Catching a World Wrestling Entertainment live event is sort of unlike any other type of live event in the world. Between dramatic entrances, sometimes scary masks, blaring music, colourful costumes, and unbelievable athleticism right in front of your eyes, professional wrestling can sort of sweep you up in it’s very unique universal of branded entertainment. And when the WWE comes to town specifically, it’s above and beyond any other form of pro wrestling in terms of production value and energy. I was lucky enough to witness this firsthand on Monday night, when the WWE Summerslam Heatwave Tour invaded Kingston’s K-Rock Centre.
Between ring announcer-style hype men like Byron Saxton, the sometimes awful but always hilarious trombone playing skills of The New Day’s Xavier Woods, and the glow-in-the-dark ring gear and championship of Smackdown Live World Women’s Champion Naomi, it can almost be hard to know where to focus.
When the crowd erupts for Canadian performers Kevin Owens (Canadian ‘heel’/bad guy) and Sami Zayn, but also for their opponent AJ Styles (American ‘babyface’/good guy) you can find yourself not sure even who to cheer for (so you cheer for them all). When a main event battle between Japanese superstar Sinsuke Nakamura and Punjabi wrestling champion Jinder Mahal takes centre stage, your best bet is to sit back and enjoy the world class sports entertainment (or cheer for the dude with the cooler entrance theme).
Overall though, it is the fans (referred to as the WWE Universe) who help make these types of events special. No, it isn’t the chair shots, or the double teams, the twerking or the moon walks. It isn’t the dastardly villains or the vanilla heroes. It’s the people who paid their hard earned money to cheer and boo as loudly as their lungs will let them, who make these events special as they get lost in the unreal world of combat ballet.
This wasn’t my first professional wrestling match at the Rogers’ K-Rock Centre, and I don’t expect it to be my last. When the WWE comes to town, even to a small arena in Kingston, there is an excitement in the air unlike anything else. It’s almost like it’s never too late to be a kid again.
Pass the popcorn!