WWE Live

A few weeks ago, on Halloween, I went to Monday Night Raw. This was my second time attending Raw. The first time was six months prior, at the age of 22. We had fantastic seats, in the third row near the superstar entrance/exit curtain. At the end of the show, as the commentators were leaving, we yelled out Byron and Corey’s names, they heard us and waved. It wasn’t ringside, but that’s how close we were.

As a fan, there is no experience that can compare to seeing a WWE event live. It was truly magical. They put on such a great show. There is so much that you don’t see on your television that goes into producing the show. Even sitting there, you don’t see half the effort taking place backstage. Everyone works so hard – in such a short amount of time in between segments – to make everything perfect. For example, the Cruiserweight matches. Half a dozen people cover the ropes in purple tape during the commercial break. They have to be done with this task in about three or four minutes. At the end of the match, they have another three to four minutes to remove the tape.

When you attend a live show, every match is a good match. You don’t want to miss a second of it. Every competition basically has you on the edge of your seat. You cheer and chant for people you don’t even like. You physically feel the excitement, the crowd, the energy, and the movements of the wrestlers. You feel them get knocked down, you feel their momentum. All of your senses are involved.

A noticeable difference between attending a live event and watching one on TV, is the commentary. You cannot hear the commentators at live events. This may seem obvious for some people, but it came as a surprise to me. Commentary is such a huge part of the experience, and I wish that they could somehow incorporate that into live shows.

Attending a WWE event on Halloween night made it extra special. Enzo and Cass faced The Club in a Halloween Street Fight. Pumpkins, skeletons, and other Halloween decorations were placed around the ring for use. The New Day had a Halloween promo video, but didn’t actually show up to the event.

This episode of Raw was also special because members of the Survivor Series teams were announced. This was also Goldberg’s second WWE appearance in the last twelve years, and we got to see him spear Paul Heyman.

Other notable events: as we were leaving the arena, on our way to catch our bus, a few famous faces drove by us. Michael Cole was in one car, Sasha Banks was in another, and Titus O’Neill was in the third. Michael Cole and Titus O’Neill waved back to us. Sasha looked pissed (this was the night after she lost the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell, and also, she didn’t get any air time on this episode).

Below are some pictures of my boyfriend, his brother, and myself, that I captured from Hulu footage of the event the next day. I’m in the middle, in between the two guys with unicorn horns (my boyfriend and his brother). In the first picture, I’m the one with the blonde hair, with my phone in front of my face, recording Charlotte’s entrance.

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Superstars Flaking Out of Matches

I seriously want to know why this is becoming a thing. First, it was Eva Marie, who was obviously not ready to wrestle on the main roster again after being sent back to NXT to train. Eva Marie’s Smackdown Live Debut was postponed not one, not two, but three times. First, she was “injured,” then she was “stuck in traffic,” then she experienced a “wardrobe malfunction.” The quotation marks are meant to show how ridiculous these excuses are. Then, conveniently, it was announced that Eva Marie was given a 30-day suspension (which she still hasn’t returned from even though it became effective on August 19th – exactly two months ago). This also creates suspicions that the high volume of recent suspensions are part of the storyline, rather than punishments for so-called violations of the wellness policy.

Another superstar that has delayed their debut is Curt Hawkins. Hawkins was supposed to debut at No Mercy, but didn’t. He showed up, got into the ring, talked a little bit, then left. It is speculated that time constraints prevented his debut from taking place http://www.sportskeeda.com/wwe/wwe-news-reason-why-curt-hawkins-didnt-make-his-in-ring-debut). Then it was announced that Hawkins would be making his debut on Smackdown Live October 11th. However, the debut did not happen then either. In a backstage interview, Hawkins provided the reason for the delay: “Time waits for no man, except… Curt Hawkins.” Hawkins was supposed to debut again on Smackdown Live last night against Apollo Crews. Hawkins walked out to the ring, talked a little crap, received a hit from Crews, then left the ring. The match never happened. So Hawkins’ debut has been put off 3 times, the same amount as Eva Marie’s debut. Does he also need some extra practice time? One would think not, since he was a WWE superstar before. Is this method supposed to hype up his actual debut? I don’t think it accomplishes that. He isn’t anything special right now, so it’s only annoying and predictable since it was JUST DONE with Eva Marie.

 

SAnitY

Last week, on NXT, a stable called SAnitY debuted. The group’s entrance is unique and promising. Personally, whenever superstars experiment with lighting and smoke effects, I’m intrigued. If you have a cool entrance, or a catchy song (i.e. Bobby Roode) I will automatically like you.

The masks and bandanas SAnitY wears over their faces in their entrance make them mysterious. With wrestling being as predictable as it is, mystery is a good thing. I would have rather had them keep this mystery alive for a few weeks or months. However, two members revealed their identities prior to their tag team match (which I understand, because I assume it’s kind of hard to wrestle with something on your face – you have to worry about it falling off, getting pulled off, etc.) The other two members revealed their identities after the match. While SAnitY kind of looks like an extension of the Wyatt family, one thing clearly sets them apart: (skip to 8:30)

That’s right, there’s a female in the group: Nikki Glencross. While some people probably noticed right away that something was different due to one member of SAnitY being only 5′ 1″, I was genuinely surprised to see Glencross remove her “disguise” and reveal her gender. At the end of the match, Glencross spazzes out, and reminding me of a female Dean Ambrose, although his “lunatic” gimmick could use some improvement. What shocked me the most was the fact that Glencross attacked Dillinger. This suggests that Glencross is an active part of the group, rather than just another valet. I’m not sure if NXT is attempting to break gender barriers by having Glencross compete against men, but I really hope that is the direction they are traveling in. I’m tired of women being considered part of the roster when they don’t have any matches (Maryse, Lana). It doesn’t seem too unlikely that NXT would have inter-gender matches, considering the changing role of women superstars in the WWE. After all, Sasha Banks and Charlotte are competing in Hell in a Cell, which has never been done before, in a little over a week.

 

Paige Suspended (Again)

The WWE announced that Paige has been suspended for sixty days for her second offense of violating the company’s wellness policy.

After the female superstar’s first suspension, Paige posted an explanation on Instagram:

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In this post from three weeks ago, Paige claims that her suspension was a result of a “procedural issue” due to not taking the required drug test in time. Apparently Paige and Del Rio were on vacation at the time of the surprise drug test and tried to make it back in time, but failed (http://hollywoodlife.com/2016/10/10/wwe-paige-suspended-again-60-days-furious-tweets/). At the time of her first suspension, Paige also stated that she had no intention of leaving the WWE. When Alberto Del Rio was released from the WWE after his suspension (which took effect on the same day as Paige’s first suspension), it was assumed that Paige, Del Rio’s girlfriend, would follow suit.

However, things may have changed with this most recent suspension. Paige is obviously angry about the company’s decision. The WWE Universe has expressed that they believe Paige is being punished because Del Rio has left, the same way that AJ Lee was mistreated after CM Punk left the WWE.

According to Paige’s father, Paige has been suffering from a “long-term neck injury,” for which she has been prescribed pain killers (http://www.wrestlezone.com/news/763221-what-caused-paige-to-violate-the-wwe-wellness-policy-for-a-second-time-paiges-parents-speak-out-on-her-suspension). These drugs are supposedly in violation of the WWE’s wellness policy. He also claims that his daughter has not been getting “proper care and advice” during this injury, assumably from the WWE.

About this second suspension, Paige has tweeted: screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-4-39-58-pm

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This second tweet obviously refers to the fact that some superstars have violated the company’s wellness policy and have not been punished for it, such as Brock Lesnar, who recently failed a drug test.

If Paige gets suspended a third time, her contract with the WWE will be terminated.

Paige is only one of many superstars to face suspension due to a violation of the WWE’s wellness policy. In the last few months, six superstars have been suspended including: Adam Rose, Alberto Del Rio, Eva Marie, Konnor (from the Ascension), Paige (twice), and Roman Reigns. Since the WWE started doing regular drug testing after the drug-related death of Eddie Guerrero in 2006, the WWE has issued over fifty suspensions for violations of the company’s wellness policy. The entire list can be viewed here: http://www.pwpix.net/wwe-wellness-program-violations/

Becky Lynch Injury

Last night, fans learned that Becky Lynch would be unable to compete at No Mercy due to an injury. Rumors swirled about Lynch’s injury all day yesterday. Some sources reported that she would not compete in her scheduled match against Alexa Bliss, other sources claimed that Lynch would compete, but that she would lose the title the same way that Sasha Banks lost to Charlotte in order to have some time off to recover from her injury a few months ago. Mostly, a cloud of confusion circled the situation, and the WWE Universe was not told for sure about Lynch’s status until commentators confirmed at No Mercy that Lynch would not be competing, and that Bliss would face another opponent.

So why all the secrecy? What’s going on with Becky Lynch? According to PWInsider,  “Lynch’s health issue is preventing her from taking bumps…she does not have a physical injury” (http://411mania.com/wrestling/becky-lynch-may-do-backstage-injury-segment-at-no-mercy/). Although some sites reported that Lynch’s injury was neck-related. Apparently, Lynch’s last performance at a live event was a tag team match on October 3rd, additionally, Lynch reportedly did not make an appearance at the WWE house show in Portland, Oregon, on October 8th. Despite this, Lynch’s health issue “isn’t said to be serious” and is “unrelated to anything physical, or in the ring (http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2016/1009/618243/becky-lynch-thanks-fans-for-support-photo/). Rumor has it that Lynch should only be out of the ring for about a month, so she will not have to vacate her title (the rule is that a superstar must relinquish their title after 60 days of not competing).

While Becky Lynch deserves her privacy, fans can’t help but wonder, what is this “injury” that isn’t really an injury? It must be personal, since the WWE is so tight-lipped about it. It is the day after No Mercy, and there still isn’t any kind of update about Lynch’s medical condition. Perhaps more information will be revealed tonight on Monday Night Raw.

Here is the tweet Becky Lynch sent out yesterday. There is a photo attached which shows her in a hospital bed.

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Whatever physical ailment Lynch is suffering from, we all hope she gets better soon so she can get back in the ring. I can’t imagine another female superstar deserving of the Smackdown Women’s Title at this point in time.

Dan Matha NXT Debut

Tonight, Dan Matha attempted to debut on NXT, but he was attacked by Samoa Joe before his match. We don’t know much about Matha so far, but two things stand out: one, he’s ginormous. He stands at six foot seven. The second, is Matha’s body acne, which stole the spotlight. It covers his arms, legs, chest, stomach, and back. I apologize for being critical, but it’s unrealistic not to comment on the subject. The WWE Universe has noticed it, and they are already making comments about it on Twitter, on Youtube, etc. Let’s face it, the WWE is known to be shallow, so it’s surprising that they would allow Matha to debut without requiring some dermatology care. While there are obviously natural causes of body acne, the first thing one thinks is “steroids.”

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In this photo, taken from the promotional video for Matha’s debut, Matha’s body acne is distinct. The entire video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQmsIVxU0uU. However, it is much more prominent in the live segment.

I hope that Matha is talented enough to be known as more than the guy with all the acne. At that height, he should be very successful in the WWE. It will be entertaining to see him match up against other six- and seven-footers in the future.

Women’s Championship Match as RAW Main Event

The WWE has come a long way in its treatment of its female superstars. Women wrestlers are no longer called Divas, commentators don’t yell “puppies!” whenever a woman walks down the ramp, and their wrestling gear is much less revealing.

The 2016 WWE Draft was majorly significant for the women’s division. The most exciting part of the draft for most people was the integration of the NXT talent. Both Raw and Smackdown acquired female superstars from NXT, including: Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss. That means that half of the NXT acquisitions were women (only six picks came from NXT). It does not get more equal than 50/50.

Charlotte, the WWE Women’s Champion at the time, was chosen in the first round, as Raw’s third overall draft pick. However you feel about Charlotte, this fact is impressive and boundary-breaking. However, I think it says more about the WWE’s changing attitude towards women than about Charlotte herself, although she is very talented. A few months later, Bayley joined the Raw roster. In recent weeks, there have commonly been two women’s matches per episode, even in NXT’s one-hour segment.

Most recently, last night on Monday Night Raw (10/3/2016), Charlotte faced Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship in the MAIN EVENT. While NXT has had women’s matches as the main event, I’m pretty sure this was a first for the flagship show. While I personally believe that despite her loss Charlotte had a better performance last night, this match was career-changing for both women, and industry-changing for the WWE.

 

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On another note, the Champ needs to do something about that hairline.