As expected, the sold out crowd at Allstate Arena in Chicago-adjacent Rosemont, Illinois for Raw last night (Aug. 2) was a little ornery.
The chants for likely AEW-signee and Second City native Phil Brooks started before the main show was even on the air.
The fans shifted gears for the opening segment with WWE champ Bobby Lashley & Goldberg. The first “We Want Wyatt” chants were here, for the man who pinned the recently-released Fiend in Saudi Arabia... and everyone backstage booking the 54 year old Hall of Famer as a semi-regular main eventer.
The biggest impact they had on the show came during Miz TV. Fans thought The Miz & John Morrison’s schtick was all wet (sorry, the moist puns are contagious), and poor Damian Priest paid the price.
@WrestlingDaze here are the most audible @CMPunk chants, you can see and hear Damian priest almost breaks character. You also hear towards the end of the promo, obviously dubbed in cheering noises. pic.twitter.com/0c6QZKVdfk— James_Kenny (@James67643300) August 3, 2021
Really though, the biggest thing I noticed watching the show was how generally uninterested the Chicagoland faithful seemed to be. The fans in attendance didn’t seem to be able to sustain a reaction to anything - good, bad, or just for the sake of chaos.
That vibe continued to the main event. Like many wrestling fans, Allstate didn’t seem to have bought into Nikki A.S.H.’s character, or her sudden rise to the Raw Women’s title. Charlotte Flair (who earlier in the night got the “We Want Becky” chants she’s been getting everywhere since Money in the Bank) was booed during her entrance, but then it got quiet.
Flair sliding a table out from under the ring in response to hearing “We Want Tables” got a pop, but it was for the hardware, not the match. When it didn’t come into play, the decibel levels quickly dropped. They rose again as the women took more advantage of the No Holds Barred stipulation, eventually earning a round of “This Is Awesome”.
Most impressively, at the end when the champ brought back her Purge finisher to pin The Queen, Chicago was thrilled to see the (almost) superhero beat the villain. You know, the reaction these violent morality plays are supposed to get.
Was that because Nikki A.S.H. is over? Because Flair’s embraced her Dirtiest Player in the Game legacy (including building her earlier promo around Simone Biles in a heat-seeking move many online found tasteless, and the crowd in the building didn’t seem to know what to do with) to finally get the reaction she wants?
I’m not convinced either is absolutely true. But it was a little of column A, a little of column B, and an impressive feat for both performers given their audience’s mood all night.