SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
DX IN THE HOF…
Recap: The show led off with Triple-H in the ring, fully in his babyface persona. He reviewed the events from last night, adding that while in his corporate role he had to condemn Becky Lynch’s actions, personally he thought it was “cool.”
He then went on to announce that D-Generation X would be in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. He specifically mentioned Chyna as being included.
Evaluation: It was very surprising to see DX entering the HOF this year, considering the HOF ceremony will run head-to-head with the New Japan show at MSG. I would’ve predicted that Triple-H would’ve wanted DX inducted in a year with more eyeballs.
It was nice to see WWE not shy away from Chyna. Although the circumstances around the later part of her life were tragic, she was an important part of WWE in the 1990s.
Forecast: I would expect DX to dominate what will be a less-watched ceremony, even by WWE HOF standards.
After his announcement of DX’s entry into the Hall of Fame, Triple-H went on to announce that Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, and Alleister Black would be making their Raw debuts.
During a Bobby Lashley beatdown of Finn Balor, Ricochet came out for the save. As a result, Lio Rush and Lashley faced Ricochet and Finn in a tag match. Ricochet scored the pin with a 630 to Lio Rush.
In a backstage segment, Ciampa and Gargano were approached by Chad Gable and Bobby Roode. Gable and Roode were incredulous that newcomers were getting a shot at the tag champions over them. The Revival then appeared, but Ciampa interrupted them, saying they weren’t there to show anyone respect, but rather to make an impact at their expense.
Ciampa and Gargano defeated the Revival in a non-title match, using their old DIY combination finish.
Charly Caruso then interviewed Finn and Ricochet backstage. Finn said it was Ricochet’s night. Ricochet cut a subpar promo about achieving his dreams.
Black later interrupted an Elias concert and defeated Elias in a short match.
Evaluation: Most of NXT’s biggest stars were on the show tonight. I interpreted this as simply an appearance for them rather than a callup, especially since two of them still hold titles in NXT.
Minor league baseball teams often rely on appearances by guys from the majors in rehab appearances for attendance boosts. Years ago I once saw Roger Clemens pitch for Double-A Trenton to prepare for one of his midseason comebacks from retirement. The place was packed.
In WWE, we’re in the reverse situation. NXT garners such positive emotions and excitement that Raw seems to be hoping that an appearance from the minor leaguers will hold the audience through the three hours.
Forecast: I expect all of these guys to be back in NXT for a bit. But one night callups of exciting stars from NXT may become a trend.
Gargano and Ciampa will likely continue flirting with the reformation of DIY. Ultimately I think it will be a fakeout leading to another match between the two.
The Sasha and Bayley promo was very uncomfortable tonight as it was delivered to dead silence. WWE must know by now that the whole trailblazer/empowerment gimmick isn’t over….
I pray this Baron Corbin-Braun Strowman feud is finally over..,,
Dean Ambrose was again a goofy face tonight. Maybe the idea is to cool him off before his exit by confusing the fans?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 2/11: The Wrong Kind of Heat, Sasha & Bayley, New Tag Champs