By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Shane McMahon Interrupted Mr. McMahon
In past years, the post-WrestleMania Raw has opened with The Rock, John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar, and this year we got Mr. McMahon. Hey, it was better than Roman Reigns. The first half of his promo wasn't anything special, but things picked up once Shane came out. I was fully expecting him to be written off TV indefinitely after taking that insane bump at WrestleMania, and not only is he back less than 24 hours later, he was put in charge of Raw! It made absolutely no sense, but the crowd ate it up and it was a great hook for the rest of the show, so I can't complain.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. League of Nations
This was infinitely more entertaining than the six-man tag team match at WrestleMania because the tag titles were on the line, so the crowd had an incentive to care. I had a feeling League of Nations might win the belts, but I'm glad they didn't. New Day are too over right now to not be champions. It's been rumored for a while that King Barrett was on his way out of the company, so this might have been his swan song. I really dig The Wyatt Family turning babyface, if that's indeed the direction they're going in with them. That was the only thing WWE could have possibly done to salvage them. Hell, it should have been Wyatt Family vs. League of Nations at WrestleMania to begin with!
Sasha Banks def. Summer Rae
It was encouraging to see Summer get some mic time before the bout even if led to a short-lived match. It was better than holding the match without any rhyme or reason. It didn't last long at all, but it was a fine follow-up to Banks' loss at WrestleMania. I wish she would have received some mic time, however, to address what's next for her and how she wasn't technically defeated at WrestleMania.
Apollo Crews def. Tyler Breeze
I heard rumblings regarding a Crews call-up on early Monday and I was very happy to him show up on Raw. I have been super impressed by him and his amazing athleticism since his debut back in August at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. His character still needs to be fleshed out a bit, but he has raw potential. Props to Breeze as well for giving him a solid debut. They have experience working together from NXT TakeOver: Respect last fall.
Chris Jericho Confronted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns
The reaction to Reigns shouldn't have been surprising whatsoever, but Reigns handled it well by saying he was "the guy." I doubt he's turning heel at this point, but the subtle changes in his character are welcomed. WWE could have easily not given him any mic time at all like last year, but this was the right thing to do. They had to acknowledge the boos. Jericho tried his best to turn the crowd against him, even dropping the "burial" term in regards to win his over Styles at WrestleMania, but to no avail. The subsequent brawl between Y2J, Styles, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens set up the main event nicely, but what have any of them done to deserve a shot at the title?
Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler Ended in a Double Count-Out
As I've said on a few different platforms in the past week, Corbin has improved immensely in the last year and it was high time he arrived on Raw, though he was the last person I was expecting to see at WrestleMania and on Raw. He was known for his quick squash matches on NXT, so they should have had him make short work of The Social Outcasts here, but I guess WWE already did something similar earlier in the evening with Crews. The crowd showed little interest by chanting for a beach ball (?), but Corbin had a good showing and didn't need the win to look strong since he decimated Ziggler afterward, anyway. On a side note, it's so sad that Ziggler went from garnering one of the biggest pops in recent memory on the post-WrestleMania Raw three years ago to the crowd sitting on their hand when he made his entrance on this show.
The Miz def. Zack Ryder to Win the Intercontinental Championship
Fun fact for you: Miz and Ryder actually went one-on-one on the post-WrestleMania edition of Raw four years ago. Don't ask me why I remember that. As soon as this was announced as a title match, you had to know Ryder was dropping the strap as we all assume he would when he won it at WrestleMania. The "You Deserve It!" chants were really touching, but I'm hoping we get a feud out of it over the title with Miz which can be enjoyable. If nothing else, Maryse is back! She was always one of my favorite Divas and I've been saying for years that WWE should bring her back in a managerial role for Miz as they are married in real life.
Natalya Crashed Charlotte's WWE Women's Championship Coronation
This had Bayley's main roster debut written all over, but sadly, it wasn't to be. There's still time to call her up, so hopefully she'll surface after she finishes up her feud with Asuka for the NXT Women's Championship. Charlotte has never been the strongest mic worker, but she handled the chants well even though she seemed a bit off at times. Charlotte vs. Natalya should be a hell of a program, but it doesn't help that Natalya hasn't meant anything in ages and Charlotte just beat her to retain her title a few weeks at Roadblock as Natalya herself alluded to.
The Dudley Boyz def. The Usos in a Tables Match
This was a step above their WrestleMania Kickoff match, but the fans sat on their hands for the better part of the bout. And really, can you blame them? This feud has had so little juice and having The Dudley Boyz get their win back was even-steven booking at its finest. That said, it did give them more credibility before they move into this apparent program with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, who I'm extremely excited are finally on the main roster. The live crowd loved their shtick, but the real test comes next week when the crowd isn't as aware of their NXT background.
AJ Styles def. Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Cesaro in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match For the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
I feared Sami Zayn's injury was legitimate to write him off television after suffering something early on, but no way they would have randomly thrown Cesaro in there if that was the case, so it must be a work. Speaking of whom, welcome back! Cesaro didn't look out of place whatsoever in the main event against three of the best wrestlers the company currently has to offer. They were given plenty of time and all four combatants had their moment to shine. There wasn't one obvious winner, either, so that made Styles' ultimate victory that much cooler. Anyone who said he was "buried" with his loss at WrestleMania is out of their mind. Styles vs. Reigns has plenty of potential to be great and it will be interesting to see how Reigns is booked going forward in this feud.
I don't know where this ranks among other post-WrestleMania editions of Raw and I saw plenty of complaints online that the crowd was tamer than usual, but I'd certainly say they were electric by and large and I'd consider it a plus they didn't try to hijack the show (with the exception of the one time they chanted for beach balls). There were a handful of call-ups, which was desperately needed, a newsworthy title change and return, and an excellent main event, so it was a high quality show on the whole for yours truly. It definitely gave me more hope for the future than WrestleMania 32 did, and the card for Payback could be solid if what we saw here was any indication.
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