WWE Wrestling – Review – Sheffield Arena
By Alex Lattimore, May 2018
I have a confession to make. It’s not the coolest thing for a bloke in his 30s to admit, but I am a massive wrestling fan. Ever since I watched the 1994 WWF King of the Ring event at my grandma’s house, I’ve been hooked.
A criticism I often see is that wrestling is ‘fake’ (the matches are all pre-determined and the wrestlers don’t really hate each other… most of the time!), but I’m sure the vast majority of those same nay-sayers happily watch EastEnders and Game of Thrones, which are just as ‘fake’.
In my opinion, the beauty of pro wrestling comes when you simply switch off your brain, suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to be entertained by the larger-than-life characters. This is exactly what my 10-year-old nephew Spencer and I did on May 18th, when we attended the WWE SmackDown Live tour at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield.
The ever-popular WWE, formerly the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) brings its muscle-bound and over-the-top form of entertainment to British shores twice a year, with arenas up and down the country selling out within minutes of tickets going on sale each time. This event was no different, and the South Yorkshire venue was packed to the rafters.
The early contests featured the likes of The New Day, The Bludgeon Brothers, Big Cass, Aleister Black and veteran star Jeff Hardy, who proved why he is one of the most popular superstars in WWE history with a scintillating victory over Bulgarian brute Rusev.
A six-man tag team match featuring some of the most exciting British talent on the roster followed, before the first half of the show was brought to a close with a genuine dream match. Daniel Bryan – an insanely popular wrestler who only returned in April following three years out of action due to a serious injury – took on The Miz, a cocky ‘heel’ (bad guy) whose feud with Bryan dates all the way back to 2010. Of course, Bryan came out on top and led the crowd in a thunderous rendition of his famous ‘YES!’ chant.
The second half kicked off with newcomer Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas defeating Sin Cara, before an eight-woman tag team contest featuring the likes of Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
The night came to a conclusion with WWE Champion AJ Styles defending his title against Japanese star Shinsuke Nakamura. Following interference from The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro), the match turned into a six-person tag team encounter, with the two villains joining Nakamura, and Styles helped out by his friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, AKA The Club. The ‘babyfaces’ (good guys) would once again emerge victorious to send everyone – not least myself and Spencer – home happy.