WWE Live!

Before last night I had not watched a live WWE event since it was the WWF, way back before my teen years. That show was also at the Blaisdell and oddly enough, the only wrestler I remember for sure is a pre-ECW Shane Douglas. Lynnette, Madison, and I went to the WWE Live event last night and it was amazing. Look, everything after this sentence is basically pictures from last night and me marking out. Totally understand if you pass on this entry.

1

Curtis Axel vs. Titus O’Neil

I knew both wrestlers were in town because I saw their pictures at Waikiki Beach on Twitter and Instagram. Did I stalk the WWE superstars for the last two days on social media? Yes. Would I have literally physically stalked them if I didn’t have to watch the twins this summer? Absolutely. Axel did a great job playing a chickensh*t heel and eating several chops to the chest. I often wondered what use guys lower than the mid-card (who rarely appear on TV) are to the company. Well, I found out last night during this first match. They were great at getting the crowd going, so easy to cheer for Titus and boo Axel.

 

2

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

We got really good seats. I can’t remember if I wrote about how we managed to get them, so bear with me. On the day of the sale, one my students and I used three laptops to roll through the site for the best seats. It took half an hour before I settled. Obviously, I would have preferred the first row, but that never appeared in the queue. Anyway, the pace of both the first match and this one was deliberate. I glanced at my watch in the fear that we’d get a half-assed show, especially because I knew they were flying to Japan for shows this weekend. That’s what watching wrestling in 2016 is like: having so much information that it somehow makes things less certain. Except for the outcome of this match. Because if you’ve been watching at all, then you already knew.

 

3

The (Bullet) Club vs. The Usos

I was the only one in my section only screaming for The Club. It’s to be expected when their opponents are Samoan and the show is in Honolulu. There were, however, many guys rocking Bullet Club t-shirts as well as a large number of people extending the “Too Sweet” hand gesture during this match and when AJ Styles appeared. A personal highlight occurred during this match when Karl Anderson rolled out of the ring and blindsided one of the Usos (I couldn’t tell them apart at gunpoint). He turned toward our section and raised his arms in celebration having laid out J. Uso. I stood and clapped for him. “YEAH, MACHINE GUN!” I screamed in my loudest, highest fangirl voice. It’s one of his old nicknames. He side-eyed me, smirked, and nodded his head. How I haven’t purchased a Bullet Club t-shirt for $40 yet is a miracle.

 

5

Natalya vs. Asuka

Lynnette loves Natty because of her appearance inΒ Total Divas and well, I wish I could say the same. She’s a Hart, so she’ll always have badass entrance music. Truth be told I wasn’t really into the match until Natty started doing heel things I haven’t seen her do before. When she climbed the turnbuckles before the match, she hit a few poses and held the last one – with her chin and nose skyward – for a very long time. I liked that. I think it’s because I’ve always loved that kind of obvious arrogance, specifically because I could never muster it. During the match she hit a move on Asuka from the outside, then kind of dangled on the ropes and stared into the ringside crowd, letting it linger. It’s little things like that, you know?

 

13

The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains

Madison had been waiting for this moment the entire night. She sat there patiently through the first few matches, reluctant to cheer or boo. The light-up unicorn horn on her head sat mostly still – until The New Day arrived. She stood on her seat and screamed for them. During the match, the “New Day Rocks” chant broke out a few times, and I could hear her voice over my shoulder. When Big E blocked a sunset flip then began erotically swiveling his hips, I heard Madison laugh hysterically. Before we left the Blaisdell, Madison said she wanted to buy something to remember the night by. She wanted two things: the AJ Styles wristbands… and the empty box of Booty-O’s. I don’t care much for the New Day because they’ve got the titles that should be The Club’s, but I’ll always be a fan after last night and the way they made my daughter feel.

 

6

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte

I was outside when the match started. I wanted to take a leak and buy an AJ Styles cap during the intermission, and holy hell, you should have seen the lines for the bathroom and merchandise. I decided to get the cap first because I didn’t want it to sell out and the line for the men’s bathroom was as long and as deep as the line outside of Ocean’s on a College Thursday circa 2002. When I finally got back into the arena the two ladies were already set to destroy each other. Lynnette told me that I missed the “Wooo!”s that the crowd shouted as Charlotte entered. But, but, but! I did get back in time to see Charlotte set up for – but not land – her moonsault. It is a thing of beauty. Was there ever a time in my life when I was as athletic as Charlotte or Becky or Natty or Asuka? No.

 

8

Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

I was pretty hyped for this match but I was ultimately disappointed. Owens is a great heel. In fact, he was the only one who entered to an obvious majority of cheers. Owens attacked Nakamura while the latter was in the middle of his signature pose, then the former mocked it by sloppily hitting it himself. When Nakamura kicked out at 1, Owens berated the referee, loudly shouting “That was three!” Still, there was something about Nakamura’s performance that let me down. I watched his war with AJ Styles at Wrestle Kingdom and more recently his match against Sami Zayn raised my expectations, but that’s not who I got last night. Maybe it was an odd match-up of styles. Can’t he and Styles fight forever?

 

10

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

9

The Phenomenal AJ Styles

11

The Champ

Jericho came out first and dropped an A-1 perfect heel promo in which he took a dump on Hawaii in general, then told us we were all stupid. As he stood there jawing in his scarf a chant of “You’re a ma-hu” started. In the line of the night, Jericho said something like “I don’t know what a ‘mahu’ is… but if you’re saying it to me, then it must be awesome. I’M A MAHU.” It exploded the place. His promo ended with the gift of Jericho which everyone was glad to drink in, maaaaan…

I lost my damn mind when AJ Styles’s music hit. He’s my favorite wrestler and that’s an admittedly new thing. I had vague knowledge of Styles’s TNA days, but once I heard the rumors he might be signing with the “E”, I did an internet crash course and what I found was an athletic specimen. I found Bullet Club. I found a guy in his late 30s who never had the chance on the biggest stage until now. I think that’s why I like him so much. I just want to see him win the title one time, no matter how remote the chances are. When Styles gave tapped the “Too Sweet” with some guys in the first row, I felt a twinge of jealousy pitted in my chest that I had not experienced in sometime. It’s so petty, but it’s absolutely true.

I saw Styles land the Phenomenal Forearm twice – once from the outside to the inside, then from the inside to outside – both times on Jericho. I wanted to turn and hug Lynnette because I was so happy. In a surprise, Madison also said the main event was her favorite match of the night.

I’m not an Ambrose guy, but by the sound in the Blaisdell last night, I’m in a very small minority. He got huge pops entering and leaving the ring. He graciously accepted lei from fans at ringside, and returned to the ring to bow on behalf of the the roster. He fulfilled his duties as champ gracefully.

During the New Day/Vaudevillains match I turned to Lynnette and remarked how it was hard to hate any of the performers after seeing how hard they work to entertain the crowd. When the Vaudevillains are on TV, I don’t pay them any attention but last night I found myself watching them closely – their mannerisms, their interaction with the crowd, the way they took bumps. They may not have my support as a fan, but they have my respect. All of them do. They gave my family an incredible night that ranks just below the day I married Lynnette mostly because I’m morally obligated to say so.

12

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