By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net reader Josh attended the WWE Raw 25 event in Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center and passed along the following report.
-25th Anniversary Video: CM Punk chants filled the arena right before we went on the air. Punk got a huge pop when he was shown on the Tron for the first time. Also, Sting got a really nice pop when he was shown. Punk, Sting, Austin, and Jericho got the biggest reactions during the video package.
-Raw opened with Stephanie McMahon. She received a nice ovation. Shane McMahon came out to a bigger ovation. And Vince McMahon came out to an even bigger ovation. The crowd was singing the chorus “No Chance in Hell”. Steve Austin came out to a massive pop. He got the pop of the night. At first, I was thinking Vince wasn’t in any condition to take a Stunner. He sold that Stunner better than he ever had before. I’m not a big Austin fan, but this was really fun and executed well. A great way to start off the show. The crowd was electric. This Raw seemed to have a special feeling with that opening and then…. the slow decline began.
-The eight-woman tag match: Paige got a really good pop. Sasha Banks got a really good pop. Nia Jax was the crowd favorite here (more so than Asuka or anyone else). The crowd did love it when Asuka attacked the babyfaces post-match. A really good reaction for that. The match was fine. I enjoyed it because I dig women’s wrestling.
-Backstage Segment: Brother Love got a really nice reaction. Also, Boogeyman got nice pop. I was pretty surprised.
-Undertaker Promo: Barclays Center wasn’t on fire for this because Taker was at the other arena. People were engaged with what he was saying though. Obviously, this was a very cryptic promo. I thought it was great that he didn’t come out with his hat, gloves, etc. He left those things in Orlando. Nice touch.
-Backstage segment (Poker): Ted DiBiase got the biggest reaction here. He was the star of this brief segment.
-General Managers: Daniel Bryan and Eric Bischoff received huge pops. They could have done so much more with all of these special appearances.
-Roman Reigns vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Title: This was really fun. The majority of the crowd was firmly behind Miz throughout. Roman had his supporters. It wasn’t 50/50, maybe 65/35 in favor of the Miz starting out. By the end of the match, it seemed like everyone was cheering for Miz. The title change ignited the Barclays Center again. The juice was back in the building.
-Backstage segment (Poker): Jeff Hardy got a really nice pop. That’s all I remember from this.
-Peep Show with Christian: It was nice for Christian to be featured. It felt like he was really missing Edge here though. Massive heel heat for Jason Jordan. A good pop for Seth Rollins. The Bar were babyfaces as well.
-Backstage segment (Alexa, Charlotte and Naitch): Very good pops for Charlotte and Alexa. It looked like Charlotte was three feet taller than Bliss here.
-Bray Wyatt vs Woken Matt Hardy (shown from the other building): I was really surprised by how dead the Manhattan Center was by this time. I assumed they had been getting a damn good show up until this point.
Side Note: The Woken character seems over at times. Walking to the Barclays Center from the Q, I could hear many people chanting Delete! Delete! Delete! Brooklyn was filled with Ric Flair wooooooo’s and Delete! chants. The Manhattan Center didn’t seem to respond to this match though. Perhaps, they were really pissed off by everything at this point.
-Honoring Women’s Wrestlers: Nice pops for the ladies. Trish Stratus stood out as the star and received a great ovation. Where in the hell was Lita though?
-Elias and Chris Jericho backstage: A huge pop for Jericho, and a huge pop for Elias being put on the list as well. Y2J is a master at reinventing himself and staying relevant.
-Elias and John Cena in-ring segment: Elias is over as a babyface and a heel. Cena got his usual treatment. There was a nice ovation when Elias hit Cena with the guitar. Also, Jimmy Fallon had heel heat.
-Backstage Segments: Not much to note here. The Godfather got a nice pop. He has a beautiful wife. Good for him.
-Titus Worldwide vs Rhyno and Heath Slater: This is where the rails started coming off. The crowd was getting restless. We expected a better show to this point. The crowd was chanting boring. The Dudley Boyz came in and saved the day. Good pop for the table spot per usual.
-AJ Styles and “Mean” Gene Okerlund segment: Styles got a great ovation. The Hulk Hogan line was cool. The “Kami” stuff has got to go though. So damn corny.
-DX and Balor Club segment: The Barclays Center crowd was disgruntled by not getting this segment in our venue. Keep in mind, we didn’t know Manhattan Center had been given such a shitty show up until this point. This segment was as over as it could be since we were watching it on a screen. The crowd was pissed we didn’t get the Balor Club live. One guy dressed in all DX gear was so angry that he left right after this segment. I loved seeing Scott Hall come out to his Razor Ramon theme. They played the entire entrance for us so that was nice. It’s so great to see Hall and Waltman looking so healthy. Triple H mentioning Chyna got a nice pop. This segment was cool as hell. I wish we could have seen it live. Manhattan Center deserved something though.
-Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. The Revival: I really like the Manhattan Center adding in the Marty Scrull chant with the too sweet. Too sweet, woop, woop. Good stuff! Nothing match here. Really cool post-match shenanigans with Balor Club and DX though. The Barclays crowd was completely dead coming out of this segment. We watched the big screen a lot during hour three.
-Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Kane, and Brock Lesnar segment: Nice ovations for Kurt, Braun, and Brock. The crowd was pretty dead at this point though. Braun couldn’t even really pull us back in. The table spot was cool but we’ve seen it. Nothing special here.
1. Steve Austin
2. The Miz winning the IC Title
3. Chris Jericho backstage
4. CM Punk on the Tron
5. Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar table spot
1. Jason Jordan
2. Roman Reigns
3. The event itself. People were pissed at the end of the night. Vocal and angry. Expectations and hopes were really high for this show.
4. John Cena
5. Jimmy Fallon
Final Thoughts: I thought Raw 1000 in 2012 was a great show. The 25th Anniversary was not. With that said, I need to go back and watch the show as it aired. My girlfriend and I got on TV a few times so we’ve heard. Maybe that will boost my opinion (haha). This show had a lot of hype and it just didn’t live up to it. WWE is getting in dangerous territory with this “paint by the numbers” formula week in and week out. Even the 25th Anniversary seemed heartless and lacking in passion.
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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...