Blog: WWE Raw World Tour at Madison Square Garden
“It’s a testament to the city of New York, that not even a blizzard could stop you from packing the Garden,” exclaimed eternal hero and WWE Superstar, John Cena, after closing out another of the many non-televised, professional wrestling events performed at the historic arena. As snowfall blanketed our city at a rate of over an inch per hour, it became clear that getting to Madison Square Garden for a 7pm bell time would be an issue for most, evidenced by the dozens of empty blue seats atop the venue’s highest sight levels. For those not in the know, the entire roster of WWE performers is divided between two separate brands, based on the television programs of the same name- Raw and Smackdown. At the Garden on this night, some 13,600 reported fans would be treated to the Raw brand, and the WWE would make sure that regardless of the dangerous conditions outside, those housed inside the arena would head home smiling.
Anyone who follows the WWE is surely aware of the recent PG rating for all of their programming. Long gone are the days of gratuitous displays of provocative sex and blood, and in their stead comes a product geared toward children, which is reflective of the Garden crowd on this night. In fact, the kids in the audience proved just as entertaining as the show itself, making me nostalgic for an 8 year old version of myself. Watching each child cringe and cheer as their heroes battled for victory-living and dying by every punch and kick, screaming their brains out for every pinfall, and nestling in their parents arms after each defeat, brought me back to my own adolescence.
But the company clearly knows their audience. Between matches and during intermission and while setting up for the main event, the WWE aired promotional vignettes for newly released merchandise and events. Even ring announcer Justin Roberts got in on the shilling, pushing signed copies of DVDs and live event t-shirts toward the youthful crowd. At the end of the day however, who could blame them- this is an industry that lives and dies on the attendance of their live events, and delivering a uniquely special experience to each fan is the one thing the WWE does best.
Onto the evening itself, the company gave fans some extra time to make it inside Madison Square Garden and the lights went out at 7:10pm, signaling the show was set to begin, although a good portion of the arena remained barren. The opening “Battle Royal” match featured 12 different superstars starting in the ring, attempting to throw each other over the top rope, until only one remained. The prize for the victor, you ask? A title match versus the United States Champion Daniel Bryan, later in the evening. The bout was won by the tanned Zack Ryder, affectionately known as “The Long Island Loudmouth.”
The highlights of the night included a live “Piper’s Pit” interview segment where “Rowdy” Roddy Piper brought out fellow Hall of Famer Tito Santana, and the two exchanged verbal barbs about which of them could take the other in a match. After being confronted by a Samoan pair known as “The Usos,” the aged performers clotheslined both from the ring, thereby tugging at a reminiscent fan’s heartstrings. Randy Orton was out to the ring for the next match, attempting to wrest the WWE Championship away from Reality TV Star-turned-Wrestler, The Miz- who continued to remind the crowd that he’s “Awesome.” While Orton took what looked to be a sure-advantage, The Miz received some interference on his behalf from protégé Alex Riley, and wound up retaining his title. Orton did get a measure of revenge however, destroying Riley in seconds in an impromptu “No Holds Barred” match, as commissioned by Raw’s anonymous General Manager- which was announced to the live crowd by WWE lead announcer and antagonist, Michael Cole.
Following a brief intermission and the announcement of a return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday, March 19th, came the main event: a “Steel Cage Match” featuring John Cena taking on Wade Barrett of Nexus, a group of brash, young newcomers, who had been hell bent on destroying Cena for months. With nowhere to run or hide, the cage would play the role of judge, jury, and executioner. The match was full of near falls, each time bringing the crowd to their feet in an orchestrated frenzy. Yet each time one of the men came close to exiting the structure, or gaining a pinfall, they would fall just short. The finish came after the men had exchanged blows atop the cage repeatedly, and with Barrett on his shoulders, John Cena delivered his signature “Attitude Adjustment” to the canvas. With the count of three, the match and night had come to a conclusion. While the main event could not top last December’s Cena-Chris Jericho “Steel Cage Match” in the Garden as far as match quality, the two men both delivered a slower yet respectable performance. The hero then got on the mic, encouraged everyone to get home safely and avoid eating yellow snow, and petitioned chairman Vince McMahon for another Wrestlemania in the Big Apple. Sign us up now.
World Wrestling Entertainment- Raw World Tour
Live at Madison Square Garden
December 26, 2010
- Zach Ryder won a 12 Man Over the Top Rope Battle Royal
- Tyson Kidd pinned David Hart Smith
- The Bella Twins pinned Melina & Maryse in a Santa’s Helper Match
- Tag Team Champions, Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov pinned Justin Gabriel & Husky Harris
- Piper’s Pit w/ Tito Santana
- WWE World Champion, The Miz pinned Randy Orton
- Randy Orton pinned Alex Riley in a No Holds Barred Match
- United States Champion, Daniel Bryan defeated Zach Ryder by submission
- John Morrison pinned Sheamus in a Street Fight
- John Cena pinned Wade Barrett in a Steel Cage Match
To re-read my last post on the WWE not getting enough respect, click this link: Things We Like That Don’t Get Enough Respect
- Jane Van Arsdale