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Tales From the Front Row at a WWE Event by Brandon Lasher

Was I crazy? Taking my parents and brother to a WWE Raw live event a mere two and a half hours before the Super Bowl last Sunday. The answer was always a clear yes. My hometown of Eugene, Oregon hadn’t had an event in five years. Outside of Portland, Oregon our state gets very little WWE love. I had to support any WWE action in my town.

Thanks to the fact I am an Oregon Duck basketball season ticket holder, I had first crack at the best seats. Yes, for the very first time I would be in the front row right by ringside. I had been in the front few rows before, but would this front row experience be truly different?

After going through a security guard that had the nerve to tell me the WWE didn’t allow cell phone pictures, yeah right, I finally got to my front row seats. I was ready to heckle some WWE stars and see their reactions. Thanks to being in the first row I was able to help two little kids win a Randy Orton DVD. As if I wouldn’t know the tallest WWE Superstar ever or who had the longest ever title reign. Challenge me WWE!

With that in mind I wanted to share a few moments for my first show in the front row. I think it is an experience every WWE fan should try.

The New Day defeated The Shining Stars & Titus O’ Neil

It was the perfect hot opener for a hungry Eugene crowd. I don’t know how the experience would truly be in a front row seat until at this moment. My 67-year old dad caught Kofi Kingston’s unicorn horn. It truly is a ridiculous looking WWE collectible, but the fact my family caught something from a WWE superstar already made the day a fun one. The match went as you would expect. Xavier took the beating for a few minutes until his New Day partners saved the day.

But none of that really mattered. My family caught a unicorn horn and wore it with pride throughout the show.

Neville defeated Cedric Alexander (WWE Cruiserweight Title Match)

This was a case of fans growing to appreciate a wrestler. Poor talented Cedric got absolutely no reaction as he entered. Neville got the applause which seemed a surprise to both of the competitors.

The advantage of setting ringside? You have wrestler almost land in your lap. I cannot fully describe the experience of Neville basically chopping Cedric right into your face but it is a unique feeling for sure. I just wish my mother picture of me two inches from the cruiserweights would have turned out. Sigh.

This was one of the better matches of the day and proof that if given some real match time the “205 Live” guys could get some respect from the WWE crowd. After Cedric tapped out to the Champ, he was given a well-deserved round of applause. Cedric Alexander is a talented guy who deserved that respect.

The Golden Truth and Sin Cara defeated Bo Dallas, Jinder Mahal and Curtis Axel

I cannot say I was a massive fan of any of these wrestlers, but it is nothing a couple of high fives and handshakes cannot change. Goldust in particular came around multiple times to talk to us in the front row. I have respect that he seemed very thankful of the fans at this point in his career.

The WWE sure likes its six-person tag matches at house shows. This naturally ended with the good guys winning. In fact I have been to a lot of live events over the years where Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel lost. It could be worse because Jinder Mahal wasn’t even given an introduction from JoJo. Don’t hinder Jinder!

Braun Strowman defeated Sami Zayn

Poor Sami’s lot in life is to get beaten up soundly by Braun Strowman. Knowing how popular he was with this Eugene crowd you think the WWE would notice and give him a push. Instead he got beaten up by Braun Strowman for a few minutes.

Do you want to know a very gross front row secret? You can really see the spit flying for the “hits”? Did I need to see Braun Strowman’s drool drip off the ring ropes? Not really, but it is another added joy of front row fun.

Big Cass defeated Handsome Rusev

Lana is a joy in every sense. Yes she is a very beautiful women in person but her heel work is highly underrated. From calling my city a little village to calling my dad’s unicorn horn hat “ridiculous” to our face. She is always in full heel mode.

Cass and Enzo are quite popular and play to the crowd quite well. When Rusev was chasing after Enzo I told Enzo to be careful. He was nice enough to stop and tell me “It was okay.” That was very reassuring of him.

Anyway, Lana was in full heel mode and got kicked out of the match by the ref. Her response was to act like a little child and pout out of the arena. This distracted Handsome Rusev allowing Big Cass to win. As Enzo and Cass celebrated with us at ringside it was intermission.

(We had intermission complete with more trivia for kids. Why won’t the kid listen to the yelling audience when we tell him The Wyatt Family is going to come out to bother The Rock at WrestleMania 32. Does he think we are lying to him?)

Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox defeated Charlotte, Dana Brooke and Nia Jax

This match starts off as a one on one encounter with Bayley and Charlotte for the title. My mom points out Charlotte is more attractive in person. Which leads me to ponder, “Do we ever say someone is uglier in person?” All I know is awesome on television and in person. When I met her at WrestleMania 31 she could’t have been nicer.

What do you know it is another six person tag match that begins after Dana Brooke ruins the match. I glad it was a six person match because otherwise Sasha, Nia, Dana and Alicia Fox wasted their time getting in ring gear. Speaking of weird, why is Alicia Fox on the face team? When is she a good guy with her crazy act?

Much like other six person tags, Alicia got beat up for a long time before Bayley makes the save. This allows Bayley to get the win over Charlotte. I am sure you were shocked to see that.

As Sasha and Alicia badly dance to Alicia’s theme music, Bayley greets a lot more fans. Bayley is as nice as her character. She found a girl near us who wanted a hug before the match and vowed to hug her post-match. The girl moved and Bayley went out of her way to find her and give her that well overdue hug. Aww.

Gallows & Anderson defeated Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championship

Cesaro sure spends a lot of money on pull away clothes. This match wasn’t the longest encounter and followed the pattern of other tag matches. As Cesaro played the victim this time, us front row patrons yelled at Sheamus to “Help Him”. Sheamus was nice enough to stop and yell back, “What do you want me to do?” It is nice to see what they can do if not restricted by the television cameras.

Cesaro was able to recover and get in some of his amazing offense, but just as they were close to winning the title, the Club was nice enough to cheat. They really had their feet on the ropes to win the match. As Sheamus and Cesaro slowly chased the tag champs to the back, it was main event time.

Big Show defeated Kevin Owens in a Street Fight

Originally this was going to be Seth Rollins versus Kevin Owens for the Universal Title. That would have been fun, but Rollins is out with a knee injury. We had a surprise main event instead. It was a unique surprise to say the least.

First, Kevin Owens came out with a mic and was nice enough to insult our city. He kindly told us it was a dump and he should know because he was from a real place like Canada. I am sure John Canton would agree.

After the cheap heat, Kevin was nice enough to lay out the main event scenario. He didn’t have to defend his title, but would be giving a street fight with a mystery opponent. That mystery was The Big Show. The fans in Eugene seemed to love it and Show is certainly in good shape these days. As I gave him a high five, I never have felt smaller.

The match was long and a lot of fun. I cannot accuse either of not working hard. My family told me they have never enjoyed Kevin Owens more as he played comedic heel really well on Sunday. As you see in the above picture, he tried to be as “tall” as Show to little effect. When Show chopped him, Owens was nice enough to let out a delayed “Oww” for all to enjoy. As Owens was thinking of which weapon to use, another guy from the front row yelled, “You suck!” Owens response was, “Not as much as your mother.” What a guy.

Owens and Show certainly used all the toys in the match. They both went through a table. They both took chair shots and Owens even used a kendo stick. Why a kendo stick is under a ring I will never know. After Big Show chokeslammed Owens through a second table of the night, the match was over. Big Show celebrated with an Oregon Duck O and was off to celebrate.

 

Final Thoughts

It certainly was a lot of fun to watch a WWE event from the front row. Getting to be able to have them talk to you, give high fives and having them heckle you is part of the experience you only get from being near the front. I think all WWE fans should try it, even if it just to catch a unicorn horn from Kofi Kingston.
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Feel free to contact me at lasher@pacificu.edu. Additionally, I have my Twitter account, WWEBNRL as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on seeing a show a WWE house show. Who has been in the front row of a WWE event? Does it change the experience?