slides: 10 Things You Need to Know About the WWE in Worcester
Friday, September 21, 2012
WWE Raw is coming to Worcester this Sunday at 5 pm, and GoLocalWorcester has you covered with everything you need to know about the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment. Click through out slideshow to see what to expect, and relive one of wrestling's greatest moments that happened right here in Worcester.
History Made in Worcester
The DCU Center (then known as Worcester's Centrum Centre) was host to one of the most iconic moments in the history of pro wrestling in December of 1998.
At a taping of Monday Night Raw in Worcester, Mick Foley, wrestling as his alter ego Mankind, defeated The Rock to win his first world championship. The show would air a week later, but rival promotion WCW got wind of the match's result and revealed on their broadcast that fans should not switch over to Raw because Mick Foley was going to become the new champion. WCW announcer Tony Schiavone even added sarcastically, "That'll put a lot of butts in the seats."
The move backfired. Thousands of fans switched over to the then-WWF broadcast to watch the fan-favorite Foley defeat The Rock. That night would prove to be a turning point in the "Monday Night Wars" between the two companies in the 1990's, pushing momentum back toward the WWF.
The Best in the World?
CM Punk currently sits atop the world of sports entertainment as WWE Champion. He constantly refers to himself as "the best in the world," and it's hard to argue with the rebellious superstar.
At Sunday's Night of Champions, Punk scored a controversial draw against John Cena to extend his title reign to over 300 days. In the modern world of weekly broadcasts, a nearly year-long title reign is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, only two men have held the belt longer since 1990. Diesel (Kevin Nash) from 94-95 and John Cena from 06-07.
Still, he has a long way to go to break the record for longest WWE title run held by Bruno Sammartino, who held the belt for 2,803 days between 1963 and 1971.
A Superstar Injury
Speaking of John Cena, the WWE's most polarizing star will unfortunately not be in Worcester for Sunday's show. The West Newbury, MA native will be undergoing shoulder surgery and recovering from several other injuries after he failed to defeat Punk at Night of Champions.
Cena is the leader of the "Cenation," and has served as the face of WWE for the better part of a decade now. But, as wrestling fans demand more reality, Cena's "good guy" image has become stale to some, leading to him getting booed and cheered simultaneously at nearly every show.
As it stands now, Cena is generally the fan-favorite of the younger fan base, while Punk serves as the hero for older fans, making their rivalry all the more interesting.
A Big Challenge
While Cena will not be able to face Punk Sunday, that doesn't mean he is getting off easy. Instead, the world's largest athlete, the 7-foot, 400 pound Big Show will be Punk's opponent.
The Big Show had been feuding with Cena in recent months, and had appeared in the Main Event of multiple pay-per-views and Monday Night Raws in his quest to win the WWE Championship.
He will get another shot Sunday when he faces Punk for the title.
The General Manager
Anyone who has followed Raw throughout the years knows that a recurrent theme is the show's General Manager. The GM has taken many forms. Sometimes it's a legend that is now back in a less physical role, like Shawn Michaels, and sometimes it is an anonymous email sender that turns out to be an Irish little person.
But the current General Manager has to be the most appealing of them all. WWE Diva AJ Lee may look cute, but don't let your guard down around this chick. I mean, she left her fiance Daniel Bryan at the alter in order to become the General Manager, so you know she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
An Internet Phenomenon
The "Internet Champion" Zack Ryder has had one of the more interesting rises in WWE history. Much like GoLocalWorcester, Ryder leverages social media to get his message across, utilizing twitter and creating videos that have become instant classics with wrestling fans.
Oh, and his catch phrase "Woo, woo, woo" is somehow incredibly annoying and hilarious at the same time.
High Flying Action
Two of the most athletic and acrobatic superstars in WWE history will perform Sunday as Sin Cara teams with fellow Mexican-born superstar Rey Mysterio.
The two will do battle with Tensai and The Miz, who you may know from MTV's The Real World. Look for this tag-team match to be one of the night's highlights, as these high-flying Luchadors are two of the best in the business.
Central Mass Superstar
If you haven't already, check out our story about North Oxford's Aaron Stevens returning to Central Mass as "The Intellectual Savior of the Masses," Damien Sandow.
Sandow will do battle with "The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay. Sandow says of Clay:
"He's my arch-enemy, but also the enemy of taste and decency."
Not Your Big Brothers WWE
The show you will see Sunday night will have very little in common with the mega-popular "Attitude Era" programming of the mid to late 1990's. In those days it was common to see anti-hero "Stone Cold" Steve Austin guzzle beer in the ring or attack his boss in the hospital.
Now, the WWE strives to maintain its TV-PG rating and provide family friendly entertainment.
Not Hulk's WWE Either
Still, there is an edge to the programming, and a depth to the characters that wasn't there when Hulk Hogan was carrying the flag in the 1980's and early 90's.
The fans demand it. After being fed edgy and reality-based story lines for a decade, there was no way things could go back to the clearly defined "good vs evil" story lines of the past. Fan reactions to Cena, the WWE's clean-cut star that stands for everything good, is a testament to that.