Thousands of fans donned T-shirtsimprinted with catchphrases of their favorite WWE characters.
Whether it was for the stereotypical redheaded Irishman or for the comedic Italian with the sockpuppet, spectatorswaited in anticipation at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to see the villains, commentators, heroes and over-dramatic referees.
As fans of all ages got comfortable in their seats, commercials of Dwayne The Rock Johnsons glorious return toMonday Night Raw became cause forno-holds-barred shrieks from the crowd.
For some, it hardly seems logical to proclaim the violent act of throwinganother man into an upright ladder a sport or even entertainment. But the 12,579 who packed the Forum and the millions ofviewers who watched it on television were sure to disagree.
Ticket prices exceeded $90 after the cost of service fees and taxes wereincluded.
The spectacle of throwing fakepunches and overly exaggerated jumps from the rings ropes seemed to enthrall the Tampa community as they raised colorful,homemade signs high in the air to show support or bash the entertainers.
So how has this sport with blatantly fake action sequences become so popular, not only in Tampa, but across the world?
As I walked into the arena, Inever got a sense of displacement as thediversity of this event surrounded me. I sawelderly people strolling around with theirwalkers, infants being carried by their teenageparents and everyone in between.
The female wrestlers, or WWE Divas, and lesser-knowns performed as I made my way to my seat.
It was clear why most had come to see the movie-star legend, The Rock.
But the stunts were less thanimpressive and of far lower quality than a low-budget action film.
The problem with the production lies in the fact that bodily injuries only occur when folded dark metal chairs, ladders and cheap wooden tables are used as weapons. The question still loomed as to why this event was so attractive.
A match between two characters Ryan Reeves, or Ryback, whose catchphrase is feed me more and CM Punk, who is the reigning WWE
Champion was seemingly endless andmelodramatic as the championship belt hung above the ring. CM Punk climbed to the belt by way of ladder-weapons first and became the champion who mustdefend himself against The Rock at the Royal Rumble in 20 days.
As if a light bulb flickered above my head, I realized the value of this event.
It holds the same dramatic values as a soap opera and shares the samestructure of a story, which we were all taught in Composition classes.
The end of the show began with amonologue by CM Punk about deception and power, and after taking a few cheap shots at Tampa Bay, the tension in thearena grew thick, while audible gasps of children surrounded me.
Understand that when you step into the ring, your arms are too short to box with God.
The dialogue given to the wrestlers/actors/clowns-in-shiny costumes is decent, and that has to be the mainattraction to these weekly shows. Theepisodic highs and lows of all of thecharacters are interwoven with oneanother to create an emotionalattachment and bond to those who choose to watch the nearly 4 million viewers each Monday night.
For over 20 years, WWE has become a recognizable brand, and theyll continue to do so successfully with more bright,barely-there costumes and plenty of good writers.