New Orleans got its third show in as many nights from WWE and despite debuts and returns, not much really happened on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
Forever Her House
WWE dropped straight back into the Sasha Banks/Bayley passive-aggressive feud on this show as Banks lost a match to Mandy Rose, but that’s not really much of a story.
Paige officially retired from in-ring competition.
It’s heartbreaking for me, personally. She and I are the same age. I remember watching her debut and feeling such a connection for her because of that. While I was getting cabin fever in college, she was out conquering the world and changing the game.
My eyes stung listening to her talk.
Paige has been a role model for me. She’s never apologized for who she is or what she wants in life. And I’m scared for her in this transitional phase moving out of the ring. It’s almost certainly going to be difficult to go through.
I’m leading the review with Paige as a tribute for how much she’s meant to me and for what she’s accomplished in her career. I’m rooting for you moving forward, Paige. This entire freaking world is your house.
A Samoan Icon Named Joe
But let’s get to the show, shall we? Samoa Joe is the baddest dude on the planet.
Roman Reigns came out and got booed to high hell. He rubbed his forehead and looked sad and bemoaned his fortunes. He felt off at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon wouldn’t look him in the eye. And hey, can you believe that he had to learn about a championship match on the internet?!
And then…Samoa Joe.
I’m not even going to try to describe the magnificent promo Joe provided. He mocked Reigns, called him a liar, a loser, a conspiracy theorist, a failure…
He broke this man down, word by word. And you know what? Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns is a much more compelling match than Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. Always has been. Joe can do more for Reigns than Lesnar can.
Do you think WWE might be catching on to that? Yeah, me neither. Nevertheless, Joe strutted his way out of the arena after dropping verbal bombshells. Reigns had no response.
This was hands down the best segment of the show.
Brother Nero, We Knew You’d Come!
No really. We did.
Seth Rollins started the second hour and the crowd chanted that he deserved his title victory at WrestleMania. Finn Balor came out and said the same.
(We get it, folks. That chant’s getting old in a hurry.)
But Balor also said that Rollins never pinned him – which is silly, since Rollins did pin him just last Monday – and then the Miz came out and talked about how his family all cried.
It was weird.
Anyway, it all led to a 6-man tag match to end the show with a returning Jeff Hardy – but not before an incredible run-in backstage with Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. Jeff clearly speaks their Broken language and it left Rollins and Balor gaping.
And the match was harmless fun. Nothing notable really happened. The best part for me was Curtis Axel’s excitement for hitting a dropkick. Michael Cole messed up some names and the babyfaces hit some finishers to end the show.
And that was it.
Best of the Rest
Stephanie tries to spin the story, gets her arm broken again – The crowd mercilessly booed McMahon and when she gave lip service to Ronda Rousey, Rousey snapped her arm again.
Ember Mood Debuts – Nia Jax has been without a true friend for a while, so it was nice to see Moon come to her aid in a tag match against Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. That Eclipse is something else, man.
“AS SOON AS HE’S FINISHED WITH SCHOOL WE’RE COMING BACK FOR THOSE!” - And so ends the most amazing tag team of all time – and they’ll end without strife, folks. No betrayals, no egos.
Just homework. It happens.
No Way Jose Debuts – It was a quick squash and honestly, I expected a hotter crowd for this. Jose’s been off television for so long though, so we’ll see where this goes. With the midcard title scene so competitive, it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in.
The Revival def. Balor Club – Hey remember when the Balor Club was a thing in January? What the hell happened?
Bobby Lashley returns – Lashley interrupted Elias and flattened him in short order. First time seeing Lashley since I was a teen – he looked pretty impressive as far as two moves go. I’m willing to give him a shot.
The Authors of Pain Debut – They came, they squashed, they ditched Paul Ellering. I’m interested to see how they fare on their own.
Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt def. Titus Worldwide – That clapping spot of Hardy and Wyatt is fantastic; keep doing that. Beyond that, this was an ordinary tag match. They’ll face the Revival next week in this impromptu tournament.
“I Hear TNA is Hiring…” - Kurt. That burn, dude.
So Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens showed up on Monday Night Raw! It was one of the only storyline-progressing moves of the night, and Angle had the two fight over one spot on Raw.
…They both lost. Whoops.
Perhaps I’m just burnt on wrestling after this weekend, but I wasn’t too terribly impressed by this show. I was disappointed, in fact. Sure, there was a lot of flash – debuts and returns, mainly – but very little substance. They’re probably waiting for the Superstar Shakeup.
But this crowd was pretty mild by “Raw after WrestleMania” shows. Perhaps this is the new norm; we know the debuts are coming, after all. Commentary was pretty brutal at times, too.
This feels like a really short review, but what’s there to grade? Most of the debuts were short and I cannot really give context until the Superstar Shakeup is finished. Bobby Lashley, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy all looked fine.
I just wanted more from this show, I think. Call it WrestleMania burnout. But what did you think, Cageside?