- So I was sitting third row on the “camera side” facing the ring (if you see a guy in a hoodie with a bald spot, unfortunately that was me). Sitting right next to me was a kid with Down’s Syndrome and his dad, and I’m just gonna say that sitting next to this kid absolutely made my night. He was a Randy Orton fan, a huge Randy Orton fan (“he’s the best! The RKO is the best!”), and probably the only person in the building who booed both D-Bry and Goldust tonight. When everybody else in the arena was YES YES YESing, he screamed “NO! NO! NO!” as loudly as he could, like a kid trying to protect their sandcastle against the tide (of course in this case the tide is Not Good For Business and also HHH owns the sandcastle, so who knows). But seriously, this is why live wrestling is the best: you sit next to a kid like this (or the six-year-old girl sitting behind me who yelled “BRAY WYATT, YOU HAVE UGLY PANTS” as loud as she could) and you get to remember what it was like to be a kid and lost in the story and the illusion. This is why any real wrestling fan doesn’t hate John Cena, even if you get tired of the character, because Cena makes it magic for these kids and how can you hate that, really? Are you Chuck Taylor or something?
- The “RANDY SAVAGE” chants were mostly directed at a Randy Savage cosplayer (doing early 80s Savage) a few seats away from me. He started out modest and then started egging on the chants whenever he felt like it. Memo to all other wrestling cosplayers: please don’t do this. It is possibly the only thing worse than WHAT chants, which thankfully we managed to keep to a minimum. Not terribly pleased about the “maple syrup” and “go Leafs go” chants, but they’re better than WHAT, so I’ll take it.
- I don’t know why Toronto hates the Miz exactly, but man, we really, really hate the Miz, don’t we? At first I thought we were pro-Sandow, which would be just fine with me, but no, it’s not just us liking Sandow (we booed him literally through an entire commercial break, but it was your classic “heel openly begs to be booed” booing, so that is fine), but it was also us really really hating the Miz. I have no idea why we hate the Miz. I’m fine with it, actually, but as a rule “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE” chants should be reserved for when Miz flubs the figure-four again.
- If you were wondering about the massive Santino pop, remember two things: firstly, everybody mostly likes Santino and it was a decent surprise, and secondly, Santino is a local boy (even if they pretend he’s from Italy, we all know damn well he’s from Mississauga) and Torontonians are homers beyond all rhyme and reason.
- Superstars taping notes! Two matches. The first was a perfectly good little Usos/3MB (Heath and Jinder) tag match. The Usos were really quite over and we booed the hell out of 3MB, and I like to think they were all happy with their reaction (the Usos looked particularly pleased after their win). The second was an okay Big E Langston/Zack Ryder match, which is notable for two things: firstly, there was a hefty “BIG E LANGSTON!” chant going for a while, and secondly, there is a pretty vicious and awesome spot involving Big E catching Ryder mid-plancha that deserves to be watched.
- Your dark match main event, for those interested, was CM Punk versus Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in a no-DQ match. Mostly a big nothing (although Heyman did sit in the ring cross-legged like Punk and said he was “dropping a pipe bomb,” which turned out to be him activating an obscure clause of some sort to declare the match to be NOT for the Intercontinental title, which: a-doy), some kendo stick shots, a low blow from Axel on Punk to save Heyman, and finally a quick GTS on Axel, but afterwards Punk celebrated with the crowd for like twenty minutes and high-fived everybody around ringside and posed for selfies with fans and at one point even did a Kliq hand-signal touch thing with one guy and generally seemed to be in a really good mood. And that was a fine way to end the show.
- Renee Young got an INSANE pop when she appeared on the Titantron, because of course we all know Renee Young up here! She’s the person who introduces WWE on The Score every week! She’s OURS, dammit!
As I explained to him, no, Renee Paquette is yours. Renee Young is ours.
A second report, from Dan “Tobogganing Bear” MacRae:
Local Moron Talks About Toronto Wrestlefella Event: A With Leather Special Report
I’d Best & Worst this, but I’m not certified for such a format (Insider Secret: You need a two year degree from an Ivy League school just to take the B&W writing test!) so this live report will just be one big ol’ wordbarf.
This was my first time attending an episode of WWE TV. Sure, I’ve caught some house shows before, but this was my first chance to take in the glitz, the glamour and the IS THAT THE MIZ? OH F*CK RIGHT OFF!ness of a fancypants WWE production. I was pretty jazzed about that. What happens during commercial breaks? Does the bull from the Los Matadores vignettes stomp through the crowd while wearing a handsome “Tout” sash during these lulls? C’mon Raw, surrender your mysteries to Zoidberg!
(It turns out commercial breaks are mainly for RVD stretching awkwardly while a trailer for The Call plays. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed he didn’t pay close attention to what was going on in the trailer. What if he’s ever called upon to save 911 callers using his Sonic the Hedgehog style roll powers? He’ll be woefully unprepared!)
I suppose the live experience depends on who you sit with. My section had their ups and downs. I went alone (A bearded adult by himself at kids-focused entertainment? Move over, Stephen Dorff. There’s a new supercool dude in town!) so I was way more sheepish about things like chants and heckles. (Y’know, cuz I’m a coward.) I was parked in a row with a dude holding a “What?” sign that had a big ol’ boner for trying to get “eee-cee-double-u” chants going. Successful crossbody from an Uso during the Superstars taping? “EEE-CEE-DOUBA-EWEEEE!” (One imagines he was a big fan of Ravenue and Tommyue Dreamerue.) There was also a little girl behind me clutching a Kaitlyn poster and yelling “3MB!” over top of the Santino chant later in the show. Full points to that girl for her moxie and for being one of only 9 people not to wear khaki shorts to the show. I hope she becomes Prime Minister sooner rather than later.
One thing I wasn’t counting on was that the show drags just as much in person as it does on TV. At first, you’re distracted by all the neat novelty TV stuff going on (I wound up sitting by a TV production monitor that lets me know that Raw is essentially put together like Kris Kross: Make My Video for the Sega CD.) but that melts away a bit after you put it together that you’re getting hot Kofi Kingston action for the next ten minutes. If you want to hemorrhage the goodwill of Torontonians that paid to see The Sad Giant Variety Show, just toss on Kofi and Curtis Axel.
Kofi/Axel goofz-n-spoofz aside, the crowd was pretty peppy for most of the broadcast. Occasionally they’d tune out (Alicia Fox is still around? Do her creditors know about this?), but it’s nearly 4 hours of wrestling with Superstars and the off camera main event tacked on so you can’t really blame ‘em. The length of the show didn’t deter anyone from getting their chant on, either. Holy shit do wrestling fans love chanting things. We’re talking clever things, bland things, if we stop chanting we’ll die things. If you ever wanted to get a “Free Paul Bernardo” or “Vaccines Are For Pussies” chant going, Toronto’s the place that might make your weird shouty dreams come true.
Toronto adored Daniel Bryan. (Full Disclosure: Assorted Torontonians also shouted “DANIEL BRYAN!” at me because I’m a squinty beardo.) We also clutched Goldust to their bosom, cheered Renee Young like a returning intergalactic war hero and booed Diddy so f*cking hard you’d think he was…well, Diddy because that’s a fairly reasonable reaction. Maybe they should’ve just played the music video for “Sharpshooter/Gametime” instead.
Other Thought Chunklets From Tonight’s Show
- Big Show is the size of a grain elevator. You sorta take it for granted until the world’s largest teardrop ‘n Slim Jim transportion device rumbles down a ramp giving you the opportunity to gawk. “Look at ‘im! HIS FEELINGS MUST BE SO MUCH LARGER THAN MINE!”
- Kids lurve John Cena. They also love his goofy C with a line through it symbol. I’ve had a think about and I’m pretty sure his logo means “You Can’t See Me” or it’s a nod to his dislike of Confrontation on the hit E! series Total Divas.
- It’s a weird feeling going from “Yay! Santino! I enjoy his inoffensive tomfoolery!” to “Aw nertz, this means Cesaro’s gonna lose!” It’s a bit like being excited mom bought sugar cereal before figuring out she only did it because Mittens’s stitches opened up again and it’s vet visit time. WHY CAN’T MITTENS CATCH A BREAK?
- I was seated in a part of the arena where the TitanTron wasn’t visible, so if the commercial breaks also included a portion where they showed all your favourite wrestlers have sex with each other on the big screen, I’m afraid I totally missed it. Sorry gang.
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