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30 August 2013

My IMPACT Experience...in Cleveland, OH


Welcome to another edition of My IMPACT Experience, a series in which fans who attend the show get to share their experience with you.  This edition comes to us from Chad of LOE Wrestling - an affiliate of TNAMecca - so make sure to check that site out for lots of TNA news and commentary.

If you plan on attending a future show and would like to tell us all about your experience, please contact us via email and we'll be glad to post your report.


First off, I have very intimate knowledge with the Wolstien Center, so I can confirm the estimated attendance was around 3,200 (give or take), and the most impressive part of that is the fact that only 1,300 were pre-sold. The crowd started off as very ho-hum, as a lot of people brought non-wrestling, non-TNA fans. Throughout our section and others, you could see a lot of people explaining who was who, what was going on, but those “non-” fans were some of the loudest of the night. JB really got the crowd into the early parts of the show and got us really jacked for the dark match.

(Editors Note: Yeah, the night’s a blur, so I’m trying to recall it as well as I can. Please bare with me.)

Dark Match: Jay Bradley (Match 1 of 3) vs. Micheal Hutter
- Yeah, I know more about wrestling than any dozen fans put together. I’ve been around it since I was 4, I host a show that gets thousands of hits a week and I had no fucking idea this was Derrick Bateman. I did like Hutter/Bateman in WWE, I thought he was funny, charismatic and athletic but I didn’t think he had anything about his in ring work that stood out. His dark match didn’t do anything to change my opinion. Bradley worked him well, finished him off with a Boomstick. If you’re a fan of Hutter, then I can tell you that he’s as “impressive” as he was in the WWE, just for me, he was very vanilla.

Show opened up with the Aces and Eights segment. Not a bad way to kick off the show, Bully was over, but sans Anderson, no one cared about the rest.

Note: All the floor, and VIP packages were sold out and had been for weeks according to officials.

The “Who you gonna call?/Hulk Hogan” sign guy was one of the most hated people in the building. Block all those people and you’ll be on that list too.

Match Number 1: Jeff Hardy vs. Kazarian
- Kaz had a few vocal fans, but was pretty much boo’ed from the get go. Hardy got a huge ovation. The match did a lot to bring the crowd into the show, as we were going nuts from this point til the end of the show. I wouldn’t say it was anything amazing, but the Swanton Kaz took at the end from Hardy looked stiff. Did it’s job, got the fans into the match.

Match Number 2: ODB vs. Gail Kim (2 out of 3 Falls)
- Kim got a good pop, ODB got a great pop. Watching both women pull out a Cloverleaf submission hold was amazing for me, as I’m a huge Dean Malenko fan. The women LOVED this match, and ODB shirts were all over the place. It was actually just about sold out at the end of the show according to the vendor.

Velvet Sky Promo – this aired near the end of our show, but the fans were very happy to see her. The obligatory chest shot got a huge reaction, not really sure if I’m proud of that fact or not. Not sure what the promo was about, as the fans were too loud to hear all of it clearly.

Main Event Mafia Promo – Huge pop. Maybe the 2nd loudest of this show. Samoa Joe is crazy over in Cleveland. Plethora of “Joe-Joe-Joe” and “Joe’s Going To Kill You” broke out. Too many people chanting different things though. But they were all for Joe, until Sting grabbed the mic that is. No one really cared about Rampage’s promo though. Sting got a great reaction during his Mafia stuff, but he got a huge reaction later in the evening.

(Note: I’m watching the show in bits and pieces off of TNA’s website, and I doubt anyone knew Rampage was wearing a suit. Go figure.)

AJ Styles Promo – When he came out, the Mafia were still out there. Everyone thought it was odd that he sent them to the back, as we had no idea his match was next. AJ got a HUGE ovation. On Sting/Hogan’s level. The fans were very into this promo, it created a lot of buzz. There was a slight “boring” chant coming from 5 people near us. They got pelted with popcorn by the crowd. It didn’t last too much longer.

Match Number 3: AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode
(Note: My friend that I went to the show with is a casual fan and got a good chuckle out of the “IT Factor” moniker. During the opening we came up with a better gimmick, the I.T. Factor. A I.T. guy who carries a laptop, usb cord, and oversized cell phone to the ring and uses them in matches against his opponents. His finisher; Customer Support!)
- Roode got a decent reaction, but not a great one for a guy of his stature. That changed during the match (mainly because he spat like 3 times on the crowd when he got punched or kicked by AJ). There was a noticeable “tap” chant when Roode had Styles in the Crossface. A lot of the crowd wasn’t aware of the drama this match was supposed to have, as Styles needed ten points to get in the final four.

Match Number 4: Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries
(Note: There was a huge Bro-Mans sign on the camera side, not sure if it was picked up during the show. The same group of fans also had a large “Appletini” cutout that garnered a huge “Appletini” chant in the 2nd show.
- Daniels and Aries had a great match, fans were crazy into this one. Dozens of chants broke out, but again, too many chants for maybe a lot of them to really come across. A good “this is awesome” chant broke out.

Hogan Returns/Bully Ray Promo – Hogan got a huge reaction. The BFG Series Battle Royal got a nice reaction too when it was announced. Of course, when Bully interrupted, he got a nice, heated reaction. Sting got a huge reaction when he came out. Hogan did screw up when he announced Sting’s match against Bully Ray. 1) It wasn’t for “this week” and 2) it wasn’t for the title.


I was near the top of the sold sections, and I did that for the view, so there was a hole group of people below me that aren’t visible in this shot.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, like the Hardy stairwell promo, the Daniels/Aries promo (which got a huge pop) and there was a Roode, Daniels segment, which I think happened right before, or right after the Kaz/Hardy match. I know, I suck at that, but I didn’t go to take notes, I went to have fun; which I did.

Miscellaneous Merch News: Merchandise sales were incredible, as many common sizes (Medium, Large and X-L) were sold out for practically all shirts. The younger kids had Hardy shirts, women had ODB shirts, people 30 and up had Hogan shirts. Aries, Roode, Sting and others were selling very well, but weren’t being worn.

“Work” Notes: I don’t have a voice, and that’s irrelevant. I do hope I can do the show on Tuesday. We were there bout 40 minutes before the door was open, and most people were outside the main entrance, and it was about 1,500 deep when we got there. Official ticket sales weren’t determined but they were expecting a great crowd from what they first thought, well over 3,000 for the paid attendance. I was told that there were however only 1,300 pre-sold seats, but that the Hogan/Bully Ray news interactions drove the walk up ticket sales. One person told me that this was the highest percentage of walk-up to pre-sold tickets she can ever remember, as almost half the crowd got walk up seats. Yes, the upper bowl and opposite side were completely empty, they weren’t even selling those tickets. They did however open up a section due to the walk up. From what I heard from one of my bosses, the company was really happy with the attendance, as Cleveland doesn’t do well with pro-wrestling.

I went to a Smackdown show in 2007 at the Q, back when Smackdown was loaded with talent. 16,000 seat venue (for wrestling), maybe 5,000 fans. That’s just how Cleveland is. It’s also a reason why the WWE rarely goes to the Quickens Loan arena anymore. The WWE did one show in Cleveland in 2012, for the Rock/Cena Rock Concert. That was close to a sellout, but it was mostly walk up ticket sales, and the Rock that drove the sales up (We’re apparently very-pro Rock). The other show that did fairly well before that at the Q had Hugh Jackman. Are you starting to see what it takes to sell well in Cleveland? A-Listers. Cleveland hasn’t broken 10,000 fans for a pay per view since 2001. LET THAT SINK IN.

So selling well on a pure wrestling is a rarity in Cleveland. So, yes, there were 8,000 possible seats with this configuration, and they packed in over 3,000. Not something to write home about, but TNA just made 3,000 loyal fans tonight, and that’s a start. But then again, if you go to a wrestling show and you’re obsessing over the ticket sales and the number of people there, you really suck at being a fan, just saying.

“Personal” Notes: Everyone was going nuts. We were by a lot of first time fans, and they were hesitant to get involved chanting wise early, but near the end of the first show they were going as nuts as we were. There was some fatigue during the Sabin/Knux match in the 2nd show, also there was a huge “Detroit’s Bankrupt” chant during the break between last night’s Impact tapings and the Xplosion match, so when Sabin came out and was announced from Detroit, the crowd “shat” on him. Sorry, but we hate Michigan. Also, some awesome, cool, super talented dude started an “OH-IO!” chant, (me), that got fans really into the 2nd half of the show.

Note: I’m not even an Ohio State fan, but hell, at this point I didn’t care. (WE ARE-PENN STATE).

The second show, without going into many spoilers, was very “controlled”. The first show was very organic, and we were just reacting to what we were seeing. The second show wasn’t so much. JB would basically “read us in” and tell us what was about to go down, and tell us to get nuts, and then we did. Then there’d be some quiet moments, JB would again tell us what was up, and we’d react. It was very different, that’s for sure, but still as crazy. I’d say only a hundred or so left after the first show, and most of them had tiny kids. There was also about 50 fans who were taken backstage (about 9 of them where in one giant ass group). None of them came back during the show. (TNA, I WANT THOSE FANS RETURNED TO US!)

The first Xplosion match with EY and Jay Bradley, his 2nd match of the night, and 2nd set of trunks from what we could tell, (still haven’t looked through all the pics yet) was very fun, despite this being used as the obligatory “intermission.” but the fans that didn’t go to refuel their batteries and get merch were highly entertained.

The second Xplosion match was shot at the end, between Frankie Kazarian and Hernandez. Hernandez wasn’t over at all in Cleveland, so myself and a nice chunk (a third at least) decided that was a good time to bail. I’m unsure of anything that was announced after the show, but I fully expect TNA to come back in the near future.

One gripe I had is that TNA was able to pull in nearly half of this crowd on a week’s worth of local advertisements. Imagine what a month could do? The other, no Manik/TJ Perkins. I’m a huge fan of his, and I thought he’d of done very well in Cleveland with his style. I understand why he wasn’t on two very full shows, but it was a sad thing nonetheless.

I’ll have a more detailed report about next week’s show next week. I don’t wanna do any spoilers but the second show got a great response, and the ending, oh man, that was beautiful.

I’ll try and post some more pictures on our official tumblr page later in the week. So go to http://loewrestling.tumblr.com/ for more later in the week.

Here are some of the snap shots from this week's edition of the show, with one minor spoiler.

Jay Bradley throughout “the week”...

First set of trunks during the dark match.


Then the 2nd during Xplosion.


Then the 3rd during next week's Impact.

 
Note: I’m a huge Bradley fan, and this was honestly just amazing. I loved the fact that he changed for each show.

HULK HOGAN WEIGHT BELT FOR SALE, BROTHER!  


And finally a shot of AJ Styles and Mafia.


And a shot of Bully, Brooke and Hulk.


If you liked what you read, follow me on twitter @LOE_Wrestling for the work twitter or @ChadofLOE for the personal.  Any emails can be sent to chadporto@loewrestling.com

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