The Raw after Wrestlemania has high expectations from fans across the globe, as the WWE usually finds a way to make this night just as important as the PPV. Last night was no different because the WWE made sure they kept fans entertained for 3 hours.
Brock Lesnar Promo
I did not expect Lesnar to open the show, but it was a great surprise. Heyman needed to deliver with a solid promo, and he did just that. I thought the cannibal joke was a onetime thing, but it’s good to hear Paul follow up on that insult. This segment did a decent job at retelling last night’s event. Heyman’s legal jargon was clever, unfortunately for him it wasn’t going to work. He did a good job at building up Roman but an even better job at making Rollins look slimy. When they demanded the rematch, I was convinced they might actually have the match to open the show, but Stephanie’s appearance was just as good. With McMahon talking down to Brock, it was evident that he has officially become baby face. This segment did a great job at following up on Wrestlemania, and they couldn’t have done it better.
Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler
They could not have picked a better match to start this exciting Raw. The match started slow, but these two needed the time to build excitement. Ziggler started off ruthless, much more ruthless than normal. At this point I was convinced he’d turn heel. I liked Dolph’s counter from the surf board, it was very creative. Bryan was awesome with his turnbuckle to turnbuckle drop kicks, but they were sold even better by the show off. The suplex spot from the top rope was beautiful, and easily the spot of the match. He near fall spot made everything even more exciting. This contest ended perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier. The Sheamus interference came as a surprise to me, but his new look caught me off guard. There’s no doubt that he turned heel after beating on Ziggler and Bryan. The crowd was not fond of Sheamus, but it’s probably the reaction they were looking for.
Ascension and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs Lucha Dragons & The New Day
I was pumped to see the Lucha Dragons officially debut on Raw, they will be refreshing to the division. Cesaro worked well with Kalisto, and they impressed me. The Dragons were the talk of this match. Once the members of the Ascension began to wrestle with their NXT peers, I wished they had just booked these two teams in a match. The mixture of different teams in this match made it less interesting to watch, there was a disconnection between them. The spots with Kofi were fun, but just weren’t captivating. Kalisto picking up the win was a smart decision, he was truly the star of this match.
Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins
Since this match was placed this early, I knew there were some shenanigans coming. Obviously Rollins had a legitimate excuse to not fight. Even without a match this turned into an entertaining segment. It became even better when Michael Cole took an F5. If anybody wants to watch Brock just destroy people, I’d point you to this segment. This entire promo made Lesnar look like a proper baby face. After Stephanie announced that Lesnar is suspended, I realized that was probably their way of writing him off TV for a month or so.
Stardust vs Mizdow
I found it hilarious that Mizdow continued to use Miz’s theme song. These two started the match off very hot, and they had some amazing chemistry. I was surprised that Mizdow even put up a fight, but I guess that means they’re getting behind him. While this was meant to setup for a Miz interference, I felt Stardust should have won. The former Cody Rhodes was just in a title match at Mania, why did he job last night?
Neville vs Curtis Axel
Neville looked great for this match. There were no words for how well Neville performed. While most of this crowd knew who Adrian was, he’s officially made an impression on the casual base. They picked the perfect time for him to debut, and the perfect opponent.
John Cena Open Challenge
Cena cut a great promo, and worked well off this hostile crowd. The idea of the open challenge felt very reminiscent of the Angle open challenge to Cena. Ambrose came as a surprise to me, but I think these two would make for an interesting feud. The bout started slow, but at a good pace. There weren’t any particular spots early in this match that stood out, and I was waiting for Rusev to attack Cena. Half way through these two picked up the pace, and their chemistry began to show. No way did I think Ambrose would kick out of the AA, that came as a huge shock to me. The amount of botches increased at the end of this showing, and while Ambrose slipped up on the powerbomb, Cena’s STF looked even worse. It’s worth mentioning that the botches looked minuscule after Dean executed a STF, a Dirty Deeds, with a near fall. That entire sequence was done gracefully .There was no chance Cena would lose this match, and I’m happy him and Ambrose at least put on an awesome showing. This was easily the best match on the show.
Paige, AJ, & Naomi vs The Bellas & Natalya
Natty and Naomi did a great job at starting off this match. I can’t get over how awesome their chemistry is together. Naomi did so well in this contest, she made Brie look good. Paige had a wicked spot with Brie when she speared her out of the ring. AJ was representing the NXT divas division with her Bayley shirt, and I thought it was a great shout out. Nikki and AJ squared off for the majority of this match, and they delivered. Once Naomi made her way in, she showed to be the most fluid out of these competitors. The ending was fun, and it added some drama. I was just disappointed we didn’t see the debut of Charlotte.
Rusev vs Goldust
I felt bad for Goldust, there was no way he was going to last against Rusev. This contest was nothing more than a glorified squash match. Goldust got some offense, but it wasn’t enough for him to look strong against Rusev.
Seth Rollins, Kane, & Big Show vs Randy Orton, Ryback, & Roman Reigns
Reigns was obviously the third man in this match. There was no way he’d miss this episode of Raw. I was having a tough time thinking this match would just end cleanly, but I had a feeling they’d have a big surprise. Rollins continues to amaze me with that enziguri, it looks great every time. Sometimes live crowds are great, and this particular one was a hit or miss. While some of their chants were annoying, that wave was impressive. Also the crotch chop was brilliant on Rollins’ part. Reigns’ superman punch was a thing of beauty; I just wished they didn’t boo him for it. This match wasn’t so bad, I just expected more from the ending. Usually we’re given some sort of surprise or twist, but they decided to end with a simple send off .Overall I enjoyed the match; these men did a great job.
Sting Promo (WWE Network)
This entire show they took the time to create hype for Sting’s promo. Overall I thought they’d give us something more, like a better idea on his status, or maybe an interaction with Bray Wyatt. Unfortunately we were given Wyatt’s brother, Bo Dallas. Any other time this would be funny, but it shouldn’t have occurred in Sting’s first promo after Mania.
I really enjoyed this show, and it’s because they excitement never ended. To me it felt as if the show flew by, and it didn’t feel like 3 hours. Like most Raws it had some high points and low points, but this episode was better than most. While I was hoping for more surprise debuts, I’ve decided not to get hung up on it. Overall I give this edition of Raw 7.9/10.