By Steven Flora
After an emotional night at WrestleMania 33, the Raw after Mania promised to be an event we would never forget, and oh boy was it ever. From Finn Balor’s return to the debut of The Revival, this perhaps was one of the best Raws’ ever and will certainly go down in history.
Arguably the biggest story of the night came at the hands of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon who made a special appearance on Raw. After thanking the crowd for making last night a memorable one, he announced the return of the WWE Draft which will take place next week, much to the satisfaction of the Orlando crowd. As Raw currently doesn’t have a General Manager, Vince announced the role would be given to 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Angle, who received an amazing ovation from the crowd. With Angle back as the Raw GM, it will be interesting to see what he does with the huge amount of talent that Raw has.
The Demon King rises
The story began with Michael Cole announcing Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho will take on Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe in the main event of Raw. Jericho was doing a pre match interview, even plugging #BeachBallMania when he was viciously attacked by Owens and Joe. Rollins was informed backstage how Jericho was unable to compete, but Angle promised he’d find a suitable replacement. After nine long months, Finn Balor made his return to an outstanding (and well deserved) ovation.
Yes you guys heard right, Balor returns to team up with the guy who injured him at SummerSlam, classic WWE logic.
The match began with Owens and Joe taking turns targeting the right knee of Rollins to which allowed them to take control of the match at a slow pace. The crowd, meanwhile, started to do the ‘oh so infamous’ Mexican wave which was “delightful” as Broken Matt would say. Joe further began to target ‘The Architect’, until Rollins made the tag to Balor who came out of the blocks and cleaned house. One coup de grace later and Balor and Rollins won the match. After the match, Rollins and Balor had a pretty cool stare down before Rollins took Balor’s arm as they both celebrated their win together.
This is my yard now – Roman Reigns
Never one to shy away from controversy, it was inevitable an appearance from the 'big dog' would cause a crowd of boos to reign (no pun intended) supreme across the arena. After an incredible start to Monday Night Raw with the crowd chanting Undertaker *clapclapclapclapclap* for around five minutes, Reigns’ music hit and the boos were thunderous. The largely negative reaction could only rival Shawn Michaels' heel promo to the Montreal crowd in 2005.
As Reigns stood in the ring, the crowd came up with some of the most vulgar yet entertaining chants I could ever remember. Some ranged from “go away” to “shut the **** up” to “Roman sucks”, which in my opinion is a candidate for moment of the year. Reigns endured the chants until he finally said, “This is my yard now.” We are still unsure if Roman Reigns will turn heel and what’s next for the big dog.
The Revival of the Raw tag team division
Fresh of hosting WrestleMania, the New Day were honored to be the hosts of last night’s spectacular extravaganza, however they felt wrestling is what they do best and therefore issued an open challenge to any tag team on the Raw roster who wanted to “catch this cream,” not the best of words from Xavier Woods.
*ENTER THE REVIVAL*
#SAYYEAH was exactly what the crowd was doing as the best tag team in the world (in my opinion) made their debut on the main roster to answer the New Day’s challenge. Not wasting anytime, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder took control of the match by isolating Woods in their early onslaught. The hot tag to Big E saw the pace quicken as E set out to thwart the #TOPGUYS. However, after missing the spear to the outside, Woods was on his own as he tried to stop the momentum of Dawson. A sneaky tag to Wilder meant Woods was unaware of who the legal man was, resulting in the shatter machine and a huge win for The Revival.
After the match, The Revival made a bold statement by taking out the right ankle of Kofi Kingston, showing the rest of the Raw roster The Revival is here to stay.
Emma is back
Bayley (c), Sasha Banks & Dana Brooke def. Charlotte Flair, Emma & Nia Jax: Out of all the members of the WWE Universe, this shock return made me mark out. As an originator (along with Paige) of the #WomensRevolution, Emma returned and seemed to shed the Emmalina gimmick to the delight of myself, as that character was just flawed from the beginning. Emma and her former protégé Dana Brooke started off as Emma showed no ring rust in controlling the match. Rapid fire tags to Jax and Charlotte ensured Bayley couldn’t get the help of her other teammates. As Bayley got the better of Charlotte, a quick tag to Sasha Banks quickened the pace of the match as chaos ensued. After all six women got involved in a brawl; Banks countered natural selection into the Bank Statement for the win. After the match, a frustrated Charlotte began berating her teammates to Jax’s displeasure, who then disposed of ‘the Queen’ with a damaging elbow drop.
Other notable moments
Neville and Mustafa Ali had a solid match, however, the match was marred by fans throwing beach balls around the arena. Neville would eventually pick up the win with the ‘Rings of Saturn.' It’s quite clear the WWE universe were more interested with a beach ball. Winner: Neville.
Overall Raw Rating: A-
Things to look forward to next week