Full HouseBy Jamie Kennedy · · 4 Comments
Rather ironically, when I was approached about penning a column on wrestling house shows – I picked up the latest copy of the UK-based grap magazine “Fighting Spirit Magazine”, only to find that they themselves had written an article dedicated to the art and history of the non-televised event. This has happened to me quite a few times in the past when writing for various websites and it’s always freaked me out. I start thinking about an idea for an article, randomly flick through some old or current wrestling mag/book and see what I thought was my idea spread out across the page! This particular instance was no different to all the other ones and actually made me laugh a little bit, kinda like Michael Cole does when John Cena acts all immature. Thankfully, the piece was an awesome read and really helped get my creative juices flowing for putting together my own diatribe.
Still I find myself lacking the means to really write as many columns as I would like. We don’t have internet in our new flat yet and therefore I’m only managing to write this due to being home for the weekend to visit my family and spend some time chilling out. Quite honestly, I can think of no better ways to relax than watching, thinking and talking about professional wrestling. With that said, let’s take a look at the wonderful world of ‘wrestling on tour’..
Earlier this month, my good friend Richard Flynn (who is responsible for this weeks WWE Smackdown report – check it out!) and I attended a WWE live event featuring the superstars of the Friday Night Smackdown brand in action. This is a pretty regular occurrence nowadays; for us to attend these shows. On a few occasions in the past, other friends have joined us for a night of live and in colour wrasslin’ entertainment but most of the time it’s simply Flynn and myself geeking it up. To say I love spending time with the guy and watching wrestling with him would be an understatement. The amount of hours we’ve let go past by watching WWE and TNA shows is probably mind-boggling. Not to mention the oodles of time we’ve dedicated to chatting about the aforementioned companies and also our favourite moments from the past. Seriously, we have spent a lot of time thinking about wrestling together. We seem to feed off one another’s passion and it has made for some very cool and very pleasurable afternoons and evenings, to say the least.
Our continued excitement at attending these WWE and TNA shows is equal to that of pretty much any kid you know who likes wrestling. I’m glad I can say with all seriousness that I am just as thrilled by the thought of seeing this brand of entertainment live today as I would have been had I been fortunate enough to grab tickets for a show when I was 10 years old. Rather unfortunately, whenever the then WWF and then WWE visited these shores back then, I always found myself facing a ticket hotline with no more remaining tickets. As much as my parents tried (my mum phoned as early as she could every time and my dad even drove the 150 miles from our home in Campbeltown to Glasgow on the off chance the venue would still have some seats left), it just never seemed to happen. This is probably just aswell – 10 year old me would likely have passed out with excitement had he been privy to The Rock or Triple H up close!
As it pertains to the day-to-day running of any wrestling organisation, there can be no arguments that non-televised or “house” show events are the least important they have been for quite some time, maybe even in the entire history of the industry. There is far more stress placed on the signification of a Pay-Per-View event or the rating for an episode of Monday Night RAW than there is for how many fans are drawn to arenas for the next WWE nationwide tour. House shows used to be the place to see your chosen wrestling promotion but has in more recent times been usurped by TV tapings and major shows such as “Wrestlemania”. This shouldn’t take away from the overall necessity of a company touring the country or indeed the world however, far from it. The revenue boosts WWE alone will feel from visiting the UK must be worth the trip. In between ticket sales (and the fact these tickets are snapped up readily due to the scant nature of shows in any given town each year), merchandise and crossover TV appearances, it’s clearly worth the promotions while to head on over the Atlantic frequently. It’s also a valuable tool for TNA, who have played before their biggest crowds when not in the United States. Big, American pro wrestling companies are simply devoured quickly in foreign markets, such is the fascination with only having one or two chances per annum to see them.
Due to this shift in how a wrestling company, specifically WWE, views its un-televised product, it’s far more of a mixed bag when you attend one these shows. What I’m getting at here is that it’s a clear learning ground for younger members of the roster and a chance for established superstars to try out new things and further develop their characters, far away from the scathing perfection of television. It has been really rather interesting to view things at the handful of house shows Richard and I have bought tickets to which would NEVER feature on WWE TV or PPV. As mentioned before, this can bring both positives and negatives along with it. It’s engrossing to view someone such as Chavo Guerrero, a man scarcely used on the air, be allowed to partake in a 12-minute long match and fully show off his skills to the audience. On the other side of the coin, it can be disheartening to know that nothing of any great significance is likely to happen on the show in your town.
This leads me rather nicely onto an argument which has been permeating wrestling writers and fans over and across the world; have WWE officials decreed that their wrestlers shouldn’t work quite so hard and take so many chances at a non-televised show as they would when the cameras are rolling, thus reducing the risk of injuring themselves or a peer?
If this is the case then it could be argued as short-changing the loyal fan who is excited to see the company and expects to see something pretty close to what he sees on TV each and every week. Surely, with the prices as they are for admission to the typical WWE or TNA house show (I.e not very cheap!), it’s not being cheeky to expect a level of performance matching that of what you are used to. To be completely fair to TNA, they encourage their performers to give their all, regardless of the platform or if the event is being filmed. Having witnessed this with my own 2 eyes, it does make for a thrilling spectacle.
Again, using the proverbial “other side”, I really don’t think the overall feel of the shows have suffered that much. Having been in attendance for a couple of RAW-brand house shows and a few Smackdown-brand ones, the match-quality has been pretty darn good. Sure, there are restholds and not nearly as many high-flying antics as we would see on TV but it’s not exactly a million miles away from your typical match on Monday Night RAW. Infact, I’d go as far to say that the promotion makes up for this with some well-placed and excellently executed (oh boy..) storyline goodness. This writer can recall just earlier this month some TV-inspired goings on with the “Nexus” stable and also some in-ring promo’s which draw you closer into the show. Therefore, I don’t think it’d be fair to say that either WWE nor TNA treat the fans with disdain in the house show market, certainly not on this side of the pond.
With all this said, what do YOU think? Have you attended a WWE or TNA house show event in which you’ve wished you’d saved your money? Did you wish instead that you’d spend some extra cash to go to a TV taping or Pay-Per-View? Or were you like me and felt both companies did their utmost to put on a good evenings entertainment and ensure the fans would come back in droves the next time around? Your thoughts are every bit as important as mine and opinions are definitely a huge part of what makes Bored Wrestling Fan and wrestling fans in general so great! Let me know what you reckon, either by leaving me a comment below or by sending me a quickfire email to firstname.lastname@example.org ! Until the next time, TAKE IT HOME! To your house. To your house uh…show..
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