RANDOM DRAW: Raw after Mania (3/4/2017) – Review

The Raw after WrestleMania is traditionally one of the hottest TV shows of the year. A show that, given its placing, kicks off the new ‘season’ in the WWE calendar. Of course taking place 24 hours after the biggest PPV of the year there is always a tonne of fallout on a Raw known for: big moments, returns, debuts, title matches, and usually one of the liveliest crowds of any show company/industry wide. Monday Night Raw on April 3rd 2017 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida was EVERYTHING a ‘Raw after Mania’ was known for. One of the most eventful WWE (non-special) TV shows for some time…

Image result for roman reigns this is my yard now gif

The start of this show was one of the most unique segments I’ve ever seen. It really was something to behold…

I actually did a full review of the show that proceeded this Raw (https://nobodyisready.com/2019/04/02/wrestlemania-33-review/), but I’ll fill in the gaps of what went down the night prior to this as we go on… So in the main event of WrestleMania 33 Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker, in what we were lead to believe (especially given the events after the match ended) was The Phenom’s last match. So the fact he had ‘retired’ one of the most beloved and more legendary superstars in the history of the company, along with the insane amount of heat that followed him around at this time meant that Roman Reigns was public enemy number one. Adding that to the most passionate and opinionated of crowds and to say that the atmosphere was MOLTEN-HOT would be an understatement… And what we got was something for the ages…

After a recap of the Taker – Roman match, Raw opened with shots of the crowd. They loudly chanted “Undertaker” then into “Roman Sucks”, and eventually… of course… out came Roman Reigns to one of THE loudest collection of boos I’ve ever heard…

Roman Reigns has spoken into a microphone hundreds of times in his WWE career. In 5 words he cut the way promo of his life to that point. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E stuff.

The commentary team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves told us how post-WrestleMania crowds are unlike any other. Poor Corey Graves had to try and say fans on this night can boo who they’d usually cheer… I think this was meant to tell us at home that Roman being booed like that was unusual… (just an FYI for anyone who wasn’t watching WWE in this period… this wasn’t unusual, sure this was by far the worst reaction he ever got but people REALLY didn’t like Reigns in this time).

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) (C) defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship

24 hours after their all-time classic return to WWE, and subsequent Ladder match title win, The Hardys had what was essentially a victory lap here… defending their newly won titles against the former Champions. (Quick one but shout out to Jojo who was ring announcer for this show).

Naturally The Hardys were SUPER over and got monster reactions from the adoring crowd (plenty of “DELETE” chants and gestures of course). As for the match it was solid enough without being spectacular, but then again it didn’t need to be. Both teams got all their usual stuff in and in the end a Twist of Fate – Swanton Bomb combo was enough for Matt and Jeff to retain.

They advertised an appearance later in the show from new Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, as well as a tag team match that would pit Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho Vs Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens.

After an ad break we were shown a recap of the Cruiserweight championship match from the WrestleMania kick off show. Champion Neville then made his way out and cut a heel promo before the match…

Cruiserweight Champion Neville defeated Mustafa Ali

So at this point in the… interesting… history of 205 Live they would have a weekly… cameo I guess would be how you could describe it… on each Raw there would be one match or segment solely dedicated to the 205 Live roster. They even went as far as to change the ring ropes to purple, as well as the titantron, ring mats, almost everything visually told you this part of Raw was different… or to most… time for a bathroom break… Ali here was very different to who he became, but still was an incredible in-ring talent as was the champion. It was naturally a super fun match and the finish was tremendous…

With Mustafa Ali down, and Neville on the top rope, the crowd got excited thinking they’d see the Red Arrow… but Neville (a BRILLIANT heel) simply stepped down upon noticing the crowd’s excitement and applied the Rings Of Saturn submission to Ali to get the win instead. Tremendous.

A Limo was shown arriving at the arena… and outstepped…

Vince McMahon made his was out after to a huge ovation. Always pops me hearing a crowd sing-a-long to his music. To much hilarity the crowd chanted “Roman sucks” at the chairman, to which he responded “well, it that’s how you really feel”. He would go on to make two BLOCKBUSTER announcements…

And then… one of my all-time favourite Raw segments. I can’t explain how big the smile on my face was at the time watching this live, and every time I watch it back…

I’ve had many amazing moments as a wrestling fan, but getting to scream “YOU SUCK” lovingly at Kurt Angle when I attended the Raw taping in Manchester later that year was up their with my highlights for sure.

Next on the show out came The New Day. Fresh from hosting Mania the night before the ever-popular trio were on typical form here, but Kofi, Woods and Big E wanted to get back to doing what they do best… And so they issued an open challenge… To say this pleased me (an NXT mega-fan) would be an understatement. I vividly remember at the time saying over and over, once the opens challenge was made “Please be The Revival”… good stuff!

Top Guys! And to this day one of the best tag teams in the world.

The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) defeated The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E with Kofi Kingston)

Two great teams had a very fun TV match here. New Day were really over but The Revival played their role so well. Finish kind of came out of nowhere, but the Shatter Machine did get a big pop. Some way to make a main roster debut beating one of the most well known and established teams! Dash and Dawson really doubled-down after by targeting Kofi Kingston and injuring his right ankle (I believe, if memory serves me correctly, this was to cover for a legit injury as New Day moved to SmackDown in the ‘Superstar Shake-Up’ the next week and it was some time after that they actually appeared on the blue brand). This was all such good stuff by everyone involved.

Next we had a quite brilliant backstage segment. If you want to know what makes Kurt Angle so much more than an amazing wrestler… watch this… As over as Enzo and Cass were at this time, the star here is undoubtedly the newly appointed Raw GM…

“That’s not how you spell soft”… Absolutely Comedy Gold!

Next we had kind of a throwaway, inconsequential women’s match. Although it did serve a few purposes.

Raw Women’s Champion Bayley, Sasha Banks & Dana Brooke defeated Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax & …

Now this return really was a surprise. Totally out of the blue… as if Emmalina never happened…

Roll tide…

The crowd really had fun during this one (they REALLY liked Bayley), and they got a babyface win to cheer too… Towards the end Dana took our Emma, Nia got hit with double dropkicks by Sasha and Brooke… Jax pulled Brooke our the ring, but was then taken down by a flying crossbody by Bayley off the apron. This left Banks and Charlotte in the ring, with The Boss soon ducking a Natural Selection and locking in the Banks Statement and picking up the submission win for her team. After the match a furious Charlotte took her frustrations out on her teammates, but got a beating by Nia Jax for her troubles. Charlotte went to SmackDown the next week so the clean L and the beating after made sense. This was all fine stuff.

Next we had another backstage segment where Kurt Angle set up a match for later in the show. He’s so great.

We then had the arrival… of THE BEAST!

A somewhat surprisingly warm welcome from the Orlando crowd for the new Universal Champion. Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman talked about what lies ahead for his Goldberg-conquering client (FYI Lesnar won the title from Goldberg the previous night at WrestleMania, in what I could well describe as 5 minutes of Big move after Big move CHAOS)…

So the crowd really wanted Finn (they’d have to wait nearly 2 years), they instead got Braun (even that was months down the line)…

Former United States Champion Chris Jericho (who lost the title to form best friend Kevin Owens at WrestleMania) appeared next in a backstage interview… My word was he OVER in this period…

After an ad break Kurt Angle and Seth Rollins spoke outside the trainers room. The Raw GM informed Rollins (himself 24 hours off a huge WrestleMania win over Triple H) that Jericho would be unable to compete tonight. Angle did inform Rollins that he would find him a partner for the tag team match later in the show.

Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass to become the number one contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championship

2 good teams, 2 very over teams to this crowd, but really this match will be remembered for the following chant that during this match just went On and On and ON… “duh-duh-duh-duh, Sheamus and Cesaro…” … anyway the finish was great, as Sheamus gave Cass a Brogue Kick to take him out and then he pushed Enzo off the top causing him to fly right into a huge European Uppercut by Cesaro. And that was enough for the pinfall win.

Again Enzo getting pinned leads to another failed opportunity for he and Cass (which would eventually factor in to the Cass turn some months later). Sheamus and Cesaro would go on to have a series of memorable matches with The Hardys for the tag titles.

An advert played promoting WrestleMania for the year after, which was to take place in New Orleans at the same site that hosted the grand show in 2014.

Sami Zayn defeated Jinder Mahal

If you’d have offered me a bet of a million pounds and told me that a few months after this one of these guys would be WWE Champion, and it WOULD NOT be Sami Zayn I’d of told you to go home as you must be drunk… Zayn was very over, Jinder just came across as your standard mid-card heel… and Sami got the win here in a basic match. Both guys would move over to SmackDown in the upcoming superstar shake-up… where Zayn would eventually turn heel in the most shocking fashion, and Jinder? He did ok…

They advertised for Raw Talk (a WWE Network exclusive post-show) guests: Bayley, The Hardys and Goldberg. Goldberg cut a farewell promo in the ring during Raw Talk to the live crowd, as this was the end of his comeback run…… for now….

Owens, Joe and then Rollins came out for their match… awaiting the arrival of Seth’s mystery partner… At this point everyone at home and the live crowd knew who it would be, but everyone was still very VERY happy!!!

Appearing on Raw for the first time since the previous August, the first ever Universal Champion Finn Balor was back!

Finn Balor and Seth Rollins defeated United States Champion Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe

All 4 guys were really over, but possibly Balor was the most. Naturally given who was in the match was really good. Eventually, to end the show on a happy note the babyface team got the win… and we all waited for Balor to turn on Rollins (the guy that put him on the shelf inadvertently in the first place), but it was not to be. The show closed with Rollins and Balor celebrating their win.


Overall this was a great Raw. One I loved at the time and very much had fun watching back again, it had all the all ales of a Raw after Mania, with multiple moments that would’ve been worth of closing the show. They also set up one try of things for the futures, of which I may write about at different times in the future so I’ll leave that there. But I will say if you have a spare couple of hours and want a good show to watch, I’d highly recommend this one.

Josh.

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