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   October 30, 2014



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Loving life in a Raw crowd gone wild
By PAT LAPRADE and BERTRAND HEBERT - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena plays to the crowd at the Izod Center Monday night at the start of Raw. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- Some people might dismissed the crowd reaction last night during Monday Night Raw. Some others will explain it as the crazy Bizarro World reaction for the Raw after WrestleMania or simply as too many smart fans trying to take over the show.

Here's our attempt to explain what happened at the Izod Center.

The crowd up until the Sheamus versus Randy Orton encounter. The Miz and John Cena were hugely hated, and Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler were decidedly babyfaces. Even the six-man match with 3MB was able to go out there without any problems. Nothing compared to what happen when the crowd, as a whole, decided it had had enough and they wanted their voices to be heard.

At first, the crowd's message got lost in the sea of different chants but the first gut reaction from the crowd was just: “Not those two again!” Not because they felt Orton and Sheamus were not good wrestlers but more for what they started chanting at some point: “Same old sh--!”

Poor Sheamus and Orton saw their match become the highlight of the night for everything the crowd did and for the fact that they were unable to take control of it back from them.


Compare that to John Cena, who was later able to pull the crowd back in, during the main event and again after the camera stopped rolling.

The crowd was heavily influenced by a major influx of European tourists in town for the whole weekend of activities associated with WrestleMania. Europeans are very festive people who like to dance and sing while attending a sporting event such as a soccer or hockey game.

They sure lead the pack last night and really let them have it. Some of the chants included: Mike Chioda, Ole Ole Ole, RVD, Big Show, JBL, Jerry, Michael Cole, Justin Roberts, CM Punk, Y2J, Austin, X-Pac (who was in attendance in a press box), ECW, Randy Savage, HBK, Ice Cream man, thank you Big Show (when he finally ended the match), Yes (after Show punched Orton), Pretzel guy, cotton candy, we are awesome, throw the chair (as Big Show was 0 for 2 in chair throwing in the ring), and finally did the wave like at a soccer or hockey game.

It didn't take long for the crowd to grasp that it was going to be the major story, aside from Dolph Ziggler becoming the World champion to a thunderous reaction. The Ziggler love brought back memories of Steve Austin as the crowd’s darling even with his heel persona 15 years ago.

Fandango got more than a babyface reaction – he got a standing ovation. Even if the crowd popped big for Jericho's interference, consider this the stamp of approval on the new character. As Fandango was slowly retreating to the back, the fan section that was strongly behind Wade Barrett earlier on and was usually the section leading the crowd, started to hum his theme song while dancing. Everyone followed and it would be there on and off until the end of the show.

When Mark Henry battled John Cena in the main event, Cena did what he always does when this type of reaction happens and played along with it doing a few dance steps to the crowd’s delight. The crowd popped huge for what seemed like a heel turn for Ryback but sounded like a face turn as the crowd was more than happy that someone would finally take out the most hated man in the building: John Cena!

When the dust clear and Cena was picking himself up after the show, anyone who thought this thing was over and people were going to gently go back home were dead wrong. The humming and dancing continued and got stronger as Cena thanked the crowd by putting them over and relinquishing the WWE championship to them.

WHAT YOU THINK
Is Fandango a bigger star after his reception on Monday Night Raw, where the fans all sang along with his song?
For sure - 26%
A little bigger - 16%
Not really - 29%
Who's Fandango? - 29%
Fandango's theme song could be heard everywhere on your way out of the building as fans wanted this moment to last forever. People leaving the parking lot were honking the song or blasting it through their car radio speakers.

Everything that WrestleMania wasn’t for the hardcore fans, this edition of Monday Night Raw was. These fans, who take vacation time during WrestleMania to travel from all over the world, are there to have fun and be a part of something they have dreamt about for years. Last night they just might have cemented a tradition for the Raw after WrestleMania.

It happened last year too, with the Yes chant for Daniel Bryan and the destruction of John Cena by Brock Lesnar.

Fandango’s music could very well become the Yes chant of 2013. Also let’s not forget to keep an eye on how Zieggler will surf this new wave of popularity.

We often forget that during the height of ECW and the Attitude era, violence and foul language was not the main reason the product was popular. The main reason was that the crowd felt like they were part of the show and that their reaction to the product had an impact on what would be coming next.

Maybe after last night if crowds at PPV, Raw and Smackdown start to react that way because they want to have fun just like they saw last night, we could have a new era just like John Cena said to close the show: “This new belt, like The Rock said, was for the people, and I think he’s right, this is the People’s era.”

RELATED LINKS

  • Raw: Rogue crowd dominates post-'Mania show; Ziggler cashes in
  • Raw in East Rutherford, NJ, Photo Gallery

    Pat Laprade and Bertrand Hebert will complete their WrestleMania tour with Smackdown tonight in Boston. But before so, they will stop by historian and friend Tom Burke’s house to have a look at his impressive wrestling collection.