As Wrestlemania weekend came to a close, Monday Night Raw came packed with fresh faces, returning superstars, unexpected face turns and a main event for the ages. It also had its fair share of disappointment that’s bound to cause a great deal of controversy. All in all, a show worthy of discussion…
VINCE GIVES SHANE CONTROL OF THE SHOW… FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY
Wrestlemania 32 saw Shane O’Mac unsuccessfully take on Undertaker in a Hell In A Cell match. If he won, he’d have inherited Monday Night Raw from The Authority; but, like most potentially good storylines in the current climate, it wasn’t to be. That being said, we got a taste of what it would be like on this episode of Raw as Vince relinquished control for the night so he could prove a point; that point being that Shane’s authority would result in a train wreck of a show. Unfortunately, Shane’s presence was strongly felt for the next three hours.
Shane’s future role with the company is somewhat of a mystery, but his brief return was exciting and memorable following his giant leap from the top of the cage at Wrestlemania. Let’s just hope that there’s more to come from Simba as an on-air personality down the line, as he gives the product a much needed boost.
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS GET RELEGATED!!!
Following their loss at Wrestlemania, the WWE Universe’s favourite unicorns defended their tag team titles against the fans least favourite congregation of European excitement repellent. But history wasn’t to repeat itself on this night, as New Day retained the belts, which led to Sheamus, Rusev and Del Rio turning on Barrett after declaring him the “weakest link.’’
However, it would be Bray Wyatt who would end the night with the last laugh, as he appeared with his posse of backwoods bearded men appeared unloaded on the foreign heels and seemingly turning face in the process. The crowd seemed very grateful for Bray and co. interfering, and hopefully this will be the start of the push that’s been evading them for so long.
SASHA BANKS MAKES SUMMER RAE TAP OUT
Summer cuts a promo before the match starts mocking Sasha Banks for her Wrestlemania loss. Sasha interrupts her with a fierce slap to the face that could be felt throughout the arena. The match itself was brief, with Banks quickly making Summer submit to the ‘Banks Statement.’
The commentators emphasised the new era of women’s wrestling throughout the match, with Sasha getting loud ovations from the crowd. It’s only a matter of time before she’s wearing championship gold around her waist and representing the company as one of their biggest stars.
BARON CORBIN BATTLES DOLPH ZIGGLER
One of the highlights of Wrestlemania 32 was WWE’s decision to have Baron Corbin win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. In the past, the trophy hasn’t done a lot to benefit the careers of its holders, so only time will tell how Corbin bodes. However, to kick start his main roster career with a big win at the biggest show of the year certainly doesn’t hurt, and it would seem he’s being booked on the right track so far on Raw.
Dolph Ziggler’s role in the company is to be an enhancement talent nowadays, so it makes sense to have made him Corbin’s first opponent. The match itself was fairly entertaining, but it would be the events that transpired afterwards that made it memorable – with Corbin decimating Ziggler following a double count out draw.
It would seem this feud is going to continue for the foreseeable future and it makes perfect sense.
APOLLO CREWS SQUASHES TYLER BREEZE
A few short months ago, the notion of Tyler Breeze and Apollo Crews squaring off on Monday Night Raw would have been mouth-watering, as both typified the excellence of the NXT product. However, since being promoted to the main roster, Prince Pretty has been demoted to jobber status – and that’s exactly the role he played tonight, essentially serving as a door mat for Crews to wipe his feet on as he entered the big house.
Still, Crews has the potential to be a megastar if handled properly, and it’s great to see him bring some much needed life to a stale roster.
FINDING A NEW NUMBER ONE CONTENDER…
Reigns entered the arena to unanimous booing, but he seemed to be embracing it. Heel turn, you say? Not quite…
He delivered a speech declaring himself, “THEE GUY!’’ Naturally, this brought out the raging “smarkisms’’ of the crowd in attendance. He then issued an open challenge to anyone in the back who felt they could step up, only for Jericho, Styles, Owens and Zayn to step forth and a brawl and engage in a brawl.
The smug, arrogant Reigns was a particular highlight here, and it would suggest a heel turn could be in the pipeline – either that or he was trolling a crowd that went there with their knives already drawn.
THE MIZ WINS THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE
Ryder came out to a gigantic pop from the crowd and cut a promo thanking his father, who was in attendance and looking more jacked than any wrestler in the locker room. The Miz interrupted and gave his usual arrogant heel shtick where he disrespected Ryder’s family and demanded an IC title shot. Like the babyface that he is, Ryder accepted.
The match itself was more than passable, with both men getting to showcase some offence. The crowd were firmly behind Ryder as expected, but the reality is he’s a bona fide superstar ready to happen should the company ever decide to give him some momentum. But instead, they opted to have him lose the title a night after winning it due to a distraction from ex-WWE diva and wife of the Miz, Maryse.
Unless Ryder is going to regain the championship in the coming weeks, this booking is perplexing. While WWE is no secret to see-saw booking when it comes to handling their titles and champions, history has shown that Ryder has had it worse off than most other superstars. Effectively buried after getting over organically with the crowd and winning the US title before, it’s quite hard not to look at this outcome with cynicism. That being said, the loss was shady and the treatment of Ryder’s father would suggest they’re trying to garner some sympathy, so it might not be all doom and gloom for ‘Long Island Iced Z’ quite yet. Granted, it probably will be, but fingers crossed it isn’t.
CHARLOTTE’S CHAMPIONSHIP CORONATION CEREMONY
Charlotte pays her respects to the women of WWE on how far they’ve come, but it’s a mere bait-and-switch to congratulate herself and her father. Her words incur the wrath of the women, who all walk out on her to the bratty dismay of the new champ. However, Nattie stays behind and tells Charlotte she needs to learn humility and challenges her to a match, which leads to a scuffle.
This was a fun segment, with Nattie and Charlotte both playing up the legacy of their families to add some pizazz. Given that Ric and Bret has a storied history, it would seem they’re looking to incorporate the longstanding family rivalry into their own feud.
GET THE TABLES!!!
Facing off in a post-Mania tables match, the Dudley Boyz managed to see off the Uso’s after the twins put themselves through the wood. Apparently, in this table match, the rules of every other table match in history were irrelevant. Thankfully, the commentary team addressed the controversy. The match – like the rest of the feud – was completely devoid of excitement, and thankfully, it was over quick.
After the match, NXT fan favourites Enzo and Cass entered and delivered an entertaining promo where they completely verbally mauled The Dudley’s. The heels teased a fight, but decided to save it for another night before it transpired.
It’s about time Enzo and Cass got the call-up, and a feud against the veteran tag team should shake up the division.
CESARO RETURNS AND AJ BECOMES THE NEW CONTENDER!!!
Prior to the main event, Kevin Owens assaulted Sami Zayn as he was being interviewed and powerbombed him through a table. Rumours have been circulating online that Zayn is legitimately injured and this was a way to write him out of the match. However, with a feud between both superstars set to explode, it makes perfect sense to set it up this way.
Zayn’s replacement for the fatal four-way was the “Swiss Superman’’ himself: Cesaro. He entered in a suit and shades, ripped off his clothes on the ramp and came out of it looking like a warrior – as opposed to a stripper.
The match itself was as amazing as you’d expect from four workers of this calibre, with lots of exciting action and near falls keeping the crowd on their toes. AJ would pick up the win by delivering a Styles Clash on Y2J, but you get the impression the “Ayotllah of Rock and Rollah’’ isn’t through with AJ – or the pursuit for Reigns’ gold.
Overall, this was a good show, albeit not without its problems. The last hour was great, and the main event made the misdemeanour’s beforehand seem like an afterthought it was that good. Saying that, the treatment of Zack Ryder was just bewildering and only time will tell if it serves a purpose. However, with the seeds planted for a Reigns’ heel turn, the debuts of some NXT alumni and the return of Cesaro, there was a lot to get excited about as the company heads into post-Mania season.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/197064794″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=false” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]