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I Was There for the Raw Before WrestleMania 35

I Was There for the Raw Before WrestleMania 35

Chapter 16 – I Was There for the Raw Before WrestleMania 35

I Was There for Raw Before WrestleMania 35

Event: Monday Night Raw – I Was There for Raw Before WrestleMania 35

Location: Capital One Arena – Washington DC

Date: April 1, 2019

Headline: Rey Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin

Miles from Home:  32 Miles

The Event in it’s Historic Setting

Six days before WrestleMania 35, Monday Night Raw came to Washington DC. The final big push from the Raw brand before WWE’s biggest show of the year. WrestleMania 35 from Met Life Stadium will always be remembered for the Main Event. The first time female athletes headlined WrestleMania. Almost everything else about 35 is irrelevant. I know Seth Rollins beat Brock Lesnar, and I know Kurt Angle wrestled his last match. But sadly for both Seth and Kurt, the only match people still talk about is Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey. Becky Lynch would of course win the championship and hold it until last Monday when she relinquished the title to Asuka (May 11, 2020). It was the longest run in the history of the Raw Championship.

Ultimately, the match’s hype, build, and historic significance would end up more impressive than the WrestleMania match itself. And frankly, that just makes the program interesting. The best match in the world falls short if the fans can’t emotionally invest in the story. In this case, fans were so emotionally attached to Becky’s rise to stardom that the match became completely secondary. Just a part, and not even the biggest part, of the overall story.

My Memories

So the WrestleMania match was a small and memorable part of the Ronda/Charlotte/Becky feud. As that story was rapidly coming to conclusion, Raw stopped by Washington DC and fans witnessed a spectacular penultimate chapter  in the aforementioned feud. These are my memories:

Stephanie McMahon beginning the show. The billion dollar princess tells us that she has a huge announcement regarding the Women’s WrestleMania Triple Threat Match. She says the match will now be a fatal four way because Stephanie has decided to add herself into the match. In the next breath, she reminds us that it’s April fools day. We should learn to take a joke. The big announcement was that both Charlotte’s Smackdown Championship and Ronda’s Raw Championship would be on the line in a winner take all scenario.

The Brawl: I didn’t remember Ronda, Charlotte, and Becky teaming up to wrestle the Riott Squad. I did remember the fight that occurred afterward. It was a pull apart where the pull apart failed a dozen times. Eventually the police had to load the women into cop cars, but the brawling continued. The last time I remember such epic police involvement in wrestling, Steve Austin still walked the halls of WWE. Becky got hauled off by the cops while calling Ronda a weirdo and Ronda stuck her head out of the cop car window just to have Charlotte Flair kick her in the face. It’s weird to say, but I recalled these memories with joy. I loved every brutal moment.

Introspective Thinking

What does it say about me that I didn’t remember the Riott Squad match? What does it say about me that I didn’t remember that Rey Mysterio fought Baron Corbin in the main event? As I write about some of these older shows, I think about this a lot.

It seemingly comes down to the fact that I enjoyed the story. Very little makes me emote. But Becky Lynch’s use of words like dope and weirdo with her Irish accent make me laugh out loud. When Ronda walks around with all the credentials in the world and gets booed for it, I understand and identify with her frustration. I still boo her. When Charlotte holds her head high knowing that bell to bell, she is the absolute best in the world – I know it and believe it too.

Those small moments and those feelings are what I remember whether I’m watching wrestling in person or on television. I love a great wrestling match when I can see it live, and I have seen and remember seeing many of them. But I also love the drama and story telling when it’s done especially well. Whether you liked or didn’t like the police car scene, it worked for me. The intensity got ratcheted up, and whether you believed in the angle or not, you have to appreciate or believe that these women actually hate each other. Or at least their characters do.

I identified with Becky Lynch and her struggle. The cards were consistently stacked against her, she worked hard, kept moving forward, and eventually persevered. That’s a great story.

I Love Pro Wrestling

Years before any of this WrestleMania storyline came together, Becky Lycnh did a 2016 interview with ESPN talking about winning the first ever Smackdown Women’s championship:

You can be going through hardships sometimes, and you’re struggling, and then you’re wondering if you’re ever gonna make it. Wondering if things are gonna work out, and you just keep pushing forward. And then getting this symbol, this trophy, you just realize that all the struggle, all the hard times they were all worth it — and you wouldn’t give any of them back, because that’s what makes the journey even better.

It’s possible at the time that she had no idea the success she would ultimately achieve in WWE. But it’s interesting that a few years later, the same quote could apply to her big win at 35. This quote should also hit home with anyone that’s ever worked hard for a long time to achieve anything. Everything she said in that quote can be applied to my college education with the symbol/trophy being my first paycheck from a professional job.

As I said before, the WrestleMania match was just a part of the Ronda, Becky, and Charlotte story. A small part. The biggest part of any story is what leads us to the climax. Those critical early chapters that make up the struggle of our life are important parts of the story too. If I compare the whole thing to a weather event, when I look back at this Raw, I can’t say it was the calm before the storm. That just wouldn’t be true. No, I think it’s more like a booming thunder and the loud crack in the air that precedes a bolt of lightening striking the ground.

Thanks for reading this week’s installment of “I Was There.” Stay well and keep safe during the pandemic. Follow me on Instagram to stay current on all I’m doing.  If you have any questions or want to talk wrestling, feel free to reach out. – Ryan ([email protected]).

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