With the help of a friend who works in local promotions and film screenings, I was a seat filler recently at the WWE Raw event at Toyota Center. You could say that for a few hours that I (and my ass) worked for World Wrestling Entertainment, and all I had to do was fill a few seats in range of TV cameras while fans got up to pee, buy their merch, or buy a beer.
Monday's Raw also marked the 20th anniversary of the weekly wrestling event. With the anniversary came special guests like Ric Flair ("WOOOOOOOOOOOOO") and Mick Foley. I hadn't watched wrestling for more than five minutes here, so everyone was new to me. Sadly, Stone Cold Steve Austin did not make an appearance, even though it was widely-rumored this past week.
Easily the most prominent seat filler was Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld when he filled seats for celebs at the Tony Awards. This episode also featured Raquel Welch beating up Elaine.
A seat filler's only compensation is a free ticket, and your tickets aren't even awful. My two seats were on the floor of the arena, feet from the stage, and a few aisles behind Dusty Hill of ZZ Top. Texas rock royalty.
My WWE career began in a hallway next to the practice court at Toyota Center. After waiting about an hour, we were briefed by a staffer named Steve, whose role it is with the show to make sure seats don't look empty for the folks at home.
(If only the Astros had some sort of system like this. They could at least makeup the lost ticket revenue in concession sales. I would at least buy in beer and hot dogs what the cost of my ticket would be. )
Televised wrestling events are fun to watch live, but the commercial breaks and the lack of play-by-play is strange. Watching two men fight in a cage without any commentary accept your own is unnatural, and it's not like you can tune in to an AM feed. Excitement turns to silence immediately, and back again. That's what the WWE website is for.
I did get some sweet seat fillin' action during the Divas match, where Kaitlyn and Eve duked it out. Apparently some fans didn't wanna watch two chicks fight it out and I got to become a red, bald pixel behind two chicks in spandex. Story of my life. Eve ended up quitting after the show, which was a scandal or something.
But other than a few movements earlier in the evening, I didn't move much, if at all. Seat fillers get great seats, however transient, and get to see all the action. And you can tell everyone you were on TV with The Rock. I wasn't, but I can tell people who don't read this that I was.
Here is Monday night's Raw recap from the WWE site since I would have no luck explaining what I witnessed.
Though I am sure my friend Sean Pendergast can tell you better stories about hanging out with Ric Flair and Jim Ross.