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RAW In A Nutshell: Orlando Or Bust

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. It is the final RAW before WrestleMania 33 this Sunday in Orlando. And in honor of the big event, I am in South Florida (OK, I am in Miami this week, but not for wrestling. Obviously, that’s in Orlando!). But seriously. We have RAW in Philly, ECW’s old stomping grounds. We have tons of matches left to hype and send off. It’s time for one last push, one last sell. Let’s see how things play out in front of the wonderfully rabid Philly fans!

Best Match of the night:

There were oh so few actual matches tonight, and really and truly, none of them were exceptional. That being said, if I had to pick one, I would say…hmm. It’s tough! I liked Zayn and Owens for what it was, and what it aimed to do, and that we got to see Jericho get a measure of revenge. However, it makes me pretty sure that Jericho won’t be victorious on Sunday. But it was a good segment.

However, overall, I would substitute the Rollins/Hunter segment as the best portion of the show overall. Very well done.

Worst match of the night:

The over the top battle royal.

Half the guys that finally eliminated Big Show had themselves already been eliminated. And then Show came in and destroyed them all. And then we had the Strowman/Show stare down.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

CM Punk

Undertaker

How you doin’

ECW

Y2J

Goldberg

Suplex City

Star of the Night

Three of them, all non-wrestling.

1-Undertaker.

2-Hunter

3-Rollins

Honorable mention, Jericho.

All in non-wrestling gigs this evening, but they land here for one reason-the crowd was wickedly into all four of these guys.

Spot of the Night:

How could you not dig the move Neville did, the slingshot-into-release German suplex. Or Gallagher’s leap from the top with the umbrella?

Truthfully, there were actually quite a few good spots. Thought there were several during the segment pushing the tag title match, especially once they involved the ladder. The shot that Cesaro and Sheamus delivered that sent Anderson and Gallows sliding down the ramp was nifty.

Goldberg’s spear on Lesnar. Either Brock sold it masterfully, or I am wondering if he didn’t hit the back of his head when he landed from the spear. Lesnar sure looked a little stunned, and like I said, either it was a great sell, or something legit.

Jobber of the Night:

Basically, anyone not named Big Show that was in that farce of an over the top battle royal. Most especially Bo Dallas, Jinder Mahal and The Shining Stars. And why do I expect that once again, they will tease Big Show having a shot, and once again, he won’t win.

Upset of the Night:

Nothing.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Lots of sites were saying Undertaker wouldn’t be on TV, but of course he was. Even WWE was kind of trolling fans a bit, busting out the old style ‘Taker in the graveyard videos. Watching those, while I figured he had to be in Philly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we got the old video build-ups like we had a couple years ago, for both Undertaker and Sting at times. And they worked, so nothing really to complain about.

Botch of the night:

This one is extremely minor and was more funny than anything, but as Seth Rollins went to sign the fake contract, he couldn’t get the pen figured out. Not sure if he had cap issues, or it was a twist to use one, or what, but it clearly was not as easy as he expected.

Commentary of the night:

That kind of activity would be better suited for the corner of Swanson and Ritner.

See what he did there, Byron?

Byron, I’m going to have you set up with Gallagher’s stylist.

Philly hasn’t seen a home run like that since Ryan Howard stopped playing

Well, we learned ladders are dangerous.

Astute observation Byron, We were wondering why you were out here.

LOL Moment of the night:

Big Cass, channeling his inner Iverson with his “practice” bit. It went over fairly well with the Philly fans, and made me smile. As a Philly native, what’s not to love?

Noteworthy Moment:

Loved the return of the cryptic Undertaker spots. It was a total throwback, and it was, in my opinion, awesome.

And we have the return of the guest ring announcer, as Al Roker will assume that job for the mixed tag match.

Now, I’ve looked at the lists. I watched the hype segment on RAW. And I do not see a single inductee into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Did they really think no one was worthy this year?

Overall lowlights:

It was the RAW before WrestleMania. We had a ton of hype, a ton of build-up, but it was light on the wrestling. On most other shows, I would really give them grief but on a night like tonight, it was fine. Called for actually. And it worked.

Overall highlights:

Hunter and Rollins. A year overdue, but I think the build-up has been well done. We are either going to find out that Rollins was selling the injury as a lot worse than it was, or we are going to find out that it was really bad and he worked through it like a freakin’ stud. If Hunter and Rollins isn’t one of the top matches come Sunday, I will be mildly surprised.

Heyman had a nice promo, and fans were hot for it (though, considering Philly was his home away from home, I did expect a bit more love than he got).

All in all…a pretty satisfying go-home show.

After the final bell:

With no ladder match on the WrestleMania card, and the ladder being used liberally tonight by two of the three teams in the RAW tag title match, how did WWE not make it a ladder match?

I want to call it right now. Final three in the Andre battle royal: Show, Strowman, Zayn.

I think that, if Reigns delivers like he did tonight, doesn’t waver and doesn’t revert to badly written lines again, he may finally turn a corner. Huge maybe, but there could be hope.

And, let’s look forward to next Monday, easily the most anticipated RAW each year. I am curious to see how it changes, as whatever surprises they have, are likely to be split between RAW and SmackDown. Should be a fun Monday and Tuesday, in any case.

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