It’s the Monday after Wrestlemania, and WWE enters night number four in Orlando at the Amway Center for this show. We have some new champions coming out of Wrestlemania. Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg for the Universal Championship. Will Goldberg seek a rematch, or will someone else step up to challenge the Beast? The Hardys are back, and in a shocker claimed the tag team championship. Contenders are plenty, as the former champions Gallows and Anderson as well as Sheamus and Cesaro and Enzo and Cass are all going to be looking for shots at them. Bayley, however, hung on to her Raw Women’s Championship in an elimination four way. Who will challenge her next? And who can forget that the crowd will be rowdy and raucous after seven hours of pay per view yesterday.
Show Open, Live from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL;
They recapped Roman Reigns defeating Undertaker, and Undertaker leaving his gear in the ring as if to signify retiring. They showed a fan sign thanking Taker and a crowd chant got started. “One more match” got started too, then Roman Reigns’ music hit and boos cascaded down. Cole, Graves, and Saxton on the call. Cole said that there has been a lot of speculation about Taker since Sunday and whether that was the last ride for him.
Cole said a thank you, hyped the attendance, then noted that we were seeing one of only two men who have beaten Undertaker, with the other being Brock Lesnar. Reigns headed to the ring and posed on the ropes, and as his music stopped the boos continued. He paced, and fans chanted “delete”. There was also a f*ck you Roman” chant. That stopped, then the booing and “delete” chants got going again, as did a healthy “you suck” chant.
Reigns smirked and went to say something, but put the mic down. That started an “asshole” chant, which drew a smirk from Roman. They then switched to “Roman sucks” on the New-Day-Rocks cadence, as well as something that sounded like “shut the f*ck up.” Fans booed and chanted to “go away” as Reigns held the mic up. He simply said “this is my yard now” and left the ring. Fans booed him heavily as Cole said he couldn’t make it any more clear than he did.
Bill Says: Well done. Reigns saying only one line was somewhat expected, a little bit clever, and yet even a little disappointing. Probably would have been worth more if Reigns let the fans chant themselves out then fired back at them. This is the night after Wrestlemania, so it’s a special kind of crowd atmosphere. The opening as a whole definitely put some focus on Taker, which was important. We’ll see where they go once crowd reactions simmer down in the weeks ahead.
Gallows and Anderson came to the ring as the commentary team recapped the return of the Hardys at Wrestlemania. They showed stills of Wrestlemania action including the John Cena proposal. They introduced Matt and Jeff Hardy for the Raw Tag Championship rematch. Fans chanted “Delete!” for them.
Match #1 – Matt and Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows; Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Reax: Early, Gallows and Anderson isolated Matt to a “F*ck that owl” chant. They then turned to “obsolete” chants. Matt got the hot tag to Jeff who splashed Gallows for two. Jeff hit a dive off the steps on him outside. Back in the ring, Gallows and Anderson hit the Boot of Doom for two then tried for the Magic Killer. Jeff countered and hit the Twist of Fate on Gallows. Jeff tagged to Matt, who hit Twist of Fate on Gallows then Jeff hit the Swanton. Matt covered for the win.
Cole noted that Matt and Jeff will be on Raw Talk after the show on WWE Network.
The match was a solid feel-good win in front of the hot crowd and a fun experience for them to see the returning Hardys. I am really curious about how Broken these two will be on Raw Talk, and having them on it is a good hook.
Cole hyped Brock Lesnar appearing, as well as Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe for later. Cole narrated still shots of Rollins beating Triple H at Wrestlemania.
Neville came out for a match, boasting that he did everything he said he would do. He called Austin Aries a better talker than a fighter. He said fans may not respect his tactics but they have to respect the results. He hyped a celebration on 205 Live, but was cut off by Mustafa Ali.
Match #2 – Neville (c) vs. Mustafa Ali;
The Reax: Graves noted that these two previously had a strong match on 205 Live. Neville shoved Ali rather than shake his hand. Ali got the better of Neville early, hitting a springboard moonsault from the corner to the floor. Neville took back over the action before the commercial break though.
After a break, Neville hit a wicked suplex followed with a hard clothesline. The fans paid attention to a beach ball in the crowd and chanted “beachball mania.” Ali hit a springboard Spanish Fly then hit a reverse frankensteiner into a DDT. Neville broke the count in the ropes. Ali went for an inverted 450 but Neville moved. He locked in Rings of Saturn to win.
This is a rabid crowd, but despite Ali and Neville having a good showing on 205 Live, there was no reaction to Ali cutting off the Neville promo. So, does that mean not even this strong of a hardcore crowd isn’t paying attention? And they missed a good match while playing with the beach ball. I will be interested in how the same kind of crowd treats 205 Live tomorrow night after Smackdown.
They showed Vince McMahon getting out of a limo backstage, and that drew a pop.
Bill Says: I guess Vince is there to address leadership of the show? I mean, Foley was fired and Steph should sell crashing through a table for more than 24 hours, I would hope.
They showed more stills from Wrestlemania. Cole hyped the attendance and media attention, especially from co-opted media outlets. Vince McMahon’s music played and he headed to the ring, smiling as fans sang along with his music. He thanked the fans and they applauded before chanting “Roman Sucks.” Vince spoke over them til they stopped, offering a thank you for being the most passionate fans in the world. He thanked the fans for helping make Wrestlemania the Ultimate Thrill Ride.
Vince said it was time for a shakeup and ran footage of Stephanie going through a table at Wrestlemania. He said his daughter could be out for some time and that drew a cheer. Vince said “Wait a minute, she was almost broken in half.” He called the fans insensitive and blood thirsty. He also noted Foley being fired and said it was time to name a new general manager.
Vince said the new GM was inducted in the Hall of Fme, whic drew a cheer. Teddy Long’s music played and he came out and danced. The cheers died down a bit. Vince told them to stop the music and told Teddy “It’s not you.” Teddy was disappointed but shrugged it off and left.
Vince announced Kurt Angle as the new GM of Raw. The fans delivered “you suck” chants in line with his music as he came to the ring. Vince shook his hand and said “congratulations, you better do a good job.” Cole called it a rousing endorsement. Vince left and the fans continued to sing along with Kurt’s music then chanted “welcome back.”
“I only have one thing to say. It’s great to be back on Monday Night Raw. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true.” Angle said. His music played and he played to the fans. Cole hyped a “superstar shakeup” for next week. Graves said Brock Lesnar would address the fans for the first time since winning the title.
Bill Says: Angle makes a good pick as GM. I would rather have seen him in from the start instead of Foley, actually. I am curious as to what this shakeup is all about. Is this going to involve trades, NXT callups, or a draft? I would liked to have heard more about this, but I assume we’ll get more details as the night moves on, as well as next week.
The camera panned back to the commentary team where Cole thanked the city of Orlando for the hospitality, and all of the fans who traveled for the events. They recapped Kevin Owens beating Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania then hyped the tag match for later.
They hyped the one-hour version of the WWE Hall of Fame that will air after Raw.
New Day came out. Big E said “what a night!” and Woods and Kofi had ice cream cone shoulder pads. Kofi talked about the hosting experience, and Woods took exception to Kofi saying “for you people.” Kingston corrected himself then said he was disappointed that they didn’t get to wrestle on the show. They issued a challenge, then here comes THE REVIVAL! “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes,” said Graves. They knocked over the ice cream cart as they headed to the ring.
Match #3 – The Revival vs. Xavier Woods and Big E of New Day (w/Kofi Kingston);
Winner: The Revival
The Reax: The Revival isolated Woods in the early going. He got a brief comeback but Dawson tagged in and hit him with a move focused on the shoulder. The Revival continued to focus on Woods until he got the tag to Big E. E hit belly to belly suplexes. Late, the Revival hit the Shatter Machine on Woods to get the win. Afterward, they dragged Kofi in the ring, where Dawson held him down and Wilder leaped off the rope onto his ankle.
This is a good call up. The Revival is such a throwback talent and they’re so effective that way. Here’s hoping Vince actually gets behind them and makes the most of their ability. I would have rather seen them go to Smackdown for that very reason.
Backstage, Angle was setting up his “office” when Enzo and Cass entered and did their thing. Kurt had good responses to Enzo’s lines. They said the problem is they don’t have gold around their waists. Enzo asked why the Hardys have the titles, why Goofy is treated like a human while Pluto is treated like a dog. Angle set up a number one contender’s match between them and Cesaro and Sheamus. Cass did the SAWFT bit and Angle said “that’s not how you spell soft.”
Bill Says: Looks like we’re getting the WWE comedic version of Kurt for GM here and not the serious tone he did in TNA. I hope he’s going to have that serious side when necessary though.
Bayley made her entrance and she would be in six-woman tag action next. Does Raw have six women to put in this match? And do we get to see Emma? After a break, Bayley was in the ring with Dana Brooke, and Sasha Banks made her entrance. Emma indeed came out wearing her cop shades and stood on the announce table before heading to the ring. Nia Jax and Charlotte made their way out to complete the teams.
Match #4 – Bayley (c), Dana Brooke and Sasha Banks vs. Emma, Charlotte, and Nia Jax;
Winner: Team Bayley
The Reax: Dana and Charlotte teased starting, but she backed off and Emma tagged in. The fans sang the Bayley song. Emma got the better of Bayley going to a break. In the end, Charlotte tapped out to the Bank Statement for the submission victory. Saxton said the past couple weeks have not been impressive for Charlotte.
After, Charlotte shoved both of her teammates. Nia shoved her to the corner and splashed her, then tossed Charlotte across the ring and hit a running elbow drop to leave her laying.
My hope is that Charlotte might be heading to Smackdown as a part of this shakeup rather than turning her face. It’s too soon for that, especially when you recall that segment where she teased getting back together with Ric Flair only to humiliate him.
Sami Zayn talked to Kurt Angle backstage and said he wanted to cultivate the same kind of relationship with him that he had with Mick Foley. Zayn acknowledged possibly going to Smackdown, and said Shane McMahon seemed cool but he’s still a McMahon. Angle told him that he has all three I’s. Zayn said that meant alot to him. Angle looked annoyed when Zayn went to leave then turned around and mentioned Stephanie.
Jinder Mahal came in and complained that he should have won the Andre Battle Royale and would have had it not been for Rob Gronkowski. Jinder and Zayn bickered, so Angle booked them in a match.
Bill Says: Needy pest characters don’t do much for me, and Zayn came off that way. Sad, because I think he’s a great babyface character if pushed the right way. Jinder, well, he’s still boring Jinder just in much better shape.
Cole said Brock Lesnar would be on the show after the break. They aired more stills from Wrestlemania.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Cole said Lesnar vs. Goldberg was the most intense ten minutes of action he can remember. Fact checking Cole on this one, the two were in the ring for just a shade under five minutes. Heyman introduced himself and Lesnar, then cut his promo based on the fairy tale theme he used in the video package shown yesterday.
Heyman said the superhero got his ass kicked by the Beast when he went to Suplex City. Heyman said the kids shouldn’t worry because the fairy tale had a happy ending. “You won’t be seeing Bill Goldberg around here anymore, so yes, thank you Taker and thank you Brock.” Heyman said Lesnar is looking for new challengers. He ran down a list that included the Hardys and Seth Rollins. Heyman said that Lesnar won’t be the champion who takes selfies with the title and knows time is fleeting. Heyman called Lesnar the disrupter of status quo.
Heyman mentioned 23-2. He said history demands that those two go one on one to determine whose yard it really is. “We’re out here talking about you, Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns, who’s spending the whoe night walking around the locker room barking orders like he’s the big dog of WWE.” The fans chanted for Balor.
Heyman said the question is what becomes of the situation. “If Roman Reigns is the big dog then Brock Lesnar is animal cruelty.” Heyman said his client authorized him to say that it was time to give the Raw after Wrestlemania crowd something they’d never forget. Heyman said why wait forever, why not do something tonight.
Braun Strowman’s music hit and he headed to the ring. Heyman went to the apron while he and Lesnar stared each other down. Strowman said he saw Reigns had Brock’s attention He said when he finishes with Reigns, maybe he’ll have Lesnar’s attention, because Brock damn sure has his. Strowman shoved Lesnar, who smiled and put the belt down. He held his arms out, but Strowman backed off and left the ring to boos. Graves said Strowman told Lesnar they would do it on his time, and he knows where he’s at.
Bill Says: The obvious is to go to Reigns, and I see them holding off on this for as long as possible. Teasing a Lesnar match that never comes about is fun on some shows, but this is a big enough show that they need to deliver something.
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Chris Jericho and said he would get a rematch against Owens at the Payback vent. She noted the tag team match for later. Jericho played to the fans and said “cheer me on, man.” They chanted Y2J. Jericho said it was the perfect place for him to start getting revenge for Owens winning at Wrestlemania. Jericho said tonight would be the first piece, the tip of Owens’ finger. Jericho said Owens was not able to be be beaten by the tip of his finger, and put that on The List.
Owens attacked Jericho, who fought back against him. Samoa Joe showed up and jumped Jericho from behind, and the heels beat him down and powerbombed Jericho through a table.
Bill Says: So, um, we get a surprise partner for Rollins tonight now? Is this Balor? Is this Shinsuke? We’ll see.
They ran a Smackdown commercial complete with the ridiculous maggot and worm slideshow shots from the Wyatt/Orton match.
Backstage, Angle told Rollins that Jericho was in no shape to compete tonight, but the match was still on and he would have to find a partner.
Match #5 – Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Enzo and Big Cass; Number One Contender to the Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Sheamus and Cesaro to earn the No. 1 Contender slot to the Hardys
The Reax: Sheamus and Cesaro stuck with the Wrestlemania gear complete with kilts. Enzo and Cass were in the ring, and Enzo had Orlando Magic themed gear on to play to the hometown crowd. They got the early advantage on Sheamus and Cesaro going to break.
Cesaro gave Enzo the swing then locked him in the Sharpshooter. Cass broke it up with a boot, then took a tag to be legal. Some boos for that. Cass hit a side slam then the Empire Elbow. Cass hit a big boot and set for the Rocket Launcher but Sheamus broke things up. Sheamus tossed Enzo off the ropes and into a Cesaro uppercut for the win.
The finish was a cool spot and seemed to satisfy the crowd, which had broken out into song that I couldn’t really tell what they were singing. I have to say, it seems like wrestling fatigue is starting to set in for the crowd at this point. You have to assume that many have attended seven hours of Mania, three hours of Raw now, plus if they went to NXT, Axxess, and any of the independent shows. It’s a lot to consume.
They hyped Rollins and an opponent vs. Joe and Owens.
They ran more Wrestlemania stills. The Wrestlemania theme song is officially in overkill mode. Cole noted that Taker’s match may have indeed been his last and ran tweets from other wrestlers.
Match #6 – Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal;
Winner: Sami Zayn
The Reax: Cole recapped how Gronkowski hindered Jinder. The crowd was into Sami and sang along with his music. Mahal jumped him at ringside, and once in the ring the referee checked on Zayn before starting the match. Mahal got the better of him early but Zayn came back with an exploder suplex and the Helluva kick to win.
The fans had zero interest in Mahal but were totally into Zayn and singing along with his entrance theme. Random – Cole keeps noting the shakeup starting next week. Are they planning to stretch this out?
Cole noted the shakeup again and said it would start next week. Graves hyped Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher vs. Mustafa Ali to determine a new No. 1 Contender to the Cruiserweight Championship. Renee Young and Jerry Lawler will host Raw Talk, and will feature Bayley, the Hardys, and Goldberg.
Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe made entrances for the main event, then Seth Rollins. The commentary team played up that Rollins wasn’t 100 percent. Finn Balor was introduced as the mystery man and he got a huge reaction.
Match #7 – Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor;
Winner: Seth Rollins and Finn Balor
The Reax: Cole talked about Balor’s injury coming from a match with Rollins, and Graves said time heals all wounds. Graves mentioned all four men having history in NXT as opponents, and Cole said all four men were former NXT Champions.
Rollins and Owens had an early exchange, then Owens and Balor ended up in the ring. Owens rolled out to avoid him, but Balor gave chase and hit a drop kick against the barricade. A bit later, Rollins hit a flip dive that actually went over both heels, and he sold knee pain. Joe worked on Rollins in the ring, throwing a kick to get two.
Later, Rollins ends up getting caught in the Coquina clutch. He broke it and nailed Joe with an enzugiri. Hot tags to Owens and Balor, and Balor threw a drop kick to the face then a series of chops. Owens blocked a chop with an elbow, but Finn threw a kick. Balor went top rope but Joe tried to stop him. Balor goes for Coup de Grace, but landed on his feet. Balor ducked a move then got caught in a slam from Owens.
Balor avoided a pop up powerbomb and kicked Owens, then hit a Slingblade. Balor targeted Owens but Joe cut him off by going for the Coquina Clutch. Rollins took him out but ate a kick. Balor ended up hitting Coup de Grace on Owens to win.
Balor stood tall and Rollins leaned in a corner. They replayed the action, then Joe and Owens retreated and talking trash. Rollins and Balor celebrated in the ring as the show ended.
This was a solid main event, but it didn’t come off hot. The fans were thrilled to see Balor, but then other things typical to the night after Wrestlemania like the wave, the chants, etc., took over and they didn’t seem engaged. WWE also didn’t do a good job of hyping Smackdown tomorrow either. Cole kind of sent this show home as if this were it for WWE, but they are running the same venue again tomorrow night for Smackdown and 205 Live. I think the crowd was burning out a bit – let’s face it, we’re on hour 13+ when you add NXT, Wrestlemania, and Raw together.
WWE has a better handle on the Night after Wrestlemania crowd now and what they want to see. Fans were engaged with this show early but it seemed they lost interest along the way though. They still sang, chanted, and played with beach balls, but overall the company seems to know what to give them so that they don’t go full on rebellion against the show.
Speaking of burning out – this is where I jump off and take a day or two off from live coverage. This has been a long weekend of events and we’re grateful for all of your support and feedback throughout Wrestlemania week. Drew has Smackdown and 205 Live tomorrow, and he and I will discuss everything over the past week on Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday. See you then.