Review: WWE RAW, Manchester Arena, November 3rd 2012

Isn’t it adorable to see kids at WWE shows? They cheer, they shout, they scream, they mimic the taunts and moves of their heroes, they completely believe everything they’re seeing is real.

And they get really annoyed when they have grown-ups sitting behind them shouting, “CENA SUCKS!”

Yes, I spent Saturday night on the shelf of the Manchester Arena cheering for all the heels (as well as screaming an ill-advised “I LOVE YOU, CLAUDIO!” when the US champion made his way to the ring) and thoroughly distressing the trio of children in front of me who for some reason did not want Dolphin Ziggler to win the Special Attraction match against the one-armed John Cena.

I was initially quite impressed with Cena selling his elbow injury prior to the match; after all, this is SuperCena, who fears showing vulnerability. Then I realised he wasn’t “selling” an injury at all; he is genuinely in pain. When they were running the ropes, every single Cena clothesline came from his left side; he was running diagonally across Ziggler to avoid using his right arm.

My favourite match of the night was, unsurprisingly, the tag match between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars (with Damien Sandow back in his pink trunks); great wrestling plus great comedy, and a fabulous skit between Daniel Bryan and Kane at the end as they bickered over who was the rightful owner of both tag-team champion belts.

Rather more surprisingly, I also enjoyed the opening tag match between Santino Marella and Brodus Clay and Primo and Epico, which got the crowd nicely warmed up, and also featured the best reaction to the ridiculous Cobra I have ever seen.

Michael McGillicutty (as a face) looked very good against Tensai; Antonio Cesaro destroyed Zack Ryder, who he simply did not seem to want to have anywhere near him; and CM Punk bewildered everyone by passing on messages by proxy to the ring announcer about how Millwall are better than either Manchester team. (That was one of the oddest things – none of the wrestlers did any speaking themselves. Vickie Guerrero did some screeching, but obviously that isn’t the same.)

I was horribly disappointed by the dreadful Divas’ triple threat match between AJ, Layla and Eve, which involved little physical contact and far too much backside-slapping. And of course Punk walked Ryback through their heavily choreographed “main event” once more.

WWE pride themselves on being the best value in sports entertainment; three hours of wrestling for £40 isn’t too shoddy. I have to say I enjoyed last year’s Smackdown tour much more, but the Manchester Arena had much nicer staff.

Have you seen any of the WWE UK tour shows this time round? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

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