On Friday, June 9, 2017, I traveled from my hometown of Canton to nearby Jackson, Mississippi, along with my three children, to attend the RAW house show. This has become an annual event in the Rodgers’ household, as my two oldest have begun to ask my months in advance about attending.
We arrived about a half hour before the show started. Our seats were fairly close to the ring, near the entrance barricade. The first thing I noticed was the big screen showed a lot of SmackDown Live clips and heavily promoted the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Before the show officially started, a family in the bleachers were moved to front row seats as a nice little token for it being their first WWE event. Also, there were quite a few empty floor and bleacher seats. The place was not as full as it was the last two years.
The Miz with Maryse versus Dean Ambrose:
The Miz and Maryse entered first. Miz immediately berated us for living in Jackson, MS and said that such a place was not worthy of an Intercontinental Championship defend. My son got a kick out of him calling Jackson a “po-dunk” town. Miz and Maryse were tied for the most hated heels of the night.
Dean Ambrose was heavily cheered and received the third or fourth loudest pop of the night. This was my first time seeing him in person and completed my goal of seeing all three former Shield member perform live. Dean is so dreamy in person. The camera just does not do that face justice.
During the match, which was non-title, Maryse continued to interfere so much that she garnered “Kick her out” chants from the crowd. Then the place went crazy when she did just that. Without his muscle, Miz lost to a wicked Dirty Deeds and Ambrose picked up the first victory of the evening.
Six women’s tag match: Alexa Bliss, Emma, and Nia Jax versus Dana Brooke, Mickie James, and Sasha Banks
AHHH! I GOT TO SEE MICKIE, EMMA, AND SASHA LIVE!!!!!
Anyone who knows me in this community knows that I have a special love for all three of those women. So imagine my surprise when I fell in love with the WWE RAW Women’s Champion throughout the course of this match.
Alexa Bliss is a classic heel who is not afraid to make fun of herself. There was a spot where Mickie did four kip ups after being knocked down. In an attempt to not be undone, Alexa went for a kip up four times as well . . . and failed all four times. Then threw the biggest hissy fit because we were laughing at her. She had the perfect blend of comedy and viciousness throughout this match.
Dana Brooke was the babyface-in-peril and took the lion’s share of the punishment in the match. I have to say I was impressed by her as well. She bumped big for her opponents, especially Nia Jax, and showed some good fire in her attempt to get a tag.
Sasha Banks was the most over woman on the card and third most over face on the show period, slightly behind Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The match between these six women was one of the more entertaining ones on the card. It felt like a New Day match where the crowd laughed and cheered and have an overall great time.
Kudos to all six of those women.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville versus Austin Aries
Full disclosure: My children do not care about the Cruiserweight division. At all. My oldest daughter told me that she had to go to the bathroom so we all took this time to get a bathroom break in. We returned right near the end of the match, which saw Neville win by using the ropes. As he was leaving, a kid shoved a ‘Neville Sucks’ sign in his face. He stared the kid down before leaving. Austin Aries got sympathy claps as he left the ring.
Kalisto, Heath Slater, and Rhyno versus Titus O’Neil, Curtis Axel, and Curt Hawkins
Titus got a HUGE face pops and lots of barking during his entrance and the match. As Slater was the face-in-peril, a huge “WE WANT RHYNO” chant got going. Rhyno got the hot tag and won the match with a Gore. As he was celebrating, Samoa Joe’s music hit. This was met with “Joe” chants . . . until he hit the ring and choked out Rhyno. That made him the most hated heel of the night.
After disposing of Rhyno, Joe got the microphone and called out Brock Lesnar for not being there (as if he even knows there is a Jackson, Mississippi on the map) and proclaimed that no one in the locker room or Jackson could beat him.
Seth Rollins music hit and the Kingslayer ran out to the ring to a stand ovation to confront Joe . . . .
Samoa Joe versus Seth Rollins
Joe and Seth brawled for a bit, even getting some action outside of the ring. Joe took control early but Rollins fought back hard, pulling out all the stops to take down the Samoan Submission Machine. Just when it looked like Rollins would pull out a win, Joe grabbed a chair and attacked him, losing the match by disqualification. After the match, Rollins got the upper-hand and hit his new finisher (I have no idea what it is called) and sent Joe packing.
After standing tall in the ring, Rollins went around to the people ringside to show the fans some love. That included myself and my children, as we all got a fistbump from him! So I have been touched by two members of the Shield now! Dean, you’re next, buddy!
After intermission, we were treated to a song from the Drifter Elias Sampson. His song was about how much Jackson sucked and how he could not wait to leave and how rude we were as a crowd because we would not shut up. Third most hated heel of the night.
Elias Sampson versus Apollo Crews
This match had a lot of brawling. The Drifter controlled most of the action. Crews won with a quick roll up. It was just fine but not very memorable.
RAW Tag Team Championship: Sheamus and Cesaro versus Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows versus Enzo and Big Cass
Enzo and Big Cass were very over. And it is suuuuuuper fun to say their catchphrases along with them. Sheamus and Cesaro received a mixed reaction. Most people around here still love them. Enzo played babyface-in-peril against both teams. Big Cass was the hot tag. They actually hit their finisher on Karl Anderson but Gallows broke up the pin. Soon after, Sheamus and Cesaro took over the match and Sheamus pinned Enzo to retain their titles.
Main event: Bray Wyatt versus Roman Reigns
This was the second time I got to experience Wyatt’s entrance in person and it is still as awesome as it ever was. However the majority of fans feel about Wyatt, he is definitely still very over for fans down here. He was booed some but mostly cheered. Roman Reigns was cheered by the majority but there were some stray fans booing him here and there.
The match was awesome with a lot of back and forth from both men. At one point, Bray had Roman down and got a microphone. He asked did Jackson pay their money to see Roman Reigns, to which the crowd cheered. Then he asked if Jackson wanted to see Roman Reigns lose to Bray Wyatt. That got a mixed reaction, which some “Yes!” chants thrown it. It honestly felt like a face versus face match with “Let’s Go, Roman!”, “Let’s go, Bray” dueling chants at one point.
Roman went over with a Spear. Unlike last year, Roman did not come over to my section. Oh, well, he did last year and there is always next year!
All the WWE Superstars were fantastic and worked really hard to entertain us and they delivered. I felt like I got my money’s worth and then some.
SmackDown Live came to Jackson last December and I did not go. Hopefully, they will make a stop again this year so I can correct that mistake. There is nothing like going to a WWE event. If you have never been, I suggest you go at least once in your life. The talent does not disappoint.
*Once again, I took pictures and video but my choice of smart phones has let me down as I cannot upload anything.