Welcome to the 3rd part of this TheTopRope special, as one of our podcast hosts James Partridge (aka @GoofyVillain), looks back at his past experiences of going to see wrestling shows live. To read the first two parts, click HERE and HERE.
We go back to 22nd April 2009 for the first show in this post. Once again it’s back to the NEC Arena in Birmingham, as the WWE Wrestlemania Revenge Tour rolled by. I was buzzing for this show, due to knowing I’d be seeing some talented new stars that I enjoyed watching on TV, like Tyson Kidd, Natalya, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger and Katie Lea. I was also interested by the main event advertised: 3 vs 2 match as Legacy face Triple H and the Undertaker.
That night’s results were: Evan Bourne beat Tyson Kidd, The Bella Twins ans Gail Kim defeated Natalya, Katie Lea and Maryse, MVP retained his US Title beating Shelton Benjamin and R-Truth, Finlay pinned Mark Henry in a Belfast Brawl, Jack Swagger retained the ECW Title against Christian, Jeff Hardy beat Matt Hardy, Triple H and Undertaker defeated Legacy.
From looking at the results, it doesn’t seem like it was an interesting or good show. I’d rank it as one of my favourite shows I’ve been to though. Bourne and Kidd put on a class opening match, and seeing the Shooting Star Press live was amazing. The US Title 3 way and the ECW Title matches were just brilliant. Jeff Hardy was over huge, took him a while to get to the ring tapping hands with the fans. Also amused me how the guy to my left was trying to record themes on his phone….no doubt he has my big gob yelling on there too! The main event was a bit strange though. Randy Orton came out with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, got chased away, returned halfway through the match and then got chased off once more. Not sure why he never got involved. Was cool to see Taker and Triple H hit their finishers at the same time to DiBiase and Rhodes respectively.
For the first time, me and my Dad got out of our “comfort zone” of just going to shows in or around Birmingham. We heard the Rest in Peace Tour may be the Undertaker’s last UK Tour, and considering he’s my old man’s favourite, we decided to go to one of the shows on that tour. So, on November 9th 2009, we went to Cardiff, Wales for the Rest in Peace Tour.
Results were: Undertaker beat CM Punk in a Casket match to retain the World Heavyweight Title, Mickie James won a Divas Battle Royal to face the Women’s Champ later on (match also featured: Beth Phoenix, Katie Lea, Layla, Natalya and Rosa Mendes), Finlay and Yoshi Tatsu defeated Ezekiel Jackson and Zack Ryder, Drew McIntyre pinned Matt Hardy, Cryme Tyme beat Hart Dynasty, John Morrison retained the Intercontinental Title against Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool retained the Women’s Title against Mickie James, Christian beat Goldust to retain the ECW Title, Rey Mysterio beat Batista by DQ.
It was strange to see the Undertaker and CM Punk open the show. Especially in a Title match AND Casket match. I didn’t understand why…turns out the reason was Undertaker was also due at the Raw TV Tapings that same night, so he started the show in Cardiff, then travelled to end the show in Sheffield, England. The match was pretty good, and I never thought I’d see a Casket match live. Coincidentally, this did turn out to be the Phenom’s last UK Tour. All the Divas came down together for the Battle Royal, and Layla accidentally kicked Mickie James’s hat into the crowd which was funny. Speaking of funny, Dolph Ziggler cut a promo before his match. He was on the turnbuckle in front of us, and said “my name is….”….my Dad yelled “MIIIIIISTER KENNNNNNNEDY!!”. Ziggler gave us a funny look! Sorry Dolph, wasn’t my fault!! Also a fan yelled “I love you Goldust” during the ECW Title match…and Goldie clearly responded with “Love you too man”. I was gutted though, as William Regal was on tour with Smackdown, but for some reason didn’t appear on this show. I was interested to see how the Welsh would react to Regal but sadly didn’t get to find out.
3 days later on the 12th November 2009, I was back at another WWE show, this time it was the DX Invasion Tour. Once again it was in Birmingham, at the LG Arena (formerly the NEC Arena). These tickets were already booked before the Cardiff ones, and considering this was for Raw superstars, I wasn’t going to sell the tickets. Especially considering the show would feature DX, John Cena (who I had never seen at this point, and wanted to), and once more, I’d be seeing Chris Jericho.
So these results were: Big Show wins a battle royal to face the WWE Champ later (match also featured: Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Chris Masters, The Miz, MVP, Chavo Guerrero, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, Mark Henry, Chris Jericho and Santino Marella), Hurricane beat Paul Burchill, The Miz retained his US Title against MVP, Melina and Gail Kim beat Jillian Hall and Alicia Fox, Chris Jericho made Evan Bourne submit, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Kofi Kingston defeated Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes, John Cena retained the WWE title against Big Show.
First off, thanks to a knobhead taxi driver, and a busy city centre (due to Beyonce also performing in Birmingham that night), a 25 minute journey took 2 hours, and we missed the first match. I was gutted, as I’d missed Jericho…thankfully he appeared later on to face Evan Bourne. Jericho put on a funny promo, and then a good match with Bourne. I may or may not have marked out when Bourne tapped to the Walls of Jericho. We also had a Miz-fit sat next to my Dad who screeched non-stop during his match with MVP…..I so wish he’d have lost just to shut her up! Randy Orton also actually wrestled this time round, plus due to the usual DX antics, we saw his, Cody’s and Ted’s butts (which got me in trouble with my own mother who wasn’t happy that I didn’t get picture proof of this!). As for the main event, it didn’t really last long, barely went past 10 minutes. Standard Big Show/Cena match, but I found it quite weird seeing Cena barely interact with the fans as he left, just chucked his wristbands in the crowd, walked off up the ramp and raised his title.
2010 saw me take in 4 shows overall, and the first one was another TNA Maximum Impact Tour show on the 28th January. This time I went to the Coventry SkyDome, which is mainly the home of the English Ice Hockey team, Coventry Blaze. I’d been told TNA were doing “small arenas” for this tour, well this must have been the smallest one on the tour. Again I had fan interaction tickets, but this time I also had a good friend going with me and my Dad.
Fan Interaction this time only had 9 stars on it. It was set up pretty bad though. The stars were sat in a bar, behind tables lined up together. They opened up for this nearly an hour later than it said on the ticket, but this could have been due to the coach turning up with TNA only 5 minutes before it started. They had Taylor Wilde, Sarita, Earl Hebner, Amazing Red, Chris Sabin, The Pope, Doug Williams, Magnus and Kurt Angle. All of them were nice, apart from Hebner and the British Invasion who couldn’t be bothered to talk.
As for the show: Suicide beat Chris Sabin, Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne defeated Taylor Wilde and Sarita, The Pope pinned Desmond Wolfe, Team 3D and Beer Money beat British Invasion and Eric Young in an 8 man gauntlet, Amazing Red defeated Ayako Hamada, Kurt Angle and Hernandez got the better of Daniels and Rhino, AJ Styles retained the TNA World Title over Samoa Joe.
This was the first time I ever got to be front row, and it was great. Especially considering we were sat the side where Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne got into the ring. ;P Sabin and Suicide put on a good opening match….didn’t stop my mate loudly asking “do you think it’s Kaz?!”. The 8 man tag was enjoyable, despite at times you couldn’t keep an eye on all the action. Red v Hamada seemed a strange addition, but this was due to Awesome Kong’s removal from the tour (due to the Blubber the Sponge incident). Red refused at times to hit her, when he finally did, the crowd chanted “Woman beater!”. Kurt Angle got a hell of a loud reaction, he couldn’t believe it and stood on the apron at times with his head down, smirking wide at how much the fans loved him…it was great to see that! AJ Styles and Samoa Joe was the best part of the night, and they put on an entertaining main event which split the crowd. Styles took the cowards way though.
So the last show in this article is from the Nottingham TrentFM Arena, on April 12th 2010 and is another Wrestlemania Revenge Tour. This time round, it was the Smackdown brand. Just a few weeks beforehand, Chris Jericho retained the World Heavyweight Title against Edge….and I was excited to think “I’ll finally see Jericho here as World Champ!!!”…only for him to lose the title on Smackdown to Jack Swagger! Damn you Swagger.
The results from this show were: Jack Swagger beat Kane to retain the World Heavyweight Title, R-Truth pinned Shad Gaspard, Beth Phoenix defeated Layla, Finlay pinned Dolph Ziggler, John Morrison defeated Luke Gallows, Drew McIntyre retained the Intercontinental Title over Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk, Edge beat Chris Jericho in a Street Fight.
Swagger came out at the start to send out an open challenge, which Edge answered, only for Jericho to attack him. So Kane then replaced him. Layla played a comedy role in her match, acting afraid of Beth, hiding behind the ref and security, and even farting (it was a loud fart played over the tannoy system…unless she can really fart THAT loud!). Oh, also Finlay refused to start the match until he’d cleared the ring of a spider….I kid you not! Drew McIntyre almost got into a fight with a fan, while CM Punk upset a few Rey Mysterio fans on his way to the ring (and I kinda laughed). Punk also ripped off Rey’s mask and wore it, which amused me as it looked strange on his head. Not as good as his S.E.S look. As for the main event, Jericho and Edge did a great job with the Street Fight, entertained the crowd before during and after. Edge taunted Jericho at one point, telling him to get in and fight, and the crowd were calling him a “bloody wanker”….cue 2 8 year old kids yelling that.
Oh, and last week’s article, I mentioned an embarrassing moment for me on WWE.com…..my seat was near the ramp. During the event, I’d make my way to the barrier as wrestlers entered and left. Well, John Morrison had his match with Luke Gallows, and as he was leaving, he stopped near where I was, to pose for a photo with fans, including someone holding a sign for him. I could tell it was the official WWE photographer, so decided to jump about trying to get into the shot…only for this photo to appear on WWE.com 2 days later….
…not only that, it was also on the homepage too!
For those who don’t know what I look like, I’m the guy who’s face is to the left of the sign. As my co-host Lee can confirm, I got some stick by people thinking that’s my sign, and that I love John Morrison. I like him, but not in THAT way!!!
As usual, here’s a few photos from the shows.
Photos include: April 2009: Mark Henry, Christian, Matt Hardy, Undertaker going old school. November 2009 SD Show: Natalya, Matt Hardy, Batista vs Rey Mysterio. November 2009 Raw show: Paul Burchill, Chris Jericho vs Evan Bourne, Legacy vs DX and Kofi Kingston, Big Show vs John Cena. TNA 2010: Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky, Beer Money, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles. SD 2010: Beth Phoenix vs Layla, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Edge.
Next week sees the last installment of this mini-series (for now), and includes which 3 stars decided to sing Spice Girls in the ring, a strange sense of deja-vu on more than one occasion, and not one, but two fantastic matches from Daniel Bryan.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and look forward to any discussions to do with this.
@GoofyVillain of @TheTopRope