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IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #343 – Thoughts on RAW 25
1. I’m excited for tonight, and that’s saying a lot considering my recent relative apathy. However, I can’t think of a greater contrast in levels of awesome between seeing JR and King at the original location for RAW, and then switching to having Stephanie do that Dad voice intro thing.
2. Brock Lesnar Guy and disposable Kodak cameras. The nostalgia goggles will be on tonight in full force. This show has been hyped to the max. Can they retain some of the audience they bring back tonight? Can they continue to rely on nostalgia to pop the ratings, or can they do something to keep them here?
3. It is amazing how much the announcement of Vinnie Mac can still pop a crowd, especially considering the names listed as present tonight. It speaks to the presence of an authority figure yet lived up to. Listen to Brooklyn sing that song, wow! Usually only Nakamura and a few others get that treatment! And he’s certainly spry!
4. Take a drink every time someone mentions how long 25 years is.
5. Stephanie and Shane had to use a fucking GoFundMe to make a PLAQUE? Has shit gotten that bad in Titan Towers?!
6. McMahon showing the heel side of him because people didn’t give a billionaire more stuff. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
7. Vince is fucking brilliant. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and has turned them against….
8. AUSTIN! That face! Perfect! I’m not even a big Austin fan and I just marked the fuck outi!
9. Vince giving a list of reasons to not get Stunnered by Austin, playing directly into the WHAT? chants is amazing. Then he throws his own son under the bus, and Shane’s reaction is an early contender for HAM of the Night. For once, that will be an actual competition.
10. They share a beer and hug, even with Vince pouring beer on Shane in the process. It’s not gonna end that way. It can’t. Austin stuns McMahon, and what a badass old man. Even with the middle fingers. That’s not PG, they didn’t blur it out! Think of the children!
11. Shane gets a second one, because why not? This segment was 1998 in a nutshell, and it was fun. Although Michael Cole cliche #37, “what a way to kick off X.” It loses its luster when you say it literally every week.
12. Operation “Throw All the Women in One Segment” method of booking continues, but everything is going to be like that tonight. Just stands out given Smackdown’s recent Not-Absolution vs. Team Face repetitiveness.
13. Did I just hear TRL mentioned? It really is 1998.
14. I’m in favor of ass-based tactics, and you know that’s going to take us into commercial. I’m not expecting much in the way of lengthy matches tonight, but that’s okay I think. If we’re playing by 1998 rules, four minute matches are not out of place.
15. We’ve got ourselves a double-commercial match, so at least they’re giving the women time. I just hope we can avoid the post-long match blues that RAW is prone to suffer from.
16. Alicia Fox taps to the Banks Statement, so some things haven’t changed in the New Year.
17. Asuka beat the fuck out of Team Face! That was awesome! Someone got an upgrade in badassery!
18. Coach! Welcome the ESPN people, and it’s time for random roll call. Harvey and the Brawler. Time for everyone to earn their checks. Teddy comes in with a suit that rivals Mark Henry’s fake-out retirement in HAMminess. It’s nice that they gave all these guys entrance music too, and here comes the red-faced Brother Love.
19. Hi Boogeyman, glad you’re earning that cameo by scaring my nine-year-old daughter and literally no one else. Corey makes a worm pun and he deserves to go sit in the Bad Pun corner for that one.
20. Are they going to have any matches in the smaller venue, or are they just there with a ring to hang out for Jerry and JR to have something to do?
21. I stand corrected, Taker’s in the small place. Shit, the people in Brooklyn must be so pissed. Taker with no lights or smoke or anything? That’s as bizarre as seeing him in such a small venue!
22. Hi Brock Lesnar Guy, you got censored for your chant. Thank JBL, after the first 12 times or so, I now have no idea what they were chanting.
23. The IC Title match is going on already?!
24. Total Divas is kicking off with a bombshell, which is something they announced months ago.
25. The APA and their poker game. Please someone walk in and tell them to use the door.
26. The Million Dollar Man stops by the APA poker game. That laugh is still legendary.
27. “Greatest General Managers” followed by Johnny Ace, somehow in a suit even louder than Teddy Long’s. Wow. How is it that Regal looks better now than he did in the 90s? And Bischoff gets one hell of a pop. It’s been a long time. 2005, right? Might as well get the Daniel Bryan pop too, and gosh I hope it comes along with a return announcement. It’s even weirder to hear Cole complimenting him, given their history.
28. Of course Miz picks that moment to come out. Come on, it’s perfectly set up now! Do it, dammit! Make those several years of stealing moves mean something for fuck’s sake!
29. Good to see Roman’s getting those strong reactions. Better alter plans never. I admit though, I really like Roman’s observant face taking in the crowd. It’s a nice little twist that doesn’t make him try to be witty on-demand.
30. Miz is starting to put up Jericho numbers with those title reigns (no Roman.)
31. That promo video for the triple threat title match was better than any of the buildup for the match itself. Well done.
32. I don’t even have anything much to say, I’m genuinely into this match. The crowd is into every second of it too, and that’s so important for this show for current roster members to get reactions just like the nostalgia acts.
33. Miz wins the title back to a HUGE ovation. I suppose that makes sense, given their plans, but I REALLY hope that doesn’t mean they’re going to make him win the Rumble. In Philly. Again.
34. Let me get this straight though; they can exercise instant replay for Gable/Benjamin, but not for a highly-promoted championship match on the biggest episode of RAW in years? Kay.
35. Takeover: Philadelphia is making me a bit nostalgic for my alma mater town. Shame I won’t be there until the weekend after Valentine’s Day.
36. Looks like the tag division is all gathering around the poker table, and there’s even a reference to Rikishi thrown in there. Jeff and his specific facial hair has come to hang out too.
37. Did you guys just jobber entrance Christian and the Peep Show? How. Dare. You?!
38. I love that “BURN IT DOWN” addition to CFJ’s theme more every time I hear it. Jordan is becoming quite the Vicki Guerrero-like heat magnet. It’s pretty well played, I can’t deny it. Every time he speaks.
39. So good to see The Bar. They might as well have Denis Leary narrate their promo videos since Sheasaro and the Ford F-150 have the exact same tag line now. Heh, tag line. Cause they’re a tag team. Heh…. I’ll see myself out.
40. Manipulating the Kurt Angle entrance chant to apply it to Jordan. That. Is. Brilliant! Good decisions all around, what show am I watching again?
41. The women’s champions meet, and it’s a perfect opportunity to earn some of that settlement money while demonstrating the sound team having the gain up WAY too high. Damn sound editing.
42. This poker game is becoming the equivalent of Tazz’s old recipes on Sunday Night Heat.
43. King references our old “shut your whore mouth, JBL!” game by saying that nobody should talk during Bray Wyatt’s entrance. Gee, it’s almost like he gets it or something.
44. We’re getting Bray/Broken Matt IN the smaller venue? Sure, why not?
45. JR referred to Matt’s story as “impactful.” Subtle.
46. Bray Wyatt won, so…. Um… What to even say?
47. Oh good, I was hoping to see the Entitlement Twins. I was really looking forward to it.
48. Kelly Squared? Shit, they really did make some calls.
49. LILIAN! Oh how I miss you, Lilian. Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, now there’s a name I haven’t thought of in a long time. And hey, someone with the same last name and alliteration as me. Even my own daughter asked if that’s where I got my name (it isn’t.) Terri. Maria’s here, and I didn’t realize she was pregnant. That explains why the dead-on-arrival gimmick disappeared so quickly. And Trish with a Def Leppard-style logo. I dig it. Shame to see no Lita, Jazz, Molly, Victoria, Tori… But still a nice tribute nonetheless.
50. Elias walks into the Walls, who is growing his hair back out, and I suppose this was a ready-made confrontation. Good to have a The List cameo, and even better to have a scarf joke. Gotta love HAM throwback. Few better than a former HAM of the Year.
51. Elias has the Johnny Cash middle-finger picture on his shirt. Will they go out of their way to block that part out? Probably. Only Austin can do that and keep it PG. A Middle Finger tax, I suppose.
52. The Power of Jericho is gaining Elias a “Stupid Idiot” chant despite the massive callbacks from the crowd during his schtick. It’s just good to see people having fun. Bring the lights up and there’s Jimmy Fallon, because… why not? Not a a bad reference when it comes to singing though, considering Fallon’s early career.
53. The Elias version of the Rock concert is cut off by John Cena, and we’ve got another version of Sing Along with the Rock. Looks like some beach balls got confiscated though, which probably got the most heat of the evening.
54. Elias is frustrated that John Cena RUINED IT! HE RUINED EVERYTHING, FROWNY FACE, FROWNY FACE, FROWNY FACE!
55. John Cena unleashes the moves of doom, but Elias counters with a low blow that held there long enough for him to at least give him a few bucks tip. Elias hits him with the guitar, so I’m supposing there’s a feud of sorts brewing with these two. Glad to see Cena working with the younger stars.
56. The Poker game has cheating, pancakes, and a well-placed DAMN! I have no issues with this.
57. Meanwhile in Cameoville, Mark Henry and the Godfather remember a time where gimmicks were… um… Yeah, let’s go with that.
58. Good to know Titus Worldwide and Heath Slater/Rhyno are getting a spot on the show… That was the best we could do for a third hour match?
59. Is the trip to Orlando high-octane? I won’t take the trip if it’s low-octane.
60. We come back just in time for the match to be thrown out via DQ, and… These guys are all about to get their asses kicked, aren’t they? There’s some familiar music, yep. At least it’s not Ascension-level of burials. Yet. You would think Rhyno would take this as an opportunity to toughen Heath up with his friends.
61. Speaking of that… Unfortunately it’s also met with a Dilly Dilly reference and I die a little inside.
62. The Dudleyz call the other three in. They’re getting their hands raised, but they don’t get Austin’d.
63. AJ Styles is next for an interview, but he apparently needs a bit of a nostalgia presence in his interview. Christ, sound crew, fix the damn gain! AJ brings in Mean Gene just to do a Hulk Hogan impression. HAM. Over.
64. The Manhattan Center gets DX and Taker?
65. They’re letting images of CM Punk be shown. I have to admit that’s highly surprising. But they did show it during a Nickelback song, so I suppose that’s punishment enough.
66. Shawn Michaels saying “I don’t get to do anything anymore” may be the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in wrestling, and even a cheap Network shill from him gets a groan. Hmm, wonder why.
67. Triple H actually made a reference to Chyna. I’m glad to hear that.
68. Oh you didn’t know? That sounds like a PG Intro from the head of Smackdown!
69. Sean doesn’t even get his old entrance music? Good to see he and RVD keeping that haircut alive though.
70. 1-2-3, quite an appropriate chant for that building, indeed. And then they’re getting a little old school Razor! Nice! And, sudden commercial. Okay.
71. Who comes out for the interruption but… Finn Balor and Club Sandwich? All right… They’re a bit outnumbered, so I don’t see it going well for them. Maybe they’re gonna share a Too Sweet?
72. They do! But then, someone else joins the party. Oh, it’s the Revival looking for their Ascension moment. And a ref comes out, so it’s gonna be a match too? This show is gonna run hella late.
73. Club Sandwich win like it’s nothing. Welcome back, Revival?
74. Now here comes the Ascension-burial. They must’ve done fucked up somewhere.
75. At least one of the three people in this main event segment debuted after 2002. I’m guessing this ends up one of those brawls where the extras have to keep holding everyone back, and we get the title logo across it.
76. Some fighty stuff happens, and they pretty much get out of the way. Good thing they’re already there. Kane takes another F5 cause he doesn’t stand much of a chance, and they’re now even doing video game shaky impact cam for getting thrown into the damn barrier. When it was the replays, I disliked it. Now, the word “overproduced” is an understatement.
77. Brock gets put through a table… and that’s it. Wow Kane, you kinda shit the bed in that. Glad all this extra security was there to… um… watch.
78. Tonight was fun, but like most episodes of RAW, it droned on and on at points. The main event segment was incredibly underwhelming, but they did manage to blend the past and present as well as any could expect. I’m really hoping the Rumble winner on Sunday isn’t another letdown. No more people who don’t need the push, please?
HAM OF THE NIGHT
Gotta go with Styles.
2012- Daniel Bryan
2013- Paul Heyman
2016 – Chris Jericho
2017 – The Miz
1-8-18 – Woken Matt
1-15-18 – Woken Matt
1-22-18 – AJ Styles