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DENNY'S DUNGEON
Getting Ready for RAW
June 18, 2004

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

Hopefully, you've all had a chance to read Rick Scaia's on-site report from this past Monday's Raw in Dayton, Ohio. The Him was there live, and he filed a lengthy report from the scene of the crime.

This Monday, Raw touches down in South Florida for a show at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. In a spectacular display of Rick & I going out of our way to bring first-hand reports to YOU, the fine readers of WrestleLine.com and OnlineOnslaught.com, yours truly will be in attendance in Miami, taking notes for a SECOND live Raw report in as many weeks. Look for that on either web site on Tuesday.

Sometimes writers such as myself get in the habit of acting all high-and-mighty about the wrestling business, as if we've seen so much of it that we’re somehow above getting excited. Bullshit, says I. I run a wrestling site because I'm a fan. I write because I enjoy writing, and I choose wrestling as my subject matter.  I've got a double-whammy of a journalism career and over 20 years of closely watching the spectacle that gives me the self-assurance to claim I know what I'm talking about (although ultimately, the readers will make the official call on that). But I'm also humble enough to mark the fuck out when I see something that entertains me. Marking out is an expression of enjoyment. What kind of frumpy asshole is too good to show people he's ENJOYING his life?

That was a rhetorical question. Please don't send me names of frumpy assholes in the IWC. On second thought, go ahead. I'm curious.

Because I'm a fan, I'm genuinely excited to be going to Raw. This'll be my first WWE show since a Smackdown-brand house show in August, and my first televised WWE show (live or otherwise) since 2001. I stand an excellent chance of seeing Ric Flair in person, and a reasonable chance of watching him compete (Naitch ain't what he used to be, but he's still The Man). I get to see Triple H vs. Eugene. Hell yeah, I'm excited.

Speaking of that match, I get the feeling we could see a surprise. I wonder if The Rock might be up for an assist in helping Eugene go one-up on The Game. We know Shawn Michaels will be out of action due to his dramatic reenactment of Ricky Steamboat's crushed larynx last week. HBK's "injury" makes for one less main-event superstar available for the show. Miami is one of a small handful of cities where a cameo by The Rock is both plausible and sensible. The People's Champ blows the roof off of any arena he sets foot in, but in his hometown of Miami, the excitement reaches a whole other level. Pair that with Eugene's popularity, and the always-good-for-a-pop screwing of HHH, and you've got a showmaker of a segment. I'm not predicting this will happen. But wouldn't it be cool?

When they're not running to the nearest air-conditioned building and avoiding the mid-afternoon downpour that defines hurricane season, South Floridians are now scrambling to prepare for WWE's sweep through the peninsula. What do you bring? What do you wear? What's for sale at the merchandise booths, and how much cash do I need to drain out of the ATM to buy some of it?

I'll tell you what NOT to bring to a WWE show: a digital camera. At the aforementioned Smackdown house show in August '03, I brought my newly purchased, highly skilled DigiCam to the arena, only to be told by the ticket ripper that I was not allowed to enter the building with it. He wouldn't tell me if that was WWE's rule or the venue's, but he did tell me if I were caught using it inside, I'd be asked to leave. Fantastic. I dropped $500 on a digital camera I can't ever use, except in my home.

This week, there were reports that people with digital cameras were turned away from the Smackdown taping, or asked to leave the camera in their vehicle. Apparently, it is WWE's rule, and it doesn't matter where the show is, or whether it’s for TV or not. The reason I was given last year was that my camera had the capability to record video. Thus, it is a tool of the devil as far as WWE is concerned. I suppose I could have used it to record a few minutes of the main event and sell the footage for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but really, I just wanted to take a few snapshots to help me remember where my god damn $100 of ticket money went.

I'm not even confident you'd get in with a digital camera that DOESN'T have video capabilities (and even so, most modern cameras worth a shit DO have that function available, whether you ever plan to use it or not). My tickets clearly state "NO CAMERAS." That's a bit excessive if you ask me. Those little yellow Kodak fun-saver throwaway jobs are only marginally qualified to be considered a camera, and while I doubt they'd hammer you for trying to bring one of THOSE in, unless you've got first or second-row seats, you're better off saving the effort. You'll have 36 shots, half of which are the backs of 40 random bemulleted heads, and the other half are black prints with a faint images of red ring ropes and a distant outline of A-Train's abnormal skull.

Moving on with the preparations, I've sort of outgrown making signs for wrestling shows. I join Rick in thinking it would be a tad pathetic of me to bring a WrestleLine or OO sign to the show, but would be thrilled if readers thought to do it. I considered joining the "ORTON FEARS JEB" phenomenon, but my fiancée happens to love Randy (for ALL the wrong reasons, I might add). With the wedding less than six weeks away, I'd rather not piss her off just yet.

I am a total sucker when it comes to merchandise, often dropping totally unreasonable amounts of money on stuff I won't give a second thought to after that night. I'd try to stave off that urge by not arming myself with the cash to finance my own stupidity, but I know that in the end, all that would do is force me to use credit, which is worse. Guess I better clear some room in the closet for a "You Can't See Me" T-shirt. That's where it'll be staying after I buy it. Right next to the WWF's version of the WCW logo T-shirt from 2001 that I just had to have.

No inflatable Triple H sledgehammer, though. That must be a Dayton thing.

E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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