|WWE in New York
|Guest columnist: Paul M. M. Jacobus
On June 28th, I caught the WWE house show "Tour of Defiance" at the MCI
Center in lovely downtown Washington DC. Naturally, since I am lazy, Mr.
Leung beat me to the punch with a review of the same show the next night
in New York, so feel free to
compare and contrast his review and show
to mine, or whatever. I've stuck to the major differences here.
This was the first live event I have ever made it too, so please excuse the lack of play-by-play notes, and enjoy this wrap-up experience.
I somehow convinced Anne the Girlfriend, who doesn't watch wrestling, to go to this thing. Outsider perspectives, always a good thing. We got to our seats just after seven. Envision the ring as the center of a compass. The wrestlers entered from the northeast corner. I was seated with my girlfriend twenty rows back from the southeast corner. Oh, and my cohort Robert, henceforth known as Robert the Bastard, was seated in fact three rows back, on the west side of the ring.
In the dark before the show, isolated dueling "Whoo!" chants break out. The crazy guy sitting maybe five rows back from me, henceforth known as Crazy Guy, was *already* chanting for R-V-D. He also shouted out a couple "What!" shouts, but was in fact *the only person during the entire show to do so.* Ladies and gentlemen, the era of Ruthless Aggression is the end to the What? era. Oh, and I will also mention the three Drunks maybe seven rows in front of me, because they were drunk and loud, and smarks.
The lilting strains of "Welcome to the Jungle!" fill the arena as the crowd pops for something happening. Your Fink and mine comes our, gets the obligatory "mention the city you are in" pop, and gives us a rundown of tonight's rules. He also takes the time to thank the sentinels from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and we all stand for the Lilian-less National Anthem.
The card is run down. NWO vs. Booker and Golddust gets a pop, as does Undertaker vs. Hogan, but the biggest pop goes to Eddie vs. RVD's Intercontinental Championship match. The trend starts here.
BUBBA RAY DUDLEY AND SPIKE VS. WILLIAM REGAL AND CHRIS HARVARD NOWINSKI
Regal pulls in some big heat, because that's his job. Harvard has on the breakaway khakis and shirt, which get a giggle out of our section of the crowd. Within a couple minutes, the crowd mentions "We want tables!" Ugh. Bubba also took the time to grab a mic and announce that, yes, DC wants tables. Local pop! And here, I was planning to start a "Harvard Sucks!" chant, but the crowd beats me to it. Harvard gets a couple "Whoo!" chops in (the crowd loves the Whoo, and does it at the slightest provocation) as Spike Dudley stars as our face in peril. Bubba, eager to tag in, riles up the crowd as well. The crowd asks for tables, again, but we get the Wassup! spot instead. Spike instructs Bubba to get the table to a nice pop. Table set up, but the heels strike back! Harvard pins Spike, but afterwards, Spike returns the favor to Regal with a Dudley Dawg, Harvard on the table, and Spike jumps off the ringpost and snaps Harvard through the obviously pre-broken table with the feet to Harvard's chest. (What does he call that move?)
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: MOLLY HOLLY vs. TRISH STRATUS
Champ enters first, because DC still doesn't have statehood. She gets a nice pop and some unexpected fireworks. Not much happens in this match, unfortunately. The crowd remains quiet, only waking up to boo Molly after a backbreaker on Trish. Molly wins with her feet on the ropes.
HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHAWN STASIAK VS. BRADSHAW
Stasiak is announced 'from planet Stasiak,' which still amuses me. He also has this... interesting Twillight-Zone-ish music. Bradshaw's cowboy getup looks even worse in person. We starts the match. Crowd (started by the Drunks) chants "You're a pothead." Bradshaw takes a minute to find a mike and say "I thought *I* hard the drinking problem." I ponder the subtext. Robert the Bastard thinks Bradshaw is taking Stone Cold's drunk Texan gimmick. Right, there's a match going on. Stasiak is buff, cut from a piece of wood. Which only makes Bradshaw look fat. Which he didn't need any help doing. And Stasiak acts all crazy. So crazy, he tries the Crossbody On Bradshaw, Which Never Works. Bradshaw hogties Stasiak's feet and goes on a junk run under the ring. We get the cowbell on a rope and some garbage can lids. Very little crowd heat, really. The Drunks start chanting "We Want Indians!" Steven Richards does a run-in! Stasiak gets the pin and wins! And is attacked by Spike, who pins and wins! And takes a superkick from Richards! Richards wins! And gets, in fact, the Clothesline from Heck, leaving Bradshaw as our newly reset Hardcore Champion.
D'LO BROWN VS. JUSTIN CREDIBLE
Anne the girlfriend asks "Why is everyone getting up?" as the audience exodus started. Le dang. Credible gets some cheap heel heat, but it's effective. I again wonder why he isn't in some tag team on TV. Match is on, audience is cold. Robert the Bastard reports some serious D'Lo fans in his section. Justin fails a baseball slide and racks himself on the ringpost, heh heh. D'Lo gets a little love from the crowd, and my section in particular. Anyways, D'Lo pins with his sitdown powerbomb.
MATT HARDY VS. RAVEN
Raven has FATE written on his chest, with the T being a spike. He also has a spike on his face. Oooooh-kay. Oh, and he has the skirt on. Matt gets a decent pop. But when the short comes off, there's a better pop! The crowd decides to chant "We want Lita!" to my dismay. Anyways, the heat is on slow simmer as the crowd waits for the big moves. Matt takes the offensive in the second half, and the crowd wakes up a little. We get a legdrop, a Twist of Fate fails and Raven goes for one himself. No heat like the cheap heat, folks. Raven works in a low blow, and Matt is hung out to dry. Matt gets the pin, but seems legitimately hurt. Two refs start helping him to the back...
RIC FLAIR VS. KING BROCK OF LESNAR
Ric has the robe of power, and the crowd loves him for it. Matt is almost to the back when Brock comes out, picks up Matt, and tosses him into the crowd! Awesome. Brock gets a pop of his own, but it's pretty mixed. Brock is a real salesman, and damn he moves fast. Ric gets Brock to the corner, chop! ("Whoo!") Chop! ("Whoo!") BUT NO SALE! Brock *lays* into Ric, and I shed a tear for one of my favorite moves, the Flair Flop. Two backbreakers, and I note a.) Brock is all that, and b.) he's taking it a little easy on Ric. Ric being the dirtiest player in the game, gets a little back, with a unexpected hit to the 'midsection,' and gets a pin on Brock. 1, 2, and in breaking out of the pin, Brock *tosses* Flair *over* Earl Hebner! Also, somewhere along the line here, Flair whips Lesnar into the ringpost, and Robert the Bastard with his much better seats than mine *swears* the whole ring moved. Benoit run-in! Flair foolishly turns his back on our newly crowned royalty, and the F5 ends the day! Brock walks out after the pin selling his King of the Ring royal jewels (heh heh.) And as Flair moves to the back, I note he *really* moves like an old man after the match.
Some more notes. It's a relatively polite crowd. Most of the time, people sit down, and only stand for the big spots, etc. There's only a couple signs out there, nothing noteworthy. Crazy Guy behind me *still* chanting for R-V-D between every match. Intermission ends with a nice fireworks display (huh?) and we are back.
TOMMY DREAMER VS. STEVEN RICHARDS
OK, Richards should be tagging with Justin Credible, they both love the cheap heel heat. Audience starts the "Boring" chant too early. Robert the Bastard says it better than me: "Showing his awesome offensive prowess, after the initial lock-up, Steven Richards SPANKED Dreamer. Dreamer looked to the ref, asking, 'Can he DO that?' The ref answered that he, indeed, could. So after another lock-up, Dreamer returned the favor. To the audience's delight.' Some fun outside, as Tommy steals a sip of someone's beer, and spits it on Richards! Twice. Tommy then steals someone's Cracker Jacks, and proceeds to eat it in between beating up Richards. Comedy gold. Richards, the heel master, *steals* the Cracker Jacks, eats a handful (chokes some) and dastardly smashes it over Tommy's noggin'! Richards sneaks in the pin however, and Robert the Bastard reports the Fink fished the prize out of the remains of the Cracker Jacks, and handed it to the fan who donated his refreshment. Oh, and on the way out, Tommy took a handful of spilled Cracker Jacks off the floor and ate it too. Continuity!
The R-V-D chant starts. He is way, way over. And I'm not even an Eee-Cee-Dubya fanboy like Robert the Bastard is.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (pop): ROB VANNE DAMME VS. EDDIE GUERRERRO
Eddie is the uberheel with his entrance, and gets some heat. I detect the heat is vaguely mixed, though, and as with the women's match and the Dreamer-Richards match, I have a hard time not cheering for the heel. R-V-D MEGAPOP AND FIREWORKS. The Crazy Guy behind me must be having a fit. The first of many R-V-D chants of this match breaks out. Tragically, we get a nice, slow start. Now, an "Eddie Sucks!" chant. Eddie complains to the ref about RVD pulling his hair during a lock-up, and I crack up my section by shouting "Grab the Mullet!" The Drunks start chanting "La-tino-Heat" to the tune of R-V-D. This is an awesome match, I note, without too many high spots. (No ladders like NYC got, apparently.) Robert the Bastard reports a "Where's my taco?" chant. Rolling Thunder! Benoit tries for the title of run-in king, but Ric Flair comes in for the save! RVD gets froggy! (While he's climbing up, I crack up my section again by shouting "You can do it!") Frog Splash hits, and we have the same ol' Intercontinental Champion. Flair gets in the ring and raises Mr. Vanne Damme's Hannde.
And man, is this R-V-D pop long.
THIS TAG TEAM COMPETITION IS SCHEDULED FOR ONE FALL.
The NWO gets a pop of their own. Sweet mother of God, the Big Show has come back to kill us all. OK, for those of you who have never been to a show, he's large. I mean it, you think, yeah, he's big and all, watching him on TV, but Good Lord, this man is GIGANTIC. Think of something big. I mean, really big. He's bigger than that.
(Robert the Bastard notes after the show, that there were some disabled kids in wheelchairs in the row in front of him. And the Big show took the time during the entrances to wave to each and every one of them personally. Awwww.)
Golddust gets a pop as well, but it's sorta mixed, noncommittal. And Booker T gets a nice big pop, and one fourth of the Kane ringpost fires. The crowd notices very early that "X-Pac Sucks." Anne the Girlfriend mentions that Golddust looks like a space alien. And this matchup has major heat. Big Show *throws* Booker T across the ring, at one point. X-Pac gets the Gold-buster, and ew. Booker T later falls into the Broncobuster position, and Anne the Girlfriend yells "don't fall that way!" Heh heh. Spinaroonie! Pop! Booker throws Big Show into the ropes, and on the rebound PICKS UP THE BIG SHOW AND SLAMS HIM. He can't believe it! The crowd goes nuts! Show staggers to his feet, and Golddust flips him through the ropes, as Booker pins X-Pac! Man, I can't get over how good this match was.
Fink notes there's another special DC-Area house show, next week in Fredrick, MD. Fredrick = redneck heaven.
WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: UNDERTAKER VS. HULK HOGAN
Champ enters first in honor of everyone who died in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. (What?) (That's where the other airplane hit on 9-11, remember?) (Oh, yeah.) Undertaker gets a big pop, but again, sort of mixed. Hogan gets a big old pop himself. Hogan starts with the first ear to the crowd, and Undertaker jumps him. Priceless. You know how this match goes. Ref bump, chokeslam, people start leaving. Sigh. Undertaker goes outside at one point, and sends the Fink running. I yell "run Fink run!" to again crack up my section. Anyways, belt shot, chokeslam, and it is ovah!
Undertaker foolishly continues the beating after the bell is rung, and Hogan tosses him out of the ring within a minute. Hogan gives the crowd what they want, and keeps passing over one side of the ring. Hilarity ensues. They eventually earn his admiration as well, and the night is done.
Robert the Bastard also suggests noting how gingerly Undertaker chokeslammed Hogan.
And here's some from Anne the Girlfriend: "It was pretty entertaining, but not as fancy as the ones on TV. And it's mostly just wrestling with no amusing banter between the participants which I kind of thought was an inherent part of the pro-wrestling phenomenon. But I did get to see Hulk Hogan get his ass kicked and that was neat, since he's like one of three wrestlers I'd be able to name and pick out of a line up. You know, since he's freaking old an' everything and has starred in such classic movies as Muppets From Space."
Now, off to Seattle for a couple weeks.
Paul M. M. Jacobus