My friends Roger, Mark and myself have gone to every Wrestlemania since WM17. But that streak ended this year. So instead the WWE came to us! It was the first time in 22 years that they graced our country with a show, so it was something we wanted to be part of. But just to show the changing dynamic of our group (also part of the reason we can no longer go to WM) we were not alone. We brought friends, fiancees, wife and kids.
My fiancee Niki and I went to Rotterdam early so we could do some shopping and sight seeing (she moved from the USA in December) There were a handful of people wearing wrestling shirts (including Cena) already roaming the town. At some point we came across a store where Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyles were signing pictures. There was a line inside the store so we decided to keep on walking. If I cannot be bothered to hunt for autographs at WM I'm sure not going to do it here.
Eventually we all met up at the arena which was pretty much sold out. One nosebleed section was tarped off and I guess there were about 8-10,000 people. The crowd was pretty into it, though being stoic Dutchies that we are, there were no huge 'wooooo' or 'yes' chants before it started. Also, only one minor Fandango-theme occurrence. It was good to see and hear them enjoy it, since WWE is not on tv here. Yet most people seemed up to date with stories and angles.
Justin Roberts was our ring announcer, and the show got on the way with: Zack Ryder vs Heath Slater. There was decent back-n-forth action. Surprisingly there were some boos for Ryder (who was in full face WooWooWoo mode) Ryder won with the rough rider in about 5 minutes.
2nd match: Antonio Cesaro vs R-Truth Truth did a long rap while coming to the ring, it seemed different from his regular lyrics. Both men hit all of their spots, Cesaro jawjacked with the crowd quite a lot which got him some great heat. In the end, after about 8 minutes, it was R-Truth that hit his finisher and got the win.
3rd match: The Bella twins & Tamina vs The Funkadactyles & Kaitlyn Decent match, with the heels dominating the Funk girls, eventually leading to Kaitlyn getting the hot tag. After cleaning house, the heels came back, shenanigans happened leading to the Funkadactyles taking out the Bellas, Kaitlyn then got the pin.
4th match: William Regal vs Michael McGillicutty I got my hopes up that this would be the night of the genesis of McGillicutty tonight, but this night belonged to Regal. The crowd erupted in cheers when he came out, and chanted for him through out the match. He definitely soaked it in and played to it, as he and M.M. had a nice little comedy match where Regal would wrestle circles around him then turned to the crowd for adoration. McGillicutty in the mean time kept yelling that Regal was old and we should cheer for him. It was funnier when you were there I guess Regal won in the end with the knee trembler. Best part was when there was a "you still got it" chant and he just shook his head & his finger in denial.
Next (5th)match was Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship. Earlier in the night, we were told we could tweet to decide if it was a title match or not. Ziggler also cut a promo earlier about it. Obviously, it was a title match. We got a nice match that went for nearly 20 minutes, back and forth action. The crowd was very into it, we even started believing that just maybe Bryan could get the win Lots of pin falls, reversals and what not. The finish came when Bryan went for the flying head butt and AJ pulled him down and crotched him. As he fell off the ropes, Ziggler hit the ZigZag and that was it. Post-match, Ziggler gloated over Bryan's body who quickly pulled him in for the No-lock. He then posed with the title until the ref took it away from him.
We then got an intermission and when we started again we got 6th match: Tons of Funk vs Team Rhodes Scholars The match started with Brodus doing some dance moves. Sandow stopped him and did his cartwheel in response. The match itself was what you'd expect. Damien and Cody work over the face who fights back with power. End game was Sandow trying to use brass knucks, when Naomi runs in and headscissors him. Brodus gives him a splash and it's over. Time to dance.
7th match: Kane (with tag title) vs Big E Langston (with AJ). Pretty standard match for five minutes when suddenly Ziggler runs in and interferes. Bryan follows and Vickie Guerrero comes out to say she doesn't allow this kind of behavior. So obviously she turns it into a tag match. Five more minutes of action where all the spots are hit. Bryan takes out Big E, Kane chokeslams Dolph, and then Bryan does hit the flying goat headbutt and he gets the pin.
Post-match, Kane and Bryan fight over who gets to hold the tag title until as expected, Kane wants to hug it out. Before they do, Kane holds out the belt like he was a matador and Bryan charges at him like a bull a few times. The crowd goes nuts for this little bit.
8th match: WWE champ John Cena vs Ryback in a tables match for the WWE title The obvious Let's go Cena/Cena sucks chants and several Goldberg chants accompany the match. Nothing special here, though I still love the meathook clothesline. The end comes with both of them fighting while Cena sits on the toprope. Eventually they come down, Ryback picks him up for the finisher but Cena reverses into the AA to put him through the table. He celebrates for a few seconds before the show ends.
As I said at the beginning, it was the first WWE show in the Netherlands in over 20 years and I do hope they come back. Clocking in at two and a half hours (including intermission) and with several entertaining matches it was what I expected.
Highlights were the excellent Bryan-Ziggler match, the comedy of Bryan & Kane and Regal's antics which also got the biggest pops in general. The crowd was into all of it, and did several Fandango chants as well. The best thing about all of this was probably not having to travel to another country for the show itself. I was back home in my own bed an hour after the end of the show. Wooohooo.
Oh, and there was one more highlight. As requested, we tweeted with #wwerotterdam. And Cesaro decided to retweet one of mine. Wooohooo!:
Actually Colin and Ryan were always regulars on the later episodes over here in the UK. Greg Proops, Tony Slattery, Paul Merton, Josie Derby, and John Sessions usually filled out the other spots. And yes, it was much much better than the U.S version.