Let's cut to the chase here, Pittsburgh ruined a great main event.
I was in attendance for Extreme Rules on Sunday night, and it was my first time attending a live event, let alone a pay-per-view (PPV). Granted the card wasn't blowing most minds, but I thought it was solid overall and needlessly to say I was elated to see the show live. I got decent seats, and I set myself up for success.
I was also taking a friend with me who has next to zero knowledge of what wrestling is in 2018. His memories are of The Rock and Stone Cold and he likes Matt Hardy's Woken gimmick because he pops up on local radio from time to time and he finds him entertaining. That's largely it. But he has an open mind and finds the entertainment in pro wrestling even if he isn't a follower.
As I'm writing this, I have yet to read what the general opinion on the show was, but from my point of view I enjoyed myself immensely. I thought it was great. It packed some good matches and some great moments. I even found it harder to do the standard over-analysis of matches I tend to do when I'm watching via the Network, and so I was just living in the moment and enjoying the matches as they were presented to me. So, suffice it to say, I was having just a grand ole' time all night. That is, of course, until the end of the evening. But we will get to that shortly.
I would have to say that from where I was sitting, the crowd was enjoying itself too throughout the night. They felt pretty hot, and largely played along just fine for pretty much the whole event until the end. There was of course a fiery hatred towards Roman, but I was expecting that. They didn't completely dump on the Roman/Lashley match as much as I was expecting them too, but there were certainly some nay-sayers around. I thought they won the crowd over toward the end with that one though. Some things in particular which got the hottest reactions were Owen's fall, Ronda getting in the mix, and later, both of Rusev's Matchka Kicks and the subsequent kick-outs in the WWE Title match.
Which brings me to that match. I think the Rusev and AJ match might have lit that trademark 'Burgh attitude spark a bit, because they were RAVENOUS for Rusev. I knew Rusev Day was over but holy cow it's a whole different beast being in the midst of a Rusev hungry crowd. They wanted that title win for him. They NEEDED it. And I admit it was a great match and a great atmosphere to see it in. The fellow next to me and I nearly lost our minds and my nachos after that second major Matchka kick. I think, though, that after it was over the crowd was tired and disappointed, but not dead. I think the energy of the match kept them punchy, as well as an evening of drinking too I'm sure.
Going into Extreme Rules, the match I was most excited for was the Iron Man Match. I was beyond giddy, because I wanted to see a red hot Rollins and a reinvigorated Ziggler do what they do with a bunch of time, and in person. I was, however, expecting Reigns to go on last. Once his match came the liklihood of the Intercontinental Title going on last was dawning on me, and it only lit the fire of excitement. Once Rusev and AJ went on I was preparing myself for something special.
But what happened wasn't special, it was embarrassing. Besides the aftermath of the WWE Title match, I can't quite pinpoint what made them so crazy. It was almost completely out of nowhere, especially considering they were largely on board for the rest of the night. I would expect them to be unforgiving of a Reigns/Lashley match, but they were handed wrestling GOLD on a platter for their main event, and they acted like a bunch of petulant children.
I have read many an argument about how crowds these days just want to get themselves over, and after tonight it's hard to see that isn't what was going on here. They did the Royal Rumble countdown thing and the "Wahhhhh" the first time and yes, it was amusing. It immediately stopped being amusing the second time but they just thought it was so HILARIOUS they had to keep doing it. Naturally there were plenty of people not on board, and seemed visibly annoyed, but there wasn't much that could be done after the crowd hive mind decided they were just going to do it every minute.
And let us not forget when the guys in the back decided to pull the clock from the screen and it only riled up the crowd more. At that point it became a challenge, and Pittsburgh wasn't going to back down. So they just did it over and over, sometimes 3 or 4 times in one minute. That was the point where it went from annoying to just plain awful, and the crowd just refused to let up.
There was my poor friend sitting next to me, probably wondering why I would do this to him. I know he enjoyed the show quite a bit, but I can't imagine he would ever be itching to attend another event like this again if this is what the crowd experience is like. Two rows down from us was this one buffoon who hung on the "wahhh" noise for what felt like an eternity after it was over. He did this every single time, too. EVERY SINGLE ONE.
The woman who was with him kept covering his mouth every time he did it, but that did not stop him in the least. He was so obnoxious.
There was a guy ringside near the corner by the ramp who was practically acting as some kind of symphony conductor, waving his hands like a lunatic in an effort to guide the crowd to carry on this nonsense in unison. There was this kid, around 10 years old, standing on his chair a few rows down shouting the numbers from the top of his lungs and enjoying every minute. Which, a kid is going to do what kids do and that's fine, but he saw me shaking my head at this whole situation and he locked eyes with me and nodded his head at me and smiled as if to say "Accept it. You're the old man who doesn't like fun."
And this is all while two guys who rarely ever get to main event (especially Dolph) are pouring out their wrestling guts in front of us. It shouldn't matter what the match was though, this is no way to treat anyone trying to entertain and please you. Those poor guys. I feel so bad for them. It goes without saying how disrespectful it is, and in return how could they ever expect any manner of respect for a crowd and a city in return from WWE or its performers. I just kept wondering how much Dolph and Seth were hating us, and how much the crowd was hurting themselves for future PPVs like this in the future. Why would WWE keep wanting to hold larger events here if we will always be known as those idiots who booed Batista out of the building and ruined tonight's match?
It's amazing to me, I don't get it. At the very least get a couple of these out of your system and then just enjoy the damn match. It was a good match! But once the timer left the screen it was practically over. The crowd won this one by way of dirty tactics. They should have been disqualified. That's just it though, these people aren't in the match, they're watching it. So just sit down and let the wrestlers do the wrestling thing for goodness sake.
And to top it all off, toward the end of the match there were a couple guys above us who just decided to start throwing popcorn and garbage at the people below them, myself and my friend included. It was madness and the disrespect was deafening. I don't know what happened. It was all going so well. I feel like a disappointed father. I'm disappointed in my city tonight.
So, to all who read this that share my frustration, I hear you. I'm sorry that my city ruined what should have been a stellar main event. I promise my city isn't chock full with a bunch of idiotic jerks. But I swear, get a few Iron City Lights into these people and they lose their minds.