The Los Angeles crowd was hot from start to finish, despite some other Internet reports on the other dirt sheets. A whole bunch of people did not leave and the arena was still pretty full for the SmackDown taping. Don't believe anything else you read but the words here...
I'm not quite sure if it was officially a sellout, but there were no sections tarped off or visible patches of empty seats.
|First Raw I've attended with opening pyro in a long long time.|
***SPOILER ALERT***Main Event Taping Matches
- Fandango defeated Heath Slater
- Naomi defeated Alicia Fox
Every wrestler and diva got a good reaction—some better than others. Like most crowds, John Cena was a good 50/50 split. Brock Lesnar was incredibly over as a babyface and got arguably one of the loudest pops of the entire night.
The Daniel Bryan reaction was a little strange. I think since the Royal Rumble, his reaction has fizzled a little bit. Maybe even subconsciously, people who used to go nuts for Daniel Bryan have felt like whatever they do, it might be a lost cause. That's not to say the reaction Bryan got wasn't good, but it wasn't what it was a year ago and definitely not what it could have been had WWE executed everything right a few months ago.
However, the YES! chants for him were strong and it was pretty loud for the SmackDown main event.
It's also worth noting there was a decently strong "let's go Ziggler" chant during the Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler match and a pretty good reaction when Ziggler beat Bryan.
Now to the reaction for Roman Reigns. The majority booed him every chance they got. It wasn't quite the Philadelphia Royal Rumble booing, but then again, what is? Whenever Reigns was shown on screen in video packages, there was heat.
The Intercontinental title ladder match had a strong showing as did Rusev and John Cena when it came to hand-to-hand combat. The two belts which could mean the most come next Monday had the most action compared to two of the other biggest matches.
There needed to be some sort of happy median between not giving away too much for WrestleMania and what actually happened on Raw with Reigns/Lesnar, and Triple H/Sting.
After Raw went off the air, Brock Lesnar eventually grabbed the title back only to fumble it a little bit, and then he exited the ring. The crowd wasn't too happy there wasn't some sort of action, but it is understandable there wasn't. I don't think it was as awful as many on the Internet have pointed out, or others who were at Raw as well, but I also don't think it was a great ending.
It probably would have had a better and bigger effect had the two both had a strong grip on the belt and didn't move, instead of it looking like two oversized second graders fighting over a ball at recess.
I do like the cliffhanger-like end of the show, where the viewer wants to know what happened after Raw went off the air. It doesn't happen enough. We always get closure one way or another, and that's not always necessary.
When Shawn Michaels fought Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV, there wasn't an all out brawl leading up to that one either and nobody complained.
|Massive pop for Hulk Hogan when he came out...I did not expect him.|
What they could've done better is explain that they were taping some matches for SmackDown instead of just saying there was an eight man tag match on the way later in the night. After Raw went off the air, Reigns left the ring, the crew changed the ring apron, and then Eden got on the microphone and said we were 15 seconds away from SmackDown and then BOOM...intro video and more pyro.
Fans were caught a bit off guard, but once the cameras and lights started going, fans picked up their enthusiasm once again. Even if it's not a great pop on TV, I think we know what the post-production folks will do on SmackDown.
SMACKDOWN TAPING SPOILERS
- Jimmy Uso defeated Cesaro, Fernando and Big E in a Fatal 4-Way.
- Fantastic Divas segment featuring AJ Lee, Paige and The Bella Twins. It was one of those Triple H-type worked shoot interviews where they all took shots at each other. Not quite like a pipe bomb but along the lines of a Paul Heyman promo where real life situations are referenced and there's no way you can't walk away feeling that there was some truth to what was being said.
- Nikki Bella did a promo a few months ago on SmackDown that was heavily edited. We will see how this one plays out on SmackDown for this week.
- John Cena, Roman Reigns, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan defeated Seth Rollins, Big Show, Kane and Bray Wyatt.
- Reigns came in late and cleaned house and Bryan got the pin.
It was worth nothing that when they pumped up this main event, Reigns was the last wrestler Lilian Garcia referenced.
|Live fireflies is an awesome sight.|
Even though it was a great show, the three hour Raw episodes are quite grueling...And to tack on three big SmackDown segments made it a long night. The crowds across the country probably would be hotter if the show was still two hours.
All in all, a fun show to be at in person. Not quite as great as SummerSlam was, but nonetheless, a very strong night for the WWE.
I'll be at WrestleMania as well as next week's Raw with reports, so please check back. You can also follow me on Twitter for live updates.