took place Friday night at the King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The WWE Network event was headlined by a once-in-a-lifetime main event between Attitude Era stars in The Undertaker and Goldberg. Elsewhere on the card, we had Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston defend their world championships against Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, respectively, and the second-to-last match of the night was a 50-man over-the-top-rope battle royal with a surprise entrant pulling away with the victory.
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Baron Corbin
This was an okay match, but it was a little “RAW-ish” to me in the sense that this didn’t have a “pay-per-view feel” to it. Seth sold his rib injury for the length of the match and Corbin did all he could to focus his offense on the champion’s core. I liked the ending with John Cone standing up for himself after dealing with Corbin’s berating throughout the match. This kind of reminded me a bit of Earl Hebner’s retaliation toward Triple H during the latter’s title match against on RAW in 2000. I wonder if that will be a catalyst for any storyline heat for their feud going forward in the next few weeks? On top of that, I’m curious if Paul Heyman tripping over the ropes, leading to Brock Lesnar’s distraction, will lead to some friction between these two on TV. I’m glad the Lesnar-Rollins rivalry is continuing on so there’s more drama around the Universal Title going forward.
Winner: Seth Rollins Time: 11:15 Rating: 2.5 Stars
Finn Bālor (C) vs. Andrade
This was a good match, but nothing about it jumped out to me as “the best thing either man has ever done.” Demon Bālor was his usual snarling, tongue-wagging, unstoppable self and Andrade put on another solid performance in the ring, showing why he’s one of the best talents on the SmackDown roster. I did like the look of desperation Andrade had on his face after hitting his Hammerlock DDT finisher late in the match after the Demon had kicked out. Good match, but an expected finish as the Demon is still undefeated on the main roster and only has one loss if you include his NXT record.
Winner: Finn Bālor Time: 11:35 Rating: 2.5 Stars
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon (w/ Drew McIntyre)
Honestly, I was not interested in this match, at all. I really wish this match was McIntyre and Roman because Shane just doesn’t do anything for me as a top heel anymore. Any buzz he had post-WrestleMania has dried up in the last month on TV and his in-ring work, especially this consistent in the last six months, has not won me over. Additionally, I thought it looked really goofy for a 49-year old Shane McMahon (who has sparingly wrestled since the Royal Rumble) to beat a 34-year old Roman Reigns (who is taller, looks a lot stronger and has been positioned as the heir apparent to John Cena for the last five years). Visually, this did not make any sense and didn’t look convincing to me at all. I will admit the interference by McIntyre makes sense so Shane can gloat about a victory over Roman, but I for one can’t wait for this feud to be over.
Winner: Shane McMahon Time: 9:15 Rating: 1.5 Stars
Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party
Admittedly, I’m a big fan of “monster” characters like Lars Sullivan. Yeah, this match didn’t wow me with technical prowress or was a back-and-forth brawl, but this was meant to be a showcase for Lars to show his best impression of “Hulk Smash!” and he did just that. Lars looked like a behemoth and the Lucha House Party made Lars’ offense look like death. The disqualification ending was an interesting choice, but the end result of broken luchador bodies sprawled around the arena was the necessary message to send in order to get some more heat on Lars. The crowd was noticeably silent during this match, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
Winner (via DQ): Lars Sullivan Time: 5:15 Rating: 2 Stars
Triple H vs. Randy Orton
This to me was a toned-down version of Triple H versus Batista at WrestleMania, minus any weapons or “barred holds.” This match was very orchestrated and very psychological, but there wasn’t a lot of “pop” to the match. This just wasn’t exciting, especially compared to the previous matches these two have had in years past. But I guess that’s the trouble with announcing this match as an exhibition rather than building any sort of blood feud around it like these two have had in the past. The big highlights of this match were the multiple pedigrees, back body-drops on the announce table and RKOs that each got a huge pop from the Jeddah crowd. I’m glad the people of Jeddah enjoyed parts of this match, because I sure didn’t. 25 minutes was way too long.
Winner: Randy Orton Time: 25:45 Rating: 1.5 Stars
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
This was Godzilla and Mothra, man. Titan and Olympian. Two destroyers trying their hardest to knock each other with as heavy-handed moves as possible. This was filled with big slams, big suplexes and kick-outs galore. I think these two could put on an even better match with some more weapons to use, but I enjoyed this match nonetheless.
Winner: Braun Strowman Time: 8:20 Rating: 2.5 Stars
Kofi Kingston (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Say what you will about the start-and-stop pushes of Dolph Ziggler over the last few years, but the guy can still put together a solid match. And that’s not a knock at Kofi Kingston, either. Kofi has proven himself to be a solid worker over the last decade and together, they came up with one of the better matches on this card. Add in a little bit of manager shenanigans from Xavier Woods and you have a legitimate reason to extend this feud another few weeks into WWE Stomping Grounds on June 23rd inside of a steel cage. Pretty straightforward, again, nothing new and nothing that much to write home about, but by no means bad.
Winner: Kofi Kingston Time: 10:15 Rating: 2.5 Stars
50-Man Battle Royal
This was just a mass scrum of 50 people that was highlighted in the beginning by that awe-inducing image of that mass of humanity fighting it out right after the bell rang. That’s almost always my favorite image from a battle royal match. Shout-out to Titus O’Neil for avenging his Greatest Royal Rumble slide blunder last year by not making any news in this match. This featured the usual greatest hits of battle royal spots between guys barely going over the top rope while hanging on the ring apron and the stare down between the bigger dogs in the match (this time being the Viking Raiders, AOP and Heavy Machinery). Since there was no real prize or championship to be won in this match, giving the win to a young, Saudi-born NXT talent in Mansoor was a smart pick to give the crowd a stadium-shaking pop of excitement. He looked good for his brief time in the spotlight across from Elias, so we might be able to see a little more from him in the future.
Winner: Mansoor Time: 17:52 Rating: 2 Stars
The Undertaker vs. Goldberg
Whew boy, this match. This match, this match, this match.
Like most wrestling fans, I’m a big fan of The Undertaker. Goldberg was one of my favorite WCW talents despite the fact that his “workrate” wasn’t that of someone like Dean Malenko or Chris Jericho. His matches were short, punchy, impactful excitement filled with all the quick slams and destruction of a monster truck rally. Now, I don’t want to completely kill this match dead because this had a few good spots with the opening spear and Undertaker’s “Old School” ring rope walk halfway through. But once Goldberg slapped on a very weak-looking leglock, this match went downhill very quick. Goldberg ran into the corner with too much energy and conked his head on the ringopst, giving himself a nice, bloody gash. Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver that was a little too close to spiking Goldberg right on top of his head. Goldberg attempted to deliver a Jackhammer, but either he didn’t get the strength needed to lift the over-six-and-a-half-foot frame of the Deadman or Undertaker didn’t lift his legs up high enough as both men fell flat in the world’s ugliest Brainbuster that was a little too close to Undertaker’s neck, as well. And then you have the final sequence where Goldberg picked up Undertaker in a Tombstone position of his own. It was supposed to be reversed into an Undertaker Tombstone attempt, but instead both men fell over in a heap, kind of like what happened at WrestleMania 33 between Undertaker and Roman Reigns. In the end, the match was ended by a very weak-looking Undertaker chokeslam for the merciful three-count. I don’t want to blame either man more than the other because both men deserve blame for this match turning out the way it did. This was hardly worthy of a main event placement and neither man gave the Jeddah people a fitting match. One of the worst matches of 2019.
Winner: The Undertaker Time: 9:35 Rating: 1 Star
Overall Thoughts: Even the announcements of Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss, Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston inside of a steel cage couldn’t pick up my mood for the future of both shows. This was an awful show. Match of the night honors for me go to either Andrade/Bālor or Kingston/Ziggler. Far and away, the worst match of the night was the main event. I can try to understand and respect why many of you may have decided not to watch Super Showdown (be it work obligations or personal reasons). Let me tell you that if you didn’t watch it, you have zero reason to watch this and I hope you use those three and a half hours in a more productive way like reading a book, cleaning your house or spending time with your family or friends.
Final Super Showdown Thoughts: 1.5 Stars