Is anyone else disappointed that we were told which brand Auska is headed to? I would have rather been surprised at her Raw debut. Because of social media, there is hardly ever an element of surprise anymore when it comes to wrestling storylines. Even with the Hardys, we all knew they were debuting, even though we didn’t really know for sure until their music dropped. That’s part of the problem with wrestling today. There is not enough separation between the fans and the show. They’re breaking kayfabe too often. Due to leaks, we already know everything that’s going to happen before it happens. We don’t need the company telling us more, like who’s debuting and where they’re going.
Whether you hate John Cena and Roman Reigns, or love them, or hate one and love the other, you have to acknowledge that their contract-signing promo this past week on Raw was buzz-worthy. Everyone is talking about it. After the promo aired, there was some speculation that Cena went off-script, but other sources suggest that it was “exactly what the WWE wanted” (https://wrestlingrumors.net/john-cena-go-off-script-raw-segment-roman-reigns/). But more importantly than that, it was exactly what the fans wanted.
When the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns match was announced for No Mercy, I have to say that I was honestly kind of dreading it. Cena and Reigns both have a very limited technical wrestling arsenal, and they don’t really provide a lot of shock-value with their moves. They’re both predictable wrestlers. Earlier in the Raw episode, after seeing an ad for No Mercy, I thought, “Wow, they really haven’t built up this match/rivalry at all.” But their promo changed everything for me – even how I feel about the future of WWE.
Before I say anything more, watch the promo if you haven’t already:
At (9:40) Roman says Cena gets booed because he sucks, to which Cena responds, “According to them [the fans], so does he [Kurt Angle], but that’s okay because he won a gold medal.” This is the part that felt to me like it was off-script. It seems as if Reigns – based on his expression – didn’t expect Cena to say anything in that moment. So far, the argument has been a lot of back and forth, without interjections, up until this point when it deviates from that pattern. And realistically, that isn’t how an argument goes. When two people argue, they don’t exactly listen to what the other has to say, and then respond. They yell over each other when they hear something they disagree with.
Further proof of straying from the script is that Roman loses his train of thought. You can see it happen. He pauses for a moment, then suppresses a grin. Of course, Cena points this out: “Go ahead, find it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.” Officially we don’t know whether this moment was scripted or not, but either way it’s typical Cena. He’s witty and quick, and that is one of the main reasons why he has been so successful in this business. When Roman can’t seem to come up with a response, Cena tells him, “It’s called a promo, and if you’re gonna be the Big Dog you’re going to have to learn how to do it.” This moment was mic-drop worthy. Later, he calls Roman stupid: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and to have people think you’re stupid than to open it and prove them right,” and “It took you five years to cut a half-way decent promo” (10:25). In this segment, Cena becomes a champion of the people by telling Roman what has been on our minds since the company starting pushing him. It’s like Cena read all of my angry tweets directed at Roman Reigns.
Cena is not only speaking for the people, but he is speaking candidly to the people. He breaks the fourth wall, addressing the fact that people want him to have a heel turn. Typically, we’re supposed to pretend that the entertainers and their characters are all one in the same. They’re not supposed to break kayfabe by using backstage terminology such as “heel,” “face,” and “promo.” Cena even says at one point, “See ya fourth wall!” We feel close to him in this moment. We feel as if there isn’t this huge barrier between the company and the fans, between the storylines and the entertainers themselves.
The most profound quality of this promo is that it seems as if the writers are reading the comments section on social media and responding to the people. They are researching what the people want. This is confirmed when Cena says, “they [the fans] hold the keys, they always have.” This gives me hope for the company’s future.
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My top four favorite wrestlers of all time are: John Cena, Batista, Rey Mysterio, and Eddie Guerrero (but not necessarily in that order). Last night I met Rey Mysterio – in my hometown of Bristol, Connecticut – and it was one of the best nights of my life. As a kid, I was never taken to a wrestling show, so I would have never imagined that I would be able to shake hands with – and HUG – my favorite superstars. I am still in awe right now. The entire show was fantastic and so impressive. The crowd was electric. The atmosphere was intimate. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
We were second in line for the event, but first in line to meet Rey Mysterio. He was running a little late, and we saw him arrive, and then enter the locker room to put his bag away and get ready. A few minutes later, he came out, and the first thing he did was go over to Kevin Nash (who was sitting down), jump on that little brick wall you can see in the picture above, and hug him from behind. He was such a normal person! After greeting Nash, Mysterio came over to us and said, “Sorry about that,” to which I replied, “It’s okay, you can do whatever you want, you’re Rey Mysterio!” We bought a photo of him which he autographed. He asked our names to write them on the photo, and I said my name (Emily) which he misheard as “Emma.” He asked, “Emma?” and so I repeated, “Emily,” and then he said my name out loud! I leaned over to my boyfriend and said, “Oh my god, Rey Mysterio just said my name!” After he signed the photograph, I told him that he is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, and he replied, “Thank you so much.” After, we took the photo with him, and before we were about to leave I asked him if I could have a hug. He said, “of course,” and then I hugged Rey Mysterio! And if I stood there another minute I would have cried ugly, happy tears.
Next, we met Kevin Nash. He didn’t seem to be in a very good mood – he was very quiet. However, he came out to address the crowd and apologized. He said that he was recovering from his 32nd surgery, and was medicated. Upon learning this, we were even more impressed, because he showed up anyway, even though he was in pain, and it was uncomfortably hot outside.
After we met Nash, we stood in line to meet Jack Swagger, who had not yet arrived. We were second in line to meet Swagger. When he showed up, he apologized for being late. I said, “That’s okay! You’re Jack Swagger! Better late than never!” and he said he liked my attitude. At this point, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Jack Swagger likes my attitude!” To which Swagger replied, “Aw, you’re going to make me blush. I like Connecticut!” You guys, I made Jack Swagger like Connecticut. And oh my god, I didn’t notice he had his hand on my shoulder!
Here are some other highlights:
Hacksaw Jim Duggan performed in a six-man tag team match.
We were impressed by the athleticism of some of the other wrestlers, who we did not know beforehand. Flip Gordon, a very talented individual, competed in a triple threat match and had us with our jaws on the floor. The Young Bloods were also impressive. Ryback was supposed to compete, but his flight didn’t land in time. He was supposed to fill in for Jerry the King Lawler, who had to cancel his appearance a few days before the show.
The coolest part about sitting front row was the interaction that we had with the wrestlers, the host, and even the referee. Flip Gordon, who got knocked outside of the ring, asked us to let him know when his two opponents were both down so that he could go back into the ring and get the pin. Wrecking Ball Legursky’s manager came out and took the mic from the host, Kurt Adonis, and Adonis started a chant that the manager’s breath “smelled like poop.” Then he turned to us, and said, “It really does smell like poop,” and the referee looked at us and nodded in agreement. When Adonis was announcing a new match, he said, “This match is scheduled for one fall,” and of course, the crowd chanted, “one fall!” and the ref looked at us again and asked, “One fall, not two? One?” and we laughed and said “one!”
Rey Mysterio competed in the main event of the show. The entire crowd chanted “619” the entire match. He won the match after a 619 and a frog splash off the top rope. After the match, Rey grabbed the mic and thanked us all for coming out. He said that every time he comes to CT the 619 will be renamed the 860. After the match, and after he addressed the crowd, he walked around the entire ring to touch all of the hands that were out.
It was truly an amazing experience to attend this show put on by Northeast Wrestling. I started to feel emotional at the end of the show, thinking about the entire crowd coming together to enjoy the same experience. No matter our differences, we all came together because of our love of wrestling.
My boyfriend and I have decided to watch/re-watch wrestling from the Attitude Era on. The WWE Network does not make this an easy task, since they list all of the pay-per-views together, and all of the Raw Replays together. It would be helpful if they listed the shows by date instead. So after doing some research, I’ve made a list of Raw episodes and pay-per-views from 1997. Just an FYI – if you try to add them all to your watchlist on the Network, there won’t be enough space. I added the whole year, and it only kept July-December 1997. Here is my list, in case you are interested:
Jan. 6th Raw
Jan. 13th Raw
Jan. 19th Royal Rumble
Jan. 20th Raw
Jan. 27th Raw
Feb. 3rd Raw
Feb. 13th Raw
Feb. 16th In Your House 13: Final Four
Feb. 17th Raw
Feb. 24th Raw
March 3rd Raw
March 10th Raw
March 17th Raw
March 23rd Wrestlemania 13
March 24th Raw
March 31st Raw
April 7th Raw
April 14th Raw
April 20th In Your House 14: Revenge of Taker
April 21st Raw
April 28th Raw
May 5th Raw
May 11th In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell
May 12th Raw
May 19th Raw
May 26th Raw
June 2nd Raw
June 8th King of the Ring
June 9th Raw
June 16th Raw
June 23rd Raw
June 30th Raw
July 6th In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede
July 7th Raw
July 14th Raw
July 21st Raw
July 28th raw
August 3rd Summerslam
August 4th Raw
August 11th Raw
August 18th Raw
August 29th WWF’s Friday Night’s Main Event
Sept. 7th In Your House: Ground Zero
Sept. 8th Raw
Sept. 15th Raw
Sept. 20th One Night Only
Sept. 22nd Raw
Sept. 29th Raw
Oct. 5th In Your House: Badd Blood
Oct. 6th Raw
Oct. 13th Raw
Oct. 20th Raw
Oct. 27th Raw
Nov. 3rd Raw
Nov. 9th Survivor Series
Nov. 10th Raw
Nov. 17th Raw
Nov. 24th Raw
Dec. 1st Raw
Dec. 7th In Your House: D-Generation X
Dec. 8th Raw
Dec. 15th Raw
Dec. 22nd Raw
Dec. 29th Raw
I am hoping to keep up this trend, and when we finish 1997 I will make a list for 1998. Like always, if you notice any errors/anything I’m missing, please comment to let me know! I know that there are a few side shows from 1997 but in my research they seemed like recaps/talk shows. I know ECW isn’t included in this list – did it overlap with the pay-per-views at this point, or was it a stand-alone show?
I hope that you all find this list helpful. It would be really cool if we could all experience this time travel together.
Some thoughts about the money in the bank matches: why is it that the person that wins becomes number one contender AND gets the contract? Wouldn’t it be so much more interesting to have two storylines happening at the same time, like the champion facing the number one contender, but also knowing that the person with the contract can cash it in at any time? That way the champion can be a part of the money in the bank match and if they win it’s like an insurance policy in case they lose the title.