It is the night after Wrestlemania, meaning we should all be able to find some enjoyment in tonight’s festivities! Last night’s WRESTLEMANIA had a couple of surprises, a couple of letdowns, but I thought it was an overall enjoyable evening. I’ve only gotten to watch it once, and it was a happy atmosphere, but that first half was pretty good to great in my estimation. Let’s get this party started!
Raw starts on a somber note, with a replay of the end of an era, the end of The Undertaker. I remember after I watched the first major wrestling event I can recall, Wrestlemania IX, I made friends with some people in school because we all discussed the next day who we thought could actually take down The Undertaker. I don’t remember any of our answers (I’m sure Tatanka was a choice), but Taker has been a piece of my wrestling life for as long as I can remember. No matter how I feel about when he should have hung up his coat and hat, the moment was surreal, and really sad. He’s an icon and he deserves all the recognition he gets. Thank you Taker.
We get a prolonged Thank You Taker chant, and it blends into a “Roman Sucks”. Naturally, that brings out Roman Reigns. He stands in the ring for a really long time just soaking in the awful chants he gets (Roman Sucks, Fuck you Roman, Shut the Fuck up, Asshole). At one point he seems to mouth that he has the crowd in the palm of his hand, and he’s not totally wrong. It ends with Roman finally speaking with a simple “This is my yard now.” To some, it’s a heel turn, but really it’s just them not having him say much so he can still play the sort of face Roman next week. I don’t think it’s anything else.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Hardys (c) vs. The Club
There are few, if any, wrestlers I dislike more than Jeff Hardy. However, I love wrestling, and it is made by the moments that make your jaw drop. I knew The Hardys were going to come to WWE. I did not think they’d show up the night after they fought for Ring of Honor in a ladder match. I was genuinely shocked, and that is what gets you in this wrestling fandom. Plus, I’ve always liked Matt.
They have a rematch with The Club here, and it’s a smart opener, with the crowd continuing their chant assault. It’s a decent match, the crowd is hot for it, but they’d be silly to take the belts off The Hardys so quickly.
Winners: The Hardy Boys
KING Neville vs Mustafa Ali
King Neville gives a great post Wrestlemania speech where he says people may not like his methods but WHO CARES. He is interrupted first by dumb WHAT chants and then dumb Mustafa Ali. Just Kidding, Ali is a great opponent for Neville tonight. He really owned his chance, I think. I was happy he got an enthusiastic crowd for this big moment, but they immediately ruin it by chanting a beach ball. THIS was a great match. Both guys looked great, and Neville is killing it in this heel role. I really wish more people were behind it. You should probably watch this whole show, but don’t sleep on this match. Neville wins after teasing thered
Vince McMahon is out because we are blessed! LOUD Roman Sucks chants right at Vince. He doesn’t care, everyone. He thanks the fans, but really he should be mad at them. Which he is, once they cheer that Stephanie will be gone for a few weeks. He also says we’re gonna have a SUPERSTAR SHAKEUP next week. Wow. Mixing up wrestlers already. I like it. He then announces the new Raw GM! It’s not Teddy Long, unfortunately, who comes out first. It is, very fortunately but expectedly, Kurt Angle himself! He talks for about 4 seconds and basks in the “YOU SUCK” chants.
New Day is out and they’re a little upset they didn’t have a match at Wrestlemania last night. We didn’t need an 8 hour show thanks. They issue an open challenge to any team to come out and fight them and TOP GUYS The Revival are out! Awesome.
New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs The Revival
The Revival are such a fun tag team to watch. Xavier and Big E don’t look completely inept during the match, and there’s a pretty hot segment where Xavier clears house, but no way they were bringing Revival in to lose. They look great, and after take out Kofi Kingston, “injuring” his knee. Hot, hot show tonight.
There’s a backstage segment, the first of the night surprisingly, and it’s Kurt Angle setting up his GM curtain office. He has a meet and greet with Enzo & Cass, and it’s probably one of the best segments I’ve seen with Enzo, probably because of Angle. His whole interaction with them, answering how he’s doing and then saying that isn’t how “soft” is spelled. I love it.
Sasha Banks & Bayley & Dana Brooke vs Charlotte & Nia Jax & EVIL EMMA!
We can all just be thankful EMMA is back! She actually gets the most time in this match, and it’s well deserved. It wasn’t as big of a clusterfuck as some of these can be, but there was a terrible spot where Dana and Sasha went for a double drop kick to put Nia through the ropes and they clearly missed her though she went for it. The match was still good, though it didn’t turn Sasha heel as I imagined. She wins with a Bank statement and does have eyes on the belt though. Charlotte is furious with Emma and Nia and they both are pretty angry back at her. Nia attacks her and…maybe…that’s a Nia face turn? They do need another face for Sasha’s heel turn. But one of these women is going to Smackdown with the draft next week.
Winners: Sasha, Bayley & Dana
Backstage segment with Kurt and Sami Zayn now, where Sami rambles about wanting a good relationship with Kurt if he stays on Raw. Kurt says Sami has definitely represented the three I’s, and he respects him, but Jinder Mahal interrupts for some reason. Really, just to give him and Sami a match later tonight.
BRRRRRRRRROCK Lesnar and Paul Heyman come out, and Heyman states we won’t be seeing Bill Goldberg around here anymore – so Thank you Taker and Thank you Brock. Heyman says Brock isn’t going to be taking selfies, he’s the disrupter of the status quo. Sigh. And he’s calling out Roman Reigns. The 2 in 23 and 2. Crowd loudly wanting Balor here. Heyman says why not just have Roman and Brock face off tonight? But before anything else can happen BRAUN comes out! Oh BRAUN you’re the best. BRAUN says Brock’s attention is on Roman Reigns, but he’s gonna destroy Roman and then maybe he’ll have Brock’s attention – Brock has Braun’s, that’s for sure. Brock lays down the belt, but BRAUN says he knows where he is and leaves. Good segment. BRAUN is working for me, man.
Backstage segment with Chris Jericho and Chuck Caruso talking about how the tip of Kevin Owens finger cost him the match so the tip is making the list. Before too long Jericho is attacked by both KO and Samoa Joe, so we finally see where Finn Balor fits in tonight – replacement in the scheduled tag between Seth Rollins & Jericho vs Samoa Joe & KO.
#1 Contenders for Tag Team Titles: Cesaro & Sheamus vs Enzo & Cass
Well. It wouldn’t be Raw without these guys fighting each other or The Club I guess. I LOVE Cesaro and I love him and Sheamus together, but I just cannot deal with more of these. It is for the #1 Contenders, which makes me think The Club is heading to Smackdown. Sheamus and Cesaro get a nice chant during this which is pretty great to hear. Cass has been fine in these matches, but Enzo is just not very good. He is good at working a crowd, and he’s a good side man, but eh. Thankfully, they lose! Sheamus brogue kicks Cass out of the ring, and Enzo falls to Cesaro’s uppercut. Nice.
Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Sami Zayn vs Jinder Mahal
Gronkowski hindered Jinder and now we’re here. It’s basically just a way to get Sami out there in front of a hot crowd, which is a good time. They are really into him, but the match is over pretty quickly. We’re heading into Main Event time.
Winner: Sami Zayn
MAIN EVENT TIME and we get to see who Seth’s mystery partner is. It’s Bo Dallas! Just kidding – of course it’s not.
Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins & Finn Balor
Finn is obviously the surprise partner here. It’s a great match. Seth was in the ring for most of the time, and the crowd was firmly behind him. His selling of his knee is top notch. It makes no sense that Finn would want to help the guy who injured him, but hey – a guy wants to work and make money so anything can happen. Everyone looks good and it’s Finn who gets to finish KO off with a coup de grace. Happy to have him back.
Winners: Seth Rollins & Finn Balor
WATCH THIS MATCH: Definitely watch the Main event, you’d be silly not to. Definitely watch Neville vs Mustafa Ali too. Everything was fun to watch tonight. If you watch this Raw tonight and don’t have fun, you don’t like wrestling.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Well…I guess Sami Zayn vs Jinder Mahal. It was the lesser of the two matches I’d suggest for this – maybe Cesaro/Sheamus vs Enzo & Cass because we’ve seen it before, but the match was good and Cesaro is always great. Don’t skip any!
Final Thoughts: Great Raw, but we knew it would be. These are always must watch because there are always fun returns or debuts, and there’s almost no wasted time. The crowd gets excessively more obnoxious each year, but they do have some moments where I’m glad to have them (chanting Roman Sucks to Vince was pretty funny). My favorite parts were Angle backstage with Enzo & Cass surprisingly, but also The Revival getting called up and the triumphant return of Emma and okay, Finn too. Finn is just too cool for school. I’m intrigued by the shake up next week, though there are some probably obvious moves. Roman moving with Cena leaving seemed like a good bet, but I’m not convinced with Brock calling him out this week. We will see.
So that’s Raw! If you want to talk about it, or tell me how wrong or silly I am twitter is the way: Hm_pufnstuf