Published on April 19th, 2010 | by Paul Hickey0
A Night With WWE
With overwhelming anticipation I entered the O2. The waves of young children covered to the neck in WWE merchandise brought to me to a recall a time when the battles of Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels and Diesel were the highlights of my television experience. It has been a while since I watched WWE. The last experiences I can recall involved Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and an organization still called the WWF.
So my anticipation was met with jubilation as I sat in my seat, looked down at the ring and felt right at home. I had said before I went in, that the night will have been a success if I left the arena with a smile on my face and the will to start watching again. Did the WWE superstars live up to my memories??
From the announcement of “This first contest is scheduled for one fall” the crowd is electrified. The trademark entrance music of ‘Kane’ begins to play and the arena becomes shrouded in an unearthly red light and the 7 foot gladiator makes his way to the ring. He is fighting ‘Ezekiel Jackson’, a wrestler unknown to me, but very obviously the intended bad guy judging from the booing of our young crowd. The fight starts slow, with the wrestlers contemplating their first move and working the crowd. Once our warriors start going though, we become enthralled in the intensity of the battle. We know ‘Kane’ will overcome; we are simply waiting for the chokeslam and the 1-2-3 count. In so many instances he nearly gets it and ‘Jackson’ seems to gain the upper hand at some points but once that iron grip locks and ‘Jackson’ gets slammed into the canvas our crowd cheers with elation as our hero secures victory.
Watching that first match brought it all back. The show adopts more of a straightforward exhibition night compared to the normal dramatic flair of the televised broadcasts. So our fights are separated only by the announcement of the next. The relative lack of crowd interaction starts to wane on the attention of the young audience as we are showcased fights such as ‘Layla’ vs. ‘Beth Phoenix’, ‘Luke Gallows vs. John Morrison’ and ‘R Truth vs. ‘Dolph Ziegler’. Every match was performed extremely well and generated the right amount of tension and excitement. For the younger viewers the lengthy wrestling sequences, may have been slightly too long but for the more seasoned fans of the genre, every fight showcased great athletic and entertaining ability from the superstars.
We were treated to two title fights; ‘Matt Hardy’ vs. ‘Drew Macintyre’ for the Intercontinental Championship and ‘Edge’ vs. newly crowned champion ‘Jack Swagger’ for the World Championship. Whilst the titles never changed hands, the presence of title fights alone brought some nice stakes to the table.
The highlights for me were the tag-team match between the ‘Hart Dynasty’ and ‘The Dude Busters’ as well as the match up between ‘Rey Mysterio’ and ‘CM Punk’. The tag team match was excellently paced and brought together spectacular moves with great personalities. ‘Rey Mysterio’ is simply enchanting to watch. He leap-frogs over his opponents, flies across the ring with amazing grace and coordination and had the most undeniable impact on the younger viewers of the event. The swarms of children in ‘Rey Mysterio’ masks flocking to the entrance aisle to see him come and go was a reminder about why WWE is still so popular.
Live entertainment is changing. More visceral action like UFC has muscled into the entertainment market and in many ways could have stolen a lot of thunder from WWE. However, sitting in the O2 watching our superstars perform marvelous feats, bring the crowd on a rollercoaster ride and not offend anyone, I was assured that WWE will always have a home. Whilst the drama can often be ridiculous and the humour frequently juvenile, the show is as entertaining as ever and offers a unique & fun experience. The show wasn’t perfect but left me with a smile on my face, ready for more!