Last Friday night I took my oldest daughter up to Charlotte, NC for WWE SmackDown! We both have been looking forward to this event for many months. This was her first wrestling event and my first in a very long time. Once we got to Spectrum Arena and found our sets, I was surprised at just how good the seats were. I don't think I've ever sat that low in the arena before. My wife and I were at the arena not that long ago for a Charlotte Hornets game, but our seats weren't nearly as good as these. I think our tickets were like $30 or $35 each? I can't remember exactly, but we both were happy with the view.
Monday, March 21, 2022
WWE SmackDown! Charlotte 3:16
We hit the merch tables pretty early after getting into the arena and the lines were already long. It was hard to tell what exactly they had for sale as far back as we were, but as we got closer we got a better view of at least the various t-shirts they were selling. My daughter narrowed her choices down to a Women's Championship title belt and a stuffed bear...well as you can see she went w/ the bear. I ended up with a shirt similar to the one pictured, however this shirt was exclusive to our live event. The famous Stone Cold Steve Austin skull was on the back of the shirt, but the smoke coming from the eyes was teal and purple...Charlotte Hornets colors! Across the front of the shirt was simply "Charlotte 3:16". My shirt is in the laundry and I couldn't find an image of the shirt online. I was shocked there weren't any listed on eBay Saturday morning.
Before the live telecast on Fox kicked off at 8 PM, the music hit and the announcers (Michael Cole and Pat McAfee) came out to take their positions. I had no idea that this was a thing, but it was cool none the less. Pat McAfee is golden on the microphone and is quickly becoming the next Bobby "the Brain" Heenan.
Roman Reigns and the Usos were the first come out once the show got underway. In typical fashion the "Head of the Table" took his time making his way down to the ring, playing to the crowd's loud cheers (and boos). Once he got the mic his entered his normal diatribe, including "Charlotte, NC...acknowledge me". Yeah, I can't stand the guy. He was running his mouth about how Brock Lesnar was scared of facing him and how sad he was that Brock wasn't going to be there that evening. Once Paul Heyman interrupted and told him Brock was on the way, they high tailed it out of the ring and out of the arena.
We then were shown the same footage that aired on television from the back, where Roman and the Usos were getting in their SUV only to have Brock show up driving large forklift that he used to impale the vehicle! While Brock was having fun tipping the SUV, the guys moved onto a pick up truck to make their escape...but not before Brock was able to rip off the side door as the truck peeled away.
Brock then showed up, truck door in hand, and made his way out to the ring. Of course all of this is to set up their big match at WrestleMania in a few weeks. These promos have been pretty good and it's got me looking forward to the match.
The first match of the evening featured two tag teams, Los Lotharios (Angel Garza & Humberto Carillo) versus Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura. I love Shinsuke's entrance music so I had to record his entrance. This was a short match, but pretty good. Rick Boogs is quickly becoming more and more fun to watch and not just known for his guitar playing. Shinsuke and Rick would be victorius.
We were treated with a 6 man tag team match next that featured the Viking Raiders and Drew McIntyre versus Happy Corbin, Jinder Mahal and Shanke. As much as I love watching McIntyre wrestle, this was a snooze fest. The Viking Raiders should get a better push than they do, but neither one of them did much in match and were boring. Same goes for their opponents. Drew and the Raiders would be victorius.
We had no idea what the card looked like for the evening so each match was a surprise. The 3rd match of the night was the one that most interested my daughter as it would feature Naomi and Sasha Banks versus Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley. Next to Alexa Bliss, I think Liv Morgan is my daughter's favorite wrestler. I'm just glad they are actually doing something with the women's tag titles, even if they are having to pair up individuals to make new tag teams. All of this is a build up to WrestleMania of course where Carmella and Queen Zelina will be defending their titles.
Speaking of Carmella and Queen Zelina, they made their way out to the announce table during the match. Of course we couldn't hear their commentary during the match, but we did get to see Carmella strut her stuff outside the ring. The match would eventually end in a disqualification as Shayna Bazler and Natalya would enter the ring and interfere with the match. As a result, the women's tag team belts will be defended in a fatal four way match at WrestleMania.
Austin Theory would make his way out to the ring next to accept an apology from Pat McAfee for his attack from the previous week. Pat was shown leaving Vince's office backstage and out to the right. Of course the apology wasn't quite what you thought it would be...or maybe it was exactly the way you thought it would be. Pat is great on the mic and this was a fun build up segment to their match at WrestleMania. I have no idea how this match will go, but I'm looking forward to it none the less.
The previous week's SmackDown! episode featured the New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) versus Sheamus and Ridge Holland. While I didn't watch the episode, I'm kind of glad I didn't as Big E would have his neck broken during the match as a belly to belly suplex went horribly wrong. As a result, Kofi would get his revenge on Ridge Holland. Kofi would go on to win the match.
By this time it was getting late and my wife and I weren't sure how well my daughter would fair. I snuck a picture of her, bear clutched in her arms as she watched the Kofi match. Spoiler, she did great! She never once complained or told me she was tired...I was shocked...and pleased at the same time.
Being in Charlotte, NC I felt there was a good chance we'd see Charlotte Flair. Sadly she wasn't in a match, but in typical fashion she was there to promote her upcoming WrestleMania match with Ronda Rousey. Charlotte would make her way out to the ring in her fancy attire and speak to the fans, before Ronda would come out. Charlotte grabbed a kendo stick and "greeted" Ronda as she got into the ring. They would brawl for a bit before it was time to end the show with the camera focusing on Charlotte gloating on the ring's apron.
We thought the night was over since the televised portion was over, but then Roman's music hit. His whole crew came out to the ring to take on Drew McIntyre, Shinsuke and Rick Boogs. This was an odd match as it was low key and there was a lot of standing around. This was in large part due to a fan that came down to the wall around the ring, talking smack to Roman and Paul Heyman. At this point Paul would remove his sports jacket and try to go over the wall at the fan. One of the Usos was holding Paul back...which I have to admit was pretty hilarious. All the while this was going on outside the ring, Shinsuke was sucking wind while the other Uso just stood there watching the commotion outside. Towards the end of the match, Roman would make his way into the match to give everyone a Superman punch, though the babyfaces would end up with the 1-2-3.
Overall this was a fun night. Most importantly my daughter had a great time. We stayed at a hotel across the street from the arena and when we got back to our room my daughter jumped into bed to tell my wife all about it. She was running on adrenaline and told me she wished it had gone on longer. She was ready for her next event that same night!
As of this post WrestleMania is just two weeks away. I know my oldest is looking forward to watching, but I'm secretly hoping we all can at least watch Saturday night's event as a family. Call it cheesy, but I grew up watching wrestling with my grandfather so I find it cool that at least one of my daughters can enjoy this with me.