4/3 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: The Night After WrestleMania 33, Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Raw Tag Titles

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center

[Q1] Raw opened with still shots of Roman Reigns defeating Undertaker in the main event of WrestleMania 33. It included shots of Taker leaving his gloves, coat, and hat in the ring to signify his retirement… They cut to the live crowd and a fan’s sign thanking Undertaker. The fans chanted “Undertaker” and clapped as various crowd shots were shown for a few minutes. As the chant continued, another chant of “one more match” started. Roman Reigns’s music played and the crowd stopped chanting and started booing. Ring announcer JoJo introduced Reigns.

Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Cole said it’s been speculated about that Sunday was the Last Ride for Taker. Cole said thank you to the man he feels is the greatest performer in the history of WWE. He said there were 15,156 fans in attendance and they were seeing one of one of only two men to defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania. Cole noted that Reigns and Brock Lesnar were the only two men who hold that honor.

Reigns made his way to the ring and posed on the ropes. The fans continued to boo as his music stopped. Reigns paced around the ring. The fans chanted “Delete” as he continued to pace while looking at them. There was a loud “F— You, Roman” chant that was not censored. The fans stopped chanting and started booing again, then deleted again. The fans chanted “you suck” as Reigns continued to pace and look at them.

Roman smirked and held up the mic for a second and then put it back down. An “asshole” chant started and he smirked again. The fans chanted “Roman sucks” using the New Day Rocks cadence. The fans chanted for Nakamura (or shut the f— up?). Roman held up the mic and they booed. The fans chanted “go away.”

Finally, Reigns held up the mic and said, “This is my yard now.” Reigns dropped the mic and left the ring. The fans booed as his music played. Cole said Reigns couldn’t have made it any clearer than he did…

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance as the broadcast team narrated highlights of Matt and Jeff Hardy winning the Raw Tag Titles at WrestleMania. The tag title match is up next…

Powell’s POV: This was great. Reigns standing there and staring them down was just as great. Reigns saying one line was both clever, somewhat expected, and yet also disappointing at the same time. It would have been something if Reigns had let the fans chant themselves out as much as possible and then fired back. I don’t think WWE intends to go in that direction with him, so the approach is understandable. My guess is they get through tonight and hope things go back to normal with the Roman crowd reactions. It was a tremendous opening that shined the spotlight on Undertaker and then the fans.

[Q2] [C] More WrestleMania still shots aired from various matches and the John Cena proposal… The German broadcast team was introduced… Matt and Jeff Hardy were introduced to a big pop. The fans chanted Delete once they were in the ring…

1. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for the Raw Tag Titles. The Hardys clotheslined Gallows to ringside roughly 2:00 into the match. [C] Gallows and Anderson isolated Matt. The fans chanted “F— that owl” in reference to the Anthem logo (and a legendary Reby Hardy tweet).

[Q3] The fans chanted “obsolete.” Matt made a hot tag to Jeff, who worked over Gallows and splashed him for a two count. They went to ringside and Jeff ran up the steps and dove onto Gallows against the barricade. The fans chanted delete again. Gallows and Anderson came back and hit the Boot of Doom on Jeff. Anderson covered Jeff, who kicked out at two. They went for their Magic Killer finisher, but Jeff avoided it and performed a Twist of Fate on Gallows. Jeff and tagged in his brother. Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Gallows, then Jeff hit him with the Swanton Bomb. Matt covered Gallows for the win…

Matt and Jeff Hardy defeated Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to retain the Raw Tag Titles in 10:45.

Matt and Jeff Hardy were advertised for the Raw Talk show that will air after Raw on WWE Network… Cole hyped new Universal Champion Brock Lesnar as appearing later in the show. Saxton hyped Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe for later in the show… Cole narrated still shots of Seth Rollins defeating Triple H at WrestleMania… WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville made his entrance for a match… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Hardys speaking for the first time on Raw Talk is a great hook for that show. How “Broken” will they be? The match was another feel good win for the Hardys and a fun time for the live crowd.

Neville stood in the ring and boasted that he did everything he said he was going to do. He said Austin Aries is a better talker than he is a fighter. He said fans may not expect his tactics, but they have to respect the results. He said there would be a celebration for him on 205 Live. His promo was interrupted by Mustafa Ali…

2. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Mustafa Ali in a non-title match. Graves recalled the strong match the wrestlers had on a recent 205 Live. Neville shoved Ali when the ref wanted them to shake hands. Ali sent Neville to ringside and performed a springboard moonsault off the second rope from the corner of the ring and onto Neville on the floor.

[Q4] Neville regained control heading into the break. [C] Neville performed a wicked suplex and then turned Ali inside out with a clothesline for a two count. The fans were more concerned with a beachball they were bouncing around in the crowd. They event chanted “Beachball Mania.” Ali performed a springboard Spanish Fly on Neville.

Ali performed a reverse Frankensteiner and then a DDT. Neville put his foot on the ropes to break the count. Ali went for the inverted 450 Splash, but Neville moved. Neville teased the Red Arrow, then dropped down and applied the Rings of Saturn for the win…

Neville defeated Mustafa Ali in 10:30 in a non-title match.

Vince McMahon was shown exiting a limo backstage. The fans popped… [C]

Powell’s POV: This is the most rabid bunch of fans that WWE will play to all year, right? Yet despite the fact that Ali and Neville had a very good match on 205 Live recently, there was no pop whatsoever when Ali interrupted Neville’s promo. At the risk of reading too much into one entrance, this would seem to suggest that even WWE’s most rabid fans are not paying close attention to 205 Live. The fans being distracted by the beachball was disappointing. They missed a good match and these wrestlers deserved better. It will be very interesting to see what the WrestleMania weekend crowd does during 205 Live tomorrow night. Meanwhile, I assume Vince is there to address the fact that the show has no general manager or commissioner presently given that Foley was fired and Stephanie McMahon should be selling her table spot.

Still shots aired from WrestleMania…

[Q5] Cole touted the WrestleMania attendance and the media attention that the show received, mostly from co-opted media outlets…

Vince McMahon’s music played and he headed to the ring while the fans sang his music loudly. Vince smiled when he made it to ringside. Vince said thank you and then the fans applauded him before breaking into a “Roman sucks” chant. Vince talked over them until they stopped and offered them a “well deserved thank you for being the most passionate fans in the world.” He thanked them for helping make WrestleMania live up to the billing of the Ultimate Thrill Ride.

Vince announced that it was time for a superstar shakeup. Vince set up footage of Stephanie being put through a table at WrestleMania. He said his daughter could be out of action for some time. Fans cheered and chanted Yes! “Wait a minute, she was almost broken in half,” Vince told them. He accused them of being insensitive, cruel, and bloodthirsty.

Vince noted that Foley was fired and it was time to name a new general manager. Vince said the new GM was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The fans cheered, but they stopped when Teddy Long’s music played. Teddy came out and danced. Vince called for his music to stop and for Teddy to stop dancing. “It’s not you,” Vince said. Teddy was disappointed it wasn’t him, but then he shrugged it off. Teddy left the stage.

Vince introduced Kurt Angle as the new general manager of Raw. The fans delivered the “you suck” chants as Angle’s music played. Once Angle was in the ring, Vince shook his hand and said, “Congratulations, you better do a good job.” Cole said that was a rousing endorsement. Vince left the ring as the fans continued to sing with his song and then chanted “welcome back” once the song ended.

“I only have one thing to say,” Angle said. “It’s great to be back on Monday Night Raw. Oh, it’s true, it’s damn true.” Angle’s music played and he played to the fans. Cole hyped up Angle and the “Superstar Shakeup” that Vince mentioned for next week. Graves hyped that Brock Lesnar will address the fans for the first time since winning the title…

The camera showed the broadcast team seated at their desk. Cole thanked the city of Orlando for its hospitality and all of the fans who made the trip to WrestleMania. They narrated highlights of Kevin Owens defeating Chris Jericho to win the U.S. Championship at WrestleMania… Saxton hyped the previously announced tag match for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: It took longer than I hoped, but I got my wish for the Raw general manager. Angle was my pick before they gave the job to Mick Foley. It will be interesting to see what the Superstar Shakeup is all about. Are they going with a draft lottery? Trades? Calling up NXT talent? It would have been nice to hear more from Angle, but I assume we’ll be hearing a lot from him next week with the Superstar Shakeup.

[Q6] A commercial aired for the one-hour version of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony that will air after Raw on USA Network (head-to-head with Raw Talk on WWE Network)…

New Day made their entrance. “What a night,” Big E started. Xavier Woods and Big E had ice cream cone shoulder pads. Kofi spoke about hosting WrestleMania for “you people.” Woods took exception to him saying “you people.” Kingston explained that he was referring to the WWE Universe. Kingston said they were disappointed that they didn’t get to wrestle at WrestleMania. They issued an open challenge. The Revival’s music hit. “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes,” Graves said. The Revival headed to the ring and knocked over the New Day ice cream cart…

3. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Xavier Woods and Big E (w/Kofi Kingston). The Revival isolated Woods to start. He came back briefly, but Dawson tagged in and performed a nice move that targeted the shoulder of Woods heading into the break. [C]

The Revival worked over Woods until he finally tagged in Big E, who performed belly-to-belly suplexes on both opponents. In the end, the Revival hit their finisher on Woods and pinned him. After the match, Dawson dragged Kingston into the ring. Dawson held Kingston down and then Wilder leapt off the middle rope and stomped Kingston’s ankle…

The Revival defeated New Day in 8:00.

Powell’s POV: It’s great to see The Revival get the call. For those who don’t watch NXT, they were a tremendous throwback style tag team. I just hope Vince McMahon gets behind the act because they’re not exactly two guys you would think of when you envision Vince’s tastes. In fact, I was hopeful they would end up on Smackdown for that reason. However, with the roster shakeup coming, there’s no telling what the rosters will look like and who will end up where.

[Q7] Backstage, Angle was taking some belongings out of a box and setting up his “office.” Enzo Amore and Big Cass entered the room and did their schtick. Angle had humorous responses to Enzo’s schtick. They told him their problem was that they didn’t have gold around their waists. Enzo questioned why the Hardys have the tag titles and why Goofy is treated like a human and Pluto is treated like a dog. Angle offered them a No. 1 contenders match against Sheamus and Cesaro. Cass did his sawft bit to describe Sheamus and Cesaro. Angle looked confused and said, “That’s now how you spell soft”…

Raw Women’s Champion Bayley made her entrance. Cole said she would be in six-woman tag team action… [C]

Powell’s POV: It looks like we have WWE Kurt playing the GM role so far. He’s doing his WWE comedy role, not playing the serious GM type that he played effectively in TNA. Hopefully he will be able to take a serious tone too, but the live crowd got a big kick out of this skit. Are we about to get the return of Emma? I’d kinda forgotten that Raw has more than four female wrestlers.

Bayley was in the ring with Dana Brooke. Sasha Banks made her entrance. Sure enough, Emma made her entrance wearing her cop shades and stood on the broadcast team’s desk before heading to the ring. Nia Jax and Charlotte made their entrances to round out the teams…

4. Bayley, Dana Brooke, and Sasha Banks vs. Emma, Nia Jax, and Charlotte. Dana and Charlotte were going to start the match. Charlotte backed into her corner. Emma tagged herself into the match. The crowd humored themselves with the once fun and now tired Bayley song. Emma ended up getting the better of Bayley heading into the break. [C]

[Q8] In the end, Bayley put Charlotte in the Banks Statement and got the submission win. Saxton said it had not been an impressive couple of weeks for Charlotte…

Bayley, Dana Brooke, and Sasha Banks beat Emma, Nia Jax, and Charlotte in 9:15.

After the match, Charlotte shoved Emma and Jax. Nia shoved her into the corner and splashed her. Jax tossed Charlotte across the ring and then performed a running elbow drop. Jax left Charlotte lying in the ring…

Powell’s POV: I hope this means Charlotte is going to Smackdown, not turning babyface. It’s simply too soon to turn her for my taste given the way she teased reuniting with her father only to ridicule him.

Backstage, Sami Zayn told Kurt Angle he would like to cultivate the same type of relationship with him that he had with Mick Foley. Zayn acknowledged that he could be sent to Smackdown. He said Shane McMahon seemed cool, but he’s still a McMahon. Angle told Zayn that he has all three I’s. Zayn said that meant a lot to him. Angle looked annoyed when Zayn was about to leave and turned around and brought up Stephanie.

Jinder Mahal entered the room and complained that he deserved to win the battle royal and would have had it not been for Rob Gronkowski. Jinder and Zayn ended up bickering. Angle booked them in a match against one another…

Cole hyped Brock Lesnar for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s only one segment, but Zayn coming off like a needy pest to Angle didn’t suit him well. It’s great that Jinder got himself in better shape, but they still haven’t improved his painfully boring character in any way.

More still shots aired from WrestleMania…

WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Cole said Lesnar vs. Goldberg was the most intense ten minutes of action he can remember.

Powell’s POV: Cole Fact Check – I timed the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match at four minutes and 45 seconds.

[Q9] Heyman introduced himself and Lesnar. Heyman played on the fairytale theme he used in the video package. Heyman said the superhero got his ass kicked by The Beast when he went to Suplex City. Heyman said the kids watching shouldn’t worry because the fairytale had a happily ever after. “You won’t be seeing Bill Goldberg around here anymore,” Heyman said. “So, yes, thank you Taker and thank you Brock.”

Heyman said Lesnar is looking for new challengers. Heyman mentioned Seth Rollins, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, or even both Hardys facing Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar isn’t going to be one of those champions who takes a bunch of selfies with the title and knows that time is fleeting. Heyman said Lesnar is the disrupter of the status quo.

Heyman said it was time to talk about the two in 23-2. Heyman said history demands that those two go one-on-one to determine whose yard it really is. “We’re out here talking about you, Roman Reigns,” Heyman said. “Roman Reigns, who’s spending the whole night walking around the locker room, barking around orders like he’s the big dog of WWE.” The crowd chanted “We Want Balor.”

Heyman said now the question is what becomes of the situation. “If Roman Reigns is the big dog, then Brock Lesnar is animal cruelty,” he said. Heyman said his client authorized him to say that it was time to give the Raw after WrestleMania crowd something they would never forget. Heyman asked why wait forever, why not do something tonight.

Braun Strowman’s music played and he headed to the ring. Heyman went to the apron while Strowman and Lesnar looked at one another. Strowman said he saw that Reigns had Brock’s attention. He said that when he finishes with Reigns, maybe he’ll have Lesnar’s attention, because Brock damn sure has his attention. Strowman shoved Lesnar. Brock smiled and put the title down, then held his arms out. Strowman backed up and left the ring while the fans booed. Graves said Strowman told Lesnar they would do it on his time and he knows where he’s at…

Powell’s POV: So I guess this means Reigns doesn’t want a title shot? The tease of a Lesnar match that never came was fun at one point, but this is a big enough show that it feels like a letdown to tease it and not deliver it.

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Chris Jericho and said he would get his rematch with Kevin Owens at WWE Payback. She mentioned his tag team match. Jericho played to the live crowd and told them, “Cheer me on, man.” They responded with a Y2J chant. Jericho said it was the perfect place for him to start getting his revenge on Owens for beating him at WrestleMania. Jericho said it would be the first piece of his revenge, the tip of Owens’ finger. Jericho said Owens was able to not be beaten by the tip of his finger. Jericho put the tip of Owens’ finger on his list…

[Q10] Owens attacked Jericho, who fought back. Samoa Joe showed up and attacked Jericho from behind. They beat down Jericho. Owens powerbombed Jericho through a table…

Powell’s POV: Are we about to get a surprise partner for Rollins? Is this the spot for Balor despite the fact that Seth put him on the shelf and then laughed at him about it? Shinsuke Nakamura?

A Smackdown commercial showed those ridiculous slideshow shots from the Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt match at WrestleMania. It hyped Orton for Smackdown Live…

Backstage, Angle told Rollins that Jericho was in no condition to be his partner. He said the match was still on and he would find him a partner…

5. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass to determine the No. 1 contender for the Raw Tag Titles. Sheamus and Cesaro wore their WrestleMania pre-match gear, including the black kilts. Enzo and Cass were already in the ring. Enzo wore Orlando Magic themed gear. Enzo and Cass were standing tall in the ring while Sheamus and Cesaro were down at ringside heading into the break. [C]

[Q11] Cesaro gave Enzo the Swing and then applied the Sharpshooter. Cass broke it up with a big boot. Cass went back to his corner and took a tag. There were some boos. Cass performed a side slam and then the Empire Elbow on Cesaro. Cass hit the big boot and then set up for the rocket launcher, but Sheamus broke it up. Sheamus tossed Enzo off the ropes and into Cesaro’s uppercut, which led to Enzo being pinned…

Sheamus and Cesaro beat Enzo Amore and Big Cass in 8:45.

The broadcast team hyped Rollins and an opponent vs. Joe and Owens… [C]

Powell’s POV: The tag match finish was cool and that satisfied the live crowd, which spent most of the match singing God knows what. The singing fans were obviously energetic, but it seemed like fatigue from the long weekend started to set in for other fans during this match.

More WrestleMania still shots aired. It took longer than usual, but I officially hate the WrestleMania theme song due to overkill… Cole said Taker’s match “may indeed have been the last of his career” and noted all the tweets he received from fellow wrestlers…

6. Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal. Cole recapped Gronk’s involvement at WrestleMania. The crowd popped big for Zayn. Mahal jumped him at ringside. Once they were in the ring, the ref checked with Zayn before starting the match. Mahal was the early aggressor. Zayn hit the exploder suplex and then hit the Helluva Kick for the win…

Sami Zayn defeated Jinder Mahal in 2:05.

The broadcast team hyped the tag team main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: The popularity of Zayn and his song made up for the complete lack of interest in Jinder Mahal. One thing I noticed about Cole plugging the shakeup is that he said it starts next week. It might have just been an odd choice of words, but is it possible that they are going to stretch this out?

[Q12] Cole plugged the shakeup and once again said it begins next week… Graves hyped Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher vs. Mustafa Ali in a four-way to determine the No. 1 contender… Raw Talk will be hosted by Renee Young and Jerry Lawler, and will feature Goldberg live in the ring, plus appearances by Bayley and the Hardys…

Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe made separate entrances for the main event. Seth Rolilns made his entrance as the broadcast team played up the idea that he wasn’t 100 percent. However, Cole said doctors cleared him for Raw. The mystery man was Finn Balor, who received a mega-pop. He made his entrance minus the Demon makeup. Cole hyped Balor as the first ever Universal Champion and said, “And he’s back.” Cole said the match would begin after the break… [C]

7. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens. Cole brought up Balor suffering a torn labrum in the match he had with Rollins. Graves said time heals all wounds apparently. Graves also spoke about the history of all four men in NXT as opponents, and Cole pointed out that they are all former NXT Champions.

[Overrun] Rollins and Owens had an early exchange. Owens and Balor ended up in the ring together. Owens rolled out to avoid Balor at one point. Balor followed him to the floor and dropkicked him against the barricade. A short time later, Rollins performed a flip dive and actually went over the top of the two heels at ringside. He sold knee pain. Joe worked over Rollins in the ring and caught him with a kick in the corner and got a two count.

Rollins was isolated and tried to fight off Joe to make a tag, but Joe performed the kneecapper on him and then tagged in Owens. The fans did the wave. Joe checked back in and Rollins caught him with an enzuigiri. Rollins made the hot tag to Balor, who worked over Owens. Balor went for the Coup De Grace, but Owens avoided and end up getting a near fall on Balor. Owens went for his finisher, but Balor held the ropes. Balor kicked Joe and then performed the slingblade clothesline.

Joe grabbed Balor from behind, but Rollins took care of him. Moments later, Balor performed the Coup De Grace and pinned Owens to win the match for his team. Rollins and Balor spoke afterward. Rollins raised Balor’s arm. Cole thanked the fans for an incredible week…

Finn Balor and Seth Rollins defeated Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens in 12:10.

Powell’s POV: A good main event that didn’t feel as hot as you’d think it would. The live crowd was happy to see Balor, but they started amusing themselves with the wave and other chants and never seemed fully engaged in the match. One mistake made by WWE is not doing more to promote that WrestleMania week continues on Smackdown tomorrow. I realize this is Cole’s last broadcast of the weekend, but the way he thanked the fans combined with the lack of hype for Smackdown made it feel like WrestleMania week is over, which it’s not since they are running the same venue tomorrow night.

WWE has a much better grip on what the Night After WrestleMania crowd wants than they once did. It wasn’t that long ago that the fans rebelled against what WWE was giving them. They still sing, chant, play with beachballs, and hate Roman Reigns, but for the most part the company knows how to give the super fans what they are looking for. The show peaked early when the crowd was more engaged with the show. In fact, I would argue that the show peaked in the opening segment with Reigns. I will have more to say in my WWE Raw audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me. And now so I don’t make the same mistake as WWE, be sure to join Jake Barnett for live coverage of Smackdown on Tuesday.

Listen to Prowrestling.net Live on Tuesday at 3CT/4ET when Brian Fritz and I will be taking your calls at PWAudio.net.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...


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