Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! It’s National Championship Monday, as two college football teams are battling for a nice and shiny trophy. Good for them. For us? It’s a big Monday Night RAW, with a special appearance by Shawn Michaels and, from all accounts, one from The Undertaker too. It’s a big night as we inch closer to San Antonio, the Rumble, and the full blown Road to WrestleMania. And, speaking of WrestleMania, WWE also announced earlier today that the biggest show of their calendar year, will indeed return to New Orleans next April for WrestleMania 34.

Best Match of the night:

Here’s one I struggled with. There were a few good ones, but for my money, no great ones. I liked Neville and Lince Dorado-a match which was boosted by the post-match interaction between Neville and Rich Swann. Other than that, I’d probably go with the main event, if only because it’s great to see Jericho with gold again.

Worst match of the night:

Titus and Kofi. I have nothing against Kofi, but Titus is borderline unwatchable. Like, New Day is not going to salvage his career, so WWE should probably stop trying for him to do just that.

Crowd Chants of the Night

HBK! HBK!

One more match

Sweet Chin Music

How you doin’

Undertaker

Yes! Yes! Yes!

New Day rocks

Let’s go Roman/Roman sucks

Star of the Night

In a non-wrestling capacity, nods to both HBK and The Undertaker. Have not seen Michaels in a while, and Undertaker on RAW is always fun. Especially when he speaks.

Wrestling-wise? I’ll go with a nod to new United States Champion Chris Jericho. Nice to see  him with  some gold on his shoulder again.

Spot of the Night:

HBK, with Sweet Chin Music on Rusev

What do you want from me?  The great spots were few and far between.

Jobber of the Night:

Might be a bit of a reach, but I kind of want to give this to Rusev. Why? Because he was the butt of a few jokes, and more importantly, he ate Sweet Chin Music. I honestly began to expect that Mahal was getting it, because, you know, why let a grizzled, broken down Hall of Famer (who looks as jacked as ever) make someone of any import look weak. But nope, he ate it like a champ.

Upset of the Night:

I was surprised that Nia and Charlotte went clean over Banks and Bayley, especially with it being Nia who scored the pin.

And, I never imagined Chris Jericho was going to actually be victorious tonight. So I would say a minor surprise there.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Mick Foley. Second haircut in as many weeks. And if it was much shorter, we could be calling him Uncle Fester.

Nia Jax and Charlotte took out Bayley and Sasha Banks, and then gave Charlotte a nice big shove for good measure.

Jericho bled. By the time he was United States Champion, his forehead had been painted crimson.

Botch of the night:

Charlotte meant to say “hold a candle”. She instead, said “handle a candle”

Cass’ East River Crossing on Jinder did not look like it went quite as clean as it should have.

Commentary of the night:

I guess the voodoo doll worked!

The Bulgarian George Clooney goes down!

LOL Moment of the night:

The interaction between Shawn Michaels, Enzo, Cass and of course Rusev and Jinder Mahal was not bad. It made folks laugh. It had some awkward moments, but for the most part it lands in the LOL column.

And then New Day dusted off footage of Titus in NXT, circa 2010, stumbling during a keg carrying challenge. And then they re-did it, and Titus pulled a DeSean Jackson and dropped the ball, so to speak, just feet before crossing the line.

Noteworthy Moment:

It is official. After being long-rumored, The Undertaker showed up on RAW, ostensibly as part of Mick Foley’s Performance Evaluation being administered by Stephanie McMahon. And, once in the ring, he said what many were hoping and waiting to hear-that he is indeed entering the 2017 Royal Rumble, saying he’s dug twenty nine holes for twenty nine souls.

A little foreshadowing, perhaps, having Braun Strowman watching Undertaker’s announcement. Obviously they are putting Strowman in a position to be seen as the alpha heel in the Rumble, the “it” pick.

Overall lowlights:

Honestly? Most of the show. Like, for whatever reason, this three hour tour felt slow and plodding and a great way to tune people out. It felt like a tale of a bunch of different scripts, and the majority of the show did nothing for me. Maybe you felt differently? If you did, say so in the comments.

Overall highlights:

Shawn Michaels, welcome back. Said just the right words to almost make us think he was coming back, but maybe he doesn’t wrestle….maybe he comes back for Mick’s job? And, can I just say…damn, he has not wrestled in eons, but he still looks to be in great shape. Better shape than quite a few active guys.

The Undertaker is back, and he’s in the Rumble. How cool is it to see him back, even if it is somewhat bittersweet knowing that we won’t get many more (if any more) of him entering this thirty man, over the top rope tradition.

I think the Rollins/Strowman matches have both made the big man look good, but beatable. Like, he still comes off as a monster, but not like he’s going to squash people. It gives him some character depth, but I think it’s pretty obvious he’s going to wind up as one of the final four, and may break a few records for eliminations.

After the final bell:

Even with the big names back for the evening, this RAW felt…off. Like, HBK was good, but i was somewhat disappointed he was mostly out to plug a movie. And while the segment worked, I would have never expected him to work a segment with Enzo, Cass, Rusev and Mahal. Weird.

Undertaker was solid, though it actually seemed weird for him to speak as much as he did. So used to him being silent and saying a lot when not actually saying anything. But, he’s in the Rumble, so people are happy.

I think/presume that having Jericho win the belt was meant to do two things. One, it meant that Reigns wouldn’t have to surrender the US title in a few weeks. And two, it was a nice nod to Jericho, as it’s been a while since he’s had any gold on him. I don’t mind the change, but it felt somewhat anti-climactic.

They’ve got a couple more shows before the big PPV. I hope they have better shows between now and then.

 

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