This was the first show of the Summer Sizzler Series at Six Flags in Louisville, which is also the fifth year OVW has had shows at the arena in the back of the park. And as with every year, security tried something different to keep the crowd from stampeding into the place once the gates were opened. This time they had groups come in through the steel gates WAAAY past the arena, let them line up by a row of box-offices still pretty far away after that, and finally allowed groups of ten to move from one guard to the next until they got to the arena. It was pretty silly, but everyone did exactly as were told, so I guess you could say it worked.
BTW, kind of a smallish crowd due to storms all day that probably kept a lot of people from paying $25 to get into the park once the skies cleared up around 6 that evening. Perfect weather after that for the show though.
Big letdown once inside was that Kurt Angle wasn't there due to something that happened (nobody was very clear about it). So no meet and greet. Actually there was a small one for some fans who had special meet and greet passes and they got to meet John Cena before the show. Very odd handling of it, however, as fans could clearly see Cena there but he was supposed to be a surprise replacement for Angle for later in the show, so no one was REALLY supposed to have seen him. They didn't allow anyone else to go back and it just made the guys handling security for it look bad.
Dean Hill opened up the show only to be interupted by Armando Alejandro Estrada, who took over the mic all through the night but didn't do anymore than just bug Dean a bit here and there. The first match was the payoff to the CM Punk/Brent Albright feud, with the two guys giving the audience a good match. At the end, Albright had the Crowbar on Punk for a long time before Punk reached the ropes and then Punk hit the Anaconda Vice to force Albright to tap-out. Punk then held out his hand and they shook, ending the whole feud that started because Punk refused to shake hands with Albright months ago. Albright was wearing his Gunner pants to the ring, btw.
Next match had Kenny Bolin bringing Charles Evans out for a match with The Real McCoy. It was essentially a squash match, with Evans winning. Something happened to McCoy where he ended up with two long cuts on that went down his ribcage on his right side. Don't know what happened there and he had to be helped from the ring. Dean announced later that he was okay, so it did appear to be something legit. I wouldn't think they would announce his condition if it was just part of the show.
Third match was a six-men tag-team event to decide who would be the number one contender, featuring the Throwbacks, The Highlanders and Kasey James & Roadkill. This was different than what was announced for the card, which was to be The Throwbacks and Kasey James & Roadkill against Shad Gaspard & Neighborhoodie for the Southern Tag-Team belts. Guess they figured this worked better, or maybe one of the other guys couldn't make it. Anyway, Roadkill came out wearing a Marvin the Martian foam helmet that they sell in the park and it was a fun match between the three, with a lot of comedy stuff. Kasey and Roadkill got eliminated first and then The Highlanders won. I like all three pairs (more than Shad and Neighborhoodie, actually), so I had no problems sitting through it.
Fourth match was Mikey Batts vs. Boris Alexiev. They allowed Batts a bit more leeway than the guys Boris has been squashing on television. Batts got some licks in but ultimately it was still a squash match with Boris hitting the armbar and forcing Batts to tap-out.
Fifth Match was a tag-team event between The Miz with Roni and Seth Skyfire with Shelly. It was probably the worst match of the night. Skyfire is usually worth watching, but The Miz just doesn't interest me as a character or wrestler. At least he didn't get to talk for five hours on the mic like he does during the television shows (and where he has to be edited down greatly to fit into the shows). Someone really needs to work with him on his promo skills. Seriously. Shelly was okay, but Roni is obviously an OVW student brought up to television way too soon. She isn't very good yet at promo work or wrestling. Shelly won against Roni while Skyfire took care of The Miz on the outside at the end of the match.
Final match was supposed to be Aaron Stevens' match against Kurt Angle. Stevens came out and demanded that they start the match and count Angle out so he would win. When they finally did so, John Cena came out. The crowd went wild for him (and a lot of these people are newer fans that weren't even around when Cena was in OVW). He talked Stevens into a match and they went on for a good twenty minutes, going back and forth. Mostly brawling with a few moves here and there. Cena won with the FU.
Cena got on the mic and thanked the crowd, putting over OVW and the OVW fans big. Kinda interesting to see him back in OVW for once without some fans shouting old "prototype" insults at him. Just goes to show how the audience has changed at the shows over the past couple of years.
Entire show lasted 90 minutes with no breaks in the action. Big Show was announced as being the special guest at the June 16th show, although it appears from what I've read that Simon Dean will also be at that show as well. I thought it was a good start for the year, although having Kurt there would have made it better.
Its hard to know what to give Russo credit for in WWE since there seems to be a lot of hands in the soup. If you watch the Legends panel when they talk about Russo, they give the impression, he just happened to be a guy in the room.