WWE’s Superstar Spectacle was taped last Friday at the ThunderDome in St. Petersburg, Florida, and airing in conjunction with Republic Day in India, as well as on the WWE Network.
The concept is featuring WWE’s India-based talent mixed with talent from Raw, Friday Night SmackDown & NXT with a series of matches.
The development of a product for India has been in the works for a lengthy period with Paul Levesque reiterating this week that the goal is having an NXT India brand.
*Finn Balor def. Guru Raaj in 7:08
*Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Giant Zanjeer & Dilsher Shanky def. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, King Corbin & Dolph Ziggler in 6:26
*AJ Styles def. Jeet Rama in 8:30
*Charlotte Flair & Sareena Sandhu def. Bayley & Natalya in 6:07
*Drew McIntyre & Indus Sher def. Jinder Mahal & The Bollywood Boyz in 8:21
The show opened with a video package with archived footage of past WWE events in India mixed with modern footage of talent making appearances throughout the country. It focused on Jinder Mahal, The Bollywood Boyz, and The Great Khali as talent from India that have achieved success in WWE before profiling new talent that will be on the show today.
There was a vast disparity in experience, obviously, and Balor wrestled as the seasoned champion going to wrestle the local babyface. There was a nice video package for Raaj with highlights from his tryout and being “India’s first high-flier”. Raaj was given a bit of offense by cutting off the John Woo dropkick with an enzuigiri and getting a two-count and a high cross for another one. Balor made his comeback with the John Woo dropkick, coupe de grace, and 1916 to win.
WINNER: Finn Balor at 7:08
Raaj has charisma and elements but seems like he is far from a finished product and being in the ring with someone the level of Balor displayed that. The video package was well done and will likely be a consistent strong point for the presentation of the talent from India on today’s show. Balor shook his hand after the match.
They profiled Giant Zanjeer with his story of losing his father at the age of 14 and taking care of his family. He was inspired by and later, trained by The Great Khali.
Dilsher Shanky is billed at seven-feet tall, featured in Bollywood films and was formerly an accountant.
REY MYSTERIO, RICOCHET, GIANT ZANJEER & DILSHER SHANKY VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA, CESARO, DOLPH ZIGGLER & KING CORBIN
The whole idea behind the babyface team was to showcase the height of Zanjeer and Shanky as they towered over Mysterio and Ricochet.
Cole mentioned the hopes of putting a Performance Center in India in the coming years.
Ziggler ran Mysterio’s face across the rope allowing Graves to note his “history of eye injuries”.
Shanky and Zanjeer were the focus of the match but are very limited at this stage. They didn’t do anything too ambitious, which was wise. The heels bounced around for the big men and were the glue to the match.
Cole stated that Zanjeer idolized The Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. What a holy trinity of idols.
Zanjeer military pressed Ricochet onto the heels on the floor, Cesaro knocked him out of the ring before Shanky landed a big boot. Mysterio followed with a 619 and then a splash off the shoulders of Shanky for the win.
WINNERS: Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Giant Zanjeer & Dilsher Shanky in 6:26
Zanjeer and Shanky were limited in ability but each has a certain look that with the proper handling could work. Shanky seems to have a larger upside but they were booked to their strengths in this match. It’s very apparent why they decided to format the show like this where the main roster talent would be mixed in and the younger talent from India can be showcased in small bursts and not be exposed by doing long matches alone.
AJ STYLES VS JEET RAMA
Rama was signed in 2015 and is 40 years old, so he has a significant experience edge in the WWE system.
This was the best match so far on the show with Rama able to wrestle and do a convincing job. Styles rolled to a calf crusher and Rama fought the hold until slamming Styles’ head to break free while selling the effects of the submission.
Rama went for a belly-to-belly off the turnbuckle but Styles was saved when Omos held him as Rama flew off. Styles ended it with the Phenomenal Forearm.
WINNER: AJ Styles in 8:30
This was a decent match but Rama is up there in age and has been in the system for a long time but he’s in tremendous shape for someone at 40.
The next feature was on Indus Sher, Rinku & Saurav.
Big E. and Xavier Woods came out together followed by The Street Profits to introduce Spinning Canvas to perform in the ThunderDome and served as the halftime show. Spinning Canvas is an Indian dance company based in Tampa.
Next, was a video message from The Great Khali with several of his students.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR & SERENA SANDHU VS BAYLEY & NATALYA
Sandhu has wrestled as Samara since 2017 and worked for DDT, RISE, SHIMMER and on the Northern California scene among the promotions that she has wrestled for. She has not had a match since June 2019.
Flair was wearing the colors of the Indian flag for her ring gear.
The match saw the heels get the heat on Sandhu after Bayley chop blocked her knee. Bayley & Natalya cut off the ring and dragged Sandhu away from Flair as they worked her over. On the floor, Flair took out Bayley with a running boot while Natalya applied the sharpshooter to Sandhu. Flair ran into the ring hitting Natalya with Natural Selection to break the submission and allowing Sandhu to pin Natalya.
WINNERS: Charlotte Flair & Serena Sandhu in 6:07
The match was fine and you had three very experienced performers in there, although most of the match was Sandhu selling and I thought she looked fine. This was presented as a major upset for Sandhu and a feel-good moment.
Kavita Devi was profiled in a feature with footage from the Mae Young Classic, appearing at WrestleMania 34 in the women’s battle royal, and her tryout in Dubai in 2017. Cole said she will be back soon and is with her family in India right now.
Ric Flair entered and said the WWE “brings the world together like no one else” and wishes everyone a Happy Republic Day. They were interrupted by Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz. Mahal said that 1.4 billion people have tuned in for him, which may be the greatest exaggeration in pro wrestling history.
DREW McINTYRE & INDUS SHER VS JINDER MAHAL & THE BOLLYWOOD BOYZ
This was Drew McIntyre’s first match back since his COVID-19 diagnosis and was also Mahal’s first match since knee surgery last year. Mahal looked in great shape and has shaved his head.
Mahal tagged out rather than face McIntyre at the beginning. Samir began to chop McIntyre, who no-sold them, and allowed Cole to note, “this isn’t 205 Live, guys”.
The heels controlled Rinku for a period working his arm until McIntyre received the hot tag. Mahal cut off the Claymore with a knee strike. While Saurav was the legal man, McIntyre hit Claymore on Mahal, and Rinku & Saurav hit their finisher on Sunil Singh for the win.
WINNERS: Drew McIntyre & Indus Sher in 8:21
I can’t even say this was a house show level main event, but it was very short and simple. McIntyre projects the image and aura of a serious world champion and that was evident throughout the match. Indus Sher is very inexperienced and just needs a lot of ring time to get them to a place where they can be a monster babyface tag team, although are better suited as heels if they receive a regular role on television.
The show closed with Paul Levesque inside the ring with Drew McIntyre, and all the Indian talent as they celebrated.
They did a very good job marketing the Indian talent with video packages and explaining their different stories. The show was easy to watch as they kept the matches very short and the special was contained to 90 minutes on the WWE Network. The experience level is lower for most of the Indian talent and you needed the bigger stars to help with these matches as I couldn’t imagine they could do an effective job with just the Indian talent.
I really enjoyed the use of Spinning Canvas in the middle to give the show an extra special feel and overall, it was a fun show but hardly anything you must see if you missed it.