EVERETT — Wrestling fans aren’t limited to 40-year-old men guzzling Bud Light.
As Annabelle Davis, 11, flipped through her copy of “WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide,” she detailed the drama that World Wrestling Entertainment characters have aired on weekly shows.
Clad in a “Macho Man” Randy Savage T-shirt, she recounted how wrestlers Nikki Bella and John Cena broke up and how Dean Ambrose turned against his comrade, Seth Rollins.
The plot twists keep her coming back to the soap-opera-esque wrestling shows, she said. But it was the showmanship of “The Undertaker’s” slow-roll entrance that got the Marysville girl hooked when she was 8.
Annabelle is one of the millions of dedicated viewers who tune in weekly to WWE’s live shows.
On Tuesday, “SmackDown Live” will make its first stop in Everett in its 20-year history. It will be broadcast in real-time.
“SmackDown Live” is WWE’s “blue” brand with blue logo, ropes and lighting. “Raw” is red branded. Both shows are on the USA Network.
Everett resident Jenny Carlson started watching WWE as a kid, sitting snug in the crook of her dad’s legs as he lay at the couch. She, her dad and her brothers would yell at the TV — rooting for their favorite characters and booing the bad guys. She’s carried on that tradition with her children, who sometimes bring out costume championship belts for their weekly viewings.
Carlson plans to attend Tuesday’s event with her kids, who are 12 and 16.
In person, the watching experience takes on a new energy. Wrestling fans are part of the show.
“It’s kind of like going to Comic-Con in a way,” said Henry Yarsinske Jr., 32, of Everett. “Some people dress up as the wrestlers. They do a cosplay type of thing. A lot of people just wear an old wrestling shirt they had as a kid. You put on your Hulk Hogan shirt from 1988 or your ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage shirt. For someone older like me, I’d wear a ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin shirt.”
Yarsinske said he sees two main fan groups at events.
“It’s a mix of guys showing up looking to drink beer and have a good time, and it’s people just bringing their kids for entertainment,” he said.
“Five to 10 is the right age to start, where all these guys are larger than life.”
And it’s not only guys.
Tuesday’s advertised roster has “SmackDown Live” women’s champion Asuka in matches with former champs Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
The network started incorporating women’s wrestling events in the last three to four years, said Bryan Alvarez, a Bothell resident and host of the radio show “Wrestling Observer Live.” Before then, he said WWE put women on the screen mainly for sex appeal.
Men’s WWE Champion Bryan Lloyd Danielson, whose ring name is Daniel Bryan, hails from Aberdeen.
“He’s a bad guy and his whole bad guy shtick is him in real life,” Yarsinske said. “He’s a vegan and he gardens a lot and he’s a big environmentalist guy. So he yells at people for driving SUVs and gets mad at them for eating meat. It’s kind of ridiculous but also kind of awesome at the same time.”
Bryan recently sported a leather-free championship belt made of hemp.
“The whole idea of wrestling is to create characters people want to see fight each other,” Alvarez said.
The show has to establish the good guys and the bad guys as a build-up to WWE’s version of the Super Bowl, WrestleMania.
“At the end of the day, you want to see the good guy get revenge,” he said.
But WWE is more than slapstick grunting, flipping and pounding.
“It’s the art of it,” said Yarsinske, a musician.
“They’re performers, that’s what they do. I respect and admire that. Instead of performing with a band you have to perform with somebody else and make sure nobody gets hurt. They tell a story and put on an amazing show and entertain people.”
Is it fixed?
“As they would say in the business — ‘a predetermined outcome,’” Yarsinske said.
If you can’t make Tuesday’s epic event, there is a monthly show on a smaller scale at Normanna Lodge in downtown Everett. It’s a gig by Without a Cause, started last October by Everett resident Max Zaleski so local wrestling fans can get their fix.
Ready to rumble?
WWE “SmackDown Live” is 4:45 p.m. Feb. 5 at Angel of the Winds Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. Doors open at 3:15 p.m.
Tickets are $23-$113.
More at www.angelofthewindsarena.com
WWE wrestler Jeff Hardy is coming to Funko HQ, 2802 Wetmore Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 5.
Hardy Pop! figures will be available for purchase or feel free to bring your own item to be signed.
More at www.funko.com