Just because WrestleMania 34 is in the books, that doesn’t mean the excitement ends there. All of the focus switches to Monday Night RAW for one night as the RAW after WrestleMania proves to be one of the best episodes all year.
We see returns, debuts, shocking title changes and so much more. We saw some of the same this year, along with the huge yet expected announcement that the Superstar Shake-Up is returning next week and it takes place over two days.
RONDA ROUSEY CONFRONTS STEPHANIE MCMAHON
Following on from her impressive debut in New Orleans, Ronda Rousey was called to the ring by Stephanie McMahon who decided that she wanted to take credit for Rousey’s impressive start. She even went as far as wanting to work with Rousey, take her under her wing and blaze trails that we haven’t seen.
Rousey wasn’t having it. After an awkward embrace, the sweet smile disappeared into a straight look of savagery as she locked in another huge armbar on Stephanie, making it look like she’s been written off television.
EMBER MOON DEBUTS
New RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax was gearing up for tag team action against Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, only for Bliss to continue the body shaming jibes. This time, Jax received a brilliant reaction compared to WrestleMania, which you can perhaps put it down to the Superdome being a much larger venue.
There was a tease that Jax won’t have a partner, but everyone knew she would and it would be a surprise. Jax announced that Ember Moon would be her partners and she picked up a big debut win by hitting the Eclipse on Bliss for the win.
One of the most surprising moments of WrestleMania saw Braun Strowman pick a child from the audience as his tag team partner, as they defeated The Bar to become the RAW tag team champions. However, there was no elaborate celebration on RAW as Strowman revealed that due to scheduling conflicts, he and Nicholas are relinquishing the titles in a funny segment.
Shortly after, Kurt Angle revealed that he wouldn’t hand the titles back to The Bar. Instead, a mini-tournament takes place to decide who The Bar will battle in Saudi Arabia for the tag team titles.
NO WAY JOSE ARRIVES
The second NXT call-up of the evening saw fans reminiscing about Adam Rose, as No Way Jose danced his way to the ring in an almost identical manner to the former Social Outcast member. Although he received a slightly positive reaction and picked up a quick win, it’s difficult to gauge how successful he will be as these types of gimmicks don’t have a great track record, while the crowd on this particular show each year is a lot different to others.
THE CLUB VS. THE REVIVAL
The first of the tag team title eliminator matches saw The Club battle The Revival in an attempt to advance to next week. Anderson showed just how underrated he is in this match with a solid outing, but he fell victim to the Shatter Machine as Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson advanced.
JEFF HARDY RETURNS
Seth Rollins’ Intercontinental Championship celebration was certainly eventful. The fans let Grand Slam Rollins hear how much they love him, before Finn Balor interrupted to congratulate the former Shield star. He offered to be his first challenger which Rollins accepted, but The Miz wasn’t on board with that idea.
The Miz confirmed that he’ll invoke his rematch clause at Backlash, but offered a fight on the spot. With the odds stacked against them, fans erupted into cheers as Jeff Hardy returned to even the odds with a six-man tag team match announced for later in the evening.
Right before the match could begin, Bayley decided to steal the limelight by making her way down to the ring to support Sasha Banks in her match against Mandy Rose of Absolution. In a forgettable match, Bayley’s involvement cost Banks the win as Rose hit a huge knee to her face for the win, but it’s the moment after the match which had fans tearing up.
Although it was common knowledge, Paige delivered an emotional speech to confirm her retirement. Shouting out the likes of Edge and Daniel Bryan, Paige revealed she now has to find something else to do while referencing her emphatic main roster debut four years ago in the exact same city with the fans sending her off with a brilliant reaction.
ELIAS INTERRUPTED BY A SHOCKING RETURN
The fans were absolutely loving Elias and his performance, chanting anything they could as Elias soaked it all in. Even when Elias insulted them, they weren’t giving in so easily but as expected, his performance was interrupted but this time, by a shocking return.
It had been rumoured for so long, but it’s true - Bobby Lashley made his emphatic return by wiping out Elias with ease as the newest member of the RAW roster.
KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN LOOK FOR A JOB
After losing out to Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 34, it was only a matter of time before Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn returned to the red brand asking for a job. We saw some more tension between the pair as Angle revealed that there was only one spot left on the roster, and then made a match between the pair to decide who gets it.
Later on in the evening with a job on RAW up for grabs, Zayn and Owens put on a great match but as neither could answer the count, the match ended in a no contest with neither man earning a contract.
AUTHORS OF PAIN
The NXT call-ups continued on Monday Night RAW, and this time we saw a huge addition to the tag team division. Following on from Kurt Angle’s announcement regarding the tag team titles, Heath Slater and Rhyno were uber-confident about defeating any team on the roster. This prompted Akam and Rezar of the Authors of Pain to debut on the red brand and absolutely dominate to pick up the win.
After the match, though, they dropped a tease that they could continue on the main roster without the guidance of the legendary Paul Ellering.
SAMOA JOE RETURNS
As expected, the fans were relentless towards Roman Reigns who tried to explain what happened at WrestleMania 34 while revealing that he gets another opportunity at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. After claiming that there’s a conspiracy against him and discussing Brock Lesnar’s contract, the emphatic return of Samoa Joe was welcomed by the fans.
Joe delivered an epic promo, dropping some truth bombs on The Big Dog. He talked about how Reigns is a liar and a failure, and explaining that his matches against Lesnar will always result in him losing. To make matters even more interesting, Joe confirmed he’d be waiting for Reigns at the Backlash pay-per-view.
THE EXPEDITION OF GOLD
With The Revival waiting to find out their opponents for next week, Titus Worldwide went up against Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt as they confirmed that the expedition of gold is beginning. Fans loved the whole mind games/controlling aspect with Bray doing everything Woken Matt has been saying and as expected, Woken Matt and Bray Wyatt picked up the win.
In the main event, The Miztourage took on the team of Jeff Hardy, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins after a nice little segment featuring Brother Nero, Woken Matt and Bray Wyatt. It was a solid main event match with the fans invested throughout, with Rollins hitting the Curb Stomp on The Miz to pick up the win.
To rub salt in the wounds, all three men hit their finishers on The Miztourage.
What did you make of the RAW after WrestleMania? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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