After what can only be termed as an underwhelming Raw, WWE returned to television with Main Event on Wednesday night.
It's hard to consider any Main Event show a disappointment considering how little it's regarded by the company—so it's got that going for it.
This week was all about the Intercontinental Title match. It was good to see the belt get so much attention, even if it was just on Main Event. The show started off with a Battle Royal, the winner of which would get a title shot against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.
Justin Gabriel wins Battle Royal
This was good enough for what it was. The Battle Royal featured a mishmash of various midcard guys you generally see lose in a minute on Raw or SmackDown.
On one hand, it's good they all got on television. On the other, you could have looked at any of these guys and wondered what they had done in the past to earn a title shot. R Truth beat Barrett on Raw, and he wasn't even in the match.
It's just better if you don't try to think at all and apply logic to the Intercontinental and United States Championships. The company treats them both like crap, and the champions routinely lose non-title matches.
At least with this match, there was a reason as to why a wrestler got a title shot.
With so much time on the show, this Battle Royal was allowed some time to breath. It wasn't like one of those Diva Battle Royals where half the competitors are eliminated in a minute.
The action with any Battle Royal is hot and fast. Eleven guys started out in the ring, so it was difficult to focus on one area of the ring for fear of missing an elimination.
With his massive size, The Great Khali was a monster, eliminating multiple opponents. As fans see with many Battle Royals, six Superstars ganged up on Khali before eventually eliminating him.
It eventually got down to Drew McIntyre, Justin Gabriel and Primo. Primo had been sent out of the ring via a Cobra from Santino Marella. Since he only went through the middle ropes, he was still alive in the match.
Gabriel looked like he was going to be eliminated, but he skinned the cat and sent McIntyre out of the ring on his way up. Since Primo had been out of the ring for so long, Gabriel thought he had won. Primo then ran at Gabriel to clothesline him out, but was instead tossed over the top rope.
Gabriel won the Battle Royal and a shot against Barrett later in the show. It was refreshing to hear Gabriel reference he and Barrett's time together in Nexus and The Corre. Wrestlers generally don't talk about anything that happened outside of a few months ago.
|Order of Eliminations|
|5.||The Great Khali|
Wade Barrett defeats Justin Gabriel for Intercontinental Championship via pinfall.
Considering he had absolutely zero momentum coming into the night, it wouldn't have been surprising to see Gabriel actually come out with the victory. For the most part, though, Barrett wins his title matches and only loses the ones that don't matter.
This was a very good match for Main Event. Much as with the Battle Royal, this match was given a lot of time to let the wrestlers actually go out and perform. It clearly showed.
On paper, this is a matchup of contrasting styles. Barrett is the physical brawler, with Gabriel as the high-flyer. When put together, the two worked very well together.
Barrett hit his big moves, but they were not enough to get the pin. Gabriel was constantly kicking out at two, leading both Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield to put him over big. They were going on and on about how impressed with Gabriel they were.
One move in particular for Gabriel was fun to watch. He performed a springboard moonsault off of the top rope, only to have Barrett kick out at two.
Barrett then unleashed the Bullhammer and got the pin. Overall, it was a good match for both guys. Gabriel looked credible as a contender to the champion, and Barrett looked like a solid champion.
Barrett made it clear that he was going to start his new title reign with a strong defense, as noted by the WWE Universe:
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
"Believe me, the Barrett Barrage is going to take a turn for the better tonight...and the first victim is @Justin__Gabriel." - @WadeBarrett4/18/2013, 12:34:32 AM
PINFALL Magazine was complimentary of the Battle Royal, while also expressing gratitude for not having Khali win:
Good Battle Royal. Should be a decent match between Gabriel and Barrett. I'm just glad Khali didn't win. #MainEvent4/18/2013, 12:18:04 AM
Ringside Xcess liked the Barrett/Gabriel match and wants to see some more:
Former RingsideXcess @MrJamesRolls
Good match between Barrett and Gabriel. Would love to see an actual storyline between the two. #MainEvent4/18/2013, 12:51:24 AM
Who knows? This very well may be the start of a feud between the two as Barrett needs to have a new rival for the title.