RAW after Mania is always the most exciting night on the wrestling calendar, along with the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania itself. This years offering was a good solid show with some fun and exciting moments and a live crowd that was hot for most of the action. The crowd also made their feelings known when it came to what they didn’t like, but we can all agree that some stars really stole the night.
So what were the good bits of the night? we take a look at two moments that really made this episode of Monday Night RAW a truly unforgettable night. We also look at two of the worst moments of the night and the arrival of VEER.
The Good: Adrenaline In My Soul, Cody Rhodes Opens The Show
It is still unreal that Cody Rhodes returned to WWE at Wrestlemania 38 and as he makes his entrance on the Raw after Mania the crowd reaction is something to behold. He truly went from undesirable to undeniable and his return is proof of that. he makes his way to the ring, presented exactly as he should be, the American nightmare, and even starts off the way he ended his AEW run, “So what do you want to talk about?” His promo was emotional and fitting of his return, talking about his father, the late great Dusty Rhodes. he took this opportunity to honor him and make a statement, that he is looking towards his future and a world championship reign.
The Good: Black Excellence Reigns Supreme at the Raw After Mania
Sasha Banks and Naomi were crowned the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions at this year’s WrestleMania, marking this as Banks’ first win at the show of shows. Tonight they face off against the relatively new team, who seem like a perfect fit for one another, of Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley. The Match was lots of fun and despite the fact that Ripley and Morgan lost, the two will get a chance to challenge for the championship next week. A few segments later we got a great promo from our NEW RAW Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair, who was also sporting a very big bruise on her eye. She obviously received this during her match with Becky Lynch on Night One of Mania 38. That didn’t stop her from showing up and showing out on the RAW after Mania. I really hope we get to see these three fierce, strong, and beautiful women of color team up in the near future.
The Bad: The Three E’s of RAW After Mania
The repackaging of Elias as Ezikial is altogether baffling and honestly isn’t working for me. Judging by the crowd reaction it wasn’t working for them either. Elias, I’m sorry Ezikial comes out and interrupts Kevin Owens, he tries to make it work but Owens is a true man of the people. He too is baffled and isn’t buying this being the brother of his former allie, Elias. The big disconnect is now that fans are back Elias really didn’t need a gimmick change. This would have been so much more impactful if after over a year away we finally heard that guitar strum and his voice booming out to interrupt Owens. That’s not what we got.
Edge came to the ring dressed in an amazing black suit and begins to cut a promo. He is soon joined by Damian Priest and it seems like this is the start of a new dark faction within WWE. I actually really dug this but the crowd on the other hand was not having any of it. They chanted “We Don’t Care” and luckily Priest was able to heckle the crowd back with a smirk and unbelievable charisma. he is a star and should always be presented as such, but this segment felt like it went on too long, and despite all the dark mood lighting, fantastic suites, and slick presentation everything seemed a little bit off. Hopefully, this will grow into something good and isn’t dropped in a few weeks.
And The VEER
The VEER is finally here and we are all so excited. After being defeated by The Miz, Domanik Mysterio is joined in the ring by his father Rey Mysterio. After months of waiting and the whole wrestling community fantasy booking his debut, along with creating a collection of hilarious memes, Veer finally arrived on Monday Night RAW.
And what a debut it was, he came to the ring, disposing of Rey and then taking out his anger and frustration on the young Domanik. Only time will tell what is in store for VEER on the red brand. Unlike with many RAW after Mania shows there were no real big returns, no real call ups, and no surprises. Were was Bayley or Asuka? Why did we create this new character when there was nothing wrong with Elias in the first place. All in all, this was a great RAW and I hope this will continue for the rest of the year.