TEN THINGS I LIKED ABOUT THE POST-WRESTLEMANIA 38 RAW
(AND FIVE THINGS I HATED)
APRIL 4, 2022
REPORT BY REP, PARTS UNKNOWN PRESS
Did you know RAW has a robot mascot like SmackDown? I didn’t, and it was the biggest pop I had all night. Tonight’s episode wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t exactly great either – so here I am, listing ten things I liked, and five things I hated.
WHAT I LIKED:
#1: Cody Rhodes.
I liked the entire opening segment. Cody getting stuck on the Codyvator was a hilarious little bit of growing pains, but it didn’t take away from the remainder of his promo. It was fairly standard Codyverse fare, mentions of his father and daughter abound, but it firmly places Cody in contention for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship alongside other de-facto top challengers like Drew McIntyre.
#2: VEER CAME
After at least five months of promo packages announcing his intent to come, Veer came! Honestly, given WWE’s history of debuting talent following weeks or months of vignettes – ie, Brodus Clay or the former ‘longest vignette-to-debut’ record holder Emmalina – I was expecting a subversion and we’d get the cool-dude shtick Veer’s been showing off on Twitter recently instead of what appears to be a fairly standard monster heel. He hit his marks well enough, and it’ll be interesting to see his debut match next week against Rey Mysterio, though I don’t know if I’ll be catching it live, y’know?
#3: Bloodline Banter
I enjoyed The Usos bagging the fuck out of Austin Theory. That’s all.
#4: Bron Breakks Ziggler
While in retrospect it’s extremely weird to have Bron Breakker take a direct pinfall loss to Dolph Ziggler on Saturday only to win the title back today (I’d thought due to the loss, they were planning on moving Bron up), the match itself was fine enough. Not up to the same quality as their Takeover match, but passable nonetheless. I’m not sure what’s next for Dolph and Roode, but I would assume Bron’s going to go on to defend the title against Carmelo Hayes or Tony D’Angelo.
#5: Texas Tornado Rules
The main event of the night didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t an all-timer, but it was a fun brawl between Alpha Academy and the Street Profits. Taking one of Montez Ford’s insane frog splashes through a table is a fate absolute orders of magnitude better for Chad Gable than getting eaten up to feed what’s sure to be a relentless push for Gable Steveson. We should appreciate these last few moments we have left before he debuts.
#6: Bianca’s Re-Coronation
Bianca Belair… and that’s the article. Fresh off having the best match of WrestleMania Saturday hands-down (and probably the best match of the entire event, honestly), she got some time to come out and state her case as THE top dog in the women’s division currently, all while sporting a hell of a shiner from the jumbled-up Molly-Go-Round attempt from Becky that turned into what was effectively a top-rope shoot koppou kick. I personally wish she’d gotten a quick little showcase match before her promo, but considering the eye injury, it was a good call to play things safe. I’m not sure if a rematch with Becky is next, or if they may pair her up with one of the assumed NXT call-ups like Io Shirai, but the sky’s the limit for her going forward.
#7: “We’ve got the House of Black at home!”
Starting this one off saying nah, fuck that noise. I’m tentatively interested in whatever this new Edge gimmick obsessed with justice and this whole stable is, and I really liked the reference to Damien Priest’s previous identity as Punishment Martinez. With Rhea Ripley seemingly being en route to turning on Liv Morgan, she’d make an excellent addition to an already-strong pairing. Add in Alter Bridge’s “The Other Side” as a banger of a theme and all they really gotta do to stick the landing on this thing is come up with a solid name.
#8: Elias’ Alias
We didn’t even know he was coming but Elias came too! Or at least, his younger brother, Ezekiel, wearing the same gear we saw in Elias’s WWE 2K22 reveal image. Judging only by last night, it COULD be something fun, if they choose to have Ezekiel insist that he’s totally not Elias, get something of the Joseph Park/Abyss storyline going, but based off last night I just had a lot of trouble getting used to clean-shaven Elias. It’s unimaginably cursed.
#9: Roman’s Promo, Part 1
For the most part, I was simply glad to hear that he wasn’t actually injured at Mania, and the visual of Paul Heyman having to constantly reshuffle the weight of both the WWE and Universal titles on his shoulders was a great gag. That’s what I liked about it.
#10: Women’s Tag Issues, Part 1
The show-opening Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley tag team match was good, exactly what you’d expect out of a women’s tag match on Raw. Both teams work well together, with Sasha/Naomi already settling on some slick double-team moves like the splash+split-legged moonsault combo in the corner or their wheelbarrow Codebreaker finishing move, and Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley mixing together very well in terms of aesthetics. HOWEVER…
WHAT I HATED:
#1: Women’s Tag Issues, Part 2
The aforementioned Sasha/Naomi vs. Liv/Rhea match ended with Rhea Ripley walking away from Liv disappointed, and although they did secure a Women’s Tag Team Championship match for next week, it very much appears Liv and Rhea will be splitting up with Rhea most likely turning heel. Pair that with a previously-announced Zelina/Carmella vs. Shayna/Natalya bout not happening due to the violent breakup of the Zelina/Carmella team before it even got underway. At this point, by next week, the only two teams in the main roster’s women’s tag team division will be the champions, Sasha Banks and Naomi, and the team of Shayna Baszler and Natalya.
That’s not even getting into the confusing booking of the two heel teams from the WrestleMania 38 fatal-four-way in a match, and the two face teams from the four-way in another – OR THE FACT THAT LIV AND RHEA LOST THEIR CONTENDER’S MATCH BUT ARE GETTING A TITLE SHOT ANYWAY, but that leads into the next point:
#2: Show presentation + ‘Champion Contender’ matches
This was the first Raw I’ve sat through the entirety of at least since the post-WrestleMania 36 episode, I believe – and things have not changed a bit in terms of the way shows are presented. Instances of multiple strikes like rapid-fire stomps are punctuated with the camera cutting between two angles with every impact, the gaudy AR models are still an entrance cornerstone, and the music has continued to get worse and worse.
I DID, however, learn about ‘Championship Contender’ matches for the first time, and it’s such a terrible concept. One thing AEW does very well with its booking is that champions are booked incredibly strong, and during a reign it is extremely rare to see them take a loss, and in combat sports, even staged variations of it, that’s how it should be. All having your champion take repeated non-title losses does, is show that your belts aren’t for the best, they’re just for… whoever has ‘em.
#3: Dom’s fast and furious squash match
This irked me a lot. I’m not exactly a Dom Mysterio stan, but I think the dude’s got some potential, he was just shunted onto TV way too soon. The shine’s off the rose, it seems, because not only was he jobbed out to Miz in under a minute, clean as a sheet, he was also the guy Veer made an example out of, tapping out instantly to his Camel Clutch variation. They gotta rehab him, man. Put him in a mask, maybe turn him heel, pop the shirt off, just, something.
#4: Stop trying to make Corey & Carmella happen.
Directly following the previously-mentioned Zelina/Carmella brawl where Zelina’s Queen’s Crown victory was referred to as a joke (thus saying aloud what the tournament was essentially treated like the entire time), there was an extended segment featuring Corey Graves comforting Carmella, leading to a solid ten seconds of them sloppily making out on camera.
If this leads to like, Corey becoming her manager? Cool, I suppose. Otherwise, it was just a weird segment that ate up time that could otherwise have gone to actual matches or to buff up other promo segments.
#5: Roman’s Promo, Part 2
Three hours. I waited three goddamn hours, an entire episode of Raw, when I could’ve been playing a game, working on one of the five or six different google-doc scripts I’ve been nursing for the last few months, watching good TV shows, anything, all to see what the deal with Roman Reigns was gonna be. After all, with the sudden ending to the WrestleMania 38 main event, the murmurs of an injury, the sudden booking of Roman making an address on Raw, it seemed to be pointing to something big, like a potential title vacancy.
Nope. Three hours of waiting for Roman to show up and say ‘I’m gonna say what I wanna say on SmackDown’. I’ll fully admit I’m probably getting worked, but damn, man, three hours is a long time to wait to get okey-doked.
Overall, I dunno what to think about this episode. I didn’t hate it, but it’s still the exact same show that put me off watching it for two years. I still have no justifiable reason to resume devoting three to nine hours of my week watching these shows live when I can just tune in specifically for what interests me or just catch anything cool on a YouTube upload.
Anyway, I dunno how to end this, so, peace. You can see my unfiltered immediate thoughts on pretty much anything on my twitter, https://www.twitter.com/repalec, you can watch me stream games every so often on Twitch, at https://www.twitch.tv/repalec, or you can watch me and my best friend Jen do general YouTube things at https://www.youtube.com/replicaent.
Seeya next time.