How are they like? Since I've never been to one, I wouldn't know. Do they have a mini titantron? Do they have an entrance? What?
"We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like that time I took the ferry over to Shelbyville; I needed a new heel for my shoe. So, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickle, and in those days, nickles had pictures of bumblebees on them. "Give me five bees for a quarter," you'd say. Now where were we? Oh yeah, the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have any white onions, because of the war; the only thing you can get was those big yellow ones..." -Abe Simpson
----------- WIENER OF THE DAY 03/01/02: The greatest day of my life.
I believe they vary--some have pyro, some don't. San Jose in December had nothing but music and a few lighting effects for the entrances. No screen of any kind.
I actually preferred it that way--there's no conflict between watching the ring and watching the screen. It always cracks me up to see guys in the front row ringside with their heads turned to the side, looking for themselves on the Titantron. Why did they pay the money if they're not going to watch the actual wrestlers twenty feet away?
#1 - get good seats. It's not worth it to sit in the nosebleed section. Going to a Televised event can be fun in the nosebleed sections, because a lot of it is promos and stuff you see on the TitanTron, so it doesn't matter where you sit. Plus just being part of the crowd and seeing the spectacle of the whole thing is a big part of the entertainment. But at a house show, you're going to be watching actual wrestling almost exclusively. If you've got good seats it's great. If you don't it sucks.
#2 - Apart from the wrestling, it's sometimes fun to go to house shows because you'll see stuff that you won't see on TV. A lot of times you'll get a preview of coming angles, as wrestler's will "pratice" a big match a house shows before doing it on TV. There are definitely some spots and match flows that aren't used on TV a whole lot - for instance be prepared for "heel says 'forget about this match, I'm heading to the back' but face chases him and tosses him back in the ring to be the opening to half the matches. Plus you might see some kayfabe broken and some matchups and endings you wouldn't see on TV. You'll see a lot of dumb (but sometimes funny) comedy spots. Also, expect faces to win almost all the matches, even if it's Tajiri vs. the Undertaker.
Essentially, when you only have to worry about entertaining the crowd, and not the TV audience, AND you don't have to worry about the current plots too much, the matches turn out different.
Don't be prepared for a whole lot of suspense. Anyone who's got a belt is retaining it. With all the belts going around, that's half the card at least. In non-title matches, you can essentially take it to the bank that the face will win. Also, while you do get 15 minute, well structured, fun-to-watch matches, don't expect any really big spots. Nobody is going to risk injury at a house show.
All the house shows I've been to have had regular entrance music. Depending on the size of the venue, they may or may not have a TitanTron. They'll almost never have big pyros.
All in all, they can be a lot of fun, especially if you go with friends and get good seats. The best analogy I can come up with is that it's somewhat like the atmosphere at a big minor-league baseball game.
I'm starting to wonder if the next big NXT payoff is going to be an invasion-style, HHH vs Vince storyline. They've been pretty open about HHH being the brains behind NXT that it makes me think they're setting something up.