Wrestling fans have a lot of things they enjoy. You’ve got matches, match types, merchandise, PPV, television shows, feuds, stables, characters, so on and so forth. But, if there’s one thing that encompasses all of this in one glorious way, it’s experiencing it live and in-person. My first live wrestling experience came in 2004 when I attended WrestleMania XX. I was in the upper section with my two best friends, Dion and Jon. The experience was phenomenal. No matter if the event was good or bad after the fact; the experience was worth every penny. I didn’t get into attending wrestling events live until 2008 with my first ROH show. Since then, I had to attend live wrestling shows if it was in my area and if it was affordable. Now, for as many live events I’ve been to, I have rarely gone to that of the WWE variety. I have been to a live PPV, and even some regular live events, but I’ve never been to a television taping, until now. As the title states, here’s my experience at a SmackDown television taping.
To start, I had a chance to get the tickets in advance, thanks to a co-worker that sent me an email about it. She happily took me to a SmackDown show on a Friday a few years ago. We had great seats and great food. The event itself was decent; after all, it was a house show. Since then, I had gone to about one more house show on the Saturday in MSG before the Fatal 4-Way PPV in 2010. The seats were a bit further back, and the show was practically identical to the PPV. What would make this show different? It was a taping of an episode of Friday Night Smackdown. I got to be part of television history. What was it like? I’m glad you asked….or noticed…or something.
I went to Euclid Avenue in Brooklyn to wait for my fiancé and my best man to travel there together. See, Smackdown was in what is known as the “Tri-State Trio” of arenas. Every live event report for the affiliated area had their standard places. For me, it was the Meadowlands Arena (now known as the Continental Airlines Arena), the Nassau Coliseum, and the big one, Madison Square Garden. I’ve been to MSG for the RAW show and for WrestleMania. I’ve been at the Nassau Coliseum for the Smackdown house show. For this occasion, I would be returning to Long Island and the Nassau Coliseum for the taping. We met up around 5:30 and went on our way to the event. The show started at 7pm, even though the taping doesn’t start until 8. We would be treated to one hour of tapings for other shows like WWE Superstars and WWE Main Event. When we got there, we had to make the choice between cheap or expensive parking. The difference: about a 10 minute walk to the arena. As we got to the arena, we showed our tickets to the usher and we were on our way in. And that’s when the madness began.
We were greeted to two throngs of people going in two directions, as long as we kept to the right of each other. That didn’t stop the endless hustle and bustle. There was a cavalcade of fans here, with all types of shirts and such. We saw older fans with much older t-shirts, younger fans with newer shirts, and all types of groups in between. There was no shortage of fans with championship belts, as well. Sorry, but if I have to spend that much on a replica instead of the actual thing, I’ll pass. But, they did look nice. Vendors were selling all types of food and merchandise, all ranging from standard arena fare to just a bit too expensive. That didn’t stop us from buying chicken fingers, nachos with cheese, and the complimentary WWE cup with various WWE stars on it. My best man went to his seat early so we could track him down later after getting concessions. Much to our chagrin, the seats were very far up, about 4 rows from the back. Thankfully, our noses didn’t bleed.
When it was time to get settled, we saw the ring clear as day. Sadly, pictures were not going to happen because of our distance. That, and Kodak doesn’t make the best digital cameras. The fans were very vocal and very loud. They definitely were having a great time. The loudest pops of the night went to the likes of Sheamus, Zack Ryder, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and even the Shield, as well as Fandango. If there’s one thing New Yorkers have in common, it’s that we know who we like and we aren’t ashamed to say it. We also aren’t ashamed to be a bit obnoxious. But, I digress. The action for the night was very solid from top to bottom. Some of the segments dragged on, but as expected, it was standard WWE fare. Overall, the show was pretty good. As for the pyrotechnics, cover your ears when possible. Also, it will get hot when Kane sets off his fire.
Afterward, we slowly made our way out, although many left way before us to beat the traffic. Various people were waiting on line for tickets to the next time the WWE returned to the arena. That date would be late November for a live taping of Monday Night RAW. How awesome is that? It would be just as awesome if I could manage to go. I couldn’t. Regardless, my experience was a great one. I suggest that you do it sometime if you haven’t already.