WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Confronted Universal Champion Seth Rollins
Rollins kicking off the post-WrestleMania Raw coming off his huge Universal Championship victory the night prior was hardly a surprise, but Kingston coming out with the rest of The New Day certainly was. I know the Superstar Shake-up is next week, but WWE didn't have stars appear on both brands in past years, so why this year? It further devalues the Brand Split in my opinion, but they don't seem to care about that. At any rate, this was a solid segment that set up a blockbuster bout with major implications for later on in the night.
Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt hawkins def. The Revival
I'm not going to lie, I really thought WWE was going to give Ryder the same treatment they did three years ago the night after WrestleMania when he dropped the Intercontinental Championship to The Miz despite having it for only one day. Thankfully, that was the not the case, and the Raw Tag Team Championship reign of the former Major Brothers rolls on. This was a nice little match in line with their encounter from the WrestleMania 35 Kickoff show. It was well-wrestled and the crowd was behind the babyfaces throughout.
Lars Sullivan Attacked Kurt Angle
Yes, Baron Corbin beating Kurt Angle in Angle's retirement match still sounds wrong to me, but if he continues to cut promos like this one bragging about retiring the Olympic gold medalist and generating great heat from crowds, it might have actually been worth it. Angle didn't get the chance to exact his revenge on Corbin at WrestleMania, but he did here, so that was cool. And as if that wasn't enough, Sullivan finally debuted and took out the WWE Hall of Famer in emphatic fashion. That was a hell of a way for the former NXT star to arrive on the scene. It's about damn time.
Alexa Bliss def. Bayley
I guess Bliss had tweeted earlier in the day about she could beat both Bayley and Sasha Banks on their own and how she has done it in the past. That was the only build this received. This was way more about Bliss returning to the ring after months of inactivity than it was about Bayley, who was fresh off losing the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania. This wasn't anything special whatsoever, but I'm glad Bliss is back in the squared circle after so long. Fingers crossed this also means that her awful Moment of Bliss talk show segment is no more.
Lacey Evans Attacked Raw and SmackDown Women's Champion Becky LYnch
The crowd ate up Lynch's first promo as Raw and SmackDown Women's Champion, but things didn't truly get interesting until Evans emerged and slapped Lynch across the face. It marked the first time she's gotten physical on WWE TV since the Royal Rumble. It definitely shocked the audience, leading to a brutal brawl between the two. I'm all for those two feuding over both belts. I know Evans just debuted on the main roster earlier this year, but no one else makes sense to be put in a program with Lynch at the moment. Plus, The Man vs. The Lady simply writes itself.
Aleister Black and Ricochet def. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Contrary to the crowd's reaction to this early on, I personally enjoyed this outing for what it was. It felt like a meaningless match at the beginning because there was no reason for it, but that doesn't mean a portion of the crowd was justified in doing a wave during this. The bout was entertaining enough that fans should have paid attention instead of unnecessarily crapping all over it. The final stretch or so was fun, anyway. Roode and Gable teased turning heel afterward when Roode hit Ricochet with a cheap shot, but I'd rather see Roode branch off his own as a heel. The Superstar Shake-up would be the perfect time for them to break up, but I doubt that's what will happen.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley Went to a No Contest
Well, this wasn't much of a match, now was it? The bout was advertised as Ambrose's last in WWE, and if this really was it for him, then what a lame way to go out. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy Lashley somewhat benefited from this by putting him through the commentators' table, but it felt like a lazy way to write Ambrose out of storylines. At least Ambrose was able to address the audience afterward in a dark segment with the rest of The Shield. It's available on YouTube if you haven't already seen it.
Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor def. Sami Zayn
It was only a matter of time before Zayn returned to WWE TV and the post-WrestleMania Raw was as good of a time as any for him to be brought back. He teased being a babyface beforehand and went on to have a quality contest with Balor. The title being on the line added some suspense to it, but Balor keeping the belt was the right call considering he just won it at WrestleMania. What was even better was Zayn's post-match promo, where he proceeded to go off on the WWE Universe. It was absolutely glorious and I'd love to see more of this from him regardless of where he ends up in the Superstar Shake-up.
The Undertaker Interrupted Elias' "Rap" Performance
Elias was frustrated over his big WrestleMania "concert" getting cut short by John Cena at WrestleMania, so he opted to have a repeat performance on this show. Of course, everyone expected someone to interrupt him, and as soon as he uttered the words "dead man," the crowd knew immediately who it would be. When Undertaker's signature gong went off, fans in the arena popped huge. I guess it was spoiled on social media a few hours earlier by Bret Hart, so I'm glad I didn't come across that. This was a simple yet satisfying segment, and I don't even care if it leads to anything. I have no desire to see Undertaker wrestle at this stage of his career coming off the string of duds he's had the last few years, but I'm always up for one-off appearances such as this. It was probably the loudest reaction anyone received all night.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Universal Champion Seth Rollins Ended in a No Contest; Kingston and Rollins def. The Bar
Rollins vs. Kingston was going just fine before The Bar crashed the party and caused the contest to be thrown out. It was obvious from the get-go that we wouldn't get a clear, decisive winner here (nor should he have), but The Bar? Really? And of all shows, the night after WrestleMania when crazy things are virtually guaranteed to go down? I'm sure the match was solid, but I was far too busy laughing at all the chants being directed at this bout (or, let's face it, at the company) from the crowd. I still loathe the CM Punk chants, but everything else was fair game. WWE got what they deserved for not planning this out better and not knowing their audience. It was an extremely disappointing conclusion to an otherwise above-average show, where the crowd was tame up until the very end.
I was pleased that we, the live crowd, had the aforementioned Shield segment to prevent us from leaving with a sour taste in our mouths, because that tag team main event was a stinker. Everything else, though, largely held up. It may not been as exhilarating as other post-WrestleMania Raws, but there were enough memorable moments and matches to make this a thumbs-up show. The landscape of Raw could change drastically next week in the Superstar Shake-up, so let the speculation begin regarding who will wind up where.
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