cool britannia week: part one

[Just because poor, sickly Ray doesn't have a WWE tour show to attend, it doesn't mean that the lovely readers have to miss out on some Cool Britannia Week posts.  With this in mind I have invited regular reader Joey to cover the Raw house show which took place in Liverpool on Sunday evening. Joey is a huge supporter of the blog, so it was great being able to give him his tiny slice of the Wrestlegasm pie.  I'll go back to sobbing into my photo album from the last show I went to now. *WEEP*. Enjoy! - Ray]

Hello there! I’m Joey, an avid Wrestlegasm reader and total WWE Nerd. Before I begin I would just like to say what an honour and privilege it is to have the opportunity to write for the site. The work Ray and Andrew do is tragically underrated and, whilst I can give it my best, nothing can compare to their fantastic work.

Anyway… ZOMG! I got to go to a house show in Liverpool! Let me give you some Joey House Show History… the last time I went, John Cena was a heel and the late Eddie Guerrero was still frog splashing stunned opponents. I was also so high up I couldn’t see the ring and I actually got a nose bleed (even though my Dad says it was through picking my nose too much). This time round I got a damn good seat which was just a few rows back from ringside. It was amazing to be so close to the stars that I could touch them, but it’s a good job I was sat where I was, considering the restraining order that Cody Rhodes filed against me.

I should let it be known now that I am a total Raw fan. I very rarely watch Smackdown, which I guess is one point in favour of brand separation. I like Raw because it’s tongue-in-cheek, it’s storyline driven and it doesn’t pain me too much to watch (although some of the Guest Hosts have made me scratch my head). Raw gets a lot of heat from the fans but I love it.

So, perhaps I should get on with the bloody point? We began with the lights going down and Justin Roberts stepping into the ring. It was interesting seeing him up close, he’s not that tall and it looks like he wears make up. Not that I want to start rumours or anything. Make up aside he did a great job of getting the crowd worked up, which wasn’t hard really as it was mostly John Cena-loving kids. I swear to God, there was more orange in that arena than there is on a WAG night out. The lights came back up for the first match and with that the engines got started for us to fly Air Bourne.

The match was to be Evan Bourne (who is a LOT smaller in real life) versus Chavo Guerrero. The match, I must admit, wasn’t very impressive. The crowd didn’t seem that interested at all and it was, sadly, full of clumsy mistakes. I am going to put that down to the rigorous travel the Superstars have been doing recently, but it was a shame to watch as they tried to act their way out of it. The submission moves placed on Bourne were awkward as, for some reason, Chavo found it hard to keep grip of Bourne. There were moments where Bourne was just lying on the mat screaming in pain. The match did pick up however, once Bourne started going up top. They dragged it out and every time Bourne went up top, there were deep breaths around the arena. Eventually Bourne finally hit Air Bourne for the win.

Evan a good time.

Once the crowd had eventually gone back to their seats (every time a Superstar appeared/exit, everyone would rush to the rails to get a photo) Justin got ready to introduce the next match… after wiping foundation off his collar (just sayin’!). He first introduced Captain Charisma himself, Christian who looks absolutely gorgeous. Christian took his time going from turnbuckle and then Justin introduced his opponent. Dos Caras. Yeah, me neither. Now I have no issue with WWE pushing new stars but, seriously, I paid £50 to see my favourite superstars, not some greasy newbie. This isn’t NXT, fools! Anyway, after sending a swift complaint email on my iPhone (I joke), Christian and Dos thingybob stopped messing around. They were playing to the audience where Christian would raise his hand and the crowd would cheer then Dos Whatever would raise his and they’d boo. It went on for literally 4 minutes. No joke. I was already annoyed and they made it work. Us Brits aren’t complainers so I kept my upper lip stiff and tried to enjoy the match. The match was actually quite good and Dos Carararara whatever showed great skill and pulled off some good moves. It wasn’t his night though. Christian hit the Killswitch and it was goodnight for Dos Thingy.

I've no idea, Christian

Christian proceeded to celebrate and was thanking his peeps when Sheamus came out of nowhere and kicked Christian. By nowhere, I mean nowhere. I was completely surprised, as was the rest of the crowd, including one kid who screamed “noooooo” really loudly. It was hilarious. Sheamus milked the shock for all it was worth and then took to the mic.

Pale Male

He told everybody that they were losers like Liverpool & Everton. This got the reaction it was meant to as an arena packed full of scousers booed to their hearts’ content. The most hilarious part was the fact that Everton Striker Yakubu was sat in the audience. I know this isn’t strictly wrestling but I’d like to vent my frustration here. Yakubu turned up to the show late flanked by a bodyguard, being a popular player on the team he generated a lot of attention. When it got to the interval, a few people went up to him to ask for photographs and autographs. Rather than grant their wish and then enjoy the show, Yakubu ignored them and his bodyguard ushered them all away screaming at young kids that “he is here for the show”. I find this absolutely disgraceful and poor form. Yakubu then left the show early once again flanked by his guard to a chorus of boos. It was glorious.

Back to the wrestling. Sheamus continued milking the crowd and then announced he’d do to John Cena what he did to Christian and take back the WWE Title. This was both a good and bad thing because the main event billed was Triple H v Cena for the title. It has been much discussed on the interweb that Triple H is actually suffering a neck injury and hadn’t been to previous shows. This was later confirmed to me after the show by one of The Sun’s wrestling reporters (I know, I’m so connected) who said that Triple H is resting but should be at the Raw Live show on Monday. Fingers were crossed. Sheamus left and Justin, who looked even more tangerine than before (I reckon he topped up), got back in the ring.

“Please welcome at this time, Chris Masters” and with those words the crowd went dead. Chris Masters doesn’t really excite if I’m honest but he did look amazingly muscular. He challenged any Superstar from the back to come out and take part in the Masterlock Challenge. Then that familiar upbeat jig music started and out came Hornswaggle. It was actually really funny to see ‘Swaggle’ stare down Masters and, as you could probably predict, Hornswaggle ran around the ring and took down Masters. I was laughing like an idiot. I guess I’m easily amused.

Uh-oh.

Justin ‘Day Glo’ Roberts got back in and announced that the next match would be a Triple Threat match for the WWE Diva’s Championship. I was actually excited to hear that the Divas would be having a proper match and not given some stupid stipulation. It was to be Maryse v Eve Torres v Kelly Kelly and I’ve never seen so many adult men rush forward as much as they did. The match was actually brilliant. It has been a long, long time since I’ve seen such a fantastic match but it became clear that the match may have been a rehearsal for Raw as Kelly Kelly spent most of her time outside the ring. Eve did a fantastic job and even risked going up top with a gorgeous moonsault that could possibly rival Lita. Maryse was victorious, however, and managed to keep hold of the title.

I know a few people that’d give you a sports massage, Kelly

Justin Orange then set us up for the next match; a two on one match. I knew who was going to be wrestling. My stomach began to flutter with butterflies as the Legacy music hit. This was my chance, what should I do? Do I risk arrest, jump over the barrier and snog Cody in the hope he’d fall in love with me or do I stay in my seat and just enjoy the show. I’m currently writing this review from my Lawyer’s office… I lie, I did the right thing and stayed in my seat. As you probably could’ve guessed Legacy aren’t popular so my cheers went completely unheard.  The boys took to the mic first to work up the crowd. They said that everyone was pretty much stupid but I knew Cody didn’t mean me, he loves me too much to say that. Right? RIGHT?! Ahem, sorry, anyway Cody was carrying some jazzy red head gear and he explained that this was a result of Orton’s Punt and Wrestlemania. He went on  to say that the audience would never see an RKO again once he and Ted were done with Orton. With that, Voices blasted out and the crowd went wild. I mean WILD, it was deafening. Orton took his time getting to the ring, skulking down the aisle with his eyes transfixed. I took the opportunity to take lots of pictures of Cody so much so I had to replace the batteries. The crowd continued to go wild and the match got underway.

I was bitterly disappointed by the Orton/Legacy match at ‘Mania so this was a chance to get another viewing and at ringside too! The match was actually pretty epic, Legacy pretty much beat up Orton until he went into Viper mode and cleared house quite spectacularly. It was an absolute honour to see them wrestle live and DiBiase and Rhodes have clearly come on since we first saw them and have turned into incredible, interesting and extremely sexy wrestlers. There was even an element of storyline thrown in as Rhodes walked away from the ring leaving DiBiase to wrestle alone. Cody came back though and, after a short while, DiBiase returned the favour allowing Orton to rip off his head brace. Orton eventually hit the RKO for the win and that was the end of that. Nothing else happened. OK. I lie. Half way through the match, the crowd had gone a little silent so other members started chanting for Orton and it got loud again. Thinking I wouldn’t be heard, I decided to yell “I LOVE YOU CODY”. I decided to do this at the very moment it went quiet again. I was mortified. Everybody looked and I pretend it wasn’t me. Either way it was a fantastic match and a real testament to the work of all involved.

This is the only photo I took that had anyone other than Cody in it.

Next up we had Regal v MVP. I’ll be honest, it was a dull match. Regal is fantastic but the match was hampered by the fact that Regal is loved by English fans so he was cheered as was MVP so it just didn’t create any sort of buzz at all. It ended a bit like this:

Wonder when Danyl Bryan gets it from!

Next up was the interval. The temperature in the arena was extremely hot which resulted in me being charged £6 for two waters. I wasn’t happy, especially after a kid ran into me and knocked one out of my hand. When we returned Justin Roberts was ready and waiting in the ring like an amber traffic light. He said the next match would be for the Unified Tag Team Titles. Three title matches in one night? Brilliant! The familiar music of ShowMiz played out and they made their way to the ring. I must say that I am really pleased with the way The Miz has come on. He’s clearly dedicated to improving his game and his partnership with Show is brilliant. This match proved to be the funniest of the night. The Big Show is actually quite comedically brilliant. The Miz started off by saying that Liverpool hadn’t had any champions in years and asked the crowd if anyone had ever been number one in what they’ve done. Pretty much everyone put their hand up but Miz ignored it and carried on with his amazing mic work. He then gave his legendary line “because we’re ShowMiz and we’re…” he gave it to The Big Show to finish and Show brilliant delivered a non-committal “awesome?”.

Have a guess what I was looking at.

The match began with Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston and I quickly realised that The Miz is rather attractive. I know that’s nothing to do with the match but it’s important to add. There were some great moves on display but the real fun began when Mark Henry and Big Show got in the ring. Big Show began by attempting a few “stretches” against the rope. The two then linked up and Big Show grabbed Henry’s hair. The ref broke it up to which Show challenged the ref “he was pulling MY hair” and the ref had to point out that Show didn’t have any. Pure comedy gold. The match ended up with Show punching Kofi Kingston for the win. Kofi played it out really well and the ringside doctor even jumped in to give it some reality.

It’s OK, he’s fine ya’ll

Finally we got to the main event. The anticipation was unbelievable. The crowd knew what was coming and the energy literally made the hair on my neck stand up. Sheamus came in first and the best part of that was referee Mike Chioda bobbing his head up and down to Sheamus’ music. Then, it happened. John Cena’s music hit. It was electric and Cena really felt it. He actually looked genuinely emotional looking at the sea of orange around the arena and even Sheamus cracked a smile, which he quickly replaced with his trademark scowl.

The match was your typical Cena match, he got beaten up for a long while and then turned into Super-Cena, much to the happiness of the crowd.

We believe in you, John!

I also have a lot of respect for Sheamus after this. He did a fantastic job and I regret my original pessimism regarding his ability. After the match the crowd were going crazy and John took to the mic to thank everybody. One idiot in the crowd yelled “fuck off you wanker” which was completely misjudged especially considering all the kids. Cena handled it well and told him to show more respect. He then started a battle of the cheers by telling the crowd that Dublin were a louder audience. Nothing gets scousers more riled than competition and the arena went crazy. Job done.

All in all it was a fantastic event a real tribute to the hard work and dedication of the Superstars, Divas and the entire crew. I was apprehensive to go to the show alone as usually the only thing I do alone is shower and go to the toilet. I will, however, be making a journey to Raw in November when the WWE returns to Blightly. This ends my recap! Thank you everybody for reading.

Thanks, Cena.... now can I have your shirt?

cool britannia week: springtime edition

That’s right, folks. The WWE are back in Blighty once again. I can’t quite believe it’s been six months since they were last here. Time flies, eh? Sadly for me and the rest of the Welsh wrestling fans out there, Vince McMahon decided not to send his troops in to do any shows in Cardiff on this trip. Sad times! But all is not lost. As I write this, Sidekick Andrew is sat in the Manchester Evening News arena, patiently awaiting the appearance of the Smackdown roster.  I’m super-jealous! But hey, watching Antiques Roadshow in your pyjamas is almost as good as watching live wrestling, right? Andrew will tell you the tale of his trip to Manchester later in the week.

In addition and not to leave Raw feeling lonely, one of our most regular readers, Joey Guy, is currently at the Raw house show in Liverpool hoping to catch a glimpse of Cody Rhodes sans-trunks. Joey too will be telling you all about how his night in Merseyside went. Something tells me that Joey and Andrew’s reviews will have a slightly different feel.

As well as some house show action, you’ll also get full recaps of the TV tapings in London and obviously some catch-ups from last week’s business. I’ve fallen a little behind. Sorry. But for good reason, I promise.

There is also an opportunity for YOU to get involved with Cool Britannia Week. If you’re a British based wrestling fan going to the TV tapings and you see yourself on TV, send me a screencap or tell me how to spot you and I’ll bestow upon you the honour or being one of our Favourite Crowd Members of the Week. Also, if you’re going to one of the many Superstar/Diva signings up and down the country, or just going to a house show, send your pictures to wrestlegasm(at)gmail(dot)com and we’ll see if we can feature your pictures on the website. DON’T BE SHY!!!! Please be sure to include your name and the location of the show/signing.

In the meantime, sit back, enjoy the week of posts coming your way and we’ll do our very best to keep you entertained British-style!

cool britannia week: part one

I won’t tell you how long it’s been since I last went to a live WWE show, but it’s been some time. Scanning through the programme, some of the guys on that card are either now dead, wasted, bankrupt or movie stars. Admittedly, it’s wrestling, so that could have been a month ago. But if I say it was before WWF became WWE that should give you a rough idea of how long it’s been.

So I was pretty excited about going to the Smackdown/ECW house show in Cardiff on Monday night. Ok, so all the cool kids may have been up north watching the TV taping of Raw in Sheffield,  but I couldn’t find anyone who fancied a five or six-hour drive to Yorkshire, so a three-mile trip to the little house show that could was on the agenda. All day at work people had been asking me about the show, fascinated by the fact that I could be this excitable about wrestling. What they saw was actually my toned down, calm exterior. What they didn’t see was that I’d been chewing on Pepto Bismol tablets all day to untie the knots in my stomach. I also spent the final hour playing This Fire by Killswitch Engage on a loop just to wind myself up. As soon as the clock hit 5pm I locked the office door behind me and caught the train home to get glammed up for CM Punk.

I inhaled some vegetarian sushi and headed into town with my little brother. If I could sum my delirium up in one picture, it would be this one…….

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….. where I all but danced down the street.

Once in the arena, my plan was to buy the DX t-shirt, but on realising it was £25 I plumped for the programme, which was only £15. BIG MISTAKE! I should have flicked through the pages before handing my cash over. It was the most generic piece of trash imaginable. No articles, no points of interest, just a single picture of every superstar with their vital stats next to them, and some ads for other WWE products. I was duped. But never mind. The show was about to start. EEEEEEEEP!

The lights went down, a recorded message warned against video recording and Tony Chimel appeared in the ring. Damn! I was hoping for Matt Striker. Oh well. To my surprise, CM Punk came out first. OH MY GOD! He looked AMAZING. Ruggedly handsome doesn’t even come close. I could feel my pulse in my thumbs. After a few moments arguing with some kids in the crowd, Punk proceeded to tell us all off for being drunkards. Well, this is Wales. It’s not an insult if it’s true. At this point I fell into a lovely dream. My brother began snapping away with his camera, leaving me free to swoon to my heart’s content.

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But close enough to swoon.

That is, until some complete moron in our row started shooting the show with his camcorder. Not just using the video function on his phone, but a full video camera. Jackass! This lead security to pull the guy out of the crowd to warn him of the illegality of his actions. Why am I telling you this? Because when security were squeezing past us they spotted by brother’s camera, which is a very nice camera but not professional, and removed him from his seat too. While they were inspecting his camera, which apparently he wasn’t allowed to use, he totally missed Taker’s entrance.  FURIOUS! And they made him delete most of the pictures he’d already taken. I understand that they have to protect their copyright, but just because someone has an expensive camera and enjoys photography, it doesn’t mean they’re going to sell their pictures.

Thankfully, I was still in my seat and witnessed the arrived of the casket and Undertaker himself, for his match with Punk. Which was incredible. The match felt short. But I suspect that had something to do with the fact that they had to do the whole thing over again for TV the next night. It might also have something to do with the fact that while watching the newly hirsute CM Punk, time seemed to stand still. I tried to soak as much of Taker’s performance up as possible. Even though he was way more impressive than I was expecting, he can’t have many years of touring left in him. As you might imagine, Taker won. I think I may have been the only person in the crowd who shouted BOOOO when he slammed the casket lid down on Mr. Punk. It was a facey crowd. Luckily, I happened to have a small but powerful compact camera on me and we managed to grab a few half-decent pics.

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From there, Savannah appeared right next to us and gave some kids front row seats for answering a simple question. Pfft! Why didn’t she give ME front row seats? Do those seven year olds dedicate their spare time to an awesome blog? Highly unlikely!

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Next we had a Divas match between Mickie James, Layla, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Katie Lea Burchill and Rosa Mendes. The winner would face Michelle McCool for the Women’s Title later in the show. You can pretty much narrow this one down to either Mickie or Beth. And since everyone loves Mickie, she was the obvious winner. A few observations: Beth is far less scary in real life, Katie Lea’s hair is ridiculous  and Mickie James is anything but fat. Seriously. She’s steaming hot.

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But Mickie is jumping and Beth is posing, so not bad.

After that it was back to the dudes with Finlay and Yoshi Tatsu vs Zack Ryder and Ezekiel Jackson. Not everyone watches ECW, so just to make sure those not in the know cheered for the right people, Finlay grabbed a Welsh flag from the crowd and waved it around like he was from Cardiff himself. He even taunted Jackson by waving it in front of him like a matador ushering a bull into the middle of a different kind of ring entirely.

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Let me just say, Ezekiel Jackson is STACKED! I mean, Mark Henry’s a big guy, Big Show’s enormous, but Jackson’s muscles are unreal. If he walked up to me, told me to cluck like a chicken while patting my head and rubbing my tummy I’d do it until he told me to stop for fear of being killed. Incredible body!

It was another brilliant match. The great thing about house shows is that, they may be short on glitz, pyro and storylines, but they’re an awesome opportunity to watch wrestling without the constraints of a TV schedule and the need for a complex script. You’d think that being such a huge fan of the soap opera part of wrestling I’d find this kind of show boring. Not one bit. That made me very happy because it proved (possibly to myself as well as others) that I truly am a fan of wrestling and not just who’s wearing which trunks that week.  Team Face won, of course, and they continued to parade the Welsh flag around the ring. Well, who can blame them? It’s an excellent flag!

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You know who doesn’t like Wales? Drew McIntyre. So much for my theory on celts sticking together. Apparently Drew always thought Wales was just a part of England. BUUUUUURN! How to piss a Welsh person off: Call them English. So that jacked his heelness up a bit. He was fighting Matt Hardy who, to my surprise, I totally marked out for. Weird, because I don’t usually pop for Matt when he’s on TV, yet in person I squealed and clapped like an infant. After a lot of walking away, then returning, then walking away and returning again Drew beat Matt up pretty nicely. But don’t worry, Matt returned later to help an old friend out.

As I said, these shows are an opportunity for guys who struggle to grab TV minutes to show what they can do. Never was this more true than with the Cryme Tyme vs The Hart Dynasty match, all of which were superb. And the kids love Cryme Tyme. You know what I like about kids? They see through the bullshit. They totally get the fact that Cryme Tyme are a gimmick and that the CT duo don’t spend their evenings hustling on street corners. They won, by the way.

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Right, now on to a couple of guys who get a lot of TV time, but deserve more. Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison. John Morrison is gorgeous! I mean, I know he looks pretty on TV, but in person he’s a very beautiful man. I would KILL for his hair. I can also confirm that those abdominals are in fact real. Sadly, I didn’t get to examine them with my hands, but I examined them very closely with eyes and they seem pretty pukka to me. To steal a line I’ve heard men use a million times…….

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Stupid video camera on a stick. Stop blocking my view.

But the stand-out guy of the night for me was Dolph Ziggler. As you know, I’m rather fond of Mr. Peroxide, so when his music hit I got particularly giddy. I wanted to shout out “I bought skimpy snow leopard PJs in honour of your Bragging Rights absence DOOOOOLPH!” But I didn’t. I’m a lady. Shuttup. He was excellent with the crowd. Interacting with the front row, being perfectly and deliberately narcissistic and summoning up even more love from myself.

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We’ve seen them collide several times on Smackdown and it was as great as it’s ever been on TV. Probably better. Not being a regular viewer of Smackdown, my brother only knew John Morrison as “that guy who looks like Jim Morrison”. The Starship Pain changed that. Mission accomplished. Stars of the future. No doubt.

After all that, we needed a break. Actually, I didn’t. I wanted more action. Straight away. But the kids all needed to pee so we had an intermission, during which I made my bid to be Humanitarian of the Year. A very desperate looking young man came up to me and said “Excuse me, my love, but could you please help me out? My little boy is desperate to have these pads(?) from the merchandise stand and I’m short 22 pence. He’s close to tears here.” He really was. I don’t know who looked more anguished, the man desperate to make his little boy happy or the little boy desperate to be happy.” My maternal instincts kicked in and I handed 22 pence over to the guy. Having just spent £5 on two bottles of 7up, how could I begrudge  a child a souvenir? I don’t need an award. The warm feeling in my heart was repayment enough. I know. I’m amazing.

Three matches left. The first was the Women’s title match between Michelle McCool and Mickie James. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about it other than I couldn’t take my eyes off Mickie James.

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Never has a title been dropped at a house show (I presume) so the belt stayed around McCool’s perfectly toned waist. I did finger gunz for you, Mickie James.

Back to ECW and Christian vs Goldust. This. Was. Awesome. Once again, I squealed like a child when Christian flung the Welsh flag around, grabbed a mic and shouted “Sounds like there’s lots of Welsh Peeps in the house!” YEAAAAH! You know, when you’re watching on television, you kind of forget just how hard that ring is. In person, you can’t. You can HEAR how hard it is. I don’t think anyone hit that ring as hard as Christian and Goldust. It was so incredible I turned to my brother half way through and exclaimed. “I want to go to wrestling school.” The next day that didn’t seem such a good idea. At the time though, it felt like a sound career move.

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Oh Christian. You made me want to hurt myself in a wrestling ring. That's some powerful vibe you got, chick.

Just one match left. BOOOO! That meant it was coming to an end. I figured it would involve Rey Mysterio, but the rumour had been that Batista wasn’t there, so I was unsure as to which bad guy Rey would be facing. The rumours were groundless. Batista was there and the crowd went insane, including myself. Then the crowd remembered that Dave is a badass now and started booing. Then Rey came out and more audience madness ensued, including myself.

It was so nuts I can’t remember much of it, but I know most the card ran back out to the ring to help their respective pals.

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And your winner, wearing the Welsh colouuuuurs is....

And then. It was over. Three hours. Gone. I began the float home…… after an obligatory “Hi, this is us at the wrestling” shot.

Thanks, brutha.

Hi. I'm little.

Ok, now I can float home. Oh, I don’t have to cross water to get there. We went on the bus. But I was so happy I might as well have drifted to my bed with my feet six inches off the ground. From there I began thinking of tomorrow where I would meet Kofi Kingston and Gail Kim. I also wondered how I might sleep after such excitement. I didn’t.

*All images on this post are property of C.Davies and Wrestlegasm.com.

UPDATE: Apparently, the Intercontinental Title was dropped at a house show. I knew some smart-arse would correct me on that.