The Raw after Wrestlemania. Wow.
As usual it lived up to the hype. But I want to focus on one particular part of the show for the bulk of this article, so let’s quickly run through the show, and then we’ll get into the business I want to conduct.
So here’s a very quick Raw Rundown.
- The start of the show was perfect, right up until it cut to the commentary table. (i’ll get into that soon though).
- We weren’t dreaming. The Hardy’s are back and retained the Tag Team Titles. Also how are they not half-dead from two ladder matches in two days? Oh, and unfortunately, on Raw Talk, we were given a glimpse into the seemingly repaired Matt Hardy. We can only hope that it’s a temporary fix, and the broken brilliance will once again REVEAL itself.
- There’s a draft next week. #AJonRawplease
- Kurt Angle for GM! Yep. It’s true. He was great. The backstage segments were funny and a great re-introduction for him. Can’t wait to see more.
- Vince had the people in the palm of his hand. (As did Roman, but we’ll get to that)
- WE GO HARD! The Revival are on Raw! And they looked dominant as all hell. We’ll have to wait and see where they go from here, with Kofi especially, but you know things are serious when a man knocks another mans pop-cycle over.
- Who else caught the Sasha heel turn tease? She grabbed the title from the referee, and Bayley had to snatch it back and gave her a little “um hey what are you doing” smile.. And then Sasha kept glancing over at the title, and put herself in the middle of her team to get the biggest spotlight. It’s happening folks. It’s happening soon.
- The Roman/Lesnar tease. The first little hints have been dropped. Apparently these two are planned to be next year’s Mania main event. Interesting…for now Lesnar appears to be in Braun Strowman’s sights however. And I want to see that match.
- Cesaro & Sheamus vs The Hardy’s is happening. DELIGHTFUL. WONDERFUL. (please be broken matt again soon. please.. please?)
- Jericho gets his revenge at Payback. Or, Jericho has his final match of this run at Payback. Either way, YES.
- BALOR. How long until the title is back on his painted shoulders? My guess is Summerslam.
Ok so let’s get down to business here. What I really want to talk about and focus on is the main event of Wrestlemania, the end of Wrestlmania, and the first 15 minutes of Raw.
So the show opened with a solid 5 minutes of Undertaker chants. Nothing anybody can say conveys how much respect that man has. And for me personally, Undertaker has been my favourite since I started watching WWE in 2003. I quickly studied up on the 90’s and ‘Taker, along with HBK were my guys. Their first Mania match is my favourite. Undertaker is the reason I became the fan I am today. And he deserves all the respect everyone is giving him, and more.
Ok back to the show.
So 5 minutes of Undertaker chants that only get drowned out by Roman Sucks chants.
And then BOOM. Roman’s music hits and the roof comes off the place with booing.
Roman Reigns was getting HEAT. Heat like we haven’t heard for years. Basically none of the “heels” in the company get (almost) 100% of the crowd booing them anymore. Because they’re all cool heels. The Miz is the closest thing we have to a traditional bad guy, and even he got more cheers than Cena at Wrestlemania! No, this was real heat. This wasn’t even “We don’t want to see you” heat. Which is what Roman has been getting for the longest time. I’ll say it again.
This was REAL heat. This was Triple H in ’99 heat. Hell, they even chanted “Asshole” at him at one point. Among many other colourful things that I’m sure had the producers worrying about their PG rating.
Roman, and I find it hard to believe I’m writing this, he played it perfectly. He was great. He stood there, and he let the crowd launch at him. Multiple times he brought the mic up to his face, the boos intensified and he stopped. This went on for 7 or 8 minutes. And it didn’t lose it’s way. The crowd have to be commended for that, even though they may have been trying to hijack the show. Roman Reigns should be commended for it. Someone else may not have had the courage to wait for the right time. And the WWE producers need to be commended too. They CLEARLY knew, or at least had a good idea of what was going to happen, how the show was going to start. They knew it would be about Undertaker. They knew the chants would come. and they knew throwing Roman out into them would garner a huge reaction.
Roman said 5 words tonight. “This is my yard now”. Then he dropped the mic and left. He said 100 times more than that though. At one point he motioned that he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. And he’s right. If he’s given the opportunity, he could be the biggest heel in the company.
IF. That’s a big word right now. Because right after Roman’s segment, and his one sentence that spoke volumes, we cut to the commentary team, who said something to the effect of “This crowd is a non-traditional WWE crowd. They’ll boo who they normally cheer, and cheer who they normally boo”. They said this last year when Roman was in the ring as well.
On Raw Talk following the end of tonight’s show, Jerry Lawler furthered this by saying something like “Now, I come from the old school where the bad guys were the ones who got booed. But.. we all know Roman is really a good guy, like deep down. He’s a good guy”.
No. Just, no. WWE.. NO.
You have this amazing opportunity. You will never get this opportunity again. Roman Reigns just put THE UNDERTAKER out of the WWE for all intents and purposes. He retired The Phenom. And you think the people are booing him because they’re a “non traditional WWE crowd”? They’re booing because he took the biggest legend left in your company away from them. They WANT to boo him. You just gave them the best reason possible. And you want to diminish that and try to play it off by saying he’s actually a good guy? Please.
Roman did a really good job at Wrestlemania. Let’s face it. He had to carry Undertaker through a lot of that match, and also having to carry around the knowledge that he was working with Undertaker, in his last match. It was sloppy in a couple of moments, but the story they told shone through those errors. I said this in my Wrestlemania post, but it reminded me of Undertaker vs HBK at Wrestlemania 26. And thinking about it more, it also had some smatterings of HBK vs Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 24. The beaten up old man who just will not stay down. He’s the only one who doesn’t know it’s over. He just keeps willing himself to his feet only to be knocked down again but he just won’t give up. In it’s own way, it was beautiful. And forgetting how you feel about Reigns for a minute, or whether he was deserving of that match and that victory, how else could The Undertaker go out BUT on his back?
We’ll miss him, yes. We’ll wonder if it was a couple of years too late. It may well have been. But, as a fan, I will always get chills when that gong hits, so any chance I got to see him in that ring was worth it for me.
Here’s another point. Take a look at all the greatest performers over the years. Flair. Austin. The Rock. Hogan. HBK. Cena (yes, he’s on this list, like it or not). Hell, Undertaker himself. Everybody on that list has had a “Dance partner” that brought out the best in them and raised them both to another level. Flair had Dusty (and everyone else in the NWA&WCW). Austin had Vince, and The Rock. The Rock had Triple H (in 99) and Austin in 2001. Hogan had every bad guy in the 80’s, and then flipped things and had the likes of Sting, Flair, and DDP in WCW. Not to mention The Rock in 2002.
HBK had Bret Hart. and Cena had Edge, JBL, Orton, and so many others.
My point is this. Right now on RAW you have Seth Rollins, who is the hottest Face. He’s back after yet another injury. He needs someone to dance with that can elevate both of them to a new level. He needs a bad guy. If he’s Austin, he needs his “Rock”. Roman Reigns COULD be that. He’s even related to The Rock.
But he could be that guy, if WWE let go of this idea that he can be John Cena 2.0 and really be a good guy even though he is being booed out of arenas. They need to take off the reins (pardon the pun) and let him loose. You can SEE it. He wants to unleash on the crowd. Can you just imagine it? Give him a mic and let him purge his thoughts, CM Punk style. Give him a refresh on his character. Hell, just getting rid of the stupid vest would be an improvement at this point. He’s been the same guy since day 1 in WWE, and something has to change. Everyone else in The Shield, when the group broke up, evolved. They got new music, they changed up their look. Roman got a slightly different vest. Something’s gotta give.
If nothing changes, and WWE continue down this Cena 2.0 path, they won’t have a big crossover star anymore once Cena retires. And let’s face it, he’s definitely on the home stretch of his career. Who can take that place? It can’t be Roman at this point. There’s no star big enough. But there could be, if he’s given a bit more freedom, and some rope to run with. Every generation needs those guys. Hogan/Andre. Michaels/Hart. Rock/Austin. Hogan/Sting. Cena/Orton. But this generation? There’s no one. You have a bunch of guys who are all great, but no one has hit that SUPERstar level. No-one feels as big as Cena.
And THAT is why part timers come back and work Wrestlemania.
The Undertaker’s contribution to WWE will never be equalled, and his willingness to hand Roman Reigns (because you know Undertaker at least had some say in this) the keys to the city as it were, shows that he has tremendous faith in the guy. But Roman doesn’t need to be a babyface to be the biggest and best thing going. He just needs to be given a chance to be what everyone sees him as. And he needs a counterpart to go to war with. Not a part timer, not a legend, not someone who we never see as a legitimate threat. Not someone who we groan when he beats because we don’t believe.
He needs Seth Rollins. and he needs to be a bad guy. He can’t be just a guy. that doesn’t work in wrestling. that gets you “we don’t want you here” heat. IF they give him a chance, he could pull it off. Take a look back at the few weeks he was on NXT before The Shield’s debut on the main roster. He was a completely different character and it worked SO well.
So please WWE, don’t waste this opportunity that you have. Roman doesn’t have to just put on a black hat and be dastardly. He can be a complex character. But he NEEDS to be given a chance. You gave The Rock a chance to run as a heel. That turned out pretty well didn’t it?
Don’t let the Undertaker’s final act as a WWE wrestler be meaningless. Give him, his career, and the gravity of ending that career the respect that it deserves, and let it MEAN SOMETHING.
That’s all I have for now.
Thanks for reading friends. Check back for a Smackdown Rundown tomorrow or Thursday and then on the weekend for The Scores, Flaws and Snores of the week (which will now be a weekly post covering all the WWE action I’ve managed to watch or read about).
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