Taking A Dump In Roman’s Yard
The crowd opened the show with a two-minute long Undertaker chant in honour of the Deadman’s retirement, which slowly and organically transitioned into ‘Roman Sucks’. Taking his cue, The Big Dawg himself came out to tend to his newly acquired yard. The crowd booed, chanted ‘f you Roman’,‘delete’, ‘you suck’, ‘Roman sucks’, ‘shut the f up’, ‘asshole’ and ‘go away’ for 8 minutes while Reigns just stood there. Finally, on the third time of bringing the microphone to his lips, Roman merely said, ‘It’s my yard now’ and walked off.
Michael Cole explained tonight is the post-Mania crowd, full of non-traditional WWE fans. By non-traditional WWE fans, I assume he means those who won’t accept your promotion’s ineffective force feeding of a miscast top babyface.
Hardy Boyz beat Galanderson
After making their WWE return the previous night at Wrestlemania, Matt and Jeff Hardy successfully defended their newly won Raw tag team championships against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. I forgot how much I’ve missed watching Jeff wrestle. He somehow makes it look like he’s coming up with what to do on the spot, like his Poetry in Motion off the steel steps. It’s still unclear whether the Hardys are Broken or Xtreme.
Beach Ball beat Neville & Mustafa Ali
Even on the post-Mania Raw, the Cruiserweights still aren’t over, with the crowd getting distracted by a beach ball somewhere off camera. They got into the match for the finishing sequence, where Neville brilliantly teased a Red Arrow, but instead won with the Rings of Saturn submission.
Vince McMahon Introduces Raw’s New GM…
Vince McMahon announced a “superstar shake-up” for next week’s Raw – which will likely be a few roster trades rather than a full-on draft – and, with Stephanie McMahon recovering from injury, the new General Manager of Raw will be this year’s Hall of Fame inductee…Teddy Long. It was a good gag, holla holla.
Vince told Teddy to go away, and then introduced Kurt Angle, who cut a wonderfully brief promo for a Raw authority figure, simply saying, ‘it’s great to be on Monday Night Raw, it’s true, it’s damn true.’ Kurt’s subsequent backstage skits were all brilliant.
The Revival beat New Day
In another thankful use of brevity, The New Day cut a short in-ring promo and then made an open challenge. The Revival answered to a thunderous reaction, kicking over the New Day’s ice cream cart like true heels. The longest ever WWE tag champs vs the longest ever NXT tag champs. With Matt & Jeff also on Monday nights, Raw’s tag division went from the same few teams over and over again to being DELIGHTFUL!
Bayley, Dana Brooke & Sasha Banks beat Emma, Nia Jax & Charlotte
As if Raw wasn’t stacked enough already, Emma returned! Kind of. Maybe it’s called redebuting! Or repackaging…I’m not sure what’s happened with Emma, I’m just glad she’s back. Just her being in this six woman tag made Raw’s very stale women’s division feel fresh again.
Charlotte tapped to Sasha in a good TV match, after which Nia Jax beat Flair up – hinting The Queen’s getting traded to Smackdown.
Your Reigning And Defending Universal Champion…
Paul Heyman informed the crowd we won’t be seeing Goldberg around here any more – unless you watched the post-show, in which case, you would’ve definitely Goldberg – so The Beast needs a new challenger – the 2 in 23 in and 2, starting the build to the reported Wrestlemania 34 main event between Brock and Roman Reigns next year.
Instead, Braun Strowman came down to challenge Lesnar, giving him a shove, and then walked off.
Sheamaro beat Enzo & Cass
Kurt made this tag team championship number one contenders match after Enzo and Big Cass claimed Sheamus and Cesaro were S-A-W-F-T, sawft. Leading Kurt to have the best line of the night: “that’s not how you spell soft?”
Enzo and Cass ended up losing though, hinting they’re off to Smackdown too. Which is probably for the best, as Sheamaro will have a much better match with the Hardys.
Sami Zayn beat Jinder Mahal
Kurt made this Sami Zayn vs Jinder Mahal match when the two argued backstage. Sami won.
Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens beat Finn Balor & Seth Rollins
After a fun backstage Chris Jericho interview, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe took out Y2J – presumably writing him off TV for the next few months while he tours with Fozzy. Kurt needed to find Seth a new teammate – and, for a moment, it looked like fan favourite and multi-time champion Vacant would be added to the match.
Instead, as everyone already figured out, Finn Balor made his WWE return after being out from injury since last August, making all four men in this match former NXT champions.
There were multiple storylines running through this tag – some good like Owens and Balor’s history Universal title beef, Samoa Joe having taken out Seth Rollins and Joe and Owens’ Ultra Unit faction; and others not so good, like how was Seth medically cleared to compete after his unsanctioned match just the night before – you know, the one where nobody would allow him to wrestle – and that Rollins and Balor should probably hate each other.
The four had a solid TV main event, which Balor won pinning Owens after a Coup D’Grace.
Here’s the usual ratings recap, from top to bottom – In Awe, Cor, AVERAWGE, Poor and Bore.
This week’s Raw is – and it’s something I thought I’d never say for a three-hour episode – In Awe.
That’s right, the highest possible rating has finally been bestowed. The Revival’s call-up, Kurt Angle becoming Raw GM, Evil Emma and Finn Balor’s returns. The actual wrestling was average, but the angles made this a much-needed piece of fan service.
This is not without criticism, however. Like Wrestlemania 33 the previous night, Raw is still too long, the Rollins continuity was very patchy, and Goldberg’s post-show promo should’ve been on TV.
What did you all think? Keep chanting ‘Roman Sucks’ in the comments below.