Sunday was a pretty awesome day for me, aside from spending Easter a couple thousand miles away from home. I already had tickets for the evening's WWE Live event in Cincinnati, but I decided to make a full day of it and attend another baseball game next door at the Great American Ballpark. My sunburn from the day prior left the top of my head a little too sensitive to be sitting out in the open, so after about three innings I retreated into the concourses and watched the rest of the game on screens while charging my phone.
I like to park across the river and walk across the bridge to get to the ballpark. The WWE show was in U.S. Bank Arena, right next door to the ballpark. My nose is pretty big, so it likes to act as a solar panel and absorb plenty of sunshine. I really should have planned better and worn sunscreen or gotten out of the sun a bit on Saturday. I got several compliments on my Macho Man Randy Savage t-shirt, which I appreciated.
The Reds couldn't muster a lot of offense, and wound up losing 4-2 to the Brewers. Luckily for me, some of the guys on my fantasy baseball teams figured into the scoring, Travis Shaw hit a 1-run homer for the Brewers, Adam Duvall scored once for the Reds, and Eugenio Suarez hit a 2-run home run for the Reds. After the game was over, I ate some ice cream and then went back to the parking garage to read a book for around an hour while I waited for the WWE event to begin. I emerged from the garage to find that it was raining heavily, so I made the 15 to 20-minute walk in a downpour. The most exciting part was the lightning, as I saw a bolt of lightning hit the surface of the river not too far from where I was walking on the bridge, as well as others that were further from me. I didn't get struck by any lightning, so that was good.
I was totally soaked by the time I got to the entrance. My ticket was dripping with water. The lady who scanned it looked disgusted and held it by the very corner as she used her device to read the bar code. What are you gonna do? I found my seat pretty quickly, and it was a decent one. I wasn't on the floor, but I was pretty close and my head was right at about ring level. Elbow room was a little hard to come by, but at the intermission the people to the left of me left and I moved over a seat. I took a picture, but with my phone's potato camera and my unsteady hand, it didn't turn out that great.
The show itself was pretty awesome. If you drew up a perfect current-day wrestling show tailored to my interests, this probably would have been it. The show kicked off with a bang, a four-way tag team match between the Hardy Boyz, Luke Gallows / Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore / Big Cass, and Sheamus / Cesaro. The thing about WWE Live shows is that they don't really figure into the storylines for the WWE, so usually belts don't change hands or anything. The Hardy Boyz retained their belts with a Swanton Bomb finish, but everyone got some good moments in and the crowd was into it. Especially fun was when someone smacked the hair clean off the top of Enzo's head. I was happy to see all of those guys wrestle live, especially the Hardys, Enzo and Cass, and Sheamus.
It would be hard for anyone to follow that opener, but Sami Zayn and Curtis Axel did their best to keep the show rolling. Their matchup was pretty good, and there seemed to be a number of people in the crowd near me who were really excited about Zayn's appearance.
Next up was a Cruiserweight battle between Neville and Austin Aries. Their match was kind of a comedy match, with both wrestlers evading contact, then hitting with cheap strikes and hiding when the tables turned again. It was entertaining enough, and Neville eventually won, retaining his belt. The crowd got into this one pretty well, with battling chants for both wrestlers being thrown back and forth.
After that, some footage rolled of Roman Reigns getting beat up by Braun Strowman at a previous show. The ring announcer, JoJo, got up to say that sadly, Reigns would not be able to appear at the event due to his injuries. Then Braun Strowman's music came up, and he came out and took the microphone and challenged anyone in the back to come and fight him. No one came out, so he dropped the microphone and started heading back up the ramp. Of course, Roman's entrance music hit and he came out all wrapped in bandages and fought Strowman, eventually defeating him in spite of his extensive injuries. The crowd went totally nuts for this one.
After the intermission, there was a 4-way match for the Women's Championship between Bayley, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte. I was pretty happy that I got to see Bayley and Nia Jax live at an event. The match followed the same basic blueprint as the Wrestlemania 4-way. Nia Jax beat everyone up until they teamed up on her, then the other three took turns doing their signature moves until Bayley hit a Bayley-to-Belly Suplex on Charlotte for the win. Nia Jax and Bayley both got big moments in this one, so I was pretty excited for this one. The token trading card in this post is the Topps WWE Now card of Bayley beating Charlotte at Fastlane 2017, with help from Sasha Banks. This one sold 153 copies.
The next fight pitted The Big Show against two opponents, Jinder Mahal and Titus O'Neil. I was really excited about getting to see Big Show live, and in that respect this match was awesome. The wrestlers also did a good job of making it entertaining, with Big Show eventually choke-slamming both opponents at the same time and pinning them each for the three-count with one hand. I don't know if I am reading into this too much, but it seemed a little awkward to me that a huge white guy was beating up the two darkest-skinned guys on the card, and Mahal and O'Neil were kind of playing bumbling roles, accidentally hitting each other or getting in the way. Mahal was getting a lot of guff from the crowd about giving a concussion (I think it was a real-life concussion, not a played-up injury) to Finn Balor a little while ago, so maybe the crowd atmosphere played into my impression of it. There were a couple of other incidents in the crowd, both good and bad, that had the topic on my mind anyway. Maybe I shouldn't even bring it up, but there was kind of a weird feel to the whole thing that might not have been there if Mahal or O'Neil had been paired with someone else against Big Show, or if they had won the match or presented as more of a legitimate threat to him. It could all be in my head, too. Either way, I was really excited to see The Big Show wrestle in a live event.
The Main Event was a tag team match. Kevin Owens came out and talked for a while about how the people in the crowd were bad parents, and that as the United States Champion, he would be the role model the kids in attendance needed. Then Samoa Joe was announced as his partner for a tag team match. After that, Chris Jericho and Seth Rollins came out as the opposing team. The crowd went absolutely bonkers for Jericho, probably about as nuts as they went for The Hardys and Roman Reigns. There were a bunch of tag-ins as Owens made it a point to avoid Jericho, but eventually the wrestlers got to fighting and they put on a pretty good show. Chris Jericho put the Walls of Jericho on Kevin Owens to close things out, then he addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out, and after that he went ahead and put us all on The List. The guy really knows how to work a crowd, which is probably why they still pay him to wrestle.
I had a pretty good time all around, and a baseball game followed by the WWE event made for a great day. It didn't even rain much while I headed back to my car, although it was really coming down at points during the drive back to my hotel.