Nick Paglino kindly collated all of my tweets over at this link. This is mainly to add some stuff I didn't have time to tweet, correct the odd bit I probably tweeted wrong, and add some other off air notes.
Show started with Zack Ryder vs Heath Slater in a dark match. A nice small reaction for both, Ryder got a good fresh crowd reaction during a 3-4 minute match I reckon. He showed no signs of the heel turn he might have teased during his Youtube show. Ryder won with the Rough Ryder. Nice dark match opener.
Tony Dawson and Matt Striker come out for the Superstars taping. We open up with, what I believe was Jimmy Uso vs Michael McGillicutty. Not much crowd reaction for either guy, flat match, ok finish. Jimmy Uso wins in 6-7 minutes (most of these times are pure guess work).
Divas tag match next. Kaitlyn and Layla vs Aksana and… erm… Tamina I think. Bizarrely, despite being born in Birmingham, they advertised Layla as being from Miami, Florida. I seemed to care more than most about that one! Layla would correct the score later on by wearing Union Jack ring gear during the battle royal. Not much to see hear, Kaitlyn and Layla take the win win a nice looking spear.
A note, here. Where I was sat we had no view of the tron what-so-ever. I did my best to fill in the gaps by listening more intently and watching the directors TV down below – which was sometimes blocked, sometimes not. Don't think any of this is wrong, but where it's a backstage segment, I'm taking an educated guess at times.
They set up for Raw. Cole is out first to a mixed reaction. JBL out next to a huge ovation (there would be multiple, loud JBL chants throughout the first hour of Raw). Jerry Lawler out to complete the commentary team.
Raw opens up with Paul Heyman. Who got a very nice reaction and a few ECW chants. Heyman said he was out there representing Brock Lesnar, they did a video recap. Heyman said Triple H wasn't here tonight, so he would instead read from an email HHH sent him. "To Paul", "We're on first name terms, apparently" – that got a very nice laugh. Heyman read a bit of the email then, low and behold HHH's music hits. HHH got a very loud reaction, not quite on the same scale as JBL – which I'm sure will Mr "This Business" will love, wonder if he's working Tuesday. Anyway, HHH accepts the match, pedigrees Heyman and the first segment ends, crowd happy!
Now, worth stating that tonight there was also a house-show in Cardiff, Wales. About 150-200 miles away (I'd guess) I think the Shield and Fandango both wrestled early on that card and flew across, presumably. The card *definitely* suffered during the segments between Ziggler vs Jericho and the Taker match. WWE should not be in the business of doing house shows the same night as a three hour Raw taping. They don't have the undercard they did 10-15 years ago to sustain it. For us it was pretty good, gave us time to calm down, but I get the sense on TV people might get pretty bored in the middle.
Anyway, that being said. R-Truth out first, the crowd were very into his What's Up stchick. Cesaro came out to a good reaction, his yodeling was, well, no comment. R-Truth over in a quick match.
Next out was Brodus Clay vs Damien Sandow. Sandow got a nice sized pop, and the crowd were into Tons of Funk – the first time anyway. Standard fair match, with a fair bit going on on the outside. It would seem there was a small error, Cody got run off by Tensai, Sandow went for the surprise roll up, but didn't get the pin. They pretty quickly reset the spot (although second time didn't look much better, got a feeling Brodus may have accidentally kicked out of that one) but Sandow won. Sure WWE's production team cleared that up good and proper.
Stipulation was added to Jericho vs Ziggler, if Jericho won he would be added to World Title match at Extreme Rules. Bizarrely, Jericho came out first, they had his pyro rig all set up, but nothing happened. He got a big reaction (bigger than HHH, probably marginally smaller than JBL – if you're keeping score). I tried in vain to keep the consecutive JBL chants going, think we got one in each of the first 3 segments. Ziggler out to a largely positive reaction. Very long match, very good match, although nothing that you wouldn't expect from these two. Fandango's music hit, although I'm guessing he was somewhere between Cardiff and London at this point. Crowd didn't go for the finish because Fandango's music went on for so long, the idea that Jericho got distracted doesn't make much sense given that it felt like a good minute before the match ended. They'll probably clean that up in post production.
A great moment in the crowd during the Ziggler match. A fan had bought an inflatable Dolphin, which was bounced around a good few times. It feel down into one of the concourses, which got a lot of boos as a steward took it away. Not before we were all chanting "DOLPHIN, DOLPHIN". The bloke who bought the Dolphin then proceeds to unveil a second, smaller, Dolphin. GENIUS!
Tensai and Rhodes out next for the rematch. This is what I mean about the lack of talent. This and Big E vs Ryder tells you all you need to know about who was there and who wasn't. For us in person it was great as a come down, not sure it will come across like that on TV. Nothing noteable in either match, was getting food during Ryder vs Big E, told it was a squash.
Ryback had a backstage pretape in all this. Not really sure what to make of Ryback's reaction all night. He didn't get cheered that much, he didn't especially get booed either. Set up segment with Foley for the main event
Kane and Bryan pretape. This was gold, I only really got to listen to it, but Bryan said he had strategies for the match, and had drawn some diagrams. The crowd popped big for that. Chanting "DI-A-GRAMS, DI-A-GRAMS". Then, and this was one of my favourite parts of the night, the fans opposite me started chanting "WE WANT PIE CHARTS". Lots of fun. Kane warned Bryan that, whatever he did, don't try and hug Taker. At this stage I think the Shield ran in and attacked the pair (couldn't see it, but that's what I inferred).
Taker out next, HUGE POP. Seeing his entrance live was fantastic, and the heat from his pyro, I'm a good 60 feet away, could feel it each time the flames licked up. Taker comes out, no Kane and Bryan. Shield come out and surround the ring. Taker tries to fight them off, but is losing the battle. Kane and Bryan run out to an enomours pop. At this time there were some defeaning YES chants.
Taker/Kane and Bryan vs The Shield. Long match, and a really good one. Taker wrestled a fair chunk of this, for those thinking he might only do 30 seconds, we got all of his spots. Really good, nice interaction between Taker and Rollins at one stage to. A lot to describe, but this was a really good match that showcased everyone involved. Match ends with Taker and Kane getting distracted in a brawl outside with Rollins and Reigns. Bryan misses the diving headbutt and Ambrose pins him.
After the match, and I'm not sure if this was for TV or not. Bryan runs after Taker and asks him to hug it out. Taker keeps on walking, Bryan follows him backstage and claims to have hugged Taker – even though we wouldn't have been able to see this, I think this does happen backstage. Bryan comes out and hugs it out with Kane.
Next up was Fandango, massive reaction to his entrance music. We all got going for that one. Then Regal's music hit and the place went nuts. Loved Regal throughout the match, lots of chanting. Smart move on WWE's part, we didn't boo Fandango at all, but it gave us a distraction. Fandango won in a quick match. At which time we started singing his song again. Fandango goes up the ramp, Jericho attacks him, throws him off the stage, and then dances with Fandango's dancer.
Divas Battle Royal next. Not much to see here other than a SWEET superkick from Tamina to AJ.
Main event. I think we were all a bit tired by this point, I certainly was. Foley came out with a chair (Ryback was out soon after). Foley did a lot of self-promotion, shockingly, and got in the cheap pop. My summary in my spoiler link (here for those who don't want to scroll) pretty throrough. Ryback never really stuck much with the crowd, Cena comes out. Runs the Shield off to save Ryback, Cena then hits the AA on Ryback to close. A flat-ish segment to a great night.
No dark match, crowd went home very happy. Had lots of fun tonight, hope it comes across on TV.
Any questions, fire them to @BobbyBamber on Twitter. I'm out!
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