In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
It’s the annual Post-Mania Raw from Dallas, Texas featuring all of the fall-out from WWE’s biggest event of the year. Included is Roman Reigns as WWE champion, Charlotte as new Women’s champion, Brock Lesnar advertised, and more.
WWE Raw TV Report
April 4, 2016 – Episode #1,193
Live in Dallas, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- WM32 fall-out
- Roman Reigns’s first night as new WWE World Hvt. champion
- Charlotte’s first night as new Women’s champion
- Zack Ryder’s first night as IC champion
- WWE Tag Title match: New Day vs. League of Nations
- The Dudleys vs. The Uso
- Announcers: Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton
Raw from the American Airlines Center in Dallas opened with a brief WrestleMania recap video. Full Raw intro video, then full pyro and fireworks inside the AAC kicking off a new Raw season.
Cole said this isn’t a WrestleMania hangover, but “party time!” Cole, JBL, and Saxton were shown on-camera down at ringside to immediately address the “non-traditional audience” tonight. Weird disclaimer to the TV audience. It’s as if they were saying: “Don’t worry family hour viewers, these people will be gone next week.”
On-stage: Vince McMahon’s music played to bring out McMahon, who said his son Shane McMahon had no chance in hell against The Undertaker last night. How about that WrestleMania last night? Boos. And they have a new WWE champion (louder boos). Plus, his son-in-law Triple H and Stephanie are in a bad way tonight.
Vince said he is feeling very good tonight because he took care of some business with the lockbox earlier today. And no one will ever have anything on him anymore. But, he does admit that when Shane came out to the ring with his grandsons, it tugged on his heart a little. He said he enjoyed watching Taker beat the crap out of his son, but there was one moment that got to him – when Shane got to the top of the Cell. Pause for a “Shane O’Mac” chant. Vince said he whispered not to do it, and he realized that Shane was willing to do anything to make his point. He gained respect, but also thought he was foolish. The crowd offered a chant that Vince couldn’t understand, so he told them to just have fun as one of the nuttiest crowds of the year.
Vince’s music played to wrap the segment, but Shane McMahon’s music played. Shane slowly, slowly walked out on-stage barely able to walk after fighting Taker last night. The camera focused on a giant bruise covering Shane’s left cheek. Big pop for Shane. And now everyone can like Shane again now that he’s not about to face Taker at WrestleMania. Vince told Shane that he has no business being here. “Thank you, Shane” chant from the crowd. “Thank you,” Shane told the crowd.
Shane said he just wanted to come out here and thank the crowd. The other thing was that since he’s the only man in the family (pause for ooohs), he will do this face-to-face and shake Vince’s hand. “You won,” Shane told Vince. Shane thanked the crowd for their support and got emotional. “Thank you, Shane” chant from the crowd. “You still got it” followed. Shane sold emotion, then Vince yelled at the crowd that he got the hell beaten out of him because you people. Shane ignored Vince and told the crowd good-bye. (Boos) Shane’s music played and he started to disappear to “No!” chants.
Vince cut this off. No, no, no, no. “No one upstages me!” Vince shouted at Shane, pulling him back to the stage. Vince said he thought how nonsensical it would be if Shane ran Raw. So, here’s what they’re going to do. Pause for a “Let him run it” chant. Vince thought things over, then said the heck with it. “Let’s see what you got!” Vince said before stomping off to the back. Shane sold a quizzical look, then his music played as the crowd popped for Shane running Raw tonight.
After Shane disappeared to the back, New Day’s music played to bring out the WWE tag champions for the opening Tag Title match. Big E. swam in the ring, Xavier Woods worked the trombone, and Kofi Kingston skip-clapped. Lilian Garcia formally introduced the tag champions as Big E. worked his booty on the ropes. New Day had mics. The crowd interrupted with a booty sing-song.
[Q2] Leaning on the ropes, New Day talked about things not going according to plan last night. Kofi said he did get to twerk with Shawn Michaels, though. On the other hand, Xavier took a Stone Cold Stunner. Xacier said “upon further review of the tape,” he has to admit that it was pretty much his own fault. But, they do have the very last piece of Booty O’s cereal from the giant box last night.
Xavier lifted up the final over-sized piece of cereal and sang about its glory. Big zoom from the hard camera. Kofi said speaking of booty, they are about to face League of Nations. Yeah, they’re no good. He said they will still be WWE tag team champions after tonight. Why? Why? Why? Because New Day Rocks. Cole sent Raw to break before the title match. Apparently Shane is sticking with the pre-advertised card.
[Commercial Break at 8:17]
Back from break, Lilian Garcia was dancing with New Day. League of Nations’s music played to bring out Rusev leading the charges. Alberto Del Rio, King Barrett, and Sheamus also joined them down to the ring. WWE cut to ringside for the international announcers to offer a few words. No interruption from Shane to change the match. Cue the bell.
1 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E. w/Xavier Woods) vs. LEAGUE OF NATIONS (SHEAMUS & KING BARRETT w/Rusev and Alberto Del Rio) — WWE Tag Title match
Kofi and Sheamus started things off. The crowd was already chanting for random things. New Day then dumped The League out of the ring. Xavier worked the trombone to give Kofi a musical number as Big E. launched Kofi clear over the top rope to splash the challengers on the floor. Nice piece of teamwork.
Back in the ring, Rusev provided a distraction that allowed Sheamus to push Kofi off the top rope to the floor. Barrett then worked on Kofi, pausing to gyrate in front of Big E. and taunt him. Barrett then clotheslined Kofi over the top rope to the floor. League of Nations stood over Kofi and yelled at him like meanies heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:25. WWE aired a WWE Voice-Over promo for John Cena’s “American Grit” on Fox. WWE followed with six-man tag hype for tomorrow night’s Smackdown TV taping in Houston. It’s Reigns & Ambrose & Styles vs. Wyatt & Jericho & Owens. ]
Back from break, the crowd was doing the wave. What are they going do during the third hour of Raw? Sheamus tried to own the wave by doing it himself as the League worked on Kofi. Kofi then delivered his knee leaping two-foot stomp to Sheamus’s chest to break the challengers’s momentum.
Hot tag to Big E., Barrett accidentally knocked out Sheamus, and Big E. and Kofi combined for their top-rope combo. Pinfall on Barrett for a quick win after the hot tag. It seemed like they accelerated to the finish. Because…
WINNERS: New Day at 8:49 top retain the WWE Tag Titles.
[Q3] Post-match, Sheamus yelled from the ring that he’s tired of that music. Sheamus told the crowd to shut up, too. Sheamus said he is sick and tired of this. “We are a group of the greatest athletes from across the world,” Sheamus said. He said they should be destroying everyone in WWE. But, there is something wrong. “How you doin'” chant from the crowd. Sheamus insulted the crowd, then said everyone knows that you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
Del Rio and Rusev picked up Barrett in the background and Sheamus identified the fallen man. Sheamus smashed Barrett with a Bicycle Kick, then the remaining trio dumped Barrett out of the ring. The crowd serenaded Barrett out of the ring, then The Wyatts’s theme suddenly interrupted.
The lights came back on and The Wyatts were in the ring attacking the three remaining Leaguers. Rusev tried to fight back as the crowd sang and waved their hands. Sheamus was left alone in the ring to take Sister Abigail. “Thank you Wyatt” chant from the crowd. Bray smiled and exited his body to another place as he posed over Sheamus. “Follow the buzzards!” Bray shouted, sending Raw to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Backstage: Renee Young caught up with Vince McMahon approaching his limo to leave Raw. He said he has no confidence in Shane running Raw. He added that tonight is going to be a disaster and he doesn’t want to be a witness to the ship going down. Have a good night. “All right, Pedro, let’s go!” he yelled at the driver and the vehicle took off.
In-ring: Summer Rae was randomly in the ring. Summer cut a promo on Sasha Banks that she fell flat last night and wasted her WrestleMania Moment last night. Sasha’s music interrupted to bring out Sasha looking to throw it back in Summer’s face. Sasha yanked the mic away from Summer and told her she forgot about one thing. “I’m Sasha Banks, and I’m still The Boss,” she said. Sasha slapped Summer across the face and apparently a match was happening.
2 — SASHA BANKS vs. SUMMER RAE
Summer tried to hide from Sasha in the ropes once the bell sounded, frustrating Sasha. Summer then yanked Sasha down to the mat and tried to keep her grounded as the crowd went through various chants. Sasha made a comeback and tapped out Summer in the Bank Statement. Cole said Sasha wants to bring home the Women’s Title one day.
WINNER: Sasha via submission at 1:39. A quick, decisive win getting some momentum after not winning the Women’s Title last night. Hard to recover from that, so now it’s time to rebuild.
Up Next: Apollo Crews makes his Raw TV debut. Cole said Crews is a stand-out from NXT. Random introduction without much fanfare or a storyline set-up.
Backstage: Shane McMahon shook Crews’s hand and gave him a pep talk before Crews finished warming up.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:44]
Back from break, WWE flashed through mainstream media headlines on WrestleMania. Every photo of Roman Reigns was greeted by boos.
In-ring: Tyler Breeze was introduced to the ring with three-fourths of his ring intro. Apollo Crews was introduced next making his Raw in-ring debut to applause and cheers.
3 — APOLLO CREWS vs. TYLER BREEZE
Tight lock-up as the crowd buzzed for Crews’s debut. Saxton said he’s not sure if Crews’s debut is Shane McMahon’s plan (or if he inherited someone else’s booking plans), but it’s a good move for Raw. Apollo landed quick offense, but Breeze cut him off. Breeze delivered a back body drop for a two count.
Crews came back with a Gorilla Press into a standing moonsault. Crews then warmed up for a spinning powerbomb that took so long that Cole already moved on to calling the finish, then had to pause to wait for Crews to finish him off. Crews pinned Breeze for the win. The announcers talked up Crews having mega-star ability.
WINNER: Crews at 1:54. Solid, basic squash match debut for Crews. The set-up was just non-existent. Perhaps a new formula of debuting NXT call-ups with little fanfare and letting them build over time, as opposed to having their big moment Week 1 and having nowhere to go from there?
Video Package: Roman Reigns and Charlotte flew to New York City to appear on NBC’s “Today” Show.
Still to come: Formal Women’s Title presentation for Charlotte.
Up Next: Roman Reigns addresses winning the WWE Title from Triple H last night.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
USA Network aired a promo for three episodes counting down to Total Divas’s season finale. Gotta find a way to boost viewership.
Roman Reigns Post-WM32 Promo
Back from break, The Shield’s music played and Roman Reigns walked out on-stage with a big smirk on his face. Reigns held up the WWE Title belt to loud boos and Lilian Garcia formally introduced him to the crowd. Reigns marched down to the ring as Cole noted the crowd here tonight is very passionate. JBL said they boo people they normally cheer and cheer people they normally boo.
Reigns hit the ring apron to loud boos. There was a sign in the crowd telling WWE not to mute them tonight. Reigns paced the ring as Raw hit the top of the hour.
[Q5 — second hour] Loud, loud boos after his music played out. Reigns smirked and said “Aw, c’mon” to louder boos. “I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy,” Reigns said. “I’m The Guy.” Louder boos. Reigns said that’s why at the biggest WrestleMania of all-time, “I beat Triple H’s ass.” Boos. Reigns said he told Shane McMahon that he’s here to issue an open challenge for the title.
Reigns tossed the mic aside and draped the title belt over the top rope. Chris Jericho’s music played and he walked out not dressed to wrestle. Jericho, wearing a heelish scarf, leather jacket, and rocker jeans, marched down to the ring with a smirk on his face. Once in the ring, Jericho sized up Reigns. He told the crowd to shut up and listen to him.
Jericho told Reigns that he thinks he’s The Guy. But, he sees just “a guy.” Jericho told him he’s just another idiot like everyone here tonight. He said he’s seen them come and go here in WWE, and none of them can compare to him. Jericho was barely above a whisper delivering his promo. “We are idiots” chant from the crowd. He told the audience they’re not hi-jacking the show on his watch. Jericho vowed to not say another word until they stop talking. Heels lie, so he went back to talking. Jericho said he buried A.J. Styles last night and now he is demanding the WWE Title from Reigns. He told Reigns to put him at the front of the line right now.
Suddenly, A.J. Styles’s music played to cheers. Styles walked out on-stage dressed to wrestle and he marched down to the ring as the fans bounced to the beat in the crowd. Styles and Reigns talked some trash as Styles made his way into the ring.
Suddenly, Kevin Owens’s music played. The former IC champion emerged on-stage looking naked without a title belt. Owens sold the effects of the IC Title ladder match limping down to the ring to confront Reigns. Owens said he wants the title. Suddenly, Sami Zayn’s music played. Cole said he doesn’t think Reigns was expecting everyone to show up tonight looking for a title shot. Zayn hit the ring as the crowd sang along to his tune.
Reigns looked around at everyone lined up to fight him. Reigns waved off Zayn like he doesn’t belong, then Zayn and Owens suddenly started fighting. A.J. and Jericho then fought each other. Zayn cleared Owens from the ring, then flew over the top rope with a dive to Owens. Styles then pointed to Reigns’s title belt and Jericho tossed him out of the ring.
Reigns was left alone in the ring to spear Jericho to boos. Reigns’s music played to more boos. Reigns knelt down contemplating his title situation as the announcers reinforced Reigns saying he’s not a good guy or a bad guy.
[ Reax: Are they setting up a Six-Pack Challenge with Triple H added to the mix getting his title re-match? Probably more like a Beat the Clock Challenge situation to determine Reigns’s next challenger. Good to see some fresh faces in the WWE Title picture after months of Hunter and Reigns. ]
Earlier Tonight: Vince McMahon put Shane McMahon in charge of Raw tonight.
Still to come: The Dudleys vs. The Usos in a Tables match.
[Commercial Break at 9:11]
[Q6] Backstage: Roman Reigns was shown walking down the hallway to boos. Reigns kept walking until he spotted Shane McMahon. Shane congratulated him on becoming champion. He said Reigns is going to be interested in knowing that tonight is a #1 contender fatal four-way match between Styles, Jericho, Zayn, and Owens. Shane snubbed his brother-in-law Triple H from the situation.
Ringside: WWE showed the Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy down at ringside. The winner, Baron Corbin, was then introduced to the ring making his Raw in-ring debut. WWE went through highlights of the battle royal, focusing on Shaq being part of the match with Big Show and Kane. Corbin stood next to the trophy before taking a mic.
Corbin said for those of you who don’t know who I am, I don’t care. Corbin said this trophy is the only thing you need to know. Corbin said he’s paved a path of devastation and broken dreams to get here. He said his arrival signals the End of Days for anyone who stands in his way. Dolph Ziggler’s music played to bring out Corbin’s opponent. Ziggler shook off the effects of the ladder match as he marched down to the ring. Cole plugged Ziggler starring in WWE Studios’s “Countdown” out tomorrow.
4 — BARON CORBIN vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler delivered an early dropkick, but Corbin fired back with a back-elbow smash to the chest. Cole noted Ziggler isn’t 100 percent tonight after being in the ladder match last night. Corbin then blasted Ziggler with a forearm knocking Dolph to the floor.
[Commercial Break at 9:20]
Back from break, Corbin was wearing down Ziggler with a mid-ring nervehold. Apparently a beach ball was introduced in the crowd during the break. Ziggler eventually fired back on Corbin with corner strikes, but Corbin blocked a neckbreaker. Ziggler came back with a DDT for a two count, but he sold injuring his leg. Ziggler tried a superkick, but Corbin blocked. Adjustment and Fameasser resulted in a two count.
Corbin came back with his Deep Six spinning slam, but Ziggler kicked out just before three. Ziggler rolled to the floor to get a breather, so Corbin followed up with a big boot sending Ziggler over the guardrail into the crowd. Now in the production area, Corbin tossed Ziggler into the equipment. The bell sounded in the background for a double count-out.
Post-match, Corbin yelled at the ref that this is on you. He smashed Ziggler back over the guardrail to the floor and continued to light him up until Ziggler fought back. Corbin cut him off and landed End of Days on the floor. Corbin smiled as he backed away from ringside excited about his work.
WINNER: Double count-out at 8:34. The crowd never really got into this with Ziggler defined down and Corbin not the NXT call-up they were looking for. Corbin is limited in the ring, but they got over his character in this match setting.
Up Next: A video review of Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:30]
Announcers: Cole thanked everyone in Dallas for rolling out the red carpet for WrestleMania Week. Cole then voiced-over still-photos of Brock vs. Dean at WrestleMania last night.
In-ring: New IC champion Zack Ryder was introduced with the title belt around his waist. Muted reaction for Ryder as JBL played up Ryder’s win as a total fluke. Lilian started to announce a title match, but her mic cut out. WWE showed photos of the ladder match before Ryder took the mic as the crowd greeted him with a “You deserve it” chant.
Ryder said that last night was the greatest night of his life. He said all of his wildest dreams came true and he finally had his WrestleMania Moment. Ryder brought up holding the IC Title belt with Razor Ramon when he was a little kid. Last night, they took another picture, this time it was Razor holding his IC Title belt. (Photos on the Titantron for both.)
Ryder thanked his dad on the front row for supporting him. He thanked him for taking to him to MSG. Suddenly, The Miz’s music interrupted. Miz sauntered out on-stage looking down at Ryder from a distance. Miz said this is so touching. So heart-warming. He mentioned his wife and said Ryder had his WrestleMania Moment last night, but he’s just a flash in the pan and One Hit Wonder. Miz walked up to Ryder’s face and told him he ruined his WrestleMania Moment by pushing him off the ladder. “Sucks to be you,” Ryder told him to cheers.
Miz said it does not suck to be him, then he heeled on the crowd. He said Ryder was lucky to be in the match and lucky to win the match. Miz said Ryder has to prove that he belongs in his league as champion. He tried to talk Ryder into putting the title on the line by calling him all-hype. “Woo, woo, woo, let’s do this!” Ryder replied.
5 — IC champion ZACK RYDER vs. THE MIZ — Intercontinental Title match
The bell sounded to make the match official. Miz, sporting a taped right elbow, delivered an early shoulder tackle. Ryder, wearing tape on his leg, answered with a dropkick, then a flying dropkick from the second rope. He nailed a top-rope Frankensteiner sending Miz flying to the floor. Ryder followed up on the floor heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:43]
[Q8] Back on Raw, Ryder went flying over the top rope to the floor, nearly crashing into the guardrail. Miz missed a chance to taunt Ryder in front of his dad on the front row. Instead, he rolled Ryder back into the ring and tried to pin him.
Miz settled on a mid-ring submission, but Ryder fought back with a corner clothesline. Miz and Ryder traded nearfalls until fighting to the top rope. Ryder knocked Miz off the top rope, then hit a top-rope elbow drop. He covered, but Miz put his foot on the bottom rope to avoid a three count.
Ryder re-approached Miz trying to follow up, but Miz kicked him to the mat. Miz missed a corner attack, though, and Ryder forearm-smashed him. Ryder tried a Broski Boot, but Miz slid out of the ring to the floor. So, Ryder kicked him into the guardrail in front of Papa Ryder. Suddenly, Miz bashed Ryder into the ring apron, then dropped Ryder across the guardrail in front of Papa Ryder. This time, Miz did not miss an opportunity to yell at Ryder’s dad. Miz got too close and Papa Ryder pushed Miz down to the floor. Ryder then bashed Miz in the face.
Suddenly, Maryse walked out from the crowd and confronted Papa Ryder. Security tried to hold Maryse back, but she slapped Papa Ryder across the face. The distraction allowed Miz to attack Ryder and drop him with the Skullcrushing Finale. Miz covered Ryder and got the three count for the win.
Post-match: Maryse gloated from ringside as a security guard held her back. Meanwhile, Papa Ryder sold anger on the front row. Miz gloated about his title win, then called Maryse into the ring to celebrate as Cole acknowledged their marriage, bringing it from behind-the-scenes to television. Miz and Maryse posed for the hard camera as Ryder continued to sell in the corner.
WINNER: Miz at 10:30 to retain the IC Title. So humorous. WWE has no story for Ryder’s title win on Sunday, then ends his title run the next night to put the belt back on a mid-card heel who hasn’t done anything in a while. Oddball booking continues.
Backstage: Renee Young said they have a new IC champion, then she brought in the former IC champion Kevin Owens. Owens didn’t want to hear Renee’s line of questioning. He said last night wasn’t fair to him. What about Sami Zayn? Owens said he didn’t lose the title last night; Zayn robbed him of the title. You know what? Now he’s onto bigger and better things. He said Shane knows how much better he is than everyone else, which is why he put him in the fatal-four #1 contender match. And he’s going to win this match, then destroy the (mocking voice) Roman Empire and become WWE champion. Owens said Zayn might have cost him the title last night, but he’s not costing him the WWE Title tonight. Because the Road to KOMania II begins.
Backstage: Charlotte and Ric Flair were shown standing around. Shane McMahon shook hands with the dastardly heels as Cole previewed Charlotte’s title coronation next.
[Commercial Break at 9:56]
Vignette: The Vaudevillians. The NXT tag team debuts this Thursday on Smackdown from Houston.
[Q9 — third hour]
In-ring: Lita was standing by with virtually the entire Divas – or female Superstars – roster. Lita said she grew up not having a lot of female role models. But, this generation has a new group of women to look up to. They showed Becky Lynch with a black eye after getting cut up in the Divas Title match last night. Heels and faces nodded along together, taking away whatever storyline feuds are in-play.
Lita then introduced new Women’s champion Charlotte, joined by Ric Flair. They showed Ric getting involved from ringside during the match, then Charlotte received the title belt from Lita in the ring. Sasha and Becky glared at her as Ric gloated and smiled over her shoulder.
Charlotte started to talk, but stopped talking when some Bayley sing-song broke out. Charlotte smiled and nodded along. “Bayley is not here,” Cole interestingly said on commentary. Charlotte said this title is about all of the women and Superstars in the ring. Another “group effort” promo taking away from the storylines. The crowd wasn’t interested, so they did more Bayley sing-song. Charlotte acknowledged the song, then said the Women’s Title is the future. “These people are rude,” JBL said under her breath.
Charlotte started to get to her heel line gloating about being champion, but stopped talking for a “women’s wrestling” chant. Charlotte said that’s all of them. But, most importantly, she would not be Women’s champion if not for her father, Ric Flair. Bayley and Sasha sold annoyance in the background. Charlotte thanked Ric for going above and beyond for her. She said Ric’s daughter is finally immortalized as Women’s champion.
Charlotte thanked everyone in the audience for fueling her victory last night. Becky wanted to punch Charlotte in the face. Charlotte pointed out some of the ladies who have been here for six, seven years while she hasn’t even been here for a year. The crowd broke into “Sasha” chants. Charlotte wooed over the beat.
Charlotte then turned to face Sasha and Becky. “We did it. No, I did it,” she said. Sasha couldn’t take this anymore and bailed from the ring. Meanwhile, Becky charged her. Paige followed Sasha out of the ring and they all walked out on Charlotte, who yelled at everyone that this is her moment. From ringside, Natalya spoke. Charlotte was like, “Natalya? Huh?” Natalya told Charlotte to learn a lesson on humility.
Natalya told Charlotte that she has given her some of her hardest-fought matches, but she doesn’t respect her. Charlotte just doesn’t want to listen to her. Natalya reminded Charlotte that she is a Hart. So, how about you put your genetics against her heart? Charlotte told Natalya this title proves her family will always prove her family is better than her family. That was enough for Nattie, who knocked down Charlotte and put her in the Sharpshooter until Ric pulled his daughter out of the ring to save her. Natalya’s music played as Charlotte backed away from ringside with the belt.
[ Reax: Eye-rolling start with the “collective effort” material from the Hulk Hogan TNA promo playbook, but they got down to the business at hand of setting up a new feud between Charlotte and Natalya. Presumably since Sasha and Becky still seem to be in the mix. And, WWE never seems to get fully behind Natalya. ]
Backstage: Renee Young brought in A.J. Styles for a promo. Styles said he didn’t come to WWE to lose one match at WrestleMania and fade away. No, he came to WWE to become WWE World Hvt. champion. He vowed to usher in a new era that will be phenomenal.
Up Next: The Dudleys vs. The Usos in a Tables match.
[Commercial Break at 10:11]
[Q10] Vignette: Puerto Rico tourism. Los Matadores are gone. Primo & Epico are back. They told people to come visit Puerto Rico and then smelled some flowers.
In-ring: The Usos were introduced to the ring to a light reaction. Cole hyped the Payback PPV up next, sponsored by Tapout and JCPenney. The Dudleys were then introduced as The Usos’s opponents. Bubba Ray chucked a table on the floor as Cole hyped WWE’s “Charity Buzz” WrestleMania promotion.
6 — THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) — Tables match
The bell sounded and a mid-ring argument broke out. Fists flew. The fight spilled to the floor, where the teams traded control. Back in the ring, Bubba avoided an Uso superkick and slammed Jimmy. Devon then hit a diving headbutt to Jimmy’s crotch. Bubba set up the “get the tables” deal, but waved it off, telling the crowd “screw you.” They randomly went under the ring anyways – were they looking for other weapons? The Usos dropkicked them from the ring, taking control heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:21]
Back from break, Devon had Uso in a precarious position trying to superplex him through a table, but Uso crotched him. A loud “Nakamura” chant broke out as the crowd came back to life after a lull period. Some football-style singing filled a lull as The Usos took a while setting up tables in the ring. Bubba and Devon tried to turn the tables, ahem, but the Usos superkicked them.
The Dudleys ended up on the outside and looked around for something. It was The Usos flying off the barricade with stereo splashes. Back in the ring, The Usos put the Dudleys on tables like last night at WrestleMania. They wanted stereo top-rope splashes, but The Dudleys moved and The Usos crashed through the tables. Suddenly, the bell sounded. It was a screw-up since the Usos were not put through the tables. Cole robotically called it the ending anyways. As Bubba started yelling, Devon chucked an Uso through a third table in the corner to officially end the match.
As the announcers discussed the rules of a table match needing to be “put” through a table, not just go through a table, Bubba yelled at the ringside area. “What is wrong with you?!” Bubba shouted trying to remain heel and not cross the line having a Randy Orton flip-out moment.
WINNERS: Dudleys at 8:43 accidentally and 8:51. Poor TV match. Felt very disorganized, overly-choreographed, and they messed up the ending. The Dudleys’s nostalgia-to-heel run has not gone according to plan.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in Sami Zayn as ringside audio of Bubba still yelling at ringside could be heard. Zayn talked about having a huge chance tonight to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. He said he just got here and no one owes him anything, so he needs to win so that he can prove he belongs here. Suddenly, Kevin Owens attacked Zayn from behind. Owens chucked him into a traveling trunk, then kicked him in the face. Owens wanted more, then he powerbombed Zayn through a table. That’s how you win a tables match. Refs yelled at Owens to back off as Zayn sold heading to break.
[Q11] [Commercial Break at 10:30]
Moments Ago: Owens took out Zayn. Will he make it to the #1 contender main event?
Back at ringside, the Dudleys were still yelling at people. They started to leave, but the familiar music of Enzo Amore and Big Cass played. “They are here!” Cole said. Enzo and Big Cass bounced out on-stage without Carmella as Cole kind of acted unhappy to see them. The crowd was fired up for their arrival. In the ring, Enzo introduced himself as the crowd chanted along. Meanwhile, the Dudleys were still down at ringside watching with folded arms.
Enzo said there seems to be a couple of haters down at ringside. He told them they’re ugly as hell, firing up the Dudleys. Enzo continued running down their looks and called out Devon. He said he has the gift of gab and the gift of jab, so he’ll put that lazy eye back to work. “You son-of-a-b—-,” Devon shouted uncensored. Enzo told Ray to fall back in line like his hairline. Bubba started to crack up as Enzo kept going after him. Big Cass spoke over “Enzooooo Amoreeeeeee” sing-song that it seems like they don’t like what they’re saying, so why not come down to the ring and do something about it?
The Dudleys stormed the ring, then hopped off the ring apron like heels. They backed away from ringside as the crowd told them they’re “sawft.” Big Cass said there is only one way to describe you – “S-A-W-F-T!” Enzo’s music played and Cole called them an acquired taste. Bubba mockingly applauded from ringside, then WWE cut to the announcers as JBL sold complete disbelief over this non-sense.
[ Reax: One way to energize the Dudley’s heel run is giving them a hot NXT act to work with. That was the strongest segment in a while, giving the crowd a shot of adrenaline that has been missing tonight. ]
Video Review: The Rock at WrestleMania.
Up Next: Will Sami Zayn make it to the #1 contender match?
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
[Q12] Smackdown plug: Zack Ryder vs. The Miz re-match this Thursday night. Maryse was advertised accompanying Miz.
Next Week: Dr. Phil guest-stars on Raw from Los Angeles. Okay.
In-ring: A.J. Styles was introduced to the ring first for the #1 contender match. Cole said Zayn has been officially scratched due to Owens’s attack, but JBL said there will be a fatal four-way. Kevin Owens was out third. So, who is replacing Zayn? Lilian announced that Shane has found a replacement for Zayn…
Cesaro’s siren wailed and Cesaro emerged on-stage dressed in a James Bond suit and sunglasses. Cesaro removed his suit to a big reaction and stormed the ring returning to action for the first time in a while after recovering from shoulder injury.
7 — A.J. STYLES vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. KEVIN OWENS vs. CESARO — Fatal Four-way #1 contender match to the WWE World Title
Jericho and Owens were cleared from the ring, then Styles and Cesaro had a confrontation. PWG Exploded with Cesaro taking control heading to an early break.
[Commercial Break at 10:53]
Back from break, Jericho and Styles were battling in the ring as the crowd chanted “KOMania.” All four men returned to the ring and Owens teased the Big Swing on Cesaro, but Cesaro popped up and Euro-cut Owens. Jericho sent him flying out of the ring, though. Styles then lit up Jericho, but Jericho answered with a flying dropkick.
Styles, Owens, and Jericho found themselves in a Tower of Doom spot, drawing in Cesaro, who powerbombed all three opponents to the mat. But, he didn’t try to cover anyone. Cesaro then did his assembly line European Uppercuts before throwing Styles into the air for a giant uppercut.
[Q13 — over-run] At the top of the hour, Jericho thumbed Cesaro in the eye and tossed him over the top rope to the floor. Owens then grabbed Jericho for a Package Piledriver drop resulting in a two count. Owens wanted a Cannonball on Jericho, but Jericho moved. Jericho then hit a running bulldog, but missed the Lionsault. Suddenly, Styles came flying onto Jericho with a springboard 450 Splash. But, Cesaro pulled Styles out of the ring before he could cover.
At 12:00, Cesaro found Styles and Owens in opposite corners primed for the Uppercut Train. Jericho tried to interrupt, but ended up getting knocked to a corner. So, Cesaro lined up all three for a fitness-test Uppercut Train. Cesaro smiled and charged Jericho for the big finish, but Jericho got his boot up. He tried a second-rope attack, but Cesaro intercepted and put him in the Big Swing. Ten, 11, 12, and Owens kicked Cesaro in the head. Owens then powerbombed Styles, but Jericho broke up the pin.
Owens, upset, wanted the pop-up powerbomb on Jericho, but Jericho countered with the Codebreaker. Jericho covered, but Cesaro broke up the pin. JBL said you have to be opportunistic to win this type of match.
At 14:30, Jericho put Cesaro in the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Cesaro climbed toward the ropes, but Cole said there is no rope break in this match. Instead, Cesaro reversed into the Sharpshooter, tributing his old tag partner Tyson Kidd. Jericho held on, then Styles came flying at Cesaro with the flying elbow. But, Owens rolled up Styles for a two count. Pele Kick in response. Codebreaker from Jericho to Styles. Jericho covered, but Styles kicked out.
Big reset as the crowd roared at 16:00. Jericho yelled at Styles to stay down, but Styles fought back with strikes and kicks into the Clash in the middle of the ring. Styles connected, no one could get in the ring to break it up in time, and Styles scored the pin. Cole got fired up and JBL said he can’t wait to see this match against Reigns.
Post-match, Styles celebrated in the ring as Cole talked up Styles’s “incredible journey,” which seemed really strong and a bit out of nowhere as if he won the title. Cole started to wrap the show hyping an incredible WrestleMania Week. Big zoom in on Styles from the hard camera side as Cole signed off nine minutes past the top of the hour.
WINNER: Styles at 16:45 to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. A bit of a surprise result since they originally set up Reigns-Jericho. Plus, it’s WWE giving A.J. Styles on a big post-Mania Show with a lot of fanfare at the end, making you wonder if they’re actually going to go strong with him or just build him up to be fed to Reigns. From a storyline perspective, will the result stick when Shane is presumably not in control next week after Triple H returns to re-claim his title re-match? There’s a strong possibility they end up in a three-way situation when Hunter returns. Overall, very good TV main event worthy of the animal that has become post-Mania Raw. (***1/2)
OVERALL REAX: This year’s post-Mania Raw just didn’t seem to have the juice of past years’s. Expectations might be a bit too high or everyone gets a picture in their head of a big angle/call-up/return that is going to happen. No Finn Balor, no Bayley, no Balor Club. Plus, no Cena after returning at Mania for his fanbase. Cesaro’s return was good, Enzo & Big Cass were a breath of fresh air, and there were some other decent-to-good elements, but it didn’t feel like the big springboard into the next set of TV storylines that this show needed to be. The lack of resolution to the McMahon Family Drama following WrestleMania is a big factor, as it seems like The Authority is still lingering over the show since Shane was just a one-week authority figure. Unless he’s not. Overall, a bit bizarre going back to the crowd disclaimer at the start of the show, four-sixths of the Big Three WrestleMania matches not even being on the show (Hunter, Ambrose, Brock, and Taker), and Shane’s character not really shaking up the card, kind of going half-way with the over-arching story of Vince giving Shane a blank check to run the show.
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