The 4/3/2017 Raw Reaction features our thoughts on an NXT tag team making their debut, the return of Emma, a brand-new Raw GM, and much more!
Roman Reigns – A Man Of Few Words
It must be difficult to be known as the man who essentially retired The Undertaker. While it’s also something to have a lot of pride about, you become public enemy number one in short order. What if you already were, though? That’s the predicament that Roman Reigns was in on Raw as he opened the show. He stood there for 10-12 minutes taking every insult the WWE Universe could throw at him including Roman Sucks, Go Away, You Suck, You Suck Roman, F*** You Roman, and F*** Off Roman. It got far too excessive for my tastes and I felt that it was pretty classless to say all of those things.
Roman to his credit, took everything in and even gestured that he had them in the palm of his hand. He did. He really did. Everyone wants Roman to be a heel, he already is. If the crowd didn’t hate him enough, Roman only had one thing to say, “It’s my yard now”. Mic drop. It was a great way to start Raw and really get under fans’ skin. I liked The Undertaker as much as the next person, but getting after Roman over something he had no control over is just stupid.
The Hardys Retain In A Rematch
The Hardy Boyz made their triumphant return to WWE at WrestleMania winning the Raw Tag Team Championship in a Ladder Match. It was a great thing to see, but their party didn’t last long as they had a rematch with Gallows and Anderson on Raw. The Hardys did win a pretty quick match to retain their titles and it was the same old Hardy Boyz we know and love using the Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combination for the victory. I will say that I liked how Gallows and Anderson distracted the referee at times to get the advantage and almost won with a Boot of Doom that Jeff somehow kicked out of. Those two don’t use enough heel tactics and they could benefit from having more of an edge.
The thing I’m looking forward to here is what team is going to eventually challenge The Hardys. They proved themselves against almost every team on Raw at WrestleMania, so who steps up? The logical team would be The New Day, but I’m not sure I’m ready to see them in the title picture again just yet. Maybe we’ll see a team from NXT join the fray?
Ali Taps Out To Neville
Mustafa Ali came out and interrupted Neville’s claims that he did exactly what he said he’d do and that no one can argue with his results. Ali really impressed me with the moves that he was pulling off. He managed to hit a springboard Flip Bottom after jumping from the middle to the top rope. It was something I have never seen before. It all came unraveled when he went for the Inverted 450 Splash and missed. Neville would then lock in a submission and force Ali to tap out. This is the kind of Cruiserweight action I like to see, there were many times that I really thought Ali would pull off the victory and I would love to see an actual feud between those two. They definitely had some great chemistry.
Vince McMahon Announces WWE Draft For Next Week And New Raw GM
In a bit of a surprise announcement, Vince McMahon came out on Raw to announce a Superstar Shake-Up will be occurring NEXT WEEK! I don’t know if this will be a full WWE Draft type thing or just a way for WWE to refresh the rosters a bit, but it’s welcome either way. Not only did he have that news, but he also announced that Stephanie McMahon would be out for a while. Vince then proceeded to announce a new General Manager for Raw. Teddy Long thought it was him in a funny moment, but it wasn’t. The new GM is none other than Kurt Angle! Kurt had only this to say, “It’s great to be back on Monday Night Raw. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true!”. What a great move! Kurt will certainly create some memorable moments in that role and who knows, maybe we’ll see him in a match sometime in the next year?
The New Day’s Open Challenge
The New Day missed out on being in a match at WrestleMania so they decided to issue a little open challenge that was answered by none other than The Revival from NXT! They didn’t take long to make an impact by knocking over The New Day’s Pops cart. I will say it was nice to see The New Day actually doing some wrestling. It feels like a really long time since we’ve seen them compete at all. The Revival won a relatively quick match with the Shatter Machine and then went after the ankle of Kofi Kingston after the match. They certainly made a statement in their Raw debut and I couldn’t be happier that they’ve finally made their main roster debut.
Enzo & Cass Meet Kurt Angle
In a humourous backstage segment, Enzo and Cass introduced themselves to new GM Kurt Angle by doing their normal routine. Kurt responded by telling them that it’s been a good week and asked how they were doing. Enzo and Cass then responded that they weren’t doing well because they don’t have any gold around their waists (this was after Kurt was confused with what Enzo was saying about Gs). Kurt then gave them a #1 Contender’s Match with Cesaro and Sheamus later in the night. Cass did his sawft routine and Kurt looked perplexed as he realized that’s not how you spell soft. Yeah, he’s going to be an entertaining GM.
Holy Crap, It’s Emma!
We were treated to a good ol’ 6-woman tag team match on Raw between Bayley/Dana Brooke/Sasha Banks and Emma/Nia Jax/Charlotte. Yes, Emma has finally returned! Sure, it’s 6-7 months after we expected to see her, but better late than never! Emma started off the match and toyed with Dana Brooke before asking for Bayley. She looked really good in the match and you can tell that she has been waiting a long time for this moment. I hope no one ever goes through the waiting period that she did to get back into storylines, that was just cruel to keep someone out that long.
Bayley spent a good portion of this match being completely isolated from her teammates. I’ll give credit to the heel team, they were working like they had teamed together for years. Once the hot tag was made, everyone started battling each other and before you knew it Sasha Banks reversed Natural Selection into the Banks Statement to force Charlotte to tap out. It was a pretty entertaining match even though it was quick.
Charlotte would push Emma and Nia after the match in anger which would cause Nia to attack her and leave her lying in the middle of the ring while Emma left for greener pastures. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a feud or if some of these ladies get drafted to SmackDown next week.
Lesnar Wants The 2 in 23-2
Paul Heyman told a “bedtime story” about Goldberg. One day he took his Spear and his Jackhammer into town. He was known as the baddest dude in the village. Once Goldberg took everything from the villagers (the Universal Championship) he took a left turn to Suplex City. What happened when he went there was that he got his a** kicked by Brock Lesnar. The happily ever after in this story is we don’t have to see Goldberg anymore. Leave it to Paul Heyman to make up something so ridiculous and yet so true. The man is a wizard with promos.
Heyman said that Lesnar was ready for new challenges which should mean that we’ll see who might be up next for a Universal Championship feud. He talked about the 2 in 23-2 and how those 2 must face-off against each other. This got a ton of boos from the crowd. It’s amazing how much no one wants this. The crowd started chanting, “we want better”. I would like to point out that Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar was already the main event of WrestleMania 31, Rollins may have cashed in that night, but we’ve still already seen it.
Braun Strowman would interrupt Heyman’s promo which was pretty insane to me, but I was instantly interested. Braun said that maybe he would catch Brock’s attention after what he does to Roman Reigns because Brock definitely has his attention. It would be meaningless as Braun would back down from Brock when Lesnar gave him the opportunity.
Owens Puts Jericho Through A Table
It was announced that Jericho would receive his rematch for the WWE United States Championship in 4 weeks at Payback. He would makes some jokes about the fans being from so many different countries and he talked about Owens using the tip of his finger to stop the referee from counting to three. He then put the tip of Owens’ finger on the list. As he did that, he was attacked by Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe. These two men would put him through a table. It really started to make my wheels turn even more as to what the end game will be for those two guys. I really think something big is coming. This would take Jericho out of the tag team match scheduled for later in the night, but Kurt Angle vowed to Seth Rollins (Jericho’s partner) that he’d find a replacement partner.
New #1 Contender’s For The Raw Tag Team Titles
Sheamus looked very shaky in this match. He fell on the top rope in addition to performing a move the announcers couldn’t even name that looked somewhat like slow spinning heel kick in the corner. I will say that Cesaro and Sheamus have become a very good tag team, though. I’m surprised at how cohesive they’ve become. I know Cesaro is a tag team specialist, but Sheamus traditionally hasn’t been so it’s been nice to see them make the most of the opportunity. It does really make me miss Cesaro and Kidd much more when I actually think about it.
Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t too behind Enzo and Cass and they did end up losing after a Brogue Kick to Cass and Sheamus throwing Enzo into an uppercut from Cesaro. The right team won this match and I’m much more excited for The Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro and Sheamus than I would have been for Enzo and Cass.
Zayn Hits Two Moves And Wins
Sami Zayn would have a match with Jinder Mahal after both men were trying to talk to Angle at the same time. Angle told them things are going to be different and that issues will be settled in the ring. Jinder Mahal started off the match by beating Sami Zayn all around the ringside area and continued into the ring. I like this brutal side of Jinder, he’s starting to grab my attention more and more each week. Sami didn’t have any offence for a good few minutes before pulling off an Exploder Suplex and a Helluva Kick for the victory. It was a weird way for Sami to win and I’m not really so sure that he even should have. I still don’t know what either man gained from this.
Rollins Has A Friend in Bálor
It’s easy to forget someone when you haven’t seen them for 8 months and that’s exactly what I did with Finn Bálor who finally returned to TV from injury. Finn has been back working live events for weeks, but he really slipped my mind here. He’s the perfect person to partner with Rollins to face Owens and one of his greatest enemies, Samoa Joe. Finn would win with the Coup De Grace to make his triumphant return complete. There seemed to be a bit of tension between Finn and the person that injured him, Rollins, but Rollins raised his hand after the match so it seems that all is good.
Goldberg Says Goodbye
Goldberg came out on Raw Talk to say goodbye to the WWE Universe. He talked about coming back for his family and the fans. He talked directly to his family and mentioned how this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to do what he used to do if only for a little while. He spoke from the heart and it was nice to hear him just talk to the crowd and be real with everyone. He mentioned the debacle that was WrestleMania XX and said he thought they did pretty damn good last night. I think anything could have beaten that match from 2004! He ended by saying you never know what or who’s next and never say never. It was a fitting end to a great 6 month run from Goldberg. He did everything he set out to do and never looked out of place doing it.
The Final Word
The Raw After Mania delivered on all fronts. The matches were all fairly short, but the storyline aspects more than made up for that as did the solid main event. Seeing Kurt Angle as the new GM, along with the debut of The Revival, and the return of Finn and Emma made it a must-see show. WWE definitely delivered yet again!