The Professor has been asking me for weeks how far Bangor is from where I live, and if I was going to go to the RAW house show. I told him that we would not be going as Maine Legislature is in session and Stacy never knows when he'll have to work because of that (he's a computer geek in the State House). Well, this weekend rolled around and Stacy and I discussed possibly going up (less than two hours) to see the show. I felt decent when I got up this morning and felt up to going, and we had a baby sitter, so we were off.
We flew by the seats of our pants and ended up in one of the biggest messes I've ever seen at an event. The Bangor Auditorium had less than no parking and were sending people in the wrong direction. It was 5PM when I got in line to see if I could get decent tickets, there was still over a hundred people trying to get inside to see the event. I will be complaining to anyone and everyone who will listen about how badly the event was handled by the local staff (except those who were in the ticket boots), the WWE event staff was fabby. I was lucky enough to get row 5 seats on the floor. It was either that or the nose bleed seats. The lovely young couple in front of me in line got the pair of seats next to us. I will be starting my RAW Is Blogged with a short interview with the young woman as it was her first event and she had a view of the show – fresh and unencumbered by our smarky years of knowing way too much.
Brodus Clay defeats ?
Brodus was dancing his way to the back as I made my way to my seat. I'm sorry, I don't know who he defeated, but he was over with the fans and selling his character for all it was worth. He was also sweating so badly that I hope he went and drank a gallon of water when he got backstage.
Eve & Kelly defeat Bellas > D+
Eve came out and talked about what she did was wrong, how horrible she had been and wanted her partner to forgive her. She called Kelly to come out, and she did. I have to say Kelly looks a lot less scrawny, a lot healthier up close and in person. I hadn't felt that way when I saw her from afar at shows in Boston. The Bellas came out and Kelly started. Kelly fought hard, but the twins were too much for her. Kelly finally made it to her corner for the tag, but Eve dropped off the apron and headed backstage. Kelly managed to fight back and get the win on her own. Honestly, I wish they had put the Divas up first as I think I would have enjoyed Brodus more.
Xavier Woods defeats Curt Hawkins > B-
I have to say I really like Woods. He's still listed on the FCW roster, but I could see him coming up to the 'big leagues'. His ring work was solid, though he did seem to have stars in his eyes. He was showing off the vest he wore to the ring and made a big deal about making it himself. Being who I am, I was impressed with that because it was nice work. I hope he doesn't get lost in the shuffle because he was really fun to watch in the ring and seemed really excited to be there, that's saying something if you've ever been to Maine in the winter and you're not a skier.
US Title Match – Jack Swagger defeats Mason Ryan > B
Swagger looked even taller and imposing in person, and he seems to be growing his hair out, going for the parted on the side too-good-for-you look. It was actually Ryan who left my jaw gaping. He's thinner and trimmer looking through the waist and legs than he looks on TV. He is quite built, but I thought he looked good for it. More than that, Ryan seemed to handle himself well in the ring. His skills have improved in a huge way. The only move that didn't look absolutely perfect was a drop kick from Swagger, but that could have been anything that made him land it just a tiny bit off.
Jericho defeats Kofi > A
Jericho came out wearing his blinky jacket and got on the mic, talking smack about Punk, then Kofi, then Bangor. The last time I saw Jericho live was about ten years at a house show in Portland, Maine. He was working the ring with Scotty Steiner. I think he was tagging with Steiner, but I might be wrong on that. Jericho very obviously did not want to be in Maine that night and showed us by not showing us his skills. At one point Steiner even pulled his arm and asked him what was going on. That one night spoiled me on Jericho for years. Only his work on TV has brought me back to where I was before this house show.
I have to say Jericho really changed my mind tonight. He was on mic and really sold everything he said. When Kofi came to the ring Jericho made this big deal of fixing his boots, stretching and just being annoying before the match actually started. Jericho played up every little thing before it started, Kofi laughed at him the whole time. Jericho and Kofi worked like a well oiled machine. They left it all out there about 5,000 fans. We were packed in there like sardines, but it's still not the 19,100 that Boston will be holding for RAW this week, and that's being led by Tedd Long!
Sorry, I went there. No matter how you cut it, Jericho and Kofi about brought the house down. Kofi hit a couple arm drags that were inspired! Later when Jericho had thrown Kofi from the ring and was waiting for him to be counted out, he lounged across the ropes in a corner, ala Eddie, and blew kisses at the fans. I almost fell over I was laughing so hard, but he sure got the heat he was after! They went back and forth after this. Jericho went up top and tried to hi Punk's Savage elbow, but Kofi moved. Kofi managed to get out of the walls. Trouble in paradise and Jericho ended up hugging the ref around his knees. Kofi came at him and Jericho used this chance to poke Kofi in the eye. Code breaker and it was all over. I did notice as Jericho left that he has a tattoo on his left hand I hadn't noticed in the past. I guess he's had it for almost a year. It's an 'F' and looks pretty cool for what it is and the location.
Tag Team Title Match – Colons (C) vs R-Truth & Santino > B+
I have commented before on how physically unattractive R-Truth is in person. I'm not saying I'm anything thrilling to look at, so don't give me any guff for my comment. What I will say about R-Truth is that he had the fans in the palm of his hand. He wasn't playing up his own version of insanity, but he came out with his 'WHAT'S UP?' and all he had to do was look at the fans and they were wild. As beloved as Santino is, R-Truth stole this part of the show. Also showed his arm when throwing his shirt into the stands. He really sent it flying and it went much further than Cena's did later in the show.
The Colons worked wonderfully with R-Truth and Santino, they played the butt of their jokes, but showed off their ring skills in a huge way. Watching the way Primo and Epico worked of the comedy of Santino and R-Truth was interesting. It was much more intricate and fascinating to watch in person and in a small setting. Rosa looked to be thinner than Kelly, but she is strikingly beautiful in person. I had never seen anything in her, but in person I was blown away by her beauty. While Rosa really impressed me, the Tag Title belts looked horrible in person. I know they are the traveling belts, not the HD belts, but they looked tarnished and the Trojans on them looked a little too Trojan, if you catch my drift!
But the ring work, in this match of silliness, showed through. Primo shook Santino's hand, legitimately, even though they were well over as heels. Primo hit head scissors on Santino, then Santino did the same back on Primo – both hitting the move beautifully. I accidentally called Primo by his brother's name, Carlito, on my digital recorder. I guess old habits die hard. Santino dove for a tag, but fell quite a bit short of R-Truth, both played it off terrifically! Then both in with solid double hip tosses on the cousins, but then a back stabber on Santino from Epico to retain the straps.
Last Man Standing Match – Cena defeated Kane > A
I was enthralled with how over Cena was. The past couple events we went to were in Boston and the local boy was having trouble getting the love, but not in semi-northern Maine. It was really fun to watch the fans love Cena so much and how well he worked in that environment. I left my recorder on during certain bits because the sound of the fans was so crazy. Of course he staggered between not selling and overselling, but that's Cena for you. Being that up close to Kane I could see the back of his hair where it's grown in on the nape of his neck. He's dying it to match the hair bits attached to his mask, but the difference was obvious from that close. Even so, Kane looked great!
There was no way this was going to be a REAL LMS Match, but they both handled it well. Cena used the stairs on Kane, then Kane used the ring bell to Cena's head – typical stuff. Then Kane grabs the mic (corded, none of that new-fangled cordless stuff for us up here), makes sure it's on and thumps Cena in the head with it. I felt that thud through my entire body. The bass had already been running too hard through the speakers, and we were sitting really close, but that thump was sick! Kane talked smack on the mic, but then Cena got the mic and thumped Kane in the head with it, but it had been shut off during the scuffle, so no noise at all. It was such a glaring epic fail, and I was not the only one who laughed at Cena for that one. So then chairs, then a table in the corner and Cena went through it. They both seemed to spend way too much time hunting under the ring than they should have. Another table in and it looked like we'd get a chokeslam through it, but Cena reversed it and hit an AA on Kane, through the table and ended it. The fans ate it up, but many of us wanted to see Kane win. Honestly, it was odd to watch these two fight as they were both over as faces, just Cena more so than Kane. I have never seen Kane get any real heat in Maine, no matter his character on TV. Anyone notice that happening at house shows elsewhere? Oh, one last thing that hit us as incredibly funny during this match. After one of the chairs was used, Cena tossed it from the ring. It hit the floor outside so perfectly that it somehow set itself up and was left there on all fours. There's no way you could get that happen if you tried!
WWE Championship Match – CM Punk (C) defeats Dolph Ziggler w/ Special Guest Outside Ref – Jericho > A+
Justin announced that he received a text from Mr. John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim RAW General Manager. He said there would be a Special Guest Outside Ref for this match. Jericho's music hit and he came out with a ref's shirt on, the front tucked into his trunks to show of his name in sparkles. The ref had been in the ring sweeping up the dust from the broken tables, but Jericho took the broom from him and finished up the job. He then took the mic and told Jerry (Justin) to text Laurinaitis back saying, "Dear Mr Laurinaitis. You're looking very handsome today, might I add, and I just want to say thank you for giving me the chance to be the actual outside official. I promise to do the best job that I can. I promise to be the best referee and the best role model for all of these marks here tonight. Thank you." Then he went back to sweeping.
As loud as the fans were for Cena, that was nothing compared to the pop for Punk. I was in awe. Even better was how well Dolph worked off Punk and his histrionics. The fans were so wild that Punk was just hanging out in a corner and taunting Dolph. At one point Punk kicked a leg high in the air, the fans went wild. Punk kicked again, same reaction. Punk to the other side of the ring, kicks his leg in the air, the fans on that side went wild. He did this back and forth from side to side kicking in the air and the fans loved it. Punk had the giggles from this all and Dolph threatened to leave. Well, Punk grabbed the mic and started everyone singing, "Na na na na, na na na na..." and Dolph was leaving, only his hand could be seen as he was going backstage, until he was almost counted out, then he ran down, slid in, then back out the other side. More silliness and chasing. Through all this Jericho decided that his way of being the outside ref was to get in Dolph's face and throw all sorts of odd hand signals. He looked like a coach, catcher, and third base coach all rolled into one. He was actually quite silly about it.
Dolph and Punk go back and forth. Dolph claimed Punk pulled his tights. Punk grabbed the ref, brought him to one side of the ring and asked the fans if he pulled Dolph's tights. The fans yelled no. The Punk brought the ref to the other side and did the same. The fans yelled no. The ref believed the fans. At one point Dolph pulled Punk's hair. Even Jericho admonished Dolph for this. Punk took his turn at hair pulling. He pulled until the ref was about to hit five, then let go to stop the count. Then Punk was right back pulling Dolph's hair.
Of course there was a ref bump, then a zig/zag and Jericho counted, but Punk kicked out. Punk locked on the anaconda and Dolph tapped, but Jericho refused to call for the bell, just leaned back in a corner and shrugged. Code breaker on Punk and Jericho pulled Dolph onto Punk and started counting, but Punk kicked out. Punk fought back and hit GTS and the regular ref returned at the right moment to count.
While parts of this match were sillier than when Santino was in the ring, it was so well executed between solid wrestling that the entire match was extraordinary and wonderful entertainment!
Punk came around and slapped everyone's hand, even back around in the area to the sides of the stage. I will admit I marked out in a huge way. The young woman next to me who I interviewed about her first show, Brittney Markowski, tripped in trying to reach her hand out. Punk was all worried about her. He asked if she was okay, but she didn't hear him. He reached out and put his hand on her head, then took her hand and helped her to her foot. He again asked if she was okay, then flashed his boyish smile at her. Punk stole my heart tonight. If I hadn't been a fan before, I would be now. Since I was prior, Punk has climbed up to join Foley at the top of my Eternal Good Guy list.