Just back from Toronto’s Scotiabank theatre where I decided, after this afternoon’s foray into wrestler deaths, to go nostalgia-crazy and watch Wrestlemania XVII live. With other people. And buckets of popcorn. And coca-cola-coked up kids. And a ridiculously extortionate entrance fee of $32.
But an hour into the show, it almost seemed worth it as a one-off. The sheer beauty of anything projected in HD still amazes me, so any time the action dipped my mind just wandered, thinking about the production costs and the amazing pyro and lights on show in the Georgia Dome. Much like a souped-up episode of X Factor I guess.
Things were a lot of fun though with plenty to keep the crowd interested and cheering or booing in appropriate places, as is the tradition. But with about an hour of the show to go, 15 minutes into the Undertaker’s violent brawl with Triple H the theatre’s crowd of 500 odd fans got a dreaded “BELL satellite signal lost” up on screen. This had happened beforehand for a few seconds earlier in the night, but the signal was quickly restored. To say there was unanimous discontent is an understatement. Ever heard a cinema crowd violently chanting “refund, refund, refund”, “this is bullshit, bullshit, bullshit” and “let’s f*ck shit up now (x3)”? Well tonight was a good run through all these classics of the disgruntled masses.
Instead of a manager or supervisor coming into the screen and explaining the problem, the entire crowd was made to sit there like caged monkeys while someone somewhere in the building presumably swapped a few cables, gave the remote control a bit of a bang on the table and performed the classic “turning it off and back on again” routine. Some people went down to the in-screen concession stand at the front to berate the two girls who were working there but they were as clueless as anyone and probably more worried about what to wear to college tomorrow.
After about 8 or 10 minutes of confusion and discontent, a manager eventually came in and said something about “adverse weather”, “satellite problems”, “free passes to future event”. The fact she didn’t bother to use any form new-fangled technology to magically amplify her voice meant 75% of the crowd had no idea what she had said. All the while, some guy at the front was shouting out live updates garnered from twitter – “Triple H has a sledgehammer!”, “Taker is going for another tombstone”, “This is insane” etc.
Anyway, eventually word got out that nothing was going to be getting fixed up any time soon, so we were encouraged to leave and take two complimentary special event passes on our way out. It also transpired we were entitled to a refund but by the time I got outside to the foyee the queue had over 200 people in it, so I’m sure I’m not the only one coming back during the week to get that sorted.
So a bad night for the Scotiabank theatre (owned by Cineplex) who will have had to refund up to $12,000 if my calculations are correct and lost out on a potential $25,000 from the 2 free passes for future event offer. Total bill could be up to $37,000?
Also a really disappointing night for the crowd who will have missed out on seeing the conclusion to The Undertaker match who always puts on a performance at Wrestlemania. We also missed Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s in-ring debut, Ireland’s very own pasty celtic warrior Sheamus and we didn’t get to see any of The Rock’s in-ring shenanigans with John Cena and The Miz.
And I guess a very, very bad night for Bell, the satellite providers. Surely they’re the ones who should end up being liable for the loss of satellite feed. I don’t have any specific details, but did hear something about the adverse weather being to blame for the poor signal. Right now, 90 minutes later, we’ve got pretty average April weather conditions (right now it’s 0°C, raining, with a light easterly wind of 13 km/h).
Anyway, that’s enough pro-wrestling talk for at least another year… To tide you over, here’s a video of Snooki being punched in a bar two years ago.