It’s been stated before that a crowd can make or break an event. There are a some fans that want to see the action in the ring, but sometimes they can get restless. When you have a smart crowd who can turn on the show whenever they please, that’s when a problem takes place. That happened at last night’s Raw show at the Barclays Center. In what turned out to be an OK event, it was #BeachBallMania that stole the show.
I was in Brooklyn last night in what was my first WWE show in about 5+ years. My expectations were high. After all, it was the night after SummerSlam. WWE ended up delivering a pretty good show with a lot of moments worth remembering. Braun Strowman attacked Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, setting up a match between the two at No Mercy on September 24th, The Hardy Boyz / Men faced the new Tag Team Champions Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan tried to impress his father Kurt Angle by facing Finn Balor. The main event was Roman Reigns and John Cena v. Samoa Joe and The Miz. That came after a segment in which Cena and Reigns faced off, Miz interrupted with a great promo (as usual), and Joe coming out to be on Miz’s side, for the time being.
Somewhere between the Hardy’s match and the main event, the crowd decided to let themselves be heard. They completely rebelled against the Cruiserweight multi-man tag match, which is a shame considering the talent. They started the wave and then one of many beachballs were inflated. After the first hour, the crowd and the beachballs hijacked the show. It threw Balor and Jordan off for a bit, and the Miz even cut a promo during the main event (during a commercial) to try and berate the fans. It was anarchy.
The #BeachBallMania craze was escalated thanks to Cesaro popping a beachball during SummerSlam, which I don’t blame him for doing. When talent are working as hard as they can to get the fans’ attention, it hurts when they aren’t even watching.
Now, fans taking over a crowd isn’t new. One of the best examples is the Raw after WrestleMania 29 when Randy Orton faced Sheamus. The crowd was vicious, showing distaste for what was shown in front of them. Over time, the “Raw After WrestleMania” crowd became a thing, heavily promoted by the company. It stems from the fact that WWE shows are longer than ever, with more down time, like talking segments. While casual fans don’t bat an eye, the hardcore fans who come out from all over for the major shows are very vocal.
Is that a bad thing? A vocal crowd is needed in order to show the company what they can do better or to show what they like. When the former isn’t taken in consideration though, that’s when the hounds are loose. Both sides are at fault; WWE for hours of endless programming and the fans for going back on what they want. They normally want to see competitive wrestling, but they turned away when Finn Balor and Jason Jordan were actually giving them what they want. #BeachBallMania was more over than the Balor Club.
To put it best, here is Road Dogg:
Disrespect at its core. Not just to Finn, to all the talent.
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) August 22, 2017
A point can be made that it doesn’t happen in independent shows due to the content it provides. If you pay to go to a show however, you should watch what you spent your money on. You can voice your opinion, but don’t overtake the show.
This issue might be happening more often now. In a move that cannot be understood, WWE TV acknowledged the beachballs. By giving power to the audience, you are convincing fans it is OK to have a good time, but ignore the product. There could have been a better way to handle it, but that wasn’t it.
Time’s are changing, and so is the way people view professional wrestling. Both WWE and the crowds must do better in order to make the relationship work. Otherwise, all hell will break loose, and not even Super Cena can save the day.
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