finn balor

It was time for the best Monday Night Raw of the year: the Raw after WrestleMania.

Historically fans have seen big debuts, title changes, and the genesis of fantastic storylines. Nobody really knew what to expect from the April 3rd, 2017 edition of Raw, but fans had high hopes.

The Hardys debuted the night before and captured the Raw Tag Team Championships so they were sure to make some kind of impact (pun totally intended). Finn Balor was also reportedly in the building so it was anybody’s guess what he might be doing. Fans also hoped to see Samoa Joe who was unfortunately snubbed from WrestleMania the night before. The Amway Center was packed and fans were furiously excited. But one thing for sure is they were in for a night they’d never forget.

Opening Segment

The Undertaker chants were already filling the arena when the show came on the air. They let them go for a really long time and we thought at one point the crowd chanting “Undertaker/Roman Sucks” might last all night. Then Roman Reigns’ music hit and everyone booed in unison. It was quite entertaining. Sometimes the best part of the Raw after WrestleMania is the crowd in attendance and the Amway Center wasn’t disappointing so far.

Roman got on the microphone and the “delete” chants came on strong. We’re not sure if they were chanting for Matt Hardy or they wanted Roman to go away. “F— you Roman” chants followed next and for some reason, Kevin Dunn didn’t mute any of it but it made the “you suck” chants that followed seem tame in comparison.

They didn’t let him talk. As soon as he raised the mic, the crowd chanted something else. “A*****e” chants were followed by more boos. Raw is amazing and nobody has said a word so far. Roman just stood there like a patient bronze greasy haired god, but he couldn’t even look like he was about to talk because the crowd wasn’t having it. Every time he put the mic to his mouth, the crowd just got louder and more creative with their chants: “Shut the f— up” chants soon rang out and Roman just grinned. Reigns didn’t care because he still got a fat Mania check last night, so they could chant “go away” as much as they wanted.

“This is my yard now” was all Roman said, he dropped the mic and walked away. Wow. What a way to piss off a building full of people who were already plenty pissed at him. Michael Cole called the crowd “non-traditional fans” and we laughed at that one. Corey Graves said fans will sometimes boo for stars they’d normally cheer for and vice versa and we know he doesn’t even believe that load of crap they told him to say.

The Hardy Boyz vs. The Club (Tag Team Championship)

The Club didn’t receive much of a response from this crowd even though they are still plenty respected. They big pop came when the Hardy Boyz music hit and good lord did they get a babyface pop. We just wanted to hear Matt talk to see if he still sounded Broken. Because that would be WONDERFUL!

Matt was certainly smiling like he was Broken, but Jeff didn’t look like Brother Nero, he looked more retro. But their music was still fantastic and the fans were totally into it. Matt was doing the “delete” motion and the crowd was full of thunderous DELETE chants as well. It was almost surreal to see The Hardy Boyz back in WWE, we just with Impact weren’t so protective for a last of a more appropriate word. #F—ThatOwl.

Matt hit a Side Effect early on in the match, but both Anderson and Gallows quickly rolled out of the ring to create some separation in order to regroup.

Anderson and Gallows double-teamed Matt and cut the ring in half on him. “Broken Matt” chants filled the arena, but it didn’t stop Gallows from hitting Matt with the stiff shots. Matt took a splash in the corner as “F— that owl” chants started. EXTRAORDINARY! As Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows kept up the abuse on Matt, the “obsolete” chants began to get loud too.

Jeff got the hot tag and the crowd chanted “delete” with every shot he delivered. He hit an inverted atomic drop and Gallows went outside to hold his crotch. Jeff pulled the ring steps out and used them to hit Luke with some Poetry In Motion.

Jeff then climbed to the top rope, but The Club cut him off. They hit him with the Boot Of Doom double-team, but Jeff kicked out at 2. They set him up for the Magic Killer next, but Matt interfered.

Matt got the tag and hit a Twist Of Fate on Gallows and Jeff caught a Swanton Bomb. 1-2-3 and the Hardy Boyz are still the Raw Tag Team Champions. Corey Graves said the Hardys will be on Raw Talk after the show and that will be worth watching just to hear them talk.

Neville vs. Mustafa Ali

Neville cut a pretty nice heel promo before his match started, but the response was nothing close to what Roman received earlier in the night. He did get some “what?” chants, so that’s something. When Mustafa Ali’s music cut him off mid-sentence it went over like a fart in church with the crowd.

Ali showed some nice gymnastic moves and a few nice move. He hit Neville with a pretty good dive from the high rent district but was quickly snuffed out by Neville. The King Of The Cruiserweights took control.

Ali hit Neville with a nice somersault neckbreaker thing that looked really nice, but Neville kicked out at two. Everyone in the arena seemed to have their attention diverted as a “beach ball mania” chant broke out. Yup, the fans were bouncing another beach ball around. Wonder where they found a beach ball in Orlando. If they’re going to do that, the cruiserweight match is just as good of a time as any.

Neville turned Ali inside out with a clothesline, but he didn’t get the pin. Mustafa Ali hit a beautiful springboard Spanish fly as “HEY we want some beach ball” chants carried on in the crowd. It’s a shame the crowd wasn’t more into this match because both of these guys were really bringing it. Ali hit Neville with an outstanding satellite DDT, but Neville got his foot on the rope.

Neville got up to hit the Red Arrow but decided not to because he’s a heel now. Instead, he latched on the Rings Of Saturn and Ali tapped out.

Backstage Segment

A stretch limo approached and Vince McMahon got out. He looked like he was ready for business.

Vince McMahon Segment

Vince came out to see if the crowd out would sing his theme song to him again this year, and they did very loudly. “Roman sucks” chants rang out as Vince shrugged his shoulders and carried on. Vince thanked the crowd to get on their good sides but they still thought that Roman sucks. Vince said it was time to shake things up around here and next week on Raw and SmackDown, that means a DRAFT IS COMING.

He then showed a clip of Stephanie going through a table at Mania and the fans loved it. He said Steph will be out for a while because of it, and the crowd chanted “yes.” Vince got a little pissed and called them insensitive, cruel, and blood-thirsty as the crowd chanted “delete.”

Vince said they needed a new Raw general manager and he was a 2017 WWE HOF inductee then Teddy Long’s music hit. Teddy came out doing his little dance and Vince said it wasn’t Teddy and he looked rather sad and just said, “my bad, holla holla holla” and danced off. Then Vince announced the new general manager, but there was no music.

The crowd started to get a little ramped up at this point and those in the know had a feeling as to what was about to happen. Finally, Vince said “the new general manager of Raw- KURT ANGLE!” The Olympic Hero came out in a suit and tie to a resounding “you suck” chant. See, people tell Kurt he sucks because they love him. They tell Roman he sucks because they really think he sucks.

Kurt Angle said “it’s great to be back on Monday Night Raw, it’s true, it’s damn true” and he left. Well, that was something expected but still freaking awesome.

New Day Segment And Open Challenge

With how lit this crowd was at this point, we’re not too sure how smart it was to put Xavier Woods and company in front of this Raw after WrestleMania crowd, but they were taking that chance. Big E had a Booty-O’s backpack which was neat. Kofi and Woods were wearing Legion Of Doom shoulder pads too except they were in colors that LOD would never wear in a million years.

Big E said he was so excited at Mania that all the blood in his head rushed directly to his — but Kofi cut him off. Langston is a dirty minded dude. Kofi said Mania was great but they didn’t get to do what they’re good at which is put a whooping on them.

Xavier said they were issuing an open challenge and we just sat back and waited for Alberto El Patron to come out — but instead it was THE REVIVAL. That will work. Holy crap we marked out so freaking hard. The Revival are on Raw! All we can say is it’s about time.

The Top Guys started working on Xavier Woods by cutting the ring in half and isolating Woods. Dash Wilder took a chop from Woods, but got a blind tag off to Scott Dawson. Dawson took the punishment to Xavier.

This is one of the greatest things ever, but isn’t SmackDown the brand that needs all the good tag teams? All we can say is it’s a good thing a WWE Draft is coming up soon. Let’s just hope WWE doesn’t do anything stupid like break up a good team they already have for the sake of starting a premature singles run.

Dawson kept Xavier Woods occupied by keeping him in pain and away from his corner for the tag. The Top Guys tagged in and out to show the exceptional tag team ability they are known to have.

Scott Dawson got Woods on the top rope, but Xavier fought out of it and landed a missile dropkick from the top. But Dawson got in and tried to keep Woods from the tag but it was to no avail. Big E got the tag and started delivering some suplexes all around. Big E was outsmarted and he took his signature suicide dive into thin air and hit hard on the mat.

Xavier took The Revival’s finisher The Shatter Machine and 1-2-3, The Revival won their debut Raw match. Afterward, The Revival beat Kofi down as their music played and they stood triumphantly in the ring.

Backstage Segment

Kurt Angle was unpacking his office and turned to see Enzo and Big Cass. The crowd seemed to be very over on them still. Kurt Angle said he’s never heard of any college being able to teach someone to be a certified G, a bonafide stud, or being seven feet tall. That was funny.

Enzo and Big Cass said they wanted some gold around their waists and complained about the Hardy Boyz being in the match and Goofy being treated like a human and Pluto being treated like a dog. Kurt said Enzo and Big Cass are going to compete against Sheamus and Cesaro for a #1 contender match. Big Cass spelled out what he thought of Shesaro: S-A-W-F-T. After they were gone Kurt Angle said, “that’s not how you spell soft.” He’s still just as great as ever. Good god, we missed Kurt Angle. Raw is going to be amazing from now on as long as he’s a part of the show. It’s a great time to be a WWE fan, people!

Bayley, Dana Brooke, and Sasha Banks vs. Emma, Nia Jax, and Charlotte Flair

Let’s just see if they turn Sasha Banks heel here. It would be about time for Miss Purple Hair to turn on her former BFF. Oh yeah, and Emma is back too. She jumped on the announce booth and Corey Graves had the best seat in the house for a minute. When Nia Jax came out we were wondering if she would be getting on the announce table too, but it didn’t happen.

Charlotte and Dana started it off but Flair immediately got the tag to Emma. The Australian heel took it to Dana Brooke. Bayley tagged in and started grappling with Emma for a minute as the crowd carried on with that nifty Bayley chant they do. Bayley rode Emma like a pony for a second and spun all over her. For real, that happened.

Once Nia Jax got the tag she took control of Bayley by using her size and strength to her advantage. Charlotte tagged in and continued the assault to Bayley. Emma jumped in the match and went right after Sasha Banks just for fun, then she returned to Bayley who was in the tree of woe to pull her head back by pulling her hair. Great heel move.

Bayley turned things around for herself when she tossed Char Char out, but Flair still didn’t let her get to her partners for the tag. Sasha got the blind tag off and took it to every heel.

The Boss went to work on The Queen and Charlotte didn’t know what hit her. Banks hit Charlotte with the double knees to the stomach move she does so well. Nia Jax entered the match, but Brooke and Banks took her out with a double dropkick.

Charlotte went for a Natural Selection on Sasha Banks, but just like at Mania, Sasha turned it into a Banks Statement. Charlotte needs to remember that Sasha can do that to her. Charlotte tapped and the faces celebrated.

Charlotte ended up blaming Nia and Emma. Nia heard enough of it and Jax just smashed the ever loving crap out of her to leave The Nature Girl laying on her back in the middle of the ring.

Backstage Segment

Kurt Angle was talking to Sami Zayn as Sami was telling him all about his great relationship with Mick Foley. It was kind of awkward and Sami seemed to be rambling a bit. It was like a boy talking to someone he liked but he didn’t know what to say so he said too much. Kurt said that Sami had all of the “Three I’s” (intensity, intelligence, integrity) and he shouldn’t be worried no matter where he goes after the upcoming draft.

Jinder Mahal came in and demanded justice against Gronk. Sami and Jinder started arguing about who deserved Angle’s attention. Kurt said while he’s in charge they were going to settle things in the ring so he set a match against the two later tonight. We guess the winner gets dinner with Kurt Angle or something.

Brock Lesnar Segment

The Beast Incarnate and his advocate received a massive ovation when their music hit. Paul took the microphone and the crowd hung on his every word. Paul told a bedtime story about a superhero who took his spear and jackhammer and decided to go into town. Unfortunately for Goldberg, he took a turn into Suplex City and got his ass kicked by the beast. It was great. One of the best Paul Heyman segments in a long, long time. When Paul Heyman said “you won’t be seeing Bill Goldberg around here anymore” the place popped huge with a lot of “yes” and “thank you Brock” chants.

Paul Heyman said Brock Lesnar is looking for a new challenger for the Universal Title and the crowd started chanting “Finn.” Paul threw out some names like Seth Rollins, Matt Hardy (that got a lot of delete chants), and Jeff Hardy. Paul Heyman said it was time to talk about the 2 in 23 and 2. The crowd started booing big time.

Paul started hyping Roman and trying to get a match with Brock and Reigns to gain some steam as the crowd chanted “we want Balor.” Heyman said they wanted to give the crowd something special and acted like he was going to set up Roman vs. Brock but Braun Strowman’s music hit and he came down to the ring looking huge.

Braun and Brock stood face to face. Braun said “I see Roman Reigns has your attention, maybe when I’m through with him I’ll have your’s” he then said Brock has his attention and the two looked at each other for a bit. Brock put the Universal Title on the mat and stepped back to invite Braun to come get some.

Instead, Strowman backed up and walked away as the crowd chanted “bullsh–.”

Backstage Segment

Charlie interviewed Chris Jericho about his match at Payback where he would get a rematch for the US Title. Jericho said he loved the Raw after WrestleMania. He said beach ball mania is running wild and the crowd popped HUGE. Y2J started listing every country he could think of and their equivalent of the word “friends.” He said they’re all the Friends Of Jericho “Cheer me on maaaaan.” The crowd started chanting “stupid idiot” as Jericho carried on about the tip of Kevin Owens’ finger for touching the rope last night and stopping the count when Jericho was about to win.

The tip of Kevin Owens’ made the list just in time for KO to jump him and beat him down. Samoa Joe joined him and they both beat down Jericho and powerbombed him through a table.

Kurt Angle came out of the trainer’s room when Seth Rollins came up to ask him how bad Chris Jericho’s injury was. Kurt said Jericho is in no shape to wrestle tonight but he promised him he’s find a partner

Enzo and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (#1 Contender’s Match)

Enzo was wearing Orlando Magic themed overalls and started the match out by taking some punishment from both Sheamus and Cesaro. Big Cass looked pretty good against Sheamus for a bit and ended up throwing both opponents out of the ring. Then he threw Enzo out of the ring onto them. Because that’s what you do with your best friend — you throw him like a lawn dart onto people you don’t like as much.

Sheamus and Cesaro ended up getting the best of Enzo and kept him away from Big Colin Cassady as they continued their abuse on the Smacktalker Skywalker. Cesaro took Enzo for a swing and followed it up with a sharpshooter. Big Cass hit a big boot to break up the submission and ran around to get the tag.

Cass hit Cesaro with a splash, sidewalk slam, and an Empire Elbow. He tagged Enzo in, but just as Amore was about to hit the Boom Shakalaka finisher, Sheamus jumped in the ring to Brogue Kick Big Cass. The Celtic Warrior tossed Enzo off the top turnbuckle into a European Uppercut from Cesaro and they got the win. Sheamus and Cesaro are the new #1 contenders once again.

Jinder Mahal vs. Sami Zayn

They played a slideshow of Gronk taking out Jinder from Sunday after Mahal threw a beer in the New England Patriots star’s face. Guess Gronk knows the price of a $15 beer just like the rest of us.

Jinder jumped Sami during his entrance and beat him all around the ring as “Ole” chants echoed in the Amway Center. As soon as the bell rang, Jinder Mahal continued with his assault on The Underdog From The Underground.

Sami hit an exploder suplex and a Helluva Kick out of nowhere in the midst of getting his butt kicked and scored a clean win.

Just a thought: We wonder if this “superstar shake-up” going down next week will switch JBL for Corey Graves so Mauro Ranallo will be able to come back to SmackDown Live with his bully of a broadcast partner being put on Raw?

Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins and Finn Balor

Okay, we’re just going to say it one more time in this article: Samoa Joe got screwed out of his first WrestleMania and it really sucked. But, he was at the Raw after Mania. The crowd chanted “Joe” as he walked to the ring not looking like he had much time to be cheered for.

Seth Rollins is extremely over, he finally became a bonafide babyface and it looks good on him. But even The Architect couldn’t do it alone in this match so he needed a partner. Then the lights went out and Finn Balor’s music hit. The place went crazy. Finn Balor is back in all of his Fonzie-looking brilliance.

Hey, here’s a thought — they could have had Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe at Mania. We know they already had that in NXT, but why the hell not? Besides, a better part of the WWE Universe only watches the main roster even if they have the WWE Network. It would have given them something to do and there’s no way it would have sucked. But, oh well. It didn’t happen. What matters now is Finn Balor is back and he’s looking to prove why he’s as over as he is.

Seth and Kevin started off the match as Michael Cole points out the irony that Finn was put on the shelf for so long because of Seth Rollins and now he’s coming out to be Rollins’ partner. That fact wasn’t lost on us either. Cole also said all four men in the match are former NXT Champions, we thought of that one too. It really was a great main event.

Once Samoa Joe got the tag he started beating Rollins down, but Seth soon returned the favor. Joe got the tag off to “The Face Of America” Kevin Owens (what a great nickname for the US Champion). Seth hit Owens with a bucklebuster and tagged in Finn Balor.

Finn and Kevin stood face-to-face and the crowd ate it up. The two finally collided and Balor took over as “NXT” chants erupted in the crowd. Balor scaled to the top rope, but Kevin ran out of the ring. Finn chased Owens down and dropkicked him into the barricade, that was nice.

Rollins got the tag and launched himself onto Kevin Owens who powdered out of the ring. Then Joe came to help and Seth ran back to leap on both of them. Seth sold his knee injury and Kevin hit him with a DDT.

It’s a good thing there’s a roster shake-up scheduled soon because Raw has everyone big at this point. Joe, Rollins, Sami, Finn, The Revival, Owens, The New Day, The Hardys, Lesnar, Rusev, Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley, and Enzo and Big Cass. Someone’s getting moved to the blue brand, that’s for sure.

“Stupid idiot” chants rang out as Kevin beat Rollins down. Joe got the tag and Kevin told him to “finish what you started.” Samoa Joe kept up the pressure on The Architect. Joe hit Rollins with a kneecapper. Seth sold it beautifully and Joe followed it up with a senton.

Seth finally got the tag to Finn Balor just as KO got tagged in. The Demon hit Owens with a nice dropkick and threw him to the turnbuckles with knife-edged chops each time. Kevin ended up on the mat and Finn Balor climbed up to deliver a Coup De Grace, but Owens moved and Finn landed on his feet. Kevin tried for a pop-up powerbomb but he couldn’t pull it off.

Finn hit a Slingblade and just as he was about to deliver his dropkick to the corner, Joe got him in the Coquina Clutch. Seth came in with a springboard knee to Joe and the Destroyer rolled out of the ring. Finn Balor hit his dropkick to the corner and followed it with a successful Coup De Grace for the clean win.

The Raw after WrestleMania 33 ended with Kevin and Joe walking up the ramp looking defeated and pissed as Finn Balor and Seth Rollins stood victorious in the ring while Finn’s music played.