WWE RAW HOLT REPORT (Happenings Off Live TV)
JANUARY 22, 2018
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. AT MANHATTAN CENTER
REPORT BY STEVEN MARUFFI, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
-The hard camera was on the floor. I was 5th row ringside.
-Before the show started, biggest chant was “Barclays Sucks.”
-When Vince McMahon & Steve Austin showed up at Barclays, the whole place booed. Afterward, Jerry Lawler on the mic talked up Austin and Vince, I thought it as a hint saying don’t worry, they’ll be here later, but I was wrong.
-We didn’t get anything until maybe the commercial before Undertaker. That featured Mustafa Ali beating someone in a mask in about two minutes.
-Then Undertaker was cool, but it was weird to see him come in full lights.
-I don’t know what exact segment it was between, but Drew Gulak & Tony Nese beat Hideo Itami & Tozawa for about 3 minutes. Then they fought their way into the back. Fans chanted “bullsh–.” Then maybe 10-20 minutes later they came out fighting again and actually had a finish – Tazawa with his big back bump move from top rope. It looked cool, no Itami GTS.
-The crowds in bathroom lines throughout show were like “The only thing that could save this was C.M. Punk.” I don’t agree, I say to hell with Punk, but who am I to say!
-The next thing we got was the Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy match. I think this got the chant of the night: “We got something!” That came up later during DX too.
-After the match, the one screen showed the Bellas entrance, then went away, then the Hardy music played, and Jeff Hardy came running out (so the poker scenes were pre-taped). Good reaction. “Brother Nero” chants followed. Matt had the mic and introduced him as Brother Nero, then asked if we wanted to hear a song. Jeff (Bro Nero) took mic and sang: “He’ll fade away and classify himself as obsolete.” He held the mic out to fans and we chanted “Obsolete!”
-Later the Miz showed up to a great reaction. He put his hand up for the “my hand goes up blah blah” and before he said it we got quiet and even said “shhh.” He was almost shocked by it, but asked us to say that line with him. His promo put over the IC Title, and how he made it prestigious. He then said he will go into the Rumble and throw out 30 guys and main event Mania while holding IC Title. (You’re probably picky like me and this will bug you because he would have to throw out only 29, unless he eliminates himself and no winner.) Probably the best reaction so far.
-I fast-forwarded my DVR at home to get to the DX segment, because I knew there had to be a commercial. I just didn’t know when it started. (I made a sick catch of a glow stick from a bank shot off the balcony!) During the commercial, Triple H had the mic and went through all the guys in the ring again, asked by what name he should refer to Waltman, and “1-2-3 Kid” won via fan chant. Shawn Michaels and Triple H probably had best reaction from DX with everyone just being happy to see something, with Scott Hall being a close second. Then Finn Balor got the best reaction, surpassing the others.
-They stayed in the ring for the Barclays ending. When that was over, Ric Flair came out to probably the best reaction of the night, tied with Balor. He seemed very grateful to be there. He said a little thing about everyone, how jacked Billy Gunn looked, and how he was surprised he almost died before most of them. He named Waltman, Hall, and Road Dogg, a reference to their past well chronicled drug addiction issues. He talked about how he loved ending his run there with HBK.
-Flair got a big pop when he said something like “I was here for Raw 1, 2, 3, then left for WCW which I wish I never went back to that place.” Miz showed up again, the crowd didn’t really turn on him, but he forced us to turn. He went through all of them saying, former IC Champ… and he’s the current IC Champ. And now with these “legends” there, we don’t care about the him.
-Then Seth Rollins came out. He said it was good to be back here and even said he won the ROH Title in this same building, got a good pop for that. A little more back and forth between Rollins and Miz, and eventually Rollins hit “The Blackout” (“Curb Stomp”) on Miz, and that was pretty much the end.
-During the closed-circuit part of the show, 90 percent of the fans were looking at their phones throughout the night. If you were facing the hard camera, the one screen was behind you, so to watch, you had to stand up and turn around. Most did not even do that. There was a real stage that had seating under that main screen, and during Barclays stuff, they rolled out two TVs for people under the main screen to see. Random “boring” chants throughout. The “We got something” was funny for the two things after Undertaker. A lot of time for bathroom breaks and bar trips.
-I kind of had a feeling about the show being bad, and put my ticket on sale for a few hundred over face value. Then saw a pic on IG of a chair, and took the ticket off sale and went. Turns out I would have taken $200 for a $400 ticket knowing what I know now. Every seat at Manhattan Center was a special chair we got to take home. It came to $405, maybe $450 with Ticketmaster b.s. fees. Not worth it for buying a seat to a closed circuit show with a DX reunion. Disappointing.
I’d say the last 30 minutes was the only thing to even enjoy.
Now check out today’s Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One featuring conversations with two fans, one representing the Barclays experience and the other the Manhattan Center experience. CLICK HERE