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SMARK COUNTRY: Musings of a WWE Live Attendee

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the hiatus. The past several weeks have seen big changes, so I’ve been spread pretty thin. I’d like to give thanks to the good people at and to you, the readers, for your continued support.




This past week, I attended Monday Night Raw, live from Austin, Texas. For those who have never attended a live wrestling show, let alone a WWE event, you are depriving yourself of one of the most exhilarating experiences one could have watching a sporting event. The fans, the signs, the chants, the cheers, the beers, all coalesce into a maelstrom of regalement.

Being that this is the first actual televised show that I’ve been to in quite a while, I felt alienated, yet quite at home all at the same time. Some things have changed and some never will in the world of professional wrestling. As such, I have listed ten things of note that stood out to me whilst in attendance.

10.) Why do we have to put up with commercials at a live event? This is a serious question. Just because the people at home have to sit through dozens of commercials for the sake of advertising revenue doesn’t mean the people who pay good money for tickets should have to be bombarded in the same way.

9.) Merchandise is not as outrageously priced as one would expect. Well, not all of it anyway. Most of the t-shirts were between twenty and thirty dollars, which is a tad higher than in stores, but not unreasonable. Shield dog tags were going for ten dollars, which is very reasonable. Masks varied in cost, and though I’d be willing to pay twenty for a Goldust or Stardust mask, asking that much for Luke Harper’s sheep mask is a bit absurd.

8.) Even in a two minute match, Dolph Ziggler is still better than 90% of the WWE roster. Watching him in action live TRULY makes one resent WWE upper management for not pushing Zig as the main event star he was born to be.

7.) The Wyatt family has captivated wrestling fans in a way that no other heel faction has since the nWo back in 1996. From the cell phone lights during their dark entrance to the ring, to the children singing along “He’s Got the Whole World…In His Hands”, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan are lightning in a bottle. Bray is, arguably, one of the biggest heels on the active roster. And not any kids within listening distance booed him. Not a single one.

6.) It is much more difficult to run into superstars around the arena to interact with than it was years ago. Running into Jeff Hardy or Bobby Roode at a TNA show was awesome. Seeing Val Venis or Grandmaster Sexay at old WWE shows around the arena was a treat. Stumbling across the Giant (now the Big Show) backstage, right after he choke-slammed Diamond Dallas Page onto a dislodged WCW sign, truly made me appreciate these larger than life athletes as human beings, that aren’t impervious to injury. I can understand though, the wrestlers’ desire to stay low key. They probably have more multimedia exposure and because of their rigorous schedules, they most likely do all they can to be incognito.

5.) Not as many people carry signs these days. The Raw and Nitro shows that I attended ten to twenty years ago occasionally required standing up for extended periods due to the sheer number of people in the arenas holding signs. The last three shows that I’ve gone to, not so much. Could it be because of the PG rating and more children are in attendance than in the past two decades? Or are there more casual fans just getting into the sport nowadays? I haven’t been able to discern.

4.) Seeing big men not get winded as much as in years past is a pleasant surprise. The bodybuilder fetish that Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis harbored created an environment where these chiseled musclemen, who couldn’t wrestle and were easily winded, kept getting hired. How times have changed. Guys like Sheamus, Titus O’Neil, Big E, Rusev and the like, these athletes fire on all cylinders and rarely slow down and resort to rest holds for extended periods…EVEN DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK. I have much respect for these guys’ conditioning.

3.) There is much less talking and much more wrestling. The Attitude Era, as much as I loved it, was guilty of having nearly half the program eaten up by long winded vignettes and promos, and not all of the superstars were as talented mic workers as Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. It is good that booking, in recent years, has tried to fit in as many matches to a program as possible.

2.) Six months after his departure and the CM Punk chants haven’t died down yet. The chants are to be expected during AJ Lee’s matches, as she recently married Phil Brooks (Punk). But Lee wasn’t even on the card and yet three different times during the show, very loud and very enthusiastic CM Punk chants started. Once during a commercial break. Yes, the show has gone on, but I just have a feeling that the not nearly sold out arena that I was in could have sold out if Punk had been present.

1.) John Cena’s target demographic might be tiring of his shtick. Cena was not in attendance, but when his name was mentioned, even little kids were booing him. Little. Kids. Were. Booing. John. Cena. I truly thought that I was in Bizarro World…or in Canada (wonder who’ll get that joke). This is the second time in two years that I’ve been to a show and a large portion of kids and women, Cena’s main fan base, have turned against him. Perhaps we are long overdue for a heel turn. McMahon and company are still under this foolish impression that a Cena heel turn will make little kids stop watching the program or buying merchandise. To counter that, I have two words. Hollywood Hogan.

Do you think any of my observations are inaccurate or off-base? If you’ve attended a WWE program in recent years, what are some observations that you think are worth noting? Let us know down below!
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