Wife and I went to see SmackDown Live in Des Moines last night. I'm sure you all watched the show last night so I don't need to give you a match by match breakdown. Instead, I'll give you a rundown of our trip there and some things to know if you ever go to a live WWE event.
Like I said yesterday, we were really pushing it to make it by the 7:00 start time. The high school tennis team I coach had the late weight lifting time on the schedule so we weren't able to get to the parking lot early and do a little tailgating like we normally do for WWE events. By the time we made it into the parking lot, found a parking spot, went to but tickets, and got to our seats we made it just in time. Shinsuke Nakamura's music hit to start the show literally within 10 seconds of the time we finally reached our seats. So we missed everything they filmed for SuperStars before SmackDown Live actually started but we made it for the big shows.
Our seats. Normally when we go to SmackDown we just buy the cheapest tickets we can at the gate and either move to a different location on the camera side of the arena or live with what we get. Last night was almost a sold out show though so it was a little more difficult. We bought the cheapest seats we could again ($17, bargain) but they ended up being Floor seats. The ticket lady told us WWE opened up some seats on the Floor and lowered the prices on event day. So instead of $47 or $57 or whatever they were, they were $17. We didn't really want Floor seats but we took them since there wasn't much left I guess.
Dirty secret about Floor seats at wrestling events....they aren't that good. You would think they would be since it puts you fairly close to the action but unless you are in the first 3-4 rows, you really can't see much of what's going on. The ring isn't elevated so you are basically the same height as the ring which makes it hard to see and you are looking through rows of people in front of you. And with the new SmackDown animated entrance ramp that is flat instead of raised, you can't really the the wrestlers entering either. So it does make for tough viewing and a weird experience. So if I were you, never pay good money for Floor seats unless you are a row or two deep.
Once we were our seats for about an hour though we ended up moving to the seats where we normally try to sit that were open. For WWE events they always sell out the side they show on camera first so the arena doesn't look empty and then the side they film from they fill those seats at the end. So if it's not a full house, you can get pretty decent tickets for cheap. That's normally our game plan. For some reason the ticket lady couldn't give us those to start when we got there but that's where we ended up. And from there you can see everything perfectly and it's a great time. Stayed there the rest of the night and really enjoyed the show. Or at least I did. The wife tolerated it very well but I wouldn't go as far as "enjoyed it".
Going to break the SmackDown experience breakdown into two sections just so it doesn't get too long today. But the other thing to mention before some of you go to a WWE live event is that the time during the commercials at these events are brutal. I always think this is something WWE could do better. During commercial breaks, the house lights stay dim and WWE just plays different video packages during that down time. No one interacts with the live audience, no contests, no wrestler interactions, just video package after video package after video package. It's really strange.
For the first couple it's not to bad but after the 10th or 11th break in the action to watch a video package it really grinds you down. Also kills a lot of the flow and momentum building throughout the night. This isn't the case when you go to a House Show (show not taped to air on TV) though. Since it's not on TV there are no commercial breaks. So it's just match after match. And the wrestlers interact with the crowd more since they aren't worried about filming to TV and the viewers at home. So if you ever get a chance to go to a WWE show that's not on TV I'd highly recommend it even though it won't be shown on TV.
The Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs last night by the Houston Rockets. They lost in the series four game to one so the series was in Houston's favor most of the way, so predictably Twitter started bashing the Thunder and trying to make themselves sound smart. Also predictably, Russell Westbrook started getting a lot of hate on Twitter. The subtweets were strong.
I started seeing a lot of tweets in the vein of "Teams win championships, not players" or "You can't win a title with one guy dominating the ball so much" or "The Thunder are never going to win a championship with Russell Westbrook taking so many shots".
Oh my. Get off your pompous high-horse Twitter people. My goodness.
The franchise lost one of the best three players in the league just last off-season to free agency. Not a trade where they'd get something back for him, he left for a different franchise and they got nothing in return. You just don't replace that in the NBA, especially in one year. No matter what they did this year or who else they brought in, they weren't going to contend for a title. This wasn't just an All-Star that they lost, this was Kevin Durant. He's an elite player in the league. Easily in the NBA's Top 5.
They weren't going to compete for a title this season or this playoff series. That ain't on Russ.
What is on Russ this year is even getting them to the playoffs this year. In the West. That's a feat on its own. I'm a Pacers fan and am staring losing Paul George from Indiana right in the face. If that happens, you know what I'm not expecting? An NBA championship the season after he departs. I'm not even expecting a playoff appearance for a year or two while they rebuild. And that's in the East where 40 wins generally gets you in and that's a player who, for as much as I love Paul George, isn't on Kevin Durant's level.
So knowing that they weren't going to compete for a title this year, the Thunder went with an approach that their fans enjoyed, got their team into the playoffs, and probably won one of their players the MVP award. Sounds like a pretty decent plan for a team that just lost a franchise player less than one year ago. But sure Twitter, bash Russ.