This week’s RAW saw an explosive ending to the show, with Triple H returning to the ring on RAW for the first time in almost four years before Alexa Bliss appeared from out of nowhere to shoot Randy Orton with a fireball.
Fans have been speculating as to how the appearance came about, with Alexa Bliss appearing and Triple H disappearing at the speed of light – as well as how Alexa Bliss magicked up a fireball in super-quick time and how Randy Orton’s graze on his cheek magically vanished.
Well, much like several weeks ago when Firefly Bray Wyatt managed to turn into The Fiend, it was all down to very clever editing from WWE.
The important thing to note is the lights going out across the venue, as they normally do whenever The Fiend is around. When Triple H held up his burning sledgehammer and the screen went black, the “live” aspect of the show would end.
When the lights came back up to reveal Alexa Bliss in the corner gazing at Randy Orton, the WWE Universe was absent from the screens – which were pitch black. Much like several weeks before, the true genius is that the live broadcast had ended and footage recorded before the show would begin. The transition was so smooth due to the crowd’s absence was not out of the ordinary, as this is par for the course whenever The Fiend has been onscreen in the WWE ThunderDome.
This, of course, allowed for production values which would be tricky to do live, such as Bliss hitting Randy Orton with fire. The only continuity error in the full thing was the graze on Randy Orton’s cheek disappearing, which could never have been foreseen by WWE as the marking happened during the brawl with Triple H.
As for the actual fireball itself, it doesn’t seem as though that was an editing technique when analysing the footage. Fireballs are a long-standing trope within wrestling, and are created when a substance named nirocellulose is formed into “flash paper” – which burns extremely quickly. When set alight, it produces a dramatic flash for a few seconds. After lighting the flash paper, good timing allows the fireball to seemingly explode in the other wrestler’s face – with minimal to no physical effect for the wrestler taking the fireball. Of course, editing could easily be done in After Effects without the traditional method of throwing an actual fireball, but the RAW finale looked to involve the former. Bliss’ fireball-shooting mechanism actually seemed to be a device whereby you put flashpaper into a tube, flick the flint and the fireball shoots from the device where it’s aimed.
Ringside News have reported that, much like with The Fiend’s appearance several weeks ago, the ending to the show was pre-taped ahead of the live RAW broadcast and that the fireball took “a little extra production value” that WWE wanted to get right. The reason for the recording ahead of time was down to the level of production needed to make it appear as though Randy Orton – while bare-chested and bare-faced – was being hit with an actual fireball, without the obvious consequence of burning him.
“Ringside News has learned that the ending of WWE Raw this week was pretaped. Bliss throwing a fireball like that took a little extra production value, and they wanted to get it right.”
You can catch up with everything that happened on this week’s RAW, via Inside The Ropes, here.