This pas Monday night WWE Monday Night Raw was held live at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island New York for the final time ever. While the show probably doesn’t rank on my top live shows of all time with the likes of the Wrestlemanias or Royal Rumbles I’ve been to live, this was really a lot of fun. It was such a nostalgic show for me filled with memories of the many times I had been at the Coliseum before. Rather than doing a usual live thoughts on the show, I’m going to instead some thoughts on the live experience which will be intertwined with some highlights from the show itself.
The Live Experience– The last few events I’ve been to live for WWE have all been pay per views, with the exception of Raw on my birthday (October 6th) in Brooklyn. I will say the way that they have the merchandise truck set up outside of the arena with streaming videos of the outreach that WWE does is great and gets you really excited for the show. As far as merchandise for the show they only had shirts for the superstars who were at the show like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Bellas, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, Ryback and of course John Cena. I really liked this because there may be fans that want to get a Brock Lesnar shirt or a Triple H shirt but this guaranteed that the guys people bought merchandise for were on that show later that night. The John Cena “US Champ is Here” shirt was the most popular superstar shirt I saw purchased with Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose right behind him. However, for me the coolest piece of memorabilia that I saw, and bought, had to be the commemorative final event at the Nassau Coliseum T Shirt. They also did a great job in making sure that the live crowd was never bored during commercials by playing never before seen video packages which included some of the music stars who performed at the most recent Wrestlemanias talking about their Wrestlemania experiences as well as video highlight packages from the past. In particular they showed the famous Stone Cold Steve Austin “Austin 3:16” promo from the King of the Ring 1996 and the crowd said every word in unison along with Austin, it was so cool. The matches taped before Raw (I believe for Superstars) featured Adam Rose taking on Heath Slater and Harper & Rowan vs. the Meta Powers. I’ll say this Mandow & Axelmania got some of the best reactions of the night, the people love them. From there, before the show started we were all treated to a surprise appearance from Vince McMahon who talked about the history of WWE at the Coliseum and mentioned how he thanked every superstar who had ever competed in the ring and all of the fans who attended over the years. It was a touching tribute to the Coliseum and while I wondered if it may have been even cooler to have Vince come out at the end of the show, his appearance at the start made the crowd get into the show right from the start. At the end of the night, it was really cool to then see a main event for the live crowd pitting Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt. This was cool because neither man was on the show and I don’t believe we’ve ever seen that match before. Both men also worked very hard getting the steps involved as well as the announce table. Orton won the match to send the crowd home happy and to finish the final match in Nassau Coliseum’s history.
First Shows are always fun– One of the really cool things about this show for me was that I got to take my girlfriend’s brother to the show and be there with him as he took in his first wrestling show and had a ball doing so. He saved up his allowance money and went to town ordering everything from a Dean Ambrose T Shirt, WWE Pop Toys and the souvenir cup. He really enjoyed checking out the different cameras around the arena trying to get on TV. Then after the show, he was excited to wait and see the superstars as they left while pointing out all of the different production trucks in and around the arena. I’ve been to a lot of WWE shows throughout my life but will never forget my first and I’m glad I was able to take him to his first show. It’s always amazing to see just how much goes into a WWE production of Raw. There are so many people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make that show work. For an example while waiting to watch the superstars leave, we saw a number of (I’m assuming interns) who ran to the lot to retrieve the different cars bring them back down into the tunnel and then run back up the ramp to get the next car, they did this time and time again.
Memorial Day- As always the packages that WWE showed for Memorial Day were really well done and classy as can be. This really felt like one of the more patriotic shows as everywhere you looked someone was holding an American flag. Just next to us there was a family that brought a huge flag with them that stretched across four people. It was really nice to see and the whole show just made me feel patriotic. I’ll point out that wrestling fans have come a long way. There was not a single person to interrupt the ten bell salute or not take every Memorial Day tribute very seriously. I used to go to shows all the time where people would do What chants during the national anthem and it’s nice to see the crowd showing respect. This almost made me wish there was a WWE event nearby ever memorial day or fourth of July, perhaps atop the USS Intrepid? Any one?
The John Cena US Title Open Challenge- Another week, another great John Cena US Title Open Challenge that I found to be the highlight of Raw. Everything about this segment from the time John Cena’s music hit to the time he was laid out by Kevin Owens, this segment was great. Say what you will about John Cena but whether you love him or hate him he elicits a reaction like no one else. The crowd was louder than they were anyone save for maybe Dean Ambrose or the great Lana-Rusev segment earlier in the show. I thought it was really cool for Zack Ryder (who is beloved in Long Island and who people were chanting for all night long) to get the shot at Cena and the people who are complaining about the way Ryder was used, really shouldn’t be. Ryder was brought out to the ring by the cast of Entourage for a US Title match against John Cena in his home town at the last show at Nassau Coliseum and got to hit his finisher on Cena, He was not going to win the US Title nor should he but, in particular, with John Cena giving Ryder the rub this may have been the rebirth of the Ryder character. It’s funny because Kevin Owens came out from the back corner of the arena just a few sections over from us. I thought his attack on Cena was so well done and already, whether or not Owens defeats Cena on Sunday, this is a great introduction for him and great exposure for NXT.
All in all I thought this was a really fun show that had a hot Nassau Coliseum crowd there throughout the show. The show did a great job in building the Elimination Chamber pay per view as it should have done being that it was the last Raw before that show. Every match from Neville-Dallas to both Chamber matches to Cena and Owens was built up over the course of the show and made that show Sunday out to be a can’t miss show. I also really liked the continuing story between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose throughout the show as it reminded me of the old Austin-McMahon stuff from back in the day. In the end though it was fun to be a part of the final show in Nassau Coliseum’s history and to take my girlfriend and her brother to show. I was able to point out different areas of the building and show them where I graduated and even take them around the town after the show to show them the different areas near Hofstra that I used to go to while I was a student there. It was a fun night that I’ll remember for the years to come and another memory to long list of memories I’ve had at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.