Everything that Wrestlemania wasn't, for the hardcore WWE fan, Raw was.
It had twists, it had turns, and most of all, it had chants.
Lots of chants. Chants never heard at a WWE event before. In fact, for much of Raw, the fans hijacked the show.
It started with Dolph Ziggler. Fans were chanting for him throughout the show, until he appeared to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and the place went wild.
Nobody sat down during the 2-3 minute match where Ziggler finally won the World Heavyweight title, with most fans in the audience having the opinion that he more than deserved it. It was a surreal moment ... a "WrestleMania moment," just the following day.
Once fans got what they asked for with Ziggler, they turned their attention elsewhere. Literally.
During Randy Orton vs. Sheamus, the crowd grew disinterested and chanted for everything but the match. They chanted for The Big Show. They chanted for the referee (Mike Choida). They chanted for the commentators (JBL, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole). They chanted for the ring announcer (Justin Roberts). They chanted for people who weren't even there, like Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. They chanted for people who were there but weren't part of the show, like the guy selling ice cream and another guy selling cotton candy.
On top of all that, they modified a staple wrestling chant, saying, "We are awesome." Sheamus and Randy Orton, by choice or by force, ignored everything and went through their match (Sheamus even posted a sarcastic tweet about it all afterward), and finally when The Big Show interfered, the crowd chanted: "Thank you, Big Show."
Shockingly, the best was yet to come.
Dolph Ziggler became the World Heavyweight champion earlier in the show, and not even he was the star of the night. No, the star was none other than Fandango. Yes, Fandango!
Or perhaps Jim Johnston, WWE's resident theme music composer, who deserves a huge assist for appointing the former Johnny Curtis with such a catchy theme song that fans sang and hummed in unison throughout his match ... and then the next match ... and the next.
It just kept going (in fact, my good friend, Pat Laprade, notified me on Twitter that after the show, fans were honking their horns to the beat of Fandango's song in the parking lot). It got so loud during John Cena vs. Mark Henry that Cena even did a dance step, to the delight of the crowd.
After the show, Cena thanked the loud crowd for their energy and for creating such an important and special moment for Dolph Ziggler. He let the fans serenade him backstage to Fandango's music, and after a while, the music tech caved and just played Fandango's music again.
What a magical, unpredictable evening.
So why did the crowd react this way, this crowd that is a strong sample size of hardcore, diligent WWE fans?
Why did they chant "same old [expletive]" when John Cena was on the offense and react as stated above? Was it an aggressive message to WWE about what they like and don't like? Was it out of sheer amusement? To play devil's advocate, was it all an effort to "get themselves over" and take away from the action in the ring (after all, "we are awesome" truly is a self-benefiting chant).
I would lean towards the first two being accurate and would point out that John Cena handled the chants very well, making them part of his match.
These are the nights that make me love professional wrestling. Last year, "Yes" became a hit chant. This year, singing Fandango's song became a thing. The post-WrestleMania crowd is the most fun, smart, and loud. If I can help it, I will never miss a post-WrestleMania Raw for the rest of my life. Now, can crowds keep this energy up in the weeks to come?
-- I tweeted Touts of John Cena's post-Raw speech to the crowd. Check them on Twitter (@arda_ocal).
-- I'm glad Dolph Ziggler's World Heavyweight title reign has already lasted longer than his last one. This was long overdue and well deserved, and I'm looking forward to him carrying the "blue brand" as champion, going against the hero of the Latino community.
-- I liked Brodus Clay and Tensai looking like a team -- Brodus with stencil on his face and Tensai with changed attire. The team took from both characters -- #TheLittleThings, as I like to point out.
-- As loud as the crowd was, they all paid attention when Paul Heyman was talking.
-- During a commercial break, The Undertaker, Kane and Daniel Bryan all raised a fist on stage in unison. It was a cool moment.
-- Ryback delivered a Shell Shock to end Raw after Cena beat Mark Henry by countout. I can see a triple threat match at Extreme Rules.
-- Wade Barrett won back the Intercontinental title from The Miz, one day after the "Awesome" one won it. A cup of coffee, as they say.
-- Big E Langston beat Daniel Bryan.
-- Chris Jericho attacked Fandango during his match with Kofi Kingston.
-- The Shield interrupted The Undertaker early in his speech but was fended off by Kane and Daniel Bryan. Will Undertaker have a non-Wrestlemania match, even if it's in a six-man tag match? Perhaps.
Follow Arda Ocal on Twitter -- @arda_ocalCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun