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The WWE has embarked on its annual European November tour recently and as always I was present at one of their shows. Usually, I would go to the TV tapings but due to a poor financial situation I could afford that so I attended the Newcastle house show. There’s nothing better than seeing the WWE live. I’ve been to many WWE shows in my life time and I can tell you I’ve yet to have had a bad experience. You are guaranteed 3 hours’ worth of entertainment. I also managed to track down where the Superstars were staying so me and my mates decided to track them down like the crazy fans that we are! Here’s a rundown of what happened on that day.
Meeting the Stars.
The beauty of having contacts in the right places is for moments like. A friend informed me which hotel they were staying at and suggested going through to meet them. Hell yeah I was going. We got through to Newcastle around 11:00 (we all live in Sunderland) and waited outside the hotel with a few other fans. Overall there were seven of us standing outside the hotel so it wasn’t as if there was a crowd. We all shared stories and talked about who was going to appear on the show. I remember one guy getting really pissed off about CM Punk & Daniel Bryan. Throughout the day we saw a ton of people but the only people we managed to get photos/ autographs from were; Antonio Cesaro, Kane, Justin Roberts, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Zack Ryder, El Torito, Wade Barrett, The Miz and Big E Langston.
The thing that surprised me the most was just how tall these guys were. Jack Swagger is a fucking giant! Kane and Justin Roberts were very friendly and polite. They spent almost 30 minutes standing outside the hotel signing autographs, posing for photos and talking with the fans. Kane shared a story about how Paul Bearer used to try and make him laugh seconds before they were due to do interviews. Justin Roberts is the most unbelievable friendly bloke you can come across. He was more excited about meeting us then we were about meeting him. Zack Ryder was such a class act. A dickhead security guard told him to hurry up because it was getting cold. Zack however ignored him and took his time with the fans (didn’t pose for photos after what the security guard said to him) and was pleasant to us all. Damien Sandow was hilarious. He remained in character throughout. I can now go to my grave knowing that Sandow has called me an “ignoramus”! That was flat out awesome! No real horror stories to report on but Aksana ignored us and Roman Reigns sternly told us no photos because he “had to use the shower” but once this attractive blond girl asked for a photo, he was all over her like a dog in heat! Dolph Ziggler didn’t stop because he was heading off for a signing at Smyth’s Toys which was understandable but he did give us a wave which was nice of him.
When it was time for the Superstars to board the bus heading off to the arena, we got to see other guys like Randy Orton, Big Show and many more. At this point the crowd had grown so opportunities for autographs/ photos were limited. Remember when Aksana ignored us? This time she did sign autographs and pose for photos (not with me though!). Summer Rea and Big E Langston were having the time of their lives. I guess that’s because they were pretty new to this sort of experience so that was cool to see. If you think Big Show is huge on TV then believe me when I say that TV doesn’t do him justice. I’ve never seen someone so huge in all my life but it was sad watching him limp to over onto the coach. God knows what his knees are like! I wish I got at least a photo with Goldust. I have a ton of respect for that guy. After the coaches departed the hotel it was onwards and upwards to the Metro Radio Arena.
It’s Showtime, Folks!
Now here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for. For those who haven’t been to the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, it’s a pretty good venue but a little bit on the small side though and because of that I highly doubt we’ll ever see the Raw & Smackdown TV tapings taking place anytime soon. Yes, I’m aware that a pay per view took place there (Insurrextion 2003) but it was reported that Vince was calling the arena worse than shite! The arena was about 88% full. There were some empty seats but nothing like the attendance at Bound for Glory where massive chunks of the arena were empty. I was sitting 12 rows away from ringside and directly in front of the entrance stage. I like the improvements they’ve made to Live events. The stage design is impressive and far more presentable then it was previously. The titan trons are a welcome addition as they were showing clips of past WWE moments and tweets from the fans in the crowd. The people sitting around us were a mix of families and hardcore fans. Justin Roberts was introduced to a loud reception from the crowd. The people around us started a “Justin Roberts” chant which was acknowledged by the man himself. Such an awesome guy! Speaking of awesome, The Miz is up next!
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall
Analysis: This was the perfect choice for an opener with two guys who’ve fought each other countless times and have great chemistry together. The Miz got a heavy mixed reaction from the crowd. I guess this was because the older fans knew he was working as a heel hence the boos. Miz did acknowledge the boos and played dumb as to why people were booing him. Kofi was over with the fans in particular the young fans because of his high flying style which is popular with that age range. Miz started to work an aggressive heel style as he was beginning to get frustrated about not being able to put Kofi away. You could tell he was having a lot of fun working in a heel role, I half expect him to turn heel real soon! Kofi got the win with the Trouble in Paradise.
The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) /w/ Zeb Colter v Los Matadores /w/ El Torito
Winners: Los Matadores via pinfall
Rating: ** ½
Analysis: The kids went ape for El Torito. I actually feel sorry for Primo & Epico, they were given a gimmick change in order for them to get over yet the little Bull man is more over then them! The gimmick will get over eventually thought; thankfully the fans haven’t resorted to chanting “ole” throughout the match. That would just do my head in! Before the match, Zeb Colter greeted the “Sunderland” crowd. Vintage heel tactic 101: Mention your crowd’s rival city. He went on to say that he should become the Prime Minister of England, at that point you would have thought that The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan had walked into the arena judging by the crowd reaction. Yeah fuck David Cameron! Fearing he’d turned himself face, Zeb said that one of his first acts as Prime Minister would be to ban “soccer”! He got his heel heat back with that comment. There were a lot of comedy segments in this match and even a moment where El Torito preformed a hurricanrana on Cesaro. After Los Matadores got the win, Swagger & Cesaro threw them out of the ring leaving El Torito with Swagger, Cesaro & Colter. Torito managed to break free and headbutt Colter in the groin. Shades of Hans Moleman from the Simpsons where he got a Football in the groin. Los Matadores got back in the ring to celebrate.
Aksana vs. Alicia Fox
Winner: Alicia Fox via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
Analysis: The fans around me chanted “This is basic” and they were right. Another thing, I can’t tell if Alicia Fox is a face or a heel. She’s clearly lacking some sort of character. Some sections of the crowd chanted a sarcastic “This is wrestling” chant. That was funny. Aside from those chants, the crowd was quiet give or take a few wolf whistles here and there. The crowd did come alive when Fox slapped Aksana’s arse and when she did a Bronco Buster. Been a while since I saw that move. Last time I saw anyone perform that move X-Pac tore his arse, seriously! Other than that, this was as the crowd suggested, basic.
Up next, it was Santino Marella vs. Fandango in a fans choice match. The match choices were “Normal Match” or “Dance off”. Wonder how many thought it was going to be a normal match. The votes were in and this is a dance off. Was it ever in doubt?
Santino Marella vs. Fandango /w/ Summer Rea
Analysis: I give it a no rating (NR) because it was a comedy segment which served its purpose. It was refreshing to hear the crowd humming Fandango’s theme song again. When I was at the TV tapings back in April during the peak of “Fandangoing” everyone was doing it. It was pretty awesome and even getting it into the top 20 of the download charts was a great achievement. The one thing I do love about Johnny Curtis is that he knows how to work the gimmick. My original thought on the Fandango gimmick wasn’t great. I thought it was lame and would hurt Johnny’s career which was promising as evident by his NXT run but he’s made it work. Sure he isn’t going to be headlining WrestleMania but it is a popular gimmick. Fandango & Summer Rea did some serious dancing which was booed throughout. Santino did some comedy dancing and he got his Cobra out too (You know what I mean!). Justin announced that it was up to us “the WWE universe” to decide the winner. I wonder who’s going to win this one? Santino won (was it ever in doubt) but was attacked by Fandango. Santino fought back and threw Fandango out of the ring. Summer Rea got in Santino’s face. Whiles Summer is too busy running her mouth off, Santino plants a kiss on her. Lucky sod! Santino posed in the ring before making his exit.
The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) & Big E Langston vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins)
Winners: The Rhodes Brothers & Big E Langston via pinfall
Analysis: Outstanding match! Everything about it was perfect and personally, I felt like a PPV quality match. It was that damn good. What I love about Cody & Goldust is that they are both very old school in their approach to building up a match. Everything little thing they do makes sense for the match and for the storyline too. The Shield received a huge positive reaction as they made their traditional entrance through the crowd. I love their entrance. They make great heels too especially Dean Ambrose who was provoking the crowd throughout the match. Goldust was awesome in the role of the babyface in peril. Whenever he tried to get a tag the crowd were egging him on and whenever a Shield member cut him off, the groans from the crowd got louder. If I could add anything to this match it would be a spot where Goldust finally got a tag but the ref didn’t see it. The crowd would have gone ape for that, much like what they did when Goldust finally did get the hot tag. Huge pop for Roman Reign’s spear! Looks like he almost broke Cody in half as he charged into him with such force! A loud and clear “This is Awesome” chant broke out too. In the end, it was a victory for the Face team. They received a well-deserved deserved standing ovation. 5 of the 6 guys in this match are people I’d consider to be the future of the WWE, and I’d even go as far as saying we might see some future WWE/World Champions out of that group. This was an awesome bout which generated a ton of reaction from the Geordie crowd. Four star match. Amazing!
A 15 minute interval commenced at this point. I decided to make a head to the merchandise stand and buy the Daniel Bryan “Respect the Beard” t-shirt but it was sold out. The other shirts didn’t interest me much so I ended up buying the official tour shirt. Always buy the tour shirt, got a stack of them in the house. The interval came to an end and we return back to the show.
Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett
Winner: Wade Barrett via pinfall
Analysis: The roles were reversed in this one as Barrett played the face whiles Ryder was the heel. There was a young kid sitting near me decked out in Zack Ryder gear looking very confused as to why everyone was booing Ryder. Mind you, it was pretty odd seeing Ryder as a heel again after such a long run as a babyface but he played a decent cowardly heel with a lot of starling tactics being thrown in. Will he turn heel? I doubt it unless he lobbies for it. He needs to do something to break out of the pack again. Barrett also needs to do the same. This time last year, I predicted that this year would be the year Barrett finally reaches the top of the pile and becomes the World Heavyweight Champion. It hasn’t happened. His Intercontinental title run sucked, how many matches did he lose? It’s a shame because Barrett has real star quality about him. Barrett picked up the victory with the Bull Hammer. Still a better finisher then Wastelands!
Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Damien Sandow via pinfall
Analysis: In my section, I was the only person who cheered for Sandow. A young kid found this hilarious as he confidently predicted that Dolph Ziggler would “wipe the floor with Sandow”. Sandown cut a promo before the match referring to himself as the “uncrowned champion of the WWE”. I like how they are booking Sandow more aggressively, makes me wish they booked him like this when he was carrying the MITB briefcase rather than a jobber who got lucky. God knows why Ziggler is being booked the way he is. He must have seriously pissed someone off behind the scenes. Sandow is a great heel I think. I just love his gimmick and his “You’re Welcome” catchphrase has a cult following amongst us here at Rif Rasslin. He was very interactive with the crowd especially the guys sitting in our area who were chanting “Let’s go Ziggler” throughout. The ending though just came out of nowhere and to be honest, everyone was stunned that Sandow won. I was ecstatic about his win whiles that young Ziggler fan I mentioned just looked at me with venom in his eyes. I’m still confident that Sandow will become World Heavyweight Champion someday, that will take a lot of time to build him up as a worthy champion though so in the meantime, I guess a run as either Intercontinental or United States Champion would do him well.
The Big Show vs. Randy Orton ©
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Randy Orton via pinfall
Analysis: A preview to one of the main events for Survivor Series, my guess is that this will be the Survivor Series semi main event with John Cena headlining (again!!). Orton received a surprisingly positive response but not as loud as Big Show though. It was a back and forth match but it wasn’t anything special. I guess they’re reserving the good stuff for Survivor Series. It was the same match that you’ve seen between these guys time and time again. Big Show took control of the finish and when it looked like he’d regain the WWE Championship, Kane interfered. Kane was wearing a suit as part of his new “Director of Operations” gimmick. Big Show acted like he didn’t understand what was going on but this left him open for an attack by Randy Orton. As Big Show turned around Randy Orton connected with the RKO OUT OF NOWHERE~! Kane and Orton celebrated and this lead to a run in from the Shield. The Shield stomped away on Big Show but Big Show fought back. Chokeslams all round for the Shield members, Big Show and Kane teased that a fight might break out between them but Kane left. Big Show posed for the crowd as the show came to an end.
Best match: Rhodes Brothers & Big E Langston vs. The Shield
Worst match: Aksana vs. Alicia Fox
Most memorial moment: Goldust finally getting the hot tag for his team.
Top 5 Superstars.
1. Cody Rhodes
3. Dean Ambrose
4. Roman Reigns
5. Big E Langston
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 6.5
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s always a good laugh going to a WWE Live event but aside from Miz v Kofi & the 6 man tag, everything else was okay. Alicia Fox v Aksana was too basic and the main event wasn’t great. If you’ve never been to a WWE event before I highly recommend it. If you have a son, daughter or a cousin who loves wrestling, take them along. I always get a kick out of watching them cheering and booing and running up to the guardrail after the match. Takes me back to when I was their age and I used to do the same things too. Also reminds me why I love this sport so much. The next WWE UK tour takes place in May and you can bet your ass that I’ll be attending some shows too.
Thanks for reading, guys.