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