Live?

Having never been to RAW, Smackdown, or any WWE live event for that matter, I must ask, what exactly is the crowd doing during these seemingly endless promo and video package marathons we at home must endure every Monday night in lieu of actual wrestling? I assume they’re watching it with us, but then what incentive do I have to pay God knows how much for a ticket to watch the same boring fluff live (granted on a much larger screen)? Especially when, on a good night, the average televised portion of RAW contains about twenty minutes of wrestling, and a fraction of that is decent at best. Does the live atmosphere make Triple H’s half an hour promos that much more compelling? Is watching Kane chokeslam Zack Ryder off of a loading dock, onto a crash pad all the more exciting with some ten year old John Cena fan screaming in my ear? Dark matches sound like the same abbreviated, awfully structured TV matches, just with guys who are either too green or not allowed to truly show off their skills. And I can’t imagine house shows beings that much more of an improvement in quality. I just don’t get it. What am I missing?

Lots.  It’s like only watching movies on a normal TV screen your whole life and wondering why anyone would want to watch it in the theater.  It’s not just about the product presented on-screen, it’s about the live atmosphere and shared experience with the other members of the audience.  A really great match in an arena makes each audience member feel like the participants are reacting to THEM directly.  I’m not a huge fan of TV tapings myself because there IS a lot of down-time between matches and you get endless promo videos on the screen during commercials, but even a decently presented house show is one of the greatest experiences you can have as a fan.  Especially if you’re close to the ring and you’re able to rag on Ken Shamrock until he breaks character and flips you off.  That was totally worth the ticket price.