Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

First off, a happy Martin Luther King Day to all our readers (or, a belated one, since I am writing this ON MLK day, but it will be read by you on Tuesday morning…but I digress). With that said, and following the annual MLK tribute, this week’s RAW was all about setting things up for the Sunday PPV. In case you forgot, that means RAW gets ready for the Rumble. Expect the final hype for Finn Balor challenging Brock Lesnar for his Universal Championship. Plenty of hype between numerous entrants in the Royal Rumble itself too. All that and much more, including our new Intercontinental Champion, Bobby Lashley. Let’s dive into all the fun and crack open this Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

This honor goes to Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins. Excellent match, and the crowd was super into it.

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Worst match of the night:

Flip a coin. I could do without Apollo Crews and Bobby Lashley-especially that horrible pose off. I mean, it got some response from the crowd, but it was still pointless. The other option has to be Lucha House Party versus Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. That match was just so bad, it seemed even the announcers weren’t fully engaged.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

this is awesome

you got fired

burn it down

Star of the Night

Seth Rollins I think earned this one tonight. Delivered a strong promo and a strong match, getting the win over Drew McIntyre

Spot of the Night:

Honestly, nothing jumped out at me

Jobber of the Night:

Konnor and Viktor were fed to Heavy Machinery in their RAW debut tonight, no doubt about it.

Upset of the Night:

Really don’t think Corbin over Elias made any sense.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Well, Alexa Bliss had been on the sidelines for a while, which is why she had been given her new talk show. She hosted a bunch of women’s Royal Rumble participants on her show tonight. She closed off that brief brawl with a bombshell-that she was cleared to work and would be in this year’s Royal Rumble. Somewhat surprised that WWE didn’t hold that one for a Sunday surprise, but it’s big news regardless.

Botch of the night:

In talking about Otis Dozovic, Renee said “he’s also a prospect for the 2012 US Olympics team”. Now, she might have meant he was a prospect, but that’s not what was said. And yes, there wasn’t much else to go with, so it’s a bit of a nitpick, but I had little else.

I’d have to give a bit of grief to Ronda Rousey for her promo too. Just felt off.

In terms of in ring, Rousey and Bayley had an odd exchange which I can only imagine was not really planned to work out the way that it did.

Noteworthy Moment:

Lacey Evans finally gets some screen time on stage, interrupting Alexa Bliss at the tail end of Moment of Bliss

Heavy Machinery made their RAW in-ring debut. I will say this-I remember them (and their vests) from NXT, and I guess someone decided the vests needed more stuff on them? Just looked…I don’t know…forced?

We have Curt Hawkins as a referee, officiating the most recent tag title match for The Revival against Gable and Roode. He took a beating from Dash and Dawson post-match, but was saved by former (and I am betting future) partner Zach Ryder.

Overall lowlights:

It’s been said that Vince McMahon doesn’t want to be on television much anymore. Tonight it really did show, as he was the weak link in the opening segment. The downside to that is, Heyman was strong as usual, and McMahon kind of killed any momentum Heyman had going.

Overall highlights:

Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre.

Nice to see Alexa Bliss be in the Rumble

Nice to see Lacey Evans get to speak in the arena for a change

Nice debut for Heavy Machinery

Could be nice to see Hawkins and Ryder reunited. Also, somewhat surprising, adding another tag team to a division that hasn’t been a priority. Is this a sign of change? It will be interesting to watch, especially with all the chatter about a quality team like The Revival wanting out of their contracts, in part due to a lack of respect for the tag division.

After the final bell:

For better or worse, WWE is going all-in with the push of women. More and more we are getting women in the main events of the weekly shows, so it reminds us they want Sasha and Ronda to be a big deal come Sunday. I have to say that I am not super stoked for that match, for several reasons. One, the Royal Rumble always overshadows most singles matches, titles be damned. Two, it’s a hot rumor that Bayley and Sasha will become the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Champions. If that’s true, it’s unlikely WWE puts the RAW Women’s Title on Banks too. All that being said, I do expect Sasha Banks/Ronda Rousey to be a good match. Just not the highlight for me come Sunday.

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