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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (April 18, 2016): Join the club!

WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (April 18, 2016) from London, England, and while there are still some of the same old problems there is plenty to be excited about as we head for Payback next month.

Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.


The deadman's hand

Shane McMahon is, apparently, the personification of what Triple H represents to NXT, at least in the eyes of the fans who love the developmental brand. Triple H can't play the role, and you know a McMahon has to be given the credit, so they've attempted to channel the praise Haitch gets into Shane O'Mac.

It's working.

Kind of.

The reality, though we may be loathe to admit it at times, is that Triple H is an exceptional performer and Shane McMahon is not. He's beloved for a number of reasons, and none of them have anything to do with his leadership abilities.

Sure, it's nice to have a babyface authority figure, if only because it's a nice change of pace, but how much longer are we going to watch Shane fumble through his promos without acknowledging that fact? Why does the authority figure have to be an on-screen presence at all? Why not just let the issues between wrestlers play out in such a way that decisions can be made behind-the-scenes without fans needing to give some sort of undeserved credit?

It is entirely unnecessary to the success of the show itself. You are not watching Raw to see Shane book a match. Triple H is beloved, and that comes through during certain segments/matches, but it has nothing to do with the Triple H character. That character starts at its ceiling. There is nowhere to go but down.

And we're already seeing that.

They've also completely stopped pretending to care about giving us a reason for his running the show, which is actually as honest as they've ever been.


The deadman's fate

We aren't getting the Bullet Club. It goes against everything WWE has ever represented to give us a stable that existed and became popular outside of the promotion without first destroying it and attempting to build it back up in its own image.

Wait, maybe we ARE getting the Bullet Club.

Really, you could argue they made the best decision they could with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, having them come in lay waste to The Usos, leaving some doubt over whether or not it was a targeted or random attack, then give us some evidence to support the former this week while also providing evidence to the contrary.

Or at least give us a strong babyface telling what could turn out to be a lie, when AJ Styles informed Roman Reigns he had nothing to do with Anderson and Gallows attacking the WWE world heavyweight champion. This after it was clearly established Styles is friends with the duo and may have even had a hand in bringing them to the company.

This all provides a deeper level of interest that wouldn't have existed in a straight singles match. What's great about it is they don't actually need the added layer of intrigue. The back-and-forth between Styles and Reigns, along with the crowd response to both, was enough to carry a PPV main event at a show like Payback in a city like Chicago.

Now? It's a must see event.


All the best to all the rest

Chris Jericho def. Sami Zayn: Good, not great. Fun for what it was. Accomplished its goal of showing us that Zayn has the most moves that should be finishes but NEVER score pinfalls.

Baron Corbin def. Fandango: Considering the fact that there aren't nearly enough heels fans actually want to hate, we should be hoping for Corbin's success. He's a perfect douche. Dolph Ziggler is just the guy to sell for him while getting him established. This is working.

Miz TV: Watching Miz (maybe intentionally) screw up his lines biting an old movie that's already been bitten a million times was painful, and Cesaro just isn't the guy to return fire in such a way that it makes it all worth it. That said, it was TOTALLY worth it when they got to Cesaro revealing a New Day shirt under his tearaway suit and London going INSANE for Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston. This is the kind of segment I think of when I think of pro wrestling being so fun.

Women's tag: For all the talk of women getting equal treatment, they still booked an 8-woman tag match to cram as many into one segment as possible, even when there are far more interesting stories they could be telling. The Becky Lynch-Emma feud is a great example of a mid-card level program fans could get invested in if they were just given the chance, but they refuse to invest the time. Instead, we get the standard tag booking with the champion tapping to the challenger while her teammates support her on her road to her latest title shot.

Tag team tournament: Enzo & Cass are the quintessesntial WWE main roster tag team while The Vaudevillains are almost certainly going to die a very slow death in front of more mainstream crowds. They died a death in front of this crowd. Can you imagine literally any crowd reacting to a Vaudevillains vs. New Day match? Now imagine that same crowd reacting to an Enzo & Cass vs. New Day match. Now prepare to be disappointed.

Apollo Crews def. Heath Slater: They set this up by having Crews agree to join the Social Outcasts if Slater could beat him but with the promise they would leave him alone forever if they failed to do so. They did. It wasn't much of a match. It was late in the show and the crowd didn't care, despite the stipulation.

Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens: This match was actually hurt by the fact that there were zero stakes to it. In theory an Ambrose vs. Owens main event should sell itself but Crews vs. Slater, which came right before it, actually had something on the line. Sure, it was a fun, back-and-forth pro wrestling match between two very good pro wrestlers but I still need a reason to care about two guys wrestling a match. On that point, your mileage may vary.

This wasn't a bad show. This wasn't a good show.

Grade: C

Your turn, Cagesiders.

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