SmackDown SummerSlam Tour



           It is with pleasure  that I took my ringside seat (as usual) on the first day of their sale in order to attend the WWE European tour and the coming to Paris of the Smackdown roster for a House show (not a TV show). Banking on the success of the last Raw European tour which was also stopped at the Zenith in Paris, it is in a slightly larger room, Bercy, that the Smackdown roster kindly comes. It is also important to note that given the rather pathetic wrestling supply in the country, a WWE live event, either Raw or Smackdown, even only a house show is an appointment not to be miss for any true fan.

So it was with a genuine excitement that I prepare my trip to the France’s capital, bringing my faithful "Stars & stripped" and my ticket, which has cost me the very modest cost of €120. More expensive than a live event in the US. But we don’t whine, this is the first time the Smackdown roster comes to France, and the second time that the federation is in France after an absence of nearly 14 years. First good surprise, our team learned the day before the show, the presence of an autograph session at 4PM the next day, WWE Superstars at Virgin Megastore in Paris. Only 200 people may attend and go to pick up their free tickets at the store opening. Neither one nor two, our little group of 4 people decided to leave on Thursday evening to arrive as soon as possible. You can’t miss a WWE autograph session. So we left Lyon the 13th in the evening to Paris, to arrive around 3:30 AM the next morning where we met again, with joy, a Toulouse team we had met at the previous arrival of Raw in Paris. So it's a long wait that emerges in our minds, 3:30 to 10:00AM. But hey, Love means giving without limits! For the second time, the Toulouse group beat us, we will not be the first on the scene. They tell us they arrived yesterday by air. Seriously, can’t do better than that ! But apparently the team of Virgin did not anticipate any particular organization. Did they Suspect who was the WWE and especially the quantity and the passion of its fans in France? I do not believe. So it's with no more information than we waited, in the cold, at the gates. I have to say I was a little afraid to find more than 200 people at 3:00 am on the Champs-Elysées, but in fact the crowd only began to become significant around 7:00AM. Impressed, many bystanders asked us why we were expecting. It was with surprise they discovered we were expecting autographs from some of American wrestlers. Ah those French ... If our team was divided into two, thank to the crowd control, the fateful hour finally came and we could get into the Virgin to withdraw our Holy Grail. The store had taken care to place some T-shirts (no officially licensed product) and wrestling dvds on the way hoping to kill two birds with one stone. Well done because it was a real success that we witnessed.





Here is the line up in front of Virgin at 7 PM



Ghost Rider bike



I'll skip the details to focus on what interests us, the autograph session and the show. We arrived half an hour early in front of the Virgin to discover that we were among the first to attend dedications. It is with great joy, that once inside, French honored their passion for wrestling. If only the hexagon remains a ghostly haze from its past, the passion of the fans is always there. The atmosphere of the store had no reason to envy other countries. The highlight was reached when we finally saw the attractive composition of the session, because so far, we did not know either the number or the name of the wrestlers who will be present. Two Smackdown famous figures appeared in front of our eyes, like in a dream, for our biggest pleasure. A wrestler and a diva, the U.S champion M.V.P. (Montel Vontavious Porter) and Torrie Wilson. Once again, the WWE wasn't joking. From the beginning, the atmosphere was electric. The American champion saw itself booed, in a funny way with some " You suck! ". Playing with us, he took the microphone to tell us, in English, " no, no, Torrie Wilson doesn't smell bad. ", provoking the hilarity of the diva. I was having fun walking in front of the stage taking pictures of the autograph session, when a person from the security gave me a sign so I won't lost my turn, which we can all agreed would be a shame. The first bodyguard smiled to me watching me arrived. A young man wearing a Dallas Cowboys jacket, a U.S flag on his shoulders and an Operation Iraqi  Freedom cap on his head. There are not a lot of guys like me around here. He friendly told me " is the flag for me? ", "Of course not" I answered him laughing. It’s M.V.P. which seemed more surprised when he saw me, I was of course much more excited than him, normal. I'm going to shake his hand, the usual polite way, he shakes my hand and holds it for a few seconds, he look at me and then said with a straight face: “It’s not dangerous to display such American values here in France? ". Amused, I reply. This was followed by a brief chat, much to the discontent. It follows a brief conversation to the chagrin of the security agent. This allows me to have a special dedication from MVP. Then it was time for the very charming Torrie who enjoyed my jacket, her being a big fan of the Cowboys too, I understand her. The session went quickly but was of a rare Intensity, really good. One good thing this is for the fans and the WWE. Note that not every fans get an autograph, the number of people was limited to 200, it was necessary to provide this in advance. So many people came in the Virgin to attend the autograph session.



The arrival of M.V.P and Torrie Wilson










Our dedication in the pocket, we decided to go towards Bercy for the show. The arrival was without incident, except that I did not go unnoticed with my US flag on his shoulders.,In short, let's talk English a little to reassure those Frenchies, and yes my friends I am coming to your city as a tourist, I am not staying. Once seated in my place, I realize that being placed next to the ring I could shake hands with the wrestlers. The room ends to fill, shops are already empty, the lights went out, the Smackdown music was heard. That's it, I'm at home. It is with pleasure that I see passing by me a pretty blonde that I have never ceased to hope seeing the beautiful Maryse. Gosh, she is wonderful Guys! Reaching to shake her hand, she entered the ring and the show begins. I won’t tell you all the matches that took place that night, leaving this privilege to others, I would simply give you my own impressions of the show. What a pleasure to have been able to see and touch Maryse Torrie, MVP, Jamie Noble and the Smackdown roster. What an impressive performance from the roster, and such memories in my head. Between the beautiful Maryse who has come to us each time she came to the ring. I even surprised myself to cheer for Mark Henry, an unpopular wrestler who, from the ring, was surprised to find someone supporting him in English. And yes, there were not only French speakers that night! Advancing towards me and telling me to shut up, he took my flag, took it to the entrance of the stage, showing it to everyone, put it on his shoulders and then wiped with it. After all, is he not a heel? But my best memory was Rey Mysterio's entrance and to have been one of the few to have been face-to-face with him. Resting his head on mine, he spoke in English with a strong Hispanic accent, thanking me for coming to see him and God keep me (yes to us, God is everywhere), but it is I who thank him for coming. Then he went to do the same to a ten-year-old boy. That was a highly emotional moment. That's WWE’s magic and Smackdown proved us again tonight. It is not to deliver some great wrestling, even if i think this show was much better than the one from Raw, it’s for you to enter into another world, even for an instant to forget your problems, just for one night to experience strong emotions, just for one night, to give you the strength to hope that anything is possible when you believe it. The crowd was of a great diversity combining all age groups. The highlights were numerous. Torrie Wilson entering with the French flag, Maryse and Lilian dancing with Jimmy Wang and falling over. Finally, Rey Mysterio saying us, "I speak English and Spanish but not French. Can you teach me? And Batista continued. All the WWE knowledge, showing us some American patriots being Pro-French. I love it and want more of it. Where do I sign?.

We all go home with a souvenir more or less significant and with the hope to be present at the next tour because after all, you are a fan or you are not. I will always remember Maryse, her so cute Quebec accent, and the ring announcer Lilian Garcia which I could finally tell her how much I loved her album. "Thanks you," she said, a little surprised. You would understand the WWE challenge was successful, full house, public conquered,  all merchandise sold out. WWE is not just about wrestling, it’s above all an experience and this to the delight of all!




An angel passing




Mark Henry



Rey Mysterio



Rey Mysterio and Batista