April 9 2018
It’s the RAW after WrestleMania. It’s the first RAW I’ve watched live in….I can’t remember. It might be ten years. Which is a reflection of how into WrestleMania weekend I’ve been. And also that I’ve nailed my caffeine dosage and am wide awake at 1am despite having very little sleep over the past three days.
Big breaking news the afternoon before the show. Brock Lesnar had signed an extension to his contract, which expired at WrestleMania and will defend the WWE Universal title against Roman Reigns in Saudi Arabia at the end of the month. Rumour has it this will be Brock’s final match with WWE and he was, in fact, due to leave after Mania only to have Vince pull a last minute switch, which he was upset about.
Promo Time: Stephanie McMahon
Of course we start off with a Steph promo! She has her arm in a sling after being incapacitated by “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey match last night in a surprisingly good match. Steph is upset that the crowd have offered no sympathy. It’s incredulous heel work. Of course they don’t give a fuck Steph!
She asks Ronda to come out here and she does to a big pop, having won over even the most sour, jaded wrestling fan last night.
Steph tries to suck up to Ronda and get her to team up with the McMahon’s, deciding that if you can’t beat her you team with her so she can’t beat you again. “Give it up for my friend!” Ronda then armbars her again.
It’s been so long since someone actually stood up to Steph! The chants of “you deserve it” are entirely accurate and Ronda is a mega babyface for being the first person to do this in forever. Good start to the show.
Nia Jax & Mystery Partner vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Alexa claims Nia is the bully, not her, then proceeds to make fat jokes. The writing on this show is insufferable at times. No wonder Roman Reigns got popped for taking fat burners. Nia’s tag partner is Ember Moon!
Nia Jax & Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Mickie is basically out here to make the other team look good and to eat the pin (wrong – future me). I love Ember and I’m pleased she’s on the main roster. Although RAW is a pretty terrible show for new talent. Asuka got lost there for a while and Alexa made a name on Smackdown. It’s said you only need a cool entrance and a cool finish to be set and Ember has that covered. She’s also a more polished wrestler than Nia or Alexa. I’m actually shocked that Alexa eats the pin. Maybe she can second Mickie for a while? Eclipse looked awesome, as always. Good debut for Ember.
— Jude Kilgour (@judekilgour) April 10, 2018
Final Rating: **1/4
Video Control takes us backstage where Braun and Nicholas give up the tag titles. Nicholas has “scheduling conflicts” as he’s in the 4th grade.
We then get tape of No Way Jose, saying he debuts next. Huh. That’s…odd. Could they not wait for 2 minutes and then just debut him? Maybe they wanted to get people in the mood to dance?
No Way Jose vs. John Skyler
Jose gets a conga line! It’s the Adam Rose treatment only with more energy. Skylar eats the pop up punch and that’s it. No Way Jose is a character with plenty of midcard mileage. He should always be over but never needs the big push.
Final Rating: Squash
Video Control takes us backstage and Kurt Angle has a Tag Team Eliminator concept leading to a match for the vacant straps in Saudi Arabia. They’re loading that damn show up. Somebody paid big bucks to make that shit happen.
Tag Team Eliminator
The Revival vs. The Good Brothers
Winning team advance to next week and then the winner next week goes to the Saudi show for a title shot. Neither team has been used much of late. Gallows & Anderson are Balor’s lackies when WWE can be bothered with using them in that capacity. The Revival have done almost nothing on the main roster. They’re a Triple H/NWA team not a Vince McMahon/WWF team. Gallows gets his knee wiped out and Karl is left to take the Shatter Machine. I hope Revival get the belts. Old school tag goodness. Banging theme music. Awesome finish. What’s not to love? I can’t see them getting the titles but that’s the hope.
Final Rating: *1/2
Promo Time: Seth Rollins
The crowd is loud and love Seth. When they chant “burn it down” is the implication that they want Rollins to burn this whole upper card down and take over? Seth could be the ace of RAW. Why not? He’s interrupted by Finn Balor.
Balor points out that Miz lost in the triple threat, he was left over. So he wants a title shot. Makes sense. Then Miz shows up, presumably wanting his contractually obliged rematch. Miz chats shit for a bit.
Apparently his daughter cried when Seth won the title and Rollins says he’s sorry. What for? It’s a baby. They cry all the time! What bullshit is this? Seth’s fiery comebacks provoke Miz into challenging for the IC title…at Backlash. Miz and his boys are about to take on the two faces when Jeff Hardy turns up. “What a moment” chirps Cole, still stuck in WrestleMania mode. What a Monday moment eh Michael? 6-man tag later. I’m glad they’re keeping Jeff at a distance to his brother’s weirdness as he still has something to offer in the ring.
Saying the post WM Raw crowd is "A non traditional crowd because it contains some of the most passionate members of the WWE Universe" is amazing because it passively implies that the normal crowd doesn't give a shit about the product
— Niebla Genesis Evangelion (@wrestlingbubble) April 10, 2018
Mandy Rose vs. Sasha Banks
Mandy is still stuck in ‘has potential’ mode. Sasha meanwhile is stuck with Bayley, which is good. They’re great together. Bayley shows up to be in Sasha’s corner, which only serves to irritate the boss.
Paige and Sonja across the ring. They take an ad break and I dread to think how long Sasha is stuck in rest holds while they do. I’m not accustomed to live TV. I stream stuff. I don’t understand ad breaks. I don’t pay attention to them, it’s like being forcefully made to do nothing every five minutes. They do a thing where Bayley ‘accidentally’ knocks Sasha over. They’re already feuding! Why are they trying to play nice? Anyway, it costs Sasha and Mandy knees her in the face for the pin. Sasha is not best pleased!
Final Rating: *
Post Match: Paige gets the microphone.
Tonight is her last night here, she’s retiring due to injuries. That sucks. It looked like she was on her way back at the end of last year. At least this is a conclusion for her. She can move on. She’s 25 years old and has her best years ahead of her. I can see her being effective in promo classes at the PC or doing commentary. She’s always been confident in front of a crowd and that should keep her employed if that’s what she wants to do.
Promo Time: Elias
Corey gets confused by the crowd singing. I keep forgetting how different American crowds are. Of course crowds sing. Everywhere except America. The crowd really enjoy Elias’ capacity for banter but he’s interrupted by Bobby Lashley. This would be shocking if I didn’t know he’d been signed and WWE hadn’t left his promo playing on a laptop pre-show and the footage was all over Twitter.
Video Control takes us backstage where Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn beg for work, having been booted off Smackdown. “We had a bit of a falling out with management”.
“I hear that TNA is hiring” – Kurt Angle. Holy shit! Haha, shots fired! Kurt says there’s only one spot so they’ll have to fight each other for it.
Tag Team Eliminator
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Authors of Pain
AOP come in as the ‘surprise’ team although it has to be noted the crowd were chanting “AOP” before their arrival. I’m glad they’ve retained Paul Ellering. Last Chapter finishes and they ditch Ellering to my dismay. However he has a habit of getting fired by teams and recruiting other teams to get revenge. Be interesting to see if it pans out that way. Or he might just not want to go on the road. Either way this made for an interesting visual.
Final Rating: Squash
Promo Time: Roman Reigns
I would not have sent the Big Dawg out to get slaughtered by this crowd. Roman is not best pleased with how WrestleMania went down. He mewls about it for a while until Samoa Joe arrives and they have a bit of back and forth. Why, from a kayfabe perspective, is Roman upset that he got beat (clean) and is still receiving a rematch. According to this promo it’s because he found out about the rematch on social media. What a baby. I know it’s supposed to be an edgy promo but Reigns can’t talk about Vince changing the finish on the fly without exposing the business in front of the entire world. Wrestling eh?
Joe’s job here is to gloss over Roman’s petty little tantrum and sell tickets to Backlash, where he’s getting a title shot. Presumably at Roman when Reigns wins in Saudi Arabia. Joe calls him a failure, a fraud and a liar in a fiery promo.
Due to technical issues I missed a chunk of action here. My speakers keep cutting out, which is irritating.
Titus Worldwide vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
Bray is embracing his Deletion. Did they not notice Jeff Hardy is back?
The wacky duo take over and delete Apollo. I missed most of this. I like that Bray has emerged a slightly altered character although he still looks the same.
Final Rating: NR
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Whoever wins is on RAW. Whoever loses? I don’t know. Sami goes to Helluva Kick Owens and that gets them into a genuine fight for that one spot.
Have they mentioned that Sami Zayn wanted off of RAW to go to SD Live? Now, he's fighting for a job on the brand he didn't want to be on…?
— Bob Colling Jr. (@YoBobbyBoy89) April 10, 2018
While Sami starts the fight, Owens becomes the aggressor. Going after Sami’s midsection and shutting down his offence. These two have had so many matches over the years and they’re always, at worst, good. That’s true here. They hit hard, they work hard and they do logical stuff based on years of matches. The crowd really respond to it all and it’s a good choice for the main event of RAW. Sadly it ends with a double count out. So nobody wins and nobody gets a RAW contract. At least Kevin and Sami get to stay together. It makes me wonder a) how they’ll resolve this and b) whether that will involve some actual thinking outside the box. Allowing Indie dates etc.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Video Control takes us backstage where Matt meets up with Brother Nero. Bray actually calls him that. Jeff happily slides into and out of #Broken to the bemusement of Seth Rollins and Finn Balor.
The Miz & The Miztourage vs. Seth Rollins, Finn Balor & Jeff Hardy
I completely forgot about this and we have RAW main eventers Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. We’ve barely got underway and it’s basically 4am when another ad break kicks in. I have not missed this bullshit. I am super tired. This has been the hardest show to watch all weekend and I watched 2.5 hours of Style Battle with no sound. This match does not help, as most of it is aimless heat. Seth pins Miz and I can go to bed.
Final Rating: **1/2
So I spent most of the second half of this show, after all the surprise debuts, debating the Superstar Shake-up that’s planned for next week. Fresh matches, new feuds. Finn Balor probably needs to get off RAW. Revival too. Daniel Bryan coming back to RAW would be a good idea. Bayley to Smackdown would freshen her up giving her new opponents but also denying us a pay-off in the Sasha feud so I don’t know where I stand on that. Here are some WWE official teasers:
Miz to Smackdown to actually wrestle Daniel Bryan. I solved this by wanting Bryan the other way.
Seth Rollins to Smackdown to wrestle AJ Styles.
Good Brothers to somewhere new because they’re barely being used on RAW.
Carmella to RAW because Bayley likes her (and she can cash in on Nia).
RAW really isn’t my thing. It’s this big, long unwieldy show that is littered with TV interruptions. It’s a rarity for me to watch it live and that will continue to be the case. I’ve learned my lesson. That’s it from me and Mania weekend (almost) so I’ll be posting up some recommended matches ASAP.