WWE THQ Superstar Challenge Report: Benjamin Wins

Thanks to Mike Beahan for the following:

I attended the WWE THQ Superstar Challenge at the House Of Blues in Chicago and was very underwhelmed by the event. Unlike all other WWE events in town this week, this event cost $20. Even though wwe.com has a link to purchase tickets, several people behind me in line to get in did not realize this and decided to bail. They didn't start letting people in until 5:15pm. Also, nobody seemed to have any idea how this thing was going to work and whether there would be an autograph session or not.

When I entered, I was surprised that there was some black and white movie playing with no sound on the huge video screen and not some kind of WWE related video. Even though the House Of Blues has a big stage, a small stage was set up on the floor. The balcony was closed to the public as was the bar area to the side of the main stage. This made it very difficult to see without pushing your way to the front. The main video screen showed the stage only but even that was terrible because of all the bright lights shining on the stage.

The "show" started about 6:10pm with Mr. Kennedy introducing himself. He was very warmly received by the crowd. Coach and Teddy Long hosted the event and were showing their biases for their brand. (Smackdown for Teddy, Raw for Coach).

There were screens in front of the players/wrestlers to show them competing but unless you were smashed into the front, you could not see them.

There was a 16 person bracket with 8 matches between Raw and Smackdown in the first round. Cena again got a mixed reaction when he came out. RVD seemed to get the biggest pop. Smackdown won 6 of the first 8, with only Cena and Shelton Benjamin advancing from Raw. When Mr. Kennedy beat Carlito in a particularly long match, Carlito said "So what. I can say Carlito twice." He proceeded to say "Carliiiiiiittttooooo" then paused and said Carlito again in a funny moment.

Melina was the women that came out of the woman's bracket (Melina, Lita, Trish, Kristal) and faced Johnny Nitro in the semis. 3-time defending champion Shelton Benjamin easily defeated Mr. Kennedy and did sign a few things while he waited. Coach seemed to be signing a lot of ticket stubs. Nitro advanced to become Shelton's sacrificial lamb as he has won this championship all 4 years it has been held.

The festivities ended at about 7:45pm. Then local radio station Q101 had a DJ come out and ask trivia questions and gave out shirts to the winners. Shinedown took the main stage around 8:15pm. It was very weird seeing a band play with a huge Wrestlemania banner featuring giant size wrestlers behind them.

If you like Shinedown, $20 is not a lot to pay for a concert. But in my opinion, $20 is a lot for 90 minutes of watching wrestlers play video games. Especially when it was impossible to see what was going on. The logistics were terrible. Large screens could have been set up in the air so that people could see. This was embarrassing for a multimillion dollar company. Most people were under the impression that there would be an autograph session. If WWE was not planning on doing that, they should have said so on their web site. While it was cool that the DJ was giving stuff away, it was only Q101 stuff, not WWE stuff. Couldn't they have given Coach a few t-shirts?

Overall, I wished I had read something about this last year and saved my time and money. I hope that someone in next year's Wrestlemania city will read this and save theirs.