WWE presented Superstar Spectacle on January 26 for the nation of India to celebrate Republic Day. Some nice up-and-coming WWE Indian talent was on display, and they also included former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz.
Nice opening video package talking about the 20-year-plus relationship that WWE has with the nation of India. They even had Bret Hart, as WWF Champion, talking about how overwhelmed he was by how much India loved the organization.
NXT Champion Finn Balor battles Guru Raaj in a non-title match. Raaj was once in a tractor accident that could have killed him at the age of four, and was once stampeded by a cow while riding his bicycle. He's working hard to become a successful WWE Superstar so he can afford a house with air-conditioning for his parents in India, and it makes me think of how lucky I am. I live in a trailer, but even I have air conditioning.
Guru Raaj showed off a decent grasp of basic technical wrestling, and hit a couple of drop kicks, and did some good taekwondo moves, but he was hyped as a high-flyer, and he attempted only one high-risk move the entire match-- a top-rope cross-body that got a near-fall towards the end of the contest. Balor wins with the Coup De Grace and the 1916. Not a bad match; Raaj has good building blocks.
A theme of the night is that the Indian Superstars are doing this for their family.
Rey Mysterio and Ricochet team up with Dilsher Shanky and Giant Zanjeer, two massive individuals each standing seven feet tall or higher. They battle SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Some fun action in the beginning with Shanky and Zanjeer knocking around Ziggler, then Nakamura, then Corbin. Cesaro gets into the ring and is like, "Let me think about if I really wanna do this." Rey and Ricochet mock Cesaro by going between the two big guys' legs and doing the Rick Steiner "hoo-hoo-hoo!" pose.
When we get back from commercial, Cesaro has taken control over Rey Mysterio. Really, the only chance the heels have in this contest is to keep the experienced talent on the other side, in the ring. There's not much any of those guys can do against the two behemoths.
The faces win after a flurry of offense from Dilsher Shanky, resulting in a tag to Mysterio, a 619, an assisted splash from the top rope, and a pin with Shanky's foot on Mysterio's back against Cesaro.
WWE does a segment about the Girl Up sports scholarship fund.
AJ Styles comes out for a match against three-time Indian national champion Jeet Rama, but after the commercial break, we get a segment with Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman.
Jeet Rama is fantastic; he's like an Indian version of Kurt Angle, throwing AJ Styles around with suplexes. He escapes the Calf Crusher. It looks like he's going to win, but Omos interferes by holding Styles to the top rope when Rama attempts a suplex, causing Rama to hit the canvas by himself. Phenomenal Forearm wins the match. And even though they cheated to win, Styles and Omos sincerely applaud Rama's effort from the entrance ramp, and Rama salutes them. Match of the night so far.
The New Day and The Street Profits come out to introduce a troupe of native Indian dancers called Spinning Canvas. They're very good.
The Great Khali, who is given a lot of credit for training and recruiting Indian WWE recruits, is given a minute or two to speak.
Women's Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair teams with Saheena Sandhu, who hails from Oakland, California and is a first-generation Indian-American. She used to spend her summers in a rural village in India with her grandparents. She's a trained Muay Thai kickboxer, and a full-time nursing student making her WWE debut. She and one of her opponents in this match, Bayley, were trained by the same person.
They battle Bayley and Natalya. Saheena's moveset is a little basic, but she does hit a nice butterfly suplex on Bayley. Saheena plays the babyface-in-peril for awhile. She gets put into the Sharpshooter by Natalya, but Charlotte breaks her out of it by hitting the Natural Selection on Natalya-- and then the rookie gets the three-count on Natalya. They're calling it a huge upset, but really, Saheena took most of the damage and Charlotte hit most of the offense.
In the main event, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre teams with the team of Indus Sher to battle former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz. McIntyre's team is accompanied by Hall of Famer Ric Flair, who comes out first.
But before that, we see a profile on Kavita Devi, the first female Indian WWE Superstar, who participated in the Mae Young tournament and was in the first-ever Women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Jinder Mahal comes out next, interrupting Ric Flair, and then Drew McIntyre comes out to interrupt Mahal. He acknowledges their time together as members of 3MB, and it makes me think again that WWE were fools to let Heath Slater get away.
Mahal is returning from a serious knee injury. He and McIntyre start off in the ring together, but Mahal immediately tags out to Samil Singh, who tags in Samir, who gets right up in Drew's face and slaps him across it. He beats him from pillar to post for a few seconds before lifting him into the corner and tagging in Rinku. Rinku is the first-ever Indian-born professional baseball player to play for an American team, rising to Single-A (Michael Cole said AA; I trust Wikipedia more than Cole) in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization after winning a pitching contest on the 2008 reality TV show "The Million Dollar Arm".
Saurav gets tagged in after a short time, and he battles Samil. Indus Sher has some fun beating on the cruiserweights for awhile, culminating in Drew throwing one of them onto the other one on the floor. Commercial.
The heels get Jinder Mahal in, and he works over Rinku. Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz take turns going after Rinku's arm; he's playing Ricky Morton today. Mahal takes a moment while in control of Rinku to punch Saurav and try unsuccessfully to knock him from the ring apron, which enables Rinku to hit Mahal with a suplex and make the hot tag to the WWE Champion.
McIntyre takes control of the match, but an attempt at a Claymore is countered with a knee. Samir and Saurav are tagged in, and Saurav cleans house of The Bollywood Boyz. McIntyre gets back in the ring and gets his Claymore in on Jinder after all. A double-team maneuver by Indus Sher puts The Bollywood Boyz away for the three-count.
A good show, worth watching at least for the Styles/Rama match. Styles made Rama look like a million bucks, but Rama didn't need much help in that regard; he's a serious talent. Also, the spectacle of those two enormous guys teaming with Rey and Ricochet is worth it, too.
"I cannot sigh telepathically so I invite you to simply imagine me doing so." --Vaarsuvius, The Order of the Stick
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Co-Winner of Time's Person of the Year Award, 2006
Since we're sorta talking about neck injuries, I was watching the Collectors Edition of the JBI DVD today, and they replace Austin's neck injury with another shot of Benoit holding his neck in the "Do try this at home" announcement.