WWE – You Still Got IT!!!

Photos courtsey of WWE

If you have ever been to a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event there are many chants you might hear from the crowd, ‘You Suck!’, ‘YES! YES! YES!’, ‘Let’s GO CENA-CENA SUCKS’ and ‘GET THE TABLES!!!’ to name a few. Several of these sayings may not make sense for some people, but they are all too familiar for any WWE fan.

Sunday night the WWE SummerSlam Heatwave Tour stopped at the Canadian Tire Centre for an evening of sports entertainment. As a lifelong fan of the WWE there are things that have changed and things that have stayed the same. Before we get to that, let me explain that the WWE has several types of events: there are the pay-per-views like Wrestlemania, The Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, which takes place in less than two weeks. In addition to that, every week there are TV shows such as RAW and Smackdown, to further storylines and develop characters and feuds.

Ottawa has been host to Raw and Smackdown before, but last night’s event was a ‘House Show’. What that means is there were no TV cameras; this wasn’t for pay-per-view; it was simply an opportunity for WWE to come and entertain the good people of the Nation’s Capital.

The one difference that I immediately noticed with the house show, and that I really liked, was that since there weren’t TV cameras, the show wasn’t confined by commercials and a strict timeline. This gave the superstars more of an opportunity to walk around the ring, before and after the matches, and shake hands with their fans. In many instances the superstars, which included AJ Styles, Luke Harper and Sami Zayn, (who we interviewed earlier this week) would stop and take pictures with fans on the way back to the dressing room. This is something that you usually don’t see on a pay-per-view or one of the weekly TV shows.

I was also impressed at how many families were there. You had anywhere from small children up to big kids like myself-and grandparents too. The reasoning is quiter simple: the WWE transcends all ages. If you grew up watching wrestling, you want to bring your kids to see it. The WWE has real life ‘super hero characters’ that you want to root for; and the villains know exactly what to do to get a rise out of the crowd.

Sometimes the WWE Universe (aka- WWE fans) don’t always go with the plan. As was discovered when Kevin Owens, one of the ‘bad guys’, got one of the loudest cheers of the evening. Being absolutely hilarious on the microphone and from Canada didn’t hurt.

Audience interaction, and understanding of how to connect to an audience, is one of those things that haven’t changed within the organization. What has changed is the development and overall respect for women in the business. Years ago women were not given the respect they deserve in wrestling. There was more focus on the appearance than the talent in my opinion, and they certainly didn’t have as much screen time. Years ago Wrestlemania ran long and as a result the ladies’ match was bumped from the card; that was very disappointing for many fans. Fast forward a few years and a Wrestlemania match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks was believed to be by many, including myself, one of the best Wrestlemania moments in years. Of the seven matches featured last night, two were women’s. And it wasn’t about who had on the skimpiest outfit or who know how to titillate the audience, no, it was about the talent and athleticism. It was also about connecting with a female audience which, by the looks on the little girls’ faces, I can say they accomplished.

The WWE may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have never gone to an event before, I assure you that you will be entertained. I am always fascinated with the agility and shape these athletes are in. They travel about 300 days a year and constantly deliver eye opening performances. Most of all I am impressed with how they can connect with their audiences and draw a crowd.

Of all the audience chants I have heard at a WWE event, I think the one that most applies to the WWE is ‘You’ve still got it!’