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Folks, the road is clear. Can you see it? It’s not that far off now, just 27 days…but that is indeed WrestleMania ahead in the distance. There are no more big PPVs between here and there-just a few RAWs and SmackDowns and then the mayhem comes to the Meadowlands. Tonight is the first RAW on that last stretch of road. It’s a show on farewells and a face to face, among other things. Some matches have already been made for that Showcase of the Immortals. Others are ready to be made, and tonight will go a long way toward that. So let’s crack open this Nutshell and find out!

Best Match of the night:

Less of a match, more of a train wreck (by design), but I have to give the nod to Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre. If Dean is going out, he’s putting Drew over big. If Rollins is winning the belt in Jersey as we all expect, then I would bet dollars to donuts that Drew McIntyre is next in line for a shot at the belt.

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Worst match of the night:

Lashley and Balor. These matches drive me nuts for a few different reasons.

For one thing, how do you explain a referee telling outside interference to stop, but letting it go to the point it does cost the match. It’s one thing when the ref is shown to not see the interference, but it’s just maddening when you know he’s watching it unfold live, and does not call for the bell. I do understand it’s how it was scripted and all…but treat fans like they actually think that’s a bad script.

Then there’s the fact that Finn Balor, a man I would say is deserving of a decent Intercontinental Championship run, had a way too brief reign. It will be curious to see what happens next, but for now, I hated this match tonight.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

Burn it down

Slay the beast

Who are you

Batista

Thank you Kurt

Star of the Night

Love him or hate him, but Drew McIntyre ended the show on top, having taken care of not one, but two of the Shield members. He sent Reigns to the back and then took care of Dean Ambrose to close the show.

Spot of the Night:

How about the Claymore that bounced Reigns’ head off the ring post. Reigns might have been out of action for a few months, but he was selling like he wasn’t missing a beat. That or he really did have his bell rung, but I would imagine it’s more selling than not.

Then there was the Claymore on Ambrose while Ambrose was in the handrail. Did not look like a fun bump to take.

Jobber of the Night:

Well we have a lot of options here don’t we?

Dana Brooke was basically fed to Ronda Rousey.

Then we have No Way Jose and part of his conga line.

The prop Camaro too, deserves a nod…even though it was extremely obvious that much of it was gigged to help Strowman look even more ridiculously strong than usual.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

So, Shelton Benjamin apparently is doing the bidding of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. It does make a bit of sense…or, it’s not a crazy leap to make, though it will be interesting to see if there is more to this, or if it’s just a one off.

Beth Phoenix came out to back up Natalya, and it did not take long for her to get involved, causing a DQ. When Nia Jax and Tamina made it to the back, they were greeted by Bayley and Sasha Banks. Interesting…but kinda hope we don’t end up with those three teams fighting over the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships (even though there were two other retired/Hall of Fame women rumored to be fighting Bayley and Sasha)

The Revival attacked Aleister Black and Ricochet again. I guess we will have two great NXT singles wrestlers become tag team champions in the not too distant future…

 

Well, it wasn’t but a few days ago where folks were wondering what was in store for Drew McIntyre and WrestleMania. Now, we can make an educated guess. McIntyre delivered a vicious beating to Roman Reigns, ahead of what was supposed to be Roman Reigns’ RAW return match against Baron Corbin. It seems likely to lead to a match in a few weeks.

Botch of the night:

Batista had a couple bumbles on the mic. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it wasn’t. He’s not on a live mic as much as he used to be, so I guess it’s sort of excusable…but they still happened.

He also had a spittle problem too. Hope they clean the microphones…

LOL Moment of the night:

Jose’s hair, for one.

Corey Graves’ reaction, for another. Renee Young said “he stole a page out of Naomi’s book”. Graves responded “give it back, glue it back, it’s one page you wouldn’t want to steal”

Noteworthy Moment:

Lesnar will be on RAW next week.

Alexa Bliss will be the host of WrestleMania. Guess she’s really banged up…again…

As expected, Batista and Hunter are on, one last match, WrestleMania. No inches away face-to-face, as Batista brought “Guardians of the indy circuit” security to hide behind. The lack of physicality makes sense, for one thing, Hunter is still not that far removed from surgery…and for another, well, leave us wanting more. No need to give it away.

Kurt Angle confirmed something that had been rumored for a bit now-at WrestleMania, he will work in his farewell match.

Overall lowlights:

Jose’s hair…what WAS he thinking?

Disappointed to see Balor’s reign last so very little.

Overall highlights:

Action packed show, kicking off a lot of storylines heading into ‘Mania. More matches confirmed, some programs continued or gained clarity. Just an overall really strong show. I did feel like it was missing one final big surprise, but that was more my wishful thinking. Solid show.

After the final bell:

It will be curious to see how next week tops this week, or if it even tries to do so. We will have Lesnar on RAW, so there is that. We should get follow up on Reigns and Ambrose, relative to Drew McIntyre, so that is worth tuning in for too. There should also be something from Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair, since this week was all about Rousey. Buckle up, folks, because the Road to WrestleMania is getting interesting.

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