By PAUL WAXMAN
Wrestling fans swarmed the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday night to witness a nostalgic main event and a slew of iconic WWE fan-favourites.
Performing to more than 70,000 fans, the WWE Super Show-Down gave Melbourne its own massive stadium pay-per-view. Punters were fired up by the 16-year wait since the last Melbourne wrestling event of this scale, which was held at Etihad Stadium in 2002.
An early highlight of the night was Charlotte Flair wrestling for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship.
As one of the most popular wrestlers, Lynch was backed-up the entire match by the crowd. The stakes of this match were personal and the tension between the two wrestlers filled the MCG.
Taking to dirty tactics, Flair speared and tortured Lynch with her iconic Figure Eight submission hold. Fed up, Lynch picked her SmackDown Women’s Championship belt from ringside and smacked Flair with it, with the disqualification finishing the match.
Though Flair “won” the match, the battle was clearly led by Lynch and their war has seemingly only just begun.
Shortly after Lynch and Flair’s bout, the lights went down and then up again to reveal Elias and Kevin Owens sitting on chairs in the ring together. Holding his acoustic guitar, Elias attempted to play the opening riff of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.
Their banter was interrupted by Bobby Lashley who sprinted to the ring to be joined by the icon himself, John Cena. The MCG erupted with applause, and choruses of “John Cena sucks”, to the tune of his walk-on theme.
Lashley took on Owens and Elias for a majority of the match, with Cena looking on in desperation from the sidelines waiting for a tag.
Lashley teased tagging Cena in and the anticipation in the stadium continued to rise. After the suspense was built up, Cena was finally tagged into the match and the crowd was completely there for it. Knocking over Elias and Owens with considerable ease, Cena pinned Elias to win the match.
Tag-team duo the IIconics – Sydney women Peyton Royce and Billie Kaye – were greeted with thunderous applause at their very first Australian WWE pay-per-view.
Having Australians in the ring sent the crowd wild and their support for the IIconics was endearing. Facing Asuka and Naomi, the bout was fair and square but the IIconics were left to shine on their home turf.
Using a slew of moves to get over their opponents, the IIconics won with a pin on Naomi, much to the excitement of the proud Melbourne crowd.
Another dominating Australian also took to the ring to fight for the Cruiserweight Championship. Following North Carolina Cedric Alexander ’s entrance, the crowd went absolutely wild for the Melbourne-born Buddy Murphy.
After moving from the Melbourne indie circuit to NXT, Murphy has become a commanding force in wrestling and this showed in the emotional hometown return showdown. Being cruiserweights, the two flipped and sprinted their ways around the ring.
Murphy was completely backed throughout the entire match and every proud Melbourne fan could just tell he was going to win the monumental title. And he did just precisely that, pinning Alexander to win the Cruiserweight Championship, creating history as the first-ever Australian to win that title.
Walking backstage in tears and with more than 70,000 punters on his side, Murphy made many fans’ nights.
The main event many fans had been dying to see for years finally arrived after a few disappointingly short matches.
Devout fans from the 1990s, 2000s and now could all rejoice and celebrate in seeing two of WWE’s most important wrestlers wrestling again. People who don’t follow wrestling could still recognise The Undertaker and his iconic outfit and grim appearance, and could relish the experience of seeing the decades-long legend take on Triple H.
The two were backed up by two other wrestling greats. The Taker had Kane, and Triple H has Shawn Michaels. This match had no rules, so Triple H and the Taker used anything they could to take down the other just “one last time.”
Utilising sleeper holds and sledgehammers, the match was long and intense. Referees came and went and the sideline supports of Michaels and Kane interfered with the match, but didn’t deter the audience from watching every second of the iconic match
.Ultimately, Triple H pinned the “phenom” to win the match wrap up the night.
Ultimately, despite its lengthy duration, fans of WWE both in Australia and around the world were treated to a night of entertainment that locals attending the event will talk about for years to come.