Raw was live in Milwaukee, Smackdown was taped in Green Bay. And since Tuesday is my day off, I decided to go to my first live wrestling event. I was going to wait until after Smackdown aired to post my thoughts, but I work late on Fridays (and I don't even have cable) so my Saturday Morning Slam and WWE Superstars info wouldn't be very useful then.
The preview on the arena's website said:
Originally posted by The Resch Center WebsiteMAIN EVENT SHEAMUS VS. ALBERTO DEL RIO & RANDY ORTON IN A NO DISQUALIFICATIONS TRIPLE THREAT MATCH FOR THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP! APPEARING IS WWE COO TRIPLE H FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A YEAR!
SEE ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE SMACKDOWN SUPERSTARS INCLUDING: CHRISTIAN CODY RHODES DREW MCINTYRE THE GREAT KHALI NATALYA AND MORE!!!
*CARD IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE*
Well one of those two events happened and two of those five superstars appeared. I don't know how that thing about Triple H was even supposed to be true. It clearly doesn't mean on WWE Television, as I don't think he's had more than a couple months away from TV since being named COO. It also doesn't mean Smackdown specifically, because he's appeared at least as recently as the September 30, 2011 Smackdown, which was a couple weeks before the October 10th show where Vince McMahon relieved him of his duties as Raw GM [but left him as COO]. Was it somehow supposed to mean his first time appearing in Green Bay in more than a year?
WWE.COM's event preview, which presumably was written much more recently, listed the following superstars in attendance: Randy Orton, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Triple H, Kane, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Booker T, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, Damien Sandow, Ryback, Natalya. Most of that is right, but Triple H, Christian, and Daniel Bryan were nowhere to be seen.
Doors opened about 6:10 for the 7:00 pm start. Outside, there were flyers being handed out for the local indy show, which probably happens everywhere (Sabu *and* Val Venis? Sign me up!). I didn't bring a sign because I don't really care and I had a suspicion that I would end up on the camera side anyway. That didn't happen, but I was 3rd row off the floor about 10 seats to the right of the stairs that will at the right edge of your screen most of the time. In retrospect I should have had a Damien Sandow "You're welcome" sign. Strangest people I saw was a teenager who had his face painted up like Goldust, and the guy in a #79 Dolphins jersey with the name Dickerson on the back. I guess that's one of those customizable jerseys, because no one named Dickerson has ever made the active roster for the Dolphins.
I was sitting next to a middle aged woman who was there alone, and on the other side of me it was two of Green Bay's eight African American wrestling fans.
The show starts with Lilian Garcia's music playing. I can't find her titantron video anywhere online. It was mostly her frolicing in a bikini next to some guy. She did a little bit of talking, then quickly led us to our fist match.
WWE Superstars: Jinder Mahal vs. Yoshi Tatsu. Yoshi got a pretty good pop, but I guess that might be the "first face to come out" pop. Mahal got boos, which is better than some heels got. He won by submission.
After the match, Matthews and Striker came out and they did the Superstars opening.
Ryback vs. Johnny Curtis. Legit pop for Ryback. Silence for Johnny Curtis. Goldberg chants right at the beginning but Ryback was able to cover them up with "Feed Me More" chants pretty quickly. You don't need me to tell you how it ended. It looked like Ryback botched one of his power moves: Curtis got out of it without any damage and it didn't really look like he had reversed it or anything. They did a few other spots then he tried it again and finished it.
We got an ad for "No Holds Barred" (available on DVD and streaming; watch it then listen to Joe Gagne and Justin Shapiro discuss it) while they changed the set to Saturday Morning Slam. William Regal also snuck out while the ad was airing.
Saturday Morning Slam: Sin Cara vs. Michael McGillicuty. Cheers for Sin Cara, silence for McGillicuty. Sin Cara botched a head scissors that was supposed to take McGillicuty out of the ring, and I think he botched his reversal of an attempted McGillicuty powerbomb too. He won the match though.
Big E. Langston vs. Bronson Bay (already in the ring). Bronson was billed from Minneapolis, MN, but that may not be true. He is apparently out of NWA Wisconsin / Wisconsin Pro Wrestling. Wikipedia says Big E debuted about a month ago on NXT, but if you haven't seen him, he's basically Black Ryback. He did a triple backbreaker that was pretty impressive. It looks more realistic than the triple powerbomb Brock Lesnar used to do.
We get a video explaining how awesome Cena is because he does all that Make-A-Wish stuff, then an ad for Rock's DVD while they change to the Smackdown! set. Michael Cole is introduced and comes to the ring (with music and Titantron). We get the Smackdown open.
Sheamus comes to the ring, and he's got something on his mind: Triple H. Triple H is the best and the smartest, and it's a darn shame that it looks like he's leaving. Well at least that's consistent: Sheamus was one of the few guys who didn't walk out on Triple H last October, which led to him being fired as General Manager (but kept on as Chief Operating Officer) by Vince McMahon under the authority of the Board of Directors.
His verbal BJ is interrupted by Damien Sandow (You're welcome). They do some verbal sparing until Sheamus invites him to back up his words in the ring. Sandow declines, and we get Smackdown GM Booker T's music as he comes to the ring. He says there will in fact be a match between Sheamus and Sandow later tonight.
Coming back from commercial, we get Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes. Rey gets the win, but is beaten down by Rhodes post-match. Save comes from Sin Cara, who helps Rey regain control, Rey lets him hit Cody with a 619, and then Sin Cara puts a duplicate of his Sin Cara mask over Cody Rhodes face. Post match they noticeably retighten the ring ropes. We saw the first part of the Anger Management segment from Raw. Does Smackdown reguarly have all these recaps from Raw?
Eve Torres comes to the ring to be on commentary (titantron shows clip from "Raw two weeks ago") Natalya vs. Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn gets the win, and I don't think Eve even interfered post match (which seems to be the only reason that WWE ever puts someone in for commentary).
We go backstage where Josh Matthews is interviewing Booker T. He asks him about what's been going on with AJ Lee, the way she got in that fight with Vickie and then set up the Jericho / Ziggler match. Booker says he had high hopes for AJ, she's young with some good ideas, but she clearly overstepped her bounds in those two areas. Vickie interrupts to tell them both that she's talked to the Board of Directors, and they've promised to do something about AJ. Because if they don't, Vickie will.
Raw Rebound covers Lawler / Punk. After that we get the 2nd part of the Anger Management scene from Raw. And then it's time for
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow This was my favorite match. Not a five star wrestling classic, but I couldn't help being amused at the story of the match.
Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
Sheamus won by countout.
Coming back from break, Donald Driver and his two children are ringside. Next is Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd (with Gabriel's titantron and presumably his music) vs. the Primetime Players. Have the Players always done that dance? I heard Darren Young say "Millions of Dollars" while he was on the apron, which pleased me. PTP got the win.
We see the 3rd part of the Anger Management clip from Raw. Then we get a promo for the Judge Dredd movie? I was unaware that WWE had any relationship with that.
Alberto del Rio comes to the ring to have an interview with Josh Matthews. He takes offense to Josh's question and reminds him of the time he was beat up by Kane. Alberto says what he's going to do is worse than what Kane did. HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE as Kane makes his way out to the ring. Del Rio bails. Kane takes the mic and tells Josh that because of his anger management classes, he needs to apologize for what he did before. He is sorry. He drops the mic and gets ready to leave the ring. We get Teddy Long's music as he comes to the ring, and tells Kane and Del Rio that they're going to have a match together. Next.
Kane vs. Del Rio: Man, Kane's pyros sure are noticeable in person. They seem like they normally do a pretty good job hiding them from the camera angles. Kane got the lose, which confused me. Then it became clear that the loss had caused a huge surge of anger which he apparently doesn't quite know how to deal with. He threw Josh Matthews into the ring, gave him the chokeslam, and then had an excuse to set off his pyros. After the match Matthews limped his way out with help from 4 or 5 people, and they recorded to show as a "Moments ago" clip. Cole handled the rest of the show solo.
Vickie Guerrero came out to introduce Dolph Ziggler. It was time for: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler. They traded some near falls and Orton got the win. Vickie got the mic and said something that I couldn't hear (I think it was how Ziggler was still Mr. Money in the Bank or something). And Smackdown ended.
After that we got our scheduled triple threat no disqualification match for the World Heavyweight Championship with ADR, Sheamus, and Orton. It was done in the traditional WWE triple threat style where each of them took turns getting thrown out of the ring so that the other two could fight. Of course the winner was never in doubt, and Sheamus took 3 or 4 laps around the ring interacting with fans.
We got something somewhere where the titantron said "NEXT: GAME OVER?" but nothing really happened with that. I don't know if they were just recapping what happened on Raw just like all the other stuff or whether something is going to get inserted there that we didn't get to see.
I still have a headache from the pyro, and I'm a little disappointed that Brodus Clay, or Christian, or Antonio Cesaro, or Daniel Bryan, or Hornswoggle (I know, but he's from the area. With Mr. Anderson in TNA now, Hornswoggle's all we got). On the way out, I heard someone else say that they were disappointed that Triple H didn't show up. Triple H is way over, which shows how stupid the average fan is I guess. All in all, it was ... alright. I'd probably go again, but try to get cheaper seats.
Sounds like the A typical nothing happens on Smackdown show. I hate when they tease stuff online or in ads and nothing comes out of it. If I were a HHH fan, I'd be pissed too. As for the show, I hope Sandow/Sheamus is the next feud after ADR, because I am past the point of being sick of him.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
I would encourage you to check out your local indy. If not this show than another live event. It's the difference between going to a mega-star rock show and going to an indie music show: more intimate, more opportunities to connect one on one, better seats for less money.
In the case of indy wrestling, you will almost certainly get more actual wrestling. They might tease with you something to encourage you to come back, but almost all indy wrestling shows are built on the principle of "put on the best show you can right now, because this will be someone's first chance to see us and we want them to come back."
I can't speak for Sabu in 2012, but when we booked him in 2006 and he wrestled for us in Montreal literally a day before his Raw debut, he had every reason to either no-show or slack off the day before his big opportunity on the big stage. I am not sure if it is because he paired him with PCO or because we sold just under 1,000 tickets in a venue that amplified their presence (the sadly since torn down punk rock venue The Medley) but Sabu brought his working shoes and out on a fantastic match.
(I prefer to think that that was his professionalism.)
From what I know of Val Venis, he is very good live at indy events.
In any case, the purpose of Sabu and Val Venis is to sell casual fans and then hook you with the local guys. Also, you hope that wrestling against Sabu and Val Venis will give the local guys valuable experience. (I note that NWA Wisconsin isn't putting Sabu and Val Venis against one another which is smart.)
Many times (if you're lucky) the local guys have loads of talent but lack the size or shape to be featured in the WWE. I am very lucky because I get to watch Kevin Steen and El Generico on a regular basis, along with guys who helped them get good - Sexxxy Eddy, 3.0, the Super Smash Brothers and the guys who are scary good but will never get a chance at the WWE - Speedball Mike Bailey, Psycho Mike Rollins, Twiggy, Dirty Buxx Belmar.
Long story short (too late) I would encourage anyone to check out their local indy wrestling fed. It won't be the WWE, but in some (hopefully many) ways it will be better.
Of course "Closer than Ever" is a pretty vague statement, seeing as "Never Close at All" has pretty much been the line since WCW went under, even after he and Rocky started chatting up their match possibilites.