A British Point of View: WWE Raw and Smackdown in Manchester

Martyn Nolan

wwe rawThis past week the WWE presented RAW and Smackdown tapings from the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester.

Some of you may not recognise the name but this is the same Arena you know and love, it has however had a recent name change. The newly named Phones 4U Arena did a fantastic job of hosting these events and the crowd also came with it. I was lucky enough to attend both.

I have noticed that some people on Twitter argued that the crowd were full of too many smarks who found themselves to be more entertaining than the action going on in the ring. I completely understand the point that if you have CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in the main event, then the last thing you want to hear is a crowd calling itself awesome. However, with that being said, would you rather the crowd sat on their hands like they do at some of the other venues around the world?

This crowd was happy to be involved, yes they copied what some of the other European influenced crowds have done in the past but you have to remember that Manchester doesn’t get a UK taping every April like the O2 Arena in London does. This was the first time WWE has produced a RAW taping in Manchester for quite some time. This means that most of the crowd was excited and just happy to be there.

I think we look in to things a little too deeply at times and forget that even if you go to a bad show in person, you always think it is better than someone who has watched it on TV. The atmosphere of the night takes you over. You get caught up in silly chants, basically, you have a GOOD TIME. RAW and Smackdown didn’t break any new ground this past week but they certainly wasn’t bad shows.

It’s very easy to be critical when watching the TV screen version of the same event. Also, when you attend these events in the UK the average ticket price is normally around £45, which in American dollars works out at around $72. Now, when you pay that kind of money (Two nights in a row no less) then you will chant whatever you want. I know for a fact that if you paid that kind of money in the US then you would be expecting some very special seats indeed.

I also have to question whether these shows were edited at all quickly before the show went to TV as I was sat pretty close and when Vickie tried to talk in the opening segment on RAW, none of us could hear what she was saying, not because there was anything wrong with the equipment used, but because the crowd was that loud! When I watched the opening segment back I thought the crowd were giving her a hard time but nothing on the level I heard in person. It’s always hard to judge something when you see it live and try to compare with the TV experience.

The crowd was lively, there was superman, who I believe got some good TV time and also there were fans dressed as Goldust and Kane who also decided to have an arena brawl showing up on the higher tiers to having a match on the floor seating area. This also continued later into the car park as a video which was posted here on WrestleZone showed. On RAW there was even a Mankind dressed fan who got a loud Foley chant going. All these things entertained the crowd as may not have translated very well on to the TV version.

So yes, the crowd chanted for announcers, they chanted for legends passed, they chanted for themselves, and why not? Did those shows provide you with anything big to talk about or get excited about leading in to the Survivor Series? The argument could be made that possibly more should be made to happen when overseas to stop the crowd from becoming restless but in all honesty I didn’t see it being a big problem. The one big moment which took place was from RAW when The Wyatt Family stared down The Shield. You didn’t hear the crowd chanting for themselves then did you?

I wasn’t expecting a ground breaking show; I was expecting some good segments and some good wrestling and I got that. Most of all, I wanted some fun and that’s exactly what I got and I experienced it with a crowd which I was proud to be stood with. Congratulations Manchester, don’t listen to the critics, you were awesome!

Did you attend the show? Did you enjoy yourself? Did you enjoy it if you watched it on TV? Let me know at beansontoastuk@msn.com or you can get in touch with me via Twitter @BeansOnToastUK.

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