Monday, September 28, 2015

WWE LIVE! in Toronto

So I finally got to see a live WWE event. I was actually expecting a bigger spectacle but that was because I've been watching it on television for so long. The house shows have much lower production values, more like what he see in televised independent matches.

Right off the bat, my respect for the people in the show went up. I've been tearing Byron Saxon for months over his shoddy work as an announcer, but seeing him amp up the crowd in person made me feel a little bit of sympathy for the guy. Seeing them live made me appreciate just how hard it must be to travel and work every single night and still keep that energy level up. Despite all the negativity some of these guys endure, they still give it their all (most of the time). So on behalf of the city of Toronto and all the people that went to the Ricoh Coliseum that night, thank you guys for making the effort for us.

The show opened with New Day taking on the Prime Time Players. Lot of dancing from New Day, with Xavier Woods doing a Rick Rude style dance at one point. New Day controlled the match and ended up with the victory. As much as I want to support the PTP, their lacking in something. Not sure what it is, but they just can't seem to get over.

Curtis Axel made an appearance in a handicap match against Los Matadores. Apparently they've turned heel now, but Axel defeated them with a little help from a friend, Torito. My wife didn't know who Axel was until I told her he's the guy that used to think he was Hulk Hogan. Obviously that gimmick didn't pay off for him.

Kevin Owens got himself disqualified with another rake of the eyes in his match against Ryback. Great to see a Canadian IC champion, I think Owens is going to one day be a legendary heel in the way Owen Hart was. I was shouting "Pop Him Up!" but I don't think I've seen Ryback get Pop Up Power Bombed yet. Maybe he's too big?

I am pretty sure this is not the sequence of matches, but I can't recall the exact order they came out. At first I was trying to take pictures and post them live to my blog, but after the third match I realized it was becoming a hassle to try and get the clear shots, my phone camera sucked, so I decided to stop taking pictures and get more involved in the matches.

Speaking of Canadians, Chris Jericho showed up. I actually saw him drive in as we got off the subway. There was a crowd gathered around the tour bus and Jericho drove right behind them. of all the entertainers that night, Jericho got the crowd the best. After beating Luke Harper in a great match, Jericho was able to direct the crowd in a series of cheers. It was nice to see the Canadian boy still has it. Luke Harper spoke at the beginning of the match, not sure what he said, probably some Wyatt family brainwashing stuff, but Jericho snatched the mic from him and gave the crowd a "Toronto is Jericho" pop.

Just as seeing the show live gives you a deeper appreciation for the men and women out there entertaining audiences every night, you also lose some of the magic. The Big Show is a perfect example. The man is a monster of a human being, he moved passed the crowd like a triceratops or something, just massively tall and broad. Cesaro, for all this talent, just couldn't sell his moves. The Big Show is just so big that when you see him getting hit, you know its totally fake. Unlike the televised show, where the lights and the camera work add to the effect, seeing someone try to hurt a guy the size of the Big Show in real life just looked silly. He's simply too big to manhandle and you can tell he's simply allowing the other guy to push him around. I don't think you could really hurt this man in a real life fight. Big Show had a few bright moments interacting with the crowd, even taking the mic for a bit to shout down those telling him to retire. My wife sort of felt bad for him, but he's playing a heel, he's supposed to be hated.

Damien Sandow VS Braun Stroman. The Wyatt Family carried the show as heels, with every member fighting that night. Damien put up a good offense but eventually succumbed to Braun's submission maneuver. Sandow appeared to be the same height as Braun which made the move look a little silly; Sandow actually had to lift his legs off the mat to appear to be held aloft. As Braun went through the screens after the match was over, he looked back at the crowd and gave a little smile. Truth is, the guy has a friendly look in his eyes in person. I bet you he's a really nice guy in real life.

After an intermission, Team Bella faced Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Even with the third person in their corner the Bellas just could not get it done. Nikki looked great but Brie was forgettable, I can't even recall her doing anything in the match. At the end of the match after Charlotte locked in her Figure 8 and Nikki tapped, Team Bella carried Nikki backstage. There was an almost circus-like feel to the end of the match, the girls were overacting to the point where they looked like they were putting on a performance, in the way amateur stage actors do. It was a good match, but Nikki really should just dump the rest of Team Bella and go her own way.

Dean Ambrose faced Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred match. Bray came out to a simplified version of his intro, so we got a bit of the fireflies in the audience, but I don't recall seeing a lantern. This was by far one of the best matches of the show. Bray tied the kendo stick to the turnbuckle and sent Ambrose into it face first, blinding him for a while when the stick poked him in the eye. The rest of the Wyatt family came to Bray's aid only to be foiled by the Dudleyz and Ryback. Luke Harper ended up the victim of a 3-D, destroying one table, with another table being destroyed later by Dean coming off the top rope onto a laid-out Bray Wyatt. Ryback went after Braun, which makes me wonder if this is Ryback's next feud.

The final match was for the US title, between WWE World Champ Seth Rollins and defending US champion John Cena. Lots of support for Cena from the crowd, which prompted Rollins to stop mid-match and remind the crowd in his whiny, weasel-like way that he is the world champ. I kept chanting "You Broke Sting" throughout the match. It was a great match, made up of all the moves we've seen these two do in the last two or three matches they've had. The big change came at end, when Cena stunned the crowd with an F-5 from the second rope.

I am going to try and take my son to the show in December. After seeing these guys live, I'm itching to see Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins face off. Both these guys have a great in-ring style and I hope they do eventually have a feud, because those two men can take the sport to the next level.

I had a great time, all the visibility at times was a pain in the ass. Floor seating meant we couldn't see the mat or anything going on outside the ring. Next time  I am going to try and find a spot farther back and perhaps up a bit so we can see clearly.

You can see pics from the show on my blog at:

They aren't very good, in fact I was much closer to the show than these pics made it appear. The Ricoh Coliseum isn't that big.

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