5 Reasons the Crowd Hijacked ‘Raw’ Last Night
For the second year in a row, the Monday Night Raw crowd was able to make the night after WrestleMania feel almost as special as the blockbuster event.
WrestleMania 29 was about as predictable of a wrestling show as I’ve seen in years, and apparently the New Jersey crowd felt the same. It’s not every day the WWE’s number one show is held hostage by the fans, but that’s what went down at the IZOD Center Monday night. They trolled Vince McMahon’s show immediately last night.
Here are five things that lead to the post-WrestleMania crowd going ham on the WWE product.
The Rock's No-Show
The easiest way to get a crowd to turn on you is to lie to them about the card. WWE advertised The Rock being on the post-Mania 'Raw' before tickets went on sale, and 'The People's Champ' no-showing the event ignited a fire that could not be put out.
The Rock has been the "paper champ" that everyone feared. He claims to have injured himself during his WrestleMania 29 main event with John Cena, and that's very plausible, but not good enough for wrestling fans. These are the same people who expected 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin to finish a match with Owen Hart, even after his neck was broken. Tweeting something about a tummy ache isn't going to get you out of New Jersey unscathed, and if The Rock ever does another wrestling show in the Garden State, he'll be eaten alive.
Been There, Cena That
If there's one thing that felt fresh over the couple of years in WWE, it was Cena not holding WWE Championship gold. His tired "The Champ is Here" schtick was played out, but thanks to the outcome of WrestleMania 29, it's back in full force. Just when you thought there were enough Cena shirts, they debuted the laziest of them all yesterday, just to rub in the fact that Cena is champion again.
I have to give it to Cena, though. The crowd was hostile from the second he came out of the curtains, and he handled them quite well. There was even a John Cena "heel turn", where he literally planted his foot on the ground, and turned it on its heel. Cena trolled a crowd full of trolls, which takes some guts, and I respect that. Unlike some people, John Cena isn't afraid to face haters.
Face vs. Face
WWE has gone halfway on a lot of things lately, and heel turns have been high on the list. Randy Orton and Sheamus are usually fan favorites, and New Jersey had little interest in seeing two "good guys" go heads-up. It didn't help that the booking for the storyline was convoluted, as both guys had been booked to face Big Show, throughout the night.
During the match, the crowd chanted for Mike Chioda (referee), all three men at the announce table, El Generico (indy wrestler), Rob Van Dam (former WWE wrestler), ECW (WWE's former competition), the ice cream vendor, beer guy, and anyone besides the two men fighting in the ring. The crowd even did "The Wave", which I don't recall ever seeing at a wrestling event.
Both Sheamus and Randy Orton work with an edge, but no matter what they did last night, the crowd ignored them. You could visibly see the frustration on both men's faces (Orton especially), and to be honest, it was hilarious.
No Voice of the Voice-less
CM Punk has made his name on the fact that he'll say the things everyone else is thinking but are afraid to say. Last night, CM Punk was at home for some much needed rest so the New Jersey crowd took it into their hands to drop some pipebombs all over Vince McMahon's show. What occurred has been called "the greatest Raw of the modern era" by many fans, while others have been lamenting over a crowd who puts themselves ahead of the WWE.
I can't even imagine how much the crowd would have responded if CM Punk were in the building. The IZOD Center's roof would have literally been blown off with the pop he would have received by throwing some heat at the absent Rock. Punk could have riffed on the mic for three hours, and New Jersey would have ate it up.
Luckily, Punk will be there next week to pick up where New Jersey left off.
Jersey is HEEL
New Jersey is a town that likes to cheer on the bad guy. It didn't matter who they sent out, Kofi Kingston, John Cena, Randy Orton, or Sheamus. Jersey wasn't going to put over any of Vince's babyfaces. The only guy receiving cheers that WWE actually wanted to get cheered was Daniel Bryan, who smart fans cheer to spite Vince's horrible taste in top good guys.
That's why the crowd was at its hottest when Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank for his title shot against Del Rio. Any other crowd would have cheered Ziggler's win, but New Jersey went absolutely bonkers for it. You could hear "we want Ziggler" chants all night, and the second his song hit, New Jersey popped harder than they had for anything during WrestleMania 29.
It's kind of a jerk move to save all the surprises from WrestleMania for the night after. Wrestling fans paid upward of seventy dollars for a show where almost nothing happened, and then Vince McMahon does all the fun stuff on free TV. No wonder the crowd was giving him the business all evening.