Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Post Mania Raw 3/30/15 Review

The post WrestleMania Raw has become a massive annual deal. So what's a good way to open tonight? Well you bring out Brock Lesnar in his FIGHTING GEAR. In other words, we could potentially see a murder tonight. Paul Heyman has extra fire on the mic here, and the fans get in on it, chanting "Suplex City" which causes Brock to laugh. Heyman says Brock is using his rematch clause tonight. Stephanie McMahon interrupts, to Heyman's disdain. She gets "Ronda Rousey" chants. Stephanie claims that Seth Rollins flew to New York for an appearance after WrestleMania and is flying back but hasn't returned yet. She calls Seth a fighting champion and the match is on later. Great start to the show as Heyman was on fire and Brock looked ready to SMASH.

Our first match sees Daniel Bryan defending the Intercontinental Title against Dolph Ziggler. Bad News Barrett is on commentary, wisely pointing out that he does get a rematch but he wants it on his time and not tonight. Since Dolph actually holds some victories over Bryan recently, the fans were biting on the near falls here which was good. They repeat their excellent headbutt battle from WrestleMania, before Bryan is able to retain. Barrett attacks after the bell until a new look Sheamus returns. He has a mohawk, which looks cool, but tassels on his beard, which don't look cool. He then turns and Brogue Kicks Bryan and Dolph! Sheamus turns heel, drawing "you look stupid" chants. He seemed to welcome the chants and I liked this whole segment. Four of the best mid to upper midcard guys involved in the IC Title picture. I can get behind this.

We get told that Sting will not be on Raw, but on the WWE Network after. An eight man tag follows, pitting the Ascension and the Tag Team Champions against New Day and the debuting Lucha Dragons! Well, their Raw debut at least. They were like the video games when you debut on Superstars and have to work your way to Raw. This was the perfect time to debut Kalisto as the crowd responded to it well. Cesaro is great at selling for his style and the Ascension did well since they've worked them before. Despite New Day getting shit on by the fans, everyone worked hard. It was the Kalisto showcase though as he and, to a lesse extent, Sin Cara, killed it and the crowd ate it up. Kalisto wins for his team in the match of the night as it was an absolute blast. NXT! NXT! NXT!

After a cool Adrian Neville vignette airs, we are told that Seth Rollins has arrived. Our WWE Title match is now, except it isn't because Seth claims he's too jetlagged. BROCK SMASH however Seth escapes after a kick. This pisses Brock off more than ever and he turns over the announce table, WHILE THE ANNOUNCERS WERE SITTING! He takes Michael Cole into the ring and plants him with an F5 to one of the biggest pops ever. I hope Cole takes a few years off. He's the worst and this solidifies face Brock because nobody likes Cole. Brock isn't done as he goes to do it to a cameraman but Stephanie appears, telling to stop and promises him a shot. Brock is like I DONT GIVE A FUCK and he plants him with the F5 anyway. Steph suspends him indefinitely, but Brock hits another F5 anyway. One of the best segments the WWE has put out in a LONG time. Expertly done.

Byron Saxton comes out for commentary alone since our normal shitty announce team died. Team Rhodes Scholars explodes as Damien Mizdow beats Stardust. This worked as a fine cool down before Miz attacked Mizdow after he won. After a Ronda Rousey recap, Curtis Axel is out as we are on the road to AXtreme Rules. He calls the locker room jealous of him but he's cut off by Neville! Yes, the WWE dropped his first name, which is completely stupid but at least he was handled well here. Axel is a fine seller for his offense, and this was all Neville. He got in his stuff, debuted a cape and new attire and came off looking great. Good to see him on the main roster, since he's done everything he can down in NXT. Saxton meanwhile, hasn't been good on commentary alone though it is partially because he's selling Brock's attack.

All night long they have been promoting John Cena's open challenge for the US Title. He pandered to the crowd and has new merch with the US Title on it. Saxton expects Rusev to answer, which would be dumb since he already has a guaranteed rematch. Instead, we get Dean Ambrose to a monster pop. I really likes this match, although there were some sloppy moments, like Ambrose messing up a sunset flip powerbomb in the corner. But, Ambrose did kick out of an AA and even do his own STF before losing to a second AA. After the bell, Ambrose sold the frustration at losing another big match, while Cena gave him respect. This is what I want to see from the midcard titles. Have fighting champions who make them a big deal, defend them often and then give them some stories. Unfortunately, it was around here that the show started to come down.

Seth Rollins is interviewed backstage until Randy Orton interrupts. We're gonna have a six man tag main event pitting Seth, Show and Kane against Orton and two partners of his choosing. A six Diva tag came next and AJ Lee possibly steals the entire show by sporting a Bayley shirt to the ring. She teamed with Paige and Naomi against the Bella Twins and Natalya. This was perfectly fine as the girls got 13 minutes and worked through the commercial. Surprisingly, Naomi got the pin on Nikki Bella with the Rear End. It was solid, the crowd stayed involved and there were some "We Want Bayley" chants even. Next, Rusev squashed Goldust. It was just there.

Time for our main event and I just have to point out that the WWE Title looks good on Seth. Ryback and Roman Reigns turned out to be the partners of Randy Orton. The crowd decided to shit on this match. The reason for that, at least in my eyes, was that this was not a post Mania Raw caliber main event. This is something you see on a regular old edition of Raw. The fans did a wave, chanted "please retire" to Show and "same old shit" at Kane before going to chants for all of the NXT talent like Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn, Enzo Amore and more. Roman Reigns got the win for his team in a relatively okay match. That was it though. The past few years, post Mania Raws have ended with Brock Lesnar returning, Ryback turning heel and killing Cena and the Shield and Daniel Bryan taking out the Authority. Here, Reigns just gets the pin and that's it. It was anti-climactic to say the least.

Overall, this was still a really good Raw. It was one of the lesser post Mania Raws but still good. The first half of the show was incredibly brilliant. The Brock stuff, IC Title match and NXT showcases were all perfectly done. After the US Title match though, pretty much everything else was only decent at best. Still, I'll take this over their throwaway Raws we get from time to time. 8/10.