WWE Raw Live Perspective
Submitted by PWTorch reader Jason
"Let me preface this by saying that I have been a fan of wrestling for as long as I can recall. I have attended live events for about 20 years now and have been following wrestling both in the mainstream and behind the scenes for almost that entire time. I am the kid who used to watch ECW on public access TV on my local Philly station late at night.
Those things considered, every week I read different things on PWTorch about the three-hour Raw format weakening the product and WWE Creative needing to step up. I have agreed with these points essentially 100 percent since they have been shared. That is, until Monday night when I attended the live broadcast of WWE Monday Night Raw.
I don’t believe that the WWE Creative team, nor Vince McMahon, nor the three-hour Raws are the main reasons why the product has reached its current threshold of mediocrity. I think that a majority of the blame falls on the fans that come to these shows. At this point, WWE is playing to the lowest common denominator, and it is selling.
I arrived at the arena on-time and was seated to see the taping of the Superstars matches. And what I observed from that point until the end of the show was pretty much a case for my point. One of the first things that got me thinking about the state of WWE was fan reactions to certain matches. Essentially any match that had a heel in control for more than 30 seconds or went longer than three minutes created a restless crowd. Shortly after the first "boring" chant (during Kofi Kingston’s Superstars match), I started listening to the conversations of the fans seated around me. Many of these people were adults there with their children and were talking about everything but wrestling. Not a total surprise, but a very different audience then I had seen in years prior.
My real shock started during the Kane & Daniel Bryan match, though. I listened as individuals behind me spoke in astonishment that "Kane" was able to still wrestle, considering that he has been around for so long starting as Mankind, Cactus Jack, and then Dude Love before becoming Kane. Yes, they really believed that. But, during the Q&A panel, they were unable to identify Mick Foley as anyone famous. I even heard an audible “Who is that?” come from the same group. Furthermore, they were all very excited when Great Khali came out to give The Shield their comeuppance, and were shocked when The Shield defeated them. Later, they showed a video package highlighting moments on Raw from the past, and people were shocked when Vince’s limo exploded. They were enthralled with Stone Cold’s antics saying things like, “He really drove a Zamboni into the arena?” They were also uncertain that The Rock of the '90s was the same Rock of today, and could not identify Chris Jericho with long hair.
Then came the nail in the coffin. Brodus Clay and Tensai came out to wrestle and the arena exploded. They not only received one of the biggest pops of the night, but there were probably 1,000 male fans over the age of 35 mimicking the Funk-a-saurus Dance. It was watching this when everything came together. This is the majority of the WWE Universe. Not those of us familiar with the term German Suplex and can name a retired wrestler other than Ric Flair (who, by the way, everyone was waiting for and if I hear “WOOO!” one more time...).
This is the fanbase. These people are cheering for Khali and Zack Ryder. These are the people longing for Santino (and trust me there was much distress that he was not present for the show). WWE is hearing the cheers and selling the merchandise. It is unfortunate because as long as the majority of fans have no idea what they are watching and pop to dumb schtick, wrestling fans are stuck with this kind of programming."