Raw was quite the experience live. Lisa and I had an absolutely fantastic time, and if WWE comes to your area, don't hesitate to go! Also, there were a lot of families in attendance, including in our section. We had seats five rows back from the floor in the permanent seating area, off to the left of the ring across from the hard camera. We had excellent sight lines, and to make matters better, I had a kid sitting in front of me that sat with his Mom for almost the entire night, so I didn't have to worry about a tall person obstructing my view. As I mentioned in my previous report, almost all of the hard camera side of the arena is tarped off with black tarps.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler did their usual entrances. Cole got booed quite a bit, while Lawler got one of the biggest pops of the night. Ryback got a great pop as well. Vickie got by far the most boos and heat of the night. The boos and catcalls were so loud that we could barely hear what Vickie was saying!
Lots of Albert chants for Tensai. Good to see Ryback finally hit Shellshocked on Tensai after that botched attempt a while back. The "Feed Me More" chants were loud, but not deafening. Good pop for Kofi, and a mixed reaction for Barrett. After Barrett's win, the cheers intensified a tad.
The Aksana-Kaitlyn match had exactly zero crowd reaction. The crowd popped when Kaitlyn picked up the win, but most likely because the match was over. The Divas division desperately needs attention. Good pops for R-Truth, and Brodus Clay and the Funkadytcals after that. The crowd loved Brodus. Lots of USA chants aimed towards Antonio Cesaro. Cool to see Cesaro hoist up Clay once again for the win.
Lots of cheers for the John Cena Make A Wish video. Good PR for WWE, and John Cena's charity work is second to none.
Vickie Guerrero was booed again once she started talking at the top of the second hour and we could barely hear her. AJ came out to a great pop. John Cena came out after and got way more cheers and few if any boos. Dayton sure loves John Cena. Lots of whistling and cheering when Cena laid one on AJ, and when AJ kissed him back. The crowd let Ziggler have it when he broke up the make out session. Of course, Cena tried for the AA, Ziggler ran, Cena started to chase after him, and then he limped up the ramp. Hopefully Cena isn't hurt too bad. At first I thought it was a kayfabe injury, then I saw the replay. It reminded me of how he tweaked his leg during being eliminated from the 2004 Royal Rumble.
The reaction to Alberto Del Rio was indifferent and/or kind of quiet. Then Randy Orton came out and got one of the biggest pops of the night. Maybe WWE should think twice about that heel turn? The crowd really is into this match, although I had to explain to a guy behind me what a best of three falls match is. Most likely not a wrestling fan but his kids drug him to the arena. The crowd popped when ADR was DQ'd to end fall one. The crowd booed ADR mildly when he wins fall two. The crowd popped huge when RKO wins the third and deciding fall.
An okay reaction for The Great Khali as he made his entrance while the USA feed was at commercial. Wow, I didn't realize Hornswoggle was still employed by WWE. Just kidding. Good reaction for Hornswoggle. Lots of laughs when he got Rosa in the eyes with the water. A quick match as Khali gets the duke.
David Otunga got little to no reaction. The Miz on the other hand is starting to get cheered more and more, so his face turn is working out, although a kid behind me kept shouting "Miz is awful." Miz got the duke and a good reaction.
Sheamus headed to the ring next to a decent reaction. The kids behind me loved them some Sheamus. Of course, the crowd started in with the antiquated, overused "What?" chants, and yes, they're just as annoying in person as they are on TV. Out came Big Show to an okay response, and my fiancee's favorite wrestler got some mic time to some mild boos. Out came Damien Sandow to some cheers from some of the males in the audience for some reason. The kids behind me screamed almost the entire match for Sheamus. Sheamus got the win and a decent reaction.
When AJ "beat up" Dolph Ziggler, the crowd was cheering her on, but the Cena/Ziggler dive into the stalls (you know this had to be something Vince himself pitched since he loves toilet humor) got a lot of laughs from the live crowd.
The Prime Time Players were out next to not much of a reaction for the second time tonight after they were out for Superstars earlier. You could tell when pyro was coming because they would fire up the fans in the roof of the Nutter Center shortly before they set it off. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio's pyro is good, along with Kofi's from earlier, but none stack up to Kane's pyro. His is the loudest, and you can actually feel the heat launch from the stage up into the crowd (we were quite close to the entrance ramp).
Daniel Bryan entered before Kane, and the crowd let him have it with the Yes! chants (I snuck in a few No! chants to side with Bryan, and to go along with the No! shirt I was wearing). The fans love egging on Bryan, who appeared to be cut on the arm or leg sometime during the match. When the PTPs hit the ring, Bryan was nowhere to be seen until after Kane and Sin Cara hit their respective finishers.
Paul Heyman got the most heat of the night behind Vickie. Security cleared the way for a run-in that was forthcoming. A great promo as always from Heyman, and out comes Punk to a mixed reception. There are still quite a few people that cheer Punk (Lisa and I included). Not much of a reaction to Rock or Stone Cold's name being mentioned, although there were scattered boos when Hulk Hogan's name came up. I'm sure most of the crowd wonders who exactly Bruno Sammartino is, since most of them are so young(I started watching in 1985 when Bruno was semi-retired and doing color on "Championship Wrestling" along with VKM).
Ryback's music hit for a good pop, and then out of nowhere the men in black attack Ryback. I wasn't focused on where they came from and missed their exact route. Lots of boos and an indifferent reaction to these three thugs. Then, of course, Ryback goes through the table to end the show.
After the show went off the air on USA, I was expecting a dark match, but all that happened was Ryback slowly got up from the busted table and slowly walked to the back as the crowd cheered and filed out. No dark match took place. Justin Roberts thanked us for coming and said that WWE looks forward to coming back to Dayton in the "near future" so no future date was announced.
Jerry "The King" Lawler
Vickie Guerrero(By FAR)
Kaitlyn-Aksana. The Divas division is colder than leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving.