Reviews

WWE Superstar Spectacle 01/26/21 Review

In honor of Republic Day in India, WWE presented the first-ever Superstar Spectacle at the WWE Thunderdome. For those who are not familiar with Republic Day, it is a national holiday in India which celebrates when the Constitution of India went into effect after gaining independence from the British. The Superstar Spectacle begins with a video package, narrated by Triple H, showing WWE’s history with India. We see highlights of superstars such as Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Sheamus, and Charlotte talks about their time in India about visiting India. We also have a quick introduction to a few Indian WWE Superstars who will wrestle on the show.

After the opening pyro, NXT champion Finn Balor makes his entrance. We are then introduced to the commentary team of Smackdown’s Corey Graves & Michael Cole alongside Hindi announcer Shahroz Ali. We then have an introductory video package featuring Guru Raaj. Guru talks about his childhood, his training, and the moment he passed his tryout before making his entrance.

Non-title match: NXT champion Finn Balor vs Guru Raaj

The match begins with some chain wrestling between the two. Cole notes that Raaj wants to succeed in WWE so he can provide for his family back in India. They go back and forth until they reach a stalemate. Balor would then take control of the match early before Guru turns the tide. Guru keeps control with a tight side headlock as Balor tries to break out before going to a commercial break. Returning from the break, Guru finds himself in an abdominal stretch from the champion. However, he breaks out of the hold and hits Balor with a few chops. Raaj displays some of his athleticism with a senton followed by a kip-up. However, Balor would go back on the offense by hitting Guru with a slingblade and then sets him up for his shotgun dropkick into the turnbuckle. Guru would counter and then strikes Balor with a few kicks. With Balor down, Guru hits a crossbody from the top rope and pins the champion for a two count. Guru lifts the champion but is countered by Balor. The NXT champion would blast Guru into the corner with his running dropkick before going to the top rope and nailing the Coup De Grace. Balor would finish off Raaj with 1916 for the victory.

Winner by Pinfall: NXT Champion Finn Balor

After the match, Balor celebrates his win by raising his championship as we see a replay of highlights from the match. After the match, Balor extends his hand to Raaj and pulls him up. Balor shakes Guru’s hand and pats him on the shoulder before leaving the ring.

Aneil’s Take: I thought this was a good match. I think it was helpful to get an intro video of Guru Raaj to understand who he is and what he is about. Raaj does have some more development to do with his character but he seemed to hold his own against a high-caliber talent like Balor. Maybe Raaj would fair well in the Cruiserweight division as a start.

We see a matchup graphic for the six-man tag Indus Sher (Rinku & Saurav) & WWE Champion Drew McIntrye against “The Maharaja” Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz (Sunil and Samir Singh). We also one for Charlotte Flair teaming up with Sareena Sandhu to face off Bayley and Natalya.

Michael Cole then talks about the first Indian WWE champion, The Great Khali before the transition to another superstar, Giant Zanjeer. We see an introduction video of Giant Zanjeer. The big man spoke about losing his parents at 14 years old in which he had to become the man of his house. Zanjeer credits The Great Khali on becoming a champion for driving him to become a WWE superstar and believes he can become a champion too.

Rey Mysterio makes his entrance, followed by Ricochet. We then have an introduction video for their tag team partner, Dilsher Shanky. At seven feet tall, Dilsher played roles in Bollywood movies alongside famous actor Salman Khan. He says the wrestling industry is a challenge for him but the WWE is his dream and also doing this for his parents. Dilsher comes out for his entrance and then is followed by Giant Zanjeer makes his entrance. Michael Cole mentions that Zanjeer is 7’2 while Dislher is 7 feet.

The heel team of Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura make their entrances before the match is underway.

Eight-man tag team: Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Giant Zanjeer and Dilsher Shanky vs. Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura

The match begins with Ziggler and Dilsher Shanky. Ziggler tries to take down the big man but Shanky throws him in the corner. Shinsuke runs into the ring and tries to stop Shanky but is also thrown into the corner. Shanky hits a splash in the corner onto both men before tagging in Giant Zanjeer. Following his idol, Zanjeer hits a Khali-like chop on Shinsuke’s chest before Corbin runs into the ring. Corbin is thrown into the corner with Ziggler and Shinsuke and gets hit with a corner splash by Zanjeer. Cesaro runs into the ring but stops at the sight of Zanjeer and Shanky. We cut to a break before returning to see Mysterio being double teamed by Shinsuke and Cesaro. Nakamura covers Mysterio for a near fall before tagging in Corbin. The King of the Ring winner continues the assault on Mysterio before taunting the two giants. Ziggler tags himself in and continued the attack until Mysterio breaks free. Mysterio tries to tag one of his partners but is dragged back by Ziggler to the heels’ corner. The heels run into the ring and knock the babyfaces off the apron before Corbin continues his offense on Mysterio. However, Mysterio counters and crawls to his corner to tag in Ricochet. Ricochet gets some quick offense and takes control of the match until Ziggler hits him with a Zig-Zag. Ziggler tags in Cesaro who goes for a pin to a two count. Cesaro goes for a scoop slam but Ricochet slips out and tags in Zanjeer. Both Zanjeer and Shanky enter into the ring and hit a double team move on Cesaro. Things start to break down after the heels run into the ring to break up the count by Zanjeer. Following Ricochet’s instructions, Zanjeer picks up his partner and tosses him to the outside of the ring onto Ziggler, Corbin, and Nakamura. Knocked onto the middle rope, Cesaro receives a 619 and then runs into a clothesline from Shanky. Mysterio climbs to the top rope and then onto Shanky’s shoulder. Shanky walks with Mysterio to the middle of the ring who then jumps off for a splash onto Cesaro for the win. The babyfaces celebrate their victory with Shanky holding Mysterio on his shoulder as did Zanjeer with Ricochet.

Winner by Pinfall: Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Giant Zanjeer and Dilsher Shanky

We see a replay of the match highlights before going back to the commentary team. Michael Cole asks Shahroz about his feelings to see Shanky and Zanjeer performing. Shahroz believes this is huge for the people of India and their families. We then see a video package for WWE’s partnership with Girl Up, a program for young girls to help develop themselves.

Aneil’s Take: Those are two big men in Zanjeer and Shanky. While Shanky seems like he has a way to go, Zanjeer looks like he has a future here. Especially with the old joke about Vince loving big men, Zanjeer has a look that can fit the mold they are looking for in a big man. As for the match, I thought it was fun. Seem like a regular multi-man match which the babyfaces go over.

AJ Styles (accompanied by Omos) makes his entrance before we see a video message from Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman wishing a Happy Republic Day. We then see an introduction video package of Jeet Rama. Just like his grandfather, Jeet Rama was a kushti wrestler. He says he has achieved everything in India and now has to prove himself in WWE. He explains that his name Jeet means “power” and “strength”. Jeet Rama makes his entrance before the match begins.

Jeet Rama vs AJ Styles (with Omos)

Jeet starts by overpowering Styles into the corner. Backing up from the corner, they locked up again, as Styles and Jeet go back and forth with chain wrestling. Styles back Rama into the corner and thrusts his shoulder into the mid-section of his opponent. Styles rolls up Jeet for a one count. Styles goes for a kick before getting caught by Rama and is drove into the corner. Rama would then drive his shoulder into the midsection of Styles before being put into an arm hold. Styles breaks out before sending Rama through the ropes to the floor. Styles springboards to the outside of the ring and hits Rama with a forearm. Following a commercial break, we return with Styles putting Rama in a headlock. Rama fights back and fires back with some of his offense. He throws Styles across the ring twice as he gets fired up. Rama attempts a back suplex but Styles fights out of it. Styles goes for a clothesline but misses and gets caught into a German suplex. Styles goes to the top rope when he and Rama battle. However, the veteran outsmarts Rama by slipping underneath him and pulling down Rama, sending him crashing to the mat. Styles hits Rama with a fireman carry backbreaker strike and pins Rama for a two count. Styles tries for the Styles Clash but Rama drives him into the corner. However, Styles somehow rolls out of the corner and apply into a calf crusher on Jeet. Rama shows resiliency, fighting the urge to tap when he slammed Styles’ head against the mat. Styles tries for the calf crush again but tossed with a belly-to-belly suplex by Rama. Styles rolls towards a corner when Rama places him on the top rope. Rama tries for a belly to belly from the top rope but crashes to the mat when Omos saves AJ by holding onto boss’ tights. Styles would then hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Rama for the victory. After the match, Styles leaves the ring, seemingly impressed by Rama.

Winner by Pinfall: AJ Styles (with Omos)

Aneil’s Take: Good back and forth match between the two men. I thought Rama got some good offense in the match with those suplexes and throws. I also found it interesting that he was able to survive the calf crusher and counter over it. I also like that they were able to have Omos be a part of the finish rather than have him just stand there. As for Jeet, I think maybe he can fit in with Gable’s Alpha Academy stable.

Back to the commentary team, Cole asks Shahroz if he has any message for the fans at home. Shahroz says he has lost his voice with all the fun he is having. We then get an introduction video package for the tag team of Indus Sher. The first member, Rinku was a former professional baseball player. Rinku says at fifteen, he promised to change his parent’s life. The other member, Saurav was an actor in television shows. He says he is here in WWE to represent his people back home.

Bollywood dance group “Spinning Canvas” performs

We have a somewhat New Day reunion with Xavier Woods and Intercontinental Champion Big E. New Day talks about seeing some of the greatest talents in the world performing until they are interrupted by The Street Profits. The Street Profits saying they wanted to be part of the introduction as both groups introduce the Spinning Canvas. The Bollywood inspired dance group would put on a five- and half-minute performance with amazing choreography and music.

Aneil’s Take: Pretty cool performance, I think if you have a chance, take a look at this.

After the performance, we see a video message from The Great Khali wishing everyone a Happy Republic Day. Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring followed by Sareena Sandhu. Cole would reveal that Sareena is from California and is a first-generation Indian-American in her family. She has a background in kickboxing and Muay Thai and interestingly, Bayley is one of her trainers. Natalya and Bayley make their entrances before the match begins.

Charlotte Flair & Sareena Sandhu vs. Natalya & Bayley

Charlotte and Natalya kick things off with The Queen taking control. They go through some chain wrestling before Natalya takes control. Charlotte breaks out before doing a kip-up. Natalya tags in Bayley when both women try to double up on Charlotte. Charlotte fights off both women before taking control. A fury of chops come from Charlotte knocking down both women. Charlotte tags in Sandhu who then flies off the top rope with a crossbody. Then they do a double baseball slide dropkick, knocking down the heels. Charlotte and Sandhu do a little dancing before going to commercial. Returning from the break, Charlotte fights off Bayley and Natalya. Sareena tags in and hits a pair of arm drag on Bayley followed by a headscissors. She then hits a butterfly suplex on Bayley and pins her for a two count. Sareena grabs Bayley who gets a rope break and then Natalya tags in. Sandhu rolls up Natalya for a two count and then hits a neckbreaker for another two count. They go back and forth until Natalya kicks Sareena out of the ring. Bayley tags in and starts attacking Sareena’s knee. The heels work on Sareena’s knee as she tries to make a tag to Charlotte. However, Sareena dragged back to her opponent’s corner. Natalya continues her offense on Sareena until she gets rolled up for a two count. On the outside, Charlotte would knock out Bayley. Natalya applies the Sharpshooter on Sareena until she is hit with Natural Selection from Charlotte. Sareena would crawl onto Natalya for the three count. After the match, Charlotte raises Sareena’s hand in victory.

Winner by Pinfall: Charlotte and Sareena Sandhu

Aneil’s Take: Pretty simple match here. Charlotte, being the veteran she is, did most of the work but allowed Sareena to shine in the match. Pretty interesting to know that Bayley is helping Sareena train. I did wish we had an introduction video for Sareena like the other superstars. I think with a year or more, we can see Sareena on WWE TV.

Ric Flair was making his entrance as we see a video package of Kavita Devi. She participated in the first Mae Young Classic tournament and the Women’s Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 34. She spoke about growing up and having no one to look up to. However, she wants to be a role model for young girls and wanting to move girls to do something big. Cole would inform that Kavita would not be able to appear on the show because she is home with her family in India.

Ric Flair talks about being here for the first WWE Superstar Spectacle. He expresses his excitement and wishes a Happy Republic Day. Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz make their entrance first. The Maharaj cuts a promo saying the only thing they should celebrate is his return. He says 1.4 billion people have tuned in to see him until he is interrupted by WWE champion Drew McIntyre. McIntyre cuts a promo on Jinder, saying there are a couple of things you do not do in WWE. First, you do not cut off Ric Flair and second, this is not about Jinder but WWE and Republic Day. Drew McIntyre says he has his own three-band man of destruction before introducing his tag team partners, Indus Sher (Rinku and Saurav).

Six-Man Tag Team: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Indus Sher (Rinku & Saurav) vs. Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz

Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal (who is sporting a buzz cut) start until The Maharaja tags in Sunil. Sunil would then tag in his brother Samir. In a brazen move, Samir would slap McIntyre across the face. An enraged McIntyre rampages on Samir before taking in Rinku. The former baseball player displays his power with a shoulder block and then a splash onto Samir. Rinku tags in Saurav as Samir tags in Sunil. Sunil gets slammed by Saurav and is pinned for a one count. Indus Sher would hit a double team move on Sunil and then Samir. They then throw Samir to the outside of the ring as they go to commercial. Back from the break, the babyfaces continue their offense on Samir. The match takes a turn when Jinder saves Samir from being splashed in the corner by Saurav. Jinder tags into the match and takes control of Saurav. Sunil would tag in and work on Saurav’s hurt arm. Jinder tags back in and continues working on the arm. Saurav would fight back and give the hot tag to Drew. The WWE champion hits Jinder with a fury of offense and goes for a Claymore. However, Jinder counters with a big knee. McIntyre slowly crawls to his corner and tags in his partner Saurav, who takes out the Bollywood Boyz. McIntyre would hit a Claymore on Jinder while Indus Sher nails their tag team finisher on Sunil for the victory. Post-match, the babyface celebrate their victory as we see highlights of the match. Afterward, we see Triple H, Drew McIntyre, the Indian WWE superstars, and Spinning Canvas at ringside. They celebrate with outro pyro as Michael Cole closes with a toast to the future of WWE in India.

Aneil’s Take: Pretty straightforward match here with Indus Sher getting the shine and pinfall. When I see Indus Sher, they kind of remind me of the Viking Experience, I mean, Viking Raiders. While Indus Sher has some work, they can be a force in the tag team division. It was almost nice to see a reunion between Jinder and The Bollywood Boyz. Also I liked the little mention of the three-man band by Drew McIntyre.

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a good, simple show that was presented in honor of Republic Day. It was nice for WWE to put on this show especially with them trying to grow in the India market. It was also great for WWE to display some of the Indian culture and celebrations such as having Spinning Canvas on. As for the Indian superstars, I wish them the best especially here about their stories and why they are doing this. A lot of them are doing this to support their families back home which I find it admirable that they are.