Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Raw Photos: Documenting a Night of Wrestling (with my conscience) -- WWE Raw, Allstate Arena, March 6, 2017

I am not, nor have I ever been, much of a fan of professional wrestling.

To say that I have never watched WWE or its counterparts on TV would be a lie, and indeed I know many of the most famous names in "sports" entertainment.

But I don't think I've ever seen a full program of wrestling until I attended--on a whim--WWE Raw on Monday night at Allstate Arena, just outside Chicago.

It seemed like something to do.


No, I didn't know who most of the wrestlers were, and the ones I did--Goldberg, Brock Lesner, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker--didn't wrestle full matches. (Mick Foley was also on hand but is no longer a wrestler.)

Basically it seemed like the evening's card--and running nearly 4 hours, I could have easily done with just half--existed to (continue to) set up, promote and extend grudges to be settled at the next installment of WrestleMania, on April 2.

I won't be watching.

But that's why the big names on hand at Allstate--seemingly including one younger guy named Roman Reigns--tossed each other around momentarily, but didn't actually wrestle full matches.

And the name the sold out crowd chanted most--CM Punk, a former champion hailing from Chicago--hasn't been with WWE for three years, due to health issues and resultant disputes.

As someone who loves both sports and theater, I can somewhat understand the massive, longstanding appeal of professional wrestling as an amalgamation of the two.

It was rather endearing to see a good number of dads with their children, whether actually kids or young men with developmental issues.

And I liked noting the goings-on pertaining to the live TV broadcast (on USA Network), including layers of ring canvases being stripped away for each match. That makes perfect sense, given scantily attired men--and for one way-too-long match, women--rolling around in the ring, but I had never given it any thought.

But that the coolest moment of the night came at the end (after the telecast, unless it extended past 10:00pm) when The Undertaker--nearly 52-years-old and slowed by multiple surgeries in recent years--made an appearance to grand pyrotechnics and thunderous applause, might suggest that the WWE would do well to find some interesting new characters.

Anyway, I'm glad I went and--while not being any more enthralled than I expected--found it fun enough and pretty well-paced despite the length.

If nothing else, it made for a collection of photographs I will share below.

All photos by Seth Arkin, copyright 2017. Please do not repost without permission and attribution.

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