WWE sure knows how to spoil a good thing.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt was one of the hottest characters in wrestling, a seemingly unstoppable, otherworldly force. So instead of protecting him, building him over a long period of time and using him to create a new star, WWE ended all it after just four months as champion and three title defense so that the 53-year-old Goldberg could quickly beat him at a disappointing “Super ShowDown” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
Goldberg, who worked his way out of two Mandible Claws from The Fiend, needed four spears and an awkward Jackhammer to pin The Fiend 1-2-3 for his second Universal championship reign. So all the Stomps and chair shots Seth Rollins delivered to The Fiend at “Hell in a Cell” weren’t enough to keep the Fiend down for a three count, but four spears and jack hammer get it done? Yup, believable stuff here.
A disappointed Fiend did quickly get back up and stare down Goldberg, who was celebrating on the turnbuckle. He didn’t bother to attack him, instead disappearing as the lights went out. He’s likely saving that attack, but beating down Goldberg right there may have been more effective.
It really leaves the door open for where things progress toward WrestleMania with the Universal title. The men’s Elimination Chamber match will likely be for a shot at that championship. Is The Fiend involved now trying to earn his rematch or does he challenge Goldberg for the belt at that pay-per-view and win it back?
Either way, the luster is off The Fiend. It’s just another example that WWE can’t be trusted with a good things. They crushed Kofimania too early, couldn’t keep Seth Rollins’ momentum going after beating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and turned Cain Velasquez into a jobber in first WWE match.
Speaking of jobbers, Lesnar squashed Ricochet — literally swatting away his charge to start the match. The logic make sense, but it still stinks. WWE wants Lesnar, the WWE champion, looking as strong as possible, and having Ricochet push him too much would make him look weaker with a much bigger Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. Still it was a waste of a fun pairing – Lesnar’s power against Ricochet’s agility and aerial arsenal.
If this was the route WWE was going, why make the hold build and vignette about Ricochet being the underdog and why can’t he beat Brock Lesnar if you were only going to swat that away too? It makes you wonder if WWE views Ricochet as a potential main-eventer down the road if he’s jobbing to Lesnar with zero offense. Sure, you can make him an underdog again, but this match didn’t exactly position him for the top of card anytime soon.
Speaking of disappointing matches, Bayley beat Naomi in a pretty ordinary affair to retain her “SmackDown” women’s championship in the first WWE women’s title match even in the Middle East. The self-proclaimed role model did so by intentionally getting Naomi’s leg stuck in her T-shirt during a submission and then slamming her face into the mat before pinning her
Yes, that type of finish fits Bayley’s character. But having Naomi win felt like a more proper way to highlight the significance of the moment and give the “SmackDown” women’s championship a slightly different story going into WrestleMania. This is not a huge blow to the rivalry, since Bayley won in a way she cannot when they are wearing their normal ring attire. It still felt like an opportunity missed.
The Roman Reigns-Baron Corbin feud got one more chapter and it was a solid one. Their steel cage match told a story around the chain Reigns used to lock the cage and hid the key for. Corbin got the key back and wrapped his hand with the chain in an attempt to punch Reigns. It failed and eventually it was The Big Dog, in what the announcers thankfully portrayed as the definitive victory in this rivalry, who used it with a Superman Punch to gain the win.
Undertaker wins the Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy gauntlet match
R-Truth rolled up Bobby Lashley (who later beat him up more), fell on top of Andrade for a pin after the two banged heads and then eliminated Erick Rowan by disqualification only to tap out to AJ Styles’ calf crusher. Gallows and Anderson then assaulted Rey Mysterio backstage, leaving Styles to ask to win by forfeit.
Instead what he got was seeing the rest of The Club getting taken care of and The Undertaker, who reportedly asked to face Styles at WrestleMania, walking down the aisle. Undertaker, without taking off any of her gear, choke slammed Styles for the win. The next time we see Styles and Undertaker in a match it will likely be at WrestleMania 36.
The Miz and John Morrison over Kofi Kingston and Big E to win the SmackDown tag team championship
The reboot of this retro tag team continues. Morrison has been a refreshing add to the WWE roster and these four delivered a good match, though it felt like there was another gear they didn’t want to tap into just yet. Morrison hit Kingston with a chair shot that the referee didn’t see to get the pin and the former WWE champion for their first tag team championship together in nearly 11 years.
Seth Rollins and Murphy defeat The Street Profits to retain the Raw tag team championship
The pace of this felt a little slow for match with the Street Profits, but did include some fun double-team moves in the final third. Rollins delivered a Stomp to Angelo Dawkins on the ring apron and Murphy then brought him in for the pin. No surprise here and WWE continues to build Rollins’ Monday Night Messiah persona.
Angel Garza over Humberto Carrillo
Garza used a counter to roll up hand Carrillo his second straight defeat — the other coming on “Raw” earlier this week — in another quality match between these two. Not exactly sure who this feud is meant to get over, especially with US champion Andrade back from his Wellness Policy suspension. Carrillo, who can get some crowd sympathy with how close he’s been, needs a win soon as maybe we get a triple-threat or four-way match with Mysterio for the US belt at WrestleMania.
Mansoor over Dolph Ziggler
Mansoor, a native of Saudi Arabia, continues to win in his home country – now 3-0 including a victory over Cesaro. The story here was simple. Manoor worked from underneath a cocky Ziggler, eventually rallying for a win. Let’s hope the 24-year-old can continue to deliver some form of inspiration to his country and its people.
Biggest winner: Goldberg
Biggest loser: The Fiend
Best match: New Day vs. The Miz and John Morrison (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)