Thursday, August 1, 2013

WWE Raw Powerslams Perth

The WWE is about as close to real life comic book superheroes as you can get. Cheesy storylines, impossibly buff men, ridiculously gorgeous women, square jawed heroes and diabolical villains all exist in the flesh here.

I've personally been a WWE (well then WWF) fan since I was 13, waaaaaay back in 1998. So that's about 15 years. Crazy. You can tell me its fake all you like. I'm well aware and I don't care. It's just so much damn fun. Try and think of wrestling as a musical. When emotions run high in a musical the characters break into song, here when emotions run high the characters fight.

The WWE Australian tour hit Perth on Tuesday night and my little brother and I went along. We've gone to every WWE show that's been here so far. It's tradition now.

So what shenanigans unfolded during the night? Did John Cena overcome all the odds? (Spoiler, he always does). Hit the jump for my WWE Perth recap!

Straight off the bat can I say just how nice it is to go to event like this at our spiffy, shiny, new Perth Arena and not at the old, horrible Burswood Dome? It's like night and day. It's right in the city and feels like a world class venue to boot. I don't feel embarrassed when famous people perform in our city anymore.

I arrived over an hour before the doors opened. I was keen on hitting the merch truck for a Daniel Bryan t-shirt. In previous tours the merch sold out really quickly so I wasn't missing out again. I had thought I was a little too early but as I walked up I quickly realised that wasn't the case. WWE fans are a passionate bunch for sure. The queue for the merch was already 20 people long per register and the line to get in the door was down the street. I never understood lining up for an hour for an event that has assigned seating. Weird people. The merch queue was long and arduous. Seriously people, if you are in the queue for half an hour and can clearly see what's on sale the whole way, don't spend 5 minutes oohing and ahhing over what you want when you get to the front. Have that decided already! Anyways after much impatience and worrying I'd miss out I snagged two Daniel Bryan shirts for my brother and I and headed into the arena.

Seriously, how could you not want that shirt?
As we entered we noticed they were broadcasting our tweets with the #WWEPerth tag on the big screen. I got on there at least three times that I saw. Pretty cool. We headed to Block 1 and found our seats. Yes, I sprung for floor seats, and yes, they were totally worth it. We were seated second row in the corner where the entrance ramp and the ring meet. Perfect view of the superstars entering and the in ring work. Amazing!

Awesome seats were awesome
Ring announcer Justin Roberts headed to the ring and welcomed us to the show. Our first match was a triple threat match with the winner receiving a US Title Match later in the show. Out first to a fantastic ovation was Zack Ryder. It amazes me he remains so popular having been jobbed out continually for the last year and a half.

His opponents were Heath Slater and, one of my favourites, Antonio Cesaro. Both were flying solo tonight. I guess WWE were too cheap to bring over Swagger and Colter.

This was a fun opener and really got the crowd warmed up for the rest of the night. Ryder and Cesaro worked 80% of the match with Slater on the outside for the most part. Every couple of minutes he'd tried to reenter the ring only to be continually thwarted and dumped back outside hilariously.

Eventually he got back in the ring only to trapped in a big swing from Cesaro. This pretty much meant Slater was swung in a circle by his ankles for literally a good few minutes. An amazing feat of strength for sure. Cesaro then nailed his Neutraliser finish but Ryder dumped the swiss superman out of the ring and stole the pin on Slater for the win. I dare say I haven't seen Zack win a match in over a year so it was great to see. I've always been a big fan. As Slater was leaving the ring the ref asked how he was and he replied "I'm dizzy as hell!". Hilarious.

Next up was a divas match much to the delight of the guys in the arena. Aksana was out first and, wow, that outfit. Essentially underwear and a full body fishnet number. Her mannerisms in the ring were rather risque too. Lots of crawling around and extended stretching against the ropes. I'm surprised they let that pass in the WWE's current PG mindset. Her opponent was the wonderful Natayla. She is super gorgeous in real life. I scored a high five from her on the way to the ring much to my delight.

Better than the average Divas match you see on TV (ie, they were given more than 2 minutes). It was a fun back and forth with Nattie picking up the win with the Sharpshooter. There was some really funny heckling in my area with one guy yelling at Aksana as she was crawling around the ring "YOU'LL NEVER BE A REAL CAT!". I don't know why but that really made me laugh for its pure absurdness.

The next match was the definition of a piss break with indian natives The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal going head to head. Khali is super impressive to look at in real life. This man is huuuuuuge. I don't even know how he manages  the long flight from the US. I flew from Melbourne back to Perth the other day and was uncomfortable the whole time. Imagine being over 7 foot on a plane for a whole day! Sadly he can barely walk, let alone wrestle. Short match with Khali winning with a big chop to the head. After the match he brought some local kids in the ring to dance to his music. Pretty damn cute.

Our US Title match was next on the card with Zack Ryder heading to the ring for a second time tonight. The Shield's music hit to a large pop from the males in the crowd. Dean Ambrose entered through the crowd as per usual much to the delight to the fans in the area. Easily the best match of the night here. It started slow but really picked up pace as it went with some really great nearfalls.

Ambrose is really amazing in his psychology in the ring. His every movement and mannerism reads like a man who is legitimately unhinged. Ryder really worked his ass off considering it was his second time wrestling in one night too. Ambrose picked up a clean win after his headspike finish. Afterwards he tried to hit Ryder with the US Title belt but Ryder evaded and nailed the Rough Ryder to send the crowd into intermission happy. Pretty standard house show stuff.

During the intermission I spotted something unusual in the crowd. A Magneto cosplayer! Seriously. I don't know why he felt the need to cosplay a WWE event as a Marvel character. So random.

The Miz headed out after the intermission for his Intercontinental Title match with Curtis Axel. I still don't buy Miz as a face. He's just such an unlikeable jackass of a man. Axel was also flying solo with no Paul Heyman at this side. All the guys in my section were pretty pissed about this and chanted "WE WANT HEYMAN" for a while. Shame. The crowd got to pick the match stipulation and we had the choice of a 2/3 Falls match or a "Perth Street Fight'. Really this is the illusion of choice as no crowd is going to pick the 2/3 falls. Ever. So Perth Street Fight it is. I guess someone will be getting glassed then, right? That's how we roll here in Perth.

This was a fun match with both guys wailing on each other with chairs and kendo sticks. They brawled up to the front of the arena for a few minutes. This seemed silly as there were no cameras broadcasting the action. Really only that front section could see what was going on.

Eventually they fought back towards the ring. Miz grabbed the house mic and asked if we'd like to see him hit Axel with it (yes, duh!). After the aforementioned mic smashing Miz threw him back in the ring and applied the figure 4 leglock. Many Ric Flair "whooooos" in the crowd for that one. Axel got into the ropes and managed to nail his finish on a set up chair (that was straight up nasty) for the win.

Miz got a great ovation from the crowd as he gingerly left the ring afterwards. He had some painful looking welts on his back from the cane earlier. I still don't like him as the good guy but he put on a great show tonight.

Daniel Bryan entered the arena next to easily the biggest pop of the night. The crowd chanting "YES!" along to him was deafening. Kane joined him in the ring sans pyro. I wonder if Perth Arena can't do pyro inside? There was none all night. The Shield strolled out through the crowd next with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defending their Tag Team Championships and Dean Ambrose joining them at ringside.

A pretty standard house show tag match here with the Shield isolating Bryan and then Kane for extended periods of time. Bryan was really on fire hitting all of his signature offence throughout the match. The man really is the most popular thing in wrestling at the moment. Roman Reigns is an absolute beast of a man, I must say. Just made of solid muscle. Everything he did looked like it hurt. Alot. Him and Rollins were really heeling is up during the match being as nefarious as possible and screaming to the crowd about justice and believing the Shield. Great stuff.

The match ended in a DQ when Ambrose decided to interfere. They almost nailed Kane with a triple powerbomb but Bryan interjected leading to chokeslams from both Kane and Bryan (!). Pretty funny seeing little Daniel Bryan nailing Rollins with a chokeslam. Afterwards Bryan got on the house mic and asked the crowd if he had a better chokeslam than Kane.

This of course led to the usual YES/NO yelling debate these two have been doing for months. To prove his point Bryan hilariously tried to chokeslam Kane. No dice. Kane debated chokeslamming Bryan as punishment but instead decided to hug it out. It was a great bit of fun for the crowd.

Finally we came to our main event. Naturally my camera went flat at this point so excuse the mobile phone photos from here on out. Ryback was out first. Good grief is this man just a big ball of muscle. Jebus. He hopped on the mic and chewed out Australia, getting some decent boos. He then addressed the "GOLDBERG" chants he gets everywhere he goes. It was pretty unusual to hear him actually talk about it as on TV its a big no go zone. He pretty much said after he wins the WWE Title tonight he's going to take a giant Goldberg on our city. Ew.

Much to the delight of the kids in the audience John Cena was out next. The reaction was typical Cena with half the crowd losing their minds and the other half booing him out of the building.

Our title match was a Tables Match. To the uninitiated to win this kind of match you must drive your opponent through a table. This was a physical, allbeit short match.

Ryback nailed a spear at one point and did a spot on Goldberg impression before calling all of us stupid. His heel schtick is really coming along. The finish saw Ryback nail the meathook clothesline. He then got on the mic and told us all he's about to Shellshock Cena through a table and win the belt. Of course this gave super Cena enough time to recover and nail the Attitude Adjustment through the table for the win. Who's stupid now?

Cena celebrated in the ring and then high fived his way back up the ramp and out of the arena.  The show finished a good half hour than expected so that may explain the short main event and lack of Cena talking to the crowd.

All in all it was a really fun show. Sure, it lacked some star power with no CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton and so forth but the superstars who came worked their butts off and kept us entertained us for over 2 hours. We were the last show of the tour with them heading off to China straight from the show so they could of been excused for half-assing it. Really, for me, its just so fun seeing the WWE in person every couple of years and Daniel Bryan and The Shield were worth the price of admission alone. No doubt my brother and I will be there front row again next time!

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