WWE Road to WrestleMania Tour @ MSG Results & Thoughts (03/18/12)
Posted by invizweb on March 19, 2012
The first Pro Wrestling show I would attend. The first Pro Wrestling show I would attend at Madison Square Garden (in the early 2000s, I attended the FILA World Freestyle Wrestling Championships at MSG) . The first World Wrestling Entertainment show I would attend. To say that I had butterflies in my stomach would be an understatement. But when my friends offered me to attend with them, i definitely could say no.
I went to the event with two friends: a female henceforth known as Hobbit and her BigBro. We arrived at 4:47 PM at Madison Square Garden when everyone was scurrying to get in. Security seemed so rushed, they barely checked Hobbit’s bag. Hobbit later remarked that she could have snuck in treats and water. I would reply vodka but she said she prefers tequila. I wouldn’t say we weren’t surprised when we discovered our seats were stools in the back of the balcony area but that’s more of MSG making silly ideas to increase revenue instead of creating a more comfortable experience adding an additional row.
I was also befuddled when Justin Roberts instead of Lilian Garcia appeared. But that is neither here nor there.
Match One: Zack Ryder vs the Miz
The place was hot for Ryder. Because of our vantage point, high up in the balcony section of MSG, in which the action in the ring looked a bit like that of a PSP or Nintendo DS, Hobbit remarked how fake it looked. It did not stop her for cheering on Zack when he needed it. Some fans attempted to start dueling chants but alas it failed. Miz finally got caught attempting to hit his Corner Clothesline when Ryder moved out of the way. The end came in under 10 minutes via Rough Rider by Long Island Iced Z.
Match Two: World Tag Team Championship Match ~ R-Truth/ Kofi Kingston vs The Colons (Primo/ Epico [C] w/ Rosa Mendez)
My two friends remarked that Truth’s piercings look like pimples. I made the snarky comment to Hobbit asking if it is a women’s job to hold men’s belts. She asked if Rosa was one of the Colon’s girlfriend. I said they share her, which she replied with a resounding “Ew,” and i continued to explain there was no storyline explaining her relationship with them. Epico hit a Stomp that did not look like it hit, from my vantage point. Or was it Primo? Hobbit pointed out that they wore different socks which i corrected by saying those are boots. Regardless, the match seemed to end with a Trouble in Paradise by Kofi in under 10 minutes. However, John Laurinitis, VP of Talent Relations came to restart the match and nullify the Title Switch citing that there was a Colon’s foot on the ropes. The match promptly ended with a Back Stabber on Kofi. They took a while to exit so I thought something might have been up but I was wrong.
Match Three: US Championship Match ~ Jack Swagger (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs Santino Marella [C]
Huge pops for Santino by the children. Hobbit immediately noticed how big Swagger is. Then as if by coincidence, Swagger walked up to Santino making a gesture about their height. Santino retaliated by trying a Cobra, I think. After getting the better of Santino, Swagger does a few push ups and then Santino answers by doing crunches. One of the peaks of this match included a long handshake spot which, I would do no justice describing: Swagger put his hand out for a shake, Santino hesitated for a while, he finally took the offer, they shook hands, squeezed for a bit, did a do-se-do, and then Swagger attacked Santino. Swagger pinned Santino countering a Back Slide, with his foot on the middle ropes prompting a US Title Switch. Or not, as Teddy Long, SmackDown GM, came out and had the ref restart the match. Jack promptly starts beating on Santino again until Hornswoggle made a run-in at which point, Santino nailed Swagger with a Cobra to retain his belt.
Match Four: Mason Ryan vs Alberto del Rio
This match literally went under 3 minutes. Maybe Alberto was just getting his ring rust cleared. After having tagged a seated Ryan with a loud Roundhouse Kick, Del Rio tapped him with a Flying Cross Armbar.
Match Five: Cody Rhodes/ Dolph Ziggler/ Chris Jericho vs Randy Orton/ CM Punk/ Triple H
Some of the largest pops of the evening in this match in ascending order for: Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, CM Punk, and HHH. This would also be the longest segment in the show, starting with intros at 6:00 PM, ending around 6:30 PM when the faces finally walked up the ramp. Hunter’s entrance included a double spit spot for the night. The kids love Punk. Of course, this prompted Jericho early on to walk out of the ring, grab the mic, and exclaim that it did not matter and that Y2J was “Best in the World.” Some of the high spots in the match include a 10 Punch Turnbuckle spot from Randy onto Cody’s noggin, and a 30 second Delayed Suplex from Hunter to Cody. At one point, Punk ran off Y2J but Jericho returns with a chair, which did not come into play as he is a “chicken shit heel.” Near the end CM Punk at a Zig Zag but kicked out. In the closing sequence, HHH hit the Pedigree on Ziggler, got interrupted, with the other interfering heels eating either an RKO or Go To Sleep, before Hunter finishing with a Tombstone on Ziggler. Felt like a standard RAW 10:00 PM main event at points, with Cody and Ziggler working most of the match against Randy and Punk. Still alright though, due to the direction of cowardly heel Jericho and the specialness of Hunter’s appearance and use of the Tombstone.
During the intermission, New York Wrestling Connection, Mikey Whipwreck’s promotion, in which Zack Ryder got his start, was advertising for their latest event.
Match Six: Beth Phoenix/ Natalya Neidhart vs Tamina Snuka/ Kelly Kelly
Before the match began, Eve Torres was introduced and proceeded to apologize to “everybody” for “terrible things done.” She wanted to “make things right.” The mother sitting next to me was doing her best to prevent her son from chanting “ho-ski.”
The match itself was way longer than Del Rio’s match. Tamina hit what i thought was a questionable Top Rope Splash on Natalya There was also a Leap Frog by Tamina that nearly did not get high enough over Natalya. Kelly was pinned via Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam after Eve pulled her leg from the outside.
Match Seven: Three-Way World Heavyweight Championship Match ~ Daniel Bryan [C] vs Mark Henry vs The Big Show
Daniel Bryan stole this match bumping like crazy. Not surprising then that some “smart” fans would yell for him even though the kids around me were jeering like crazy. Even though it is obviously bad for everyone involved’s health, I enjoyed the battle of the Headbutts between Show and Henry; the craziness lasted a dozen headbutts between both men with Show getting the upper hand (if anyone actually wins in such a mauling of brain cells). Hobbit thought it looked fake when D. Bryan was on the offense especially when he hit Show with a Dropkick to the Leg but she got into it when he worked his joint killing tactics. Mark Henry spent many points of the match outside to the extent where I wondered if the ref called for him to take a nap. Match ended when Show hit Henry with a Choke Slam but had the victory stolen when Bryan clipped his leg and pinned Henry. In retaliation, Show hit Henry with the WMD punch after the match. Both Henry and Show got pops during their entrances though Show’s was bigger.
Match Eight: Last-Man Standing Match ~ Kane vs John Cena
The match went under twenty minutes and was filled with plunder from chairs to tables to stairs and the mic. There were also “You Can’t Wrestle” chants directed at Cena, which i participated in. At one point, Kane hit Cena with the mic and yelled for him to stay down. The coup de grace came when Cena hitKane with his Attitude Adjustment slam through a table, and the Big Red Machine cannot get back up before the count of ten (doing the crawling at 8 but falling flat at 9 bit).
Why did Madison Square Garden install bar stool seats in the back of the balcony area? Why did they not use the monitors in back of seats to create closed circuit viewing of the matches? Why were the Titan Trons not used to project the matches? And the most detrimental to WWE merchandising, why did they not project the items to sell on the big screens? That would have given a visual association for the kiddies. Most of these things would have made the experience better but for reasons unknown they were not done.
I was surprised for the appearance of Alberto del Rio and likewise for the absence of Sheamus. You would think all of the WrestleMania title match contenders would be there. Maybe there was a house show elsewhere though I thought MSG would be the main priority.
My friends, especially Hobbit were totally into the show especially when babyfaces were in peril such as when Cena was being thrown into tables by Kane or Swagger was throwing Santino around. “Come on dude,” she would encourage. Even though we had our reservations of the seats and the inflated prices of everything, in the end, Hobbit left the arena happy with a foam hand, her BigBro with a new t-shirt, and me a smile with some fond memories.
Looking back, I wish I did bring my camera but taking pictures would not have added that much to the experience I think. What made this a rewarding trip was the company I was with and how they took everything in stride. In the end, I left the show feeling good instead of crummy which was how I started the day. So if you can attend a local WWE show, you might as well provided you have good friends to go with.