HRH Mag‘s King Of The Ring, Andy Spoors, was right at the heart of the action as the WWE brought its big hitting stars back to the UK.
Coming off the back of a packed schedule, you’d have forgiven WWE stars for phoning it in on their recent tour of the UK.
The last six weeks has seen WWE host their annual showpiece, WrestleMania, in New Orleans, a whistlestop tour of South Africa, shows in Canada, a lucrative PPV in Saudi Arabia, a full regular US tour and now a week-long residency on our own fair shores.
A look at the diary of any WWE superstar would be enough to label most rock stars as part timers – even before you consider the gruelling physical nature of the job. Intent on crossing into mainstream media, the company continue to aggressively tour and emphasise the World in World Wrestling Entertainment.
In less than a week, HRH Mag travelled down the capital for television tapings of Monday night’s Raw as well as a Smackdown Live ‘house’ show in Newcastle. The difference between the two shows is marked.
It’s not just the superstars that travel either. To ensure the product maintains the highest level of production, an army of road crew, stage hands, lighting and tech guys ensure the transition from US to overseas tapings is seamless. It doesn’t disappoint.
British wrestling fans are some of the smartest around and are currently enjoying something of a renaissance within the national scene. They know what and who to cheer and appreciate good technical wrestling when they see it. It may be the reason why we have a belt named after the UK as well as the upcoming second UK Championship tournament to look forward to.
The Raw and Smackdown tapings draw a more adult crowd, partly as they are continuations of the weekly episodes and possibly because there’s a chance to experience a show where anything could happen.
Fast forward a few days and a few hundred miles to Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena. The audience in attendance appears to more in line with the current target audience for the company. Families. As was the case when ITV ran World Of Sport back in the heyday, WWE has made it a priority to get families talking about and attending events.
From Naomi’s glowing shoes, joining in with Daniel Bryan’s ‘YES’ chants and the colourful and wacky New Day entrance – there’s plenty for all ages and sexes to enjoy. A sprinkle of NXT added a slight alternative edge to the night and more than a wink for the die-hard fans in attendance. HRH favourite Aleister Black silenced the crowd with an astonishing array of kicks and flips.
As we have mentioned before, there may be an air of inevitability about some of the results but the chance to spend an evening watching the same stars that travel the world each week on your doorstep makes that thought process disappear quickly.
There are plenty of countries in the world that would love a visit from WWE but the special relationship Britain shares with the company looks set to continue.
WWE and NXT returns to England as part of Download Festival on June 8-10 and the Royal Albert Hall for the second United Kingdom Championship Tournament on June 18 and 19. Tickets are still on sale for both events – see WWE.com for more details.