A Too Sweet Walk With Elias – A Raw 25 Recap for 1/22/18

Tonight’s Raw came to us from The Barclays Center in Brooklyn and The Manhattan Center in…Manhattan.

Happy very belated New Year!  I’ve been buried under a pile of work somewhere between Parts Unknown and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  I’m glad to be back and talk about something important.  Oh wait, I’m talking about wrestling.

It’s not just any event though.  It’s the 25th anniversary of Raw.  Rarely does a PPV got the media blitz that this episode of Raw got.  What sounded great on paper failed to wow in reality.

I’m not going to bother recapping this.  Let’s just talk about the top things I liked and the top things I didn’t like.

I Liked…

The Undertaker’s Return

I do thing it’s a little weird that they didn’t turn out the lights at the Manhattan Center.  It was weird to see The Undertaker come out without any smoke or anything.  For such a big moment, it was a little underwhelming in presentation.

He looked good.  He didn’t look creaky like every time he showed up last year.  His hip replacement went well and he’s covered nicely.  He somehow looks a decade younger.

His speech kind of seemed like some recycled garbage that Bray Wyatt would spit out during a non-important November Raw.  Basically what I’m saying is that it was complete nonsense.  It seemed to say that he was done, but the rumor mill is far too active for Undertaker to be really done.

If this was his retirement speech, I wish he never showed up.  Mean Mark Calloway should have showed up tonight, or even the American Badass.

Still, he looked great.

Not A Single Word

My favorite current wrestler changes almost week-to-week, but my all-time favorite is Stone Cold Steve Austin.  I actually stopped watching when he turned heel at Wrestlemania 17.  I just didn’t care for that storyline so that meant I didn’t care at all for wrestling.

The McMahons kicked off Raw.  The offspring of Vincent Kennedy McMahon were there to give their father a cheap plague for Raw’s 25th year.  Vince wasn’t too happy about it and wasted no time insulting the fine people of Brooklyn.  Say what you will about Vince’s booking decisions but no one can control a crowd like he can.

Enough was enough.   Glass shattered and the Texas Rattlesnake appeared to hand out Stunner’s left and right.  He never said a single word…and he didn’t need to.  Of all the nostalgia moments, I’ll never get tired of Stone Cold.

WWE = Walk With Elias

I’m not sure anyone had a better night than Elias.  First, he runs into New Japan’s Alpha, Chris Jericho, who wants to jam with him and put him on some special list.  Perhaps it’s comps for the Jericho Rock ‘N Wrestling Rager at Sea?  Who knows.

He hit the ring and sang a rousing song to…Jimmy Fallon about how all the old guys suck.  Normally this means that he’ll be buried by some nostalgia act.  The best part?  His call-and-response to “WWE means…WALK WITH ELIAS”.  You could tell that he knew he was over.

John Cena answered the call and ended up with a guitar to the back and a Drift Away.  Elias looked strong.  Thank god.

Passing of the Too Sweet

DX reunited.  Triple H was there.  Shawn Michaels jogged around the ring a couple of times.  X-Pac got 1-2-3 chants.  The New Age Outlaws were there too.  Razor showed up.

Triple H declared that Degeneration X would be around for another 25 years.  He wasn’t being literal though.  Enter Fergal and pals for a Too Sweet heard around the world.

The Miz Vs. Roman Reigns

The Miz proves once again why he was named Rolling Stone’s Wrestler of the Year.  I was actually asking myself the other day who has the IC belt.  You know when you never ask that question?  It’s when Miz is Intercontinental Champion.  He really has elevated that Championship in a way that no one else has.

The match was excellent.  For those that don’t watch regularly, they saw something special.

I Disliked

Pretty much all the wrestling that wasn’t for the Intercontinental Championship

  • Woken Matt lost a short match to Bray at the Barclays Center.  It was a fairly unsatisfying ending.  It was basically a Sister Abigail outta nowhere.
  • Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James defeated Nia Jax, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville & Alicia Fox.  Technically, Banks got the win for her team but Asuka showed her dominance throwing everyone out.  I feel like this is sort of standard pre-Royal Rumble fare.
  • Heath Slater & Rhyno Vs. Titus Worldwide ended in No Contest.  It was kind of the payoff of Heath’s storyline where he cheated at poker against The APA.  The Dudley Boyz showed up and put Heath through a table.  That’ll teach you about cheating, boys and girls.  Pay no attention to what The Miz did earlier in the show.
  • Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated The Revival in a short, unspectacular match.
  • While it wasn’t a match, the show ended with the same tired Brock Lesnar confrontation where they surround the ring with the entire roster, yet everything spirals out of control.  Braun Strowman put Brock through a table.  You know what that means…Kane is your Universal Champion Brock is winning on Sunday.

Parade of Past Stars

Sure, it’s great to bring out the legends but actually do something with them if you fly them out to New York.  Twice in one night they brought out legendary GMs as well as legendary WWE Women.  There was really no purpose to it besides to remind you that they’re still alive and well.

Not Having a Concurrent Show at The Manhattan Center

Every time it cut back to the Manhattan Center, you could tell they were bored and restless.  Apparently during the time they weren’t showing the Manhattan Center, nothing was happening.  The were watching the same show on TV screens that was happening across town while JR and Jerry appeared to be napping.  There should have been matches happening that they could have reworked into a WWE Network Special.  They should have been running both rooms for the entire 3 hours.  Later, they apparently did have The Miz stop by.  Seth Rollins showed up to mention that he won the ROH World Title in that same building as Tyler Black.

Cool stuff did happen, but just not enough of it.  It should have been wall-to-wall in both places.

And on top of that, fans paid $400 face value for the tickets.  I’d hate to be the poor guy that bought $800 on Stubhub.

A Nostalgia Burial

As much as I love seeing DX, Razor, Austin, and all the other Attitude Era/nWo era stars.  Why do they always have to destroy some of the new guys?  The Revival just got back from injury and you make them eat every Old Timer’s finisher after losing a quick match to Gallows and Anderson.  It’s a pattern that I don’t like to see.  These guys aren’t in their peak conditioning anymore.  They have ring rust.  They can try to get in a few licks but The Revival should have been able to avoid all this nonsense.