I did not attend the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Why? The one thing I cannot stand the most about a majority of the fans that attend this event is how many of them are clueless about who some of the inductees are and what those inductees contributed to the business. All those fans want to do is chant for who they want to put over. At a normal wrestling show that is fine, but not the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. I would rather have WWE not worry about making money on such an event and have a more intimate ceremony in front of friends, family, fellow wrestlers, and perhaps some media. I believe the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony used to be more like that in the past, but Vince McMahon felt the need to turn it into a cash grab. All that retired wrestlers like Hillbilly Jim ask for is to simply be remembered.
I did go to a session of WWE Axxess. Even at this event, fans just want to excessively chant just so other fans can hear them. WTF? As I was waiting in line to enter, I heard Rusev Day, Yes, and even Roman Sucks chants fade in an out from certain groups of obnoxious fans. Like I already mentioned, at the actually wrestling shows, I will always encourage vocal crowd participation, as long as it is respectful since there are children in attendance. I was not about to pay WWE $190 to meet Roman Reigns or another $100 to get a “fast pass” to meet various wrestlers for an autograph and photo op. The regular lines were moving very slowly because many fans did pay extra to get expedited to the front of the lines. Again, I was not about to pay anything on top of the general admission fee. Instead of wasting time in line, I went around and took selfies with all the cardboard cutouts, as well as pictures in front of the old Raw entrances, ECW & WCW entrance, Piper’s Pit, etc (pics are on my Twitter @NoDQ_Virtue). Nonetheless, I found a way to have my own fun during the 3 hours I was there. There was also an NXT ring set up and some matches took place. I did stop to watch SANITY do their thing. Interestingly enough, Roman Reigns once again had an insanely long line and some of the sheep who previously chanted Roman Sucks were waiting in that line. I was not surprised.
I did not attend NXT TakeOver New Orleans because I went to ROH Supercard of Honor XII instead. If you want to know my thoughts on ROH, Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and the Young Bucks, Tweet me! We ended up watching TakeOver on Sunday morning, before departing for WrestleMania. As many of you probably know, the NXT crowd is the epitome of what the largest gathering of indy wrestling fans would be. I will admit it was an excellent show, but I am not in any way disappointed for not attending. I don’t know if I could have handled that crowd for three hours. I barely got through being at ROH for almost six hours, at a smaller venue of course. I am so glad I did not participate in a “this is awesome” chant. Truth be told, I was saving my voice for something much better.
Obviously, I attended WrestleMania 34 at the Superdome. I was in complete awe of the stage, the setup, and the entire atmosphere. This was the very reason I wanted to experience WrestleMania live and in person. Wrestling fans from across the world were in attendance, and I was 1 of the 75,000+ of them. I will admit, I did not expect the Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle Vs Stephanie McMahon & Triple H match to go as well as it did. This was definitely the match of the night, and a majority of the crowd stood up and was vocal for the entire match. In a shocking turn of events, the crowd hardly responded for the WWE Championship match between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. This was supposed to be the match of the night, but it looks like the fan base that was mostly hyped for this match was still burned out from NXT TakeOver the night before. Or, were they just saving their energy to try and sabotage the Main Event Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar? During this match, despite the group of ignorant fans trying to play with beach balls, get the wave going, and chant “this is awful”, I still found many of them wanting to see what was happening in the match. I do not think the core group of ignorant fans will ever truly get it. If they really do not like a product, then they should not react to it in any way whatsoever. Or better yet, they should not even go or watch. Let’s not forget, unless WWE is paying us, we do not write the shows. If you want to make WWE change course, then do not buy a ticket, do not buy merchandise, turn the channel, and most of all do not even react. Give them complete silence. The problem is, we cannot and will not consistently do any of that because we have to be heard. For the record, I nearly lost my voice for cheering and supporting Roman Reigns in the sea of boos during Mania and Raw. And I loved every second of it and even wore a Roman Empire shirt at Mania. Apparently, some people wanted to kick my ass. Of course, nobody messes with ViRTUE.
While I was in NOLA, I had to experience a Raw after Mania and the SmackDown after Mania. Obviously, the crowd was more vocal during Raw than SmackDown. I sat in the arena in amazement as the crowd attempted to go into business for themselves on multiple occasions. I will admit that some of the chants and reactions did seem organic and did fit the WWE narrative of that particular segment; however, in most instances, the crowd was just trying to make themselves be noticed in front of the cameras. As an example, I think Elias is a fantastic up and coming WWE superstar and excellent heel, but it is hard for a heel to be such a character when many people in the crowd are cheering even when he insults them. Let me guess? It is because Elias is NOT Roman Reigns and he’s cool? When wrestling became a television show, the dynamic of the business changed. I am pretty sure when people attend a sitcom taping or late show taping they appropriately react to the lighted prompts that only they can see. I am not saying wrestling fans need to do the same, but I just wish many of them turned their brains on and showed some more respect to ALL of the performers. While it is fun to make noise with cameras on, let’s try and figure out a way to do it respectfully. Remember, as a fan and audience member, silence is the loudest noise of all when you want something to change.