Credit: Tyler England and Prowrestling.net
We arrived at the FedExForum around 4:15 CT, I usually do so I can beat others inside and to concessions and etc. The outside temperature was only about 35 degrees, so the wait was pretty cold to say the least. The crowd was pretty rowdy prior to the event – a lot of dueling chants, yelling and other things. The staff inside the building kept moving the WWE “Warning: Video/Audio streaming of this event is prohibited” up and down the glass and fans were booing because it was very cold outside and they thought they might be opening the doors. Some fans were getting genuinely frustrated and a small “open the damn door” chant broke out because the doors did not open until about 5:50; they were supposed to open at 5:30 (which anyone who has been to a WWE TV taping/PPV knows they never open on time.)
Once inside the building we made our way to our seats. Still pretty bummed out that WWE is still using their TV set for everything now..
The pre-show Miz TV with Paul Heyman was intriguing. Mizdow ap[ears to be over in every tow, as the “We Want Mizdow Chants” were very loud and audible. Paul is, as always, an awesome, amazing performer and it is always nice to see him at shows. There were lots of boos when he said Lesnar was not in the building, but some fans thought that it was a setup for a Lesnar appearance after the main event (including me, because the tops of the ring posts were covered all night and there were small wires running up them which could have been Lesnar’s pyro.)
The PPV kicked off well. WWE actually had the sound system pretty loud as opposed to other Raws I have attended. Dolph Ziggler got an amazing pop, but Erick Rowan’s wasn’t so much. Ryback got several “Feed Me More” chants. The first match of the night was good down the stretch, and for the most part the crowd ate it up. After the finish, a small Randy Orton chant broke out before Orton’s music hit, in which the crowd roared. It was nice to see Orton back on TV after such a long absence.
The pre-match promo between Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes was well done. I thought it set a lot better mood for the match and I would like to think he helped get the viewing audience in tune better, but the live crowd really fell flat for it. Live crowds have a tendency to do this, and I have always thought that WWE should offer some way to get the commentary to members of the audience – the stories are hard to follow as a fan in the audience and fans often end up entertaining themselves in matches that aren’t the hotter stories on the show being presented. Overall, it was nice work from both men and Goldust was selling his emotion very well leaving the arena. The post-match segment with the Rhodes family was well done and I hope this feud helps to recast a long lost light on the Rhodes brothers.
Jon Stewart vs. Seth Rollins? I guess we can see where it goes..
The tag-title match was a very good match and the crowd was into it quite well, especially down the stretch. The near falls and saves really amped it up. It was a very surprising finish, and I believe the “Brass Ring Club” will help the tag team division rebuild in the coming weeks. There was a few “Cesaro & Tyson Kidd Section” signs in the crowd on the TV side but they were smaller in size. Maybe Tyson Kidd is finally getting some much deserved attention in WWE. These two just need new theme music.
Triple H and Sting had a very memorable exchange in the ring. Triple H is awesome, as he is carrying himself so well in these one man promos with Sting. There is a very different feel in the arena when Sting enters and stands in the ring – it is very awesome to experience. The crowd was very into this, and very few were sitting, if any. The baseball bat was a nice surprise, and Sting pointing at the WM sign was an awesome sight. Here’s hoping this match is awesome in every way and lives up to fans’ expectations after such a long wait for Sting to arrive in WWE. Kudos to both men as this could have easily been highlight of the night.
The Divas division is a joke for the most part, hardly anyone reacts to their entrances and the only pictures being taken is by adult males in the audience who get their “eye candy.” Both girls worked hard and it was a decent match, but the Divas just have no momentum anymore and sadly enough, a lot of these segments are used as bathroom breaks and concessions in the arena.
Triple H. vs. Sting was officially announced for WrestleMania. Good pop from the crowd for that one.
Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose had a decent match (except for the finish), and Ambrose is still getting good pops from the live crowds. It was hard to tell what Barrett was saying to Ambrose after the match, but there was a few “take the title” chants, which Ambrose ended up taking to the back. I guess the story now is that Ambrose stole BNB’s title.
When the druids filled the arena, a lot of people got really excited for the Undertaker. However, a few sites posted before the event that Bray Wyatt was scheduled to appear in a casket to challenge the Undertaker, which one guy in our section spoiled for us. It is always awesome to see Taker’s entrance in person and there were some boos when Bray appeared from the casket. However, the promo was well done and this has the potential to be an awesome Mania match. Heres hoping Taker returns on Raw tonight in Nashville.
Rusev vs. Cena certainly exceeded a lot of my expectations – these two had a great match that the crowd ate up. The most shocking part is there were a lot of Cena fans, and Cena got cheered pretty well. The start of the match was flat – a few people chanted “Jerry” for The King. However, there was a quick around as things really picked up down the stretch. Lana is awesome in her role! When Cena “passed out” and Rusev was declared the winner there were several boos. Kudos to Rusev for having a great match.
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan was a very good match that really showcased what these guys can do. There were certainly a lot of Reigns fans in the audience and DB certainly didn’t get a huge pop compared to other towns. Both guys worked very hard and delivered a memorable match – this certainly deserved to be in the main event. Dueling chants throughout, and it was really hard to call who was more favored based on the live crowd. A few people chanted “NO” when Reigns won but this was high above Philly’s response to Reigns winning the Rumble.
Overall, a decent PPV that had its moments but not that red-hot feel that WWE needed to establish heading into WrestleMania. This year’s WrestleMania has the potential to be a very memorable one, but WWE only has five weeks to hit that home. Here’s hoping Raw can get them moving in that direction and get fans invested.
At one point early on in the evening, signs were being confiscated from the ringside area of the TV side. One guy’s “TV SIDE” sign got confiscated but I could not tell what the rest said.
Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan (depending on how you view it)
Triple H when he attacked Sting
Paul Heyman when announcing Lesnar’s absence.
WWE returns to Memphis on Sept. 14 for a live Raw. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster using the presale code “WWERAW”.