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Good evening (or good morning) ladies and gentlemen! Two weeks to go until we hit Phoenix and the Royal Rumble, so there is plenty of work to do. Tonight’s RAW gives us a big triple threat match for Dean Ambrose’ Intercontinental Championship, which appears to be the top match on the card. Beyond that, plenty of Rumble hype to come. Will we get a shakeup at the top of the Rumble perhaps? Let’s crack open this Nutshell and see!

Best Match of the night:

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This has to be a coin flip for me. The triple threat and fatal four way matches were very good. I am giving a slight edge to the triple threat, as I know I heard the crowd chanting “this is awesome” for that one.

RAW In A Nutshell: Shakeup At The Top Of The Rumble

Worst match of the night:

I guess I will pick on Lucha House Party against The Revival. The upside here is at least Dash and Dawson won.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

You got fired

burn it down

This is awesome

Star of the Night

Without a doubt, this honor goes to Finn Balor tonight. He finally gets himself another shot at the Universal Championship which he never lost. And, fans finally get the long discussed Balor/Lesnar clash.

RAW In A Nutshell: Shakeup At The Top Of The Rumble

Honorable mention to Bobby Lashley for his own Intercontinental Championship win, though I don’t think a title reign will help him.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Can’t help it, this one won’t even be Braun Strowman’s destruction of the Vince McMahon limo. Nope, instead it will be McMahon’s reaction to things. McMahon removed Strowman from the Royal Rumble Universal Title match. In his place, McMahon booked a fatal four way between John Cena, Finn Balor, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin.

Botch of the night:

Can I call this one a botch? Maybe not a botch, but the spot looked terrible. Cena, coming off the top rope for what was never going to be a move he was landing…gets turned into a power bomb by McIntyre. The landing looked terrible. That they replayed the spot in slow motion did it no favors.

LOL Moment of the night:

Funny (but odd) intro for Heavy Machinery, with Otis Dozovic coming on stage during Moment of Bliss. Not sure how long they can (or should) keep up the schtick that he’s borderline whatever…but the team is undeniably entertaining. That said, aside from a funny way of giving the Bliss segment the hook (since they immediately went to intros and entrances of the fatal four way), I really don’t know what the point of that was…if there was even a point at all.

Noteworthy Moment:

Nikki Cross made her in ring RAW debut tonight, teaming with Bayley and Natalya. This was sort of surprising, in that Sanity is (or was) on SmackDown. Otherwise, nice debut for Cross.

After that match, we got to spot Lacey Evans backstage as Finn Balor walked to the ring.

In a very good match, Bobby Lashley pinned Dean Ambrose to win the triple threat match and become Intercontinental Champion. This one is a bit of a surprise, if only because Ambrose hasn’t really had the title all that long. I figured he would hold onto it for a bit longer.

Alexa Bliss, on her Moment of Bliss segment, finally revealed more about the coming Women’s Tag Titles. The belts themselves were revealed (they look nice in my opinion). The deciding date was too-five weeks from now. Elimination Chamber, pitting three RAW women’s teams and three SmackDown women’s teams. Interesting way to decide the first ever tag champions…plus, surprised that they are only having one single set of belts, as opposed to one per brand. I do suppose the depth isn’t quite there yet to sustain two sets though.

 

Overall lowlights:

JBL Cena’s hair has got to go. Like, it’s just hard to look at. For someone like Cena, his typical hair cut is just…him. And this one…it’s just…not.

It has to be seen as a bummer that Strowman is now out of the title match. Yes, WWE had some bizarre booking choices for him over the last six or eight months (face to heel to face). There will be a few trains of thought here-either Vince liked another match better, Strowman is not cleared and won’t be, or perhaps McMahon soured on Strowman as a top face for now. Whatever the case is, it’s a bit disappointing, especially this close to the event.

Overall highlights:

Normally, if we had a show with one too many multi-man matches, I’d complain. Tonight we had a six woman tag, a triple threat match and a fatal four way. This was fine though, because it was all interesting. The women’s tag? Nikki Cross debuted. The triple threat gave us an awesome match and a new Intercontinental Champion. The fatal four way? Oh, that was just to replace Braun Strowman. All three served a purpose and were well executed.

After the final bell:

RAW In A Nutshell: Shakeup At The Top Of The RumbleWell, the rumors going around the last day or two had said Finn Balor was in line for a major push. Thing is, we had heard that before and got nothing. This time, perhaps they are different. Balor pinned Cena and became the new #1 contender. Balor against Brock Lesnar now happens in Phoenix. He even got an endorsement from John Cena (little weird there) to close the show.

 

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