59 Thoughts On WWE Live In London
The WWE swung into England’s green and pleasant land this Wednesday 7th September, in what was initially billed as a Network special, but later faded into an all but forgotten part of the latest international tour. I don’t think I’d be alone in saying I’d barely remembered I had tickets. WWE programming has recently been so geared around the Draft split that mentioning anything outside of it would seem superfluous and yet, partly thanks to a fleeting Sheamus’ comment, I dusted off the stubs and headed into London for an event that had devolved into a house show. That didn’t matter in the slightest. As most fans will know, sometimes the shackles can come off without the cameras there, and the performers are looser without the intense pressure of the lens. Below are my general thoughts of what was, inevitably, a quality event.
“Wasn’t this supposed to be a network special?” Said 10,000 people simultaneously entering the building.
A 72 year old woman in a Certified G shirt. Girl got game.
A whole family saunter past in merch. An old school DX shirt, a John Cena tee, a Lass Kicker and a Roman Reigns hat and shirt. Stereotypes abound, but it was like I could see in to my own future. Squad goals.
There’s immediately less unicorn horns than at Raw in London last April. Maybe it’s because they’re a rare commodity and we should stop ripping them off a defenceless animal’s head.
It’s always astounding how many people turn up for these events. You forget when you’re sitting alone, eyes strained, surrounded by coffee and chips at 3am to ensure you catch Raw live, that others do it too. Or rather they have a sensible night’s sleep and record it. Either way, every time I’m at a live event I get the feeling the UK could sustain a country specific WWE. Like an NXT, but in the UK. A developmental of sorts. Food for thought.
Only really just dawned that the tickets were booked pre Brand spilt and that this is a Raw specific event. No AJ styles. A grown man is now attempting not to weep in public. He is me.
New Day defend against The Club. So much noise for New Day, but a noticeable nothingness for Gallows and Anderson.
Big E grinding JoJo. Hard. That’s the kind of stuff you just can’t do on Raw.
Really. No one gives a shit about Gallows and Anderson.
A “Let’s go wrestlers” chant. That’s a thing of beauty.
I’ve never seen Anderson live before. He’s quite excellent. Gallows however, looks like he’s being puppeteered by a drunk sloth.
There’s a little girl next to us, can’t be older than 6, who is so into this that she might well explode. She’s got a unicorn horn, accompanying t-shirt and Booty-O’s and is screaming her little heart out. Dad is fully encouraging it, and apparently mum has her feet up watching Great British Bake-Off. Because that’s what middle-aged women do in England. Anyway, she’s just glorious. Squad goals.
Bo Dallas v hometown legend Neville is next and Curtis Axel is accompanying Bo to the ring. The Charisma Void is still employed everyone.
From a distance, Neville looks more like an action figure than I ever cared to believe.
Neville’s gone all Pistorius. To clarify, he’s not shooting people through doors, but he shook his leg so violently during a sleeper hold that it looked like it was a detached prosthetic.
This little girl next to me is giving me all the feels. Her dad is encouraging her to cheer for whoever she wants, even if it’s different to him. “Believe in who you feel you should believe in,” he declares impressively. Dad goals.
Neville is a Brit, but after winning, he declares himself a Geordie. Turns out, in London, Newcastle has more heat than an Al Pacino classic in a furnace.
Braun Strowman is fucking massive.
Strowman goes up against Goldust who actually gets in some offence. Watching the big man try and sell is hilarious. He is clearly not used to it.
Some amusing, but genuinely reverent “Oldust” chants creep around the building.
Let it be known that Goldust got a 2 count on Strowman.
Still think Strowman is just Big Show’s new gimmick.
Jojo announces that the Saracens are in the building. She has no idea who the Saracens are. Or what rugby is. They’re a successful rugby team, FYI.
JBL sends a recorded congratulations to the Saracens for their superb season. The only people who care about this, are the Saracens. They are roundly booed, presumably due to lack of popularity in them as a team and rugby as a sport.
The Shining Stars claim they are the greatest tag team of all time. The Shining Stars aren’t even the greatest gimmick of all Primo and Epico’s time…
Kids. Love. Big Show.
Big Show manhandling The Shining Stars in a comedy match. The kids are eating up the slapstick. Hell, so am I.
A girl nearby calls The Shining Stars “pipsqueeks”. What an awesome tag name that is. Put her on the writing staff immediately.
A single bit of ticker tape falls from the ceiling and the row behind are convinced that means a title change tonight. Sure. This isn’t Lowell, guys.
I’d bet my entire bank account, house, family, country, planet and universe on Cesaro winning the fourth match in the Best of a Bjillion Series.
“I think it’s time for Sheamus to change his hair.”
“Dreadlocks. With beads in.”
“That’ll help the chants.”
That’s a conversation I’ve just had.
Cesaro removed his elbow pad and hit Sheamus with the exposed joint. Immediate $500 fine.
In general, I find Sheamus a smidgen dull in the ring. However, that Rolling Senton off the top rope is bad ass.
Unsurprisingly, this match started slow, but as the pace picks up it’s definitely the best of them so far.
If you don’t reverse that Irish Cross Crucifix, you’re an idiot.
JoJo announces that there’s Roman Reigns merchandise available. The roof is almost blown across the Channel with a unanimous chorus of boos. When he turns up in person… That should be interesting.
Charlotte and Sasha Banks get the right responses. Flair flops like her daddy, and the older audience members nod and smile.
The crowd is quiet for the Women’s Title match. Not out of boredom, but out of intent focus and investment.
Jericho’s music hits and there’s pandemonium. If Reigns’ boos would’ve sent the roof to France, Jericho’s cheers would send it to Mars.
Even on his way to the ring, Jericho is a master. Just the way he carries himself, and in particular his right arm. He exudes arrogance and scornfulness and yet hasn’t thrown a punch or said a word. Hall Of Fame this man dammit.
Jericho’s promo is typically great. People cheer wildly and he asks why they’re booing. So they boo. Without exaggeration, he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. People are cheering because they want to, but booing with a smile on their face because they know they’re supposed to. It’s fascinating.
Reigns is booed for different reasons. And we’re about to get a heel received as a face against a face received as a heel. Odd dynamic.
The match begins, but Jericho demands the mic back after some female fans linger near the ring taking photos. “I’m sexier than Roman Reigns is.” Brilliant.
Not many Tye Dillinger fans in. Normally people scream “TEN” with abandon.
“Why are Jericho and Roman having a cuddle?” asks the adorable girl next to me during a grounded sleeper. I’m beginning to contemplate kidnapping her and raising her as my own.
Reigns is really good at falling down. I mean that without any sarcasm. Honestly.
A couple of “You can’t wrestle” chants aimed at Reigns, but they don’t catch on. I’m glad, because he really can. He’s a horrendous victim of circumstance, but this match with Jericho is quality.
Let it be known that Reigns was the only person who took time to sign things on the way out, although Zayn later high fives the entire front row from ringside to ramp.
Triple Threat combatants head to the ring, all three to huge ovation. Zayn, Rollins and Owens. This means A) They’re all over and B) THERE’S NO ENZO AND CASS.
No Enzo and Cass. That’s worth noting twice.
Owens knows how to be a title holder. He has that Jericho swag.
Rollins launched into a Suicide Dive, over rotated and landed square on the railing. Gives credence to the move’s name.
“Headlock Master” chant after Owens masters a headlock. Wonderful.
I want the Falcon Arrow and Blue Thunder Bomb to fall in love and make babies.
Rollins makes up for his botched Suicide Dive with a beautiful twisting Frog Splash.
This Triple Threat is why wrestling is awesome. It is right and proper that these three men are at the top of the card.
Rollins & Zayn teaming up to take out Owens after the bell. Then after some tension, they shake hands. Phase one of Rollins face turn, complete.
In the hideously long queue for the men’s bathroom post show, I notice an original Wembley Summerslam tee. How does he still have that?
A mom asks her son if he enjoyed it on their way out. “That was so sick,” he replies. That’s what it’s all about folks.
Tags: Big Show, Bo Dallas, Braun Strowman, Break The Walls Down, Cesaro, charlotte, Chris Jericho, Enzo and Cass, Goldust, Kevin Owens, Neville, New Day, RAW, Roman Reigns, sami zayn, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, Shinging Stars, The Club, WWE, WWELondon