Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WWE Battleground Live Reactions/Review: Can We Just Get To The Fireworks Factory Already?

Still all about The Champ
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I was fortunate enough to go to my very first live WWE pay-per-view last night. The experience itself is something I will cherish for a while, at least until I get to go to WrestleMania, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s All-Star Weekend, and King of Trios, all things I’m hoping to get in next year. While the experience was great (WWE can throw a spectacle like none other) the show itself left so much to be desired that I’d kind of be remiss to not discuss that here.

If you ever find yourself in a position where you can get ringside tickets for a WWE live event, make sure they’re either front row or on the edge because otherwise you’re going to spend the majority of the evening staring at the head of the person in front of you the whole night and feel crammed into a tight space. The ringside seats aren’t stadium style so the back row has to contend with about 4 rows of people sitting right in front. The crowd I was sitting with was fairly well-mannered though, except for a couple of people. There was a dude a few rows in front of us wearing a Kyrie Irving shirt who insisted on jumping up and giving every wrestler who came out the middle finger or thumbs down, and there was a dad and his son sitting immediately in front of me who sat on their hands the whole time until John Cena came out. The kid was, of course, decked out in neon green.

The theme of the evening seemed to be “Night Of One Million Cena Shirts”, which honestly surprised me. I’ve been to a Smackdown taping in Tampa before and don’t remember there being that much Cena gear on display. I’ve been spoiled by the NXT crowd so it’s entirely possible I forgot how over The Man You Can’t See is with the more casual WWE crowd.

Even though I was displeased with the outcome of the evening, the crowd was pretty good all throughout, which definitely does leave me hopeful for more events coming to Florida in the future. I was especially impressed at the reaction to both Divas matches. Paige and AJ Lee were over with that crowd, and there was even a brief chant for Naomi. I wish both matches were a little bit higher quality, especially the Naomi/Cameron meet-up. Everyone I was sitting with was really into the Wyatt Family, too, which made their losing all the more painful.

We were all predictably disappointed at the aborted Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins match, and all pretty hot for the Intercontinental Battle Royale. I’m actually shocked more people on the 'Net weren’t that pleased with it, as I thought it was the best booked match of the event. The crowd’s reaction to The Miz stealing the victory was priceless, if only because I screamed bloody murder when I thought that Ziggler had won it and was heartbroken when Miz came back. It wasn’t super clear from where I was sitting that Miz hadn’t been eliminated so I think that might have added to it. And the reaction to the main event was to be expected.

I think the most disappointed thing about the evening is that it’s clear that WWE is stuck back in a rut of Attitude Era booking, where the pay-per-view is used to set up stuff for free TV. This may have made sense when you were selling each individual show but not when you need to be selling us on a monthly subscription to the WWE Network. To be honest, if I hadn’t already received this tickets as gifts I probably wouldn’t have gone to this show. If I had known before had that the one match I was incredibly excited for wasn’t going to happen I would have tried to sell my tickets. A lot of fans speculated that Brock Lesnar would come out to destroy John Cena after he won, but with that not happening and Cena now out for a few weeks with no real excuse why I’m incredibly nervous for SummerSlam. I wanted my first big WWE live event to be a lot bigger than it was, and that disappointment is going to sit with me for a while.