Hello and thanks for checking out The Real Mid Card. So I was at the TV taping for Monday Night Raw last night and had an absolute blast, but this isn’t just about me, it’s also a bit about the wrestlers themselves. Let’s take a look at what caught the eye of a paying customer in the seats way up back there.
The recorded matches for Superstars beforehand were definitely worthy of note. They brought out William Regal for his customary ovation, as he took up the role of Ring Announcer, for Wade Barrett’s match. I haven’t seen our Wade for a while. I thought he might be injured, so his inclusion on the show was an early pleasant surprise. There was also a five star divas match (I’m not joking) between The Funkadactyls, Alicia Fox and Aksana. Why they would keep this off the main card is beyond me.
As it always is in the WWE starved United Kingdom, the crowd was both very hot and very bizarre. There really is nothing like it. There were Mexican waves, “We are awesome” chants, and all the usual commentator homages. Whenever the show bored them for more than a minute, they made the night all the more fun for themselves, for ourselves. Fandango brought the dance to Manchester. 3MB got their first chant of the year. Two particular members of the crowd deserve major credit. A guy dressed as Kane (circa 2012) and another dressed as Goldust (with wig) had a street fight in the arena aisle, which provided great entertainment during a dull moment. The crowd chanted for them through the night, even when they took to their seats. It was all “Vintage England”
Randy Orton took on the Rhodes brothers in a 2-on-1 handicap opener. When he tried to escape the match up the ramp, he was met by Big Show, who chokeslammed him through the announce table. That was an unbelievable start to the show. I thought they were just going to tease it, but when he put him straight through it, the entire place popped huge. The buzz remained high for Los Matadores v “The Union Jacks” – I was expecting some local enhancement to put in job duty, when 3MB showed up in flag tights and got one of the biggest reactions of the night.
Curtis Axel retained the Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler, much to the chagrin of everyone in the arena. The Shield distanced themselves from Randy Orton in a backstage segment. Fandango took on Tyson Kidd. A really amazing handicap match followed between The Real Americans and John Cena. Zeb Colter cut one of his trademark hilarious promos, throwing in a few stereotypical burns at the English crowd (the decline of the British Empire, the flaws of our dentistry, that kinda thing) Big E Langston made an appearance at the end of the match, and was very over!
Before the final match, Paul Heyman was snook into the ring in the dark and appeared as if out of nowhere. He cut a promo which suggested that his feud with CM Punk was continuing. That made me sad. He was flawless and brilliant as always. That made me happy – a great surprise! The main event was absolutely great. The Shield have been having these every week for a long time. When you put them against CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in yet another handicap match, you know it’s going to be great, and I’m not even being sarcastic.
Their opponents were both so over, and the five of them are incredibly talented. It was disappointing to see The Wyatt Family just appear in the ring at the end though, and not do their awesome entrance, but you can’t have everything in life. They showed up to continue their campaign of terror, but ended up in a confrontation with The Shield instead. I was hoping they would make that a dark six man tag after the show, but no such luck. When Bryan and Punk got back involved, it was pure chaos. The 6-on-2 beating looked imminent, when The Usos and the Rhodes’ hit the ring to even the odds.
The mini royal rumble which ensued was a great visual to end a great show. After the cameras stopped rolling, the six faces gave one and other the old “I’ll hold your hand up, and they will cheer you” thing. This went from moving to comically, in a good way. I went home with a smile on my face.
I will explain my rating. What you just read were the scribbles I made in my tiny black notepad at the arena. I just watched the show back, having recorded it on my trusty Sky box. It was cool to hear what the commentators made of all the crowd antics. Everything looked just as good on TV as it did in person. I loved the show, on the whole. I don’t know what you guys made of it, but leave me a comment and let me know. The episode didn’t quite get a nine, but it’s definitely the best live show I’ve been to. Triple H and Stephanie would have made it better, but I guess we can let that one go.
Thanks for reading,