Traveling Journal: 6/18/19 SDLive
Submitted by LoneLee on 06/22/2019 at 12:53 PM

6/18/19 SDLive came to Ontario, CA, just 30 miles from where I live...yet, it takes me almost an hour due to fear of driving on the freeway. Anywho, this would be only the 3rd live wrestling event I’d ever attended. (Smackdown last year and Summerslam 2010). I mainly wanted to share my experience and how it differs from being there live to watching from the comfort of my couch.

Firstly, I finally decided to buy the somewhat obsolete program for all live events, dated 2018. It makes for a nice collage of pics containing all of the WWE Superstars but features names that have not only moved on from the company, but some those that have joined rival promotions like Dean Ambrose, Hideo Itami,Tye Dillinger, Jim Ross and the out-of-date references to “current GMs” Kurt Angle and Paige. Most notably missing were Ricochet, Lacey Evans, and Aleister Black. Might be time for an update.

Before even entering the arena I made it a point to participate in the show as atried-and-true good little fan by booing the heels, cheering the faces, clappingalong when encouraged, etc. No trying to get myself noticed with clever obnoxiousness or irritating those around me. Since it’s WWE and not ROH I needn’t worry about being escorted backstage and threatened by Becky Lynch if I hurt her hubby Seth Rollins’ feelings. Nonetheless, this was my first time as close I was to the action, sitting 4 rows behind the announcers table. Unfortunately, I did see myself on TV several times. Ugh.

The dark match of Ali vs Buddy Murphy was a hot one. If creative has nothing forthese two, for the life of me I can’t understand why. They are textbook examplesof what a heel and face should aspire to be. Ali is ostentatious but likable, Murphy is smug but snazzy. Both men ooze charisma and gripped the anxious live crowd with their high-octane offense. I hope they can prove to be major players in the years to come.

What followed caught a lot of people off guard - a Carpool Karaoke sing-along with The Miz. If anyone could make it work it was the A-Lister. He snuck his waythrough the crowd and had the people in stitches as he shouted the lyrics of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” directed at Tom Phillips. Hell, I even caught myself playing air guitar during the instrumental.

A looong Wrestlemania recap package aired to kill time until the show began. It was interesting to see throughout the night these kinds of packages would be featured with a still very prominent Sasha Banks. Even caught a glimpse of Dean Ambrose once. At some point during the show a package was shown hyping the XFL which prompted both laughter and a small scattering of boos.I was a little taken aback when Event Staff asked us not to stand during the matches. Is this a normal thing? Even after a high spot, I guess we were standing for too long and the staff member came along to gesture for us to sit back down. If fans look bored on TV then I’m assuming they’re encouraged to contain their excitement.The show kicked off with The New Day, pancakes and all. The fellow next to me and myself nearly fell over each other reaching for an airborne flapjack. I asked him, “What the heck are we doing??” much to his humor. I had the honor of meeting The New Day last week at E3 and let me just say, they are class acts.Genuine, humble, and personable. Creed/Woods is a crazy, boisterous gamer just as he appears in UUDD. He shows much love to anyone wearing a UUDD shirt (which luckily I did that day). Always meet your heroes!

Anyways, back to the show before I start getting emotional again. A man a few seats behind me did NOT LIKE Dolph Ziggler. His heckling managed to get a few laughs from our section but I kept reminding myself not to be this kind of fan. Nor could my voice carry across the room like his had I tried. A few “oohs” fromthe crowd from the gorilla press spot by Xavier Woods. Xavier can be tremendous at playing the underdog wrestler in these situations. Definitely would be interested to see more singles matches out of him and not just as Kofi’s fall guy.

Remember the fellow next to me? He was ECSTATIC to see Alexa Bliss. She has a vast following even though she’s a heel. Thinking if they pulled the trigger on her babyface turn like it seemed to be the direction they were headed, it would’ve been the right time. BUT most of her appeal is in the arrogant Little Miss Bliss character she portrays and I’d hate to see that diminished.

I see the problem with these talk show segments on stage. 4 cameramen were blocking any chance we had to see any of the ladies in real time so we were forced to watch on the big screen. Highly disappointed there were no women's matches on the card, only this and several backstage segments. My mission to seeAsuka perform will have to be fulfilled another day!

The planets tag team champions were next to demand we show some respect. Daniel Bryan stood on the announcers desk and berated our city’s air quality with so much conviction in his face. Corey Graves whispered something in Bryan’s ear before we came back from commercial. I love seeing these little interactions between the talent off camera.

The B-Team gimmick is dead. Completely dead. Hardly any reaction from the crowd and both men deserve better. Heavy Machinery on the other hand are a lot of fun and Otis is a star. TV does not do these men’s sizes justice, they are THICK.

The roof came off when Seth Rollins showed up by way through the fans and clobbered everyone in sight with his latest weapon of choice. He couldn’t help but grin as the crowd chanted “one more time.” Even though I’m not particularly a fan of his I sorta got caught up in the moment and joined in on the fun.

Running through the crowd is a little thing that goes a long way. It makes everyone feel like they’re a part of the action and that much closer, even for asplit-second, to our modern day heroes and villains.
We hung onto every word out of Aleister Black’s mouth. I’m not sure if there were any clues as to his first feud but I’m more than ready for his next chapterto unfold. “Knock” on his door. Braden Walker?

Shane and his new posse made their way down the ring...yay. Will his spat with The Miz ever end? Better yet, will Miz ever have the upper hand? Miz has to be the most resilient babyface ever constantly coming back despite loss after damaging loss. I have absolutely no clue how long R-Truth was under the ring. And I don’t care what anyone says, the 24/7 title is starting to get over. It’ll have some growing pains as expected, but it is solely because of the entertaining Truth asit’s longest running champion. Who would've thought that the 47-year old one-hitwonder would be hearing his loudest “What’s up?” chants at this stage in his career due to his antics?

Ironically, when Smackdown came to Ontario last year we seen the reuniting of Team Hell No. Albeit for one night only, this time we saw the reformation of Awesome Truth. Maybe next year it’ll be 3MB?

That same Dolph anti-fan from earlier shouted “Shane, you’re so much bigger in person!” which incited the best in the world to glance back. Funny.

Being a go-home show for a PPV I expected mostly promos and tag team matches. I wasn’t completely wrong...our random tag match main event was next! Can’t say much here other than Kevin Owens is an easy guy to boo. He seems genuinely disgusted with everyone. Master of his craft. Like almost everyone else, I wish he and Sami had more to do than constantly take the Ls in between feuds for the higher positioned talent. Not everyone can win, I get that, but guys like Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are in spots they could easily fill and outshine.

A few patches of fans left for 205Live and I considered doing the same, since I know very little about the show. Plus my seat was very uncomfortable. No arm room at all. Still weird to me that a show of such little magnitude is placed AFTER the main show. Why wouldn’t anyone leave?I’m glad to see The Bollywood Boys are back to being more than just fall guys for another fall guy. Also confusing to see LHP back to 205 after the sudden injury to Lars. These guys are just floating around which is a shame when you think about how successful luchadors are becoming outside of WWE.

The best part about enhancement matches are that they use local talent to do thejob. Enter CWFH mainstay Ryan Taylor. I was damn proud to hear a small Ryan taylor chant break out in the section behind me. It was at this point I noticed other independent wrestlers in the front row including the former Tough Enough 5contestant Watts. I shamefully had to make my way over to him for a fist bump before I left. Thanks, Big Nasty!

The crowd was completely bored buring the Daivari/Lorcan match. A few of us werelaughing at Lorcan’s overly dramatic selling of his arm.

The dark WWE championship match between Kofi and Dolph capped off the night. There must’ve been an inside joke between Dolph and the referee as Ziggler couldhardly contain his laughter during his entrance. It’s cool to see the performersbe real for a second and just have fun with what they do. It was noticeable several times both guys broke character and traded chit-chat as they did their spots. The usual DQ finish and finishing move on the heel to send the crowd home happy.

I’d say the biggest takeaways were that so many advertised talent were not there. Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Charlotte, Nakamura, Finn Balor, and Andrade. But at least we got Shane and a bunch of Raw guys, right!?....

The funny part is through all the hooting and hollering I left with a hoarse voice, sore legs, and an enjoyable experience. When I got home and watched it back on DVR...the show really wasn’t all that great…It’s funny because when you’re there you see all the little things that make up this weekly TV monster WWE has become over the years. The finely tuned timing cues, camera pan-outs, hard camera set ups. The TV market takes priority over the live market yet as hard as it is to watch on TV, the live adventure proves to be loads more gratifying. Does that make sense? I’ve read for years that the non-televised live events were more exciting than the TV product. It’s one in the same, really. If I’m watching alone at home I can just take for granted each segment at a time and lazily change the channel, fast-forward, or walk away. If I’m amongst my hyper rambunctious wrestling fans we make every moment count.

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