I don’t like to throw the word common around because it’s a overused word in the overall English language to justify routine, taken for granted chores. It’s a COMMON misconception that I always go to WWE wrestling shows when they come to NC. I go to many as I can afford to, that my schedule allows, within a ‘reasonable’ distance from where I live. I don’t take them for granted and realize that WWE is good to this area of the country twice a year at best and they’ve been especially good to the Carolinas this year.
The reason I’m pointing this out is I’ve been watching as a fan of the sport for as long as I can remember, in the NWA/WCW/WWF days from about the age of four or so on. I’ve been writing/commentating/studying wrestling as a writer/personality for the last ten years. I take my job seriously but not so seriously I forget what it is like to enjoy the tickets I paid for.
I give myself permission to be a fan too.
I went to this past RAW in Fayetteville, NC live, ringside with my mother, grandmother and my younger sister. Paying $45 per seat, and was literally sick the entire weekend, I was going to have a good time no matter what. I’m truly amazed at how people will pay so much money for incredibly close seats to sit on their ass and not react, or stand with their arms folded. The entire ‘point’ of wrestling as a outlet is to get out your aggressions, stress and frustrations by yelling/reacting for and against the wrestling talent. There’s nothing that frustrates me more than being so close to the action and the ones besides us having the most fun is a young John Cena fan matching my RVD chant. I was just happy he was having a good time. It was definitely a little challenging for our section I must admit, we were on the side facing the beautiful Lilian Garcia, and the moment we get to section 52, security tells us we can’t have signs because of how the cameras are positioned, and took away our signs immediately. We were the only section to my knowledge with zero signs. Luckily we were able to rescue our signs after the show so all the hard work put in wasn’t for complete naught. It was a let down for many, with no advance warning and no exceptions. However, we were fifth row, we had a great view, I wanted to have a good time considering the pay per view was a let down.
It was a solid show and a historical RAW that will stand out for a few reasons. The return of Trish Stratus which completely surprised me losing cleanly to Mickie James, putting me in Heaven because I’m a big fan of both. Melina and Johnny Nitro came out immediately, with no explanation to how Mickie James felt about not getting to enjoy her victory. Melina tried to pass the Trish Stratus torch to herself, basically saying she was the top diva now (interesting, Mickie’s the champion, now Trish is simply just a Diva?) and how Nitro was the only guy on RAW with a single men’s championship (good point). Trish of course took exception to this and tried to go after Melina, Nitro stepped in because he’s good at showing his abs, wearing his belt in a sexual manner and milking off Melina’s sex appeal, giving Carlito a chance to run down to save the Canadian princess. Carlito had gave what many have said, and I agree with, the best match of his WWE career on Sunday so he deserves a strong push. I suppose with the lack of wrestling divas to have non-repeating programs, you have to have the ‘sexual’ pairs of Trish/Carlito and Melina/Nitro to have a seemingly brand new program. I’m waiting to see how Shelton decides to interject himself in this, it was his IC belt afterall.
Edge was a strong heel throughout and at least my eyes saved the main event for my personal tastes by interfering, therefore,Rob Van Dam didn’t lose the WWE belt, and John Cena didn’t win but still took out both superstars. Lita looked pretty bored in general to be there and the bangs have got to go, they are completely unflattering to her face. Their sprint up the steps to the merchandise table was at a amazing speed and was fun to watch with security hovering over them the entire time. Edge at least has a definition to his character right now, a Brian Pillman type loose cannon who isn’t trying to please the fans whatsoever.
To give credit where it’s due since I’ve been accused of being too hard on John Cena’s lack of showcase of wrestling ability, John Cena is however, sounding good on his promos when it comes to ECW and RVD. For the first time in over a year, Cena seems to have a sense of purpose in his promos and the confidence is showing. He also had a good match with Rob Van Dam to close out the show and the fans were loving every minute of it. It was easy to get lost in the action and in the moment, no matter who you were cheering for. For every RVD fan or cheer, there were eight more cheering John Cena fans, so without question John Cena is like Hulk Hogan of today. The fans do respect RVD I feel but they really wanted a WWE World Title change to happen for their Soldier. I like finishes to matches, however, the finish made sense, it keeps Edge in the title hunt, it made it appear that Cena had RVD where he wanted him and RVD still gets to hold onto both titles.
The most memorable and “my money was well spent” moment of the night was without the D-Generation X Holy Shit! segment. I’m blown away by the mixed reaction by writers on this one. DX is over with the fans, the two most prevalent fan signs and t-shirts were Cena and DX merchandise. It went over for the crowd for the night since Ric Flair wasn’t present, second to Cena’s reaction. I’ve been reading complaints about how it’s been done before, how it’s too much like 1998 and it went too long. Shawn Michaels as Shane McMahon was spot on, and the over exaggeration of Shane McMahon made sense. It’s not a tribute, it’s a mockery. That’s what Shane “does” – he kisses up and he dances around like he’s fencing a sword. Triple H as Father In Law Mr. McMahon was classic, from the voice to the strut to the posing, I generally enjoyed it all. The “dick” jokes made sense, with the idea to irk McMahon some more and actually show some consistency to last week’s pranks. Showing the Vince McMahon “Stand Back” package was appropriate and never stops being hilarious all it’s own. I had a hard time deciding what to watch, the video in it’s entirety or Shawn and Triple H dancing around in the ring. When the shit hit the fan, pun intended, as the portapotty was lowered and the heels were dunked in simulated shit, the segment was a memorable moment to be apart of. DX has turned out to be the freshest thing on RAW yet remaining retro without losing it’s ability to have and be fun.
Of course this means next week they will get punked.
The further push of Charlie Haas, Lilian Garcia and Viscera storyline continues and at least they all have something to do, all because Haas is careless and clumsy when bouncing off the ropes. I’m hoping the pay off will somehow be a Lilian heel turn on Vis just so she can get out of that storyline for a while, however, Lilian is really popular live, especially in places like Fayetteville. The army airborne boys up front LOVED her and chanted for her every chance they got. Lilian will blow kisses, flirt and smile for anyone who calls out to her. I admit to being a Lilian loyalist because of her fan interaction, natural good looks and her incredible singing talent. The WWE could play off her knowing Spanish and interact with Estrada in a comical way at some point in the future as a example of a way to keep her in a storyline that doesn’t necessarily involve Viscera.
Another plus yet minus to the show was NC’s own Ric Flair. He wasn’t really there, selling the “injuries” from the pay per view, but taped a really good promo from his home in Charlotte. It’s hard not to feel like WWE gives us Ric Flair at not the level we want him when I go tot the shows. Last time I went to a WWE RAW before this show was in Greensboro and he wasn’t used properly then either. He’s been through far worse than what he went through at Vengeanceand showed up the next day, and I know he’s getting older, but NC fans pay to see and experience Ric Flair.
Now for the minuses:
The New Diva Search. Seriously, no interest when all the contestants look and sound the same. Here’s a thought, quiz them on their wrestling knowledge. It’s not a foreign concept, beautiful women can indeed know a wrist watch from a wrist lock and then some. I really wish the diva searches would stop all together. The two best were Christy Hemme and Maria and Maria didn’t even win the entire thing and Christy is now with TNA. I hope at the very least WWE will not make the new diva wrestle before they are ready, if they are ever ready. The segments were annoying to the live crowd and not engaging. Here’s a thought, hire women who work their way up, who wrestle or show some talent, not because they are a hot model.
Umaga versus Other 80s Legends. Poor Kamala and Kim Chee. The real talent is Estrada and that’s who the fans connect with. No one stands a chance against Umaga people want to know what the pay off is. Maybe it’ll be Abdulah the Butcher that beats him. The most entertaining thing about the mach other than Estrada, was watching Kamala sell everything by twitching his legs.
The push of Torrie Wilson. Is she really that popular? What exactly is she contributing? Yes she’s pretty but there’s nothing fresh going on with her. There was no major buzz when she came out, the obligatory appreciation for her beauty but nothing special.
Brooke Hogan Doing A Britney Spears Impersonation. Everyone talked during this segment or got up to do anything but watch the video. What a horrible forced five minutes of our time. I have zero problem with her but is it really necessary to make wrestling fans hear pop music if they don’t wish to? You mean because she’s Hogan’s kid she automatically gets a stronger musical push than Lilian who sings for the WWE at most shows? Does that mean if Nick becomes a successful actor we’ll be forced to watch his future film trailers too?
Kane Drags Fake Kane. Though I thought it was a hilarious plus to the show, I really hope it’s over now but there’s no guarantee of that. Showing his face would have been the end I thought, so I’m reluctant to say it’s a full plus.
The card was strong for a after-PPV RAW and I had a really good time all things considering. Writers (not excluding myself at times of frustration) have to remember to try to enjoy the show and to also be objective, but never forget why we were fans in the first place – you can have passion and constructive criticism at the same time.
Be sure to listen to the newest pro wrestling show called Pro Wrestling Advocates, a new free form wrestling talk show from 1 to 4pm EST, for more information visit www.xradio.biz/lasvegas. To call in on Sunday, the local number is 702-253-7070 or nationwide 1-866-431-7070. I’ll be calling in during the second hour each week with hosts Renegade and Big Poppa G!
Always remember, for things to change, you have to make movement. Thanks for reading and for all the feedback, feel free to contact me anytime at Bam@insidepulse.com.