WWE returned to the Maverik Center in suburban Salt Lake City, Utah for the first time since Super Bowl Sunday 2012, with a Raw house show. This looked to be pretty close to a sell out. I'd estimate about 7,000-8,000 people in attendance, which is more than I have seen in this building for any non TV wrestling show, and I've been to all of them from WCW to WWE since the building opened. It was also Shawn Michaels Appreciation Night, which I saw on Jim Ross's website as well as on PWInsider, but I did not see this locally advertised on any TV or radio station that I heard.
Before the show, on the video boards they are showing random tweets from fans that used #WWESLC, as well as pictures from the PPV and Raw from their Instagram account. They also showed a series of videos, one that looked like a corporate rah rah video, an action figure commercial, a promo for the National Guard, a commercial for the Randy Orton 12 Rounds movie, and an ad for the Utah Food Bank. Just before Justin Roberts came our, they showed a Raw Rewind from the past week, chronicling the debut of Curtis Axel and his match with Triple H.
First match was Kofi Kingston against Antonio Cesaro. It wasn't a typical Kofi spot fest match, although he did get in his five moves of boom. It was a good back and forth match with Kofi winning after reversing a chinlock into Trouble In Paradise in about 8 minutes.
Justin Roberts announced that the main event of Ryback and Chris Jericho was a Fan's Choice match, with the choices between a 2 out of 3 falls match or a no disqualification match. As the initial votes are being tallied on the video board, Vickie Guerrero comes out with "excuse me" and says she will second Tamina Snuka in her Diva's Championship match with Kaitlyn. Short match, with the now cliché tie up and roll over the ref spot, which means Charles Robinson was the luckiest man in the room. Kaitlyn wins after getting out of the way of Tamina's Superfly splash and hitting her with a spear in about 4 minutes.
Next up was a US Championship match between R-Truth and Dean Ambrose. Truth gave us the full What's Up treatment, Ambrose came out with The Shield. Another short match with Ambrose dodging a Truth scissors kick and hitting the headlock DDT. Post match, the rest of The Shield come into the ring and beat down Truth, and before they can hit the Cerberus bomb Kane and Daniel Bryan come out for the save. The Shield get the upper hand on them until Sheamus comes out to make another save. Vickie comes back out to let us know it is her show and that she is making a six man tag match between The Shield and Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Sheamus. This was a good 15-20 minute back and forth match, with The Shield eventually beating down Bryan until he makes the hot tag to Sheamus, who cleans house hitting Ambrose with the rolling senton, Reigns with the 10 forearms on the ropes, and Ambrose with White Noise. As Sheamus is lining up for the Brogue Kick, Reigns hits him with a chair for the DQ. As Sheamus is getting beaten down, Bryan gets the chair and hits Rollins and Reigns with a chair, Kane chokeslams Ambrose, and Sheamus hits the Brogue on Ambrose.
Just before intermission, they show a video interview with Ryback, who says that Chris Jericho has built his legacy on beating Stone Cold and The Rock on the same night, but he is above those bottom feeders. Ryback rules.
After intermission, Jim Ross is announced and he gives a speech about how long he has seen Shawn Michaels, going back to Mid South in 1984 which got no reaction from most of the crowd. Sad. They showed a video that I believe was the same that was played when Michaels was inducted into the Hall Of Fame. He was then presented a plaque from West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, and as JR was about to read the plaque, Antonio Cesaro interrupts the ceremony. Cesaro says that HBK does not deserve the plaque and that he deserves it. As he tries to leave with the plaque, JR snatches it back from him, Cesaro pushes JR back into the corner, leading to a Shawn Michaels superkick.
Next, Rhodes Scholars come out, with Damien Sandow saying he is smarter than everyone in the building, and tries to SILENCE! us. They start to make their own introductions for each other, Sandow referring to Cody Rhodes as a man of mustachioed magnificence, among other things. Rhodes called Sandow the intellectual savior of the unwashed masses, and a few other things that were said so fast I couldn't keep up. This was interrupted by a familiar voice saying "Oh, you didn't know?" The New Age Outlaws come out with their own usual introduction, which has a couple of words that offend Sandow, which starts a Suck It chant. Road Dogg then says Cody has a Saddam Hussein mustache. The match is a short comedy match, which ends with a Billy Gunn Fameasser in about 8 minutes.
As Justin Roberts is getting ready to announce the next match, Bray Wyatt comes out. Since not many people watch NXT, a lot of the crowd did not know who he was. His opponent was Zack Ryder, who gets a small pop from the crowd, probably from familiarity. The crowd really didn't know what to make of Wyatt and his mannerisms. Fairly short match with Wyatt beating Ryder with Sister Abigail in about 6 minutes.
Main Event time, as Ryback faces Chris Jericho. The Fan's Choice was a No DQ match. In the early going, there was a Goldberg chant, which was fitting since this was the building Big Bill made his TV debut in September 1997. For the first five minutes, Ryback was playing Larry Zbyszko, with him stalling outside of the ring any time Jericho hit a move. Jericho finally goes outside of the ring, where Ryback starts to dominate, throwing Jericho into the rail and the stairs. When the match goes back into the ring, Ryback starts to slow things down and work on Jericho's back. Jericho powers out and hits a low dropkick and gets a kendo stick from under the ring. Before he can use it, Ryback gets the cane and wears out Jericho. Ryback then gets a table and sets it up in the corner, which got a pop. Ryback then tries to power slam Jericho through the table, but Jericho works out and hits an enziguri and tries for a Codebreaker until Ryback double power bombs him. Ryback gets the win with a spear in about 15 minutes, and he seemed like he was gassed .
Post match, Ryback goes back into the ring to spear Jericho through the table, but Jericho moves out of the way causing Ryback to go through the table, then get hit with a Codebreaker to send the crowd home happy.