When we heard that Flo Rida would be hosting WWE Raw, it seemed like, "That ain't gonna work." But the more we thought about it, the more that particular tag team made sense. Both are splendidly packaged celebrations of pop culture, and boy are they entertaining.
Wrestling deals in iconography. And what is Flo Rida but the perfectly anthropomorphized, walking, talking representation of fun club culture? He is Miami's icon!
If our city was in a situation that could be resolved only via body slams, we would send out Flo Rida as our champion. Well, if The Rock weren't picking up his phone, of course.
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But we digress ... As special guests of World Wrestling Entertainment, we were allowed to arrive for WWE Raw via the innards of the American Airlines Arena.
On our way in, we immediately recognized a chilled-out Great Khali leaning back onto a table. We hadn't watched wrestling for years, and felt like we had outgrown it. But coming face to face with a seven-foot-one, 347-pound behemoth is enough to inspire awe and make one feel like an absolute child.
Last night's crowd at the AAA seemed to agree with us. The audience was composed of a lot of families and younger kids. We have been to our share of Miami Heat playoff games, and the NBA decibel level doesn't even compare to the chants of this lower-capacity group of WWE aficionados. It was an impressively engaged pack.
RAW followed hot off the heels of Sunday night's Battlegrounds pay-per-view, in which John Cena retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. And much of the Miami show was devoted to the fallout of said event.
Wrestling legend Triple H came out to start things up, expressing his grief over the result of the Sunday night match: "I'm going to tweet my displeasure. I'm going to tweet about it until my fingers bleed." Guess he is not a Cena fan. (We bet he's Cena 'nuff. Haha.) And he would decide on who would be the best prospect to challenge the champ at next month's Summerslam.
Randy Orton -- whom we've always loved after completely unfounded rumors spread that he shit in a WWE Diva's gym bag -- was the first to demand a rematch against Cena. As he was speaking to Triple H, we almost had a heart attack when a terrifying pop thundered from a poker-red pyrotechnics rig to signal the arrival of the masked Kane, who felt he was deserving a title chance as well.
The pops would occur throughout the night at various surprise entrances. It kept us on our toes.
Another theme song blasted, and Roman Reigns charged toward the ring through the rowdy crowd. Dude has a pretty badass tattoo/hair combo, and he's generally seen in the WWE-nerd community as the next big star. The place went nuts when he suggested that the people had demanded Cena vs. Reigns at Summerslam.
Various other characters made their bids throughout the night for the eventual title match spot. But at the end of the night -- spoiler alert! -- Brock Lesnar would make a surprise appearance, and villainous WWE bigwig Paul Heyman would come out and make a crazy fucking promo, cementing Lesnar as the Summerslam challenger.
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Another major storyline of the night was the feud between Stephanie McMahon and ex-wrestling diva Brie Bella, who attended the match as a spectator to watch her sister, Nikki Bella, wrestle. McMahon had arranged for Nikki to be savagely beaten by three other divas while Brie watched.
The retired Bella then called Stephanie out as a "vindictive bitch," earning cheers from the crowd, but a harsh slap to the face from McMahon. Security then restrained Brie and threw her out.
Between some of the more major matches and promos, there were some comical bright spots.
For instance, wrestler Bo Dallas was set to face Damien Sandow. Topically, Sandow walked out dressed in a crude LeBron James costume, equipped with beard and headband, and with the "Miami" on his jersey crossed out in lieu of "Cleveland." Initially, the crowd booed quite a bit, but then transitioned into chants of "Let's Go Heat!"
In a moment of compassion by the WWE, wrestling LeBron was pinned in about two minutes flat. Perhaps this was the moment of catharsis our city needed.
There were a few more matches before Flo Rida would take the stage, one being a notably tense exchange of submissions and pins between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler.
There was also a flamboyant dancing Spaniard character named Fandango, whose sexually tantalizing dance antics would upstage any of Iggy Azalea or Beyoncé's twerks. He was cheated out of a win by the referee.
The fans didn't really seem to dig the Fandango man, but we did. Dance on, Fandango.
Finally, Flo Rida made his cameo on the jumbotron, petitioning for the Summerslam spot against Cena that is apparently the bee's knees.
He was rudely interrupted by Heath Slater, who attacked the rapper backstage two years ago. He also called Flo Rida, "Florrrida," which must have been hurtful, emotionally speaking.
Heath challenged Flo Rida's wrestling credentials and threatened him. However, Flo got the last laugh of the segment after pushing Heath into a pile of miscellaneous equipment.
Next, a DJ booth was set up.
Stephanie McMahon enthusiastically introduced Flo, who sweatily and energetically performed hits "Good Feeling," "Wild One," and "Let it Roll," to a fairly responsive crowd.
Sure, they weren't as involved with Flo Rida as they were with the night's matches. Then again, Flo Rida wasn't beating the shit out of anyone as a connecting point in a hilarious, operatic storyline.
Suddenly, we were told to get backstage as quickly as possible to meet up with Flo Rida However, our pathway would be momentarily blocked by a grand segment involving Brie Bella's return to the stadium with a police detail. They arrested Stephanie -- handcuffs and the works -- on charges of assault, as the crowd erupted in chants of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."
We then dodged an obstacle course of props, moving camera crews, and wires to get to the backstage area. We encountered wrestlers, including Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro, chilling by the craft services area like normal humans. And we watched Triple H walk by us with script pages in hand, surrounded by a posse of production assistants.
After all that action, we reached a red-carpet WWE area, where Miami's native son awaited.
Crossfade: You feature crocodiles in a few of your videos. Can you tell me personal experiences you've had with crocodiles?
Flo Rida: Yeah, I remember I was shooting the video for "Wild One," and it was my first time in the Everglades. And man, I was like, "I hope we don't have some sort of crazy experience where someone gets bit." Because we were actually standing out on a log for one of the scenes, and the boat left us. And I thought, "Please! No alligators! [He means crocodiles.] But yeah, we're in Florida. So it comes with the territory. "
They're pretty cute. Who do you think would win in a Royal Rumble between you, 2 Live Crew, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, and Rick Ross?
Let me see... Ross is an ex-football player, so he'll give me a go. Pitbull, he's probably kinda fast. 2 Live Crew are probably jumpy. But you know what? We're family, so we stick together. We won't be fighting.
What's it like to work with Pitbull?
Just to work with someone that I've witnessed grind it out, to see how humble he is -- Pit definitely deserves that success. You know, we're both from Miami, so to work on records with him and see his growth, his branching out as an entrepreneur -- I'm definitely proud of him.
You used to work in the MGM Grand. You shot the music video for "How I Feel" in Vegas. How does that feel to go from one extreme in your life to the other?
You know what's crazy? I actually told my friends about that. It was back of the MGM Grand where they recycled silverware. So I went and visited and the guys that were working there were looking at me like, "Are you Flo Rida?" and I'm like, "Yeah, I used to work here." So I really inspired the younger guys there to be like, "Wow, dreams really do come true." I never forget where I come from. Working at the MGM Grand. I definitely do not take my job today for granted.
In your song, "Whistle," you say that your whistle is always ready to blow. Isn't that a strange way to live your life?
Because it means you always have an erection?
Naw, it just means a whistle. But everyone can go and get my new single, it's going down for real with Sage the Gemini. Look forward to The Perfect 10, dropping real soon. Shout out to my man Pitbull, who's on the album with "Can't Believe It."
Who's your favorite wrestler?
At precisely that moment, Stephanie McMahon approached to thank Flo Rida for coming to RAW. Just a couple of pals and fellow master entertainers sharing a special moment.
But then we noticed that Stephanie's handcuffs were gone. And a man in a suit walked up to her and said, "Great performance tonight!"
Hmmm, something fishy was going on here...
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