Tuesday, November 24, 2015

We Watched a 50 Year-Old Man Walk Up Four Steps and Take Off His Hat, and It Was Awesome: A Live Perspective on Survivor Series

Always stay til the very end
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Living in the hotbed of professional wrestling that is Atlanta is great. Lots of indie shows! Regular visits by WWE! Scott Steiner is opening a Shoney’s 15 minutes from my house! With this in mind, I attended the 2015 Survivor Series at Phillips Arena. While TH has already let us know his thoughts on the show, I had a very different experience being there live.

As the show started, there was a general sense of resignation that Roman Reigns was going to win the title and the crowd did what it could to register its displeasure. There was a pop anytime Alberto del Rio hit any offense, and reactions to Reigns have went full-on Cena. I’m not sure if they registered during the broadcast but the “let’s go Roman” chants were consistently answered with “Roman sucks!” ones. I guess if Vince is trying to turn Roman Reigns into the new John Cena, it’s working.

I wasn’t a fan of the women’s match, but that is utterly irrelevant because the posse of little girls in my section were totally transfixed by it. One of the highlights of the whole night was the six-or-seven year-old girl across the aisle from me who was literally on the edge of her seat throughout the match. Watching her spontaneously jump to her feet and applaud when Charlotte won was really cool. If you don’t think representation matters, you’re wrong. I saw it firsthand Sunday night and it was great.

I guess I have to talk about ISIS. Saturday afternoon, one of our local television stations sent out an alert that ISIS planned to blow up Phillips Arena during the show. I was concerned; I didn’t want to get blown up, but if I chickened out, the terrorists would have won. And I wouldn’t get to see The New Day. Also, what would people say about me if I got blown up by ISIS at a wrestling show? Probably something like “He died doing what he loved, sitting with a bunch of weirdos watching dudes pretend to hit each other.” Luckily, after a few minutes of research, it turned out that the entire thing was the creation of a local reporter named Mark Winne – the real world version of Herb Welch and subject of this video. I concluded that if Winne was reporting it, Phillips Arena was probably the safest place on Earth.

Moving on…

I’ve attended dozens of WWE shows, but I’d never seen the Undertaker live until Survivor Series. I’ve never been much of an Undertaker fan. I could always appreciate him, but I like my wrestling with a little more verisimilitude. I was always way more into guys like Bret Hart and CM Punk than a wrestling zombie wizard. However, I am pleased to report that after attending this show I am a changed man. That crazy old guy has a confidence and charisma that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

And finally, I was reminded of a running joke my family has. Whenever we see a Marvel movie, we’ll look at each other when the credits start and say “well, that’s the end – let’s go” knowing full well there will be more. I didn’t say it was a particularly funny joke. I felt a lot like that last night when Reigns pinned Ambrose and my section immediately emptied out – despite the fact that there were ten minutes left in the show. And sure enough, I had section 214 virtually to myself as Triple H and Sheamus came out to upend the happy ending my neighbors assumed they saw.

Seeing a live event allows you to focus on the in-ring performances without the mediation of commentary, commercials and weird camera angles. It allows you to create an experience of your own as well as being part of a common experience with the people around you. While I sure love watching wrestling on TV, it’s great to get out and see the real thing.