Raige Gets RAW In Jersey
July 22, 2005 by Mason Raige
Editor's Note: Before anyone jumps up and down about Mason Raige breaking the 3 Week Rule, I'd like to confirm that I asked him for his RAW review to coincide with it's publication on Mason's own website - Kirsty Quested (OWW Editor)
After a grueling workout, I come back to my house, pull off my shirt, and head out to the backyard deck. I fire up the Weber, throw two pounds of steak on the grill, and prepare a feast fit for Professional Wrestling's Premier Powerhouse. I'm pumped, sweaty, hungry, and tired. As the sun bakes my shoulders and the grill sizzles my steak, my cellphone rings.
"Hello" What" Can I get to the Meadowlands for RAW" Are you joking"" Practically shaking with excitement, I hang up, stick a huge fork in my steak, drop it on a plate, and cast it aside like I was WWE and the steak was Charlie Haas, Billy Kidman, etc. (You can fill in your own superstar here.) To be more specific, I just left it on the kitchen table.
A shave and shower later, I'm dressed, out the door, on the road, and ready to roll. I'm amped up and ready to cruise down 495 towards the George Washington Bridge. I jump on the service road and hop on the Expressway to be greeted by bumper-to-bumper traffic. What the hell is the problem" I look at the clock: 5:00pm...rush hour. Great! So here I am, stuck on 495, about 75 miles away from my dream, and I find myself listening to 99.9 (Easy listening). Who the hell put this on" As I unknowingly listen to the sounds of Bonnie Raitt, Celine Dion, The GooGoo Dolls, and Dido (don't ask), I able to reflect for a minute on where I'm going, and it just amazes me. Thirty months ago, I stepped through the doors of Critical Mass Training Center. In that time, I've learned the art of wrestling; I've had a lot of battles; I've dished out some vicious beatings; I've even gotten some bumps and bruises. I've also worn tag team gold, been featured on the cover on Long Island's most popular newspaper, and met some very influential people in the world of wrestling. For the first time in a long while, I reflected and celebrated on how far I'd come.
Wait a minute... what the hell am I doing" I'm Mason Raige, and I am heading to the Meadowlands to appear on RAW. I throw on some Metallica, let out a thunderous growl, grip the wheel so hard that my knuckles turn white... and inch up very slowly. Damn traffic. To describe the drive in would be as exciting as watching Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, so I'll skip the two-hour ride. Let's just say I was pumped up like Ivan Putski when he arm wrestled Jesse Ventura. Is anybody getting these references"
I pull my car up to the employee parking area security station, and a bunch of kids start taking my picture and asking for autographs. Obligingly, I sign some and even get out of my car to take a few pictures with the kids. They ask me who I'm fighting, and I tell them they'll have to wait and see. (Translation: I have no clue what I'm doing.) I head on in and park my car, only to emerge to a very large group of fans calling me Chris Masters. "You suck, Masters." "Put the Masterlock on me." For those who don't know, Masters is a new talent known as The Masterpiece, a young newcomer with an Adonis-like (not Adrian) physique and tremendous power. Needless to say, I'll take the case of mistaken identity as a compliment, but, in reality, I have no doubt Masters can't match my power, and I'd break his Masterlock like a fat kid breaks a piņata on his birthday.
As I walk down the ramp into the backstage area, it hits me. This is the WWE. For a second, I got very overwhelmed but quickly got my bearings. I was instructed to find Sgt. Slaughter, one of the agents. I had watched Sgt. Slaughter battle the Iron Sheik in Madison Square Garden's famous Bootcamp Match, so it was funny to me when the person instructing me asked if I knew who Slaughter was. I sought out the Sarge, who quickly informed me that all of the spots were probably filled since it was so late (after 7 pm). Since the show went on the air live at 9 o'clock, of course I understood, but I was a bit disappointed. I did get the call very late and jumped through a lot of hoops to get there, but I wasn't about to complain. After all, I was backstage at wrestling's top-rated show.
After signing my waivers, giving the official my contact information, and getting paid, I walked with Sarge to find Michael Hayes, the Fabulous Freebird who was now an agent. He was in charge of the match I was to be a part of, but, much to my dismay, he said they were all set. Damn! Then Hayes looks me over again and says to Sarge, "Actually, he's big. We can use him." Jackpot! Just like that, I was in. And I was psyched!
After squeezing into tight black pants and a yellow, very snug security shirt (it's all they had), I was dressed and ready for my RAW debut. I was going to be a security guard (#389 to be precise), but who knew it would be a part in wrestling's hottest story right now" Hayes informed three other 'guards' and me that we were to be stationed outside the ring during the Kane vs. Edge match in case something happens. That something, which he told us may happen, is a run-in from the crowd. So we as security were charged with breaking up a possible melee that may or may not occur. Either way, I was more than up for the task.
Right before the Kane-Edge match, I was watching the monitor as Kurt Angle was challenged for his medals by indy wrestler (and a good friend of mine) Matt Striker. Striker, who had gained some notoriety as the New York City teacher who called in sick to wrestle and was subsequently fired, was given a huge opportunity by the WWE, and he capitalized in true Striker fashion. He performed phenomenally and pushed Angle to his limit before tapping out to Angle's submission hold with one second left. Watching Striker wrestle Angle in the presence of Pat Patterson, a WWE legend, was surreal and exciting and geared me up even more for my spot that was upcoming... next!
Right before we went out, Hayes informed me that he wanted to feature me coming down the runway by myself after Edge was introduced. He wanted to highlight the bulked-up security, since Edge had been attacked by ex-WWE wrestler Matt Hardy minutes before. Hardy had escaped security after jumping Edge, so WWE officials had reason to believe Hardy may strike again.
With the three other guards stationed around the ring, Edge's music hits, a huge smoke display is released, and he and Lita make their way to the ring. It is then that I am sent by Hayes, who is in the company of wrestling's true icon, Vince McMahon. Truth be told, even Mason Raige was a tad in awe. Hayes sends me, and I run out onto the ramp, into a huge cloud of smoke, and I can't see a foot in front of me. Wanting to look aggressive, I begin running down the ramp. I wasn't thinking that I was finally running into a WWE ring. I wasn't thinking about the thousands and thousands of fans live in the arena and the millions at home. I wasn't thinking about how far I've come. I thought this: God, please don't let me barrel over Edge and Lita. I really can't see. This is live television, and how would it look if a beefy security guard levels two superstars because of poor visibility" Rest assured, I make my way down to the ring without incident, crouch down, and wait for the action. Kane's music hits, a few fireballs and explosions are released, the bell rings, and we have got Kane vs. Edge. And Mason Raige is hired and on the job to keep law and order.
The match itself was nothing special. Snitsky interferes in the match, attacks Kane, and the two monsters battle out through the crowd. Edge is alone and groggy in the ring, and then it happens. Public Enemy #1, Matt Hardy, clad in a black tank top and camouflage pants, bursts through the crowd, hops the barrier, hits the ring, and tries to tackle Edge. The crowd ERUPTS! Instinctively, I jump up, slide into the ring, and insert myself between these two titans. Hard, vicious punches are being launched, and I'm getting caught in the crossfire. Both men are tearing into each other with legitimate, unbridled hatred for one other, and here I am, right in the middle. It was electrifying and real; I felt like I was back in the bars. The only difference here is I knew not to destroy the unruly patrons. Imagine if I had! Anyway, once the two are separated, we pull Edge out of the ring and back up the ramp. The whole time, he is cursing at Matt Hardy, calling him things that one would say to his worst enemy. Hardy launches a verbal tirade at Edge and Lita over the mic, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. And people call wrestling fake!
On my drive home, I was really able to let it sink in. I entered the arena during Edge's entrance, with his smoke and music, and ran right past him and Lita into a jam-packed Jersey building that I had been in many times and driven past thousands of times. This was the Meadowlands, a place where I'd seen concerts, hockey and basketball games, and, of course, wrestling. When Hardy jumped the barricade and I hit the ring, electricity was flowing through my veins. Hardy and Edge were punching the hell out of each other, and I was in the ring during, by far, the loudest pop of the night. As a former bouncer, I was very comfortable being in the middle of the brawl, but it was about as real as real gets. I really thought someone was going to get knocked out. I got drilled a few times, so if I ever get in the ring with Hardy or Edge, there will be some payback. Nobody punches Mason Raige and gets away with it! But seriously, being in a WWE ring in front of a WWE crowd is somewhere I want to be again and again. Making my RAW debut finalized that for me. Being backstage with wrestling's top stars and interacting with them has proven to me that I want a place beside them, among them. Let's hope July 11 was the beginning of something monumental.
My only regret" I didn't get my after-workout protein with that steak. But I'll survive. I'm pretty sure it was worth it.
Mason Raige - www.masonraige.com..
Awesome! Great backstage story. Very well written. I could picture it all from memory of the RAW episode and your descriptions. Best of luck on your career. Please keep the stories coming (indy stories, WWE etc). Welcome to Online World of Wrestling! :)
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