On Saturday night, August 25, WWE came to the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a house show. Being Sioux Falls is my current place of residence I couldn’t pass it up. While the show was standard small market house show fare, the experience was one of the most enjoyable of all of the live wrestling shows I have been to. Accompanying me on the trip were two of my best friends from college, both of whom are semi-casual fans at best, one friend’s girlfriend, taking in her first ever pro wrestling experience and the other friend’s older brother and his little kids, aged 9 and 11.
To say I spent more the show watching everyone else’s reactions, trading stories, answering questions and filling in the absurdities of the show would be an understatement.
We arrived just as Brodus Clay came to wrestle Damian Sandow. Being they were the first out and Sioux Falls had not had WWE in town for awhile they both got strong reactions. Not surprisingly Clay won the match.
The second match saw Jimmy & Jey Uso beat Mike McGillicutty and Johnny Curtis. To describe this match to the causal fans it was easy to explain that it was Rikishi’s kids versus Mr. Perfect’s kid and the lowest man on the WWE totem pole.
Ryback beat Jinder Mahal. Ryback was quite popular with the crowd and the “Feed Me More” chants are definitely working. The kids in our group, especially the 9-year-old girl, was all about the chants and cheering her favorites. The casual fans were just astonished that the company in 2012 is still running with an evil Indian foreigner gimmick in 2012.
Naomi (one of Brodus Clay’s Funkadactyls) beat Natalya Neidhart. Originally Kaitlyn was supposed to Natalya’s opponent but apparently travel issues caused her to miss the show and being that Naomi (called “Queen Funk” by ring announcer Matt Striker) was probably the only other trained woman wrestler in the building she got the spot. I was amazed at the 9-year-old’s knowledge about Natalya and the Hart family.
Kane beat Daniel Bryan in a Sioux Falls Street Fight. The fans could have chosen between that or a 2-out-of-3 Falls match. To describe Bryan to my “colleagues” it was that he was best indy musician in the country who finally made it big. And yet he is now making his money by simply chanting “Yes/No,” which the crowd completely ate up.
They then had intermission, which saw the merch table overrun with people. Yeah this TV-PG thing is working.
Sin Cara beat Cody Rhodes in the next match. Rhodes tried to show the photo of Sin Cara “unmasked” but it doesn’t work as well without a TV camera zooming in on it. To my friends this was the younger, faster, lighter, quicker Rey Mysterio versus Dusty Rhodes’ kid with amazing genetics.
Randy Orton beat Dolph Ziggler in the seventh match. Orton was THE star of the show. His reaction was by far the biggest of the night and was treated like the biggest thing on the show. His outstretched arm pose went over great with the young crowd, and I about fell out of my chair when the 9-year-old said that Randy’s dad was Cowboy Bob Orton. How the hell does she know that?
In the main event, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus beat Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing match. There were surprisingly a lot of weapons used, primarily a kendo stick though. Although the casual fans, who watched in the late ’90s like everyone else on the planet, still got a kick out of everything (like garbage cans, tables and fire extinguishers) being stored under the ring, like it’s the world’s best storage unit. The girlfriend dug Sheamus’ music and kept doing the “Whoa” bit all night while downtown. Post-match Ziggler came out and faked like he was going to cash in Money in the Bank, but he got a Brogue Kick for his trouble.
The matches were nothing to write home about, and not surprisingly the “good guys” won every match. But the experience was off the charts. The arena was maybe 60 – 70% full, but those that were there were definitely in to it. And it was certainly a family friendly crowd. But it was great to watch young fans have the time of their life, making their dad the “best dad in the world.” Plus it was fun to fill the casual fans on what’s going on today, as I warned them that afternoon that they wouldn’t probably know any of the wrestlers coming into the show. And the girlfriend was a good sport and seemed to have a good time.
It was a great three hours of entertainment for $20 and just a lot of fun.