The RAW after Wrestlemania has become famous for being far from a normal affair. The nights are usually full of rowdy crowds, exciting debuts, and surprising returns. This has been the usual occurrence for the past 5 years at least. Sunday night’s Wrestlemania was a bit underwhelming for most, myself included. Even so, we all still tuned in on Monday night to watch the “most exciting Raw of the year”. How did this post Mania Raw stack up to those in the past? Well I’m not sure if it was the best post Mania Raw but like Mania itself, the booking was a bit odd. Follow me as we cover each segment of Raw. A Raw that I’m going to refer to as “Wrestlemania Do-over”.
Our “lovable” announce team kicks off the show with a “post Mania Raw disclaimer”. They announce that the crowd after Mania is one of the craziest and loudest crowds of the year. Those who are normally cheered will be booed and vice versa. Expect a lot of excitement going into tonight’s Raw! Now it would seem that they are going to continue with a Reigns face push as they are now giving the TV audience an excuse as to why he will be booed tonight. I like that WWE is acknowledging the unavoidable crowd noise that will take place but I can’t stand the excuses being given.
Mr. McMahon’s music hits and the crowd sings loudly. Out comes Vince with a smile and he basically “conducts” the audience as they continue singing after his music cuts. Playing off the song lyrics he says that there was “no chance in hell” that Shane McMahon was going to beat Undertaker at Mania. He says that no one has any power over him anymore. Vince changes his tone a bit and said that he never realized how bad his son wanted to run Raw. He says that he felt bad as Shane climbed to the top of the cell and jumped. This elicits a “Better than Roman” chant from the crowd and Shane’s music hits. He shakes Vince’s hand and thanks the audience. As he’s walking away Vince stops him and tells him that no one upstages Vince McMahon. Vince says that if Shane wants to run Raw then going ahead “let’s see what you got”.
So let me get this straight, no matter the outcome of the Taker/Shane match Shane still gets to run Raw? It just seems as though that match didn’t matter at all. In my mind that cell spot still accomplished nothing. I don’t want to harp on this too much as Shane running Raw for the night ended up being lackluster in itself but we’ll get to that.
Out comes the New Day and they cut an incredible promo, as always. Xavier has the last piece of cereal from their Wrestlemania Booty-O’s box and presents it to the crowd while singing “Circle of Life” from the Lion King. We go to commercial and on the comeback Lillian is in the ring dancing with all of New Day. This was a fun little segment prior to the tag team title match. Here come the League of Nations and we set up for the tag match between Big E/Kofi and Sheamus/Barrett. New Day goes over clean with a pin on Barrett. They leave the ring and Sheamus takes the mic. Oh boy!
Sheamus cuts a similar promo to the one we saw on Sunday. He then vocalizes that a dominate team is only as strong as their weakest link. The League turn on Wade as the audience sends him off with the goodbye chant. This will most likely be the last time we see Barrett on WWE tv for some time. Now, this may be my favorite part of the night as the Wyatts attack LON and presumably turn face. I still don’t agree with their booking at Mania but I definitely see them being a dominate face faction.
We cut to the backstage area as Vince is heading to his limo. He’s asked if he is leaving because he believes Raw is in good hands. Vince scoffs at this notion and says he’s leaving because Raw is going to be a disaster. It’s confirmed that Shane running Raw is strictly temporary.
Cut to the ring where Summer Rae is delivering a decent promo on the Women’s Championship and Sasha Banks. Out comes Sasha and the two have a quick match in which Banks forces Summer to tap. We go to commercial as it’s announced Apollo Crews will make his Raw debut next.
When we come back Tyler Breeze’s music hits and it seems we may be getting a rematch from October’s NXT Takeover: Respect event. Crews comes out to a very large pop. After a very quick back and forth Apollo squashes Breeze. This wasn’t as interesting as the two’s previous match but it was a good way to introduce the main audience to the athletic prowess of Apollo Crews. As we approach a commercial break it is advertised that a Reigns promo is up next. This crowd erupts into boos as we go to commercial.
Reigns comes out to a plethora of boos, but somehow WWE found the only two Roman signs in the crowd. He grabs the mic and smirks at the crowd saying “come on guys”. Reigns assures us that he’s not a bad guy, he’s not a good guy, he’s THE guy. I guess the company is going to have Reigns remain in the middle and continue to not care. It’s been working so far, right? Roman says that if there is anyone in the back who thinks they’re man enough to face him then come out now. Jericho’s music hits to a loud pop. The crowd continues to chant loud nonsense, not a change from the rest of the show. Chris calls them idiots and says they are not hijacking the show on his account. The crowd response with a “we are idiots” chant. Finally something I can agree with. Jericho says that Reigns better put him at the top of the list for his WWE World Heavyweight title. Out comes Styles, followed by Owens, followed by Zayn. Styles and Jericho begin to brawl while Owens and Zayn fight on the outside. The segment ends when Reigns hits Jericho with a spear. The crowd continues to boo. Shane puts together a fatal four way match between Jericho, Styles, Zayn, and Owens to determine the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
We come back and Baron Corbin, Andre the Giant trophy winner, makes his way to the ring. He cuts a quick promo before being interrupted by his opponent, Dolph Ziggler. Pretty decent back and forth from a tv viewer perspective. The crowd was very distracted as they were playing with a beach ball. Ziggler and Corbin continue fighting while the crowd bursts into a confusing “you sold out” chant. Apparently an arena employee took the beach ball. Just another instance where the crowd stopped being rowdy and just began acting like children. The people who provided the beach balls were supposedly kicked out of the show. Back to the match, Baron Corbin tosses Ziggler over the barricade and the match ends by count out. Corbin, confusingly frustrated, takes his anger out on Ziggler by delivering an End of Days on the outside.
Moving forward we have Zack Ryder in the ring cutting a promo about his Wrestlemania win. He said it was the greatest night of his life and thanks his dad who is in the front row…..looking jacked! Miz comes out and talks about being embarrassed at Mania. He challenges Ryder to a match for the IC title. After a bit of arguing Ryder accepts and the match begins. Forgettable match that ends with a distraction by a returning Maryse attacking Ryder’s father. Miz picks up the win and we have a new Intercontinental Champion. The one thing I enjoyed from Sunday has been taken away just 24 hours later. It was expected but I was so proud of Long Island Iced Z.
Coming back from break we have a video promo stating that the Vaudevillains will be on Smackdown. We move to the ring where Lita is standing surrounded by the women superstars. She’s here to formally present the Women’s Championship to Charlotte. The crowd erupts in multiple Bayley chants and out comes Charlotte. She praises the fans and women in the ring. She says they’ve come so far as women and they are all to thank. The fans, I guess understanding they were acting like children, begin chanting “women’s wrestling”. Charlotte then says the person who deserves the most thanks is her father, Ric Flair. She goes into heel mode and every other woman leaves the ring. Nattie grabs a mic and says that her genetics are superior to Charlotte’s. She challenges Charlotte to a match and the segment ends. We just saw this at Roadblock so it’s odd that we are going back to this. Especially when we still have a perfectly good program with Sasha. These two will have a great match regardless and I’m really looking forward to it.
Another commercial break and we get a video package for the return of Primo and Epico. Back to the action, the Dudleys vs the Usos in a tables match is up next. They have a decent contest with a rather odd finish. The Usos set the Dudleys up for a similar spot to the one at Mania. The Dudleys move out of the way and the Usos go through the tables. The timekeeper rings the bell, however, in order for a tables match to end the superstar must be put through a table by the opposing superstar. D-von quickly grabs an Uso, sorry I don’t know which one….ha, and throws him through a table. Bubba begins to go off on the timekeeper but remains in character.
The disappointment of not seeing Enzo and Cass is sinking in as we head backstage to Renee interviewing Sami Zayn. This is interrupted as Owens attacks Zayn and powerbombs him through a table, basically eliminating him from the fatal four way match. We go back to the ring and the Dudleys have not left. My spirits are lifted. They are still pissed and begin walking towards the stage. The music hits and out come Enzo and Big Cass to the biggest pop of the night. Enzo cuts one of the funniest promos I’ve heard in a long time, no surprise there. I’m assuming this is setting up a program between these two teams and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great first program for their main roster debut.
It’s time for the main event and each competitor comes to the ring. Lillian announces that this will still be a fatal four way match and this man will be replacing Sami Zayn. Cesaro’s music hits and everyone loves it. This was a great match with a few fantastic spots including Cesaro’s swing and uppercut train. AJ Styles ends up going over clean with a Styles Clash on Chris Jericho. We go off the air as Styles poses in the ring.
For a post Mania Raw this show dragged quite a bit. A Shane McMahon run Raw seems eerily familiar to an Authority run Raw and perhaps that was the point. The crowd itself became increasingly obnoxious as the show progressed. I’m all for the crowd having fun but I can’t stand when they go into business for themselves. The last hour was obviously the highlight with the Enzo/Cass debut and the AJ Styles win. It felt as they creative was back peddling a bit with their Wrestlemania booking. An AJ Styles win tonight does not justify the Mania loss. That’s 50/50 booking at its finest. I don’t understand why Shane was allowed to run Raw tonight. It doesn’t make any sense for Vince to just all of the sudden say, “go ahead”. We also have to look forward. Creative isn’t doing itself any favors if they are trying to not get Reigns booed. They’re putting him up against “internet darling” and lovable AJ Styles. I will say that the show did spark my interest and I’m curious as to what they do going forward.
Well guys, I’m definitely burnt out on the product and I need a few days rest. If you count NXT, Hall of Fame, Mania, and Raw there was about 15 hours of WWE product being shown this weekend. I watched every bit of it and I need a break. I hope you enjoyed reading these as this concludes our Wrestlemania coverage. If everything goes right I would love to come back and chat about WWE Payback with you all. Be sure to check out Lucha Underground and NXT this Wednesday night. You can also always find me on twitter @TheDylanLyles. Have a good night everybody!