My Night as a WWE Employee
By: Zach Harper, Wrestleview.com VIP member
This past Monday night I attended WWE Monday Night Raw in St. Louis, MO. One of my good friends works at the Scottrade Center and had asked me a few weeks ago if I was interested in being on the "seat-filler" list. Now, throughout the years of being a wrestling fan I had heard many a rumor about companies "papering" arenas or otherwise letting people in for free, but had never myself experienced it, much less knew how to go about obtaining these mythic free seats. Call me naïve, but much like Wrestleview's own Doug Lackey, I have always paid for my wrestling tickets and pay-per-views (I don't even know how to go about finding a free stream). But needless to say, I was interested in going to Raw for free so I took my friend up on his offer.
I'm the type of person who generally believes that if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is; so even after another friend and I parked the car and walked towards the arena, I still had my doubts that this would all go down smoothly. To my surprise, it was exactly as my connection explained. We showed up to the executive offices at the Scottrade Center and checked-in with an arena employee who had our names on the "seat-filler" list. After obtaining bright orange wristbands we were instructed to wear, we were told to sit around and wait for a WWE official to show up with further instructions. Being somewhat of an early bird, I was one of the first ones there but as time passed about 50 seat-fillers in all had assembled in the lobby area of the offices. Finally, at about 6:50pm local time a WWE official named Steve appeared with a visible stack of tickets in his hand. Still tempering my expectations and doing my very best not to appear too excited, I listened impatiently to the ridiculous list of rules and regulations that went along with being an official seat-filler. I only half paid attention; in part because the rules were pretty common sense (to me at least) and because I wanted to get into the arena and catch the pre-show dark match, dammit! Here are rules and other quotes I remember being said to the lot of us before being ushered into the arena:
-"For tonight, you are all official WWE employees." I put on my best poker face and refused to mark out at this comment (unlike some of those surrounding me who couldn't contain it), but I'll admit to smirking on the inside.
Rules are as follows:
-The tickets we were given were to serve as our home base. We were not allowed to leave our seats before the show unless Steve himself pulled us out of them to fill other seats. Only after Raw was on the air were we allowed to leave for concessions or bathroom breaks, as the crowd has typically arrived by then. But during Superstars, your ass better be at home base.
-No arguing or excuses. As "employees," we were to perform duties as assigned. That meant not complaining about the seat we were told to fill or gripe about being separated from our original party.
-When filling a seat, if the people with the actual seat tickets show up, politely get up, explain the situation and do one of the following: turn in a 360 degree circle and find another seat to fill or promptly return to your home base seat.
There were like 27 more rules but I'm pretty sure anyone visiting this site and reading this article basically gets the picture. Bottom line, we were there to make the arena look full at all times, especially for the Superstars taping where late arriving fans weren't in their seats yet.
After Steve's ridiculous diatribe, we were finally handed tickets and told to get to our home base as quickly as possible. I figured since we were getting in for free and would probably get moved anyways, that the official seat-filler section would be somewhere in the upper bowl, possibly even with obstructed view. I could not have been more wrong with my assumption. Where's the seat-filler section? On the arena floor. I couldn't believe it. On the one hand, I was obviously very excited to be so close to the ring (behind the announcers desk and under the WrestleMania sign to be exact), but at the same time all I could really think was: "I've been spending $20 or more all these years to sit in the upper bowl when I could be on the floor for free??" It's sick, but it's true folks: it's not what you know, it's WHO you know. Unless the "what" in question is how to score free tickets on your own.
My companion for the night and I were only moved once during our time as seat-fillers. During the Superstars tapings, we were moved to the third row in the lower bowl directly across from the hard camera, so no empty seats could be visible to the viewing audience at home. So I'll be looking for myself on Thursday. But soon enough the rightful seat owners showed up, we flashed our wristbands and went back to our floor seats where we were able to remain for the rest of the entirety of Raw.
Overall, the experience was pretty great. I got to see Raw for free and the one time I "performed my job" I actually got moved to seats with a better view! Although from now on, I'll always be a little bitter when I attend a televised show, knowing that in the arena someone, somewhere has a better seat than me and paid zilch for it. Oh well, at least I know I can always seat-fill in St. Louis.
So loyal Wrestleview readers, if you have any connections at the arenas in your area (or even if you don't, call and inquire!) I strongly suggest looking into this option if WWE comes to town. Steve explicitly stated they do it for every taping. Even though paying for tickets might feel a little more astringent for me from now on after this experience, at least I can check one thing off my bucket list: I've worked for the WWE! Cuz headset-wearing Steve said so.
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