Thanks to Chris Blanton for sending in this report:
Rusev beat Sin Cara in a match that evidently happened during commercials. After the match, the flag came down and Rusev and Lana had their showdown with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger (note: the match was shown on the WWE app).
They are doing construction around the Frank Erwin Center so you have to park and walk about a mile to get to the building. Doors opened at 5:45, which I was surprised by. No WWE event I’ve been to has ever opened doors on time.
Once inside we found our seats near the stage. This was my first time going to the Frank Erwin Center and I was surprised that it was not a very big building. It was full with the exception of the very top level on the hard camera side. I took my girlfriend, who is not a wrestling fan. The typical “woooo” chants got started before the show.
After the WWE Superstars taping, we got right to raw. Lots of heat on The Authority and, of course, Roman Reigns is really over.
The commercial breaks are very strange. The wrestlers just stand in the ring or on the stage doing nothing until the show comes back on.
I’m not sure how it came across on TV, but the crowd seemed to really be into the entire Last Man Standing match.
The crowd seemed to stay hot throughout the show.
When the Oklahoma Sooners’ music played the crowd popped when they thought it was Jim Ross and then started booing once they realized it was not and because it was the music of the Longhorns’ rival.
After one of the matches, about 30 stagehands came out from the back and moved the ring back towards the announce table. Apparently it had moved.
Michael Cole had to go backstage and change his suit after Dean Ambrose got soda all over him.
The dark main event was Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Big show beating Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Bray Wyatt. The babyfaces won to send the crowd home happy.
I will say it’s very obvious that WWE is cutting costs. There was no pyro except for Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, and Rusev when his flag came down. Big Show had his usual pyro also.
Several signs were taken by WWE staff. One guy had a black sign with a name on it. He kept walking back and forth behind the floor seating on the side the cameras were facing. He had a kid in his hand. They came and took his sign and didn’t tell him why.
WWE has also raised the prices on their t-shirts since the last time I bought them at an event. $30 for most of them except for one of the Cena shirts was $35.
I have been to two Raws now with the three-hour format, and this one didn’t seem to drag on live. The last one I went to seemed to go on forever.
They did and good job of playing videos to keep the crowd into things. No return date was given. Overall, not a bad show. I do find it really irritating that you are two weeks away from your second biggest pay per view of the year and your main event participants were not on the show.
I also never knew what big roles the referees play. They keep everything moving. They were rushing wrestlers out of the ring area after matches and promos.
After the dark match, about 150 guys came out to start tearing down. It’s amazing how fast they move.
Justin Roberts stayed out across out at ringside as they were tearing down taking pics with fans.
Thanks to Stew Myrick for sending in this report:
-The arena was pretty full, although about half of the mezzanine was tarped. There were several families in attendance.
-Announcers intro: JBL received a good pop, thanks to him flashing the Hook ‘Em hand sign (we are on the University of Texas campus, after all).
-During the video packages, the arena was darkened. Later in the show, it was apparent that the crowd was getting restless during the video packages.
-Damien Sandow coming out to “Boomer Sooner” earned him a ton of heat. Then again, Jim Ross used to get booed when he would come out to the OU fight song. Conversely, Austin resident Mark Henry received a good pop. Post match, he went to ringside and greeted former Texas Longhorn QB Vince Young, who was in attendance. There was a huge ovation for No. 10 and the WSM.
-There were a total of four video promos for WWE Network during breaks. Two of them involved Superstar quotes and fun with vehicles. There was also a promo for the Monday Night War series coming soon (but when???).
-During one early break, Justin Roberts asked fans to hold up their signs so they could be seen on the Titan Tron. However, he would then read the signs with less personality than a wet sponge. It was truly a bad gimmick.
-Notable absentee Superstars included John Cena, Brock Lesnar, AJ Lee, and the Uso Brothers,
-This was the first live WWE event that I’ve attended in a few years. The last Raw event I attended was when it was still a two-hour show. I was not in favor of Raw going to three hours. That feeling was never more affirmed than sitting through tonight’s event. The crowd could never get into a groove, as there was way too much dead time. I actually left after the Seth Rollins vs. Heath Slater match because I was quite disappointed in the live experience.
-Another observation concerns the fans. I know different cities react differently, but paying attention to the Austin crowd reaction during the show, it became obvious that the days of faces getting cheered and heels getting booed are quickly diminishing. It pains me to write that, as I am an old-school fan, but fans like me are an endangered species. The crowd reactions were mixed more often than they should be. Seeing and hearing it live just emphasized how flat WWE’s product is right now.