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Falls Count Anywhere
Live at Raw in Pittsburgh
What was probably the easiest thing to notice as Raw began Monday night was that the show was very close to being a sell-out. There were a smattering of empty seats throughout the arena. At a glance, it did look like a sell-out though with none of the sections tarped off like it was for WWE’s last visit to the Steel City.
As for the show itself, it played out a lot like James Caldwell’s report described. My only point of contention would be that the crowd wasn’t taken out of the show by the time that the Sami Zayn vs. Miz match concluded. However, I was a bit surprised that Zayn and Kevin Owens didn’t receive bigger pops. I wouldn’t say they were weak pops, but thought they’d be quite a bit louder; especially Zayn who was making his Pittsburgh Raw debut (he wrestled at the NXT show back in January).
My reasoning for saying that the crowd wasn’t out of the show was because less than an hour later, the Pittsburgh crowd was strongly invested into the Triple H-Dolph Ziggler match. They were especially into the Roman Reigns beatdown of Hunter, but for all the wrong reasons that WWE wanted them to be. I’d have to say that it was around 70/30 or even 80/20 STRONG boos for Roman. Any mentions or pictures shown of Roman throughout the night received boos for that matter. Absence has not made the heart grow fonder for many WWE fans.
For the main event segment, I did not notice many people leaving early. During WWE’s last trip to Pittsburgh, many fans left around the 10:30 mark. That wasn’t the case this time; WresteMania season will do that it seems. Considering that nearly every fan stayed put for the final hour, I found it very odd that the final two segments of the night fell so flat. I’d argue it was how they were presented. There was a good pop for A.J. Styles, but there seemed to be little-to-no intensity coming from A.J. and the crowd fed off of (or should I say didn’t feed off of) that.
Then, for the main event segment of Undertaker-Vince-Shane, I definitely agree with Wade Keller in his VIP Wade Keller Hotline. Shane McMahon did receive a strong pop initially, but it didn’t feel anything like the first (or even second) pop that he’s received since his return. The crowd was definitely all over Shane’s flubbed lines with a lot of laughter and there was even some of that when Shane attacked Undertaker and we got to see the “pillow like punches” again this week. For me, this was a big segment to help give this match some credibility going into WrestleMania and it failed. Up until this point, I had a very patient “wait and see” type of attitude, waiting for Shane and Taker to come face-to-face and give me a reason to believe that their match as WrestleMania could be salvageable. Last night did absolutely none of that and I really feel like that match is going to be in a lot of trouble by the time they get to Dallas.
There was no post-TV dark match or segment. That’s the first time that I can remember going to a TV taping in Pittsburgh and that not happening. My guess is that the roster is so injury plagued that WWE decided to pull the plug on doing any dark match main events?
Even though the final two segments fell flat, I did feel like it was a good show overall. The crowd was lively for most of it and even when it dipped slightly, it did get a second wind during the Hunter-Ziggler match and was very vocal for the post-match beatdown. Considering that nearly everyone stayed until the very end, I feel like the crowd wanted a reason to be excited by the time 11:00 p.m. hit, but nothing really clicked to make that happen. Pittsburgh hasn’t always been known as a vociferous crowd, but it’s now been twice in the past three years that they’ve whole heartedly rejected what WWE has tried to push during Mania Season (Batista at the 2014 Royal Rumble, and Reigns last night).
Raw returns to Pittsburgh on July 25.
Tony Donofrio is a Specialist for PWTorch covering a variety of topics and promotions. You can reach Tony at TonyDonofrio@icloud.com or follow him on Twitter @TonyDonofrio.