So Much New Raw Talent – Raw Review, April 10, 2018

So Much New Raw Talent – Raw Review, April 10, 2018

Just what Raw needed after a disappointing WrestleMania – lots of debuts and returns.

Finally, we’ll be able to get the stable we always wanted – The dancing werewolf authors who can break the ‘Masterlock’.

I was curious to see how the crowd would react to Bobby Lashley returning, but Donald Trump’s former in-ring representative got a huge pop when his music hit. I had forgotten just how stacked that man in (Lashley… not Trump), and he looks a ready-made replacement for Brock Lesnar, should he finally depart.

It’s difficult to know where to start really, but I think we’ll go with WrestleMania’s ‘main event’, just to keep WWE happy.

Roman came out to a chorus of “boos” and began telling everyone that there was some kind of conspiracy against him, which is why he keeps losing to Brock Lesnar. Way to go Roman, now everyone thinks you’re even more of an idiot.

Step one for making a babyface is that they don’t come out after losing to start moaning that they’re hard done by. We shouldn’t need to be told that there was something wrong, because the in-ring story should have given that to us already.

Thankfully, Samoa Joe returned after months out with an injury to tell Roman to stop whining in the most epic way possible. Man, I’ve missed Joe.

He pointed out all of Roman’s flaws, he ridiculed him for his failures, and he promised that once Brock was done with Roman, he would be there to pick up the pieces. Joe is so damn good, and I had forgotten just how much I want him to get that belt as soon as possible.

Credit to Roman though, who really did cut a defeated figure in the ring, which I suppose was the point – but if this was WWE‘s latest attempt to try and get him over as a babyface, then they have failed miserably once again.

From the happiest of returns to the saddest of announcements from Paige. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock will know that Paige was forced to retire from in-ring action after suffering a neck injury in January 2018.

However, WWE had never formally announced this on TV, and so it was assumed they were waiting for a special show to make the announcement. What makes this extra sad is that Paige had just returned from an injury that had kept her out for over a year, so for her return to be so tragically cut short is heartbreaking.

The crowd responded brilliantly to her announcement too. Despite Absolution going completely stale, they gave Paige a heroine’s send-off, and it showed just how much of an impact she had in her short time in the WWE ring.

From everyone at WrestleTalk, happy retirement Paige, and we’ll all be holding out for you to do a Daniel Bryan and come back if you are ever ready to.

But when one woman leaves, another takes her place, and that was certainly the case last night. The new Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax was in need of a tag partner to face Alexa Bliss and her best friend Mickie James, and boy did she get a partner.

Real-life werewolf Ember Moon is on Raw. Her and Nia dismantled Alexa and Mickie, who could well be on their way back down the card. That would be a huge shame for Alexa, who is one of the best heels in the world right now, but given the lack of belts and people on the women’s roster, not everyone can be at the top all of the time.

It will be interesting to see if Ember’s gimmick (whatever that is) goes down on the main roster. Unfortunately, unusual gimmicks that work well on NXT don’t particularly translate to the mainstream – just look at Bayley…

Carrying on with NXT call-ups, No Way Jose debuted with a completely unique gimmick that is nothing like Adam Rose’s – and we all know how well that went. This was the least exciting debut it has to be said, and although the crowd will always get involved with his catchy theme, you can’t exactly see him challenging for many titles in the near future.

Kurt Angle was forced into announcing a Raw Tag Team Championship tournament when Braun Strowman and his tag partner, Nicholas, were forced to relinquish the titles due to a “scheduling conflict”, with him still being in the fourth grade – damn you, Nicholas!

I admit that I was not a fan of the Nicholas angle, but it can’t be denied that the kid got a huge pop. Living the dream.

This forced Kurt to announce the tag tournament, with the two first-round matches both taking place on last night’s show.

The first of these was The Revival who took on Gallows and Anderson in the battle of the most badly booked tag teams in the WWE. Sadly for G & A, it seems like they’re the worst booked out of the two because The Revival are through to the finals next week.

Also through are the newly formed team of André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner Matt Hardy and his new partner, ‘Woken’ Bray Wyatt. The pair squashed Titus Worldwide as was expected, and the optimist in me is hoping that the two men will be able to build something together, rather than becoming stale like their singles feud.

It was also a tag match, not part of the new tournament that brought the final NXT call-up. The Authors of Pain were revealed as Heath Slater and Rhyno’s opponents, which, in the most part was very good and it’s nice to see that they’ve finally made it to the main roster.

The only slight disappointment is that they’re not on SmackDown Live, which is in dire need of a refresh to their tag division. There’s always the ‘Superstar Shake-up’ next week I suppose, which could be the window of opportunity for both tag roster to be refreshed.

And speaking of the shake-up, it’s not like anyone is going to forget that it is happening. I counted at least 4,000 mentions of it last night, but for anyone hard of hearing, it’s next Monday, April 16.

Jeff Hardy is back! Yay!

He returned to team with new Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor to face the Miz and his ‘tourage. Miz announced he would be invoking his rematch clause at Backlash, which could suggest that we might be in for a lot of WrestleMania rematches in four weeks time.

Jeff also appeared in a backstage segment with brother Matt and Bray Wyatt, where he was called ‘Brother Nero’, suggesting he could become part of the ‘Woken Universe’. Personally, I’d rather see him sent to SmackDown Live to pursue a singles push, because that’s what I think the fans really want to see right now.

Following their loss to Daniel Bryan and the world’s greatest wrestler, Shane McMahon, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens showed up on Raw to ask Kurt Angle to sign them onto the roster.

Unfortunately for them, Angle announced there was only one space available, so the two would have to go face-to-face to decide who got it – because that’s sound logic and how everyone gets jobs these days.

This was particularly stupid given the amount of unused under-card talent currently signed to Raw – just look at the ARMBAR!

The two had a great match as always, but it finished in a double 10-count after neither men made it back to their feet in time. Obviously, neither man is going to be released, so I am looking forward to seeing how this storyline develops, and how it is that they finally manage to get back on WWE TV.

Lastly, Stephanie McMahon opened the show – man that’s so ironic. Finishing with the beginning; I forgot just how crazy I am – selling her injuries after tapping out to Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.

“You tapped out! You tapped out!” chanted the crowd, as Steph explained that she had been beaten by the better woman, and that she was so pleased that Ronda’s debut was such a success.

Ronda came out all smiles as usual, and it looked like it was feud-over. But I’ll have to hand this over to my good friend Admiral Ackbar for this next bit.

“It’s a trap!”

Cheers Admiral – Steph went to hug Ronda, who seemed to accept with good grace, before once again putting Stephanie in the arm-bar.

I liked this – and not only because it makes Ronda look intelligent by not falling for Steph’s lies, but Ronda just looks like a badass. After her astonishingly good debut in the ring, the sky is the limit for Ronda, who could well be one of WWE’s greatest ever signings.


And that was Raw – what did you think? Was it the right time to call everyone up? Happy to see Bobby Lashley back? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter here.

5 years ago by Andy Datson


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