WWE Raw Live Event
Anaheim, California at Honda Center
By Dot Net Staffer Will Pruett
The upper deck of the arena was completely tarped off, with only lower sections being sold. Judging from empty seats at most points in the show, the sold area seemed about 3/4ths full.
WWE’s awful synthesized version of the National Anthem kicked off the show, followed by Kurt Angle welcoming fans, and the Raw opening video.
1. Bray Wyatt defeated Matt Hardy. Much like on Raw, Hardy started doing his “Broken” gestures after the match, which the crowd totally loved.
2. Heath Slater, Rhyno, and Apollo Crews defeated Dash Wilder, Curtis Axel, and Curt Hawkins. Rhyno pinned Wilder after a Spinebuster (no Gore in this match). The most notable portion of the match was Crews getting to shine in the early portion of it. WWE can and should do a lot more to highlight what an amazing athlete he is on television.
3. Asuka defeated Alicia Fox. This match went a little longer than expected and ended with Asuka locking Fox in an armbar.
A promo from Samoa Joe mentioning the main event aired in the arena.
4. Elias defeated Jason Jordan. Before the match began, Elias got to work the crowd with a concert. This is a great house show act. Jordan received a fine reaction when he entered, but fans quickly grew apathetic towards him.
After Jordan was beat by Elias, Kane entered for no apparent reason, Chokeslammed Jordan, and left. Kane looked pretty out of shape.
It was announced that Raw will be in Anaheim on February 26.
5. Finn Balor defeated Karl Anderson (with Luke Gallows). This was a fun short match. Balor did a little mic work about their history in “a club” before the match started.
6. Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss with Mickie James as the special referee. Bliss tapped out to the Banks’ Bank Statement. Nia and Alexa are fun to watch interact. Among the highlights of this match, Bayley made sure a young fan got her t-shirt when she threw it into the crowd, directing traffic beforehand and pointing out who she was throwing it to. Having seen a ton of jerkface dudes dive for shirts to keep them from kids, I appreciated this.
7. Enzo Amore defeated Kalisto to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. This was their standard match with Kalisto looking semi-impressive, Enzo talking a lot before the match, and not much else. The Cruiserweight Division is difficult to care about.
8. The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose) defeated Cesaro, Sheamus, and Samoa Joe in a no disqualification match. This was the highlight of the evening, with fans really excited to see The Shield. Very few weapons were used and tag rules were followed for the most part. The match broke down into chaos with Cesaro eventually finding himself on the receiving end of The Shield’s Triple Powerbomb.
My Take: This was an enjoyable night from WWE, but not one where the wrestlers were determined to work very hard. The show featured an unnecessary amount of long headlocks. Until the main event, I would have classified the show was exceptionally boring. The main event saved it. I was also saddened by the lack of Braun Strowman, who was advertised for this show and was the sole wrestler on the LED signs outside. Like he does on Raw, I expected Braun to add some chaos and excitement to this show.
Will Pruett writes about wrestling and popular culture at prowrestling.net. Of interest to him are diversity in wrestling and wrestling as a theatrical art form. To see his video series “What I Love About Professional Wrestling” subscribe to his YouTube channel. To contact, check him out on Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email him at email@example.com.