To say that the WWE Super Showdown event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was a disaster would be kind.
Every wrestling promotion puts in a show with horrible results from time-to-time. But often even the WWE’s biggest messes are at least enthusiastic ones.
When you look at, say, the horrible reaction to the 2015 Royal Rumble, where Roman Reigns’s victory was received like a fart in church, you can at least sit back and say, “Okay. I at least see what they were going for.”
But this? I don’t even know what this was supposed to be.
Oh wait, sure I do. This was WWE renting out its name, reputation, and talent to a despotic regime as if the company was a birthday clown.
WWE Super Showdown was dead on arrival. And it’s up to poor schmucks like me to perform the autopsy.
WWE Super Slowdown: Eldertaker vs. Oldberg
Oh my God.
Just — just oh my God.
It’s difficult to put into words just how bad this was. Actually, no, this wasn’t bad. Bad doesn’t even begin to cover it. Hogan vs. Warrior from Halloween Havoc 1998 was bad. Cena vs. Rock II from WrestleMania 29 was bad.
The WWE Super Showdown main event of Undertaker vs. Goldberg was embarrassing. This wasn’t a dream match. It was a nightmare.
You can’t even say that these guys are past their prime. They were past their prime 10 years ago. Goldberg and Undertaker are past their freakin’ sunset years.
If they had gone out and just looked tired or like shadows of their past selves, that would be bad enough. Had they just gone out and performed a five-minute match, maybe like Goldberg’s run with Brock Lesnar in late 2016 through early 2017, that would be one thing.
These guys nearly killed each other. And not in the “grizzled warriors fighting to the death” way. More like the “dropping each other directly on the head” way.
For one thing, Goldberg was winded just from his walk to the ring. Luckily, the Undertaker takes six hours for his entrance, so Goldberg had time to catch his breath. But early in the match, he dove head-first into the ring post at full speed and knocked himself goofy. He was probably concussed.
But did Undertaker, the ring general, take charge and push the match to a conclusion? Of course not — gotta earn that sweet Saudi money. So they pressed on with one embarrassing spot after the other. Undertaker needed to grab Goldberg’s tights just to get him two feet off the ground for a weak chokeslam.
And Goldberg didn’t have the strength or presence of mind to execute his Jackhammer finisher. Instead it turned into a brainbuster, which resulted in Undertaker getting dropped on his neck in horrifying fashion.
Why risk this with Goldberg in the first place? The guy proved to be a danger to himself and others when he was in his prime! He kicked Bret Hart in the head in WCW, concussing him and ending his career. The guy punched a non-gimmicked limousine window as part of the same angle and broke every bone in his hand.
Judging from his tweet after the event, Goldberg at least intended to put on a great match at WWE Super Showdown. And he was genuinely embarrassed by the result.
Knocked myself out and thought I could finish…. love my fans…..but let u down. Everyone else that found “pleasure” ….. hope ur happy
— Bill Goldberg (@Goldberg) June 7, 2019
I love the Undertaker, and I always enjoyed Goldberg’s act well enough. But it’s time to hang it up, fellas. You’re embarrassing yourselves.
Shane McMahon: Snot-Nosed Conqueror
Okay, take your seats. Welcome to Pro Wrestling 101.
Your heel is a cocky, spoiled rich kid who takes on hired guns to assault his bigger, stronger opponent. The proper booking is for the hero to beat the crap out of that brat and deliver his comeuppance.
Now, the hero needn’t necessarily win the match. The bratty heel can win with some kind of screwy finish. But he needs a few cuts and bruises to show that he ultimately got what he deserved.
Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns was not that. At all.
Their WWE Super Showdown match was evenly booked, with both guys looking credible, and Shane still got the win with interference from Drew McIntyre!
And I understand this is a unique case that doesn’t necessarily apply to Pro Wrestling 101. Shane has a long history in the ring, so he’s going to look a little more credible than your average snotty heel.
But this is Roman Reigns. The guy you want to be the face of your company (more on that in a couple days). To put it in context, this would be like Bobby Heenan wrestling Hulk Hogan, dominating the last half of the match, and still needing interference from Ric Flair to win.
And I’m not usually one to harp on a Shane match taking a spot on the card away from an up-and-comer. But in the last two months, Shane owns victories over the Miz, a former WWE Champion and arguably one of the best Intercontinental Champions of all time, and now a win over four-time world champ Roman Reigns.
Sadly, I know why this even happened. WWE had to appease the crown prince by having Reigns on the card. But Reigns is already booked to face McIntyre at Stomping Ground, and Shane was all that was left for him. Fine.
But Shane didn’t have to look like a million bucks here, and Roman isn’t done any favors by looking like more of a joke. Why did Shane, for all intents and purposes an Attitude Era mid-card “wrestler,” have to be Roman’s opponent here?
I’m glad you asked.
A Royal Attitude
The crown prince loves the Attitude Era. It’s pretty obvious.
Main eventing last year’s WWE Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia was Undertaker and Kane vs. Shawn Michaels and Triple H. And here at WWE Super Showdown, we had Shane McMahon, Undertaker, Goldberg, and Triple H all in prominent spots on the card.
As mentioned above, when it comes to this 10-year deal between WWE and the Saudis, the crown prince gets what he wants. And the more that happens, the less WWE as a global brand can move past the Attitude Era.
A lot of people aren’t going to like this, but it’s for your own good: The Attitude Era is dead. Leave it alone. Or at least leave it out of the ring.
If the crown prince loves the Attitude Era so much, give Steve Austin a giant bag of money and have him do some stupid skit where he hits Vince with the Stunner. Use one of these shows to have Undertaker beat up Elias. But don’t put these elderly jokes in actual wrestling matches.
WWE wants to push this narrative of bringing change and progress to Saudi Arabia? Highlight the young stars you want to push. Stand your ground and tell them to let you have a women’s match or the deal’s off.
But WWE has no interest in that. They’re interested in taking that sweet Saudi money ($45 million a year, according to givemesport.com), and if the result is hot garbage like WWE Super Showdown, then so be it.
So I ask again: Why do I watch this crap?
All images courtesy of WWE.