The RAW after WrestleMania is usually akin to a drunk sailor when he reaches the pier. The crowd has, for the very last time over the long WrestleMania weekend, unabated fun, often inebriated and high in spirit. This week’s RAW was none too different. The fans celebrated the WrestleMania festivities, and as the night wound up, WWE put on yet another memorable edition of RAW after WrestleMania.
Like every year, this year’s RAW after Mania saw numerous debuts and surprising returns. For what it’s worth, the fans have high expectations for the RAW after WrestleMania, which is usually the best edition of Monday Night RAW throughout the year.
Saying that, we take a look at the top five returns and debuts on RAW this week.
#5 The Authors of Pain make their RAW debut
One of the most dominant tag teams on NXT finally made their main roster debut, as Akam and Rezar made their way to RAW. Heath Slater and Rhyno called out any team in the back, but did not expect Paul Ellering and the two behemoths to show up.
The duo made a massive impact on NXT almost instantly, and would do incredibly well if booked right. The duo are very similar to The Bludgeon Brothers, in terms of their physicality, and their ability to impose their will on the opponents.
One has to hope that WWE wouldn’t do the same mistake with them, like they had done with other tag teams that came up from NXT.
#4 Ember Moon
The former NXT Women’s Champion dropped the title to Shayna Baszler during the WrestleMania weekend, and made her RAW debut on the RAW after Mania. Moon is one of the most dominant female wrestlers in the company, and with an already stacked card on RAW, it’ll be interesting to see where Ember lands up after the draft next week.
Ember ruled the land of NXT for a long time, and has the looks, and the skill set to go a long way on the main roster. The possibility of Ember facing the likes of Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Ronda Rousey would excite the WWE Universe, and Ember would make a great addition to either RAW or SmackDown Live – wherever she ends up after the draft.
#3 Samoa Joe
The Samoan Submission Machine has been nursing an injury, and even had to miss WrestleMania 34. The night after Mania, Joe interrupted Roman Reigns, and laid down a challenge for Backlash. Joe and Reigns’ rivalry isn’t new, and both the Superstars have bad blood between them.
When Lesnar was originally expected to leave WWE after WrestleMania, Samoa Joe’s name came up as a possible opponent for Roman Reigns, for the Universal Championship. Joe’s absence left a major void on the red brand, and with the Superstar now returning, the WWE fans will be treated to some excellent promos and matches.
#2 Jeff Hardy
The Charismatic Enigma did not have the best of the past two months. After being arrested yet again for driving while impaired, and although he made an appearance during the Ultimate Deletion match, he was kept off television, and did not compete at WrestleMania.
Hardy underwent surgery last year for a torn rotator cuff, and was sidelined for about 6 – 8 months. With Matt now teaming up with Bray Wyatt, Jeff can concentrate on his singles career, and go after either the United States Championship, or the Intercontinental Championship.
#1 Bobby Lashley
It has been nearly a decade since we last saw Bobby Lashley in a WWE ring before this week. The Dominator went to Impact Wrestling after leaving WWE, and has won the world championship on multiple occasions. Lashley signed with Bellator MMA, and has been focusing on his MMA career as well.
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Lashley’s deal could be similar to Lesnar’s, with both Superstars having the opportunity to still compete in MMA fights, while still signed to WWE. Bobby went after Elias this past week, taking out The Drifter on the night he returned to the WWE.