Behind the Scenes at a WWE RAW event
A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to attend a WWE RAW the day after SummerSlam at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The event came on the heels of a good, but not great SummerSlam event. You can catch a full review here by the always great Dan Yanofsky.
Anyway, the crowd after WrestleMania and SummerSlam is supposed to be two of the hottest crowds on the WWE schedule. It was an alright show, but the crowd wasn’t fully into it until the very end (we’ll get to that). The biggest issue with the WWE product in general is that there’s too much content. Three hours of RAW, two hours of Smackdown Live, all of the content on the WWE Network and all of the PPVs overexpose the talent. I don’t regret going, but there are a lot of things that most fans wouldn’t realize until they went to an event live. Here are some of the biggest differences between TV and live:
Most of the show is filler
If you’re an avid WWE fan, you probably already know this. The most important times to watch RAW are at the top of each hour (8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.) and everything in between is just filler. The pre-show (Main Event) is a way to get as many wrestlers as possible at least something to look forward to. However, Mojo Rawley vs Rhyno doesn’t move the needle and most fans weren’t in their seats before the main show. There really aren’t that many intriguing storylines, but in the Attitude Era and even after that the show was always building towards something.
When you have matches like Bobby Lashley vs Baron Corbin, a six-women tag match between the Riott Squad and Bayley/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon, and a twenty-minute long promo by Triple H, you know that Vince McMahon is just screaming for someone to grab that brass ring. The crowd was fatigued by the end of the night but having The Shield come out and having a nice cliffhanger of Braun Strowman attempting to cash in his Money in the Bank contract was a great way to end a mediocre show.
It’s refreshing without the commentary
No offense to Michael Cole, but it’s very refreshing to watch an entire show without having to hear his over the top commentary. Corey Graves and ‘The Coach’ Jonathan Coachman have been fine, but there are just too many voices that say too many things when some things just need a little time to breathe.
Being able to watch a pure wrestling show is a breath of fresh air and something that needs to be done more if you’re a fan. It’s expensive, but going to a live show at least once in a while is worth the price of admission. Watching on mute is also acceptable, but it doesn’t feel the same as most people wind up distracted while they’re watching and don’t fully pay attention.
WWE ain’t the only show in town anymore
While the WWE is still a money-making machine, there are so many other options out there for wrestling fans. It was evident in the fact that “ALL IN” (a Cody Rhodes production) has taken the wrestling universe by storm with great storylines and even better wrestling. It’s also evident in the fact that RAW wasn’t sold out the day after SummerSlam.
Most will attribute it to wrestling fatigue, as Brooklyn hosted NXT TakeOver, SummerSlam, RAW and Smackdown Live, but WWE seems to have lost a step in their wrestling empire. Like I said, they’re still making plenty of money, but it’s actually good that there’s some competition now. The plays to nostalgia and lack of direction (other than Roman Reigns) has been getting old for a very long time. Maybe the competition will launch a new initiative to change the programs.
Overall, RAW is still a good product. Even though it’s too long and a lot of the product is filler, it’s still a wonderful experience for any wrestling fan. If you have the opportunity, make sure to attend a show. It’s always a good time, and wrestling fans are some of the most welcoming people in the world. It’s just funny how different a show can be live as opposed to on television.
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