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– by Tim Jousma

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Portland, Oregon is a city rich in history when it comes to professional wrestling. Starting with the territory owned by Don Owens, it saw the rise of performers like Billy Jack Haynes, Jimmy Snuka, and the legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Today, the big dog in town of course is the WWE. Tonight at the Moda Center, the WWE held Monday Night Raw and I had the pleasure of attending the show live.

WWE Camera Crew at work

WWE Camera Crew at work

This was not the first Monday Night Raw I’ve ever attended. That distinction belongs to the episode that played on August 27th, 2001 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Time flies when you’re having fun and to think that close to sixteen years have passed since I last attended an episode of Raw blows my mind. (I did attend the WWE Pay per View The Bash in 2009 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California.) I bring this up because of how much has changed on the show. I’m not referring to the talent roster of course. Sixteen years is a long time in a business that does a number on your body like professional wrestling. The show itself, the production involved in putting on such an undertaking week after week felt much smoother than it did back then.

Brock Lesnar comes to the ring with Paul Heyman after Raw is off the air and proceed to challenge anyone in the locker room. The Big Show accepts but eats a quick F5. The reaction Brock Lesnar received was the loudest I’ve ever heard and I’ve seen folks like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Ultimate Warrior, and Hulk Hogan in their prime. It was a great way to treat the Portland fans for coming out in drizzly weather for Monday Night Raw.

Wrestling fans are a goofy bunch. We come in all shapes and sizes. Men, women, children, we all find ourselves drawn into this world, this insane world, of sports entertainment. I’ll be the first to admit that wrestling is far from the realm of Shakespeare. It’s theater at it’s most base. Yet the passions the superstars in the ring are able to elicit from the audience are something folks in theater, movies, and television wish they could tap into. For as much as we wrestling fans complain about the product, our love for what goes on in the ring and the off chance that the moment we stop watching is the moment something amazing happens brings up back for more. What you see in the ring is a living breathing comic book. For that, I have to say that if the WWE is coming to your town, you would do well to buy some tickets to attend the show. And then you can watch the replay on the WWE Network, which you can subscribe to for only $9.99 a month.