“I will give you a show that you have never ever seen before. Why? Because I can.” -Shawn Michaels
When I was a little kid, my mother would always talk about this wrestling show she took my sister to before I was born. It was around the time of the inaugural Wrestlemania. She told me about how they had great seats, took some awesome pictures (including the photo my mom always had to mention: somebody’s trunks pulled down, exposing their bare ass) and had a great time despite the fact that everything looked “really fake.”
As I grew older, I kept thinking in my head, “Oh boy, I have my whole life ahead of me to see the magical moments that make up the history of this business in person. What’s going to be my “Superfly” moment? What legendary moments are going to be the stories that I tell my grandchildren?”
Now I am older and I came to a sad conclusion today.
I am cursed at live wrestling events.
It sucks, but I feel that it's true. I can’t even try to reason with the notion that I was just getting my hopes up too much for certain shows. What takes place at the live events I attend is either really bad, really stupid, really aggravating or really *insert really long and drawn out fart.*
If you don’t believe me, let’s quickly break down what has happened at the 21 wrestling shows I’ve been to. See for yourself why Papa Shango apparently put a voodoo spell on me.
WWF House Show in Richfield, OH, 1990: Naturally, I don’t remember a lot of this show because I was three. Only thing I did remember was a good Hart Foundation vs. Demolition match…that is until I found the results of this show online. It turns out I saw Black Bart vs Brady Boone AND my mother decided we were leaving before the Dusty Rhodes/Sapphire vs. Macho Man/Sherri main event. We left before the main event!!! I’ve seen better starts in three-legged races…with retarded people.
WWF House Show in Cleveland, OH, 1995: My favorite wrestler was Shawn Michaels. This show was in December. Shawn Michaels had just been kicked by Owen Hart in the back of the head. So, he wasn’t there. His replacement? Bob Holly. 3 years later when Savio Vega was HBK’s replacement in the 8-man main event at No Way Out, I was 99.99998% positive it was going to be Bob Holly.
WWE Armageddon in Sunrise, FL, 2002: Actually a decent show. It was the first time going with a good friend (upcoming guest writer Andrew Zangre) and we had a good time. Nothing really stands out as great, but nothing really stood out as bad (except Batista). Wait, I remember. I bought a Rey Mysterio shirt at that show. Still batting .000
WWE House Show in Cleveland, OH, 2003: The closest I’ve ever sat to ringside at the time (third row announcer side) naturally allowed me to see John Cena job to Billy Gunn, A-Train vs. Orlando Jordan and a three minute Show/Angle/Brock main event. Cleveland just keeps taking it up the tailpipe.
WWE Armageddon in Orlando, FL, 2003: This might be the blandest show I’ve ever been too. Evolution walks away with all of the belts, Goldberg sucks and I witness the worst match in my entire live event life: Rico vs. Heidenreich. It still gives me nightmares (and makes me giggle just a bit.)
WWE Raw in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 2005: It might have been a plenty average Raw, but I won’t say anything bad about it because I was front row on the hard cam the night after a pay-per-view (wearing a...sigh...Batista shirt. Zangre is in the red for video purposes). This was the most fun I’ve had at a wrestling show: talking shit to Maven and Rob Conway, trying to fondle Christy Hemme, holding up signs that got taken away like “Batista Punches Infants” and “Funaki Sucks Eggs” or witnessing the funniest dark match after the show that ended with Chris Jericho complementing our oversized Owlman sign and watching Randy Orton tell the security guard which girls he wanted to invite to the back. What a perfect evening.
(Editor's note: I originally had found a video that featured our "Funaki Sucks Eggs" sign, but it has since been removed from YouTube. Being the journalist I am, I was able to find a couple sites briefly discussing it. Also, we get props for a particular Kane sign. Read about them here and here.)
WWE Royal Rumble in Miami, FL, 2006: The Royal Rumble event is my favorite in all of wrestling and I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be at one live. You can imagine my dismay when the actual Rumble match was the worst in quite some time, Super Cena won the WWE Title back from Edge and the main event featured Mark Henry. I bought a Boogeyman shirt at this show. REPEAT: I BOUGHT A BOOGEYMAN SHIRT AT THIS SHOW. In a few years, I might finally seek therapy.
WWE Raw and Smackdown SuperShow in Orlando, FL, 2006: The next night, a big group of friends and I went together and experienced Lashley beating up the Dicks (I can’t even come up with an appropriate joke there), the launching of the Juniors Division with a little guy named Tzuki (who I thought was named Suitcase the whole night) and Randy Orton telling Rey Mysterio that Eddie Guerrero went to Hell…and that was JUST Smackdown. The only highlights of the night were meeting Lillian Garcia and getting The Coach to break character. This is getting depressing.
TNA Slammiversary in Orlando, FL, 2006: Let’s see: waited outside five hours to get in, had to stand for the whole show surrounded by some rather unfortunate looking people and watched…a pretty good show. The in-ring action was fantastic and despite everything, it was fun…until another Jeff Jarrett screwjob closed the show and the fans started throwing garbage into the ring. My attempts to chuck Zangre’s dad’s umbrella into the ring were thwarted, as were my hopes and aspirations for a completely satisfying show.
TNA Genesis in Orlando, FL, 2006: I refused to miss Joe vs. Angle I and it didn’t disappoint. The loudest I've probably screamed at a live event was trying to prevent the inevitable. What was disappointing: the rest of the lackluster card, the fact that we didn’t get into the arena until 15 minutes before the pay-per-view started and the most annoying British guy who kept talking to me throughout the entire show about how he had spent all of his money coming over to see this event and he didn’t have a way to get home. Joe/Angle was great, but not great enough.
WWE One Night Stand in Jacksonville, FL, 2007: A show as bland as Armageddon 2003 except ONS had a Pudding Match, Great Khali in the main event and Vince McMahon as ECW Champion. The highlight was an angry, drunken Batista fan pushing me out of the way after his hero lost to Edge and watching the cops carry his ass away. Have fun walking alone is prison, douche.
ROH Dragon Gate Challenge 2 in Orlando, FL, 2008: You will never hear me say a bad word about ROH and this show was flawless from an in-ring standpoint. However, Zangre totally had a chance with the cute poster salesgirl and totally botched it. You can’t call this show a complete success.
ROH Supercard of Honor III in Orlando, FL, 2008: An even better show than the previous night, but The Briscoes and the Age of the Fall had to brawl through my section and spill my newly opened soda. Before Punk’s diet soda was spilled, my soda was all over Jimmy Jacobs’ back and I’m not happy about it!
WWE Wrestlemania XXIV in Orlando, FL, 2008: The stadium was the shits (I didn’t know you could still pee in one of those large trough urinals) and it was really chilly. However, bitching about those things while talking about being LIVE AT WRESTLEMANIA is stupider than the idea of a wrestling plumber. The show was amazing and seeing Ric Flair’s last match was one of the best moments of my life…until he had to ruin it by coming back. Thanks, Dick Flair.
ROH Proving Ground Night 2 in Orlando, FL, 2009: After being postponed from the previous October, I wasn’t expecting much and still wasn’t disappointed by ROH live. The show was nothing compared to the WrestleMania shows, but Bryan Danielson/El Generico made up for it. Although, the more I think about it, I did see some pretty crappy tryout matches…Rich didn’t crap his pants when Austin Aries scared the Italian out of him…and D-Lo Brown was in the main event. Sigh…it’s a wash.
WWE Raw and ECW in Jacksonville, FL, 2009: This event was the one that gave me the idea for this article. What didn’t happen that sucked? Primo beating The Miz? DJ Gabriel vs Tyson Kidd? The worst HBK/Undertaker promo before Wrestle Twenty…Wrestlemania 25? Punk losing the IC Title to JBL? Cena making bad Vickie jokes? How about the fact that we didn’t even see Triple H and Randy Orton live because they were too busy destroying a house down the street? Yeah, this one opened my eyes.
TNA Final Resolution in Orlando, FL, 2009: I think I cursed this show. This was undoubtedly the best TNA I have ever been to with Angle/Wolfe and Styles/Daniels, but it was the last TNA PPV before Bischogan (their tabloid name) killed the company. In retrospect, it’s sad, but the writing was on the wall. Foley was trying to kill himself even more than usual. My girlfriend was cheering for Lashley. Cody Deaner was there. Damn it.
TNA Genesis in Orlando, FL, 2010: It was official. It’s dying. We entertained ourselves by chanting “turkey leg” and making fun of Brooke Hogan. Plus, Augie will never like Mr. Anderson in any capacity because of the awful mark sitting next to him.
WWE Raw in Jacksonville, FL, 2010: The Miz vs Batista was changed to Batista vs Daniel Bryan (yay!) and John Cena vs Chris Jericho was changed to John Cena vs Wade Barrett (boo!) The only reason we went to this show was to see Wayne Brady host. Our hopes were low going in, so no big deal. Very boring Raw, though.
FCW House Show in Gainesville, FL, 2011: Watching the future WWE Superstars in this tiny show wasn’t really encouraging. I was more interested watching the wrestlers not involved eat nachos than the vanilla action going on in front of me. Plus, we really dropped the ball with our Titus O'Neill picture. Being front row again was neat, though.
FCW House Show in Gainesville, FL, 2011: An even worse in-ring show only helped by meeting a lot of the guys (Husky Harris, you are the man!) and stepping in the ring for the first time in my life. However, this show was worsened to the extreme because of the dregs of society all around us. Seriously, I never expect class from a crowd at a wrestling show, but this was like living in a gutter for two hours. Woof City.
And that is it. Wow, that is a lot more depressing than I thought it was. Out of 21 shows, I would consider only five or six great shows. Some were okay and the rest were a waste of money. It sucks, but WWE hates Florida and Ohio, apparently. Vis a vis, the WWE hates me.
(This article was written before I attended the FCW Show in Orlando where CM Punk and my new man crush, Dean Ambrose, tore the house down and I had an excellent time at the entire event. Perhaps the curse is slowing down...)
I guess I need to move to Chicago to see some real shows. If not, I might be telling my kids about the time I saw Sheik Abdul Bashir get the Fired briefcase or the time Henry Godwinn beat Triple H in a Slop Bucket match.
My grandchildren, just like yours truly, deserve better than that.
Make sure to look out for more Live Event articles. Our next edition will feature the heavily anticipated debut of Andrew Zangre to Podswoggle.com!