In Person WWE RAW Recap: Kevin Owens' Cartwheel, Mark Henry Injury, Off Camera Notes, Attendance

Thanks to Wrestling Inc. reader Brian Reed-Baiotto for sending in this in-person report for last night's WWE RAW in Anaheim:

I just heard on television (after I got home from the show) Michael Cole say "it was a sellout." It was nowhere near a full house, and it couldn't have been a sell out because on the lower level, where the large amount of fans would go, no more than 1/4 of the concessions stands were open. I asked one of men in suits why so few were open and he said, "it's all based on the size of the crowd we're expecting. We lose money having all these stands closed," noting he understands it's frustrating how long the lines were at the few stands that were open.


* After Stephanie announced to Dean Ambrose there would be a fatal five-way Intercontinental title and Kevin Owens, Stardust, Tyler Breeze and Dolph Ziggler came out, they went to commercial. During the three-minute or so commercial the ring area was dark, but usually four of the five guys were in the ring acting like they were going to attack the other. But then Stardust (Cody Rhodes) started doing a cartwheel in between the other wrestlers and got people laughing, so Owens did a cartwheel and then started dancing in front of Ziggler... then they came back from commercial and they started the match.

* A lot of people sitting around me in the lower, middle area said they had never been to a live TV taping/broadcast before, and during the 5-way often times, three of the wrestlers would be out of camera sight. Stardust ducked around one side and then Ziggler and Breeze were on the far side, where if you were watching on TV you couldn't see them, but they were obviously hiding from the camera until they got their cue. But many found it odd that most of the time, there were usually never five people in the ring, especially when not a whole lot had happened to cause those guys to be down for so long. Owens did get a big pop to start, and even bigger after he won.


* The New Day was over with the crowd. During the commercial before the Henry / Big E match started, Kofi and Xavier Woods were behind Michael Cole dancing with their butts near Michael Cole's face and Cole played his role acting like it stunk, while JBL was giving the 'unicorn' signal with his finger.

* In Big E's match with Mark Henry, the finished was obviously botched and the referee rushed New Day out of the ring and the ring-area went dark so the ref and officials could help get Mark Henry to his feet, out of the ring and to the back. Henry looked legitimately injured and in a lot of pain during and after the fall.

* Brie got a nice reaction from the crowd with obviously much love for Daniel Bryan and his emotional goodbye speech a week prior being shown on the Titan Tron. Charlotte came off as a very skilled heel on the mic. Flair got a ton of "whooo" chants during Charlotte's entire spiel.

* AJ Styles and Miz put on one of the best, back-and-forth matches of the night and towards the end, the crowd was really on the side of Styles, but also impressed with the fight the Miz put up. Everyone seemed frustrated with Chris Jericho not answering Styles' challenge for the Fastlane PPV. But everyone also knew that today (Tuesday), Jericho – who got a huge reaction when he came out – will accept the challenge.


* People next to me were betting money on each match and no one wanted to take Summer Rae in her match with Paige, because it seemed like such a mismatch, but the most drunk of this group finally took Summer Rae for $20 and when she won. People around wondered what Paige must have done to piss off Vince or HHH or Stephanie to have to lose to a wrestler so inferior to her in skill (that was their conversation, I am not necessarily calling Summer Rae inferior to Paige).

* Before going to commercial they hyped Paul Heyman coming out next, and I was sitting on the side where Roman Reigns would come down and kind of put two and two together and walked up to the concourse. You could see a security guard look around and call about three other guys to come out with him and nodded for Roman to come out of a walkway. Reigns walked through the concourse with many not knowing it was him until the last minute. Reigns was actually very friendly to the fans in the concourse who tried to reach out for him, despite security trying to keep fans away. After Heyman came on screen, Reigns' music finally hit and he made his way down to the ring and got a very mixed reaction. He's like Cena in the sense that good or bad, Reigns gets a big big reaction. He looks much bigger in person than he does on TV. The crowd got really loud when it looked for a second like Ambrose was going to turn on Reigns. But Reigns got more boos than cheers.


* Some chanted 'boring' but most gave the Social Outcasts a decent pop, especially Heath Slater and Bo Dallas. People were pretty surprised to see Zack Ryder on Raw.

* The R-Truth / Goldust skit came off funny, but very sexual when Goldust put the champagne bottle down near his crotch and made a sexual noise when the champagne landed on R-Truth's woman. A couple mom's sitting near with their young sons looked pretty uncomfortable with the gyrations.

* The League of Nations vs Lucha Dragons & Neville seemed like a visible mismatch, but the crowd got into the high flyers and yet still expected the big boys (Sheamus, Russev and Del Rio) to win in the end. The aerial attack Neville and the Luchas did got the typical "holy sh**" and "this is awesome" throughout. Del Rio looks as fit/athletic and tan and he's ever been. People chanted a couple times "we want Lana," and Rusev would point to himself like "she's with me."

* Despite losing, Naomi got a big reaction for her kicks to Becky Lynch and the crowd yelled some rude, misogynistic taunts towards Tamina Snuka after Snuka attacked Lynch. Nothing you wouldn't expect to hear from a wrestling crowd, I suppose. People laughed...

* The crowd seemed to appreciate the piece put together during Black History Month on Booker T, that showed his early-life troubles and onto his career and Hall of Fame, as well as being a father and husband. His story's conclusion got a huge ovation when the piece closed.


* Before the "main event" about 15 men, all dressed in black walked out in the dark together like they were connected and you could barely see what was going on, but you could see Lilian Garcia get on her knees to talk to someone from inside the ring to outside of it. It turns out a few minutes later, they had snuck Kane under the ring and he came up through the ring.

* That said, the crowd seemed really disappointed with the Strowman vs. Big Show match because it was three to four minutes with very little action. The most memorable part of the match was the entrance and the entire arena using their cell phone lights for the Wyatt family. Bray was again very skilled on the mic, but the match was so short. There were a couple solid moves, but no more than four minutes.

* After they went off air, most people thought the show was over. But after Kane, Ryback and Big Show left, Ambrose/Reigns, the Usos, The New Day and the Dudleys came out for the post-show main event, but most people continued to leave.

* Inside the arena, during six or seven commercial breaks, they had a commercial for the new Edge and Christian show. The first couple times the skits looked funny, but after a sixth time or so, it go very repetitive. They also highlighted the Stone Cold-Big Show interview on the WWE Network at least four times... maybe more.


Tonight they are in Ontario to tape "Thursday Night Smackdown" at the Citizen's Business Bank Arena, which is just 35 miles northeast of the Honda Center for RAW. The CBBA is nearly half the size of the Honda Center.