The WWE circus arrived in Manchester on Monday bringing high octane entertainment, roaring crowds and an abundance of scantily clad costumed superstars.
MM were invited behind the scenes at the Manchester Arena, to gain first-hand access to the biggest names in the WWE Raw.
Our childhood dreams soon became a reality, for now 20-odd-year old men, as we had the opportunity to meet current superstars Nia Jax and Jason Jordan, the prodigal ‘son’ of 1996 Olympic Wrestling champion Kurt Angle.
Jordan joked: “Everyone in the UK dresses so smart, I’m just in my underpants.”
Although Jordan could pull off ‘the tucked in hoody into boxers look’, we personally couldn’t see the fashion style spreading across the North-West, especially on a cold and wet November evening.
This year has smashed all records for WWE in the UK, putting on a total of 33 live shows, and they plan to put on many more in the future.
“This is testimony to the fact that the UK really is the WWE’s second home,” a WWE spokesperson said.
AWESTRUCK: MM’s Jordan Elgott (right) and Max Chesterton with wrestlers Nia Jax and Jason Jordan
And you could certainly sense the excitement of the occasion as a plethora of WWE super fans flocked inside the arena, sporting foam fingers, Steve Austin replica T-shirts and even one supporter had a personalised ‘money in the bank’ briefcase.
Raw certainly did not disappoint – exploding into action under a cacophony of noise and a lights show that hasn’t been witnessed in Manchester since search lights were placed across the city during the Second World War.
The pre-show started with seasoned veteran Matt Hardy re-entering the ring in Manchester, just a year on from his return to the WWE franchise.
Although 43-year-old legend Hardy looks to have embraced his ‘broken’ persona in both sense and style, the six-time World Tag Team Champion rolled back the years to defeat Kurt Hawkins.
The Manchester Arena has been treated to some special musical performances over the years with likes of Take That, Westlife and Britney Spears all performing on the hallowed turf.
However, when wrestler Elias took to the stage with microphone in hand, his performance and song lyrics did little to endear himself to the crowd.
CAPTIVATING: The Manchester Arena crowd lived and breathed the WWE Raw extravaganza for nearly four hours
After initially suggesting he would be singing a cover of Oasis’s Wonderwall, the 29-year-old WWE newcomer turned on Noel Gallagher, taking a leaf out of Oasis frontman Liam’s books…
“Too bad, I wrote an original. It’s going to be better than anything that hometown nobody Noel Gallagher ever wrote,” Elias said.
“Manchester, man I despise this place, the children here are future losers and the parents a disgrace…”
However, the Manchester crowd certainly did not ‘Roll with it’ and one of the loudest cheers of the evening came when Jason Jordan struck the villain with a guitar during an innovative guitar-on-a-pole match.
As ever with WWE Raw, there were plenty of shocks on the evening that will have major ramifications for the franchise, particularly with the Survivor Series coming up in two weeks’ time.
Raw General Manager Kurt Angle forced The Miz to take on the leviathan Braun Strowman, a week after he trashed the Miztourage and their limo.
However, veteran grappler Kane spoiled the party taking to the ring to end the Strowman rampage in a surprisingly undemocratic fashion for a man who intends to run for the mayoral seat of Knox County, Tennessee next year.
Finally, The Shield, compromising of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, were made to defend their tag team championship belts against The Bar – Cesaro and Sheamus ahead of the Survivor Series.
Despite spending their day at the Etihad Campus with Manchester City, the ragtag duo of Sheamus and Cesaro entered into the arena sporting Liverpool shirts, angering the partisan Mancunian crowd.
However, much unlike Liverpool this season, The Bar were able to pull off a shock win in Manchester, when Sheamus pinned Rollins after The Shield were distracted by Smackdown pair The New Day.
Clearly Cesaro and Sheamus had been taught one lesson from Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team – the essence of winning.
Overall, WWE Raw was a spectacular event, captivating a sell-out crowd for over three and a half hours of drama, brute strength and sheer entertainment, much to the delight of a roaring Manchester Arena audience.