Tuesday, April 5, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 4th, 2016

Last night was WrestleMania and it got quite the mixed reaction. Something that has become pretty common for modern day WWE post 2014. Roman Reigns pinned Triple H to become the WWE Champion as expected to a chorus of boos, Brock Lesnar beat Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho beat AJ Styles, and The Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon. Where do we go from here?

The show begins with the commentators basically making excuses for the crowd being so anti-Reigns by saying "they boo who they normally cheer" because of how passionate they are, which kind of makes sense, but kind of doesn't so, hey.

Mr. McMahon is out first to address the outcome of Taker/Shane last night. The crowd chants "Better Than Reigns" directed towards Shane which Vince once again plays off as them being "crazy people". Before Vince can leave, Shane O Mac himself comes out to a huge pop. He gets teary eyed and thanks all the fans for him giving him a moment he'll never forget. Shane bids farewell and goes to leave, but that's not good enough for Vince because that's Shane getting the last word. So, Vince says he's gonna let Shane run Raw for the night and see what he's really got.

1) The New Day (c) vs. Sheamus & Wade Barrett - WWE Tag Team Championship Match

New Day has the crowd going nuts with their pre-match promo about the last piece of Booty-O cereal. The League of Nations crashes the party for this title match. It's pretty straight up and to the point. Early flurry from New Day with a huge dive from Kofi as we head to commercial before Sheamus & Barrett take over. The crowd starts entertaining themselves for a bit here which was annoying, but then Big E gets the hot tag and brings them back into it with a triad of german suplexes. This is the start of New Day's comeback which ultimately results in them retaining the titles. Barrett takes the pin.

Match rating - **1/2

Post match, Sheamus yells for them to cut the music and League of Nations boots Barrett from the group. Apparently this is his last match under WWE contract so bye bye BNB!

2) Summer Rae vs. Sasha Banks
Pretty decent little sprint. Summer counters the backstabber from Sasha, but gets locked in the Bank Statement out of nowhere soon after and is forced to tap.

Match rating - **

3) Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze
APOLLO'S MAIN ROSTER DEBUT LADS. Nice showcase for him here with him getting all his shit in and in fine fashion. Shame a fellow NXT star had to be the guy that jobbed to him, but I'll just use a WWE term and view this as an enhancement match and not a squash. Excited to see where Crews goes from here. This reminded me of Neville's post Mania Raw debut last year.

Match rating - **1/4

Roman Reigns comes out with his newly won WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The crowd is still booing the hell out of him and ROMAN STARTS GIVING OFF HEEL VIBES! I actually kinda liked it, although his flaws still show. He keeps it short though and it feels more natural, surprisingly. Roman says that if anyone wants his title, they can come out and confront him right now. Chris Jericho is out first followed by AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, which got a huge reaction. From me, as well. Big Kev looked pissed, angry, and like more of a threat than anyone else here. Sami Zayn rounds out the crowd and a brawl breaks out. Reigns stands back until the end and spears Jericho from behind, yet again playing the villain. I like where this is going and I'm hoping this leads to a match later in the night. Awesome segment.

4) Dolph Ziggler vs. Barin Corbin
Barin Corbin had a massive debut in the form of wining the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. A night with the trend of "new stars" continues with him facing Dolph Ziggler in his first main roster singles match. It's what you'd expect from a Ziggler match. Corbin dominated early with Ziggler fighting from underneath. They put together some good sequences aside from a few awkward moments that took the crowd out of it. The finish came across pretty flat too so this was indifferent for me. Both men get counted out when Corbin drags Ziggler into the crowd then he brings him back to ringside and hits him with his finisher on the floor.

Match rating - **1/4

5) Zack Ryder (c) vs. The Miz - Intercontinental Championship Match
Ryder's first title defense after his random ass, unexpected win at Mania. Miz talked him into it, using his father at ringside as bait. It's pretty solid and they're given time to work, but the crowd doesn't seem fully invested until the end. Speaking of the end, it was very well booked with Miz confronting Ryder's father and getting shoved down which leads to Maryse coming from out of nowhere, making her first WWE appearance in YEARS to get in the face of Ryder's father. This allows Miz to roll up Ryder and the ring and win his fifth Intercontinental Title.

Match rating - ***

6) The Usos vs. The Dudley Boys - Tables Match
Rematch from the Mania pre-show. It's a solid affair with no real wasted time. The Usos get their signature stuff in from dives to superkicks. They throw in a unique spot where they run the barricade and dive onto The Dudleys before placing them on tables in the ring. The Uso brothers head up top and go for double frog splashes, but the pool is empty! The Dudleys win and throw The Usos through two more tables for good measure.

Match rating - **3/4

After the match, The Dudleys are still at ringside saying they won't leave until they're ready which brings out Enzo & Big Cass. The NXT stars get an awesome reaction from the crowd as they hung on literally every word they said. A few catchphrases & insults later, Enzo & Cass challenge The Dudleys to a fight. Bubba & Devon tease it only to back off last minute.

Backstage, Renee Young is interviewing Sami Zayn about his upcoming #1 Contender's Match tonight when he's attacked from behind by Kevin Owens. FANTASTIC stuff here. Owens beats the hell out of Zayn and powerbombs him through a table whilst shouting insults. Big Kev has looked like a STAR tonight.

7) AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro - #1 Contender's Match for the WWE Championship
In the absence of Sami Zayn following KO's attack comes the return of Cesaro! If you know me, you know Cesaro is one of my all time favorites as I've pretty much studied his work from CHIKARA to ROH to England/Germany to obviously now here in WWE. So, I, as well as the crowd in attendance, popped huge for him. He comes out in a suit and sun glasses looking spiffy as fuck before hitting the ring. There's a chilling staredown between him and AJ Styles in the opening moments which leads to a dream exchange between the two during which the crowd chanted "this is awesome" and indeed, it was. With all the names involved, you knew this would be nothing short of an excellent match and that's exactly what it was. As you know, I don't do play by play, so I'll just say this was as great as you'd expect. Near falls, awesome exchanges & counters, drama. This match had all the goods. Styles kicked out of the Code Breaker in a big moment which would lead us towards our finish with Styles pinning Jericho following a Styles Clash to become the #1 Contender. I was hoping for Cesaro, but this is undoubtedly suffice as I never thought in a million years I'd see AJ Styles challenging for the WWE Championship. Awesome main event!

Match rating - ****

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