It’s the day after WrestleMania 33 and that can only mean one thing: obnoxious crowds trying to take over the show. That’s right, it’s the annual Raw After Mania! I’m Robyn and I’ll be filling in as recapper tonight.
Time for the second Roadblock of the year, this one with a subtitle like it’s a video game sequel and we’re all just supposed to pretend the first one didn’t happen. Okay, we’ll go with it, it’s not like I needed to sleep or anything, I guess. Joining me on commentary is a small black cat, who is asleep with her nose pressed to her bottom, which is rather like what our WWE commentary team do for Vince. Let’s enjoy.
The first night of our new Monday Night Raw! Wow! So we cover Dean being lifted by the SmackDown roster last night, and then it’s fresh new music for the start of Raw, and also our new commentary team and the new place for the announce table… hang on, can people not be put through tables anymore? Steph and Mick introduce us to the entire roster of Raw, playing the new music, too. Apparently Neville and Mark Henry were the only ones who didn’t get the memo about wearing their own clothes, and are still wearing their Raw shirts.
We open with a series of “earlier today” segments, starting with AJ Styles and The Club conspiring. Chris Jericho has apparently lost his scarf. Sami Zayn taunts Jericho from afar. Seth Rollins tries to pick a fight with Jey Uso and ends up making a match for later on tonight.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever said this before, but I actually really like the SmackDown theme music. Sometimes I sing it in my car while I’m driving around.
JoJo starts to announce that the following contest is scheduled for… something, because then Dean Ambrose’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. Byron and Mauro are again joined on commentary by Jerry Lawler, but I’m trying not to focus too much on that. Dean wants to use his clout as WWE champion to become a ring announcer for a night, because it’s always looked like fun to him and he thought he’d be good at it. I feel like you can set your sights just a tiny bit higher, Deano.
We open with Seth’s music hitting, and he makes his way down to the ring as we are reminded about the upcoming triple threat match. Seth claims that he’s going to talk about Roman Reigns, even though he’s not supposed to, because it’s live television. He starts aggressively mocking Roman Reigns’s tweet about the suspension; he can’t apologize to is friends because it’s one vs. all, and he can’t apologize to the fans, and the whole thing embarrassed Seth Rollins because he built Roman Reigns when he put together the Shield.
Seth demands that Roman be taken out of the match at Battleground because he doesn’t deserve to be there given the suspension, and asks for a one-on-one rematch with Dean Ambrose instead. Dean makes his way out to the ring at this point, because of course he does. He takes some time showing the title off to Seth before he actually starts speaking, and I love it when Dean gets like this, I really do.
The show opens with a video of Dean pulling up in a taxi, and accidentally leaving the Heavyweight Championship title behind. This is actually a perfect way to start his reign, I’m not gonna lie. He’s also the first person we see come out into the ring, with his music hitting and I still haven’t got over seeing WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose, so I’m grinning hugely. Commentators are despairing, calling this the “darkest day” and complaining that a “lunatic” is the new face of the company while we get a recap of the Money in the Bank ladder match and the championship match with Dean’s cash-in. I was really hoping that Dean being champion might mean we get to leave the lunatic angle behind, but we can’t have everything now, can we?
“You deserve this” chants from the crowd while Dean looks just as happy in the ring with the title as I am to see him there. Dean admits that he had a pretty long and hard night, not all of which he remembers, involving some sort of shenanigans with a security guard and a dog, and also he won Money in the Bank and became champion. I understand, man, it’s rough. The lesson to be learned from last night is that what goes around, comes around, and hard work pays off. If Seth was “the man” and Roman was “the guy”, that probably makes Dean “the dude”, which I’m… not really comfortable with, but whatever makes you happy, champ. Dean’s been chasing the title for two years, and now he’s finally got it. What a glorious day.
We open with a ten bell salute in honor of Memorial Day, closely followed by a video package of various superstars reciting a presidential speech. Most of them are dressed up, but Roman, John Cena, and Dolph are wearing their own t-shirts and Dean is wearing some kind of random Las Vegas shirt. It’s pretty jarring and we’re all suddenly very uncomfortable about coming here to watch grown men beat the snot out of each other.
Shane O’Mac comes out for the traditional Raw opening monologue, and he’s quickly joined by Steph. I guess it’s supposed to be like she interrupted him, but they must have been standing together at Gorilla, right? Also they’re supposed to be doing this together so technically HE was the rude one, right?
We open with Seth Rollins in the ring, and while I’d love to be excited about this, I hit my maximum yesterday, so all I can notice is that his suit has wet patches running down it from his hair. The crowd is a different story, though, and Seth doesn’t get a chance to speak for some time because the crowd is too busy chanting “Welcome back!” at him. Finally, he asks for his chance to speak and reminds us all that while they’ve been waiting 200 days to see him, he’s been waiting 200 days for his chance to get back in the ring and talk to them. Seth, of course, reminds us of the events of Extreme Rules, when he Pedigreed Roman Reigns to make a statement about how he never actually lost the title, and the crowd starts to chant “Thank you, Rollins!”
Seth seems pretty happy that everyone missed him so much, but can’t help but remind us that we hated him when he broke up The Shield, that we thought he was a coward hiding behind the Authority, that we disrespected every moment of his title reign and we can’t turn around on that just because he got injured and we didn’t get to see him for a little while. We weren’t there when he had the title, he threw out our fanmail while he was recovering, and now he doesn’t care if we cheer him or boo him because there’s only room on the Seth Rollins bandwagon for one guy: Seth Rollins, and his WWE Championship.
Well, we open Raw with a recap of the AJ/Roman feud, with lots of slow-motion footage, and Roman looking bored next to the title, and I still think Roman should have eaten the pin from AJ to end that match, but ah well. Apparently creative think Roman’s at his most attractive to us when he’s just smacking the hell out of people for barely discussed reasons. I’m not entirely sure they’re wrong, honestly.
Welcome, one and all, to (an admittedly very late) Thursday Night SmackDown! Where heels are faces, faces are tweeners, the Authority is gone, everything is beautiful and nothing hurts! The ever entertaining Mauro Ranallo is welcoming us to the party, where later tonight Sami Zayn is going to battle Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio will duke it out with AJ Styles. As Maryse introduces our Intercontinental Champion and her husband The Miz, in French no less, I am thoroughly convinced I have slipped into a really weird alternate universe. My body is ready.