x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

A ball of a brawl

This weekend's WWE shows in Abu Dhabi proved that while WWE is brash and predictable, it is unadulterated fun (with video)

Sami Zayn celebrates winning his match during the WWE Live event at Zayed Sports City. Christopher Pike / The National
Sami Zayn celebrates winning his match during the WWE Live event at Zayed Sports City. Christopher Pike / The National

WWE returned to Abu Dhabi this weekend for three shows in the intimate settings of the Zayed Sports City tennis stadium.

Perhaps due to a mass departure for the unexpectedly long Eid break, on Thursday the stadium was less than full, although organisers assured us that subsequent nights were near sell-outs.

Nevertheless, those who did attend made more than enough noise, as the audience rowdily cheered on some of the biggest names in the WWE roster.

The likes of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Ryback and Kofi Kingston all battled it out in the show’s usual mix of choreographed combat, chest-beating bravado and soap-opera style melodrama.

Aside from this, there was also room for some humour, taking the form of a dance-off between the flamboyant Fandango and the Italian jokester Santino Marella.

Fans were invited to tweet whether they wanted to see a dance contest between these two, or a fight. Twitter users chose the former, although after they’d strutted their stuff, it descended into fisticuffs anyway.

Another theme of WWE is the conflict between its employees and the corporation.

This was personified by the gigantic Big Show, who, just before his tag team match started, was informed he was banned from fighting for some transgression of WWE rules back in the US. Perhaps they could have told him this before he got on the flight to the UAE?

Then, during the final brawl between the bearded, indie hero Daniel Bryan and the current number one heel Randy Orton, Big Show was placed in a ringside seat.

Predictably, Bryan won, leading to a group of Orton’s cohorts rushing into the ring to avenge his defeat, culminating in a mass brawl. And lo and behold, Big Show forsook his ban and waded into the fight. Why else would he be wearing his wrestling leotard?

Yes, while WWE is brash, lowbrow and predictable, it is unadulterated fun. It’s hard to begrudge something that people seem to take so much pleasure out of.

hberger@thenational.ae