It's not new, either -- through signs and chants, fans have always wanted to be a part of the show. Especially with WWE -- where receiving 15 seconds of fame through being a member of the audience seems more likely than any other form of entertainment -- colorful fans have always stood out.
What I have been noticing is an emerging pattern of chants among crowds who have been traditionally classified as "informed" WWE fans. I first noticed it at the post-WrestleMania Raw (arguably the most hardcore, informed fan base of the year), then in Chicago for Payback, then Toronto for Raw, then last night again at AllState Arena in Illinois.
This pattern typically occurs when the crowd deems a match to be boring, and the crowd loses interest. An order of chants have emerged when this happens:
First, the crowd chants for the commentators -- JBL, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and sometimes Justin Roberts.
Then, the referee gets a chant (if the crowd knows his name).
Following that, the crowd will pick out any current or past WWE superstar who isn't involved in the match (popular votes last night were Rob Van Dam, Randy Savage, and The Undertaker).
If the match is still going on (and still uninteresting to the audience), the crowd will then pick members of the audience and cheer for them. The popcorn guy, the cotton candy vendor, a guy dressed up as Hulk Hogan ... nobody is safe from the peanut gallery.
What do I think of this?
It can certainly take away from the product in the ring, but it does make it fun being in that building. To be fair, these are the same crowds who fervently chant "Yes!" to Daniel Bryan, seemingly to no end, and cheered hometown hero CM Punk out of the building with a deafening response last night. A lively crowd, whether they are making sense to what's happening in the ring or not, is a fun crowd and always adds spice to the show.
What you need to know from Raw:
* The Wyatt Family has a very cool entrance to watch live -- I posted a panoramic picture of all the phone lights that go off during their walkout on my Twitter page.
* CM Punk loved being in Chicago and Chicago loved seeing him. He got physical with Curtis Axel and Ryback, building up more heat with Paul Heyman, who seems to have revived the People Power scooter.
* Van Dam and Randy Orton wrestled to a double countout, which is good because Van Dam doesn't lose going into a future title match and Orton beat him down afterwards, keeping him vicious.
* There was a surprisingly terrific 11-on-3 handicap match involving The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, The Usos, the Prime Time Players, Zack Ryder, R Truth, Justin Gabriel, Van Dam and Kofi Kingston. There were lots of creative moments in the match and everyone seemingly looked stronger after the match.
* Fandango beat Santino Marella. The crowd loved the beautiful Summer Rae, who received chants. Santino was Santino and that's a great thing.
* Check my Twitter for more live tweets and pics from Raw.