About two years ago, I went to my first WWE show ever (and this came shortly after getting back into the product). It was the 10/7/13 episode of Raw that saw Shawn Michaels picked to guest ref the Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan Hell in a Cell match. In addition, it also featured the TV in-ring debut of Eva Marie and the start of Big Show's 4,000th main event push. It was also the fallout show from the inaugural Battleground, which featured a disaster of a main event. Being there live made it enjoyable, and I still need to watch the televised version to see how it holds up.
That's not what we're here for today. Instead, we're going to talk about my adventure to a WWE Live show last night in Pittsburgh, PA. Initially, I wasn't going to be able to go to it due to work, but things worked out and I decided to go at pretty much the last minute. I left my house at 5 PM (it takes about 90 minutes to get to Pittsburgh from my house), and I BARELY made it there on time due to some insane construction in the area. Hell, when I walked into the Consol Energy Center (amazing venue by the way), they were already playing the National Anthem.
When I took my seat, the festivities began in earnest. Before I talk about the matches, let's talk about the crowd a bit. Normally, Pittsburgh draws excellently for WWE when they come into town for TV. For this particular house show, it was a bit different. The entire upper level of the Consol Energy Center was curtained, and maybe half of the lower level was full (this could have been due to the Pittsburgh Pirates playing an intense game with the St. Louis Cardinals that went to 14 innings...I don't know).
Despite the lower-than-expected attendance, pretty much everyone in attendance was hyped and loud for the entire show, especially this middle-aged woman that sat beside me. She was more into it than a lot of the kids. She may have been drunk as well as she tried to compliment me on my cologne (bad news: I don't wear cologne). There was also this big dude who sat below me wearing a John Cena shirt and carrying a Stone Cold Steve Austin WWF Title belt. He was munching on his nachos the whole night and calling out the moves to himself. There was even an occasion where he said "right in the ding-ding" during the main event. And to top it off, there was a dude who sat above me who was trying too hard to be a smark, but everyone ignored him.
There were also more cosplayers than I expected, including a VERY good Bray Wyatt cosplayer as well as a very good Paige cosplay (Paige event pointed at her during her entrance after the intermission). Lots of kids where there as you would expect, and many were decked in John Cena gear. A few had Brock Lesnar shirts or Kevin Owens shirts (including me because Kevin Owens is the best damn heel in the company right now). There were a few others mixed in as well, including a few NXT shirts from when they ran a show in Stage AE right after Dusty Rhodes passed.
Now for the matches and other miscellaneous things. I'm gonna hit them below and take it one match at a time.
The first match of the night was Neville vs Bo Dallas. Bo came out first and got some REALLY good heat...probably the second biggest amount of heat for the night. He cut a promo before the match calling Pittsburgh a dump and harking on the fans before telling us to Bolieve. The crowd completely ate it up and booed the hell out of Bo. Conversely, when Neville entered, the crowd popped hard for him. The match was typical of what you've already seen on TV between these two. Crowd was really hot for this one, and Neville wowed with his athleticism. Seriously, seeing him do the things he does in person is beyond impressive. He hit the Red Arrow for the win, and the crowd collectively crapped themselves.
Next was The New Day vs The Primetime Players for the tag titles. The New Day's schtick is damn funny to witness in person as the crowd ripped them. The PTP were super over here, generating a very big pop. Again, this was just like what you see on TV, so nothing really special here aside from Titus O'Neil getting a hot tag and going to town. He also busted out a very nice pumphandle backbreaker before taking it home with Clash of the Titus.
After a Connor the Crusher video package, the arena went dark. After a few seconds....BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!!! That's right. CHRIS FREAKING JERICHO was in the building, and he got a good reaction (not huge, and that's probably because the kids really didn't know who he was). He talked to the crowd a bit and ripped The Authority a bit, using his iconic insult against Stephanie McMahon (except for "ho" due to the show being PG and all). As he went on, Luke Harper came wandering out and slapped the mic out of Jericho's hand. Therefore, we had ourselves Chris Jericho vs Luke Harper, and this was the match of the night to me. Both men got their signature spots in, and Jericho looked great despite his neck injury. Both him and Harper wrestled a great match, and Jericho hit the Codebreaker for the win. After, Jericho soaked up the crowd before exiting.
To prepare for intermission, we got R-Truth vs Mark Henry, and you could guess what happened here. Truth tried his shenanigans against Henry, and this annoyed Henry to the point of him walking out for a few moments. Once he reentered, he absolutely destroyed Truth with the World Strongest Slam.
After this was an intermission, and I have to give props to whoever was in charge of the music at the Consol Energy Center. They played some good stuff.
Once intermission ended, we got a Divas Title match of Paige vs Naomi vs Nikki Bella. There was a crowd choice here, and they voted to keep Brie Bella and Tamina at ringside. Paige got a huge pop, Nikki got a slightly smaller pop, and Naomi got nothing at all (dead serious, and she nearly botched entering the ring). The match wasn't bad at all. Naomi didn't nearly kill anyone this time, and all three did a pretty good job. There was a Tower of Doom spot, and everyone got involved somehow. Naomi got hit with a Rack Attack by Nikki to lead to the end.
Next was (sigh) Ryback vs Big Show for the Intercontinental Title. Big Show got some huge heat and talked smack to the crowd, and Ryback got the second biggest pop of the night. This was honestly not a terrible match. Both men got their hoss spots in, and Ryback Shellshocked Show for the win (that was an impressive feat that the crowd popped huge for). Afterward, Big Show got the "Na Na Na Na" treatment.
To end, we had our main event: a street fight between John Cena and Kevin Owens for the United States Title. Owens came out first and got some nuclear heat after knocking Pittsburgh. Seriously, this dude absolutely gets it. Cena came out afterward, and it was like a religious experience for the kids there. They screamed and screamed and rocketed around the arena when his music came out. I'd say the reaction was 60/40 for Cena. There was a pretty good contingent of boos and "John Cena Sucks" singing. Cena cut a counterpromo against Owens before the match started. Honestly, this was just a generic street fight, but with Owens being awesome about halfway through when he got a mic, started talking smack between smacking Cena with it. Cena ate a pop-up powerbomb for two, and came back with an AA through a table for the win. As I was leaving the venue, I saw him bring a little kid into the ring with him to celebrate and pose for pictures, and that kid was just having the time of his life.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable show for all. However, this is something that is CLEARLY made for the more casual fans. If you've watched as much WWE as we all have, then you could easily guess the end results of the matches without spoiling them via other dirtscreen reports. That, combined with knowing how these matches worked, really took some of the unpredictability out of the matches (which was sad because many of the people were REALLY into these matches due to not knowing what would happen).
Despite that, I'd still recommend going to at least one house show if one were to come to your area. Although you would know what to expect, it is still a fun night away from the horrors of everyday life and work.
Oh, and for those Pittsburgh residents who weren't in attendance, WWE is coming back for Raw on November 30, so don't say I didn't tell you all anything useful.