Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis.
We’ve got a packed show for you today, including the real reason Goldberg vs The Undertaker was botched at Super Showdown, how many matches and angles were changed last minute at Super Showdown, and backstage claims that Super Showdown was a disaster. The big takeaway here, folks, is that Super Showdown was no good.
Click the timestamps in the video description below to jump to any of those stories right now!
And make sure to have a Super Click party and give us a subscribe, click the thumbs up button and answer our question of the day down below:
What did you think of Super Showdown? Because I’ll be replying to people in the comments FROM OUTTA NOWHERE.
…we announced on Friday’s livestream reactions for Super Showdown that all the money from your super chats for the event would be donated to Sami Zayn’s Sami For Syria campaign to raise money for the Syrian American Medical Society – a foundation that provides medical care to refugees created by the war in Syria. In 2018 alone, the money raised by Sami was able to pay for a mobile clinic for a full year, “that provided 11,000 medical services – and in some cases, those were life saving.”
With the humanitarian crisis worsening once again, Sami relaunched the campaign this month to raise $50,000, which will help them “procure a vehicle, convert it into a mobile medical unit and keep all the necessary medications on hand for it.” It’s a cause close to Zayn’s heart, as despite being born in Canada, he is of Syrian descent, and he’s raised $8,700 at the time of recording towards it.
And now, thanks to all of your generous pledges on Friday’s livestream, WrestleTalk can proudly add a whopping $1,514.15 to that total for the Sami For Syria campaign! Thank you all so much for your generosity, and let’s continue WrestleTalk’s mission of not just supporting independent wrestling and up-and-coming wrestlers, but also a larger mission of the wrestling industry and its performers giving back to the world.
If you missed out on pledging during Friday’s livestream, you can still donate directly to Sami For Syria by clicking the link in the video description below.
But Sami isn’t the only WWE star who’s been raising money for charity this week…
…as Ali has announced on Twitter that all the money he earned at Super Showdown would also go to a good cause:
“Earnings received today will be donated to @charitywater. Thank you.”
Charity Water’s mission is to bring “clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.”
Ali and Sami’s charitable causes and donations just so happen to come around the same time as WWE’s latest event in their hugely controversial relationship with Saudi Arabia – a 10 year deal for the company to put on two shows a year in the country, which reportedly makes WWE more money than WrestleMania. But it comes at a PR cost, with the Saudi regime being widely condemned for its record on human rights. Zayn has reportedly not been used on any of the three Saudi shows so far because of his Syrian heritage.
The relationship has reportedly made many backstage in WWE uncomfortable, and has even led to major stars like John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens allegedly refusing to appear at the shows.
And Ali and Sami weren’t the only WWE wrestler making an indirect statement about the deal, as Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor also tweeted after the show, possibly in reference to homosexuality being illegal in the country:
“Love is love. Happy Pride Month from Saudi Arabia! 🌈❤️🧡💛💚💙 #BalorClubForEveryone” with a picture of him doing the Balor pose in front of the Super Showdown set.
And to add to the Saudi controversy, despite WWE’s best intentions, they won’t let women wrestle either – causing the company to scrap its potentially milestone plans last minute.
In the days before Super Showdown, PWInsider, Fightful and Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that WWE were flying Natalya and Alexa Bliss to Saudi Arabia with the hope they’d be able to put on a women’s wrestling match in the country – a huge PR coup for the company to counteract the negative public perception of the deal. Apparently conversations between WWE and the Saudi Sports Authority went back months about the women’s match, but company officials were still waiting on the green light – give me the green light! – on the day of the show.
Dave Meltzer has since added on Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE “were told that it was gonna be ok”, but they decided not to advertise the women’s match just in case “somehow there was a snag.” Luckily for them that they didn’t, as that’s exactly what happened when the Saudi government changed their mind – to the extent where not only were Natalya and Bliss not allowed to wrestle, “but there were not allowed to be on the show, say that they’re someday gonna be allowed to wrestle – anything.”
Natalya remained hopeful for a future opportunity, though, tweeting:
“Every step matters black heart emoji” and “Here’s to a multitude of tomorrows. 🖤”
There was no overriding socio-political reason for changing the finish to Lars Sullivan vs the Lucha House Party, though.
You might think that booking the debut match for a large meaty man against three small high-flyers would very much be within Vince McMahon’s wheelhouse. But, somehow, in arguably the worst piece of fundamental booking on the whole Super Showdown, Lars only won via DQ when the three luchadors ganged up on him during the match and beat him up, for Sullivan to then lay them all out afterwards. Which begs the question, why not just have Lars win dominantly in the actual match?
For whatever reason, Meltzer is reporting this was also a last-minute change, with the original finish being Sullivan picking up a dominant victory.
And as if the women’s match being scrapped, the last minute Lars finish change and various controversies surrounding the event weren’t enough to get across Super Showdown was a bit of a mess backstage, WWE also botched counting to 50.
Listing the full line-up of participants in the 50-Man Battle Royal on the show, PWInsider has revealed the match was even more the biggest Battle Royal in WWE history, as it actually contained 51 wrestlers.
Scott Steiner backstage WWE agent confirmed.
And that wasn’t the only issue with the Battle Royal because, surprise, surprise, flying loads of your roster all the way to Saudi Arabia to wrestle in a match that means nothing for an event many don’t agree with has made some of the talent unhappy backstage.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed that people he knew within WWE told him they were very down on the whole experience – particularly those flown out to make up numbers in the 50 man Battle Royal:
“For the guys in the Battle Royal it was like pretty much going through the motions because the whole thing was thrown together and there was no showcase spots or anything like that, so people there weren’t in a great mood because you’re flying there for this match that can’t be good because no thought’s been put into it and you’re just kind of there as a piece of meat.”
Apparently “Most didn’t think they should go” in the first place, but they lacked the backstage name value of Bryan, Cena or Owens to speak up, and “one person told [Meltzer] that if it was up to him, they would never go back again,” while “Others were just, like, it sucked.”
But nowhere did it suck more than the embarrassing and depressing main event…
The very reliable WrestleVotes on Twitter corroborated Meltzer’s reports, tweeting:
“Thought you guys might like this: texting with 2 different sources who were on the Saudi trip. Asked how everything went. One said it was a “disaster” & the other described it as a “train wreck”. So that’s that.”
And many are pointing to Goldberg vs Undertaker as the most obvious in-ring ‘train wreck’ example…
In the night’s main event, 54 year old up-and-comer the Undertaker took on 52 year old rookie Goldberg for Super Showdown’s… well, super Letdown.
The match actually started really well, with both men’s typically fantastic entrances, and then two minutes of big moves and sit-up spots.
But then just a few minutes in, Goldberg collided hard with the turnbuckle after missing a spear, busting his head open and seemingly throwing him off course for the rest of the match, where he botched a Jackhammer, a tombstone piledriver reversal and a chokeslam.
Goldberg himself confirmed as much on Twitter shortly after the match:
“Knocked myself out and thought I could finish…. love my fans…..but let u down. Everyone else that found “pleasure” ….. hope ur happy”
In addition to the turnbuckle spot, it seemed as though Goldberg spiked his head when taking another Tombstone Piledriver from the Undertaker. Wrestling Observer Radio later confirmed that Goldberg was diagnosed with a concussion backstage after the match.
In a very uncomfortable moment, Goldberg can be seen collapsing in the ring after the match in fan footage uploaded by WrestlingAttitude.com – further adding to the event’s controversy, where the match arguably should’ve been stopped by WWE on realising Goldberg’s concussion.
Using part-timer legends against each other has been a fundamental part of WWE’s pay-per-view business for almost a decade now, beginning with the huge WrestleMania buyrates for Rock ‘The Dwayne’ Johnson vs John Cena, and culminating in hugely billed one-offs over the last year with Triple H vs Undertaker, DX vs the Brothers of Destruction and now Goldberg vs Taker. But with the last two of those seeing serious injuries of Hunter tearing his pectoral muscle and now Goldberg suffering a concussion, the idea of sending aging legends out to work with each other in long main events must surely be getting reassessed backstage.
And maybe The Deadman agrees as Pro Wrestling Sheet has reported Taker has liked this comment about him on Instagram:
“Can you please stop bringing Undertaker back now? Jesus Christ after everything he’s done for the company just let him retire in peace. Litterally, the match was terrible because those two guys are in their 50s, they can’t compete at Main Event level anymore. You saw how Undertaker was struggling to stand after just 5 minutes, and Goldberg was too weak to even pull off a jackhammer. Just let them live out the rest of their days in peace, or they’ll end up getting seriously hurt.”
Undertaker looked visibly annoyed following the Super Showdown finish, and he was actually considered retired at the start of this year, but when he started to get booking appearances outside WWE for conventions – most notably for AEW’s partner convention Starrcast – Vince McMahon reportedly convinced him to return.