What's up! (In R-Truth's voice), it's Madison Square Darden with another blog post. This week, I will talk about my experience at WWE SmackDown Live in April. It was a memorable night because I got to see some great WWE action and it was at my alma mater, THE Ohio State University. I've been attending WWE events for the last 18 years and this was the first time sitting front row and it was worth every penny. I will start this post by going through the matches that occurred that night then break down the costs.
Action for the night kicked off with a dark match between Aleister Black and "The Modern Day Maharaja" Jinder Mahal. I must say that TV doesn't do the wrestlers justice in showing their size. I didn't realize how big these athletes are in person. The action was back and forth between Black and Mahal but in the end, Aleister Black would emerge victorious. After the match, WWE announcer Greg Hamilton informed the crowd that SmackDown Live would go live on the USA Network in less that 45 seconds. In the meantime, Michael Cole stood in the middle of the ring which I thought was strange. Michael Cole is the lead announcer on Monday Night Raw and I thought outloud, "What is he doing here on SmackDown?!"
8pm hit and we were live around the globe from The Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. Michael Cole is in the ring and he talks and he introduces WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. Kofi comes out throw pancakes into the crowd. Cole talks about Kofi's 11-year journey in the WWE and road to winning the title at WrestleMania accompanied by a video package. The crowd chanted “You deserve it!” and Kofi says that it was amazing and surreal feeling that he has been champion for almost a month. He said next to marrying his wife and the birth of his kids, winning the WWE Championship was the greatest moment in his life. Cole brings up that Kofi now has a huge target on his back as champion and everyone is taking aim at him. He brought up how honorary New Day member Kevin Owens turned his back on Kofi and Xavier Woods and attacked them last week. They play a clip of the attack on the titantron and Kofi says that is Kevin Owens wanted a title shot, all he had to do was ask. He challenged Owens to a championship match at Money in the Bank and Kevin Owens comes out to a chorus of boos onto the stage. Owens accepted Kofi’s challenge and says that Kofi Kingston is not championship material and he knows it. Xavier Woods suddenly attacks Owens from behind to get some revenge from last week. Owens managed to fight back and superkicked Woods on the stage. Kofi ran out of the ring to and Owens retreated to the back. Kofi helps Xavier to the back and we go to commercial break.
The first match of the evening was Bayley vs. Becky Lynch in a non-title match. While Bayley was waiting in the ring, it was comfirmed that she would be in the 8-women ladder match at Money in the Bank. She looks up at the Money in the Bank briefcase suspended above the ring and next comes out “The Man” Becky Lynch. She got a grand introduction as the woman who made history in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 winning both the Raw & SmackDown Women’s Championships.The match begins and Bayley took control of the match and threw the “The Man” off of her game. Becky regained her composure and began to take control of the match. Bayley went up to the top rope to hit a flying elbow, however, Becky got her knees up to counter. Lynch applied the Dis-arm-her and forced Bayley to tap out for the victory. After the match, Charlotte Flair came out and attacked both Bayley and Becky Lynch. She stood in the ring, basking in the glory of her handy work smiling and mocking Lynch and Bayley. Charlotte matched her way to the back followed by Becky and Bayley. During the commercial break, Becky came back out and said that she would put her SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line against Charlotte Flair in the main event later tonight. This match would be the dark match main event after SmackDown goes of the air.
The Hardy Boyz are shown on the titantron making their way out to the ring with Jeff on crutches. Team Xtreme make their way down the ramp and it was obvious that Jeff was in serious pain. They are joined in the ring with WWE reporter Kayla Braxton and they show Lars Sullivan’s attack on the Hardy Boyz from a few weeks ago. Jeff said that the attack left him unable walk and that he would need to take some time off to get surgery. Matt took the mic and said that they would have to relinquish the SmackDown Tag Team Championship and that this would not be the last time you would see the Hardys. Lars Sullivan’s music interrupts and he comes out to the ring to once again attack the Hardys. Lars goes after Matt first and then Jeff. Matt attacks Lars from behind but is overpowered and is taken down to the mat with a devastating move called the Freak Accident. Jeff is cornered by Lars, however, R-Truth comes in the ring and attempts to make the save. Truth met the same fate as Matt and was slammed to the mat with the Freak Accident. To add insult to injury, Lars hit R-Truth with a sitout powerbomb and stood tall over him admiring his handy work. He went to the back and we go to a commerical break.
A video package played on the titantron showing the 4 SmackDown men Money in the Bank Competitors. Ali, Finn Balor, Andrade, and Randy Orton would represent the blue brand in the 8-men ladder at Money in the Bank. We also found out that the 4 men would be in tag team action later that night with the team of Ali and Balor taking on the team of Orton and Andrade. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, The IIconics, came out and walked over to the announcer’s table to do commentary. Kairi Sane and Asuka make their way out to the ring next accompanied by their manager, Paige and faced local competitors in a quick tag team match. Kairi Sane hit the Insane Elbow drop for the victory and they stood tall in the ring. From my vantage point, it looked like the IIconics were talking trash about Sane and Asuka. A backstage video played on the titantron and showed Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. It was revealed that Mandy Rose would be in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and we go to commercial.
Back from commercial break, the Big Dog, Roman Reigns makes his way out to the ring to the biggest pop of the night. He begins his promo by addressing why he hit Vince McMahon with the Superman Punch a few weeks ago. While he was talking, the guy sitting next to me showed me a text on his phone. One of his friends watching the show saw that he was on TV for about four seconds during Reigns entrance and I was in the shoot as well. Sitting in the front row does have it’s perks. While Roman continued his promo, Shane McMahon interrupted him and began talking trash about how he was the best in the world. He also brought up how he would go to Michigan and talk to Coach Harbaugh about winning, which got some jeers from the crowd. Shane said that Roman would compete in a 2 on 1 handicap match and introduced his opponents: the B-Team, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Shane also introduced Elias as the special guest referee enforcer and we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, the match begins and Roman squares off against Bo Dallas. Dallas manages to get the upperhand on Reigns and the constant distractions from the Curtis Axel and Elias were almost too much to handle for the Big Dog. Roman, however, began to mount some offense. After hitting Elias with a Superman punch, Roman hit the spear on Curtis Axel and secured the victory, much to the dismay of Shane McMahon. Reigns celebrated his victory in the ring and went to the back. Following the commercial break, a replay of Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse played on the titantron.
Out comes Ali followed by his tag team partner, the WWE Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor. Randy Orton comes out next followed by Andrade and business manager Zelina Vega. Vega talks about how Andrade is the future of SmackDown Live and Andrade said that he didn’t respect Balor and Ali. The match begins and the action was fast-paced. All of the competitors shined in pivotal moment, however, Ali hit a 450 splash on Andrade to secure the victory for himself and Balor. Orton was not to thrilled about the result and slid back into the ring and hit a RKO outta nowhere on Balor. Ali didn’t want the same fate and fended off an attack from Orton and sent him onto the outside of the ring. Ali and Balor continued to celebrate their victory.
A backstage segment was shown on the titantron with Ember Moon and Carmella and it was revealed that they would be the final two competitors in the 8-women ladder match at Money in the Bank. The final segment of the night was the Kevin Owens Show. Kevin promised that Xavier Woods would be a guest on the show and he introduced him. He pulled out a Xavier Woods action figure and propped it up in the guest’s chair. Kevin also pulled out a Big E action figure and began to ask them condescending questions. Owens claimed that Kofi stole his WrestleMania moment and Kofi came out and attacked Owens. Kevin managed to get away and retreated through the crowd. Kofi stood on the turnbuckle daring Owens to come back and fight him. This was the end of SmackDown Live.
205 Live starts with the Singh Brothers and the Lucha House Party in a tag team match. The Singh Brothers announced that they were making their return to 205 Live to take the show into the future. The match went back and forth for about 10 minutes and the Lucha House Party secured the victory. Gran Metalik hit an elbow drop on Sunil Singh followed by a Shooting Star Press by Lince Dorado to get the win.
The Brian Kendrick comes out for a match but is attacked by Mike Kanellis and the fight spilled to the ringside area. Akira Tozawa comes out to help Kendrick and a few referees and 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick came out to break up the fight. Once everything was settled, it was reveal that Tozawa will take on Kanellis in a No Disqualification next week. The main event for 205 Live was Drew Gulak vs the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Tony Nese in a non-title match. Both competitors were familiar with each other and the action was back and forth throughout the entire match. I must say that it is a shame that fans started to leave before the start of 205 Live because they put on some of the best matches in the entire WWE. Nese won the match with a German Suplex followed by a Running Nese over his former best friend. Nese celebrated in the ring while Gulak looked dejected and defeated on the entrance ramp.
The final match for the evening was Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Out first was Charlotte followed by Becky and the match begins. Charlotte took control of the match early and began to gloat and pander to the crowd showing how dominant she was. Myself as well as the two guys next to me weren’t fans of her showboating and we began to chant “CHARLOTTE NO BELTS!”. That caught her attention and she told us to “SHUT UP!” and went back to wrestling Becky. “The Man” managed to get some offense in, however, Charlotte countered and regained control. We began to chant “CHARLOTTE NO BELTS!” again and that really upset Charlotte. She told to “SHUT UP!” louder than the first time and came outside of the ring to admonish us. We continued to chant “CHARLOTTE NO BELTS!” until Becky attacked her from behind threw her into the barricade right in front of us. Becky took Charlotte around the entire ringside area, hitting her against the barricade before tossing her back into the ring. After the match, Becky celebrated in the ring while Charlotte walked up the ramp to the back. Becky walked around ringside and took selfies with the fans and signed autographs. I was SO CLOSE to getting a selfie with “The Man”, but I did get a nice picture of her while she was at ringside. Becky posed on the stage one last time then she went to the back to close the show.
After the show ended, I stayed at ringside to watch the crew deconstruct the ring and the set. I asked them what do they do on their days off. One of the crew members said “Rest.”, then I asked him what was the next town. He said, “Cincinnati for Monday Night Raw.” I took a few more pictures then I left ringside to head out of the arena. I was feeling hungry after the show and I walked over to Wendy’s on High Street to get a 4 for $4 meal, then I went home around 12:20 AM.
“How Much Did It Cost?”
All prices are in US Dollars.
Lime Scooter: $2.80
WWE SmackDown Live via StubHub: $171.17
Pizza and Angry Orchard at The Schottenstein Center: $23.00
GRAND TOTAL: $201.04
The numbers are straightforward, however, let's put the numbers into context. I took a Lime scooter over to The Schottenstein Center because I didn't feel like walking over to the arena. I live about 1.5 miles away from The Schott and usually I would take the COTA bus down to OSU campus and walk down Lane Avenue over to the arena. I found a Lime scooter by my apartment and took a 11-minute ride over to the arena.
The ticket to SmackDown Live is the biggest expense and the most surprising considering where I sat. As I stated earlier, I have been going to WWE events for the last 18 years and I have never sat on the floor, let alone the front row........ until April 30, 2019. The ticket was well below the face value price of $500 because there was a Blue Jackets game at the same time over at Nationwide Arena. They were in the second round for the first time ever in team history and they were facing off against the Boston Bruins. The series was tied 1-1 and the Blue Jackets would go on the defeat the Bruins 2-1 and take 2-1 series lead. I sat in Floor 7, Row A, Seat 3 and I had an excellent view of the WWE Superstars when they came out for their matches. The only drawbacks were that it was difficult to see if anything occurred on the stage or by the announcers' table on the other side of the ring.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my next blog post in 2 weeks. It will be about my experience at the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in May. Take it easy and remember to “Live for the Experience”.