Long time Wrestling Inc. reader Brian Reed-Baiotto sent this report for last night's WWE live event in Ontario, California:
The Citizens Business Bank Arena was approximately 40-45% full, with literally no more than 100 people in the upper level. It is an arena that is about two-thirds the size of the Honda Center in Anaheim, or the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
They had a semi-big screen in place of the Titan Tron that they use for Raw and Smackdown shows.
The opening match had 'The Miz' come out with his wife and did a short, but nice job on the mic to get the crowd amped up. He said he was not a coward and that he was going to end Dolph Ziggler's career at the next PPV.
Ziggler came out to loud cheers, and they had a solid, back-and-forth match that had the crowd invested throughout.
Miz seemed to mock the Daniel Bryan "yes" chant with fake 'yes' gestures of his own. When the crowd started to chant 'yes,' he would move his hands apart like, 'no,' and really worked the crowd well. It was the assumption they're still playing off the heat they got from that 'talking smack' segment that Daniel Bryan walked out of and the Miz seemed legitimately irate over.
After several near-falls, Ziggler was able to pin the Miz for the win and he celebrated with the crowd.
The second match was an 8-man tag-team event with Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder who joined American Alpha to take on the Vaudevillians and the Ascension.
All four teams got a surprisingly strong reaction. Up close, these are eight pretty big dudes. But in the end, Mojo pinned Victor and each of the four winners (American Alpha, Mojo/Rawley) found their own corner, climbed up on the ropes and got a solid sendoff from the crowd.
Next: Apollo Crews came out and put on an athletic display in a win over Curt Hawkins, who got very little reaction.
The crowd seemed to appreciate Apollo's athleticism, and he was good with the fans at ringside, taking pics and signing autographs.
The announcer said the following contest was a 2-on-3 match, and out came Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella, both of whom were greeted warmly by the Ontario audience.
Then, Natalya came out to her heel reaction, followed by Bliss and then Carmella. Bliss got a tiny pop, and Carmella's was crickets. She had no sway at all for her entrance or her in-ring performance. Becky got Nattie to tap out.
Baron Corbin came out to the 'the winner of the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal' introduction and was followed by Jack Swagger, who did his whole 'we the people,' chant.
While both Swagger and Corbin are admittedly big men, neither was very quick or athletic, and the crowd didn't seem into this at all. Corbin rolled up Swagger for the cheap finish and left with a little heat.
The best match of the night saw Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton put on a near-20 minute match.
Both Orton and Bray were well received and both got in several quality moves. At the end, Orton reversed the 'Sister Abigail,' and after trying to roll up Wyatt, Orton got back up, hit the RKO and then posed for pictures and signed autographs for fans near ringside.
One funny note from this match: The camera near the wrestlers would show up on the big screen where a scoreboard would be for a sporting event, and someone asked Orton to sign a picture of John Cena and he did, when the crowd saw that, they laughed, and Randy put his finger to his lips like "shhh," and did the "you can't see me" move with his hand over his face. The crowd laughed even louder.
They went to intermission after this match and showed old WWE top-10 "low blows" on the big screen to keep people entertained for the 20-minute or so break from the action.
The first 'match' scheduled after the intermission saw Tyler Breeze come out, take his selfie's and rest up on the ropes. Kane then came out looking kind of fat.
Breeze grabbed the mic and said, "no one wants to see me fight Kane tonight. They want to see us take a selfie." After calling Kane "dumb," Kane took a picture w/Breeze, and then choke-slammed him and pinned him in an absolute waste of time for the crowd.
The Usos came out to take on Smackdown tag-team champions, Heath Slater and Rhyno.
No real pop for either tag team. Both sides got in their signature moves, but Rhyno 'gored' Jimmy Uso and got the pin.
The main event was a 3-way match that featured AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and John Cena. Styles came out first, followed by Ambrose and then Cena.
All three tried to play off the crowd before introductions to see who could get the biggest reaction, and/or chant going. It was pretty even between Cena and Styles chants, and Ambrose a distant third. They started with Ambrose and Cena both abusing Styles with punches, pounding Styles' head into the corner, etc, to try and impress the other.
AJ finally got back in it and executed several solid moves. Cena did his 'you can't see me,' twice, Amrbrose hit the 'dirty deeds,' but in the end, Styles knocked Cena out of the ring with a chair shot, he then reversed a dirty deeds attempt, kicked Ambrose in the stones and rolled him up for the pin.
* The entertainment was actually better than the card might indicate.
* They had half the floor seats removed than they did at the last house show or the Smackdown tapings, during their previous two appearances in Ontario. Although small, for the most part, the crowd was into it...... especially the kids.
* They made a point of showing on the screen next year's Royal Rumble is in Orlando.
* Oddly, they had two male announcers at different parts of the show.
1) Cena and AJ tied
3) Bray Wyatt
4) Ziggler/Ambrose (pretty even)