April 3, 2017
City: Amway Center
Venue: Orlando, FL
Commentary: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
German Commentary (ringside): Sebastian Hackl, Holger Boschen
Ring Announcer: Jojo
Last night, Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker in possibly his last match.
The crowd chants “Undertaker” which eventually turns into “Roman sucks.” Roman Reigns then heads to the ring amidst a chorus of boos. Reigns takes his time before speaking, getting a mild “Fuck you Roman” chant as was as a couple of “delete” chants. Then the crowd settles on a rather boring “you suck” chant. Reigns continues to milk the crowd, getting more boos and an “asshole” chant. Every time Reigns starts to bring the mic up, the boos get loud and Reigns pauses. Again and again, drawing the segment out. At one point he points to the palm of his hand (insinuating that he is in complete control of the crowd). That prompts a “go away” chant.
He finally speaks. He says, “this is my yard now.” He then drops the mic and walks away.
** I wish the crowd wouldn’t react like that. WWE is using the fans’ frustration as a positive for Reigns. I feel like the crowd is playing into the WWE’s plans which just means more Reigns at the top of card. All the time. They’re making him the new Cena, even though I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. **
RAW Tag Title Match
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs The Hardy Boyz (RAW Tag Champs)
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Matt Hardy pins Luke Gallows after a Swanton Bomb from Jeff Hardy to retain the titles
Time: 6:56 (1 break)
This was a fine match. It was fun, mostly because of the energy of the crowd and the newness of seeing Matt and Jeff back in the WWE. There wasn’t anything particularly special about the action, but it was fine. It seemed to get a little awkward at the end with a few hesitations, but that was very minor and very nitpicky.
Neville gets on the mic and says he did everything he said he was going to do. You might not like Neville’s methods, but you can’t deny his results. He continues to speak but is interrupted by Mustafa Ali’s music.
Neville (Cruiserweight Champ) vs Mustafa Ali
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: Neville wins via submission with the Rings of Saturn
Time: 7:03 (1 break)
Very, very good match. Tons of energy, and Ali pulled off some spectacular moves including a double-jump top-rope Spanish fly and some fabulous-looking DDTs. Neville played up his heel role perfectly, milking the crowd and denying them some of his own high-flying moves. Great stuff. This should be the next title feud, or Ali should at least be in the mix. There were some believable near falls here.
A note about the crowd though. They hurt this match. The post-Wrestlemania crowd has become famous (or infamous) for being loud and outspoken, but in this case they were just disrespectful. They played with a beach ball for the majority of this match and television viewers could see that the crowd wasn’t looking at the ring. They started chanting “beach ball mania” at one point, and even when Ali was pulling off some of his moves, the reaction was stronger for the ball. As good as the in-ring action was, the crowd was distracting.
A limo pulls up and out steps Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon starts speaking as the crowd chants “Roman sucks.” He then thanks the crowd for being passionate and announces that it’s “time to shake things up.” So next week there will be a “Superstar Shakeup.”
Vince then shows footage of Stephanie falling through a table at Wrestlemania. He announces that she will be out of action for some time. He begins to name a new general manager when Teddy Long comes out to the stage. Teddy dances, but Vince tells him that he isn’t the new GM. He seems sad for a second before dancing away. Vince then announces the real new GM: Kurt Angle!
New Day heads to the ring. Woods and Kingston are wearing shoulder pads like the Legion of Doom (the “Legion of Dumb” according to Graves), and Big E is wearing a giant box of Booty-Os as a backpack. In the ring, New Day talks about how great Wrestlemania was, and Big E gets a little specific when talking about how excited he was. They were a little upset that they didn’t get to compete though, so tonight they are issuing an open challenge.
New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods w/ Kofi Kingston) vs The Revival
(referee: Chad Patton)
Result: Dash Wilder pins Xavier Woods after a Shatter Machine
Time: 4:29 (1 break)
A good match with a spectacular finish. It felt a little short, but there was a lot of action here. Dash and Dawson isolated Woods for most of the match, but Big E came in and started to turn things around before the scouting of The Revival managed to stop E’s momentum. Good teamwork from The Revival, as usual, and a really great finish that shows The Revival’s strength as a team.
After the match, The Revival pulls Kingston into the ring and attempt to injure his ankle. Kofi is in a lot of pain when the camera cuts away.
Enzo introduces himself and Cass to Kurt Angle. They complain about The Hardy Boyz being added to the title match at ‘Mania (among other things). Angle decides to put Enzo and Cass into a number one contender match tonight against Sheamus and Cesaro.
Bayley (RAW Women’s Champ) & Dana Brooke & Sasha Banks vs Emma & Nia Jax & Charlotte
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Sasha Banks makes Charlotte submit to the Bank Statement
Time: 5:56 (1 break)
Good match. Emma looked very good and seemed energized by her return to her previous gimmick. After a bit of an exhibition for her, the match broke down and stuff started happening all over the place. It was a little hard to keep track of everything, but the chaos was fun. It was odd seeing Dana Brooke on a team with Sasha and Bayley, not that it hurt the match in any way.
After the match Charlotte is upset with her partners. Emma leaves the ring as Jax drops a running elbow on Charlotte.
Sami Zayn hopes to cultivate a good relationship with Kurt Angle, unless Angle doesn’t like that, but he might also move to SmackDown, so he’s not sure what to think. Angle tells Zayn that he has all three of the I’s, so he’ll do great in his career. Zayn wonders if Angle has told that to Stephanie. Jinder Mahal then walks up. He wants justice. Zayn is upset with the interruption. To stop the argument, Angle tells them both to settle it in the ring.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman head to the ring. Lesnar has authorized Heyman to share the bedtime story he tells his children. It’s a story about a self-proclaimed superhero who took a left turn into Suplex City and got his ass kicked by the beast. The “happily ever after”? We won’t be seeing Goldberg around here anymore.
Lesnar is now looking for new challenges and new challengers. Heyman names some names, but says that we should look at the “2 in 23 and 2”. He says that those two should go “one on one” to determine whose yard the ring really is. The crowd isn’t so much into that idea and chants for Finn Balor instead. Heyman persists though and says that he wants to do something about it right here tonight. That’s when Braun Strowman heads to the ring.
Strowman gets in Lesnar’s face and tells him that he will take care of Reigns. Strowman lightly shoves Lesnar. Lesnar smiles, sets down his title belt, and offers Strowman a free shot. Strowman backs away out of the ring.
** I’m not a fan of Reigns and Strowman being the apparent choices to be at the top of the RAW pecking order… **
Charly Caruso welcomes Chris Jericho and asks him about his tag match tonight. Jericho sings the praises of the post-Wrestlemania crowd, the “friends of Jericho.” Tonight, in front of that crowd, Jericho will start to get his revenge on Kevin Owens. He’s going to start with the tip of Owens’ finger, so he adds it to The List. Owens then rushes Jericho. As they brawl, Samoa Joe joins Owens and helps him put Jericho through a table.
Seth Rollins asks Angle about Jericho’s condition. Jericho can’t compete, but Angle promises to find Rollins a partner for tonight.
RAW Tag Title Number One Contender Match
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs Cesaro & Sheamus
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Cesaro pins Enzo Amore after Sheamus tosses Enzo into a European uppercut from Cesaro, Cesaro and Sheamus are the new number one contenders
Time: 6:04 (1 break)
A good match with a very good finish. This one took a little while to really get going, but the second half of the match was very entertaining. Cass destroyed everyone with his boot, but the teamwork of Cesaro and Sheamus was very much on display.
Jinder Mahal vs Sami Zayn
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: Zayn wins via pinfall after a Helluva Kick
I liked this, though there wasn’t much to it. Mahal attacked Zayn before the opening bell, so Zayn started already beat up. It was a good way to quickly set the match up as a believable underdog battle for Zayn even though Zayn would likely dominate if they started the match fairly. It was a very short match, but it was good for Zayn since he didn’t get a good spot at Wrestlemania, and it was good for Mahal who seems to be being rewarded for his hard work lately.
Kevin Owens (US Champ) & Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins & Finn Balor
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Finn Balor pins Kevin Owens after a Coup de Grace
Very good match. It built well to an exciting finish where there was a little bit of a breakdown. Balor was used sparingly, but that probably helped build the excitement for when he finally made it into the ring. They also did a very good job of teasing the finish to the match. Everything was given time to develop nicely in this match, and the talent in the ring was undeniable. Very good all around.
This was a really good show. I don’t think there was one segment I didn’t like. Maybe the Reigns thing since it seemed to take forever, but I understand why it was there. I had an issue with the crowd a couple of times, but besides those few distractions, this was a very fun show. I liked the returns, and the matches were all quite good.
Was RAW more entertaining than Wrestlemania? Maybe, it’s hard to say. They’re such different shows, but I think that argument can be made.
Match of the Night
Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins & Finn Balor
There were a lot of entertaining matches tonight, but this was easily the best overall. A little of that had to do with the excitement of having Balor back in the ring, but it also had to do with the match being given enough time to develop. They didn’t have to cram a bunch of stuff into a short match, and it showed how much that helps.