7 things you’ll only experience at a live WWE show
There’s a reason why Filipinos missed seeing the WWE live and in the flesh so much after not being here for seven long years—the experience is really one of a kind.
Although wrestling fans can easily watch it on TV or online, it’s not just a matter of nothing topping watching the action unfold right in front of you; it’s also because there are little touches the wrestlers will put for that specific show in that specific country or city. If you want to feel like you’re part of an event that isn’t just a generic wrestling show, a WWE Live Event—also colloquially called a “house show”—is where it’s at.
Here’s seven things that made WWE Manila feel really special for us:
1. They bring out a few extra big stars, just because
Although the wrestling crew that came to Manila was the WWE RAW brand and popular star John Cena is now part of the WWE SmackDown brand, the company still thought we deserved to see the leader of the Cenation.
Of course, it’s also because Cena is one of the company’s biggest, most popular stars and a lot of people would be disappointed to not see him, but foreign markets that don’t get to see WWE wrestling too often are likelier and luckier to get people like him.
2. The energy is so electric
This actually depends on how much wrestling the city or country’s seen in general, but when the crowd’s switch is on, it’s really on, and being part of an electric audience is a surreal feeling. You’ll be one with wrestling fans who are so happy to be here because they’re just as passionate about the sport as you, and Manila was no different. Of course, how could they not be after going without the WWE for so long?
3. You’re likelier to see some really good matches
Even though a lot of in-ring classics happen on big pay-per- view events and televised shows, live house show audiences are also likely to see good bouts they’ve never seen before, especially from wrestlers who aren’t as popular, but also just as good. That’s because on TV, airtime is limited, and they might not always get the minutes that they need and want in order to impress the audience.
Wrestlers like Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Cesaro, Sheamus, Goldust, and Neville didn’t have to go wrestle their butts off for an audience they don’t get to see all the time, but they put their bodies on the line and entertained us all the same. In fact, it’s in their job description to send people home happy.
4. …and you’re likelier to see some fun stuff, too
Because house shows aren’t really televised and, more often than not, don’t have any real impact on the stories and rivalries that drive the TV program, the wrestlers are allowed to take themselves way less seriously than they would on RAW or SmackDown.
You’ll see things like Roman Reigns playing with Chris Jericho’s scarf, or the New Day taking forever to start the match because they’re throwing their shirts to the crowd, or the Shining Stars messing with the Club. Even though the action may be brutal, it’s still a family show, and humor is part of what makes it such a fun time for all ages.
5. Locals get to be part of the action
And speaking of being part of the show, WWE live events are usually opportunities for the company to involve some members of the crowd beyond chanting.
In last night’s event, two lucky fans got to literally be part of the event by winning contests to be a guest timekeeper and to accompany Sasha Banks in her entrance. That’s certainly something you won’t experience if you just watch at home.
6. Savvy heels will add some local flavor to their work
The smartest heels—bad guys in wrestling jargon—know how to masterfully manipulate the crowd into booing them, no matter how much the crowd will want to cheer them.
Living legend and first-ballot Hall of Famer Chris Jericho (who has been here before) displayed why he’s one of the greatest of all time by managing to make himself look deliberately foolish.
Jericho—whom the majority of fans preferred to cheer over his opponent, the good guy Roman Reigns—got people to call him a gago by seeming to believe that being a g*go was a good thing. He also skillfully enabled the crowd to react to whatever he had to say by trying to impose his authority and superiority, all tools to get an audience to try and hate him. (A bad guy isn’t doing his job if the crowd cheers him; or worse, doesn’t even react to him at all.) Manila is lucky to have experienced Jericho do his thing, and he definitely made the local audience feel special by thoughtfully using our culture.
7. There is a real post-wrestling high
When pro wrestling is bad, it’s either forgettable, embarrassing, or appallingly bad, but when it’s good, it’s really good. It can even be good enough to impress and pull in members of the audience who aren’t really fans.
The WWE Manila main event, a triple threat match for the WWE Universal Championship between Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, and champion Kevin Owens was a who’s who of the best RAW has right now, and as mentioned, the three men put their bodies on the line and left it all in the ring for all the fans’ entertainment. They put out a thrilling bout that was good enough to be on a WWE Network pay-per-view, and most likely converted a non-fan or two with their high-flying, hard-hitting, and sometimes humorous antics. And a main event like that to cap off a solid WWE show is enough to put the diehard fans in a satisfying post-wrestling high, much like one would get after a good movie or a thrilling basketball game.
If you don’t understand why so many people continue to follow WWE despite the stigmas surrounding professional wrestling, this high is a big reason for it. Thanks, WWE. Come back soon.