WWE RAW ON-SITE CORRESPONDENT
APRIL 15, 2019
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA
REPORT BY KEVIN, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
TAPED FOR MAIN EVENT
(1) Tamina beat Dana Brooke. I like Dana, but I think she’s miscast and seems to be trying too hard. Athletically, she’s good, and I was glad she got a good reaction.
(2) Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins beat Heavy Machinery. I’m not a fan at all of Otis. Every time he comes up on TV, I want him to go away. But that’s me, and I know people like him. The majority liked him, and they got a big reaction coming out.
-The venue was about 80-85 percent full. The camera side was a bit empty. The only side that was covered up at all was where the screen and stage were, so about one-eighth of the stadium.
-The crowd enthusiasm was a bit here and there. After the camera went off at the end of the show, Seth Rollins told the crowd they were louder after the TV show ended than they were during the entire show. I attended a house show recently in Ottawa earlier this year and it was way louder. Months ago I saw Smackdown here and it was way more energized. I talked with my group about what it could be, and the only thing we came up with is there was no framing of any matches. There were almost no promos except for Lacey Evans-Natalya-Becky Lynch and the main event six-man tag match. Since I don’t know on TV how it came off, but we didn’t know who were the trades or how it was being framed – who was coming, who was staying, what was happening, was it an exchange, was it easier for now because last week they had matches with wrestlers from both Raw and Smackdown on both shows. They had a picture near the end of the show saying who was now added to Raw, but we didn’t know until then.
-The crowd reacted loudly to an XFL commercial. I was surprised at the energy of the boo. It was at the level of Roman Reigns when he was being loudly booed.
-Speaking of Roman Reigns, when he was shown on the big screen, there were a few boos here and there and people in my group, including my girlfriend, were angry about that. She’s always been into him, but she’s more into him now. People were chanting his name in the main event when he made a comeback.
-The start and stop of the ring entrance drained the energy from the crowd. EC3 came out, and then stood in the ring for three or four minutes and flexed and just filled time. Becky came out first, then they went to a commercial, and she awkwardly had to stand there for a while. It was awkward and it affected our energy. We’d be excited to see a wrestler and we’d cheer, then the lights went down, and then there’d be a game with kids and a video on the big screen, and then we’d be expected to regenerate our enthusiasm for the wrestler. It hurt the reaction to Becky in particular.
-The reaction to Ricochet and Aleister Black were great. Ricochet probably more than Black.
-When we saw the War Raiders come out, fans were chanting “War! War! War!” Then we burst out laughing when we saw The Viking Experience on the screen. It was a running gag all evening, and we didn’t get what it was all about. There was a bit of energy generated by the name, but the wrong kind.
-Dean Ambrose came out after Raw ended. Seth called him out because his wife is Canadian and therefore he knew Dean was around. Dean said, “I like this thing called wrestling and I still calls people wrestlers. That got a big reaction. Dean joked about Canadian weather and said WWE comes to Canada not because of the weather but because Canadians love wrestling, stressing the use of the word wrestler. The demeanor of Dean we saw here is the Dean I wish we got all along. It wasn’t crazy Dean.
-They didn’t advertise any matches specifically that I know of. The advertising was more generic about the Superstar Shake-up. The event ended after The Shield touched fists. There was no dark match.
-Sami Zayn got a big reaction. The last time Smackdown was in Montreal, he was hurt, and I was disappointed I didn’t get to see him. I like him as a face and heel. I enjoyed him being mean to us. When the song played for the first time, the reaction was amazing. But when the song played for the second time, it felt repetitious. When he turned on us, the boos were loud, although some were still cheering.
-Sami got the biggest reaction of the night as a hometown guy, along with A.J. Styles and The Miz. Unfortunately, Becky got a really good reaction at first but it dissipated after the long commercial break. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns got a good reaction, but fans seemed to be waiting to find out the mystery wrestler. At the three-and-a-half hour mark, it was tough to maintain energy. Finn Balor gets honorable mention. Ricochet and Black were a level lower, but still good. With Rey Mysterio, it was a good reaction but not a legend reaction. Kids were happy, but it was below The Usos and Braun Strowman, for instance.