Last week's Raw was the second night in a row where the silence of the fans in attendance was taking me out of the show. This was also obvious two weeks ago at the Izod Center in New Jersey, minutes away from New York City and what I have come to know as one of the most raucous wrestling cities in the country along with Chicago and Philadelphia. Instead of the riotous and crazy fans I have come to know as people from "my area," they carried the fever pitch of people in the waiting room of a methadone clinic.
After last night, I am convinced that we really are a silly spoiled lot here in America.
Here's the deal: there was not a whole lot different about last night's show than the week before. The AJ Lee/John Cena story began, Brad Maddox was in hiding and Survivor Series was being hastily planned. In other words, nothing new and incredible happened on Raw (short of a change in the Survivor Series main event) to warrant such a dramatic shift in tone and enthusiasm from the crowds in East Rutherford and Atlanta, where I very clearly heard a fan sarcastically yell "Wrestling!" during the match between Justin Gabriel and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro.
Let's face it, America. England kicked our ass in terms of showing support and appreciation to what WWE has to offer last night, and they will likely do it again tonight on the special "live" episode of SmackDown.
Everything that we have chosen to ignore over the past few weeks was eaten up and loved by the people in Birmingham. Daniel Bryan was not just "Yessed" for fun, it was a virulent wave of support with every kick and strike he threw at Cody Rhodes. Vickie Guerrero was nearly booed out of the building before she even made it to the ring. And the guy in the picture at the top of this article? My God, Wade Barrett may as well have been James Bond himself. The only hero's welcome home I can compare that to is when CM Punk is in Chicago.
Why are we behaving like this? It's not as if England and the rest of Europe are starved for WWE events; this is the second time this year Raw and SmackDown have gone across the Atlantic. That said, what is our excuse in the states? Both WWE tours pass through each time zone on a regular basis throughout the year. While the quality of the show is subjective, having paid for a ticket to be there, shouldn't you be the least bit responsive to what you see in front of you? I'm not expecting a chant to break out in every single match, but some basic cheering and booing would be nice.
Last week, I published a list of things to do if you plan on coming to WrestleMania 29 and have never been to a stadium show before. In the comments section, several B/R readers from outside the United States lamented how they have never been able to see one show live, never mind a WrestleMania. One member went so far as to say he would be happy to see Hornswoggle vs. Brodus Clay. Again, this begs the question: If England is not in such a desperate situation when it comes to witnessing live wrestling, why are they obviously so much more into it than the people of the United States, where the WWE was conceived?
Is it a national thing? I am already well aware that English and, for that matter, the rest of the world's football crowds are more likely to break noise records than any sport the U.S. has to offer. I realize all wrestling crowds can be fundamentally different, and silence in a Japanese audience is a sign of respect as opposed to silence in an American crowd. That being said, I would love for WWE to be able to take Raw to other parts of the world where it is financially feasible. We finally got an episode in Mexico City last year, and if I am not mistaken, the last time WWE did Raw from Japan was in 2005. Why not somewhere in South America or another part of Europe?
It is a known fact that a crowd can make or break a show. While not everyone in the United States is as knowledgeable of WWE's product in and out as we on the Internet are, the same can be said about a lot of other fans around the world who watch at various hours of morning, afternoon and night. Those are the ones who seem to be the most appreciative at live events, and it is becoming clear that we in the United States are taking some of these shows for granted. It would be nice to see people stop picking apart every facet of a three-hour television program and simply start enjoying it again, just like we all did when we first discovered wrestling.