Sunday, 15 January 2012

WWE Smackdown World Tour @ PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, Canada - January 14, 2012

WWE Smackdown in the PNE Agrodome (Upper North Section)
The WWE returned to beautiful Vancouver, B.C, Canada last night at the PNE Agrodome in East Vancouver. I had been anticipating this event for quite a while as the last time I witnessed at house show in Vancouver was back in 1998. Owen Hart was on that card. Yep, its been a while.

Before the show I managed to pop in to The Press Box bar on Hastings for some pre-event festivities that included... WRESTLING TRIVIA.

Local promotion ECCW & their star wrestlers hosted a nice lil pre-event party at the Press Box for wrestling fans of all walks. Fans were able to test their knowledge as Scotty Mac, the face of the ECCW promotion dug deep to try and stump Vancouver's most dedicated marks. Other ECCW stars attending included Ravenous Randy, Kenny Lush, Supergirls Champ KC Spinelli, Andy the Dreadful Bird & of course.....V!!!

It was a nice loose way to get ready for a hot night of wrestling in Van City! Kudos, ECCW!

"For the Peeps. By the Peeps!"
I made sure I was atleast 30 minutes early to the venue to insure that I got my hands on some sweet merchandise. Coming to live events as a kid, one of the biggest things was merch. It was all about who had the hot new shirt or item. I made sure to carry on that tradition. I made away with a Christian "Hit The Switch" t -shirt (Hey, I'm a Peep for life...injured or not) and a Santino Cobra heard me! *HisSsSsSsSsS!!!!* As I reflected on those memories as a kid coming to shows, I couldn't help but notice all the Lil Jimmies really enjoying themselves. I made sure to compliment no less than a dozen kids on their wicked gear... it made me feel good as a tike.. and I could tell it made those kids night to brag about the cool merch they got. It definitely made me feel all warm inside.

The card started off with Hornswoggle coming to the ring to get the Vancouver crowd ramped up for some WWE action. Cody Rhodes' music hits and he comes out to a sea of boos. Cody proceeds to verbally and physically bully Hornswoggle before his former Legacy partner comes out for the save. Ted Dibiase charges the ring to back Hornswoggle only for Jinder Mahal to make his presence felt. Let's get ready to rumble!!

Ted Dibiase vs Jinder Mahal

I honestly thought just by nature of him being a Canadian of East Indian descent and a respectable worker that Jinder Mahal might be over in Vancouver. I was wrong. Mahal was about as popular as the Sin Cara shirts at the merch bench (I only saw one person wearing it... poor lil jimmy) After a decent back and forth 10 minute opener... Dibiase hit his finisher for the win. Despite the loss, I'm liking Mahal the more I seem him. Hornswoggle joins the ring post-match to celebrate. Cody Rhodes hits the ring again to jump Dibiase. It's pretty obvious that a lot of the weight was on Cody's shoulders at this show. This wasn't his last appearance. Cody cuts a promo informing the audience that this is his show and he intends to keep it that way.

Trent Baretta & Yoshi Tatsu vs Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre

Besides Drew McIntyre.. you'd be hard pressed to find any of these guys on regularly programmed WWE TV. Tatsu, Baretta & Slater are main stays on NXT: Redemption (Airs 6p-7p on Wed. on The Score in Canada & online in the USA) While the crowd wasn't all that in to the characters involved... that quickly changed as these 4 guys worked a decent wrestling match. Baretta wrestled the majority of the match before hitting Yoshi with the hot tag, leading to a victory. McIntyre & Baretta were the better wrestlers in this match. McIntyre did cut a pre-match promo which I think did a lot for him. Like I said.. these guys aren't exactly CM Punk or John Cena with the TV time they're getting... but McIntyre made that connection with the fans during his promo and it paid off for him during the match.

Hunico vs Ezekiel Jackson

So, I booed the crap out of Hunico as he entered... but quickly changed my mind once "Zeke" made his way to the ring. I'm not big on Ezekiel Jackson. He's big. That's it. Nothing special about his wrestling or promos. Anyways, Zeke ran most of the match with Hunico turning the tides in the end, hitting the swantom bomb for the victory. I don't know if it was the fact that his music sounded extra gangster over the PA or if it was the fact I watched "Blood In, Blood Out" the night before... but Hunico made a fan out of me at this show! Vatos Locos 4 ever!!

Cody Rhodes vs Justin Gabriel for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

After reading other show results leading up to this show, I was choked to hear Booker T wouldn't be on the card. He had been working house shows with Cody in the States prior to this show before their blow off on Smackdown weeks back. Justin Gabriel filled his slot. Let me say, I like Justin Gabriel. He's a very atheltic, good looking young guy I think the WWE could market to girls/women but unfortunately he hasn't seen much action since his cameo in the Smackdown Money In The Bank Match back in July. These guys had a really good match for about 15 minutes before Cody hit Cross Rhodes for the win. Ted Dibiase attacked Rhodes after the bell which allowed Hornswoggle to come out and exact some revenge!! The crowd seemed to be eating up everything Rhodes threw at them... including multiple attempts to bail on the match for a DQ. He was drawing heat using the simplest of methods. Yep, he's over.

Natalya vs Alicia Fox w/ Special Guest Ref Aksana

This match didn't really need Aksana... but damn she looked fine... so I bit my lip and let it be. Much like Mahal... I figured Natalya would get a good old fashioned Canadian pop. She came out to a luke warm response at best despite having family, friends and countrymen in the crowd. Natalya brought out her tissue box and handed sheets to the crowd as souvenirs. It's not nearly as good as Cody Rhodes' paper bags... but it's a start! Alicia Fox came out looking foxy and bubbly as usual. After working a very basic 5 minute divas match, Fox scored the victory with a sunset flip from the 2nd rope. Natalya chucked Aksana in the sharpshooter after the match out of frustration. Pretty much what I expected from the divas.Though, I would have paid atleast $5 extra to have Alicia Fox sweat on me.... but beggars can't be choosers. Next time Alicia.. you and I... burgers at the Press Box. It's on.


I took the 15 minutes of intermission time to argue with young John Cena fans. Oh, whatever. Like you've never argued with 10 year olds before! I got a chance to scope out the crowd and it seemed like the real hot ticket as far as merch was either the CM Punk "Best in the World" shirt or the Zack Ryder "Are you serious, Bro?" shirt & headband. I was kinda disappointed they didn't bring the new "Cena Sucks" shirts as Im sure those would have been a hit with the older crowd.

Sheamus vs Wade Barrett

Wade Barrett makes his way to the ring and cuts a promo detailing how he put Randy Orton out of action which drew great heat from the crowd. I know a lot of people were kind of choked by the lack of fire power at the show which included absences from Orton, Christian & Mark Henry (the latter two being legit injured) but Orton seemed to head the list of most missed talent. Regardless, Sheamus came out to easily the biggest pop of the night and proceeded to have easily the best match of the night with Mr Barrett. The two worked atleast 15 minutes with Sheamus getting the victory after sliding out of Barrett's finisher Wasteland and hitting a running Brough Kick for the W. What I really liked was how Sheamus did atleast one complete lap around the ring to greet the fans. House shows are a great way to connect with the crowd as there are no Tv segment time limits or anything of that nature. Sheamus hammed it up for the fans in the front row as well as the fans near the wrestler entrance and you could tell the Vancouver faithful really appreciated it. I've said it once and I'll say it again... wrestling is about connecting and interacting with the fans... and I think Sheamus has a pretty good hold on it!!

Daniel Bryan vs Big Show for the World Heavyweight Title

Daniel Bryan's heel turn took no less than a month after winning the World title and it appears Vancouver is already buying it because Bryan was jeered profusely as he entered the ring (He entered first. Only true heels do that with a belt around their waist) Bryan cut a decent promo (By Bryan's standards) which drew tons of heat. He even slagged Canadians! That's a WWE staple in Canada! They always slag us hosers! After a purposely long and drawn out promo... Big Show's music cued up and the crowd came to life as the main event was upon us. If you have watched Bryan & Big Show work together the past few weeks on Smackdown TV... you got a replay. Their match didn't bring a whole lot new to the table... but was well done none the less. Show hit his Chokeslam on Bryan and was one count away from regaining the World Strap before Wade Barrett & Jinder Mahal jumped in and interfered, resulting in a DQ win for Big Show. Barrett, Mahal & Bryan laid the boots to Big Show before Sheamus came to bail out the big man. They cleared the ring of the heels and hit the floor to greet the crowd. Sheamus again pulling double duty to greet the crowd! Good on ya, Fella!

Overall, it was a pretty good show. I was really impressed with Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan as they all got consistent reactions from the crowd and all wrestled great matches. I was hoping MAYBE we might get some Santino as well... but once again... I was let down.

There were two things I was kinda choked about. Yes... one of them was the lack of fire power. When you take 3 big players off the card like Captain Charisma, Mark Henry and the company's #2 man Randy Orton... the crowd ain't gonna like it. While all the guys filling in did a great job... it took away from the glitz and glam of a potentially crazy card!!

The advertised NEW WWE Live Tour stage. It was NOT in Vancouver.
The other was the abscence of the hyped up NEW WWE Live Tour Set. Pictures have been running rampant on the net of the new set up for house shows. We here in Vancouver were treated to nothing but a black curtain and some blue tube lights. C'mon WWE. If you're gonna pump up that stuff on your website and all over the web... you kinda need to.... SET IT UP AT A SHOW!! Not a huge deal... but still enough to annoy me!

I just wrote this blog from my hotel room at New York, New York on Las Vegas. I will be attending WWE's Smackdown TV Taping on Tuesday, January 17th at the Thomas & Mack Centre. I will provide a detailed blog as soon as possible.

To contact me... email

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