|By Raj Giri||February 03, 2013 | Comments|
The show began with Brodus Clay taking on Leo Kruger. After some back-and-forth action, Clay hit Kruger with the big splash and won the match. He danced afterward and got a good reaction from the crowd.
The next match featured Layla against Aksana. Both divas did a really good job of working the crowd, with Layla getting a ton of love and Aksana getting plenty of boos. Definitely more reaction than I normally see in divas matches. The two ladies worked well together in the ring as well, with several spots included for both. Aksana showed impressive strength and agility, while Layla used her array of kicks and acrobatics for her offense. The match ended when Aksana missed a kick on Layla, allowing Layla to hit a spinning facebuster for the pin.
Next up was Fandango vs. Yoshi Tatsu. Fandango's ring entrance is one of the longest ever. This was my first time seeing Fandango, and I must admit that his gimmick takes some getting used to. Most of the crowd didn't really know how to react when he came out. However, we quickly found reasons to boo him after his arrogant poses and taunts. Great work by Fandango to get us to hate him in such a short amount of time. Yoshi came out to some loud cheers, which was good to see. After a slow start, Yoshi picked up the offense with some kicks and a high cross body. Fandango retained control of the match and hit an impressive-looking neckbreaker/facebuster combo move for the pin. Afterward, he posed for the crowd some more to another chorus of boos.
Damien Sandow was out next to insult the audience, calling Greenville "the ignoramus capital of North Carolina." He's the best. His "three questions" bit ended with him asking, "is there any other superstar you'd rather see than me?" at which point Kofi Kingston's music hit, setting the stage for their match. The crowd, which was fantastic all night, was very hot for Kofi. There was even a "Ko-fi Ko-fi" chant going before the match began. This contest was very good, with both guys showing plenty of offense. There were a number of near-misses and close calls throughout. Finally, Kofi ducked a clothesline attempt from Sandow and hit the Trouble in Paradise for the win. A terrific match that I wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future. Sandow had probably the most heat of the night, and screamed like a little girl a couple of times.
Not to be outdone by his tag-team partner, Cody Rhodes came out next to some good heat. His opponent for the evening was Randy Orton, who damn near tore the roof off the building with his entrance. Let's just say that calling Greenville a pro-Orton crowd would be putting it very mildly. Orton teased the crowd when he didn't come out for a couple of minutes. Once the bell rang, these two put on a master class in wrestling. Plenty of great offensive moves, plenty of reversals; just an overall good match. At one point, Orton began "going to that place" and summoned a response from the audience. The crowd erupted and my friend, who's an ECU alumnus, said that he's never heard Williams Arena louder than that. As Orton went for the RKO, Cody countered with CrossRhodes and got a near fall. After some more back-and-forth action, Rhodes attempted the Disaster Kick but landed right into an RKO, giving Orton the victory. Afterward, Orton went around the ring to shakes hands with the fans, and continued to get a great crowd response.
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