I’m not sure how to begin; my brothers and I have been wrestling fans for almost twenty years now, and as far as I can remember this was the only time that the WWE ever came to the Philippines. The last time was a long time ago, and although I wanted to see it, there was no way I could convince my parents then that the largish amount of cash needed to go was worth it. This time, I was determined to go, and I bought tickets for my brother Alvin and our _pamangkin _Gelo (so I spent for three tickets total.) We only got Upper Box B tickets at the Araneta Colliseum, but that was enough. Some people were telling me it was a waste of money to see the show, but after the experience of last night, I have to say it was really worth it! In fact, I can only imagine that the “main” Monday Night RAW shows are probably even better.
I’m not going to discuss the ins and outs of Wrestling here, I’ve had my share of getting people to understand why I follow it. (Of course it’s scripted! So are 80% of other TV shows!) But the most important thing to understand is that it’s a show. Not only that, it’s a hell of a show.
They really know how to hold a live-audience show, everything they do is designed to pull in the crowd, get them to participate. They encourage the chanting, and they ad lib some of the responses to roll with how the crowd is going. It’s all about the crowd, the Wrestler’s job is to control the crowd, and every Wrestler plays his role well. And watching it live is a lot better than watching it on TV, because you’re there, and you’re part of the show, and you pay attention even to the matches that would’ve been boring on TV. You even respond and boo Tyson Tomko and Gene Snitsky, even if odds are you wouldn’t care about them if you were watching it on TV. And you appreciate every single performance. Even the heels are clapped for on their way out; I’m not sure if it’s the same with the US-side RAW episodes since the loser departures are almost never shown on-air.
The matches held were:
Eugene vs Snitsky – huge pop for Eugene, the crowd is really into him, especially the teenage girls (I’m not sure why I saw so many teenage girls in the crowd, I have no idea what Wrestling’s true demographic is). Eugene had a toy stuffed bear with him and the crowd tore Snitsky apart with boos when he destroyed the thing. Eugene wins via Rock Bottom! Funniest bit: Someone in the crowd tried to pull off a ghost fighter reference by trying to start a “Tapusin na yan!” chant, too bad the crowd didn’t follow.
Torie and Lita vs. Trish and Maria with Val Venis as special guest referee – huge pop for each one of the divas. We all know these are beautiful women, but too bad we were too far up to really appreciate it. I will say that from where I was seated Trish Stratus’ cleavage was more visible than her face. :p Now, diva matches aren’t usually the most entertaining wrestling-wise, as the crowd is usually into it because they like to see beautiful women jumping at each other. After a few exchanges, the crowd got a little antsy and started the “We want puppies!” chant. (One of my companions was a 12-year old. I think he thought the puppies referred to Torie Wilson’s pet dog.) Anyway, Torie and Lita win via some form of cheating. Funniest bit: There was this sequence where three of the divas were rolling over each other and knocked down Val Venis and started rolling over him. Val Venis got up smiling.
Rob Van Dam vs Tyson Tomko – the crowd was really into RVD, and Tyson Tomko got a lot of heat. People were a bit bored with the grappling parts, everyone expecting RVD to get in some high-flying kicks. An “ECW” chant kept going for a while. RVD hit with the spinning heel kick, then followed-up with the Rolling Thunder (awesome to see live!), and finished with the Five-Star Frog Splash (he had to turn a bit in mid-air ‘coz Tomko was at a somewhat wrong angle) Funniest bit: After chanting “RVD!” a while, the crowd eventually changed the chant to “DVD!”
Mick Foley vs Carlito – Carlito got a huge pop during his entrance, and started off on the mic saying “This place is great!” (huge pop) then followed up with “Just kidding!”, then he proceeds to his heel routine, eventually making fun of local women by comparing them to Manny Pacquiao. Whoa, that was a LOT of heat right there. Mick Foley music interrupted his speech and the Hardcore Legend came in and the crowd went nuts, getting on their feet and cheering as Mick Foley walked around the ring. Mick Foley gets the cheap pop (“It’s great to be here in Manila, Philippines!”), and they go at it. Carlito grapples with Foley for a while, and some hair-pulling goes on. Carlito keeps chickening out, but Mick Foley finally grabs him as he’s trying to head up the exit ramp. Foley pulls him back into the ring and does the Cactus Jack routine, hitting with the double-arm DDT. He looks around at the crowd and pulls out the sock and the crowd goes wild again! Carlito grabs an apple to chew on, but he turns around spits out apple chunks as the Mandible Claw and Mr. Socko knock him down to the canvas! Mick Foley wins! Funniest bit: Middle of the match, Carlito keeps trying to escape, and Foley eventually does the clucking-chicken gesture, and the crowd starts chanting “Chicken!” at Carlito (in that unique Filipino pronunciation of the word), eventually prompting Carlito to get a mic and exclaim “Carlito is not a chicken!” Foley says something to the announcer and it is announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been confirmed that Carlito is indeed a chicken!”
Intercontinental – Shelton Benjamin vs Viscera. Shelton gets the inevitable “Mama’ boy” chants, and Vis gets the huge pops. Shelton whines about we’re all just jealous of his momma, and Viscera is huge. Shelton does some stuff, but finished without a T-bone Suplex. Funniest bit: That I didn’t have to explain to a 12-year old boy what Viscera was doing to Shelton with that move.
Chris Masters and HHH vs Big Show and Ric Flair – Masters’ entrance got some pops, but not very impressive without the pyros. Triple H’s music hits and the crowd is on their feet, hands in the air! They’re all cheering for the most dastardly man in the business today! HHH is the next champion! Big Show and Ric Flair come in next, and the cheers for them are roughly as loud as was for the Game. Anyway, they get it on. Lockups, the usual tag team stuff, ganging up, Big Show doing gorilla presses on everybody, etc. The crowd is really into Flair, every move he makes gets a “Wooo!” from the crowd. Alvin and I want to see the Pedigree, and finally, HHH manages to grab Flair and go for it! But Show interrupts, and chokeslams the game, then Flair locks the figure four onto Masters and it’s over! (Boo, we wanted to see the Pedigree!)
Big Show stops Flair from leaving the ring, and they have a surprise for him! Trish and Maria come out carrying a cake, along with RVD, Eugene and Viscera. It’s Ric Flair and Maria’s birthday! Triple H comes out and breaks kayfabe, shaking Flair’s hand before walking out.
WWE championship – John Cena vs Edge. Main event time! The Steel cage is lowered to the ring; it’s a lot lower than it looks on TV, especially from where we were sitting. Edge comes in to some cheers (and jeers), but the next entrance is guaranteed to get the crowd on its’ feet. John Cena’s music hits and the crowd goes ABSOLUTELY INSANE! The champ is here, and there’s lotsa chain gang members in the Philippines! Apparently a lot of them were little kids too! Cena and Edge start slamming each other into the cage, Edge tries to get out a couple of times, but Cena is just fast enough to catch him. Edge is knocked down, and the crowd spells it out: “You can’t see me!” The five-knuckle shuffle only gets a two count, and more action ensues. Eventually, the ref gets knocked out. Lita low-blows the ref on the outside as Cena tries to get out the door, then slams the door in Cena’s face. Edge hits the spear and the two of them gang up on Cena. Lita gets on the ropes as Edge holds up Cena, setting up for the hurricanrana, but Cena ducks out of the way and Lita’s mighty legs toss Edge into the cage! Cena capitalizes, hitting the FU on Lita, then on Edge, then makes the pin for the win! Cena climbs to the top of the cage and holds the championship belt up high and the crowd goes wild! Funniest bit: That the crowd still erupts in cheers when Cena manages to get out of a two-count, despite knowing that there’s no way the title would change hands that night.
Again, awesome, awesome show. Although Araneta Colliseum, specifically the inside part leading to the Upper Box entrances, was cramped! Helluva lot of people, they probably oversold, seeing as how people filled every nook and cranny of Upper Box B despite supposedly being guaranteed seating. I would post pics, but we were so far, most of our pics were crappy! Terrific experience, I’m glad we went to see the show. 😀