Watch highlights from the first WWE x IGN eSports Showdown
New Day grudge match concludes first-ever WWE x IGN's eSports Showdown
NEW YORK CITY – Surprise guests, Trending Gamers of the Year, clean sweeps and a pie to the face. Such were the events on display at the first-ever WWE x IGN eSports Showdown, which pitted WWE Superstars and the occasional gaming pro against each other in an intense Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite tournament.
True to the freewheeling form of his gaming channel, UpUpDownDown, the night began on an unpredictable note when Bayley interrupted “WWE x IGN General Manager” Xavier Woods’ passionate address to the fans and demanded a place in the tournament. She quickly got one when Sasha Banks emerged to challenge The Huggable One, and Woods issued two historic rulings on the spot: Sasha and Bayley would find a partner for the inaugural WWE x IGN eSports Showdown Tag Team Match, and Woods himself would fill the void The Boss left in the bracket as the final competitor of the tournament.
With a best-of-five rule for each round, the action began in earnest with clean sweep by “Mr. 27/7” Kofi Kingston’s Thanos & Hulk tag team over AJ Styles and his tandem of Ultron & Nova, despite some clever exploitation of the rules by “The Prince of Phenomenal” that kept the deciding match close.
Cesaro gave Woods a better fight in their own first-round clash both in and out of the game, as The King of Swing formally protested Woods’ involvement in the competition and threw his jacket in his opponent’s face to hand “The Father of UpUpDownDown” a narrow defeat. (As Woods had surrendered his GM post to enter the bracket, he was unable to formally disqualify The Swiss Cyborg for the infraction.) Yet Woods still advanced by a score of three wins to one, setting up a New Day final between the two SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
The heated exhibition between Banks and Bayley was up next. Having suffered various indignities at each other’s hands on UpUpDownDown already, the two went big for their partners, with whom they alternated for each match in the series. Banks recruited Evolution champion Hollywood Sleep, but Bayley’s selection of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite champion FChamp proved to be the difference-maker. After Banks overpowered Bayley in the opener, FChamp helped The Huggable One rally from a one-match deficit, kicking off an unanswered three victories and landing an insane 130-hit combo on Sleep that carried them to the win.
In a raucous, locker-room clearing final that was dubbed “The Battle for Big E’s Love” by the announce team, Kofi Kingston, down 2-0 against Woods’ squad of Ghost Rider & Dormammu, ripped off three straight wins with the team of Thanos & The Hulk to claim the WWE x IGN trophy.
“Mr. 24/7’s” glory was short-lived, however, as commentator Greg Miller — who had antagonized Woods from jump — attempted to poach Kofi away from UpUpDownDown, only to suffer a pie to the face from Woods for a night’s worth of hostilities.
Miller did not take this well. The Trending Gamer of the Year denounced the entire tournament as rigged to benefit The New Day, smashed the trophy on the ground, tore the suit off his chest and swore an oath of vengeance against the UpUpDownDown originator. The event concluded before the two could mix it up properly, but in life, as in gaming, there’s always Round Two.