POST IT NOTES
**We have a big edition of Rewind-A-Raw up on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing the 25th Anniversary of Raw. This show received the most feedback in our short history, which was to be expected given how much promotion went into Raw. On the show, we are joined by Brian Mann for a quick recap of the live experience at the Barclays Center and his thoughts on the presentation. You can download the show at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/01/23/rewind-a-raw-1-22-18-raw-25th-anniversary-special/ and subscribe on any device.
**We are back late tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown discussing the final set of shows before the Royal Rumble. We will also go through the Royal Rumble card and take your feedback.
**The POST Wrestling Royal Rumble Pool is open at http://www.POSTwrestling.com/rumble and the deadline to submit your picks is Sunday at 3 pm Eastern.
**For Saturday night’s NXT Takeover review, I will be doing the show with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave. That show will be up late Saturday.
**The biggest story today is the release of Enzo Amore (Eric Arndt) by the WWE. We have a story up on the main page with the details. As of this writing, Arndt has not issued any statement regarding the allegations or his release. The investigation by the Phoenix Police Department is ongoing and we are not able to confirm that any charges have been pressed yet. We have contacted the police department regarding an update on the investigation.
In an interview with TMZ, the woman that came forward with the allegations has identified herself as Philomena Sheahan. She went into graphic detail regarding the alleged incident last October and how she was raped. In the interview, Sheahan described repeatedly telling him “no” and passing out after banging the back of her head. She continued in the interview to describe waking up and he was still having sex with her and once again she said “no”. TMZ did receive permission from Sheahan to disclose her full name, which had been private until this interview.
Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful.com also spoke to Sheahan on Monday and I encourage you to read his report and interview at https://www.fightful.com/enzo-amore-accused-rape.
**The reaction to the 25th anniversary of Raw has been generally negative. The most obvious conclusion is the failure of attempting to host the show at two separate venues. Throughout the show, you couldn’t help but feel for the audience at the Manhattan Center, which had paid elevated ticket prices to the much smaller venue and were left with an experience consisting of closed-circuit viewing, cameos from a handful of stars, two rushed matches for television and a pair of dark matches with 205 Live talent. Ringside tickets at the Manhattan Center had a face value of $835 and it was astounding how little was presented for that most ardent fanbase. While the company never promoted anything specifically to the Manhattan Center ticket buyers, the WWE has cultivated an environment where fans will buy tickets without any announced matches (WrestleMania, television tapings, house shows etc.) and the expectation is that they will receive a quality show. They are aware that “card is subject to change”, injuries occur and talent may miss that show, but in the end they will receive a show, and I wouldn’t be able to justify the Manhattan Center portion as a WWE “show”, especially at the level tickets were sold for. The frustrating part for me as a viewer is that had they decided to do a one-week special edition of Raw from the Manhattan Center, it would probably produce the best live environment for any Raw that year because of the fanbase that would attend, the nostalgia of the building and the novelty of seeing big stars in that environment. There were several segments from the Barclays Center that seemed tailor-made for the Manhattan Center, such as The Dudley Boyz run-in or even doing Roman Reigns vs. The Miz in front of a rabid 1,000 fans just to be different. In the end, it didn’t work and in this era, the idea of a simulcast seems way too daunting for the television product and I wouldn’t find it that appealing for a pay-per-view either where the emphasis is on the matches as opposed to segments and moments like this episode of Raw was.
From a creative standpoint, I had frustrations given the available pieces they had brought in with the most star-laden episode of Raw in years. This felt like a show that resembled a giant jigsaw puzzle where you were just trying to fit in all the pieces rather than step back and seeing what the larger picture resembled. Some have argued that this shouldn’t have taken place on the go-home show before the Royal Rumble, but it’s not as though the Rumble promotion was a top priority on this show. The Rumble promotion was limited to the closing segment with the Universal title participants and Asuka tossing her partners over the top rope. It appeared to be a layup to utilize the women of the past to endorse the current females and have some interaction between the two generations as they prepared for a landmark event on Sunday. I had no idea what Chris Jericho, Trish Stratus, and Jeff Hardy were doing on this show as there were no creative ideas for them and all three should have been saved for meaningful utilization at another time in the year when they need it.
I’m not going to belabour the point, but this will likely be the most-watched episode of Raw in 2018 and you can only do these types of shows once in a blue moon, so you want to maximize their effectiveness. I have no doubt the audience will be very strong for this show, but was anything presented to retain any viewers who were checking in on the status of the WWE and willing to come back?
**The WWE tapings are in Washington, D.C. tonight with the final episode of SmackDown Live before this Sunday’s Royal Rumble. The following matches have been announced for the show tonight:
*Jinder Mahal, Rusev, and Aiden English vs. Bobby Roode, and New Day
*Jey Uso vs. Chad Gable
*Naomi vs. Liv Morgan
**The Mixed Match Challenge (which received minimal promotion on Monday night for the second week of the series) will feature Asuka and The Miz vs. Big E. and Carmella.
**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com, who attended the Manhattan Center portion of Raw, stated that Howard Finkel was not present at the arena and his introduction of The Undertaker was piped into the show.
**There were several segments for the live audience at the Manhattan Center with appearances from Seth Rollins, The Miz (after winning the Intercontinental title), Ric Flair, and Jeff Hardy. There was also a pair of 205 Live matches with Mustafa Ali defeating Lince Dorado and a no contest with Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese.
**Congratulations to Brian Cage and Melissa Santos on the birth of their child.
**Sami Callihan vs. Darby Allin has been added to the MLW “Road to the World Championship” show on February 8th in Orlando, Florida.
**Hulk Hogan won the WWF title for the first time on this date in 1984, defeating The Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden. This kicked off the four-year title reign of Hogan, which saw the WWF go through their national expansion, launch on pay-per-view, entered into a relationship with NBC for Saturday Night’s Main Event and change the industry with Hogan as the flag bearer for the promotion. It was also on this date that another WWF event took place at Madison Square Garden with the 2000 Royal Rumble featuring a street fight between Triple H and Mick Foley that was considered by most as the best match of 2000.
**The WWE stock closed at $33.35 on Tuesday.
REWIND-A-RAW 1/22/18: RAW 25th Anniversary Review
POST MMA: UFC 220 and BELLATOR 192 REVIEW WITH JOHN POLLOCK
POST ROUNDTABLE SHOW with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Brian Mann, and Martin Bushby (Patreon-only show)
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE 1/18: Introduction
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/16/18: New U.S. Champion, Mixed Match Challenge, Selfie Promos
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