WWE had another stop on the WWE Live Holiday Tour tonight in Detroit, MI at the Joe Louis Arena. The floor and lower bowls were 80-90% full, whereas there were only a handful of people sprinkled in the upper bowls. The stage was decorated for the holidays and the entrance video monitors (along with the overhead screen) were showing off #WWEDetroit tweets and pictures.
A half hour before the show, the ring announcer announced that Mark Henry and Fandango were going to face off tonight, and we could text our votes to decide if it was a regular match or a dance-off. At one point, match had a 70% to 30% lead over dance-off, but we were given periodic updates throughout and it continued to become closer. We kicked off with the National Anthem and an intro video designed to mimic the ones that open up the TV shows. A lot of the babyfaces had colored steam coming out of the stage during their entrances.
Match Number One: Dolph Ziggler vs. Ryback
Ryback dominated most of the match, but the tide turned when he went to the top rope and jumping off met a Ziggler superkick. Ryback eventually regained control and went for Shell Shock, but Ziggler wiggled out and rolled Ryback up to win the match.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match Number Two: AJ Lee (with Tamina Snuka) vs. Natalya in a Non-Title Match
Before the match, the ring announcer declared this as a match for the Divas Championship, but before the match AJ said as an “early Christmas gift from those in charge,” she didn’t have to defend it. There was a lot of technical wrestling and submissions in this back and forth match. Tamina tried to distract Natalya as she was going for the Sharpshooter, but she knocked Tamina off the apron. AJ attempted to retaliate, but Nattie locked AJ in the Sharpshooter for the win.
As the ring announcer was describing the perks of a WWE VIP ticket, Bad News Barrett interrupted via the video screens and said a couple of disparaging things about Detroit from his podium.
The crew brought in two chairs and draped the “M” logo on the ring ropes as it was announced it was time for a special “holiday” MizTV. The Miz came out and brought out Kofi Kingston, who discussed their issues in recent weeks. Vickie Guerrero came out, who got the loudest negative reaction of the night, and told them they had to team against the Primetime Players.
Match Number Three: The Miz and Kofi Kingston vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
The Players started the match by shaking Kofi’s hand, but wouldn’t shake The Miz’s. The match was standard tag team fare. The finish came when Kofi went to give Miz the hot tag, but Miz jumped off the apron. Kofi got the upper hand in the match, and gave Titus the Boom Drop. He went to the corner to set up for Trouble in Paradise, but Miz hopped back up and tagged in. He argued with Kofi for a minute, and then Kofi hit the Paradise on Miz. Titus did the Clash of the Titus to get the win over Miz. They brought Kofi back in the ring and did their “millions of dollars” taunt together.
Winners: Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
The Shield did a very quick backstage promo saying they would take care of CM Punk tonight.
Match Number Four: Bad News Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd
A lot of people were using this as their restroom/concession break in the crowd. Kidd pulled out a lot of cool moves in this match, like the Tarantula and a leg drop while Barrett was face down of the apron. Barrett had early control and Kidd gained it later. Tyson blocked the Bullhammer and jumped from the top rope, but Barrett caught him with the elbow to win.
Winner: Bad News Barrett
Our attention was directed to the screens to watch some video packages as the crew assembled a steel cage in the ring.
Match Number Five: Daniel Bryan, Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in a Six-Man Steel Cage match
This match was an escape-only contest. The first team to have all members exit the cage wins. One of the Usos climbed out of the ring very early in the match, and later Bray Wyatt escaped through the door. Lots of Daniel Bryan/Yes chants began around this point. Simultaneously, the other Uso and Erick Rowan escaped on the same side of the cage, leaving Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan in. Rowan countered Bryan’s chest kicks by turning it into a sit-out powerbomb. At one point, Bryan hit Rowan with the running knee and attempted to leave via the door, but a waiting Wyatt slammed it on him. Later, Rowan nearly escaped the cage but Bryan pulled him back in, crotching him on the ropes. Bryan was climbing out when Wyatt came over with a steel chair. The Usos took him out, though, allowing Bryan to exit and win the match. Afterwards, The Usos and Bryan traded “Us-O!” and “Yes!” chants with the crowd.
Winners: Daniel Bryan, Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso
An intermission allowed us to keep track of the Fandango/Mark Henry voting, which crept closer, at one time being a 50-50 deadlock.
Match Number Six: Damien Sandow vs. R-Truth vs. Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston in a Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental Championship
Sandow cut a negative promo on the way to the ring. In the beginning of the match, Truth and Langston teamed up early, but Big E got knocked out of the ring and spent much of the match out there, leaving Truth and Sandow to do much of the action. Sandow took Truth out, but Langston snuck back in to clothesline Sandow and deliver the Big Ending to win.
Winner: Big E Langston
Next, Fandango came out with Summer Rae followed by Mark Henry. The drum rolled and we saw via the video screen that the results were 51% dance-off to 49% match, which was met with very heavy boos from the crowd. Fandango and Summer Rae did some light ballroom moves to their theme music. Henry then took the spotlight and “Billie Jean” blasted through the arena. As Henry put on a Michael Jackson glove and tried the moonwalk, the crowd went bananas, probably getting the biggest positive reaction of the night. Fandango attacked Henry, but he retaliated and hit the World’s Strongest Slam. He did a little more dancing to “Billie Jean” and exited.
Finally, the main event was on as CM Punk walked to the ring, KOing a poor inflatable snowman on the stage in the process. The Shield also came to the ring through the crowd, starting at the upper bowl.
Match Number Seven: CM Punk vs. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match
The Shield had to tag in and out throughout the match, and they all had their fair turns in the early and middle of the match. It was slow, methodical and very back-and-forth. A ton of “CM Punk!” and “Go Punk Go!” chants throughout. In the middle of the match, Punk threw Roman Reigns into the ring steps and Reigns didn’t get back into the ring until 9, selling the injury for the rest of the match. The match ended when Punk put Ambrose into the Go to Sleeps and Reigns attempted to spear Punk, but Punk put Ambrose in front of Reigns instead. Punk then kicked Reigns out, threw Seth Rollins out of the ring over the top rope and connected with the GTS on Ambrose to get the win.
Winner: CM Punk
Punk thanked the crowd after the match, saying Detroit is one of his favorite cities, even if we have differences of opinion in hockey.
Many times throughout the show, it was noted that WWE is coming back to the Joe for a SmackDown taping on March 4th, with pre-sale code “SMACKDOWN.”
It was a good show, but I don’t think it would kill them to freshen up some finishes on a live event loop instead of doing the same carbon copy matches night after night. Staying away from previous results posted online will make the experience much more enjoyable.