Note: There are a couple of MINOR SPOILERS here, so don't read further if you want to be kept in the dark with what happens on Smackdown Friday.
It's been a while since I've gotten a front-row seat to a live wrestling event. It was probably the '96 episode of Nitro where Mean Gene named the three-man team that would face what would ultimately become the NWO.
The past few times I've been, I've gotten second-row seats, but after the Smackdown/NXT tapings, I'm going to try my best to get front row from now on. The differences are good enough for the few extra bucks you have to pay. I actually had leg room.
This piece isn't about my seats, but it is about what you see during a TV taping that isn't aired. For the many that have been, you know what I'm talking about. I encourage you to keep reading anyway, because there were a couple of things that happened in the Richmond Coliseum Tuesday night that you might not see all the time.
For those fans that haven't been to a live show or TV taping, I highly recommend it. I'm not sure how much you'll see on TV or WWE.com, but I'm mostly going to go over some brief things that happened when I know the cameras weren't rolling.
Like everyone else who goes to an event, you usually have a couple of annoying people around you. It was no different last night. I had two 15-year-old redneck girls screaming at the top of their lungs for Matt Striker. Even he got annoyed by them.
I had a drunk guy spilling beer everywhere, thankfully not on me. Then we have the "know-it-alls." I had an idiot on one side of me who thought Evan Bourne and Zack Ryder were in the Spirit Squad. On the other side of me was a guy who was convinced that Dusty and Cody Rhodes weren't related. I'll get back to that guy later.
There was a whole section of the arena filled with Marines in full uniform, which was cool to see. One of them had a sign that said "Marry Me Cody." That was awesome and dashing at the same time.
And if you think Ric Flair hasn't made an impact on this business, I dare you to tell me there was a time when there weren't random WOOOO chants from people before the show starts.
A lot of the Coliseum was blocked off with black tarp or something similar. I guess it's to make the arena look more full on TV. There were certainly more people and more available seats for the Draft episode of Raw earlier this year and for the Carrie Underwood concert that came the night after. I guess Raw will always be the more popular show.
Anyway, on to the tapings.
There was a match to start the night off with Luke Gallows vs. one of the Dudebusters (I think it was Croft). There were no commentators out for the match, so I assume it was just a dark match. The Dudebuster actually won. Are they faces now? Who knew?
Next was a match taped for Superstars, which featured JTG vs. Chavo. Only Matt Striker and Todd Grisham came out for commentary. Michael Cole does commentary for everything it seems, so I was surprised to not see him out there. Chavo wins with the frog splash, but there wasn't much reaction out of the crowd for this one.
Watching them change the ring between matches is more interesting than it might sound at first. Referees are out there changing the ropes and adding the banner that hangs around the ring. It's obvious that Mike Chioda has been doing it for years, because he was flying when it came to tightening those ring ropes.
Nothing spectacular happened in between breaks for NXT, except I get the impression that there may be something going on with Matt Striker and Kaitlyn. They seemed to be making faces at each other and doing a little bit of playful banter.
Since Striker didn't do that with anybody else, it got my suspicions going, but hopefully it's nothing. I like Matt Striker, so I'd hate to have to kill him for taking my future wife from me. ;) It's also worth noting that Naomi is a lot prettier in person. Maybe it was the stupid colored bangs she had before.
Once NXT was over, the three girls that were still around literally ran to the back so they could get the ring ready again for another Superstars match. This time, the other Dudebuster beat Curt Hawkins. Again, the redneck girls were screaming.
Michael Cole came out a second time, this time he came out to the Raw theme. During NXT you don't get to see everything Cole was doing with his signs, but it was hilarious. He also gets up and starts talking to the people behind him.
I want to make a quick observation as well. I know it may be hard to believe, but even the TV doesn't do Kelly Kelly enough justice. Wow.
Also during the night, Natalya winked at the idiot beside me who didn't know who was in the Spirit Squad. His girlfriend got a bigger kick out of it than he did. Now that I'm thinking about it, Kaitlyn went over and hugged some fat dudes on the other end of the ring. All I get are high-fives from Matt Striker and Josh Matthews. How is that fair?
Anyway, SPOILER ALERT, The Big Show squashed Tyler Reks. I guess there's no push for him. The strange thing was that once the match was over they had to reset some of the ring again. I didn't pay attention before the match, but they may have taken the banner off for the Big Show's benefit. I'll have to take a look once it airs.
The funniest part of the night took place halfway through Smackdown when one of the TV producers started a (Tony) Chimel sucks chant. Cole was leading in the chant with him while Striker was cracking up. There were a couple of instances where it looked like Chimel and Cole were getting into it, but I think it was all in good fun.
SPOILER ALERT: I'm not sure if this only happens in the Richmond Coliseum, but it's hard to hear any of the backstage segments that Edge and Paul Bearer were having. For the most part, I couldn't hear what the people in the arena were saying either. The only time I could understand someone was Kaval when he challenged Dolph Ziggler for the IC title. For some reason it got really quiet when he decided to talk.
On a side note, unless they're wearing something that covers their bodies, like MVP was when I smacked him in the back, try limiting yourself to just high-fiving the wrestlers. I hit Kaval's arm and shoulder after his match and I was wiping sweat off my hands for the next five minutes.
Once the show was over there was a dark match main event where Big Show beat Kane by DQ in about two minutes after Kane decided to hit Show with the belt. The local commercials kept telling me it was going to be a six-man tag with Show, Edge and Mysterio against Kane, Swagger and Del Rio, but that never happened.
In fact, Edge never came down to the ring at all. That kind of sucked, but overall the experience was great, and I'll do my best to sit in the front row from now on, albeit closer to the aisle. I got a lot of TV time, but I want a hug from Kaitlyn next time.
I saved the most interesting piece of information for last. After the first match had completed on Smackdown, one of the ring crew came over to the guy that didn't think Dusty and Cody were related. He proceeds to tell him that this is a PG show and his shirt is unacceptable, so he needs to wear a "Stand Up for WWE" shirt over it. I looked at his shirt and all it said on it was BADASS.
Really? It's ok for Mae Young to call LayCool sluts and bitches without any kind of seven-second delay, but this shirt is offensive? Anybody that thought the PG era was going away now that Linda McMahon's senate bid is over may be mistaken, at least for now.
Again, this was for those who haven't been able to go to a live or taped TV show. For those who have, I hope you kept reading anyway.
Everyone be sure to be on the lookout for the shirt change (probably during the first or second commercial break). Also look for me. I'm easy to spot. I'm wearing a long-sleeve maroon shirt with a DX Army hat. I'm basically smack dab in the middle of the front row. The guy with the shirt change is two people to my left, so it'll be two to my right on the TV screen. Thanks for reading.
Be sure to check out my weekly column on www.ring-rap.com
Follow me on Twitter @hbkedge3
Be on the lookout for my youtube show early next year (ok, enough self-promotion)