The lights came up to show the legendary Jimmy Hart standing in the ring who introduced his long-time friend Hulk Hogan. The music of “The Hulkster” hit to a thunderous roar from the crowd who packed out the O2, this is not my first live event but this was one of the loudest ovations I’ve witnessed despite being at WrestleMania. Hogan announced that the WWE Network is soon to launch in the United Kingdom and promoted the flagship show “Legend’s House” to accompany the arrival.
Hogan wrapped up his announcement with a series of signature poses and hand gestures, which was received by another standing ovation by the London faithful who previously never thought that they’d see “The Immortal one” in a WWE ring in 2014 at the age of 60. The audience was slightly different to that of Raw, with a mix of youth and families amongst the more long-term fans but Hogan opening the show caused everyone to be enthused for the rest of the night.
Dolph Ziggler came out next to start the wrestling action against Batista in a no disqualification match. Batista was met with a deafening chorus of boos during his slow entrance that took him nearly five minutes to enter the ring. The match faired evenly until it fell to the outside right in front of us at the first row behind the commentators where “The Show Off” picked up a steel chair to hit Batista on the back with. Fans hurled a round of abuse at “The Animal”, which only ignited his anger even more, causing him to throw Ziggler into the barricade and then the steel steps. The superstars finally made their way back into the ring where Batista landed an impactful spear for the three count.
London refuses to “Bolieve”
Bo Dallas made his re-debut to the dismay of the Londoners who jeered the former NXT Champion throughout his entire speech. Bo Dallas told the fans to “Bolieve” before locking up with Sin Cara in a technical bout. Dallas didn’t waste time and won the match with a spinning bulldog off the corner in just under four minutes. Following the victory, Dallas gave Sin Cara a sporting handshake that came off as a way to rub salt in the wounds of the defeated opponent. We found Dallas’ eccentric celebration amusing as he screamed with joy all the way up the ramp; even after the lights went out and the cameras cut you could hear him roaring with excitement.
The ring lit up again with Bray Wyatt sat on his rocking chair with the rest of The Wyatt Family standing beside him. The arena looked remarkable as the fans turned on the torches on their phones to mimic lanterns, causing a Wyatt friendly atmosphere. Bray said that John Cena is poisoning society and that he will put an end to the plague at Payback and be the last man standing. His intriguing speech was met with horror on the faces of the younger fans but caused the more enduring fans to smile with glee, highlighting the massive spectrum of wrestling fans.
Sheamus faced Alberto del Rio next with Cesaro and Paul Heyman on commentary in front of us. The action was a bit slow going until “The King of Swing” interfered by pulling Sheamus out of the ring causing a disqualification. Cesaro then threw “The Celtic Warrior” into the stairs before landing the Neutraliser on the floor. “The Swiss Superman” then proceeded to give a knocked out Sheamus a handshake to further his quest for the United States Championship.
It’s party time
The fans were treated to the appearance of Adam Rose and his Exotic Express who interrupted Vickie Guerrero’s painful complaining. Rose asked Guerrero if she is a lemon or a rosebud, to which the fans chanted “You’re a lemon” at Smackdown’s general manager. Guerrero ended up being crowd surfed by the Exotic Express as Rose’s theme song hit, to which the crowd danced and sang along with to create a proper British pub atmosphere.
The main event saw the Usos take on Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a tag-team match while John Cena and Bray Wyatt watched from either side of the ring. There was a mixed reaction for John Cena with half booing and half cheering but the former WWE Champion was full of charisma nonetheless. The match ended in a disqualification with Wyatt pushing Jimmy Uso off the turnbuckle as he went for the splash. Cena ran in the ring straight after the match to give Rowan the Attitude Adjustment as Wyatt looked on. Bray climbed onto the side of the ring as the fans geared up to witness a fight but the “Eater of the Worlds” backed down as Cena stared on to close the taping.
The best action of the night actually came after the cameras were cut as the fans were gifted a singles match between Cena and Wyatt. The match was exciting with a series of near falls and comedy segments between the wrestlers and the crowd. Cena even hinted that WrestleMania may come to London one day in the future, which was met with praise from the locals. Cena got the win with the AA to send the fans home entertained. The United Kingdom is renowned with passionate wrestling supporters and the atmosphere proved that on the night with an ecstatic crowd that cheered, booed, laughed and chanted all night.