WWE NXT came to Nottingham recently, so I grabbed a ticket and went to check it out. This was my first ever house show, and it really wasn't what you expect from watching it on TV. If you're also a first-timer planning to go, take these five lessons I learnt about WWE house shows.
1. It's more 'entertainment' than 'sports entertainment'
You've probably seen the great matches that happen regularly on televised episodes of NXT, which build up to epic confrontations on their monthly Takeover. Don't go in expecting that from the show, or you'll be disappointed. Go with an open mind, because the competitors are there simply to entertain.
Whether it's Bull Dempsey embracing the comedic 'fat character' as he struggles to keep his breath hitting the ropes, or Sami Zayn and Finn Balor parodying each other by trying on each others' entrance attire. You may not see a match for the ages, but at least you'll have a laugh.
2. Expect to pay through the nose for merch
Since when did £25 for a t-shirt and £10 for a few snap bands become acceptable? I know my mate loved Bailey, but now he's probably going to have to be sober for the rest of December because of it! If you want some merch, expect the prices to be high.
3. UK crowds can get lairy
One story to sum this up. As the match between Carmella and Alexa Bliss starts, the audience
Whoever said sexism was dead in women's wrestling is quite clearly wrong. Besides this, expect the crowd to create an infectious atmosphere of blending football chants with wrestlers names (think Jordan & Gable mixed with Toure) and a chorus of boos whenever a heel appears.
4. Expect little-to-no promos
No pipe bombs will be dropped on a house show, as the focus is placed upon matches. Stuffed into two hours (with a thirty-minute interval), we saw six matches and a quick 'thank you' from William Regal. Besides the NXT General Manager and the classic 'SAWFT' speech, there was no time on the microphone.
5. Titles will not change hands at house shows
Imagine the scenario. Weeks of story build-up to Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe at Takeover London, only to see the championship won by Baron Corbin in a triple threat match at the house show. It's been years since a title changed hands at a show that wasn't televised, so don't expect the unexpected to happen.