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WWE RAW ON-SITE REPORT
APRIL 1, 2019
REPORT BY PAUL D. PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
MAIN EVENT TAPING…
(1) NO WAY JOSE beat TYLER BREEZE in 12:00. Lots of chanting by kids and a lot of confusion why there was a guy in a hot dog costume at ringside.
(2) LUCHA HOUSE PARTY beat THE ASCENSION. It was a weird ending because Kalisto had one of the Ascension guys in the ring, then Kalisto leaped into the ring and got the pin, but he didn’t ever tag into the match. Maybe I missed it, though.
They also did some trivia during commercial breaks and asking kids to do impressions of wrestlers. One kid did an impression of Randy Savage.
NOTES FROM RAW…
-The arena was 99 percent full in terms of available seats. There were some empty seats in the upper deck behind the hard camera toward the stage and also right around the hard camera. Otherwise, very full.
-There was way more fan enthusiasm for No Way Jose in a match taped for Main Event than there was for the actual Raw main event. The crowd wasn’t into a lot of stuff in my section, but another part of the arena did seem more into the show and that’s where more chants started. In the third hour, the show lost steam throughout the arena. The last 20 minutes was the most unenthusiastic I’ve seen a crowd for a main event match.
-Fans were wondering if Baron Corbin vs. Rey Mysterio was really the main event, and people were speculating if not expecting John Cena to come out. I couldn’t tell when the match was at commercial, not because it was exciting and energetic the whole time, but because the match felt it was always in a commercial. There were chants of “Boring Corbin!” It was just a mess. People were expecting something because nothing was going on.
-Becky Lynch was the second-most over wrestler of the night, behind Kurt Angle’s initial pop. It was fairly mixed, though, as some fans were into Ronda Rousey. There were some “Let’s Go Becky / Ronda sucks!” chants.
-Fans weren’t sure why security came out when the women began fighting. They couldn’t fight each other during the match, but it seemed extreme to prevent them from fighting afterward by bring out not just security, but cops. The backstage scene was the most inept police scene I’ve seen. It was energetic in the building while it was happening, though. After it went off the air, there was a huge round of applause. Then it died after that. The crowd was more into the Triple Threat women’s match than any other segment, although Seth Rollins-Brock Lesnar was right there too.
-Brock Lesnar got a huge response when he came out. Seth Rollins was popular, but fans seemed puzzled over Seth resorting to immediate low blows. That’s the reason Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan are framed as heels, and Seth went right to it.
-Top star reactions: Kurt Angle, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, and then a drop-off but Brock Lesnar got a big response. Rey was popular. Baron Corbin didn’t get a big heel response. The crowd didn’t really react to Beth Phoenix until her finisher. The crowd didn’t seem to think her wrestling on Raw was noteworthy or important at all.
-When Roman Reigns as first announced, there was a buzz, but when it seemed he wasn’t coming out, fans were let down. There were some guys behind me who stood and put up the middle finger when Reigns first appeared on the big screen, but those guys were a mess the whole show. They were also barking at women wrestlers; they were awful.
-Batista is from D.C. so there was a large contingent for him because of that. He was bouncer at a bar near the arena for years before he was in WWE. I’d say the crowd was more enthusiastic for him than other recent Raws. It was a “big star” reaction. On his way out of the ring, when the camera were off, he was slapping hands, hugging fans, blowing kisses to the audience. It was earnest, not sarcastic.
-When Bayley and Sasha first came out, they talked to a director on the stage until they came back on the air. It was almost like a false start where the director told her to wait for a second. It was all very strange.
-Renee Young “raised the roof” when Jinder came out. That was odd and funny. All the Andre battle royal wrestlers came out in a parade before the match to stand at ringside for the Apollo Crews vs. Jinder Mahal match. Crews got a nice response. People were wondering if it was going to be a lumberjack match. They didn’t tell the crowd. The wrestlers just came out. There was an interesting moment of physics in the Mahal-Crews match when Crews gave Mahal an enzuigiri to the back of his head, and Jinder managed to bump backwards from it. Very weird. I’m no scientist, but that’s not right.
-Braun Strowman got a reaction less than Seth and Becky, but fans were into roaring. As for the match, people seemed to more feel bad for the random white guy and black guy who were getting beat up by him. Braun has quite clearly become a “fun comedy attraction” and that’s it. He’s a star, but not a main event serious star.
-There was a guy going up on a harness on the back of the LED screen during the show apparently doing some repairs.
-I happened to be wearing a Becky Lynch t-shirt and there was a little boy probably 8 or 9 years old wearing a Rousey t-shirt, and he hid behind his parents because he thought I’d be mad at him. That was kind of sweet. I did think of giving him Ronda’s “angry toddler face.”
-When Raw ended, Corbin rolled back into the ring and rolled around for a while and said Rey Mysterio is not an honorable man and no one should chant his name. Dean Ambrose came out and gave Corbin a Dirty Deeds. His music then played for several minutes while not much happened. Then they thanked us for coming. After all of that, that is how the event ended. It was very anti-climactic. The whole time Rey was lying in the camera pit. It was very strange.
-Initially last fall they announced The Shield vs. Corbin & Strowman & Lashley when tickets went on sale in mid-October. There was an email today that announced: “For the last time in Washington D.C, see The Shield vs. Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley.” The Shield didn’t wrestle together. In fact, not one member wrestled, Roman didn’t appear in front of the crowd, and Dean only appeared briefly after Raw ended. They also ad versed Elias and Alexa Bliss, and Finn Balor, but they only appeared on the big screen. Fans were leaving the arena after Raw ended and didn’t seem to be anticipating more anyway. Several of the people who were advertised as wrestling didn’t even appear before the crowd. It was a letdown show. I was less excited about heading to WrestleMania on Sunday because of this episode of Raw.
RECOMMENDED: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/1: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including final hype for WrestleMania, Ronda, Becky, and Charlotte vs. Riott Squad, Revival vs. Ricochet and Black for the tag titles, and more