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Hamilton’s WWE Superstar Spectacle Review 01.26.2021

January 26, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
WWE Superstar Spectacle, WWE India, NXT India Image Credit: WWE
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Hamilton’s WWE Superstar Spectacle Review 01.26.2021  

WWE Superstar Spectacle Quick Results

Finn Balor pinned Guru Raaj in 7:08 (**¾)
Rey Mysterio, Giant Zanjeer, Dilsher Shanky & Ricochet pinned Cesaro, King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura & Dolph Ziggler in 6:25 (**½)
AJ Styles pinned Jeet Rama in 9:13 (***)
Sareena Sandu & Charlotte Flair pinned Natalya & Bayley in 6:06 (**)
Rinku, Saurav & Drew McIntyre pinned Sunil Singh, Samir Singh & Jinder Mahal in 9:03 (***)

— If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling – and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.

We’re coming from the Thunderdome for this special – which was released to coincide with the Republic Day holiday in India. There’s also a fair degree of speculation that this may be the first steps towards a formal NXT India – given that similar foundations led to NXT UK. Time shall tell.

The show opens with a video package, narrated by Triple H (thanks for the name check) about WWE’s history with India. There’s even a photo of early day Triple H by the Taj Mahal, along with footage from signings and appearances, back when crowds were allowed to be a thing. Of course, when it comes to WWE, their first touchstone with India is Great Khali – he’s in the video package, along with Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz, before we get a video package of the “new generation”, all of whom we’ll see today.

We open with thunder and lightning to spark off some pyro, as Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Shahroz Ali are on the call.

Finn Balor vs. Guru Raaj
It’s a big ask for Raaj, who’s coming in with experience in taekwondo against the NXT champion. They give us a video package on Raaj, who’s billed as a high flier… and they’ve wheeled out those 8K Fox cameras for the entrances.

They tell us of some unfortunate accidents Raaj had growing up, almost laughing them off as we start with Raag trading wristlocks with Balor, who took him to the mat. There’s a quick roll-up before they reach a stand-off, as a side headlock leads to a shoulder tackle and a headlock takedonw as Balor looked to push ahead.

Raaj replies with a leapfrog/dropkick, then a headlock takedown of his own, clinging on as Balor tried to get free. There’s a dropkick as we go to a break – but on the Network, there are no adverts – so we resume with Raaj boots and chops Balor out of the corner. A back elbow drops Balor for a two-count, with Raaj following up with a back senton and a low dropkick… but his celebrations are premature as Balor struck back.

Chops from Balor keep Raaj at bay, ahead of a Slingblade, but an enziguiri from Raaj stops that momentum as a roll-up nearly gets the win. Kicks follow as Raaj targeted the hop and legs, before a pair of head kicks had Balor down… following up with a crossbody off the top for a near-fall. Balor escapes a slam, turning it into a Final Cut before a shotgun dropkick sends Raaj into the buckles… leaving him down and prone for the Coup de Grace as the 1916 DDT gets the win. This was a perfectly fine TV match – Raaj looked good for only being a year in, without getting a stupid amount of offence over the more established Balor. **¾

Later: Indus Sher and Drew McIntyre face Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz… plus Sareena Sandhu & Charlotte Flair take on Bayley & Natalya.

Cue another video package: this time on Giant Zanjeer. He’s a trainee of Great Khali, and tells us he had to grow up quickly. He looks to be taller than Khali, at least from the photo they showed…

Dilsher Shanky, Giant Zanjeer, Rey Mysterio & Ricochet vs. Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin & Shinsuke Nakamura
The babyface team got individual entrances, which gave them time to throw in another video package, this time for Dilsher Shanky. He’s a former champion of Khali’s CWE promotion in India, and is another big lad, who apparently used to be an accountant in India.

Okay Cole, since you asked so politely, I won’t. Shanky’s 7 foot, Zanjeer’s billed at 7’ 2”.

Shanky and Ziggler start, with Dolph having trouble engaging the big lad as commentary talks about a possible Performance Center in India. Dolph’s cornered and elbowed by Shanky as Nakamura tagged in and got the same treatment. A tag brings in Zanjeer, who blistered Nakamura with a chop… in comes Corbin to get the same, before Cesaro came in and backed away from the big lads.

Who had Ricochet and Mysterio underneath them, like Rick Steiner to Scott. After a break, Nakamura’s in to drop a knee on Mysterio for a two-count. Mysterio’s kept in, but he comes back with a ‘rana on Corbin into the corner, as tags bring us to Ricochet and Ziggler. A Northern Lights from Ricochet and a corkscrew suplex leads to a running shooting star press for a two-count.

As they show replays, Ziggler lands a Slingblade on Ricochet for a two-count. The big lads come back in as Zanjeer slammed Cesaro, while Shanky followed with an elbow drop for a two-count. Zanjeer’s swarmed, but he shoves them away before he goozled Corbin to the outside… Ricochet then asks Zanjeer to pick him up and press slam him into the pile, only for Cesaro to throw him out afterwards.

Shanky’s big boot drops Cesaro, allowing Mysterio to come in with a 619. A clothesline from Shanky followed, before Rey finished off Cesaro with a splash off of Shanky’s shoulders for the win. This was a fun multi-man tag – it’s early days, but Zanjeer’s got something to him (thanks to his athletic background), but if they’re getting a lot of big lads in, it’s going to be tricky for any of them to stand out. **½

Promo time with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman, for some reason. He won’t be in action, as he and Heyman wished a happy Republic Day.

AJ Styles vs. Jeet Rama
According to Cagematch, Rama’s been with WWE for almost five and a half years, but this is the first time he’s made TV. He gets a video package, showing off footage from live events he’d been on… he’s going to take us to Jeet Street, where you go to get beat by Jeet.

We open with a lock-up as Rama took Styles into the corner for a quick break. AJ responds with a side headlock, but an armdrag frees Rama as AJ needs the ropes to force a break. He switches around with shoulder tackles to trap Rama in the corner, before a roll-up gets nary a one-count. Styles throws some kicks, but Rama caught one and returned the shoulder charges from earlier, before going back to the armbar. Michael Cole throws out some statistics about WWE in India – namely their YouTube and Facebook numbers – as Styles broke free. A right hand from Jeet forces AJ to throw him outside, where Omos was lurking.

Instead, a plancha from AJ wipes out Rama on the floor as we do the usual fake break routine… except this time, there is a promo, this time for the Royal Rumble. When we return, Styles is wearing down Rama with a side headlock, but Jeet gets out and hits a series of right hands, following up with a head and arm suplex to throw AJ across the ring.

Another one followed, before AJ came back with some kicks to the leg, only for Rama to respond with a German suplex for a two-count, thanks to AJ getting his feet on the ropes. Styles stays in the ropes and almost gets knocked off the top rope as Rama followed up… but AJ slips out and drops him across the buckles. We keep going as AJ’s drop toe hold took Rama into the corner, ahead of an ushigoroshi for a near-fall. A Styles Clash is blocked as Rama charges into the corner, with more shoulder charges leading to AJ just rolling him down for a Calf Crusher. Rama hangs on, but AJ tries to reposition them… only to get his head thrown into the mat to force the break.

Rama responds with a belly-to-belly, but he can’t make the cover as AJ rolled into the ropes… but Jeet just takes him up top for an avalanche belly-to-belly. Omos saves AJ by holding onto him as Jeet went flying, which left the door open for AJ to hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the win. A basic, but effective match with Rama looking good on offence – but again, there was no way a main roster guy was losing here. ***

For some reason Indus Sher are being cornered by Ric Flair tonight…

Vignette time again, as we learn more about Indus Sher. Rinku tells us he wanted to make his family’s life better by wrestling, while Saurav tells us about his past as an actor before turning to wrestling.

Next up, we’ve go the New Day out for a segment – they’re joined by the Street Profits, as they jointly introduce Spinning Canvas… then dance away backstage as we get the live performance.

Great Khali time! He (along with some students) tells us how proud he is of his students on the show, and the crowd reacts like he was Hogan in the 80s. They’re not wrong.

Charlotte Flair & Sareena Sandhu vs. Bayley & Natalya
Sareena may be better known in some circles as Samara, having worked for indies such as Beyond and WWR a few years ago. She doesn’t get a video package, with Michael Cole instead throwing in the background details, including that the same (unnamed) person trained her and Bayley.

Charlotte and Natalya start us off, with a lock-up that led to a wristlock that Natalia rolled out of. That reversal’s reversed, but Natalya snapmares Charlotte down ahead of a stomp… but Charlotte just shrugs it off as Baylet comes in and gets chopped. An Irish whip bounces Bayley out of the corner for a chop, then Natalya, before Sareena tagged in to his a crossbody off the top.

Duelling baseball slide dropkicks keep Natalya and Bayley on the floor as we do the fake break, returning as Charlotte boots Natalya and Bayley out of the corner. A neckbreaker and an Exploder throws Natalya into the corner, before Bayley came in and got one of her own. There’s a backbreaker too as Sareena comes back in with armdrags and some headscissors, before a butterfly suplex just about got Bayley down for a two-count.

Bayley gets to the ropes as Natalya returned to go for a suplex, but Sandhu rolls up Natalya for a two-count. She’s slapped, but recovers with a neckbreaker for a two-count before getting thrown into the corner. Sareena gets kicked to the outside by Natalya, then had to deal with a chop block on the floor from Bayley for an eventual two-count.

Natalya returns to work over the legs with a deathlock, then tries to drag Sareena away from a tag… but Bayley runs in to knock Charlotte off the apron instead. A clothesline gets Natalya a two-count before she went for a Sharpshooter… but Charlotte runs in to break it up with Natural Selection, allowing Sareena to take the pin from there. This was fine, but it felt a little off in parts. **

Ric Flair’s out next to get his recorded-in-8K entrance, before we cut to a promo package of Kavita Devi, who’s already had Mae Young Classic outings (and an appearance in the women’s battle royal at WrestleMania in 2018). Back to Ric, he wishes everyone a happy Republic Day, then introduces the main event…

Jinder Mahal & The Bollywood Boyz (Samir Singh & Sunil Singh) vs. Drew McIntyre & Indus Sher (Rinku & Saurav)
This was the first time we’ve seen Indus Sher since last June, when their brief run on NXT came to a sudden halt. This was also Jinder’s first match back since last May, following a knee injury. His promo-down-the-aisle’s interrupted by Drew McIntyre, who welcomed back his “old mate.”

The former 3MB lads start us… and no they don’t, because Jinder tags in Sunil… who then tags in Samir, who slaps Drew. Samir’s thrown into the corner as Drew chopped away, before bringing in Rinku to land a right hand. A shoulder tackle spins down Samir ahead of an elbow drop as we’re told of Rinku’s past in college sports.

Saurav comes in against Sunil, catching a crossbody before turning it into a splash for a one-count. Rinku’s back in, holding Sunil as Saurav’s big boot knocked him down. A double hiptoss takes down Samir, as the Bollywood Boyz were thrown into each other on the floor courtesy of a press slam. Cue a break!

We return as Indus Sher continue to dominate, hauling around Samir Singh like he were nothing. Samir manages to break free for a while, but Rinku clears the apron before he got caught in a corner, leading to the return of Jinder Mahal, who threw Rinku into the ring post. Mahal wraps Rinku’s arm around the ring post for extra effect, before a chinbar restrained him.

Samir’s back with a leaping elbow, while Sunil’s elbow drop gets a two-count. Rinku’s held in an armbar as the Bollywood Boyz arm-whip him to the mat for a two-count, with Samir then looked to keep Rinku down by the leg. Jinder’s back with stomps, then a Codebreaker to the arm and another armbar as he looked to force a stoppage.

Jinder knocks Saurav off the apron, but it opens up time for Rinku to fight back with a suplex before he dove in to tag out to McIntyre, who went wild on Mahal, landing overhead belly-to-belly suplexes. A leaping neckbreaker drops Jinder next, but Drew takes too long to follow up, and gets taken down with a leaping knee as he seemed to be teeing up for a Claymore kick.

Sunil and Saurav come in, with Saurav clearing house on the Bollywood Boyz. Drew clears Jinder with a Claymore kick, before Sunil was put away with a sidewalk slam/elbow drop combination. A decent main event and a solid reunion for Jinder and the Bollywood Boyz, but it was Indus Sher who we reigned supreme on this night. ***

The show closed with Michael Cole welcoming and thanking India for having “their own show,” before pyro and Triple H acted as a toast to the future of “India and WWE.” Yup, they’ve already said this is leading to an Indian Performance Center, and you have to think at some point, an NXT India down the line.

The final score: review Good
The 411
I don’t want to say that my expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw here. A fair amount of the names on show here had been with WWE for some length of time (like Jeet Rama’s five years), but for a group of guys effectively trained from scratch, this wasn’t half bad. You have to think that the two bigger lads - Giant Zanjeer and Dilsher Shanky - will absolutely get chances, perhaps at a main roster level if they continue to develop, but the key here is that the guys get experience under their belt. The eventual NXT India has to be a part of that, but once these current restrictions are over, who knows what the plans are, and what will materialise - and in particular, what learnings from NXT UK are taken into account too.