WWE Live Tour 2019 – Review – Sheffield FlyDSA Arena
WWE Live Tour 2019 – Review
Sheffield FlyDSA Arena, May 2019
by Alex Lattimore
I recently saw wrestling described as ‘theatre in its purest form’, and I really cannot disagree with that sentiment, especially after watching the larger-than-life stars of WWE do what they do best at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield.
Being a huge wrestling fan myself I am admittedly biased, but I cannot think of many more forms of entertainment where a boisterous chant of ‘shave your tache off!’, followed by a spontaneous rendition of the Village People’s ‘YMCA’, can quickly become part of the show itself, with the moustachioed performer involved responding to the audience and incorporating the famous dance moves into the (pre-determined) fight.
This is what makes wrestling great for so many of its fans; the often tongue-in-cheek and off-the-cuff nature of an entertainment spectacle that was once very much part of the mainstream in the UK and US. It’s probably fair to say that sports-entertainment is no longer the force it was in its 80s and 90s heyday, but the biannual UK tours organised by WWE are always extremely popular with a loyal fanbase of men, women and (mostly, it has to be said, children).
Visiting South Yorkshire this time around were the crew from Monday Night Raw, the weekly flagship show that has been on the air since January 1993, making it the longest-running weekly episodic programme in the States with more than 1,300 original episodes.
Kicking things off was a triple threat match pitting Lacey Evans, Tamina and WWE Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch against each other for the title. Dubliner Lynch – known as “The Man” – made Tamina tap out to her submission hold ‘The Disarm-Her’ to retain her belt.
Next came a match between former tag-team partners, as Chad Gable went up against “The Glorious” Robert Roode. Sporting a moustache that would make Tom Selleck jealous, Roode was the one who got the YMCA treatment, and rather than ignore the audience, the veteran Canadian made the most of the crowd’s ‘heat’ and played along with the chants, eventually emerging victorious to a chorus of pantomime boos.
“Cocky bad guy”
The Lucha House Party then defeated Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers in a high-flying six-man tag bout, before Bayley and Ember Moon overcame Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan in another tag-team encounter.
Before the interval, we were treated to another audience-participation moment when Elias – an antagonistic ‘heel’ character who plays the guitar and sings before his matches – got the crowd fired up with a comment about Leeds United being far superior to both Sheffield United and Wednesday. He was interrupted by the Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor, who challenged the cocky bad guy to a fight. After singing a ropey version of Wonderwall, Balor was attacked by Elias, leading to their match-up. The Irish star would eventually come out on top and keep hold of his title.
Following the short break, the WWE UK Championship was defended, as former holder and England’s own Pete Dunne went up against the man who took his title back in April, the Austrian known simply as Walter. Unfortunately for Dunne, he could not regain the gold, as Walter proved too strong for the Birmingham native.
The penultimate match of the evening saw Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins defend their championships against The Revival – Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, before the stage was set for a huge clash in the main event.
Three of the biggest babyfaces (good guys) in WWE – the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman, the Big Dog Roman Reigns and the WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins, teamed up to take on the nefarious trio of Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre (another British star on the WWE roster).
After a back-and-forth encounter featuring high-risk manoeuvres, close calls and hard-hitting action, the three heroes won the match and celebrated in the ring to send the capacity crowd home happy.