And as usual for the show that is now #RAWafterMania, they delivered some big surprises and attempted to shake things up a little bit. Here's some thoughts on what went down and what it might mean moving forward.
Raw after WrestleMania
Finn Balor finally returns
In the big storyline of the evening, Seth Rollins was supposed to team with Chris Jericho to take on Triple H's new hired goon team of Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens, but Jericho was injured later in the show and a replacement was needed. This paved the way forthe returning Finn Balor, who was technically cleared for WrestleMania but just not used for whatever reason, probably because the show was already seven hours long.
"The Demon" proved effective in his first match back — despite the fact that he was seemingly fine with teaming with the guy who injured him in the first place —and pinned new U.S. Champion Kevin Owens to set up that program moving forward. It should be noted that the crowd was burned out by the time they got to the main event and mostly did the wave, but at least this shows that the company still views Balor as a main event player and hopefully has plans for him moving forward.
Kurt Angle is your new "Raw" GM
Vince McMahon made his return to WWE TV for the first time in months, announcing that in the wake of Mick Foley's firing last week, the new general managerof "Raw" would be2017 WWE Hall of Fame inducteeKurt Angle. Angle isperfect for this kind of role, since he can play comedic foil for Stephanie when she returns from her tragic table incident, and he can also play the serious authority figure.
In fact, Angle has GM experience, playing a Dr. Evil-esque supervillain GM of "SmackDown" while injured in 2005 and doing a great job of it. Angle is a fresh face on the show, since he's been gone for a staggering 11 years now, and "Raw" is a show that was drastically in need of a shakeup. Speaking of which…
The "Superstar Shakeup" is coming
The other announcement made by Vince is that next week will see a "Superstar Shakeup" between "Raw" and "SmackDown", although they were very careful not to call it a draft. But it's clear that there needs to be some rearranging of the deck chairs done, especially with regards to rebuilding the star power of "SmackDown" for their tours. To be very specific, the tag team division on the Tuesday brand is pathetic, with The Usos getting thrown out of the battle royal on the WrestleMania pregame show like they were nothing.
Ideally, "SmackDown" needs a new top tag team in the worst way, which would have been the Hardy Boyz in an ideal world, but obviously can't be now that they're tag team champs on "Raw". However, the New Day is desperately in need of a freshening up, and there's that other team that debuted tonight as well...
The Revival finally get called up
In a pleasant surprise, Dash andDawson were brought up to the main roster on the post-WrestleMania show and got a strong win over The New Day, just days after losing at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. They are absolutely a team that would be better suited to the wide-open "SmackDown" side of things, especially if they can rekindle their feud with American Alpha and hopefully set both teams on fire again. Not to mention they would have smaller teams to work with there, as opposed to the giants such asBig Cass, Luke Gallows and Sheamus that permeate the "Raw" side of the tag division. Dash andDawson are short guys in a tall guys' promotion, and getting them away from those tall guys would help immensely in getting them over as the stars that they could be.
With more surprises heavily rumored for "SmackDown" (Shinsuke Nakamura? Andrade"Cien" Almas? The Drifter? Tye Dillinger?) it's obvious the WWE's week isn't over yet. Hopefully the momentum can be sustained.