Last week’s WWE Live in Manila at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao was definitely a must-see show for all the pro-wrestling fans in the country. If you weren’t there, then don’t you dare be sour! We got you covered! Here are the five biggest things you missed at the big show!
Even before the opening bell was rung at Araneta Stadium last friday, big things were already happening in the land of social media. Philippine Wrestling Revolution superstar, Jake De Leon embarked on an epic journey to find WWE 24/7 Champion R-Truth and challenge him for the coveted title.
For the uninitiated, the 24/7 Championship is a title that’s on the line every hour of every day and available for contention by LITERALLY ANYONE. Since it’s introduction earlier this year, The title has been held by multiple members of the WWE Roster, a pregnant lady, and even a police officer during a routine traffic stop.
The 24/7 Championship is easily the hottest and most entertaining thing in the WWE right now. During their visit last week, its then current holder R-Truth is virtually synonymous with the title having held it a record 17 times. It’s no wonder why Jake De Leon wanted a crack at the prestigious title himself.
De Leon himself is no stranger to championships, having won the PWR Championship twice, being the promotion’s inaugural Champion, claiming the PHX Championship, and becoming the face of the brand during its almost six year run. So early Friday morning, Mr. Philippine Wrestling began his epic quest to be #JDL247Champ
— #PWOGs SenyoritoJDL @ Rev Major PH (@SenyoritoJDL) September 20, 2019
He got really close that one time too when he found the WWE Ring Truck!
— #PWOGs SenyoritoJDL @ Rev Major PH (@SenyoritoJDL) September 20, 2019
Local wrestling fans also supported the cause on social media setting both Twitter and Facebook ablaze. The ruckus was so strong that it even caught the gaze of Drake Maverick, a WWE superstar that’s been embroiled in a rivalry with R-Truth for the highly coveted belt.
If you find him make sure to ‘@‘ me on social media https://t.co/yn0iI7cPJK
— Drake Maverick (@WWEMaverick) September 20, 2019
Alas, at the end of the day it was not meant to be. The closest De Leon would ever get was when his PWOG’s Tag Team Partner Ken Warren managed to catch R-Truth on his way to the elevator for this:
…Told you I’m on it, @SenyoritoJDL. 👌🏻😉
Here’s the Truth, The Whole Truth, and nothing but… @RonKillings 🎤 🔥💪🏿
— Ken Warren (#PWOGs) (@TheKenWarren) September 20, 2019
When it was time for the big show, the crowd had been in fever pitch waiting in anticipation for things to start. After the opening ceremonies by the announcer, the lights died down and the distinct electric guitar riffs of Kevin Owens‘ theme song echoed through the big dome to the deafening roar of the crowd.
— The Geeky Juans (@TheGeekyJuans) September 20, 2019
The crowd had adored Canadian-born superstar every step of the way to the ring. Ever the showman, Owens used the deafening reception to his advantage, playing to the crowd getting cheers for himself and securing boos for his opponent Andrade causing the latter to feign leaving the ring:
— Mr. Orange (@jazzzzzzTUNE) September 20, 2019
Part of the fun of watching live wrestling events is how much you can influence the action and by extension be a part of the show. This was in full effect here, the Owens masterfully listening and playing with the crowd.
As the Match progressed there would be more of these moments of back and forth. Until KO would hit a huge Stunner on Andrade for the three count to the tune of 9000+ fans cheering in attendance. In my head, it was the perfect way to start the show because clearly that night, the Big Dome was KO Country.
At the end of the match KO cut a promo to the camera addressing his long-standing rivalry with Shane McMahon sneaking in a cheeky nod to reception of the crowd in attendance.
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Usually with live shows especially ones in other countries, you can expect the action to be dialed down a little bit. The WWE usually won’t allow its superstars do anything too crazy and risk injuring themselves especially since the show won’t actually be part of the actually RAW or Smackdown programs. That being said the show that we got was still actually pretty solid. For starters the Match Card for the night was amazing:
The ones that stuck out to me were the ones with the most crowd involvement: KO versus Andrade as well as The New Day versus The Revival and the main event Kofi Kingston versus Daniel Bryan. However, the best match of the night undoubtedly goes to…
It was quite tough to select the match of the night from such a stacked card. However in the end, despite the technical brilliance of Kofi Kingston versus Daniel Bryan match and the sheer entertainment of The New Day versus The Revival, the honor of match of the night must go to Ali versus Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship.
The 11-minute barn-burner of a match was rather decently paced, offering a great contrast between the challenger Ali’s high-flying moves and the champion Shinsuke’s devastating offense. Ali quickly won over the crowd with his trademark athleticism, pulling off dynamic escapes and jaw-dropping maneuvers to get the better of the veteran Nakamura. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there’s also Shinsuke’s hype man, Sami Zayn, floating around the ring and dealing the occasional cheap shot to Ali when the referee isn’t looking. Everyone loves an underdog.
One of the match’s most spectacular moments came, near its climax where after delivering a devastating Sliding German Suplex to the challenger, Nakamura was gearing up for his brutal finisher-The Kinshasa Knee Strike-which would have surely ended the match if it connected.
Then this happened:
From there, Ali would fend off another Kinshasa countering with a sly roll-up. It would seem as though the veteran champion could not put away the determined young upstart as Ali would then gain some momentum and have the Nakamura on the ropes at one point. Finally, while setting up for The 054, the challenger’s signature move, Zayn would interfere for the final time causing a fed up Ali to chase him down…
…right into the sights of Shinsuke’s Kinshasa which finally hits its mark for the Nakamura Win. Effective storytelling, a handful of moments to shine for the underdog and a couple of jaw-dropping false finishes to seal the deal for my Match of the Night.
Probably the most memorable thing that happened at WWE Manila was the Table Spot during the Charlotte and Bayley match. Despite the obvious comedic value of the ordeal, it was memorable to me because it exemplified my earlier point about the experience of watching a live show and further punctuated it with just how much these superstars push themselves to entertain the crowd.
So after intermission, the next match was Charlotte versus Bayley in a Street Fight-No Disqualifications, No Count out-for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Naturally, the crowd was excited at the prospect of the whole thing, a clear marker of how far women’s wrestling has come in the WWE.
Remember what I said earlier about the dialed down action when it came to live shows? Even in a straight up Street Fight match, that still applied. Tone it down, so you can do the main show back home.
However, as soon as the match gets underway, what seemed like the entire Araneta Stadium immediately started chanting “We want Tables!” “We want Tables!”
Tables. One of the flashiest but nastiest bumps you can take as a wrestler.
But the pair soldier on for now. They don’t pay much heed to it and proceed to beat each other up with chairs and kendo sticks in the ring and even in the surrounding audience area.
But then, there they go again: “We want Tables!” louder and more incessant.
What would you think any self respecting professional wrestler would do in this situation? Yes of course, they work it into the match.
As far as I can tell, the pair most assuredly did not plan for it. After all, the WWE has tried to dial down the use of tables in the recent years even in their main televised programs. But here are Bayley and Charlotte, two of the best in the business, pulling out all the stops to appease the fans.
They play around with it of course, any good pro wrestler knows how to get heat. Charlotte would pull the table out from under the ring with which the crowd would cheer, before Bayley knocks her down and puts the table back to the ensuing boos. Charlotte would set it up, and Bayley would break it down. Back and forth they went. Until they do the actual finish of the match where Bayley counters Charlotte’s spear attempt into a steel chair on the turnbuckle for the One, Two, Three. Bayley defends against Charlotte Flair.
The dejected fans then moan and groan wanting to see the table get used, especially since its set up right there in the ring. Determined to give the fans what they want, Charlotte runs back in on Bayley, pummels her and sets her up on the table.
The roar of the crowd was deafening as The Queen ascended to the top rope. This is it. We were going to get what we want.
Then this happened:
Flair leaps off, into a graceful Somersault Senton onto her opponent below. But much to the shock of everyone in the building, the table did not break despite the brutal collision.
Flair’s music hit, signalling the end of the segment yet Flair lingered, no doubt deciding with her opponent if they could go at it again.
And they did.
But even a hellacious powerbomb couldn’t pierce the golden aegis that was that table. And once again Flair lingered and pondered but it had already been too much. Any more and they would risk serious injury even for their godly standards. Flair took her leave to the cheer of the crowd with Bayley standing up a few moments after. But where she was met with boos by the fans mere minutes before, applause was in its place.
This is dedication. This is grit. This is wrestling.
Watch the whole moment below :
— Mikey LP (@michaelpancho) September 20, 2019
What were your thoughts on WWE Live Manila 2019? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on the GG Network Facebook Page!
If you liked that check out some of our other wrestling and gaming related content on the site like That Canceled Powerstone-like WWE Game, The Top 5 WWE Finishers in the Modern Era, and 5 Videogames That Should Be Terrible But Were Surprisingly Good
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