THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER'S LIVE INSTANT REACTION: Crowd getting the blame for Fastlane snoozer, but where should the focus be?
Feb 23, 2015 - 1:26:55 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
Instant Reaction - WWE Fastlane PPV
By Ben Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
Overall Score - 6.0
The most passionate wrestling fans have the reputation for being filled with an inordinate amount of venom towards the product they love. When they spew it towards the producers of the product in a constructive way, it can be a good thing. When they attack their own, it is anything but fine.
The Memphis crowd at Fastlane was quieter than typical of a pay-per-view. Instead of offering friendly jabs at the crowd and moving on, many attempted to get #CancelWWEMemphisCrowd trending on Twitter, spending the majority of the three-hour program complaining about the perceived dead crowd and how it detracted from the show. This is coming a week-and-a-half removed from NXT Rival, where a notable section of fans complained about the Full Sail audience cheering for the heel Kevin Owens once he won the NXT Championship.
If you think a fan isn't reacting "enough," blame the writers. Nearly any crowd today would be perceived as "dead" when compared to Attitude Era crowds 15 years ago. This isn't the fault of the cities WWE travels to; it's their consistently shoddy booking. Going to a tough town isn't a bad thing. It should be seen as a challenge for both writers and wrestlers to engage a crowd covering a wide range of demographics. Tonight failed to do that.
NXT's audience is labeled as being "cult-like." So? If you want the crowd to boo Kevin Owens, spend the time and money that everyone else in that arena does to make the trip out there. It's sad to see individuals lash out at others who spend their hard-earned money to see something they love because "they didn't do it right." This is all misguided hatred. Hate WWE's terrible booking. Hate sloppily designed matches. But don't hate the fans. If you want fans to act a certain way, then go to TNA where the crowd was once told that they were "actors" who are obligated to cheer the faces and boo the heels.
If we pay to go to these events, we react how we feel. If WWE cannot make us feel the "proper" way, then it's on them, not us. And unfortunately, tonight was definitely on them, with a middling show that felt like another three-hour Raw special than a true pay-per-view.
The strongest match of the show was the main event between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. While Reigns held his own, Bryan made him look like a true main-eventer in the same way that Bret Hart aided Diesel back in the mid-'90s. The finish appalled the crowd to a large extent, finishing a storyline that did nothing to help Roman Reigns but succeeded in sucking the life out of Daniel Bryan's fan base. Mission accomplished?
Arguably the strongest aspect of the show as a whole came in the form of the Sting-Triple H segment. Triple H looked vicious, but Sting remained cunning, successfully maintaining his mystique the entire time and looking good in the limited spots he performed.
Not as good were the various match finishes on the show. The crowd was caught by surprise in the Intercontinental Title, Divas, and Rhodes Brothers matches when they seemingly abruptly ended for minimal reasoning. Equally flabbergasting was Kane pinning Dolph Ziggler, though the RKO-filled return by Randy Orton was definitely a solid consolation prize.
The general feeling on the show, though, was WWE holding back. Rusev-Cena was very slowly paced, as was the Rhodes match. Creating multiple re-matches for WrestleMania from this event will only devalue the big event as well, making the card feel like we've "been there, done that."
In the end, this was an okay event that did not need to happen. Every match and segment on this show could have easily played out on an episode of Raw, and it felt like it. Maybe that's why the crowd was dead. Or maybe they felt ostracized from their own kind; who knows?
Questions? Comments? Reactions? Find me and in-person pics from the PPV on Twitter @BTuckerTorch, where I talk about wrestling and... stuff!
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**