Solace’s Live Raw Experience – July 30th, 2012
Well, that was a night. This marked our 10th WWE show since September 5th, 2011. In less than a year we’ve made it to 6 Raws and 4 Smackdowns. Feels like more sometimes, doesn’t feel like 10 at others.
Now, before I go into the night let me explain why Raw was the choice of which show we went to and not Smackdown. The difference in the amount of time it takes us to get to either one isn’t that bad, but really, let’s face it. Smackdown has a 2 hour show and about 15-30 minutes of Superstars, or Raw has a 3 hour show and 30 minutes of Superstars. AND Scott Stanford. Let’s face it… it’s Scott Stanford!!! I will always choose Scott Stanford.
When we go there it was already quite the walk, but it’s probably good for Chris’s ankle. For those who don’t know, Chris broke his ankle back in January in two places, and did so in such a way that he now has arthritis in his ankle. He’s on a long road to recovery just to be able to walk normally again. He’ll never be 100% again. That’s not said to make you go, “Oooh, poor Chris,” or to get sympathy, it’s just a point. There are no benches or anything once you get up near the arena, though there are two stadiums there (the baseball stadium is right next to the US Bank Arena). So we walked about on hard cement. Back and forth. Back and forth. We knew we arrived early, but it’s the first time we have gone out to the Cincinnati arena and parking is typically cheaper the earlier you get somewhere.
On the plus side of getting there early is that there was a baseball game going on so there were merchants outside everywhere in full force. Selling water! Blessed water! And he wasn’t even price gouging. $1 for a bottle of water. We learned that both the stadium and arena will allow the bottles in as long as they are unopened. Good to know! Wasn’t needed, though.
Also outside the arena was a shirt stand for WWE. Unfortunately they were only selling Punk and Cena shirts, none of which I was interested in buying, but it wasn’t a bad idea. Turned out even better for those who wanted a Punk or Cena shirt before the show considering the mess once inside.
As usual our tickets hadn’t arrived yet. We usually can not pick up our tickets until a half an hour before the show, which wouldn’t bother me too much except it leaves us about 15 minutes to find our seats and then meet up with Tom, the friend of mine I’ve mentioned on twitter I said I was going to meet up with. Of course my anxious feelings died with listening to the people around me. The man who was most anxious to pick up his tickets was with his son and neither had a clue what was currently going on in the WWE. The conversations they were having kind of had my eyes bugging out. From their conversation I could conclude Ricardo was Del Rio’s butler because Del Rio doesn’t speak English.
The doors opened and people began filing in. We still had about fifteen minutes to wait. A quarter of the crowd outside was in when we heard BOOM! BOOM! I said, “Damn, that was loud…” because it just echoed throughout the arena (and I would think later about how loud that was considering where I was outside compared to where the pyro goes off). Birds flew away, everyone kind of looked strangely at the doors, but you didn’t think more of it other than no one was used to hearing the pyro tested from outside.
We were now about five minutes away from being able to pick up our tickets when the side doors opened and the smorgasbord of people who had been allowed in, that’s about half of the crowd that had been waiting (not half of the people who would in the long run fill the arena, just half the people who were already in line where we were) came pouring out. The three ticket windows and the ONE Will Call window closed down and someone was telling me that there was a fire inside when they tested the pyro.
Onto the trusty phone I went and found out both sides of the stage around the titantron had caught fire and everyone had been evacuated. I nearly ran over there to look for Scott but I refrained. (I’m a dummy) I made sure no one was hurt and then resumed waiting. This time I just sat on the hard cement because I was tired of standing around. Why are there no benches? It would not take up that much more space to put a few benches, but I guess if they put them too close to the walls they are afraid kids will stand on them and fall to the ground below. (The arena and stadium entrances are on an elevated platform)
Okay, so I was annoyed. I wanted to get in quickly, but what am I supposed to do about a fire? Once it was past seven I knew the entire reason I went to Raw was a bust: seeing Scott Stanford on Superstars. Yes, I don’t hear him, but Superstars is always my favorite part of Raw. Always. Ugh. I can’t imagine he was a happy man either flying out from New York to sit around Cincinnati and then not even get his 25 minutes of work. Needless to say, Scott and I did not meet up. Forgivable!
At about 20 after seven they started letting people back in. Time to get back in line and pick up our tickets. At this point there are about 100-150 people waiting at Will Call. Three people are scrambling inside, still only one person at the window. As we wait I get caught into a conversation with a man who accidentally threw out his tickets and was told he could go to the window and pick his tickets up. I’m fine with talking to random strangers, but he told me he threw out his tickets five times in less than three minutes. I got it, thank you. When it was almost our turn I saw another guy who had been waiting around with us for our tickets still to the side and let him go ahead of me since he had been there as long as we had, he just hadn’t made it back in line in time. The guy behind me who had thrown out his tickets pointed out he had just walked up, I said, “He’s actually been here for two hours waiting like we have.” Somehow this brought back up that he was picking up his tickets with his ID because he had thrown out his tickets.
I’ve still told you that story less times than he told me.
For the record, we never heard the alarms going off inside, though we heard the fire trucks.
Now to get inside! That wasn’t so bad except there is now a full arena of people all trying to get in at once. By the time we made it to our seats the dark match, which was Cody Rhodes versus Zack Ryder (no Superstars for Raw due to the fire) was ending. Cody Rhodes won! Wished I had been able to see that match.
There were three people around us who had to move seats because they for some reason either could not read their tickets properly or figured since the seats were empty they would go there. Our seats were fine, but they were the people all around us. Luckily they didn’t really hassle anyone since there was too much against them in that department.
I also was excited (sarcasm) to find out I was sitting in a virtual dead zone in the arena. Actually, the entire arena sucked for reception as I would find out as I was desperately trying to get a hold of someone, who had left already by the time I reached him. Crap.
Honestly, the first 15 minutes or so were a bust for me, and not because they were bad. Looking back (I’ve watched Raw a second time since last night) Punk didn’t do too badly with his speech. However, I didn’t have that sit down time, I didn’t have Superstars, and I lost my opportunity to see Tom! Argh!
Then a kid yells, “Hey, it’s the Brawler!” My head jerks up and sure enough, there’s Steve Lombardi heading our way. I can’t deny being excited to see him again. I give him a hug, he shakes Chris’s hand, and said now no one could say he didn’t come out and say hi. He had work to do so he didn’t get to chat long, but it was still nice to see him.
What ended up being the funniest part about that kid behind us recognizing Brooklyn Brawler was that through most of the show he said, “Who is that guy? What’s going on?” But man he knew Lombardi on site. That’s twice now that someone else spotted him before I did. If I see him at the third one will that be my lucky number?
I was better once I had seen Brawler and able to concentrate on the show. Later I would hear all of the complaints about the Raw recaps on the shows. Let’s focus on numbers for a moment. There were 133 minutes and 59 seconds of air time for Raw in 190 available minutes. That’s very nearly an hour of advertising alone. However, there was something worse that Raw does every Monday. RAW RECAPS. Holy mother of … You who watched from home were subjected to 17 minutes and 40 seconds of Raw recaps. Watching it later I went, “This doesn’t feel as bad.” That’s because when they were doing stupid crap between commercials, we had MORE Raw recaps. Oh bloody Hell, Raw recapping should be illegal, especially recapping bits and pieces that just happened. “Here’s a segment, now a commercial, now the recap of that segment.” Who is the genius behind this? Fix it! Nearly 20 minutes of precious air time in a 3-hour time slot should not be recapping! We watch Raw, Raw is the most watched WWE show. And those of us who watch all of the shows will see it again on Superstars, NXT, and Smackdown. Then you have me who watches Bottom Line and gets to watch the whooooooooooole show again. Oh, don’t forget This Week in WWE. Bastards! No more Raw Recaps!
Okay, so we are down to An hour and 55 minutes of Raw that is actual show, which includes Touts and etc. Raw actually had a few good matches! I was impressed, though Sheamus and Bryan might be winning at match of the week already (Gah, this pains me). During the tag team match we were chanting “Team Ohio!” for Ziggler and Miz because, well, they are both from Ohio! Which of course also meant they had to lose, but I love all four men in that match. I really enjoy watching matches where I like both or all of the guys because then it just makes it about watching a great match.
Despite the rumors on the internet, it didn’t look like Del Rio’s car was “banned” because of the fire. Unless they did a lot of rearranging of the section after the fire there was just no way to get a car through there. Del Rio versus Santino was interesting, and it’s good to see Santino put on a match. It likely means he’s dropping the title soon, though. Build him up a bit just before stripping him of the title. But Santino is… Santino. Kids love him, crowds cheer for him, he doesn’t need the title.
I’ve always loved Randy Orton, but even knowing Slater was going to lose we clapped like idiots for Slater.
Bryan’s segments were hilarious and poor Little Jimmy!
Even Tensai and Kidd was interesting. I like the way Tensai carries himself and of course Kidd is just an incredible wrestler.
Then the show went down hill. Crap. Cena. Uuuuugh. I was tempted to leave then, it had been a long night. But how can I give an honest opinion if I don’t watch it. I give other people a hard time about it, I can’t walk away now.
Look, I try not to bash Cena constantly. It gets me nowhere. I don’t like Cena but he is who he is and the kiddies and crowds for the most part love him, though I swear Cincinnati decided to have the longest “Let’s Go Cena!” “Cena Sucks!” chant I’ve ever been a part of. But, Cena, what were you aiming for? Cena’s punches were NOT landing on Big Show. Come on, Big Show can take a couple of punches, but Cena didn’t even touch him half of the time. When I saw the match was honestly starting around fifteen minutes until eleven all I could think was something was going to happen. It was. When? Happen now please. I can not continue to watch Cena throw punches that aren’t landing. Oh, that kick landed. Oh, he threw himself out of the ring. Oh… wait, no. Chris beside me at one point had his eyes closed and head leaned back. I seriously thought he was asleep.
Finally, FINALLY, Punk interfered. A show of good matches and we closed out with a man who can’t throw a punch! I was a buzz of irritation that was not made better when Raw went off the air. First, Michael Cole went to rush out as he usually does as soon as Raw is off the air. One kid tried to stop him and for a moment Cole looked like he wanted to smile and shake the kid’s hand, but he went back to Cole-face and walked away, ignoring everyone. I wonder if he’s just forced to stay in character and so it’s easier to quickly escape? Everyone keeps telling me Cole isn’t a bad guy, I don’t know him at all so I can’t say one way or another.
To Lawler’s credit he did stay and shake a lot of hands and take a few pictures while Cena was in the ring in a one minute squash of John Laurinaitis. No one seemed to care. Everyone was either trying to get down around the ring to say hello or escaping with the crowd.
After the one minute match Cena went out to the crowd and went to a few kids wearing Cena gear to say hello. He missed a few kids who all looked like they were going to cry. Then he went back and was quickly slapping hands with anyone along the ring until… yup, he noticed the hot chick with the tight tank top and a ton of cleavage. He went past her, saw her, headed back, gave her a hug and a kiss, talked to her for a moment, then went back to just slapping hands with people.
Now perhaps he knew her, but that looked highly suspect to me!
After all of that we went our separate ways from the Cincinnati US Bank Arena and headed home. It was exciting, but infuriating, but always a worthwhile experience.