It’s a big RAW In A Nutshell, and I have to say, the red brand looks good for thirty!
As in, in case you somehow missed it, tonight is when we are celebrating the RAW 30th anniversary show.
Not precisely the 30th, but either way, the red brand does look good for thirty.
Tonight is a big night, for a few reasons.
But, it is the 30th anniversary show, and we know there will be quite the parade of legends to honor the last three decades.
On top of that, Sami Zayn  is on trial, the latest twist as we near that program’s inflection point.
Plus, being in Philadelphia, as that city preps for a huge football game this weekend, and it’s usually a hot town for good wrestling?
Yep, it should be an exceptional evening.
And just like that, it is time to get into…
RAW In A Nutshell: Red Looks Good For Thirty!
Let’s crack this Nutshell open and get this party started!
Best Match of the night:
Can I give this to an hour, but not a specific match?
Because, and it wasn’t just me thinking it, that first hour was extremely good.
— Patrick The Heel (@patricktheheel) January 24, 2023 
We got Sami’s trial, and then the Usos versus Judgement Day  for the titles.
What could wind up being the cherry on top?
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman had every intention to exile Sami Zayn tonight.
But months and months of good will convinced the Usos to save him… for now.
— Just Alyx (@JustAlyxCentral) January 24, 2023 
Sami was saved by Jey, who for months despised him. And, if we get the rumored Zayn+KO versus Usos  title match at WrestleMania?
Also, if only for a second, I was soooo sure Naomi  would finally return to take care of Rhea.
Worst match of the night:
By default, the aborted cage match. If it’s a good matchup-and Bayley versus Becky was supposed to be-fans are right to be ticked.
I cannot help but think we see this drawn out during Saturday’s Rumble, which might eventually give us a six woman tag match at WrestleMania.
But…who joins Becky…
Crowd Chants of the Night:
Star of the Night
Lots to like about tonight. Yes, some will dislike so much nostalgia, and some of it was cheeky.
But I felt it was a good balance, for the most part. Plenty of sharing of spotlights, giving some new faces good rubs.
That said, I think the stars are obvious here.
Spot of the Night:
Not a move, or at least, not only a move.
‘Taker teased the choke slam, but tossed LA Knight to Bray Wyatt for Sister Abigail.
Nice passing of the torch, if that is indeed what they were going for. Does not fix that Wyatt should have ended his streak, if it had to end at all…
Jobber of the Night:
The aforementioned LA Knight.
You knew as soon as he started invoking Wyatt and the backstage legends that he was eating whatever he had to there.
Upset of the Night:
Lashley will certainly be upset with how he lost tonight. And, I would bet dollars to donuts it gives him the motivation needed for that reunion…
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Mildly shocked that they gave Hogan a mic…even one that didn’t work well.
But the biggest one was Brock Lesnar showing up to close the show, renewing his rivalry with Bobby Lashley.
Botch of the night:
Right off the top of the show? KP calling it the Wells Fargo Arena.
And, he did it more than once, with Graves correctly calling it the Wells Fargo Center. Minor nit, for sure…but as a native Philadelphian…it matters.
I think it happened like, three times before Graves actually called him out on it.
Otherwise, it sure seemed like The Undertaker had issues, coming and going, with the borrowed Harley.
LOL Moment of the night:
Hulk Hogan opened the show, and I noticed quite a few thumbs down as the crowd was panned.
But, being in Philly, Hogan (who’s mic was glitching badly) went for the cheap pop, plugging the Eagles.
Corbin not being on the list, and being called a stooge.
IRS coming to collect all those taxes.
— WWE (@WWE) January 24, 2023 
Angle with DX, and that whole segment.
Lots more I either left out or forgot.
Ric Flair let the cat out of the bag, but we did indeed have Hogan on RAW XXX.
If there had ever been a doubt that Rollins was a top babyface now on RAW, tonight removed any and all doubt.
My gut says they let Hogan talk and then ran the RAW XXX video package…which is fine…but the package was already aired last week.
Meaning, it was time wasted, when you have a limted amount of time and a whole lot of things in need of it.
Now, was the Becky-Bayley match done as it was because of being over time, or was it legit planned that way?
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) January 24, 2023 
In fairness, having things cut out is the downside of having such a stacked and packed show.
From basically the opening of the show until the fade to black, this show hit.
Some might point to the above mentioned aborted cage match as a big miss, but with Bayley and crew trolling about that on social media?
Totally part of their plan, if I had to guess.
And, for the red brand over thirty years, let’s be real: not the first bait and switch, won’t be the last.
One challenge was not trotting too many huge and functional legends tonight, with the Rumble on Saturday.
I suspect that is why some women’s legends were not brought in-most male legends won’t ever be expected to be in the Rumble.
After the final bell:
I think my only gripe, and it’s a minor one, is the placement of this.
Not even because it wasn’t closer to the actual 30th anniversary, though there is that.
But because it was the go-home show before the Rumble. Couldn’t realistically do it next RAW, because that’s the first one after the Rumble.
Just figured…why not closer to say, the new year, or something like that. Since it was sort of an arbitrarily picked night.
Meaning…a go home show normally should not need a whole lot of help.
That said, the red brand looks good for thirty. Let’s hope it looks good for thirty more!