Scrolling Twitter during Raw would create the impression that the show had been booked in a library. With memories of a substantially hot crowd still fresh on the viewer's mind, unreasonable expectations followed.
Unfortunately for them, the endless chanting and carousing that hijacked last week's Raw from New Jersey was nowhere to be found in South Carolina.
The Twitter army quickly pounced:
Last week's New Jersey crowd is rolling in its grave at Greenville's appalling performance. #RAW— Norhane (@NorhaneSamy) April 16, 2013
I miss last week crowd! This week crwod [sic] sucks! #Raw Fan Dan Go!— Zalman Migirov (@ZMigirov) April 16, 2013
The southern region typically delivers strong wrestling crowds, and can be a hotbed for the WWE. It's a territory equipped to rival the increasing mystique of the Izod Center. After all, the Mid-South Colosseum in Memphis was the epicenter of the wrestling world once upon a time.
But South Carolina has always been more of the tamer, Bill Clinton version of the south. If New Jersey were located in the south, it would be more like Larry the Cable Guy.
Accordingly, South Carolina, was nowhere near as hot as New Jersey. But this is an unfair comparison.
In recent years, Raw peaks in crowd participation during the post-WrestleMania episode. Predominantly male WrestleMania transplants from around the world celebrate their last night with the WWE with loud, sometimes drunken, exuberance. The atmosphere created is impossible to replicate.
Monday's Raw featured a back-to-normal audience of families that knew better than to cheer for heels and pop for Dolph Ziggler, who has an easier time selling out internet chat rooms than arenas of casual fans.
After being the star of last week's Raw, Ziggler was booked in the middle of the show against Jack Swagger. The toxic heel vs. heel booking helped accelerate fan apathy.
The apathy did not go unnoticed on Twitter:
Pretty obvious last week was a very special and isolated moment. This crowd tonight and their non-reaction to Ziggler is proving that. #RAW— RockShockWrestleWiz (@DevoJetBoy) April 16, 2013
Crowd not loving Ziggler so much this week. #RAW— Jefferson SteelFlex (@RobHaselrig1992) April 16, 2013
Neither Ziggler nor Swagger can be considered a dynamic or unique character, which did further damage to a doomed match. Dolph Ziggler is a heel who likes to show off (like Shawn Michaels already did more effectively in the 90's) and Jack Swagger is like Kurt Angle's twin brother.
Kurt Angle's Siamese twin brother.
South Carolina may have served as a step down in crowd reaction, but it was a step up in reality.
And while many picky fans were fixated on what was wrong with Monday's venue, South Carolina was exemplary of any group of fans tasked with three hours of unspectacular television.
It was fitting that this episode of Raw was booked south of the Mason-Dixon line. Because as the WWE exited bizarro world, they quickly descended back down to Earth.
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