Ah, the weekend D-shows. It’s the 13th November 2013 and we’re in Phones 4U Arena (that takes me back) in Manchester, UK, for an episode of WWE Main Event! Your titular headliner tonight: The Prime Time Players vs the, um, “Union Jacks”. But it’s really 3MB, so yay! I’m surprised by how hyped I am to see them again.
So, Main Event. This is our first dip into modern WWE’s one hour “others”, not counting 205 Live which is sort of its own proper brand. Main Event is a bit different insofar as it has featured wrestlers from all over the Fed, as the pre-show for episodes of Raw or Smackdown depending on which roster needs the extra room at any given time. Being a feature on Main Event is still generally seen as a WWE career death sentence nowadays, but I do think that this is a little over-blown: it’s an extra hour to get on TV, and two of the people featured in this episode were future World Champions (albeit, by a very roundabout route in one case).
I SEE THE WOR-ULD THER-OH DI-MOND EYES. Digging that theme tune. We’re a few weeks away from Survivor Series where the main event would be, ahem, Orton and Big Show. Yep. Josh Matthews and Alex Riley on commentary, and we go straight to our opening contest, an honest-to-goodness title match.
AJ Lee (c) w/Tamina vs Natalya (WWE Divas Championship)
Ah, the butterfly belt. Wasn’t that something? We’re in a period when the women’s division was just beginning to show what it could do: the consistent arrival of major women’s wrestlers from NXT would be starting within a few months. Lee 151 days into her giant reign, was made to tap to Natalya in a tag match on Smackdown a few weeks previous. You would think that would lead to a title match on PPV wouldn’t you, but it’s evidence of how far women had yet to be regarded by WWE in late 2013 that they are having the match on Main Event instead. Very brief intros from the ring announcer, and away we go. Interesting seeing faces like Natalya at this point, looking younger and, dare I say, less harder than they would seven years later.
Natalya with the takedown, countered with a head-scissors, roll-up for two from Natalya, trading headlocks, takedown from Lee, good smooth chains. Matthews compares Lee to Katniss Everdeen, and man that seems very dated nowadays. Tyson Kidd is watching from backstage, and remember the “Natties Husband” chants on NXT Slightly awkward moment where Lee struggles to get a Crucifix Pain attempt going, converted quick enough into Lee offence in the corner. Natalya back with a Scoop Slam, later trying to put in the Sharpshooter, but Lee scrambles out and heads to ringside. Chased by Natayla, until Tamina steps in. AJ tries the ambush, but Natalya shoves her into the barricade. Nice. Back in, trading blows, Natayla going up top but pulled down hard and spills outside.
After a break Lee has a rest-hold in. Natalya out, but then eats a spinning heel-kick for two. Commentary name-drop Total Divas a few times, which I believe has started recently. Lee maintaining the beatdown, Natayla sent out, and Lee distracts the ref so Tamina can get in a few shots. Back in, another rest-hold, and Tyson Kidd is shown looking on, “distracted”, backstage. He’s wrestling in a bit. Matthews and Riley so entranced by the action they start listing tour dates.
Lee hits a slam, skips around the ring, then caught on a roll-up for two. Natalya looking for some kind of Tilt-A-Whirl but awkwardly countered into a Tornado DDT for two. Lee looking for the Black Widow, Natalya out of it, then hits a clothesline. Snap suplex, drop-kick to the back of the head, then a sloppy looking spinning strike. Natalya looking for the Sharpshooter, again, Lee counters into a pin, for two, twice. Now Natalya gets the Sharpshooter in, and the crowd pops like they actually think they might see a title change. No dice, as Tamina comes in to deliver a super-kick, and the ref calls it in just over 11.
Winner (by DQ): Natalya, but of course Lee retains.
Verdict: Quite good for the most part, excepting the inevitable finish. Lee was great and deserves better remembrance in WWE, and you can see the talent Natalya had. If this was building to something solid I would look on it for favourably.
The heels stare down Natalya, then Lee locks in the Black Widow for a bit to leave her laying. There would be a ridiculous 14 woman Survivor Series style match at the PPV as I recall, where Natalya would beat Lee again.
We are promised highlights from the “Manchester Mayhem” of Raw as we go to break.
Did You Know? John Cena has lots of social media followers. WWE wanted to make sure you knew that. Now you do.
Matthews sets up the “mayhem” from Raw which, it being WWE, was authority figure related. Orton was unhappy about having to face Big Show, beat him up with the Shield helping, and then says “face of the WWE” a few times. He got put into a handicap match for some reason, takes a powder, got beaten up by Big Show, and put through the announce table. Crowd was delighted, serenading Show with “Yes” chants. I’m sure that will last. Matthews wonders who will leave Survivor Series as WWE champion. Like there was ever any doubt.
Backstage, Kidd tries to console Natalya, who is in very fake tears. She thinks this was her only chance, Kidd disagrees and you’d think they would be about to get interrupted but we just fade out. Man, imagine if being the opening match on Main Event was the highlight of your career?
Matthews introduces us to an interview with Corporate Kane conducted by Michael Cole. Writing this just after Mayor Glenn Jacobs ran a political ad where he called frontline medical staff fighting COVID “sinister forces”, implying they were part of a conspiracy to overthrow American democracy. When some complained they felt threatened by such comments from a sitting Mayor he said he was “just trying to start a conversation”. Who would have thought he’d turn out to be more of a monster than Kane, huh? Anyway, he says something about how he’s evolved or some bollocks.
Tyson Kidd vs Justin Gabriel
Kidd out looking a bit distracted. He’s about to become a regular on NXT as I recall, where he would soon main-event the first Takeover with Adrian Neville. Gabriel, well, if you can remember any moments of his Fed career post-Nexus you’re a bigger smark than me.
Lock-up, dueling takedowns, somersault chains. Test of strength back and forth, then Kidd out with some sweet springboard hip tosses. Kidd on the apron, skins the cat and sends Gabriel out. Gabriel tries to whip Kidd into the ring steps, Kidd hops over them to the crowd’s delight, but then eats a big clothesline. Back in, Gabriel with a springboard crossbody for two. We had just too exciting a match, so we move into a rest-hold.
Kidd with a spinning kick, running drop-kick, two. Goes for a German, Gabriel lands on his feet, and able to counter a roll-up attempt into his own German for two. Very nice. Obvious these two consider this a shop window situation. Gabriel with a big kick, Kidd dodges, Gabriel ends up on the second rope somehow and takes a Russian Leg Sweep for two. Great match so far, so Matthews and Riley decide to start talking about parachuting.
Gabriel with a hard backheel trip, to the top, but crotched before he can get the 450 in. “Let’s go Tyson”, and any time you get a chant going on this show you are doing something right. Both on the top, Kidd hits a rana, but Gabriel rolls thorough into a pin and that’s it in just over six.
Winner: Justin Gabriel. Don’t think he has much time left here.
Verdict: Short, but really good. Easy to see how good these two were.
We are promised more highlights from Raw as we go to break.
Cena faced Swagger and Cesaro (remember that team?) on Raw, with Survivor Series opponent Del Rio on commentary. Cena busted out a sitting powerbomb in this match, which was cool. Crowd split 50:50 on him, in the second half of the Super Cena era. We basically get the last five minutes of this one, which Cena wins (lol!) with the STFU on Swagger. Del Rio attacks with a chair in the aftermath, beats him down and Big E, still being called Langston at this stage, of all people shows up to make the save. Just to add a random wrinkle, Del Rio has challenged Cena to an arm wrestling contest at Smackdown in a few days. Okey dokey.
Time for Main Event’s main event.
The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) w/R-Truth vs the Union Jacks (Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater) w/Jinder Mahel
Millionsofdollars, millionsofdollars, millionsofdollars vs 3embe, 3embe, 3embe. Two great under-rated teams here, with the temporarily renamed Union Jacks a great example of guys lower on the card making something out of nothing. The Jacks out in union jack get-up. Crowd big into the Jacks, with immediate “3MB” chants. Two future world champs right there remember, albeit one was probably a mistake and the other had to get sacked first.
McIntyre and Young to start, leapfrog chain, and Drew floors Young with a big drop-kick. Young back with an inverted atomic drop, then a belly-to-belly. In comes O’Neil with a big body slam, oh-a, oh-a, oh-a. Another criminally under-used guy, whose career seems to have ended with a trip. Beatdown offence and double teams, with Slater breaking up the pins. McIntyre able to get a tag, and Slater takes over by sending Young into the post. Young trying to rally back, but Slater with a nice jumping neckbreaker for two.
McIntyre in, and the Union Jacks firmly in charge now. Big chops to Young in the corner, then a big suplex for two. Decent so far, now a rest-hold. Awkward moments where Young is reaching for the tag, and O’Neil very clearly has to not extend his arm to its fullest extent. Jacks maintaining the beatdown with a double suplex off the top-rope. Young trying to fight back with a Sunset Flip for two, but Slater able to maintain control, but only until walking into a back body-drop. Hot tag to O’Neil, who cleans house. Him and McIntyre is a good pairing. He batters the future Scottish Psychopath with a big boot, standing fallaway slam, but Slater saves the match.
Young and Slater dumped out, Mahel trying to distract O’Neil, and he gets taken out by R-Truth. McIntyre able to hit the Future Shock, Slater tagged and hits the Corkscrew for the 1, 2, 3 in just under seven.
Winners: 3EMBEE, 3EMBEE, 3EMBEE
Verdict: Decent, but short, tag.
Crowd happy with this one, as the Jacks take a bow on the ramp. And that will be all.
Best Match: I’ll go with Kidd and Gabriel, two lower-tier guys who knew that they had to give their all whenever they could get TV time.
Best Wrestler: I’ll go with Natalya here, who I think is a slightly under-rated presence on the main roster at this time. People act as if Paige’s Diva Title win a few months after this was the start of the evolution, but Natalya had been making her point for a while by then.
Worst Match: No bad matches here. I suppose if you put a gun to my head the main event should have been longer.
Worst Wrestler: Again, no bad wrestlers here, so I’ll only go as far as saying McIntyre because he didn’t get the chance to show what he can do.
Overall Verdict: A decent 47 minutes worth of entertainment, which is what you want from a show like this. Give it a look.
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