Patrick Van Dort picks out his top 6 moments from last night’s WWE visit to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena…
Televised wrestling is as much a part of my childhood viewing as episodes of Jossy’s Giants or The A-Team so the chance to catch a show in person got a big thumbs-up from my 10-year-old inner child.
It did not disappoint and Belfast’s Odyssey Arena proved the perfect venue for the WWE Live European Tour.
The fans turned out in force on Friday night, with a close-to-capacity crowd showcasing the broad appeal of WWE – or ‘soaps for blokes’ as my mate calls it with pride. You could not move for young kids sporting John Cena tee-shirts, wristbands and headbands but the commitment of the adult support really hit home. Top marks to the brother and sister just back from Wrestlemania 31 in California for a trip that also took in visits to the Hall Of Fame and WWE Raw shows for a perfect triple bill. Another highlight was the man posing for
pictures in the foyer with his WWE Heavyweight Championship replica title belt (valued at around £300).
The atmosphere was amped up from the first match and fans in Belfast can probably look back on the bout between Bray’s Finn Balor and Neville as an early glimpse of two future superstars – keep a copy of this article and thank me later when X years from now both have held major titles.
— Powerbomb (@PowerbombUK) April 11, 2015
The biggest ‘heat’ from the crowd came early on, when the current WWE Tag Team champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd took on New Day. Both camps had great fun, with the crowd chanting ‘New Day Sucks’ from the entrance music. The New Day team played to the crowd perfectly and Cesaro applying an arm bar on Big E in time with chants of ‘New Day Sucks’ was a great moment of entertainment.
As a young wrestling fan I was always enchanted by tales of the famous Hart Family Dungeon training camp in Canada. So, my favourite finisher of the night was Natalya winning the Divas match with a ‘Sharpshooter’.
— chloe (@famouslxstwords) April 11, 2015
The move was made famous by Bret Hart – who was Tag Team champion with Natalya’s father and his brother-in-law, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, in the 1990s. In keeping with the sense of history, Natalya is married to Tyson Kidd, considered the final graduate of the Hart Family Dungeon.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 10, 2015
Dublin-born Sheamus amped up his new run as a wrestling ‘heel’ by slagging off Belfast to the crowd – with his comments that George Best “couldn’t wait to get out of the city” really hitting the mark. For a former security man at wrestling events in Dublin, Sheamus’ rise into the WWE is a great success story and he was revelling in his role as villain on Friday.
The 2 overall highlights, however, both came in the match featuring Bray Wyatt, Bad News Barrett and Sheamus against Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler. Wyatt – the son of I.R.S (another nod to the 1990s) – is the natural successor to The Undertaker in the spooky stakes and the sight of hundreds of mobile phone lights (to create the look of ‘fireflies’) during his entrance was unforgettable. The greatest chant then came for Bryan as fans
pointed both hands in the sky and shouted ‘Yes’ over and over.
— Darren Lynch (@Darrenlynch1995) April 10, 2015