May 4, 2013
Kevin Hensley

WWE Main Event Review
May 1, 2013 (Taped April 30, 2013)
Detroit, MI at the Joe Louis Arena
Commentators: Michael Cole & John “Bradshaw” Layfield

-WWE Open

-In a break from the norm, we get a video package of the Kofi Kingston/Antonio Cesaro match from three weeks ago on Raw, where Kingston won the US title.

-Matt Striker welcomes in Antonio Cesaro, who vows that his dominant skills will help him win back the US title, tonight. Nice to see all this before the official open to the show. Different, but welcome, no doubt.

-Main Event Open

-Pyro, and Michael Cole welcomes us to the historic Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

-Tony Chimel introduces our opening match, for the WWE United States Championship! Kofi Kingston, the champion, comes out first, then Antonio Cesaro marches out on stage, wearing a beret and police-style glasses, looking like a member of the Swiss Army. The referee holds up the US belt, rings the bell, and here we go!

1. WWE United States Championship Match: Antonio Cesaro (Challenger) VS Kofi Kingston (Champion)
-Both men circle each other, Cesaro shoots for the leg, but Kingston reaches over and locks in a front facelock, Antonio fights back up, gets the single leg, sweeps Kofi down, and tries to lock in a submission, but Kingston kicks his way out of it. Nice mat wrestling to start things here. A breath of fresh air. The technical wrestling clinic continues with another feeling out process, Antonio pulls Kofi into a waistlock, tries to lock in an abdominal stretch, but Kingston reverses and he has no success either, so he just lays across Cesaro’s back with all his weight. That was innovative. Kingston then stretches the shoulder blades of Cesaro, Antonio ducks under and reverses and locks in an armbar, then rolls Kofi up in a schoolboy, but the ref doesn’t even hit 1 before Kingston fights out. This match has a “real” feel to it, and it’s nice. Cesaro quickly locks in a waistlock, then rolls Kofi around on the mat, trying to pin Kingston’s shoulders in a German Suplex pin position, but is unable to keep Kingston down. Kofi wiggles free long enough to hit a body scissor pinning combination for 1. Antonio quickly back up, and another feeling out process commences. Cesaro pulls Kingston in and locks in a front facelock, taking him down to one knee, then hooks both arms and floats over into a pin, but again, no count from the ref before Kingston kicks out. Antonio locks in an overhand wristlock; Kofi rolls through, nips up and catches Cesaro with an arm drag. Kingston catches Cesaro flush with a kick to the mush, then locks in an armbar. Antonio fights up and snaps Kofi down to the mat, using Kofi’s dreadlocks to aid the cause. Cesaro tries to pin Kingston, but again, the ref gets nowhere. Nice little story being told here, try and appreciate it as I try and keep up with it. Antonio locks in a side headlock, keeping Kofi grounded. Kingston back up, pushes Cesaro into the ropes, Cesaro jumps over and Kingston pops up and tries to hit a butt thump, but Antonio catches him in mid-air with a waistlock takedown, and then picks Kofi up for the gutwrench suplex. Antonio cockily pins Kofi with a foot to the chest, and Kofi quickly pushes off. Again, no count from the ref. Cesaro paintbrushes Kingston, then whips Kofi into the ropes, Kingston flips over and lands a headscissor takedown. Kofi with a kick to the face, then springs off the second rope with a splash for a 1 count. Antonio rolls to the floor, tries to regroup, as we go to break 4:20 into the match. THAT, was the best 4:20 sequence of wrestling the WWE has put on TV, PPV, etc. in a LONG time.

[Commercial Break]

-Back to the ring, and Antonio picks Kofi up off the mat, only to knock him back down with a European Uppercut. 1, 2, no. So Kofi is human after all. Cesaro locks in a chinlock, to keep Kingston grounded. Smart idea. Kofi fights up, but Antonio whips him into the ropes, lands a headbutt to the torso, then follows up with a legdrop across the back of the neck. Hooks the outside leg, 2 and no. Antonio chokes Kofi across the second rope with his boot, then measures him with a short elbow drop. 1, 2, no. Next, Cesaro lands a butterfly suplex, 1, 2, not yet. Antonio quickly locks in another chinlock, not giving Kofi a chance to breathe. Kingston fights out, trades some blows, but Cesaro wins that battle. Antonio paintbrushes with hands and boots, which does nothing but fire Kofi up. Three big blows, an Irish whip (which Cesaro reverses,) then Kingston flips over and catches Antonio with a SNUKA CHOP. Then another. BIG dropkick follows. Kingston charges and nails a flying clothesline. KOFI IS A HOUSE OF FIRE. Kingston nails the BOOM DROP, and suddenly, Kofi is in control. Kingston measures Cesaro for the TROUBLE IN PARADISE, but Antonio rolls out to the apron, catches Kofi with a low-bridge across the top rope, and Kingston’s right leg gets tangled up in the ropes on the whiplash. Antonio slithers in, like a shark smelling blood, but Kingston, out of nowhere, nails the SOS for 1, 2, no! Kofi is heavily favoring the knee. Kingston kicks Cesaro in the gut with the left knee, Irish whip, Antonio reverses and CATCHES KINGSTON WITH A MICHINOKU DRIVER!!! Wow. 1, 2, eh. That’s worth another look, and WWE obliges us with a replay. This match has RULED. Antonio charges and catches Kofi with a spinning uppercut. 1, 2, NO! LONG two-count there. Cesaro questions the ref, and then goes for the gutwrench suplex, but Kingston flips over into a sunset flip, but Antonio simply sits down and hooks the leg, 1, 2, no. Antonio again questions the count, and we go to break 9:17 into the match.

[Commercial Break]

-Before we re-join the match, we get an ad for the Triple-H/Brock Lesnar Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules.

-AND we’re back. Cesaro is pounding away, but Kingston catches him charging in with a knee to the face, which staggers Antonio to the point where he falls outside. Kofi, on one leg, tries a SUICIDE HURRICANRANA, but Cesaro catches him, walks around ringside until Kofi decides, at just the right moment, to finish what he started, and that sends Antonio face-first into the steps. Kofi runs up the steps, and jumps off the apron with a double axe handle. Kingston rolls Cesaro back in, hooks the leg, 1, 2, no. Antonio catches Kofi charging with a back elbow, then throws Kingston into the corner, where Kofi uses his athletic ability to land on the second rope, catch Cesaro with a kick to the face, leaps up top for a spinning splash, but Antonio catches him in mid-air, but Kingston slithers down the back for a 2 count. Whew, that sequence wore me out just watching it, then typing it later. Antonio connects with an uppercut, then quickly lands a double stomp to Kofi’s bad knee. PSYCHOLOGY!!! Cesaro works over the leg, then locks in a single crab. Kofi somehow rolls Antonio out of it, kicks Antonio with his good leg, gets up, go-behind, and Kingston gets 1, 2, no. Cesaro quickly back up, however, trips Kingston up, DOES THE BIG SWING WITH KOFI’S BAD LEG, then locks the single crab back in. They’re using some painful looking new spots, and it is helping A LOT. Really adding some prestige back to the US title, with these two men trying to cripple themselves, just to obtain it. Kofi tries to reach the ropes; Antonio drags him back to the middle of the ring. Kingston tries again, and this time reaches the ropes, but HE’S HURT! Antonio thought Kofi tapped, Kingston is sitting on the apron, and Cesaro helps him up, then runs him into the turnbuckle. Kofi is only holding himself up by the turnbuckle. What I’m about to describe is one for the all-time highlight reel. Try and seek video of this match, particularly this spot, if at ALL possible. With Kofi standing ON THE APRON, Antonio climbs to the second rope on the inside, hooks Kofi with a SUPLEX OVER THE ROPES AND BACK DOWN TO THE MAT!!! It took a lot of strength to pull off, not to mention it looked AWESOME. Cover, 1, 2, but still, Kingston won’t drop the belt! We get a replay of the suplex, and then Cesaro picks up Kingston with a scoop slam, then a double stomp across the chest. 1, 2, no, but Antonio quickly uses the hooked leg to flip around into the single crab AGAIN! Kofi suffers even more, but finally pushes Cesaro off. Kingston up, but Antonio charges in with a running dropkick. Antonio quickly picks Kofi up, sets him up for the NEUTRALIZER, but Kingston back-drops out. Cesaro, however, lands on his feet out of the back-drop, charges; Kofi pushes him past and HITS THE TROUBLE IN PARADISE TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! Yeah, that’ll do. 1, 2, 3!

Winner: Kofi Kingston in 16:24 to retain the WWE United States Championship. THAT is how you make up for an abysmal show last week. In my opinion, this is the NEW best match that Main Event has produced during its short run, followed closely behind by Sheamus/Ziggler at the start of the year, and Punk/Sheamus on the debut show. Great psychology, excellent, innovative moves, not to mention the FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES of WRESTLING to start the match. This felt like an old-school NWA United States Title match, with two workers who can flat-out GO…we’ll give this one****. Go find this match and enjoy!

-After a replay of the highlights of the match, Kingston is hurt, but he still celebrates on the second rope. When he climbs back down, Matt Striker has climbed in the ring to interview the retaining champion. Kofi recaps his 2013 campaign, and then gives a shout-out to his wife and newborn son. So, congratulations are definitely in order for Kofi tonight.

-UP NEXT! The Raw Rebound, with the continuing saga of John Cena & Ryback.

[Commercial Break]

-Did You Know? The WWE hosted 35 different Make-A-Wish families, from 14 states and five countries, at WrestleMania. Classy for WWE to continue to work with such a great cause.

-Another replay of the highlights of the Kingston/Cesaro match (which OWNED the show.) After this, we see Kofi limping through the backstage area, getting congratulations from random bystanders, until Antonio blindsides him into some milk crates, then drops a heavy trunk across him, sits on it and tells Kingston, “You don’t take away from Antonio Cesaro! Antonio Cesaro takes away from you!” He then rips out a dreadlock from Kofi’s hair, and then gets up and leaves, leaving Kofi to lick his wounds.

-This transitions nicely to the Raw Rebound, featuring the John Cena/Ryback drama from Raw Monday. After the Rebound, Cole & JBL discusses Cena’s Achilles Heel injury.

-Justin Gabriel’s music hits, and here he comes! He’s in action, NEXT!

-But wait! Don’t change the channel! Go buy Mick Foley’s DVD.

-AND…if you’re lucky, The Miz might show up on Main Event, which airs…RIGHT NOW, on ION Television.

[Commercial Break]

-THIS FRIDAY, ON SMACKDOWN! Kane will take on Dean Ambrose, in an attempt to avenge his brother’s brutal beating. Can he do it? Only one way to find out. TUNE IN! IT’S PAYWUNDHAS, CLUBBERIN’ AND PLUNDERIN’

-And…speaking of insanity on the mic, here comes the 3MB! Looks like Heath Slater will battle Gabriel, who waits patiently for Heath to get in the ring. This has the potential to be good, let’s see what happens when THE NEXUS EXPLODES, AGAIN!

2. Justin Gabriel VS Heath Slater
-Lot of stalling to start, and finally, Justin gets angry after Heath half pushes Gabriel away. Slater locks in a waistlock, and then attempts a wristlock, but Gabriel quickly flips out, lands a DEEP arm drag, then mocks Slater, air guitar and all. Hey, Justin’s pretty good, and the fans dig it! Actually, better than Heath, but…ANYWAY, Justin charges and wraps up Heath with the LA MAGISTRAL for 1, 2, no. Armbar from Gabriel, then another La Magistral gets another 2 count. Another armbar, back to a vertical base, Slater punches out, Gabriel retaliates with some forearms, locks in a side headlock, Slater pushes him into the ropes, Justin flips over a duck-down and hits ANOTHER deep arm drag and ANOTHER armbar gets locked in. Gabriel is consistent, I’ll give him that. It’s been ALL Justin thus far. Slater gets his leg across the bottom rope to break the armbar, trips Gabriel and locks in a headlock of his own. Justin’s shoulders touch the mat ever so briefly, which gets a 1 count. Back up, Gabriel fights out and locks a headlock of his own. So these two guys can do: Armdrags, armbars and headlocks. THEY CAN DO MORE, I PROMISE! Justin pushed into the ropes again, Slater knocked down by a shoulderblock, Gabriel leaps over, flips over Slater again, lands a SWEET monkey flip, then, alas, an armdrag and a armbar. At least Justin’s psychology is consistent, sticking with working on the arm and all. Can’t go wrong with it. Slater whips Gabriel into the corner, but Justin catches him coming in with a headscissor, sending Heath out to the floor, at the feet of Jinder & Drew. Gabriel with a SUICIDE DIVE, taking out the non-participants. Slater side-stepped, however, and rushes Justin, but gets caught with a punch. Heath gets thrown back in, Justin follows. Slater gets a MAJOR BREATHER as Jinder & drew climb up on the ring apron to argue with Chad Patton. Patton hears enough and ejects them both from ringside! They’re not pleased, and neither is Heath. Slater catches Gabriel in the back with a punch off the distraction, Irish whip, Justin reverses, throws Heath through the middle rope. Slater assesses the situation, and we go to break 4:59 into the match.

[Commercial Break]

-This Monday on Raw! Can Cena push through his injury? Tune in and find out. Insert Dusty Rhodes’ hard-sell here.

-Back to the Main Event, and Gabriel has Slater locked in…

A) An armbar
B) A front facelock
C) A loving hug

-If you guessed A, then you’re catching on! Back to his feet, Heath fights out with some blows, but Gabriel whips Slater into the corner. Justin gets backdropped to the apron, and Gabriel rewards Slater’s move with a kick to the head. Down goes Heath, Justin tries to take advantage with the 450 SPLASH, but Slater CHANNELS HIS INNER SHELTON BENJAMIN, LEAPS UP AND HITS A POWERSLAM OFF THE TOP ROPE!!! Let that soak in for a second…………and Gabriel gets his foot on the bottom rope at 2.99999999. Heath can’t believe that didn’t work, and neither can I. Slater stomps away at the fallen Gabriel, Patton pulls him off. Heath locks in a chinlock, back up Justin tries to fight out, except Slater stops all that with about four short jabs. Down goes Gabriel. Slater panders to the crowd, and drops a knee across the chest. Slater picks up Justin, and Heath whips him HARD into the corner. Thrust kick, and that’ll be good for 1, 2, no. Heath on the second rope, jumps off for the ol’ BOOT TO THE FACE. Ah, heels will never learn. Justin fights back up, hits a leg sweep. Gabriel is still wore out, collapses in the corner. Heath up, charges in and Justin moves, and commences to KICK THE CRAP OUT OF HEATH SLATER. Five or six kicks follow, then a discus punch. Justin gives a Sting scream, charges and catches Heath with a flying forearm, lands on the apron, immediately hits a springboard splash for 1, 2, no. Action is picking up here in the last part of the match. Justin lays in some serious forearms, catches Heath with a kick. Justin climbs up for the 450, but Heath again stops him. This time, however, Slater gets knocked off the top rope by Gabriel, who FINALLY connects with the 450 SPLASH. You kids know the rest.

Winner: Justin Gabriel in 9:45. This match picked up once we got past all the armbar nonsense. These two made effective use of their TV time, so we’ll go **.

-After a replay of the finish, Gabriel celebrates in the ring, and we sign off!

FINAL THOUGHTS: I complained last week, and probably the week before, about Main Event being used for TOO many recaps. Maybe somebody heard my cries, but more than likely, they didn’t. Anyway, they came at us this week with both guns loaded, and DELIVERED. A highly recommended show, to appreciate what happens when a WRESTLING show is used to showcase, ya know, WRESTLING. This episode gets **** ½, and kudos to the four men who battled tonight, for showcasing their talents on the big stage. Yeah, it’s just TV, but like Ric Flair once said, to paraphrase, “It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 45 seconds or 45 minutes, you USE that TV time to show why you belong out there.”

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