Albany gets Smacked Down
WWE Smack Down came to Albany so I was compelled to check it out, having previously loved wrestling as a kid, back when Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were bitter foes. The last time I saw it was when the NWO was a thing and The Rock was popular, but I’ve completely missed out on the 15 years since then. I was curious to see who was still there and what had changed.
As it turns out, not much has changed. There’s newer, younger wrestlers now (thank goodness) but there’s only so many ways that 2 men can pretend to wrestle while still making a good show. They still stomp the ground when they hit each other, they still manage to stand still to let the other guy execute the perfect maneuver, and they still vacillate between hyperactivity and total exhaustion in mere seconds. You just never know who’s going to win and I suppose that is half the fun.
This being my first live attendance, I was most surprised by how silent it was. On TV, you can hear the grunts and thuds due to all the nearby cameras, but when you’re seated in a huge auditorium, you can barely hear a thing. Thank goodness the floor is noisy, so that every body slam and aerial assault sounded satisfactory. The crowd all around me was as fickle as ever, booing loudly at the theatrics and then moments later cheering and proclaiming their love of those same wrestlers. The drama and storyline read like a midday soap, with scorned wives, changing alliances and rebellious factions trying to “take over” the wrestling management. Entertainment is as central as ever to the show, with every wrestler having a signature look, telltale moves and a stereotypical personality.