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If your children have uttered the words “Hey, dad, can we go see WWE Live?”, and you don’t want to look like a jabroni (to quote Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), then this is the post for you! I will humbly admit to being a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve been to my share of live shows, too, from way back when I was little, to more recently, with my little ones. Between the larger than life characters, incredible athleticism, and ongoing storylines, there really isn’t anything quite like Vince McMahon’s brand of sports entertainment. So if you’re thinking of seeing WWE Live with your kids for the first time, here are some tips. Hopefully, they’ll help make your experience less painful than an F-5 from Brock Lesnar!
Attending a WWE Event: Know The Show
The WWE tours all worldwide, from the United States to Canada, and beyond. To facilitate this, they have a huge roster of performers, who are each assigned to a distinct brand. Raw and Smackdown are their premier ones. NXT is their up-and-coming brand. 205 Live is home to wrestlers 205 pounds or smaller (often referred to as cruiserweights). As such, when deciding on seeing WWE with kids, you need to keep in mind that, if your they have a favorite WWE Superstar, they might not necessarily be at the live show that you’re attending.
Once you know the show, you need to know the show. Attending WWE with kids involves deciding between different kinds of live events. Here are the three most common ones:
WWE Pay-Per-Views (PPVs)
These are special events which the WWE does monthly. Heavily promoted on TV, you have to pay to watch them (either on PPV or on the WWE Network). These are treated as a big deal, with better production value, and superstars from multiple brands featuring higher quality matches. Main events tend to feature one of the heavyweight titles (the WWE Championship, or the Universal Championship). PPVs usually happen at larger venues and tickets tend to sell out quickly, so prices are the most expensive of all event options. They are also usually longer than other events. Wrestlemania this year, for example, including the pre-show, was over seven hours long! This is an extreme example, but still assume at least four hours duration, for other PPVs.
WWE Raw/ Smackdown TV Tapings
Each week, the WWE features a live production of two of the longest running episodic television shows in history: Raw, on Monday nights, and Smackdown, on Friday (formerly Tuesday) nights. These are filmed in mid to large-sized arenas. Ticket prices are typically cheaper than PPVs, about in line with going to see your local pro sports team. Raw is considered the flagship show by WWE standards. It starts at 8pm and is three hours long, plus a “dark match” (non televised match) or special appearance afterwards, too. It’s been the home of the biggest name WWE superstars at the time, like Triple H, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns, and more recently, Becky Lynch.
Smackdown is viewed as the ‘B’ show, with less star power than Raw (this should change with Smackdown now airing on the network TV station Fox, though). It’s two hours long, but the WWE (as of this writing) also films an hour long episode of 205 Live immediately afterwards, followed by a dark match/appearance.
For those in the Florida area, or traveling to the Florida area, note that the WWE also films another two hour show called NXT (featuring NXT brand superstars). It airs live at 8pm on Wednesday nights, out of Full Sail University in Winter Park.
WWE House shows
These are the WWE’s frequent, non televised events. Tickets are cheaper than PPVs and TV shows. It’s the most affordable option, in terms of seeing WWE with kids. You’ll see a nice variety of performers, but the matches and production values usually aren’t as good as televised ones. The main event of the card could be anything from a Universal heavyweight championship match, to a random match featuring the Usos against the tag team champions.
Pick A Card, Any Card.
So when choosing to see WWW live with kids, which should you go with? Well, a pay per view would win you with the most brownie points with your children. It might even make for a fun road trip, if you wanted to make a mini vacation out of it. For bigger cards like Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble, if you go to WWE.com, there are travel package options available (though these are on the pricier side). The WWE often runs meet and greet events concurrent to these shows, too, which means that your child can get their Mattel toy Miz autographed, if they are a Miz fan, like me. (they probably are not, though).
For the best value, you can’t go wrong with a house show. The presentation isn’t as good, as mentioned, but your children shouldn’t care that much, as they still will get to see some of their favorite WWE superstars in person. My kids’ favorite event ever was actually at a house show this year in Toronto. Most of the matches were average at best, as the Superstars clearly weren’t going all out, which was understandable. They did seem to be very relaxed and having a lot of fun performing, though, while interacting a lot with the fans.
House shows usually start earlier, as well (7:00 or 7:30) and go for about two hours. It’s not that late a night out. Related to this, at a different house show years ago, because it ended so early, and I didn’t feel like I had to rush home to sleep, my oldest son and I took our time leaving. We ended up at the spot, along with some other fans, where the Superstars would be exiting the arena in their cars. My son had almost as much fun guessing who was going to drive by us next as he did at the actual show! And yes, every Superstar who drove by was friendly to us, for the record.
WWE Souvenir Shopping: All Stands Are Not Created Equal
Souvenir selection is also a bit lacking at house shows, compared to PPVs and TV tapings. At those, you can expect to be able to buy the newest merchandise possible, for many of the Superstars. In our case, though, at the house show, there was a lot of Cena and Reigns merchandise, yet neither of them were in the building. On the plus side, there were a lot of deals on some older products for less prominent superstars like Drew McIntyre, Alexa Bliss and Bayley.
WWE TV Shows: Lights, Camera, Less Action?!
TV tapings offer a completely different experience than house shows. It’s basically the same action that you watch on TV, except from a behind-the-scenes point of view. During commercial breaks, for example, the audience watches short WWE produced videos, instead of ads. There are also more promos (talking segments) during these, than at PPVs, and house shows, which help advance storylines. You can expect to see many replays of stuff that you saw happen earlier during in the night, as well.
We recently went to Raw and Smackdown in Toronto, back to back, courtesy of the WWE. My kids enjoyed Smackdown more. Shorter and better-paced, it featured more of their favorite WWE Superstars, too, like Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston. At Raw, because of all of the talking, and breaks in action, it felt like we spent more time looking up at the video screens, than watching the ring. At house shows, you can expect to be fed a diet of longer wrestling matches, with minimal filler in between. For my seven year old daughter, she enjoyed Raw overall. However, I could tell that she struggled at times staying interested during parts of our almost four hours there. I’m guessing most kids seven years old or younger in attendance felt the same.
WWE With Kids, Final Verdict: Must go for any fan!
All in all, if you want to be “The Man” like Becky Lynch, in the eyes of your kids, a PPV is the way to go. TV tapings are neat to check out, with a big time atmosphere, but there may be some spots that lag. House shows are decent value and entertainment, especially for younger fans with shorter attention spans. More families attend these, as well, compared to the other ones, where the crowd seems to skew older.
The choice is yours, but you and your kids will have a good time at WWE Live, regardless. Even if you’re not a fan, don’t be surprised if you end up chuckling like The Fiend Bray Wyatt by the end of the night. And that’s the bottom line, cuz this dad said so!