Monday Night Raw – April 4, 2016 (2017 Redo): Travel Packages
Since I’m ridiculously backed up due to being in Orlando, I needed something to fill in the space. Here’s a fresh version of last year’s post-Wrestlemania Raw to bridge the gap a bit.
Date: April 4, 2016
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield
We’ll wrap up the redos with this one as I was in the building for the post-Wrestlemania XXXII Raw as well. After the previous night’s exhausting Wrestlemania, it was off to the smark show of the year which kind of serves as the company’s season premiere. There aren’t a ton of loose ends to tie up after last night but Roman Reigns is the new World Champion. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks at…..oh come on you can figure this one out. If nothing else that My House song is insanely catchy. Don’t let the shortness of the video fool you: the show sucked.
Cole and the announcers let us know that this show’s audience is “non-traditional” but THEY’RE HAVING FUN! Which is why so many chants are called stupid! One chant that was stupid: a group of fans chanting about TRAVEL PACKAGES before the show started.
Here’s Vince McMahon (in case you thought it was Vince Russo) to open things up. The fans sing No Chance along with the music, which Vince says was the same chance that Shane had last night against Undertaker. As of this morning, there is no more lockbox over his head (it doesn’t make a difference as we still don’t know what was in there) and no one controls him.
Last night he watched his son take a beating but only one moment really got to him: watching Shane dive off that Cell to prove a point. After a Shane-O-Mac chant, Vince tells us to enjoy the show….and here’s Shane. With Vince looking concerned, Shane calls himself the only man in the family. Shane thanks the fans and says he’ll never forget last night. Naturally that means a YOU STILL GOT IT chant because the fans only have a limited set of choices.
Shane goes to leave but Vince says no one upstages him. Let the idiocy begin. Vince has often thought about how crazy it would be if Shane ran Monday Night Raw (I guess he forgot Shane running the show, albeit with Stephanie, back in 2008). The fans tell Vince to LET HIM RUN IT so the boss actually gives in, making EVERYTHING WITH THE UNDERTAKER COMPLETELY WORTHLESS.
I’ve heard that Shane was supposed to win until Undertaker nixed the idea, which would line up with what we’re seeing here. This was stupid back then and looking back on it, this really was one of the dumbest things they’ve done in a long time. At least wait a few weeks and come up with something better than “eh screw the stipulations”. That’s some Russo level nonsense and it just so dumb.
Here’s New Day for a title defense and a chat as the place just EXPLODES for them. New Day merchandise was by far and away the most popular during the weekend so it makes sense to have them here. Things didn’t go well last night but Kofi got to dance with Shawn Michaels but Xavier (who now has a smaller trombone for some reason) didn’t have so much luck. He took a Stunner from Steve Austin and, upon further review of the tape, Woods admits it was entirely his fault.
On a more positive note, they have the final piece of Wrestlemania BootyO’s, which Woods holds up before singing Lion King’s Circle of Life. The place sings along with him (as they should, though me being a diehard Disney fan has nothing to do with this opinion) before we hit all the catchphrases.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. League of Nations
New Day is defending against Sheamus and Wade Barrett. The champs easily clean house to start (as you should against losers like the League) and Kofi is tossed onto Sheamus with an accompaniment on trombone. Sheamus eventually shoves Kofi off the top so Woods runs over with the cereal for comfort. Barrett gets in a good kick to the ribs and we take a break with Kofi fighting out of a chinlock and the fans doing the Wave.
Even Sheamus joins in on it so Woods grabs the mic and says if you do the Wave, you like Sheamus. And so much for the Wave. This was the second time Woods had to do something like that as he used the same method to cut off a WE WANT ROCKSTEADY chant during the break. The fans call themselves awesome as Kofi drops Barrett and gets over for the hot tag to Big E. That means a bunch of belly to belly suplexes and the Warrior Splash for no cover. The League is knocked off the apron and a quick Midnight Hour retains the titles at 8:44.
Rating: C-. It’s kind of amazing to think that New Day had EIGHT MORE MONTHS with the titles after holding them since Summerslam. In another note, Sheamus would be one of the people to take them off New Day and with another international partner. Not that there’s any connection but I don’t have anything else to talk about here.
Post match Sheamus says he’s sick of losing and there’s something wrong. Fans: “HOW YOU DOIN?” With an Enzo Amore chant breaking out, Sheamus Brogue Kicks Barrett off the team and out of the company. The whole team would be done in less than a month. Of course ignore the whole complaints about losing when they just won at Wrestlemania. Again, it’s almost like that result was to just screw with the fans, which is the worst kind of booking.
The three members stand alone….and we’ve got Wyatts. An easy beatdown ensues as the fans sing about having the Whole World in His Hands. This would be the start of Bray’s quickly canceled (due to injury) face turn. Why that turn has never been tried again isn’t clear, but the fans are DYING to cheer for Bray and have been since he debuted. When you perform that well, it’s hard to argue against them.
Vince leaves because he knows this is going to be a disaster.
Summer Rae vs. Sasha Banks
Before the match, Summer says her team lost but at least she didn’t fail like Sasha. The place again goes nuts for Sasha’s entrance, who says she’s Sasha and Summer isn’t. Summer gets in an early shot to set up a chinlock, only to have Sasha fight up with running knees in the corner. The Bank Statment wraps Rae up at 1:40.
Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze
This is Crews’ main roster debut and the NXT chants are out in full force. Crews speeds things up to start but eats a hard superkick for two. Not that it matters as Crews hits the gorilla press into the standing moonsault, followed by a Toss Powerbomb for the pin at 1:57. Just a squash, but Crews is a REALLY weird callup as he doesn’t really have a character. He’s insanely athletic and has a great look but there’s no character to him and he doesn’t really have anything for people to care about. That’s not his fault of course as he just needed more development.
Video of Roman Reigns and Charlotte on the Today Show.
Here’s Roman Reigns and MY GOODNESS the booing is louder than it was at Wrestlemania. The announcers are right there to try and write it off as a weird crowd thing but JBL gets even worse by saying Roman FINALLY made it to the top of the mountain. You know, the three time World Champion. Not that it matters though as Reigns gets in what might be the worst line of the year: “I’m not a good guy. I’m not a bad guy. I’m THE guy.” Reigns gives an open challenge for the title and here’s Chris Jericho.
Chris gets straight to the point by demanding that he get the title shot after defeating the internet darling AJ Styles. Speaking of Styles, he’s up next on the interruption list, only to have Kevin Owens limp out before AJ can speak. Cue Sami Zayn to fight with Owens, leaving AJ to be sent outside. A big spear drops Jericho and Reigns smiles in the boos. Of note, Sami immediately grabbed his shoulder and RAN to the back under the cover of darkness. This went nowhere but was rather scary live.
We look back at Shane being put in charge of the show.
Shane makes AJ vs. Jericho vs. Owens vs. Zayn for the #1 contendership. Reigns approves.
The announcers recap the show and tell us about last night’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is Corbin’s main roster singles debut after winning last night’s battle royal. Before the match, Corbin says the trophy is the only thing you need to know about him. Fair enough actually and the way you use a battle royal like the Andre version. Ziggler tries to duck away to start until Corbin sends him to the apron. One heck of a boot puts Dolph on the floor and we take a break.
Back with Ziggler fighting out of a nerve hold as the fans have dueling chants about……a beach ball. Yeah a fan brought one in and it was being batted around, completely taking the focus off of the match. You know, because that’s what matters when a brand new talent is brought up and making their Raw debut. I’m sure most of them will be chanting for NXT all night long too.
Now it’s a YOU SOLD OUT chant because a security guard took the ball. Ziggler makes his comeback with a Stinger Splash and the running DDT, only to charge into a massive Deep Six. They head outside with Corbin booting him into the crowd for the double countout at 11:03.
Rating: D. Not only did the beach ball chants waste a lot of time but THIS is how you use a Raw debut? I get that they’re setting up a match later on but you can’t have Corbin beat up some goof and do this on Smackdown? Ziggler getting beaten up is fine but let Corbin get a pinfall first you know?
Corbin beats Ziggler up even more and hits End of Days on the floor.
Stills of Lesnar vs. Ambrose from last night.
Here’s Zack Ryder for a chat, which Lillian introduces as a match. That’s what would happen in a bit but the producers EXPLODED on Lillian (off camera of course) with Garcia yelling right back. On the broadcast, Cole wrote it off as Lillian being excited and thrown off by Ryder shocking the world, which is all it needs to be. Just say she assumed it was a title match but got ahead of herself. Why does that require yelling at her?
Anyway, Ryder tells the amazing story of meeting Razor Ramon as a kid and getting to hold Razor’s Intercontinental Title. Last night they took another picture with Razor holding HIS Intercontinental Title. That’s just awesome and was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. On top of that Ryder thanks his father, who is sitting in the front row (and is in better shape than 90% of the roster). Cue Miz to call Ryder a one hit wonder who got lucky last night. Miz yells about how that was supposed to be his night with his wife watching from the crowd. Ryder: “Sucks to be you bro.” Miz issues a challenge for a title match and we’re on.
Intercontinental Title: Zack Ryder vs. The Miz
Ryder is defending. Miz can only get half of the Reality Check before Ryder gets in a dropkick. A middle rope dropkick is good for two and Ryder one ups himself with a middle rope hurricanrana. Back from a break with Ryder being sent to the floor for a big crash before Miz unloads with left hands. Ryder fights back with a middle rope dropkick (again) but gets caught with a short DDT for two.
Zack counters a suplex into a neckbreaker and the Elbro is good for two. The Broski Boot isn’t allowed to connect of course so Miz drops him face first on the barricade, right in front of Papa Ryder. Oh yeah you know where this is going. Trash is talked and Zack’s dad pushes him down. It’s not a DQ for some reason but here’s Maryse coming over the barricade to slap dad in the face. The distraction lets the Skull Crushing Finale give Miz the title at 10:58.
Rating: C+. Better match than I was expecting with the obvious ending. Maryse coming back turned out to be the greatest thing that could have happened to Miz, who really needed a boost just like this. They really are perfect for the roles and the fact that they’re really married makes it even better. That was pretty much it for Ryder as a singles guy and really….it’s not that surprising.
A lot of gloating ensues.
Owens says Sami won’t leave him alone but he’s on to bigger and better things. Like destroying the Roman Empire and becoming the new World Champion. Sami isn’t costing him the WWE Title because tonight, the road to KO Mania II begins.
The Vaudevillains are coming. On Smackdown!
Here’s the women’s division with Lita standing next to the new Women’s Title. She wants to do this right, which means Charlotte needs to come out here to be presented with her title. The fans immediately cut her off with HEY! WE WANT SOME BAYLEY but Cole says Bayley isn’t here. You know, in case you had a reason to be interested in this segment. Charlotte actually thanks the fans for getting her here but the fans keep singing for Bayley.
It turns into a WOMEN’S WRESTLING chant which Charlotte actually seems to enjoy. Charlotte starts talking about how great her dad is and how much he helped as this turns into the heel speech you would expect. She mocks a lot of the women for being here so long while she’s dominated in less than a year. Sasha and Becky walk out (Charlotte: “I didn’t bank on you leaving!” with the rest of the ladies following.
Natalya is the only one left and goes into a speech about how Charlotte needs to learn respect. It was Natalya who gave Charlotte a great match at Roadblock and she has the heart of a champion. Charlotte laughs it off because the title proves that she has the better family. The fight is on and Sharpshootering ensues.
So at this point we had about ten women in the ring at once and somehow, WWE decided that we had enough for two divisions. On top of that though, NATALYA, the least interesting woman on the roster, gets the first shot at the new champ? That was a huge blow for the division and I think everyone knew it. The segment was good other than that but sweet goodness that was a bad ending. Oh and finally: can we PLEASE stop with the “my family is better than yours” stuff? It puts too much focus on the old guys, which defeats the purpose of the whole thing.
AJ says he’s here to be World Champion.
The Shining Stars are coming and somehow they’re still here a year later.
Usos vs. Dudley Boyz
Tables match. It’s a huge brawl to start and in theory there are no DQ’s here, as there certainly shouldn’t be given how violent the match is supposed to be. JBL flat out says there’s no strategy here, which means there’s really not much of a point for commentary either. Or a referee. Or the match in general really.
Bubba takes over on Jey and it’s What’s Up, only to have Bubba say SCREW YOU instead of ordering D-Von around again. Double dives put the Dudleyz up against the announcers’ table and we take a break. Back with Bubba getting superkicked onto a table as a NAKAMURA chant breaks out. I know it’s the big show of the year for this nonsense but it was old five minutes into the show.
Double powerbombs are countered into a double superkick (you can guess who did what), followed by double clotheslines off the barricade. The double Superfly Splashes through the tables miss and the bell rings, which is a bit premature. Bubba throws Jey through a table for the real win at 8:57.
Rating: D-. This was really boring and I have no idea why this even needed to happen. The Usos beat them clean at Wrestlemania so now they lose a gimmick match the next night on Raw? Nothing to see here and the match went on FAR longer than it really needed to. This could have been done on any other show and it really held things back here.
Sami Zayn is ready to prove everyone wrong and get to the main event when Owens comes in and powerbombs him through a table.
The Dudleyz are still out here (after yelling at fans while the lights were down for Sami’s interview) but they’re interrupted by the debuting Enzo Amore and Big Cass to a MEGA pop. We hit the usual catchphrases with the fans eating them up like a big bowl of……oh if only there was a WWE themed food eaten from a bowl. Enzo thinks the Dudleyz are jealous because they’re just ugly. He’s even willing to punch D-Von’s lazy eye straight. More insults ensue but no violence follows. Cass’ spelling lesson takes us out.
More Wrestlemania stills.
Zack Ryder gets his rematch on Smackdown.
Dr. Phil is guest host next week. The place went SILENT when that was announced, as it should.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. ???
One fall to a finish. Sami is officially out due to injury and is replaced by…….the returning Cesaro! That’s your big surprise for the end of the show and I’ve certainly heard far worse ideas. He’s a popular guy so let him come out there and give the fans something to cheer about. If nothing else we get the debut of the tearaway suit. It’s a brawl to start (duh) with the Canadians being sent outside, leaving Style vs. Cesaro for a pop inducing showdown.
A big dropkick staggers Cesaro but he grabs a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to put Styles down and the show on a commercial. Back with a KO MANIA chant as Jericho works over Styles in the ring. Chris spends a bit too much time posing though and Owens has to save him from the Cesaro Swing. The greatest friendship that ever lived hadn’t begun yet though so I’m not sure why Kevin would do that.
Since it’s a four way match, we hit the Tower of Doom with Cesaro getting to do the powerbomb, meaning we HIT THAT CROWD SHOT BABY! Yeah they were even doing it back then. Swiss Death drops AJ for a close two and Owens gives Jericho the package piledriver slam for the same. AJ is back up for a springboard 450 for two more on Chris as Cesaro makes the save.
It’s time for the Uppercut Train and you know the fans are getting behind that thing. Even Jericho comes back in to make it a three stop train. The Swing makes its return as Jericho goes spinning until Owens makes the save. Kevin’s Pop Up Powerbomb gets two on Styles but Jericho gives Owens a Codebreaker for a near fall of his own.
The fans cheer for Cesaro as he and Jericho slug it out (you know you’ve made it if a smark crowd is cheering for you over Jericho) but Chris grabs the Walls. Cesaro fights out and reverses into a Sharpshooter but it’s AJ’s turn for the save via the Phenomenal Forearm. Another Codebreaker gets another two on Styles but he comes back with his Strike Rush into the Styles Clash for the pin on Jericho at 16:44.
Rating: B+. Yeah this is still great with the near falls and a lot of doubt about who is actually going to pull off the win. Styles getting the title shot was a great way to bring him back to the forefront after the interesting loss at Wrestlemania. Cesaro not being involved in the fall was a good idea as you don’t want to kill off his momentum right off the bat. Owens vs. Sami will be fine too so this was a very well booked match.
Styles can’t believe it and celebrates to end the show. This went on for a good while to really end the night.
Overall Rating: C. This really doesn’t hold up all that well with the lack of drama for the debuts and surprises. It also reinforces the issues with the crowd, who are just never going to shut up no matter what they do. There’s good stuff on here, such as Shane not coming back out for a long speech (keep the people wanting him) and the main event, but stuff like that tables match and a lot of the short matches don’t work too well. It’s still watchable but the big reason to care about it is gone, which makes it a louder show with an obnoxious crowd that has to be saved by a great main event. Still though, it was fun which is what matters.
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