Following a WrestleMania that brought many fans joy up and down the card, the special “Raw After Mania” took place from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as the WWE wraps up their weekend in the New York/New Jersey area. As always, the crowd was packed and loud in the best way possible. Could WWE follow up a great WrestleMania with a great Raw after the fact like years past? Here’s how they did:
Rollins and Kofi Agree to Winner Take All
The new Universal Champion kicked off the show last night as it was Monday Night Rollins once again. Seth Rollins would make the point that they have one unit finally slayed Brock Lesnar who would be booed out of the building any time his name was brought up. Rollins would confess that he was really feeling the beating that Lesnar gave him last night, however. He continued by bringing up how Lesnar was on his way to Las Vegas for some “meetings” but said it does not matter because he is the reigning, defending, FIGHTING Universal Champion. As the crowd cheered, it seemed the segment was over, until the familiar voice of Big E hit as it was to be known that The New Day and the new WWE Champion were on Monday Night Raw. The “KOFI” chants reigned down as Kofi Kingston and his New Day brothers head down to the ring in the happiest way possible. They didn’t want to wait to celebrate, as Big E hit this hysterical full split as they celebrated Kofi. Kofi didn’t want to just celebrate, but instead wanted to lay down a challenge. He challenged Rollins to the same stakes as WrestleMania’s main event, Winner Take All. The crowd rose to their feet and cheered when Rollins would accept the challenge to main event the Raw After Mania in the highest of stakes.
The match would start between the two and the crowd was loving it. The possibility that one man was going home with two championships. From Rollins getting the crowd ready to “BURN IT DOWN” to the fans forever being behind Kofi Kingston, it was a big fight feel. Kingston of course remained the underdog, but the brand-new reigning WWE Champion would refuse to be denied. Rollins would head to the top to try and hit the Superplex/Falcon Arrow combination, but it would not go as Kofi would shove Rollins to the outside. As Kofi prepared to take out Rollins, SmackDown LIVE’s Cesaro and Sheamus of The Bar would come out and ruin it all. There would be a brawl before Rollins would lay down the challenge for The Bar to take on the new Universal and WWE Champion.
As the match got underway, it was clear the crowd was not at all happy about their Winner Take All main event being thrown away for no good reason. Beach Balls and chants that had nothing to do with the show would finally break out as the show was coming to and end. Of course, the champions were able to pull out the victory when Kingston would hit the Trouble in Paradise on Cesaro, followed up by a Stomp by Rollins to get the three count. The Raw After Mania would come to and end with both champions standing tall.
Lars Sullivan Finally Makes an Impact
Months ago, “The Freak” Lars Sullivan was positioned to be called up to the main roster from NXT. Certain plans were made, and he was going to have a big spot when it came to WrestleMania, but instead personal things happened to the Leviathan of NXT and we hadn’t heard about him since. Unfortunately for the retiring Kurt Angle, Lars was ready to make his first impact. After Angle would disrupt Baron Corbin one night after his farewell match. He would fake out Corbin, wishing him the best but not really when he’d hit him with an Angle Slam. While it seemed this would be it, Lars’ music would hit, and it would be all down hill for Angle. The hulking beast that Sullivan is would get into the ring and make Angle look like a cruiserweight compared to Sullivan. The Olympic Gold Medalist would be laid out by Lars’ Freak Accident finish, marking the beginning of Sullivan’s rise and possibly the final time we see Angle for a long time. It was a perfect debut for what is said to be the biggest free agent when it comes to SmackDown and Raw.
The Deadman Rises
Elias was angrier than ever last night following his WrestleMania performance being ruined by the Doctor of Thuganomics himself, John Cena. Elias would say prior to his make up performance last night that he would make whoever dares to interrupt his show this time would pay a serious consequence, legend, hall of famer, or NXT call-up, it would not matter. Once they got to his performance, Elias would discuss how rapping isn’t even difficult, but rather incredibly easy. He would attack Cena and anyone who dares to bother him this time around by saying “Every superstar wants to make their name on Elias, I get it you’re a fan, but mark my words, the next one to interrupt me is a Deadman”. And then, the legendary gong would hit, and Elias’ face would tell you everything. One night removed from WrestleMania, the Undertaker would rise to confront Elias. As Undertaker made his legendary entrance and finally got in the ring, it seemed that Elias would just walk away. But he wouldn’t back down to someone interrupting him again, as he would get back into the ring and try to take out one of the greatest of all-time. Undertaker wouldn’t allow it, hitting a big chokeslam on Elias, then laying him out with a Tombstone Piledriver to the love of the fans. The only question to ask now, could this be the set up to a future match at a big event? We will certainly see.
Raw MVP: Sami Zayn
Raw After Mania is always expected to bring a return or two from injury and that is exactly what we got on Raw. Sami Zayn would return from injury following a 10-month absence. As always, the crowd would sing along to his theme song as they would give a warm welcome to the “Underdog of the Underground”. He would bring up how if you are going to miss WrestleMania, the best time to comeback is the night after. Sami would lay down a challenge to anyone in the back because his schedule was wide open. Eventually, the new Intercontinental Champion, Finn Balor, would answer the call and even put his championship on the line. The two former NXT Champions would go to war in an excellent match considering this would be Zayn’s first match in the 10 months. And despite a great effort by Zayn, Balor would not be denied and would hit the Coup de Grace to win the match and retain.
After the match, Zayn would bring up how he realized everything he thought while he was gone. The fans really missed him, but he simply did not miss them. He brought up that it turns out WWE is an incredibly toxic environment. Not because of the McMahons or the superstars, but because of the fans. He would trash on the fans how they only care about scrutinizing the product rather than have good lives because they are all ugly on the inside. Zayn laughed at the fact that they are the voice of reason, but instead the evil that affects the company. Sami explained how he had one goal when he got back, which was to come out there every week to hold the fans accountable, ending it with “see you in hell”.
The Raw After Mania had plenty of big moments with the returns of Sami Zayn and the Undertaker, as well as a thunderous debut for Lars and a fake out of the possible Winner Take All match. WrestleMania weekend has one more stop with plenty of surprises to come tonight as SmackDown LIVE takes center stage. A New Day celebration is sure to make this one a must watch.
In a special note, Dean Ambrose would come out following the end of Raw, with one last pose with his former Shield mates as he prepares to leave the WWE.