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RAW In A Nutshell: Superstars Have A Dream

Xavier Woods
In honor of MLK, the Superstars are, of course, dreaming of winning this coming weekend’s Rumble-and with it, the WWE Championship. Things inside the ring are heating up, even if outside (if you are in my neck of the woods) it’s pretty frigid.

Things get kicked off with Jericho and Reigns, hyping the Highlight Reel happening later in the evening. They were cut off by League of Nations, which gave way to our opening bout, Reigns versus Rusev, with Jericho serving as guest referee.

Best Match of the night:

Honestly, if there was one, it wasn’t clear to me. While this is, of course, a matter of opinion (usually), in my opinion, no match earned the honor. If you feel strongly about one, however, please call it out in the comments!

Worst match of the night:

The opening bout wasn’t all that captivating (the build-up to it, I thought, was more entertaining). Match itself was all about setting up things for Sunday. Which is what should be done, so that’s not a gripe, I suppose.

Natty getting the win was also nice, but the match itself was pretty forgettable.

In all fairness, the entire show, match-wise, was pretty flat.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

You look stupid

Y2J

Feed me more

We want tables

lets go Ambrose

Lucha

Star of the Night

I will give this one to two folks in particular, because on a blah night, they were the few bright spots.

First, Jericho. His mic work has been missed, and whether it’s improvisational skills or just his sense of timing and comedic flair, it works.

Second, Wyatt. You have to think, by having him and his clan dominate the final segment of the evening that he should factor into the Rumble in a major way. Is he the dark horse? Could very well be.

Spot of the Night:

As with no match of the night, there wasn’t really a spot that stood out. I could always give it to the Red Arrow, but that’s probably been mentioned more here than any other move. Kalisto is turning himself into a highlight reel too, but as fun as he was to watch, no single move stood out.

Jobber of the Night:

Social Outcasts. They can be funny, but they most certainly are jobbers.

Upset of the Night:

None. Just wasn’t a night in need of upsets.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

And not in a shocking sense, but Vince and Stephanie bringing out the hopper to tell us who would be starting the Rumble first. And in what was no shock at all, it was Reigns-all of the entrants in the hopper were. So why does it land here? Because, holy sh** I can’t believe they are doing this to us all over again. Perhaps someone in Stamford needs to look back a month or so, and realize that Reigns was gaining traction without all of this overbearing booking. And I get the sense that this direction is actually hurting Reigns, not helping. It certainly isn’t the most compelling or engaging booking we’ve ever gotten.

Botch of the night:

Maybe not the botch you were expecting, but it would appear as though either Y2J grabbed the wrong mic, or was given the wrong one. Specifically, the one for The Miz.

For a bigger botch? McMahon, taking out a ball from the Rumble hopper, took one out and tossed it back in, to make sure he got Reigns as number one. Except that, well, the whole hopper was full of Reigns’ name. So…botch…or, out and out screw job.

Commentary of the night:

JBL giving thanks that Mike Chioda was wearing an undershirt, after giving Jericho his ref shirt

Cole: Rusev has a “peaceful, easy feeling”, a nod to another musical legend gone.

Do you think R-Truth even realizes that the Rumble is this Sunday?

Someone ought to get him a Day-Planner

People still use those?

LOL Moment of the night:

Jericho in general. Opening segment got a few laughs, between picking on how hard it is to understand Rusev, or him coming up short with Lana, or wanting to interview Sheamus’ mohawk, asking it why it makes the Great White look so stupid.

That, or the memorial for Francesca. She, of course, was Xavier Woods’ trombone.

Noteworthy Moment:

I may have missed it during RAW, but WWE did announce before RAW that Iron Mike Sharpe passed away. Trained more than a few big names, so RIP.

Relative to the Rumble? Operation Get Reigns Over At All Costs, 2016 edition, is in full swing. This latest development has him entering the Rumble #1. Now, on one hand, it makes sense. As champion entering the match, and with the title on the line, he kind of should be first one in. But, all the same…it just reeks of of WWE pushing him, much like they did in 2015. Now, either he’s going to break records and eliminate like, the whole roster, or we will have ourselves a new champion on Sunday.

Overall lowlights:

I got the feeling that things were just…treading water. As if WWE was firmly placing their eggs all in the Brock basket. Or, someone realized that, for the first time in months, WWE was not going up against any form of football. No NCAA championship, no MNF. Nothing. Call me crazy, or a glass half empty guy, but if I was relying on RAW to sell me on buying the Rumble (or, subscribing to see it), it largely failed. And I think at least part of that is because the card is almost entirely relying on the loaded Rumble match to hoist the PPV up.

Overall highlights:

Jericho, Heyman, Lesnar and even Reigns. But more Reigns by association, which is fine for now. I mean, there was some decent action on the night, but nothing really making you go “wow, this is an awesome RAW”. But, sometimes you need a show with really strong mic work, and tonight had that. Would be nice if WWE could have given us mic work and really good wrestling…but…baby steps.

After the final bell:

This was the RAW before one of the four biggest PPV in the year? Sure as hell did not feel like it. That is, unless WWE is aiming to telegraph a final four of Jericho, Reigns, Lesnar and (Insert League of Nations member here). Because, for most of the hype, that’s what it began to feel like. And, maybe that is what we will get. But from where I sit, I am praying to the wrestling gods that we do not come close to the atrocity that was the 2015 Rumble. From what amounted to the worst-kept secret (Reigns to go over) to one of the sloppiest, most lackluster Rumble matches ever, it was an unmitigated failure. So, short of Lesnar running the table, I would dare say I hope no one in the presumptive final four makes it. Here’s hoping WWE is just messing with us, and they go for a big shocker of a new champion. Like, AJ Styles kind of shock, not Heath Slater. Not that I want to see Styles win it, but I do at least want to see some willingness to really be creative about the booking of things.

I just hope that the Rumble itself far exceeds the buildup to it, but my expectations are low.

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  • Jonny

    I hope we don’t get a Brock/Bray match, with Bray as he is now. If by some miracle they get him to the level he was before CEna destroyed him, then it will be good. As of now, he belongs no where next to Brock, not by a mile. Rumble looks like its gonna suck, cuz either Reigns wins, or HHH wins rather than someone different. Reigns/HHH dont need the belt to further/end their feud. Typical WWE crap booking/creative. Hoping for better

    • Joe Harrison

      Word

  • Lisa

    Jericho was hilarious on the mic tonight. One of the greatest mic workers in the history of pro wrestling.

    • siddus

      I think I need to get my eyes checked. It looks like you just advocated to someone who isn’t a jacked-up meathead with limited vocal skills and move-set.
      This can’t be the case. I think I need to lie down.

      • Lisa

        I have always been a fan of Jericho’s. He’s excellent on the mic. And a great wrestler too.

        • Joe Harrison

          Yup

  • Buss da 6’1

    Botch of the night Tyler breeze being overthrown to Henry it’s funny because he was to strong it would’ve been clean if he caught him and had that sequence

  • Buss da 6’1

    Side bar how long has neville been wearing dbs colors or is that just me

  • Mean Dean

    Reigns artificial push is destroying the product

    • Joe Harrison

      Agreed

  • josh

    Was kind of a boring Raw. Really hope there is a shocker at the Rumble. Anyone but you Roman…Anyone but you.

  • http://NUNAYSHON.com Hawk HENRY #NewNation ??

    What the title should have said… Raw In A Nutshell: Spoiler Alert LOLREIGNSWINS vs ALL

  • Mike

    I wouldn’t mind Roman winning as im a big fan, and it’s not like he would be the first man to win from number 1. However I don’t see him winning it. I would certainly say he has Good chance, however im leaning toward lesnar or bray wyatt. I think it could be brays time. What a way to put over the wyatt family and bray in particular by having them to what the League of Nations could not and leave lesnar and reigns laying.

  • Joe Harrison

    Lackluster to say the least. I personally feel that it’s a huge mistake going this route with the Rumble. A. In that the title is on the line in the match. B. That it’s obvious that Reigns walks into and out as the champion. I think that the WWE has an opportunity to do something with it however and I believe that Jericho winning, Lesnar and Reigns fighting for #1 contender @ Fastlane would be great. I get it, that’s a Wrestlemania caliber match, but I don’t think that having Reigns get over in the Rumble and then beating Lesnar @ Mania is a good idea in the least. If the Rumble doesn’t cause revolt, Mania sure as hell will. Wth do they do with Lesnar after that?! That’s why I love the idea of perhaps a Jericho heel turn, winning the title and having Lesnar & Reigns get after each other for a shot at Mania vs. Jericho would not only be a better idea , but you can get more out of all of these guys leading up to Mania and @ Mania. Besides, Jericho deserves the rub. And really, anything short of him winning makes it kinda pointless to involve him in the major story line. Because let’s face it, no one expects nor believes that Y2J is actually walking out of the Rumble with the title. Lesnar or Reigns winning is also incredibly predictable and lame.

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