12/28 WWE in Hartford, Conn.: Cena vs. Reigns, Seth & Jordan vs. The Bar, Hardy vs. Bray, Enzo, Asuka, Balor, Joe

Bayley (photo credit Tom Gibson © PWTorch)


DECEMBER 28, 2017

Definitely not a sell out.  A couple sections of the arena (including the upper section behind the entrance way) was tarped off.  I’d guess that roughly 85 percent of the arena was available for seating but the arena was maybe 65% full.  Lots of scattered seats throughout.  I’ve never seen a sellout there but usually lots more people for Raw.

(1) Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews & Heath Slater & Rhyno & Goldust defeated The Revival & The Miztourage & Curt Hawkins. Rhyno won with the spinebuster to Hawkins. Personally disappointed there was no Gore, but I’m not even sure that he does that move anymore.

(2) Enzo Amore defeated Kalisto to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Enzo’s entrance is still over huge, but after burying Hartford in his promo, the crowd booed and was solidly behind Kalisto.  Also of note, he told the crowd that we are not allowed to spell his word out with him and then he spelled “SAWFT” again really fast.  I’m not sure if he’s ever done that on TV, but I doubt it, and I think it would help to clearly establish him as a heel.

(3) Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose defeated Sasha Banks & Bayley. Sasha & Bayley were over but the crowd was quiet for Absolution.  Can’t remember the finish.  There was no Paige (likely due to an injury/scare reportedly suffered the previous night).

(4) Matt Hardy defeated Bray Wyatt.  Both guys received decent pops.  Lots of delete chants.  Would’ve loved to hear a little Matt on the mic, but we did hear him do his laugh during the match.

Elias segment. Elias and the Good Brothers came out to entertain.  They were interrupted by Kane and then sang for him, insulting him and Kane would have none of it.  He took them out and stood tall.  Elias was most definitely over and got a loud response to his “Who wants to walk with Elias?”

(5) Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan defeated Sheamus & Cesaro to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles in a cage . Rollins received the loudest ovation of the night at this point.  Seth came out wearing Bayley wristbands.  Crowd was quiet for Jordan. Certainly match of the night.  Move of the night saw Rollins dive off the top of the cage onto Sheamus & Cesaro.  Biggest reaction of anything on the show.  Creative finish saw Rollins escape while Jordan was left inside.  Rollins climbed back in and then Jordan then escaped while Rollins was left inside.  Sheamus and Cesaro got the better of Rollins and they started to escape.  Cesaro made it out while Jordan stopped Sheamus from hitting the floor by putting Sheamus on his shoulders while Rollins climbed out.  Didn’t see many of Jordan’s signature moves that you see on Raw but he got a suplex in there.  Good stuff.


(6) Asuka & Dana Brooke defeated Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss & Nia Jax.  Alexa tapped to Asuka.  I thought the crowd of seemingly casual fans and parents with children wouldn’t know Asuka, but she got a decent reaction.

(7) Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor.  Balor passed out to the Coquina Clutch.  Both guys were over but Finn more so.  Lots of “Let’s go Balor/Let’s go Joe” chants throughout.  Not sure who got the loudest pop so far between Finn and Seth.  Maybe Seth slightly more.

(8) Roman Reigns defeated John Cena to retain the Intercontinental Title.  While there were some boos. Cena got more of a pop than I’ve ever heard at the XL Center and the “John Cena sucks” singalong seems to be more out of respect/tradition now similar to Kurt Angle’s “You Suck.”  As for Reigns, he was mostly booed during his entrance and throughout the match, although there was a decent pop when he won with the spear.  Interesting.  Perhaps because of the impact of the move which is fun to see.  Plus, the match was pretty good.  Most of the crowd started to file out immediately after the pin, but those who stuck around saw Cena get up to raise Roman’s hand.  We left after this, but it can be assumed that one or both of them stayed around to shake hands with the fans.

FINAL NOTES: I thought I heard that they didn’t use Bayley’s inflatable tube men at house shows, but they did here… The show ran nearly 3.5 hours, 7:30 to maybe quarter to 11:00 and had a great pace.  When one match ends, the ring announcer is right in there for the next contest.  There were, of course, a few video packages disbursed throughout, but none too long except for when setting up the cage.  You somewhat miss the promos and other segments that come with a Raw, but the show doesn’t feel like as much of a chore to sit through… For the main event they turned off the video screen above the ring… For the second time, I took a friend with me who used to be a huge fan but hasn’t watched wrestling consistently in about ten years.  Last time, he cheered Roman and questioned why most of the fans seem to cheer him then boo. LOL.  This time (I believe out of respect for Cena), he booed Roman. Interesting to see… Hartford does not like Reigns.  As stated above, mostly boos for him.  Personally, I respect him.  He has great matches and his promos have gotten decent, but he carries himself in such a smug, brash, and cocky way that I couldn’t help but boo him as hard as I could.  He just has this “I’m better than you” look.  Such a turn off.  As Wade says, “Too cool for school”… Great night overall.  But while I had a good time, I think I’ll go back to just attending televised events where you get more for your money (this was my first house show since ’93; started attending Raw in ‘09) as most of the crowd was quiet with the exception of those on the floor and in front row sections.  Usually a much more lively crowd for Raw.  This may have just been people who bought their children tickets for Christmas.  FYI, we paid $59 each for two tickets and were at the beginning (section C) of the upper (mid?) level… They announced several times that they’re returning April 16, for Raw, a week after Mania.  Tickets went on sale after the show…

If you attend a live event for any pro wrestling event, please send a report like the one above to pwtorch@pwtorch.com.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS REPORT: 12/28 WWE in Pittsburgh, Pa.: Tye tests heel role, Becky Lynch back with Naomi vs. Riott Squad, Styles vs. Mahal in cage, Breezago vs. Bludgeon

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