WWE’s Super ShowDown from Saudi Arabia delivered the first-ever meeting between The Undertaker and Bill Goldberg, but the two icons failed in their attempt to provide a memorable moment or match.
The entire card was nowhere near the level set at the Money in the Bank pay per view in May. Super ShowDown had the feel of a grand 1980s house show that was designed to sell tickets for the next show. And much of what we witnessed in Jeddah will lead to rematches at Stomping Grounds later this month.
Traveling to Saudi Arabia does no favors for the WWE, which is extremely devoted to its community involvement and civic work. But working with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is currently making news across the world for a potential death penalty upon an 18-year-old political prisoner, is not a good look.
Here are the results from the Super ShowDown:
• The Usos defeated The Revival
• Universal champion Seth Rollins defeated Baron Corbin
• Intercontinental champion Finn Balor—working as The Demon—defeated Andrade in the match of the night
• Shane McMahon defeated Roman Reigns
• Lars Sullivan defeated the Lucha House Party by disqualification
• Randy Orton defeated Triple H
• Braun Strowman defeated Bobby Lashley
• Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler
• Mansoor won the 50-man battle royal
• The Undertaker defeated Goldberg
Here are my three takeaways from the show:
1. Shane McMahon needs to win the WWE title
With assistance from Drew McIntyre in the form of a Claymore kick, Shane McMahon defeated Roman Reigns.
The finish was brilliant. McMahon winning incenses a large portion of the fan base and builds goodwill for Reigns, which remains a major goal for Vince McMahon and Co.
My only issue was that McMahon got in too much offense and withstood too much of Reigns’ arsenal. I much prefer McMahon lying, stealing and cheating his way to victory after Reigns pummeled him, especially with McIntyre helping from his corner. But McMahon came off too strong in the encounter, especially considering he is not (and definitely should not) be viewed as Reigns’s equal.
But McMahon winning was the right call. The true test now is where we go from here. Reigns is set to face McIntyre at the Stomping Grounds pay per view later this month, and it would be a waste of the moment to use McIntyre as fodder for Reigns. And McMahon should go on to defeat Kofi Kingston for the WWE title.
Kingston’s run to the title has far exceeded his actual title reign, and that is largely in part due to the fact he has yet to have an opponent to bring out the best out in him. There was simply no believability in the idea of Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn (and now Dolph Ziggler) defeating Kingston for the belt, but McMahon would instantly draw interest every time he covered the champ. Plus, the climb back to the top, if executed correctly, would allow Kingston to show off another element of his Hall of Fame portfolio.
2. The Undertaker and Goldberg did not meet the hype
The Undertaker–Goldberg match was not pretty.
After opening with the classics, the match quickly fell off the tracks. Goldberg’s attempt at a Jackhammer nearly ended with Taker landing on his head, the Tombstone piledriver reversal was a disaster, and the match mercifully ended with a weak chokeslam.
The takeaway is clear: both The Undertaker and Goldberg still look good, even past the age of 50, but each man clearly needs to work with younger talent.
If Taker is going to continue to wrestle, his opponents should be against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Kingston, or Finn Balor. The same goes for Goldberg: He could work against Braun Strowman, Kingston or Samoa Joe, but putting Taker and Goldberg in the same ring together is a recipe for disaster. The match appeared to move in slow motion, and there was no joy derived in watching two legends struggle to deliver.
3. Far from exceeding WrestleMania, the Saudi shows are glorified house shows
House shows were once the backbone of WWE’s business model.
That is no longer the case in 2019.
But an old-school house show has a great feel to it. All the stars make appearances, and although little really changes in terms of storyline, the show is good enough to send the crowd home happy.
That formula is now a bit antiquated. WWE is expected to deliver a phenomenal show every time it airs on the Network, and shows like the Super ShowDown simply cannot meet the hype. The booking didn’t help—babyface champion Seth Rollins won after the referee distracted heel Baron Corbin; another promised Brock Lesnar “Money in the Bank” cash-in failed to take place; and Kofi Kingston, who is possibly the best babyface in the company, needed assistance from Xavier Woods to defeat Dolph Ziggler.
WWE will deliver a better show at Stomping Grounds on June 23. Until then, we’re onto Tacoma.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.