For those of you who didn’t know, the reason I did not do a live RAW Review last night was because I was at the show in person. Figured I would throw some thoughts in from my night at the show.
-The lower and middle bowls of the First Niagara Center were filled. The upper deck was about 40% full. I’ve been to shows where it has been completely sold out (RAW leading up to Wrestlemania 29 where The Rock appeared) and shows where the lower bowl was full and half the middle bowl was full (Smackdown taping). It was about what the WWE usually does when they come here.
-Nothing special from the Superstars tapings. Right before RAW was about to start, literally about 30 seconds before the intro aired, Lillian Garcia announced that John Cena was unable to attend the show and fans wanting refunds had 20 minutes to do show. I figured he wasn’t going to be there since he was pulled from advertisements the week before the show. While it got some boos from the crowd, I think I maybe saw five or six people get up and leave right after the announcement.
-The surprise return of Mr. McMahon got the pop of the night. Pretty nice surprise following the Cena announcement. Vince definitely looks his age in person. I couldn’t hear anything that was being said in the ring because of the crowd. One thing you learn from being at a show then watching it on TV is the crowd is much louder in person.
-My favorite part of the night was getting to enjoy some good wrestling. Dean Ambrose vs Cesaro and Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler were very good matches. The Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins and Sheamus vs Rusev matches started off slow but picked up half way through and got the crowd re-invested in the matches.
-Randy Orton was definitely over. I was actually surprised at how over Orton was. I wasn’t expecting him to get as good of a reaction as he did. At the beginning of the Orton/Rollins match, the crowd chanted “KYLE Orton” for the first five minutes or so. For those of you that don’t know, Kyle Orton is the current Buffalo Bills QB who is playing well and has the team at 5-3 right now. I think it was just a byproduct of being in Buffalo, and nothing against Orton himself.
Now of course, I have a problem with the way Orton was booked. He may have still been over, but how he turned face was just so stupid. He was beat clean so he decides to go after the Authority? That makes no sense. There is almost no reason to be mad at the bad guys in that situation. It’s part of the WWE’s problem: They have NO IDEA who to book a babyface properly. Just go down the line. Ambrose probably has been booked the best but even he has had some rough patches recently.
-By the time the 3rd hour came around a lot of the crowd, myself included, was getting exhausted. Wrestling, outside of PPVs, just isn’t meant to be 3 hours. Especially when half the same people are appearing throughout the show. HHH and Steph had to be on for at least a full hour. A three hour RAW can work if booked properly, but that isn’t happening with the current crop of writers the WWE has.
-There was never really a point where the crowd turned on a match completely. The Big Show/Mark Henry match got a quick “Eric Wood” chant after they showed the Bills before the match. I’ve seen some bad shows in person. I was once at a RAW where we had a back-to-back pre taped segments of The Rock and Shawn Michaels, then saw a main event of Alex Riley vs John Cena in a cage.
-Last word of advice: NEVER be near the barricade at all when a wrestler is thrown into it. My friend lost her beer when Cesaro threw Ambrose into the barricade. And when Orton through Rollins into the barricade, I was on the metal part and it ricochets all the way to the metal part and I felt it in the mid-section.
I always say shows are more fun live than on TV (and when you have a little alcohol in you.) I rewatched the show this morning and probably would have given it a 6 or 7 if I watched it on TV. It had some good wrestling that somewhat hid the poor storytelling throughout the show.