WrestleMania 35 is over (you can read Bradley Tiernan’s full review here if you missed anything). Tonight is WrestleMania Monday so we’ll be hearing from all our new RAW champions, and probably a few of the unlucky losers as well. If previous RAW after WrestleMania shows are anything to go by, we’ll also get one or two surprises.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
RAW Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins def. The Revival
Alexa Bliss def. Bayley
Aleister Black & Ricochet def. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
Dean Ambrose vs Bobby Lashley – Never Started
Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor def. Sami Zayn
“Winner Take All” – Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs WWE Champion Kofi Kingston – No Contest
Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston def. The Bar
» Brand new Universal Champion Seth Rollins opened the show. After a recap of his win over Brock Lesnar and accepting the adulation of the crowd, he responded to a, ‘You Deserve It’, chant with, ‘No. We deserve it’. He’s waited a long time to stand in that ring and hold the title above his head. And all it took was climbing Mount Everest and beating the most dominant Champion in the history of WWE. He said he feels terrible, like he got run over by a truck. He took everything Lesnar had to dish out and he got back up. He may have used some questionable tactics to gain an advantage but, truth be told, he didn’t do anything to Brock that Brock wouldn’t have done to him.
After the match, he heard Lesnar and Heyman were taking a flight to Vegas for some meetings and, as far as he’s concerned, they can stay there because Lesnar is no longer the reigning, defending, undisputed, Universal Heavyweight Champion… he is. And he’ll go one better. He is the reigning, defending, FIGHTING, undisputed, Universal Heavyweight Champion, and he’s going to be a Champion everyone can be proud of.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston came to join Rollins, along with Big E and Xavier Woods. The first interesting thing they said was that the Superstar Shake-up is happening next week. Kofi Kingston still looked emotional while Big E and Xavier Woods talked about his victory, then Big E lightened the mood by doing the splits.
Kingston said, after his match, he watched the “Winner Take All” main and thought it was a great idea. So how about the new WWE Champion and the new Universal Champion have a “Winner Take All” match tonight? No Shield, no New Day, just the two of them one on one title for title.
The crowd seemed into it, Rollins accepted the challenge.
So, the question becomes, unified titles or shenanigans at the finish? With the Women’s Championships unified last night, are they teasing a brand reunification in some form?
» Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins (C) vs The Revival – RAW Tag Team Championship match – was the first match of the show. Ryder and Hawkins had to be nervous going in. Hawkins has won one match in over two years, and the last time Ryder won a title at WrestleMania he lost it the following night. Either team were above using underhand tactics. Scott Dawson took out Curt Hawkins at ringside so they could isolate Ryder. Zack Ryder tried to make a pin with his feet on the ropes. The Revival are phenomenal and this match was great. Zack Ryder took a Shatter Machine but wasn’t the legal man. Curt Hawkins pinned Scott Dawson with a roll-up.
» Baron Corbin had an in-ring segment to gloat about his victory over Kurt Angle in Angle’s retirement match. He gloated a lot. When he said he deserved a gold medal of his own, Kurt Angle came out.
Angle told Corbin he was the better man last night. Angle’s career is officially over and Corbin’s is just getting started, so he wishes him all the luck in the world. They shook hands then Angle said, ‘Bad Luck’, Angle Slammed him and stuck him in an Angle Lock.
Lars Sullivan appeared and walked slowly to the ring, never taking his eyes off Angle. They stood nose to nose and said some stuff we couldn’t hear, then Sullivan slammed Angle into the canvas. He stared for a few moments then delivered a diving headbutt from the top rope, roared, and left.
» Alexa Bliss vs Bayley – Bliss issued a challenge to Sasha Banks or Bayley or both over social media and she got Bayley. To be honest, it’s nice to see Bliss in the ring again on tv. It’s been a while. Alexa Bliss started the match by mocking Bayley for losing the tag titles at WrestleMania, I guess that’s one way to make sure your opponent gets straight into it. Bayley tried to use the ropes in a pin attempt, most un-Bayley-like. She flipped Bliss into the turnbuckle, followed her when she slid out of the ring and took a boot to the face when she rolled her back in. As soon as Bayley made it back into the ring, Bliss planted her with a DDT and pinned her.
» Becky Lynch came to talk to the crowd. She told them she worked in a bar not far from there nine years ago and got a, ‘You Deserve It’, chant. She thanked them and said, ‘We did it’. She’s Becky two belts.
For months, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey (she called them Ronnie and ‘Ric’s daughter’) have been talking about how their resumés were too strong for her, but the woman who walked in with nothing left with everything. She knows she’s not the strongest, fastest, and most athletic in the company, but leaving home at fifteen to fight around the world taught her about survival. She will always fight, she will always overcome, and she will win in the end. She told Rousey she’d be ready for the rematch when she is and suggested the McMahon family will probably give Flair the tag titles to help her get over losing. Finally, she said she knows she’s a marked woman on both brands but just remember she’s the redhead in leather with two shiny titles, ready to slap the heads off them all.
Lacey Evans came out as Lynch was leaving the ring. She walked down the ramp, stood face to face with The Man and looked her up and down. Instead of turning and walking away, Lacey Evans gave Becky Lynch the Woman’s Right. Lynch wasn’t going to just take that. They brawled up the ramp and Evans barely managed to slither out of a Dis-Arm-Her on the stage.
» Rollins said he accepted the challenge because this is what he loves. Also, he’s a little insulted by New Day’s challenge. He knows what Kofi is capable of, but he better bring his A game if he wants to come to RAW and take what Rollins has earned because B+ isn’t going to cut it.
» Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable was another very good match but I’ve officially run out of superlatives for Black and Ricochet. They’re awesome and I am yet to see a bad match with them in it. They’ve had three title matches in a week though (and one non-title), there comes a point of overkill. Aleister Black took himself and Bobby Roode out of the equation, and Ricochet pinned Gable for the win. Roode attacked Ricochet from behind after the match. It was just a quick cheap shot, but I guess we’ll be seeing it next week if the shake-up doesn’t separate them.
» Elias said he had the greatest performance planned for last night, but Joh Cena spoiled it. Tonight, the McMahon family have given him time to perform and if anyone interrupts him there will be hell to pay.
» A weird thing appeared out of a box laughing and coughing. I’d love to give you more information, but I can’t.
» Dean Ambrose vs Bobby Lashley was announced as Dean Ambrose’s last match in WWE. I still don’t have the words for how much I hate that. It sucks that he’s leaving but WWE have no one to blame but themselves. And to give him Lashley is an insult. Lio Rush had nothing to say. Lashley told Ambrose not to worry, because when he’s gone he’ll take good care of his wife for him.
That set off Ambrose at his best, uncontained and angry. They fought it out at ringside and into the timekeeper’s area, where Ambrose threw a chair at Lashley. As they made their way up the ramp, Rush got sent into a barricade. Ambrose DDT’d Lashley on the stage then cleared off the announce desk. Lashley speared him after Lio Rush caused a distraction, and it was Ambrose who went through the desk. The match never happened. For the first time ever, Renee Young rushed to her husband’s side after Lashley left. In his final RAW appearance, as with most of his WWE run, Dean Ambrose deserved better.
Renee Young was missing for a few minutes after the match and refused to comment on how Ambrose was when she returned.
» Mojo Rawley is still talking to himself in a mirror, only now he has blue paint on his face.
» Sami Zayn is back! He said his schedule is wide open and he could really go for a match about now. He called for anyone backstage to come and fight him. Finn Balor obliged, and he put his title on the line.
Finn Balor (C) vs Sami Zayn – Intercontinental Championship match – What a nice surprise for WrestleMania Monday, two old friends having a great match. There is always something beautiful about two wrestlers who know each other well, and it was a nice reintroduction for Zayn. Sami Zayn came close to the win a couple of times, but he missed with a Helluva kick, took a Coup de Grace, and got pinned.
After the match, Zayn said he thought coming out tonight would cure what ails him. All it did was reinforce what he’s realised over the past nine months. It genuinely seems like the WWE universe missed him, he can honestly say from the bottom of his heart that he didn’t miss any of this or any of us. WWE is a super-toxic environment because of the audience’s ugliness. He lives a meaningful and fulfilled life, but our lives seem so empty, the only joy we get is from being critics. Judging other’s gives us all a sense of self-importance… he went on like that for a while. Safe to say, Sami Zayn is not playing nice anymore.
» Dana Brooke made a statement congratulating Becky Lynch. She said she might not be at the front of the line of challengers, but she’s not at the back anymore and if she sees an opportunity, she’ll take it.
» Elias had another attempt at a performance, after John Cena (circa 2002) interrupted him last night. He had some harsh words to say about Cena, then tried his hand at rapping, kind of. His last line said the next man to interrupt him was a dead man. He was right, The Undertaker’s music hit and the man himself appeared.
When The Undertaker got into the ring, Elias started to leave the ring then got back in. He put the guitar down and took off his jacket before turning to face The Dead Man. They looked at each other, Elias turned away then turned back to attack. He took a big boot and a chokeslam, then Undertaker took off his jacket and hat to deliver the Tombstone. It wasn’t a match but the crowd helpfully counted the three for Undertaker anyway.
» Kofi Kingston vs Seth Rollins – Universal and WWE Championship, “Winner Take All” match – was the main event of the evening. The match was way better than it should have been considering what they both went through at WrestleMania.
Of course, the right answer to the earlier question was shenanigans. The Bar interrupted the match to beat down Kofi Kingston. Rollins got involved and The Bar beat on him too before he and Kingston cleared them from the ring. Seth Rollins grabbed a mic to berate them for interrupting the match, told Kingston they’d finish their match some other time and challenged Sheamus and Cesaro to a tag match.
Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs The Bar started immediately. The crowd weren’t impressed. Ok, so it wasn’t a “Winner Take All” match, but it was still decent and the implications of both titles being unified were a bit much for the night after WrestleMania anyway. It was a hell of a battle, spoilt by the crowd, but Cesaro took a Trouble in Paradise from Kingston and a Stomp from Rollins to leave the champions standing side by side in victory to end the show.
I think It’s safe to say WrestleMania Monday was a bit of a mixed bag. Lars Sullivan has arrived. Sami Zayn is back, and angry. And Dean Ambrose has gone. After the show went off air Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns called Ambrose out to say their goodbyes. It’s sad that WWE couldn’t convince him to stay but we wish him every success in the future. And who knows what might happen, you can never say never in WWE.