Here’s my five primary takeaways from Monday Night Raw last night in Philly.  If you want match-by-match results or full expert commentary you’re barking up the wrong tree. These are simply my five takeaways based on the show:

♦ I’m sure the internet marks are losing their minds that John Cena went over Finn Balor in the main event with a spot in the Elimination Chamber on the line, but it was absolutely the right booking.  Cena has spent a good amount of time since basically becoming a full-time, part-timer putting over the newer talent. At some point he has to win a meaningful match to be taken seriously.  He’s better for the Elimination Chamber role in what’s sure to be a Roman Reigns win than Balor would’ve been. I don’t think the loss hurts Balor’s stock either. In fact I think it moves him one step closer to what will ultimately be a semi-heel faction with Gallows & Anderson. I’m fine with the way this played out.

♦ It’s very early in the year of course, but Asuka and Sasha Banks had the best (WWE main roster) match of 2018 last night.  Seriously, the two blew the roof off the joint, even if there was never a doubt Asuka would win to keep her undefeated streak rolling.  Having said that Banks needs to be more careful, as she damn near broke her neck taking a bump.  She just turned 26 a few days ago, I’d like to see her still wrestling at 27.

♦ Well, I guess that’s one way to write Kane off television.  #BraunStrowman

♦ I’m not a huge fan of Shaemus and Cesaro as a tag team, never have been… but you have to give them a ton of credit.  After then-commissioner Mick Foley had them square off against each other in a best-of-seven series that few fans—OK, no fans cared about in the summer of 2016, the two fought to no-contest in the deciding contest and Foley forced them to become a tag team. At the time I thought it was stupid and a waste of both their talents, but toughly 15 months and four tag title reigns later they’re arguably the most consistent thing about Raw.

♦ Are we supposed to forget that one week ago Bray Wyatt beat Matt Hardy, clean in the middle of the ring inside of 10 minutes? Why are those two still a thing?  Can WWE trade Hardy and Wyatt to New Japan in a package deal?

CONCLUSION/GRADE: The promos did little for me but this was an excellent actual wrestling show.  As soon it became apparent there’d be no swerve in the Banks/Asuka match I knew it’d be good, but I also got more from Cena and Balor than I anticipated.  The Miz delivered in spades in his rematch with Reigns. Jonathan Coachman was sometimes annoying in his return to the Raw announce booth but even at his worse he’s better than Booker T (sucka).  Give the Coach some time to gel with Cole and Graves. No Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker to get the road to Wrestlemania going and hell–not even any Seth Rollins & Jason JOrdan, but purely because of the quality of in-ring action, I’m very pleased with tonight.  GRADE: B+