One problem that the WWE has had leading into Wrestlemania was booking the show according to the type of crowd they were in front of. Well last night, they finally got it right.
I found the comments from the announce team to be odd. They explained that the Raw after Mania usually brings in a very unorthodox crowd. Why even mention this? To me, it came across as them telling the home audience that they shouldn’t listen to this crowd. Maybe it’s just me. Even Vince couldn’t help but mention how “nutty” the post Mania Raw crowd can be.
Earlier in the day, I kept thinking on whether it would be smart to bring Shane out. He should be selling his injuries, right? Well when he made his way out, he was able to appease the crowd while selling his injuries. That bruise on his face and limp said a lot about his match the night prior. I had mixed feelings about Vince’s decision to let Shane run Raw. We don’t know if it’s for one night only, so I’ll reserve judgement. If he’s in charge next week, that cell match at Mania would have been for nothing.
The New Day vs The League of Nations
There’s never been a crowd that’s appreciated the New Day more than this one. The New Day didn’t cut their best promo, but Dallas made me feel like they did.
Since this had something on the line, I was already more invested than I was for their Mania match. I found it to be more unpredictable and exciting. The WWE wasn’t scared to have the New Day lose at Mania, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for the titles to switch hands. However, I’m glad they didn’t. The New Day deserved the win, along with the big victory pop.
Wade Barrett getting tossed out of the League of Nations was unexpected. A change was needed for them though. There was no clear cut heel group after the Wyatts showed up. LON just betrayed one of their members, but at the same time the Wyatts ambushed them. So who’s more evil? Either way, I’m excited for this program, as it looks promising for Bray.
Sasha Banks vs Summer Rae
There’s no denying these two could work a good match, but I’m happy they kept it short. It allows for Sasha to look strong, and that’s all that needed to be accomplished. At this point, I only cared to see what kind of moves and decisions Shane would make.
Apollo Crews vs Tyler Breeze
What?! Apollo making a main roster debut came completely out of left field.
Remember when Breeze and Crews had a hard fought match at Takeover? I do, but I knew they wouldn’t be able to replicate that. It needed to be a squash match in order to show the crowd how awesome Crews really is. He’ll instantly gain popularity with the main roster fans, simply based on his move set.
Roman Reigns/AJ Styles/Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn Promo
Finally, Reigns has started to show his heel side. I loved how his character just didn’t care. All he cared about was what he accomplished on the night prior. Roman has four competitors chasing after him, and that makes very little sense. Zayn, Owens, and Styles lost their matches at Mania, so they have no reason to request a match. Chris Jericho’s involvement could be fully justified. In fact, I’d love to see a feud with Roman and Y2J.
Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler
I’ve been watching Corbin since his NXT debut, so it was pretty neat to see him appear on Raw. Based on first impressions, he fit right in. It was smart of them to keep Corbin as a heel. His promo wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. Personally, I wish he was able to keep his indie-hater gimmick. Corbin tends to put on good matches with smaller wrestlers, and that’s what he did with Ziggler. This contest didn’t need a clean finish; it only had to show how ruthless Baron can be. The End of Days to Ziggler was a great spot. Along with that it was a solid starting point to a feud.
Zack Ryder vs The Miz
Zack Ryder showed us that his mic skills have not deteriorated since his big push in 2011. He still maintains the passion that made him popular in the first place. As the only wrestler that can create classic heel heat, the Miz’s promo was perfect to counter Ryder’s.
What was the point Zack Ryder winning the title at Mania if he couldn’t at least hold the title for a few weeks? I get they’re trying to work an angle where the sympethetic babyface chases the heel that screwed him, but it doesn’t work here. It my opinion it fell flat.
Women’s Title Presentation
The first part of this promo was awkward. I know Charlotte wanted to cut something genuine, however she should have just stayed in character. The second she went back into heel mode, the promo became better. Apparently Charlotte is headed into a feud with Natalya, which will act well as a buffer feud. If Flair were to wrestle Banks right away, their feud could only be extended to June, at most.
The Dudley Boyz vs The Usos
I thought the culmination to this feud occurred on the Mania pre show. With the way it finished, one would definitely think so. Even with the use of tables, I didn’t care to see this match.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass Debut
After seeing Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin officially debuting on this show, I didn’t expect any more call ups. Once the Vaudevillians were confirmed for Smackdown, I was certain we wouldn’t see another call up for months. The second Enzo & Cass’ music hit, I marked out. The two looked so comfortable on a bigger stage. Putting them against the Dudleys will be great experience for the charismatic tag team.
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles vs Cesaro
Was anybody else convinced that John Cena would take Sami Zayn’s spot? Cesaro was a pleasant surprise. His return gave the match some extra momentum. Along with that, he continuously added some memorable spots, as his move set is quite electrifying. With that being said, the other competitors still brought their best foot forward. They all had excellent chemistry with each other. I was especially fond of the brief interaction between Jericho and Owens as they have never been in the ring together. There’s no denying that the spot of the match was Cesaro giving uppercuts to the other three. It wasn’t overly complicated or painful, but it was just fun to watch. I thought the finishing sequence to this match was very intense. They did it in a way where we didn’t know who would win. I thought my marking out would end with the debut of Enzo & Cass, but I guess I was wrong. Seeing AJ Styles made me very happy as a fan. I’m glad that they’re continue to book him properly.
When it comes to the Raw after Mania, we never know what to expect. I believe the WWE was able to book a show according to the type of fans that were in attendance. They didn’t need to book a ton of swerves to keep this crowd excited. It was still eventful, but it was kept simple. The low point of the show was Ryder losing the title, while the high point was the main event. Overal, I give this episode of Raw an 8/10.