PWP Nation editor, Zack Heydorn, breaks down the top five happenings of this week’s Raw episode with a LIVE perspective from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
5. Chris Jericho still has “IT” after all these years
Y2J has been a mainstay on WWE television for 17 years. His career is filled with highlight after highlight and accolade after accolade. His current program with Kevin Owens though may just be his finest ever. The past six months built to the moment between the two best friends last night in Chicago and they both hit it out of the park. For as amazing as Kevin Owens is, its clear that the veteran, Y2J, is driving the ship and its working perfectly. Last night on Raw, the Jericho pop was enormous and the smarky audience was eating out of the palm of his hand all show long. You still got “it”, Chris, and you certainly make the “list” of all time greats.
4. Chicago shouldn’t love CM Punk THIS much
I’m from Chicago and I think CM Punk is one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen. Period. For as much as I love him, the chants need to stop. My ears are bleeding for god sake. In case you missed it Chicago, CM Punk isn’t in the WWE anymore. He chose to leave while on top of the entire company. It’s his fault that his passionate Chicago audience doesn’t get to see him. Yet, we chant for him? I got it the first time around. Even the second time. Enough is enough though. The chants take away from the fun of watching the show live and cause folks in the building to miss important storyline points. It’s over Chicago. Let it go. Stop making yourselves look silly. Take the “ten” chants with you as well. Yuck.
3. Neville vs. Austin Aries
This segment was one of the most over segments with the Chicago crowd last night. Props to the WWE for recognizing the audience they had and using it to their advantage. When Austin Aries took to the ring after Neville defended the Crusierweight Championship successfully against Rich Swann, the audience clearly felt something big was coming with A-Double. The tension built for the entire interview until the major turn when Aries finally delivered a couple stiff elbows to the champ’s face. The crowd was ready and helped make it the best Crusierweight Division segment yet. The story will build from here and the sky is the limit for how far the two can go.
2. Goldberg/Lesnar = a slam dunk
Whenever Fastlane highlights were shown on the big screen and Goldberg was featured holding his new Universal Championship, there were whispers of boos throughout the arena. Throughout the night the boos got louder and louder leading up to Goldberg finally entering the ring. Chicago went into the show wanting to hate this very segment. They set themselves up to hate it and throughout the segment they kept trying to hate it. In the end, they couldn’t do it. Goldberg and Brock Lesnar did exactly what they needed to to make their match main event worthy and turned a crowd that was hell bent on rebelling against them. The two performers had real chemistry and their presence in the ring felt big. If they can keep on this trajectory and build off the momentum they created in Chicago, by the time WrestleMania rolls around the entire WWE Universe will want to see these two tear each other apart.
1. WWE is finally catering to the booing of Roman Reigns
If you put anyone against the Undertaker, boos should be expected. Put Roman Reigns against Undertaker and don’t be surprised if the building they’re in burns to the ground. The Chicago audience massacred Reigns with various chants of “Roman Sucks” and straight up destructive boos. Compare that to the insane “holy shit” chants and cheers that Undertaker received and you can’t help but think that WWE is caving when it comes to the forced babyface push of Roman Reigns. Reigns and his push has been significantly protected throughout the years. Now that he’s facing off with the Undertaker, that protection is gone. He’s going to be booed and more importantly, the WWE is putting him in a position to get booed. That is a shift from how they’ve written his character and if the Chicago crowd is any indication, the next three weeks of Raw on the road to WrestleMania will be incredibly intriguing.
The Chicago crowd was incredibly hot all night long and did not hesitate to let the WWE know it. The WWE used this to their advantage and it made for a great show that progressed a large portion of WrestleMania stories.
PWP Nation Grade = A-