Dot Net reader Mike attended Monday's WWE Raw in Roanoke, Va. and sent the following report on his experience.
This was my fourth or fifth televised WWE event. My brother-in-law and his son and daughter were with me, and they had never been to a televised WWE event before last night. We lined up about 45 minutes before doors opened, and at about 6:15, the rain really picked up. The natives got a little restless waiting for the venue to open, but once we were all inside, everyone seemed to calm down. We were among the first to get inside, so the lines at the merchandise stands weren't very long. My niece and nephew got a Miz shirt and C.M. Punk shirt, respectively.
We made our way into the arena, and settled in for Superstars. Afterward, the crowd seemed really hot for the live cut-in for USA, and for the start of the in-ring action. Then, before they went live for Raw, they introduced the announce team: Michael Cole got boos, JBL got cheers and almost tripped (he was also allegedly seen later "pounding a Bud Light" as it was described to me), and Jerry "The King" Lawler received cheers. When Raw went on the air, the crowd actually seemed a tiny bit gassed... until John Cena's music hit. The always mixed reaction was great, with the boos lasting a bit longer than the cheers. His comedy, however, fell a little flat. The place really erupted for Vickie Guerrero. That woman is a heat machine! When Ryback was announced, there was a mixed reaction, but by the end of the show, he was being booed and jeered by the majority of the crowd (myself excluded).
Randy Orton was out next, and he played to the crowd for pops. He tried hard to solicit cheers from the crowd throughout his match, and we gladly obliged. Damien Sandow got his usual heel response, and the crowd didn't seem to care for his parody of I Hear Voices... I, however, thought it was classic, and I'm sure the internet will eat it up this morning. The match ending seemed a little weird, as Orton was barely able to get off his "Viper's pose" before having to jump up and having to RKO Sandow. Eh. From where we were sitting, we couldn't see Orton getting KO'd by Big Show, as he just kind of popped around the corner and hit him, then ducked back behind the stage.
I was excited to see Chris Jericho, as the advertisements that I saw listed him as scheduled to appear. He was also only one of two Superstars to get pyro last night (the other was Kane; I don't count Ryback's explosions, there's no fireworks). I was disappointed, however, that he was only there to speak and not wrestle, but hey... I'll take it. When he brought out Tons of Funk, what I thought would be a bit of an eye roll moment turned into actual fun. I guess being there is really different than seeing it on TV, although I'm really looking forward to the day that they let Brodus Clay just snap on someone. But I digress...
Fandango, as well as Fandangoing, wasn't as over here in Roanoke as they seem to have been elsewhere. There were a few, far between dancers (myself and my brother-in-law included), and I've noticed that they put the "da-da's" on his entrance video. Still, there didn't seem to be as many people singing along. And then, there was R-Truth. And no one cared.
Daniel Bryan got a great reaction, but seemed to stumble a bit coming out of the blocks with his promo. The people around me audibly questioned why he referred to Skip as "THE Ryback." Of course, the crowd cheered when Kane turned Ryback around for his part of the promo.
Ricardo Rodriguez got his usual crowd response, as did Alberto Del Rio. As there was a commercial break between his and Dolph Ziggler's entrances, we thought it was funny that Del Rio stopped posing for a few minutes, then resumed when the show came back to air. Ziggler got a great mixed reaction, though it was mostly boos of course. Jack Swagger got his usual response for his appearance, and after what was a great match, looked like an animal with that ladder! I really enjoyed that bit of build towards Extreme Rules.
And then there were Divas and The Great Khali. And once again, no one cared. Ah well.
All I heard was SIERRA! HOTEL! and then the crowd erupted. Roanoke believes in The Shield! Since they were wrestling the team of Kofi Kingston and the Uso's, it made it kind of easy. Kofi got a good pop, but no one cared that the Uso's were on Raw. Some people in my section even inquired as to who they were. Sad. Anyhow, typical Shield work here, quick tags and separation. A good match for everyone involved, and Ambrose's front spike DDT type finisher looked especially heinous to me. Good job all around, the crowd ate it up.
Zack Ryder and Antonio Cesaro were next. Ryder got more of a response than Cesaro, who thankfully has abandoned the yodeling. Cesaro squashed Zack Ryder, and then got a mic and cut that... Out of place promo. I honestly thought that The Miz, who was advertised to return last night, was going to appear then, but Cesaro just finished his promo, and left. To no reaction.
Paul Heyman via satellite was next. A fun segment, until they went into the office of Paul Levesque. I'm sure that Triple H's real office probably has a closet the size of Mr. Levesque's office. Regardless, Brock Lesnar tearing the room a new one was fun to watch. The crowd reacted favorably to that, as well as Heyman's quips during the self guided tour. When Heyman launched into his string of "further and further's", and then Triple H's music started, the roof came off at the Roanoke Civic Center. I won't lie, I marked out like a little kid. But so did everyone else. We wished he'd done his full entrance, but again, we'll take what we can get, as he was unadvertised. He did stop his promo for a chant, but hey... it's The Game! I'll give him Pop Of The Night since it was unanimously positive.
Diva's six-person tag next. Bathroom break for many, but Kaitlyn got a decent reaction during the match, as did A.J. Lee before the match. As for the Bella's and the Funkadactyls, you guessed it... no one cared. Oh, and A.J. Yay. :)
Mark Henry is such a great heel. He turned the whole "What!?" bit against the live crowd, which made us laugh. Good work, big man. Sheamus got a big pop when he came out, and cut a generic "I'm a fun living, business-handling face" promo, but for a second there we thought they were actually going to go at it, until Wade Barrett came out as if to say "No, you will NOT take away this chance for the audience to see a champion lose." Ugh. Anyway, the bit with Sheamus feigning throwing Barrett into Henry was pretty funny. The ensuing beating by leather belt that Henry gave Sheamus, though, was not. Call it fake all you want, people; some things aren't choreographed. I saw a picture of his back following the bit, and it looked as painful as it sounded. The second to last lash was especially loud. Poor fella.
At this point, I still expected to see The Miz. So, when Kane's pyro went off, that idea was retired. The usual response for Kane, and far fewer Ryback supporters now, though still a vocal crowd. Kind of a short match for the TV main. After Ryback's win, the Shield's, Daniel Bryan's, and John Cena's entrances, the crowd was hot, and hated on Ryback hard for the chair jab and shot to Cena. I have to assume this is where TV went off the air, and we launched into our dark main event, which has changed twice already from Cena/Ryback/Sheamus vs. The Shield, to Cena/Del Rio vs. Ryback/Ziggler, to our current incarnation.
It was kind of a strange transition, with no announcement, just a bell ringing. Daniel Bryan caught the wrath of The Shield for a bit, then got the hot tag to Cena, who cleared it out until the DQ via chairshot. The Shield then went for the triple powerbomb on Cena, but Bryan recovered the chair and put an end to that. Cue Attitude Adjustment and Chokeslam, and the end.
I've been a fan of professional wrestling for a long time, but it's always so much fun to go to a live show and just mark out. You sit at home and analyze it, but when you're there in person, ain't nobody got time for that. My noobs in attendance had a great time, and can't wait to go to another one (I hear Richmond is in about a month... :) ).
1. Triple H
2. John Cena
3. The Shield
Honorable Mention: Randy Orton
1. Vickie Guerrero (The Human Heat Machine)
Honorable Mention: Michael Cole
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