Dissecting Breakdown from Row 10
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Sports
And so Canada has hosted another payperview.
But to be honest, it didn't feel very Canadian.
Compared to the last PPV in the Great White North -- 1997's Survivor Series in Montreal -- Hamilton's In Your House: Breakdown lacked the flag waving and raw patriotism that makes an event fun, at least for this reporter.
There were a few maple leaf flags, a couple of half-hearted Oskeeweewee and Argoooos cheers, and the Canadian contingent of Owen Hart, Edge an Val Venis were certainly well-received. Other than that though, the show could have been held anywhere.
Today's wrestling fans seem to want an event. They dress up, make their signs and try their best to get themselves on TV.
Unfortunately, it's usually at the expense of those seated around them, who have to put up with their constant jumping up and down with their signs, or waving their plastic heads. Running to the ring to get close to the wrestlers, or bashing each other over the head with their signs.
Remember when people used to go to the matches for the wrestling? And pop for hot moves? When a finishing move was a finishing move, and there wasn't a run-in to end every second match? Or when the run-in itself isn't obvious from miles away, such as the new mysterious Edge look-a-like, who, for some reason, came in the exact same way as Edge and more people watched him, waiting for him to make his move than watched the fine match in the ring.
Now that's out of my system, let's talk about the atmosphere at Breakdown.
Copps Coliseum was certainly packed and pumped, and there were wrestling fans all over downtown Sunday afternoon. Merchandise stands inside were busy, and for once, somebody was thinking -- there was a table outside the arena for other fans to get in on the spending frenzy.
Tickets told people to arrive for 6:30 pm, but nothing happened until 6:50 pm, when an announcer informed us that the show would start at 7:00 pm, with a live broadcast of Sunday Night Heat.
Gotta say that it's kindof ironic that Heat is broadcasting live from Canada, where it isn't regularly shown. And even more ironic when you consider how cold it was on the floor, with the ice still being under the boards. (There's one way to tell the show was actually in Canada!)
If you've never been to a TV taping, here's the deal: Be prepared to sit around waiting a lot, not knowing what is going on. Commercial breaks, announcers talking on camera and not to the crowd ... It's enough to almost make you appreciate the loud music blasted at the audience during commerical breaks at hockey or basketball games. Almost.
It seems a strange way to pump up a payperview crowd. Make them sit through torture like Golga vs Headbanger Mosh and the debut of Mike and Matt Hardy, plus all the commercials during Heat. Then expect them to be hot for the rest of the show.
The most over wrestlers were Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Mankind's sacrifices seemed to be really appreciated. D'Lo is developing a following and is getting way better in the ring, picking up the facial nuances and mannerisms that have made The Rock such a breakout star. Ken Shamrock was booed soundly. Fans could care less about Gangrel, Too Hot, Bradshaw, Vader, Mark Mero, Droz.
Some of my favorite signs were:
- The Rock needs a new cookbook.
- No Venis envy here.
- Mick Foley deserves to be Champ.
- We want a Canadian belt.
- Canada is WWF Territory.
The last two de-bunk my theory about the show being non-Canadian. Sorry about that.
And there's nothing more Canadian than apologizing.