Stranger In A Strange Land – An Austrian At WWE Friday Night Smackdown


The first non basketball event at the Target Center, the WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew 8,000 fans and one surprise attendee – myself. The staff member assigned woke up with a sore throat and fever and in these times, that’s an instant benching. I had seen wrestling at First Avenue but that did not prepare me for what Friday night had in store for me. 

So this is not a review, more of an “Babe in the Woods” impression. If you are a fan of the WWE you know a lot more than I ever will about the events that transpired.  It was impressive and who am I to argue with thousands of fans there and tons more that watched on TV. I don’t want John Cena coming after me…….

The devotion of WWE fans started to sink in as I made my way to the Target Center. Most sported merchandise or full costumes of their favorite characters along with championship belts. A couple of prelim fights kept us entertained until it was time for the live TV broadcast to begin. It quickly became clear to me that the matches were only part of a universe of Shakespearean proportions with heroes, villains, plots and twists. Athletes were greeted with chants (some with boos) and the headlining match of the evening had a preamble where the 4 women got into it early in the evening to prepare fans for what was to come. 

The athleticism in the matches was spectacular albeit a bit confusing to me. At one point there were 6 guys tagging in and out with a couple of supporting cast hanging around the ring. And suddenly – Poof there was a  winner and the match was over. 

A desk was set up with chairs and I thought “Are they going to talk it out instead of fight?” but I needn’t have worried. It was  set up for a plot twist setting up a championship match for Summer Slam. My favorite moment came in the main match one wrestler got lifted in the air only to let herself be tossed onto two others. Who needs chairs when you can hit others with your partner?