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Your favourite WWE PPV opening matches?


Hi Scott,

 

We all know the opening match is exceptionally important for setting the tone of the night and getting the crowd all hyped up. Matches like HHH vs. Dude Love at One Night Stand 1997, Lance Storm vs. Edge at Summerslam 2001, HHH vs. Daniel Bryan at WM30 and Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at WM10 really stand out as being exceptional and standing the test of time.

 

Do you have any opening matches which are your favourites or any opening matches you feel genuinely helped pump the crowd up for the rest of the card?


Bret v. Owen is of course the most obvious, but WCW made it into an artform with the Cruiserweight era.  Rey v. Psicosis at Superbrawl II was arguably the greatest opening match of all time, and even 4 years earlier Pillman v. Liger pretty much nailed the Best Match award in the opener of Superbrawl II.  I'd also give an honorable mention to Jericho v. Raven at Havoc 98.  

I feel like one of the biggest disappointments in openers was Barely Legal, in that they should have put their strongest foot forward right away, and Eliminators v. Dudleys was just not that great.  I think they almost should have opened with the three-way and then built to Funk's title shot as the main event instead of the rushed finish we got.  

Comments

  1. 17 year old Rey Mysterio, Jr. was truly a junior at SuperBrawl II in 1992.

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  2. Under the radar pick, D-Lo Brown vs Val Venis for European title at Summerslam 98. Great great match, crowd was hot, MSG, crappy finish, but very good.



    Also, Tito vs HBK match at WM8 comes to mind. A fun match and really set the stage for the night.

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  3. The American InsomniacMay 29, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Pillman vs Johnny B Badd at Fall Brawl 94 was outstanding, probably Mero's best match.

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  4. Let's not forget the opener to Royal Rumble '91 with the Rockers facing the Orient Express in a great opener. Staying with that train of thought the Rockers opened up WrestleMania VII against Haku and the Barbarian which was also a great opener.

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  5. Speaking of PPV openers, I was watching the Hardys/Storm&Hurricane opener from No Mercy 2001 a few days ago. What an ungodly mess of a match. After the 2nd pin breakup all tag rules went out the window. It was just a cluster with Lita, Ivory, and Molly interfering. And ended with the legal man hitting the finisher on the illegal man and the other illegal man pinning him for the win, while the legal guys tried to break up the pin. It was a damn mess.

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  6. While it was well after his commentating days Ventura would have taken the referee to task over those shenanigans.

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  7. Yea the last 4-5 minutes turned into Tornado Tag rules. I forget who it was but one of the announcers did say "who's even the legal man anymore" I think it was JR.

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  8. If anything, the Michinoku Pro 6-man Tag should have opened at Barely Legal.

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  9. Ha. I'm pretty sure that was a typo and he was referring to the Rey/Psicosis match at BATB '96.

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  10. Angle vs. Mysterio, Summerslam 2002.

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  11. SHELTON VS CHRISTIAN AT TLC I HIGHLY UNDERRATEDDDDDDD

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  12. USOS VS WYATTS FROM LAST YEAR. SO MUCH FUN!

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  13. D-lo vs val from summerslam 98

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  14. "Rey v. Psicosis at Superbrawl II was arguably the greatest opening
    match of all time, and even 4 years earlier Pillman v. Liger pretty much
    nailed the Best Match award in the opener of Superbrawl II."

    Wat.

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  15. Juvy vs blitzkrieg was a lot of fun.

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  16. Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho at Summerslam 2012 was a good opener. Too bad that match was as good as that card ever got.

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  17. Hardyz vs. MNM. Literally the ONLY reason to watch December to Dismember.

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  18. Bryan vs Wyatt at the 14 Rumble was the opener if memory serves me right.

    An underrated one is Kane/Bubba/BookDust vs The UnAmericans at Unforgiven 02. That's a fun as hell tag match that got the hot crowd even more pumped.

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  19. You had ONE JOB, Keith!

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  20. Benoit vs Guerrero at Vengeance 2003 is another forgotten one

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  21. I quite liked Jericho/Regal from X-7. It wasn't the best match in the world, but it was the perfect pace and finish to kick the whole show off.

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  22. I liked Ziggler/Mysterio from Summerslam 2009 a lot. Best opener ever might be a hyperbole, but that was the first match that came to my mind. It was definitely the moment where I realized Ziggler was way better than the comedy jobber I'd been perceiving him as.

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  23. Flair's Team vs Piper's Team at Survivor Series 91 would be in the conversation if it wasn't for the finish.

    Michaels had a decent run of WM openers from VII - IX

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  24. Psychosis vs. Rey was at Bash at the Beach

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  25. Right To Censor vs Rikishi and Too Cool at Summerslam 2000 was a bonafide CLASSIC.

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  26. Money in the Bank 2011 Smackdown Ladder match

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  27. Mero had great chemistry with Pillman and Page around this time. He did the right thing getting out of WCW in '96, 'cuz Johnny B. Badd was Johnny B. GoingNowhere if he had stayed.

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  28. Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio from SummerSlam 02. Set the tone for one of the best SummerSlam's of all time.

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  29. Money in the Bank Match at Wrestlemania 23 would be a good choice.....also, did the 2014 MITB PPV start with a ladder match? I cant remember. I do remember the first one being pretty damn good though.

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  30. 2 out of 3 Falls between Usos and Wyatt Family opened MITB '14, I think.

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  31. I know the title says WWE PPV opening matches, but since the WCW Cruiserweights mentioned, I'll just throw this out there: Clash of the Champions.....Rick Steamboat vs. Steve Austin. TV Title

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  32. And yet he was legitimately a 3-year veteran then.

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  33. kbwrestlingreviewsMay 29, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    I love watching the matches listed, but you don't want to go too great with the opener as it becomes all downhill from there. I'm a fan of the good but not great matches to open a show and get the crowd going. Today these would be on the pre-show instead of the main card but they still work:

    Can-Am Connection vs. Orton/Muraco - Wrestlemania III
    Rockers vs. Haku/Barbarian - Wrestlemania VII

    Both are good tag matches and get the crowd into the show while saving the good stuff for later on.

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  34. Eliminators vs. Dudleys at Barely Legal was nothing but a damn spotfest exhibition. Not even close to resembling a wrestling match. I couldn't believe THAT was how ECW wanted to introduce themselves to people on PPV.

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  35. I know my tastes have been refined over the years, so I might not still feel the same way, but I remember thinking the Eliminators/Dudleys was an awesome opener for Barely Legal. All I remember is the Kronus and Saturn flying all over the ring and hitting a bunch of insanely cool looking spots, which isn't a bad way to draw In someone who's never seen the company before. I remember watching that show a bunch at the college house I lived in and whenever we had people over they were wow'd by all the springboards and impact moves in that match.

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  36. It wasn't BAD as Scott makes it sound, but I agree: they should have probably led with the three-way, because as rushed as it was, it really was a good match. OR, the Michinoku Pro 6-man match would have been a good opener as well

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  37. Watched that event a few months ago. Ridiculous how stacked that card was. Just ridiculous.

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  38. That's probably a result of what happened in The Flash season finale. Time quirks.

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  39. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMay 29, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    This.

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  40. Pillman/Liger was my favorite of all time just off the top of my head as for worst Bash 91s opener was legendarily bad.

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  41. My perfect main event scene would basically be the 4 Horsewomen and a combination of Owens/Zayn/Balor/Seth/Cesaro


    It's fucking absurd the amount of talent under their employ right now.

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  42. Wasn't that Rey vs Dean?

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  43. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 29, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    The difference between KO and Cena in those matches is that KO will cheat and do anything to get the advantage on Brock.


    That's something Cena won't do, neither will Reigns. The story should be, "Brock would be killing him right now if it wasn't for Owens kicking him in the junk and hitting him with a chair."

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  44. Didn't Eddy/Rey open Havoc 96 or 97? That was some crazy stuff

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  45. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 29, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    Exactly! I said that type of thing above too.

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  46. Surprised no one has mentioned Bryan vs. Triple H at WM 30.

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  47. My god, Blitzkrieg was absolutely amazing.

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  48. Nah, Rey/Dean was at GAB in 96

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  49. 97. It might be my favorite WCW match ever.

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  50. I loved the Rockers vs Barbarian and Haku when I was a kid. WM7 was the first pay per view I saw and that match really pumped me up.

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  51. you're right. It was third

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  52. I'll go COMPLETELY off the board with two choices for which I'm dead serious

    Chris Benoit - Orlando Jordan (Summer Slam 2005)

    Daniel Bryan -Sheamua (WM 28)

    Total duration: 43 seconds.

    I'm a fan of the "anything can happen" aspect of wrestling, and I can still recall the legit feeling if shock I had watching these matches. Nobody goes into a PPV expecting the matches to be over in the blink of an eye, which made them brilliant, and for me, just as memorable, if not more so, than many of the matches mentioned on the board so far. There was a palpable "Did I just SEE that?!?" buzz in both cases with the crowd. And the Mania match had the added benefit of being the place where the "Yes Movement" started.

    (And I'll go as far as to say SummerSlam actually helped establish the lighter side of Chris Benoit. At the time, the series of "Things I can do in the time it took to beat Orlando Jordan" vignettes were pretty funny....again, AT THE TIME)

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  53. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OPENING MATCHES THAT WERE EXCITING AND FUN NOT BECAUSE OF THE SURPRISE FACTOR, YOU DOLT.

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  54. In his defense, it sounds like he was both surprised and excited.

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  55. See, that's the thing...for me, those WERE exciting and fun!

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  56. Andrew BarbarashMay 29, 2015 at 11:23 AM

    It may not 'technically' be the best but I'm a total sucker for Angle vs Rey at Summerslam 2002. Both guys were just on fire and is the definition of fun... It warmed us up for one of the best SSlams ever!

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  57. Rockers vs Orient Express, 1991 Royal Rumble. Tag team wrestling at its best, absolutely amazing work by all the guys.

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  58. I don't think this has been mentioned, but the Rockers/Power & Glory from Slam '90 was one of my favorite matches for a long time. Rabid crowd, non-stop action, the plucky under-dog trying to fight 2-on-1, and eventually being destroyed. The Rockers sure had a hot run of openers with this, Rumble, and Mania 7.

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  59. I vaguely remember a Rhyno-Raven match at a PPV that was a fun hardcore match opener. Not going to win any awards, but the crowd was hot.
    Looked it up - Backlash 2001. Rhyno gore through the shopping cart.

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  60. I think it works really well as an opener, in that it's just a non-stop spotfest. Given that it was a few people's first taste of ECW, it did what it needed to do.

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  61. That match was a surprisingly long, technically sound WRESTLING match. I can't think of a better D Lo OR Venis match, honestly.

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  62. WM8 was my first PPV, and I've always had a soft spot for that match. Tito's last hurrah.

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  63. That was a great match; I'm surprised Rockers vs. Heenan Family didn't happen more, actually.

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  64. It's understandable that I tried to block any instance of X-Factor out of my mind.

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  65. Exactly this. They also failed to montise things like merchandise and house shows, stuff even low level Indy shows push, even now indy Indy feds would kill for their international markets but they still can't make money.

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  66. Summerslam '98 is quietly one of the better Summerslams. Wrestlemania XIV and Survivor Series Deadly Game get all the praise but that show and '99 are shockingly great WRESTLING cards deep in the Russo era.

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  67. Great match but I wish it were longer and they shaved time off Undertaker vs. Test which is the only stinker on that show.

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  68. Yeah, even though he was retired within a year or so, he was poorly used. Could've been a solid midcarder, rather than being stuck in a fucking two month feud with Lawler.

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  69. I GOT EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED

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  70. Mitch, The GodfatherMay 29, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    I liked RVD/Rey vs. Dupree/Suzuki from Armageddon in 2004. Only good match on the PPV.

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  71. The Rockers ruled with the opening matches during that era.

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  72. Also NXT is being praised but that doesn't mean anything as far as TNA goes it's not like they are dying due to lack of 1uality they were drawing over a minion viewers on spike. Also NXT may have good quality but it's losing money as well nobody in NXT has proven to be any kind of needle mover any more so than anyone in TNA so it doesn't matter if TNA had these guys and booked them perfectly there is still no proof they would be in any other position than they are.

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  73. LOD vs. Money Inc at Summerslam 92. Technically there were 3-4 dark matches that preceded it live, but IIRC it did open the PPV here in the US. The match had the promotion's two hottest tag teams and LOD were super over with the Wembley crowd. And of course, the LOD's motorcycle entrance was perfect. Not a great match per se but the crowd was into it and set the tone for the spectacle of a huge, rabid Wembley crowd the rest of the show.

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  74. Cesaro VS Sami Zayn from the first NXT special is a great one, while not *technically* a PPV.

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  75. James M. FabianoMay 29, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    He was suspended from high school for accidentally dropkicking his classmate in the back.

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  76. I was hoping Pillman vs. Liger was going to be mentioned... because that shit does not hold up.

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  77. For traditional answers, I think the D-Lo/Venis (Summerslam 98) and the Rockers/Orient Express (Rumble 91) examples made by others nailed it.


    Harts-Brainbusters from Summerslam 89 was also super fun.

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  78. James M. FabianoMay 29, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    So it was Reverse Rey who killed Perro Jr.? (ducking)

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  79. Heel pop for the Power-Plex too. That shit needs to be stolen and upgraded by Cesaro & Kidd STAT.

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  80. Actually, that wasnt a bad idea....they just went about it all wrong - he shouldn't have been jobbing to Lawler in 3 seconds! He should have been going over big time. I don't recall Lawler getting the Tazmission at any point during that run.

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  81. The WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match that opened the show, with Undertaker, Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Edge, Kozlov, and Big Show, was really good. Hearing the Undertaker theme hit as you realized this was opening the show was pretty cool.

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  82. That's what I was going to post - everything an opening match should be

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  83. Only match I haven't seen mentioned is Lance Storm/Edge from SummerSlam 2001. The Invasion wasn't quite dead yet and it was a perfect, fast-paced opener that got the crowd pumped (I actually think that whole show is underrated bc the Invasion sucked). Probably Lance's best WWF match too.

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  84. Robinson TilapiaMay 29, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    I cannot, for the life of me, figure out who the one star TNA made was. The absolute closest things here would be AJ and Samoa Joe, and I think they'd be exactly in the same place they are now, if not better off, had they never gone to TNA.

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  85. Try reading the original email. :)

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  86. I hate when the opener is the match of the night. Like....Shelton Benjamin vs Chris Jericho at Taboo Tuesday 2004.

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  87. {sigh} I was trying to keep this spoiler free, but....

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  88. I was really hoping that question was answered. Oh well.... My guess is Bobby Roode?

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  89. "Scott Keith
    5 hours ago
    Yes, that would be AJ."

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  90. Angel vs Mysterio Summerslam 2002.

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  91. Sting was the only star TNA ever made and he was only good there because of how crappy the other wrestlers were. Sting was complete trash in WCW and he sucks in WWE, he couldn't even beat a 45 year old Triple H.

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  92. Thanks! I had missed that!

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  93. Russo gonna russo

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  95. Speaking of Punk, without wishing to sound like a "I always knew he'd be great", I saw him at a UK supershow in 2004 and he and a few other guys did a Q&A. Punk was asked what his favourite alcoholic drink was and he ripped on the guy who asked. I vaguely knew his name but didn't know he was straight edge, so it seemed odd to me that he'd go off, but he absolutely looked like a star, and was the most memorable thing about that day. I certainly left feeling he would do something in the business.

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