Am I the only one who thought it was strange for the WWE to put out a special show like Superstar Spectacle just a few days before the Royal Rumble? It turns out they kinda had to as it was slated on the same day as India’s Republic Day. It’s basically the country’s version of Independence Day so they simply couldn’t move it, especially if you consider the WWE decided to put in their Superstars from India on the show.
It was still something shown all around the world and not just in India to celebrate their Republic Day. So, why not take a look at the Superstar Spectacle and see if it’s going to be worth making an annual thing… just before the Royal Rumble. Sounds iffy, but if the show is good? Why not?
I guess the first thing I have to talk about regarding the Superstar Spectacle, as it does feature developmental wrestlers from India, are the Indian Superstars. I was impressed with a good lot of them but there were a couple who needed a little more work before actually making their worldwide debut. It’s not like the ones who I thought weren’t that good did terrible. They did okay but there were a few gaffes in their moves which made their matches not flow incredibly well.
The prime example I would like to point out is the opening match of Superstar Spectacle which featured the NXT Champion Finn Balor take on Guru Raaj. The latter was able to make an entertaining bout with the former. Balor did a fine job selling Guru Raaj’s offense when needed. However, you can tell the Indian martial artist doesn’t seem all too comfortable with some of the more, how shall I say this, showmanship tricks needed in WWE’s profession wrestling circuit. Some of his kicks lacked the powerful “smack” sound effect generated by slapping your hand on your thigh and the cross-body from the top turnbuckle looked more like he landed on his feet rather than dive down belly first to smash into his opponent. He’s still green so he gets a pass but I do hope he does better in the future.
The finish came after Balor escaped a slam attempt before sending Raaj face first into the corner. One Coup the Grace and 1916 DDT later, we see the Prince raise his hands in victory. Anyway, the match was good but, ultimately, nothing spectacular. I didn’t really see anything outstanding regarding Guru Raaj’s performance. He’s more like a lump of clay and still needs to be molded into a really good in-ring performer.
The same thing can be said for Sareena Sandhu, who tagged with Charlotte Flair against the team of Bayley and Natalya. Nothing she did really impressed me in any way. Most of the things she did were really basic so it appears she’s super green and in the middle of training. Truth be told, the match was carried by the 3 WWE veterans and Sareena Sandhu came off like the local wrestler given her 15 minutes of fame. Oh, and I’m sorry but I did not appreciate the dance break between Charlotte and Sareena during the middle of the match as it came off as super trite and forced. What made it come off even worse is the lack of chemistry between the two.
The finish made it really come off like Sareena was the local hero. She was locked into Natalya’s Sharpshooter when Charlotte rushed in and knocked the Hart family member out with Natural Selection. This enabled Sareena to get the pinfall victory for her team. Thankfully, there wasn’t a dance number during their victory celebration.
Speaking of dance numbers, I can’t really talk about the number done by Spinning Canvas. I’m sure it was a fine number, especially since they’re professional Bollywood dancers and all. However, I’m not that big on Bollywood performances. I can appreciate the bombasticness of it all but they just drag on too long for my liking. This is precisely the same thing I felt from the Spinning Canvas performance; fine at the start but just went on for too long for my taste.
Now that I’m done with the stuff I didn’t like all that much from Superstar Spectacle, I can finally talk about the stuff I did thoroughly enjoy… like the 8-man tag featuring Ricochet, Rey Mysterio and their Indian partners, Dilsher Shanky and Giant Zajeer, who went up against the team of Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin, Cesaro and Shinusuke Nakamura. Based on the teams, it was obvious the faces were going to win. However, while I wasn’t so impressed by Shanky as he came off as a big guy but somewhat fragile (shades of the Great Khali), I had to admire Giant Zajeer’s debut. He looked like a big man who can do well in a WWE ring.
The finish, unfortunately, did not involve Giant Zajeer but Dilsher Shanky with Rey Mysterio. Mysterio climbs the top turnbuckle then onto Shanky’s shoulders. Shanky then walks toward a prone Cesaro, allowing Mysterio to land a splash to get the pinfall victory. I will also have to say the referee should’ve stopped the count since Shanky put his foot on top of Mysterio, which is an illegal double team under strict 8-man tag team rules. Whatever. Giant Zajeer really impressed but Shanky needs a little more work.
Another couple of WWE new India prospects I saw promise with is the Indus Sher tag team who paired up with Drew McIntyre as they went against Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz. Unlike a lot of the tag teams in the WWE today who look like they got two individuals who didn’t have anything going as a singles performer, Indus Sher looked like an actual tag team! Not only that, they do seem like they have the appropriate “sports entertainment” acumen. The two showed the right amount of showmanship and athletic ability to make it big in the WWE.
I do wish the finish was a little bit better as, appropriately, it was a double team finish by Indus Sher. They got to debut a finishing maneuver but it wasn’t all that clear what they did. I think it was a combination of a sidewalk slam and elbow drop, which is almost reminiscent of Demolition’s finisher. Still, this is the only real complaint I had with their performance overall so good for them!
The best performance came from Jeet Rama. Then again, as he was pitted against AJ Styles, it was bound to be a great match as The Phenomenal One simply has the ability to draw out the best of his opponent in the ring. This was an actual enthralling wrestling match between two fantastic competitors. Jeet Rama looked like he can keep up with the best of them. However, he did look winded early on so I’m still concerned with his overall stamina. Even so, as a technical wrestler and WWE Superstar, Jeet Rama does have the makings of making it to the main roster, especially because his suplexes and throws were on point here!
I did have several issues with Jeet’s performance in the match. For one, he still doesn’t quite have the mannerisms in the ring to make him really enthralling. His energized poses still looked like was acting at times. The next two revolve around him getting locked in Styles’ Calf Crusher. He stayed in the hold for too long and, instead of reaching for the ropes to break it, he had the capability to counter out of it by slamming AJ Styles’ head to the mat. I guess it was to show how aware he was of his surroundings. However, since he was in the Calf Crusher for too long, it kind of looked unrealistic, especially for someone who isn’t a veteran of the squared circle. Third, he didn’t sell the leg after getting out of the hold. Once again, he was in it for an excruciating amount of time and he should’ve showed he couldn’t stand on it.
I liked the finish as it involved Omos holding onto Styles as Jeet Rama attempted an avalanche belly-to-belly suplex. Jeet crashed to the mat and Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm to get the pinfall victory. A really good showing for Jeet Rama and I certainly hope to see more of him in the future.
I do think the Superstar Spectacle was a neat watch. While it ultimately does have a house show feel as it was devoted to India’s Republic Day celebration, it was actually refreshing to see new talent showcase what they can do. Well, some of them anyway.
What did you think of the WWE’s first ever Superstar Spectacle? Let me know in the comments section below!