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 - Jason Hess

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Houston Wrestling here at Kayfabe Memories. 

In this edition of Houston Wrestling memories, we will take a look at how wrestling in Houston has changed so much, as evidenced by the September 30, 2002 “pre-Necro” Raw.  We are going to compare the modern……to the classic.  Join us as we examine an era gone by…by looking at the present wrestling scene.

WWE  Raw 

Production:  Say what you want to (and I am sure that you have) about storylines and angles currently put into play in WWE, but for years WWE has been the standard bearer as far as production values in pro wrestling.  Feud recap pieces that were used on Raw were excellent.  I don’t know this for sure, but I bet that the production staff of WWE works more hours than just about anyone else in the company.  I recently tried to edit 20 minutes worth of raw footage on a video tape down to a 3 minute segment, and it took me nearly four hours to get it right.  I can’t imagine all of the other graphics and segments that WWE produces on a weekly basis.  Perhaps one of the best pieces of the night was the initial Randy Orton “legend in the making” piece.  It had the feel of a classic NFL film with the music and the grainy type of film.  Production in WWE was excellent..…even when the angles were less than excellent.

Action:  The action on Raw ranged from good to bad.  However, two matches come to mind as reminiscent of good action.  First, HHH and Bubba Ray Dudley met for the World Title.  The match was solid, but short.  However, the main event of Chris Jericho and Kane was a good 20 minute match, full of peaks and valleys, complete with false finishes and a genuinely (at least live) unpredictable ending.  Fans popped huge when Kane won the title, as they had witnessed a story of someone trying to do a rare thing of holding more than one title vs. someone who was cocky enough to try and screw him out of that by employing the services of the world champion and his advisor.  While not every match on Raw popped the live crowd, the main event sure did. 

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere of the Compaq Center is somewhat generic, as Raw’s set up has somewhat replaced any “home arena” atmosphere that has existed in the past.  However, the atmosphere of a Raw is indeed impressive for those who have never attended live.  The pyro, lights, Titan-Tron, etc. is really neat, and for how WWE books television, adds to the experience for the live crowd.  Occasionally, during the backstage segments, it was hard to hear due to crowd noise. 

Promotion:  Unfortunately, this is one area where WWE has slipped in their once high standards.  Usually, a big card like Raw would generate huge amounts of radio and television ads.  I didn’t hear much on the radio, other than a few small ads on the AM sports radio station here in Houston.  Also, the only time that there were ads on television was during Raw itself in the weeks preceding the Houston event.  Sure, one could go to the website, or Ticketron, but the awareness factor of the event was down compared to events of the past.  Furthermore, according to the small amount of the syndicated programming I have seen, there were no local spots letting people know that Raw was coming to town.  And, because of it, they received the fruits of their labor.  There were maybe 7,000 people in the Compaq Center that night…..coming five months after a near sellout for Smackdown.  By the by there was no advertising that I saw for Raw on Smackdown either!!!  Also, Houston is above the norm as far as ratings, so there are more fans around the Bayou City than in other parts of the country.   More...

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