WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw, visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, on June 2 in Indianapolis, and WWE superstar Damien Sandow quickly became one of the most disliked people in Indiana.
Fresh off the Pacers’ stinging NBA Eastern Conference Finals series loss to the Miami Heat, Sandow, an arrogant, pompous persona, wore a Lance Stephenson Pacers’ basketball jersey and carried a basketball to the ring. The ring crew set-up a portable basketball hoop in one of the corners of the ring.
Sandow smugly claimed he was Lance Stephenson, who was criticized by many including teammates for his immature antics during the NBA Eastern Conference finals series, which ended Friday with a Heat blowout.
Sandow, as Stephenson, proclaimed Heat star guard/forward LeBron James the greatest in history and called Indiana and the Pacers losers. He then demonstrated his basketball prowess. Pacers forward Chris Copeland, seated ringside, was shown on the USA Network a couple of times during the segment shaking his head in disgust of Sandow’s actions and words.
Moments later, WWE superstar The Big Show, a 7-foot, 425-pound giant, appeared and shut up Sandow to the delight of the hometown crowd.
Sandow, professing his ‘mad skills’ with the ball, passed ‘the rock’ -- the basketball, not the legendary WWE superstar -- to Big Show and challenged him to demonstrate his basketball abilities.
Playing defense (hands up, feet moving side-to-side), Sandow mocked Stephenson blowing into LeBron James’ ear in Game 5. Sandow knew he didn’t stand a chance getting close enough to blow in Big Show’s ear, so he paused and just blew in Big Show’s face.
A stoic Big Show, 42, who played basketball at Wichita State University, then heaved the ball into Sandow’s stomach and knocked out the sarcastic sports entertainer with one massive punch. For good measure, Big Show slammed dunked the ball, bending the backboard/rim.
After a disappointing ending to the Pacers’ season, WWE did give Pacers’ fans something to cheer via Big Show as Copeland smiled in approval with the pro-Pacers crowd celebrating Sandow’s demise.
• The Miami Heat eliminated the Indiana Pacers from the playoffs three consecutive seasons, including the past two in the Eastern Conference Finals (going seven games in 2013 and six games just recently).
• Actually, Big Show lives in Miami and is a Miami Heat fan.
• Speaking of the Miami Heat, WWE Monday Night RAW returns to Miami on July 21 at 7:30 p.m. EST at the AmericanAirlines Arena, home to the Heat.
Raw will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. EST on the USA Network.
Tickets are on sale. Prices range from $23-$115.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.
Tickets can also be purchased at the AmericanAirlines Arena Ticket Office Window on the north side of the arena between Gates 3 and 4. Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and four hours prior to show time on event days. Times may vary.
Tickets can be purchased at The Miami HEAT Store, too, at Miami International Airport. The store is on the second floor at Terminal D32.
The Heat’s LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and Andy Ellisburg are big WWE fans. Thanks to The Rock, LeBron received a WWE championship belt for his birthday. Thanks to WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, LeBron later gave each teammate a WWE title belt during the regular season.