I never thought this would happen. Not in my craziest dreams. Tonight, I experienced Monday Night RAW, live. In case you’re scratching your head at this very moment, let me fill you in.
Back in the day, there was a traveling show called professional wrestling. Dubbed WWF, this show had many great moments, some amazing stars, and death-defying and adrenaline-inducing stunts. Now called WWE, this show has sadly been on the decline in recent years, but still draws out some record crowds.
But once the Facebook Deal came up a couple months ago for $22 tickets, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to relive my childhood. I convinced my flatmates Jay and Kevin (also fans once upon a time) to get the tickets, too.
We arrived at the HP Pavilion in San Jose around 5:30 PM. Three hours later, we walked out of the arena, grinning from ear to ear. Simply put, it was a memorable experience.
I’m not going to bore you with the details. You probably could care less that CM Punk and John Cena are facing each other this coming Sunday at Summer Slam to determine the undisputed champion, or that HHH is the new COO and Vince has been fired. I’ll just note some interesting observations, that you may or may not find interesting as well.
1) The live experience is entirely different from the televised experience. I felt that the crowd took up a similar role as audiences in talk shows – to provide background noise, hold up signs, and act like they’re the luckiest people on earth.
2) There is no live commentating during the matches. This was the biggest difference from my past TV viewings. I felt that something was missing – it was largely quiet, with people cheering or booing, but no one to talk about the amazing move one of the wrestlers did.
3) Pro wrestling is structured by “rivalries,” and there is usually a good character (“face”) and a bad character (“heel”). It’s been years since I’ve followed wrestling, but it was easy to tell who was who, based on the audience reactions (*cheering* or boos). I also noticed how WWE subtly influences the crowd to like the good guys by playing their theme song repeatedly during the night.
4) The show’s main focus is for the TV. Each wrestler has a cameraman about two feet away, following his every move. That’s how you get the amazing close-up shots on TV.
5) The format has been largely the same through the years: smaller matches, building up to the main event of the night. Tonight’s main event was the precursor to a larger pay-per-view event, and I think they did a good job executing and pleasing the crowd.
There were definitely some boring parts, and I can’t see myself watching this more than once a year at most, but overall, it was a great experience. Definitely brought up some emotions from years past, when life was a lot simpler and people beat each other to the pulp to solve problems. Just kidding.