WWE Raw onsite report: Zack Zimmerman's in-person perspective on Raw including the Daniel Bryan angle, Randy Orton attacking John Cena's father, Ultimate Warrior's WWE Hall of Fame announcement
By Dot Net staffer Zack Zimmerman
Good crowd in Providence. 'The Dunk' holds about 12,000 (less with the stage and ring setup) and was a visual sellout. There were only sporadic empty seats throughout the arena.
Providence has a loyal base of wrestling fans who create great environments for groups like Beyond Wrestling and Ring of Honor. The energy of this Raw crowd was likely boosted by those fans being in attendance.
With no in-ring promos, minimal authority figure involvement, and six matches through the first two hours, it was the most wrestling-heavy Raw I've attended and one of the easiest to sit through.
Why is babyface Big Show making a habit out of abusing senior citizens?
The New Age Outlaws turning on C.M. Punk was really unexpected. The crowd was 100 percent into the duo and didn't seem to quite get the logic in of going through that much of the match, only to set up a turn. Reserving final judgement until the payoff, the first step did leave a slight gap in logic.
It was neat seeing Emma in the crowd with her #EMMAtaining sign. I'm not sure how much was made of her on TV, but being the resident NXT guy, this had me excited. Only a handful of people in the arena were aware of who she was or that she wasn't just a fan.
The Ultimate Warrior's Hall of Fame announcement went over well, especially with the casual fans in attendance. It was audible/visible that most of the fans older than 25 had memories of him. The fans under 20 seemed intrigued by the brightly-colored maniac of a character and will likely be rediscovering him with his induction.
The crowd was into everything until the Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston match put everyone to sleep. People didn't seem to like Orton or care about Kofi. Loud "boring" and "Cena's better" chants throughout. This single-handedly killed the crowd until the closing angle.
Orton attacking John Cena Sr. (a/k/a Johnny Fabulous) did a lot to get John Cena (Jr.) over as a babyface. Regardless of how fans may feel about him usually, he had the crowd behind him after that. Johnny Fabulous is over.
They're doing some cool things with The Usos. On Smackdown, they got to cut an old-school, back-to-basics wrestling promo backstage after their loss. On Raw, they showed half of each's face cutting a promo going into the main event. They're stepping a foot outside the box in terms of production and doing a nice job of helping the duo stand out.
The reaction to Bryan breaking free was absolutely on par with the energy of the Raw after Mania 2013 crowd. Due in parts to the quick and unexpected nature of the turn, the exuberance and exultation of the crowd, and Bryan's innate popularity, we got a glimpse of what WWE had been suppressing. When something inspires a reaction like that, it's time to take notice and stop fighting the current.
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