I’ll try to make my thoughts on Wrestlemania 32 concise because, if you want more detail, go ahead and follow me on Twitter @couch_qb to see what my live reactions were like (Hint: it wasn’t pretty). As a collection of individual matches, WWE put together a decent grouping of fights. There were some great spots, awesome legend returns, and some swerves that we may not have expected. However, taken as an entire show, Wrestlemania 32 was a major disappointment. WWE had some awesome opportunities to shake things up and to keep us guessing, and they missed on every one of those chances. The booking was confusing and stale, and there lacked a genuine level of excitement from the fans when there wasn’t a legend in the ring. By the end of the night, the only pure baby face to win was Zack Ryder, a guy who has been so bereft of storylines that he’s been down in NXT tag-teaming with Mojo Rawley. For a show that was supposed to be the biggest of all time, it hardly delivered and I was left legitimately upset when I turned off my television.

Then, I woke up the next morning, and I started to think things through again. WWE was clearly very affected by injuries going into this Mania, having lost Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Sting just to name a few. As Brandon Reid and myself said on last week’s inaugural episode of “Book That!” WWE clearly seemed ready to get past this Wrestlemania ready to hit the reset button and start fresh. Going into RAW last night, I was willing to give WWE the chance to do what they often do; renew faith in the fans when they feel like the company is lost. So, with that said, let’s see whether I believe that they were able to deliver on that.

The “Bore”Man Empire Dawns:

Honestly, I was shocked to see that WWE went through with the clean Roman Reigns face win at Wrestlemania, knowing full well that he was going to get booed out of the building. I’ll talk more about this on this week’s edition of Book That!, MFST’s wrestling podcast that you can download on iTunes and Soundcloud (shameless plug), so make sure to download so you can hear what I think. That being said, Roman’s our champion now, and going into RAW, I was intrigued to see how they would present him as a character. In his first promo as champion, we kind of got our answer. He kept it short and sweet, and established that he wasn’t a good guy and he wasn’t a bad guy. This is the best way to present him if you don’t want to turn him heel completely, and is a good move by WWE. It allows the people who don’t like Roman to have cause to boo him, while also allowing his small amount of supporters to continue backing him.

Of the Two Nights, RAW had the Best Match:

First off, how amazing was that Fatal-Four-Way match? Easily the best match between RAW AND Wrestlemania, giving fans everything that they wanted and more. Having AJ Styles win and become #1 Contender for Roman’s title is an awesome, and extremely surprising, move that’ll lead to a great feud. I still don’t understand why Styles had to lose at Mania, but I can guarantee you that no one is thinking about that knowing that he is now going to compete for WWE’s top prize. It is an interesting move, however, because we all know that Styles will have 100% support from the fans, and Roman will continue to get his boos. Maybe this is the start of a full-fledge heel turn for Reigns. The other competitors in the match also shined, with the surprise return of Cesaro and the involvement of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Having Owens take out Zayn before the match (which necessitated Cesaro’s surprise return) makes a lot of sense, because it allows them the opportunity to build on their feud and make that a key topic every week. Plus, having them lose in the IC Title ladder match makes a ton more sense now that they are involved in the World Title picture. This is a much better spot for everyone to be in, and presents some clarity for some of the confusing booking at Wrestlemania.

Shane Temporarily has Control of RAW, or so We’re Told:

Following his loss to The Undertaker at Mania, many might have expected Shane to do what he started to do on RAW, thank the fans and say his goodbyes. Vince, however, had different plans. Trying to prove that having Shane run RAW would’ve been a disaster, Vince gave Shane the keys for one night. He made a point (multiple times) to establish that this was only temporary, but I think this is an attempt to swerve by WWE. Whether it’s because Triple H and Stephanie will be off of TV due to their losing of the championship, or if Vince just sees that the crowd loved the show, I think Vince may cave a bit to Shane and allow him to keep control of RAW for the foreseeable future. We never got a proper goodbye from Shane at the end of the show, so I imagine that this is what they intend to do. I don’t know how long it’ll last but, again, it helps make sense of what happened at Mania. By doing this, you not only keep The Undertaker around long-term but you also give fans what they want weekly.

Charlotte is Officially Presented with The New Women’s Title:

Last week, I wrote a piece on how the rumored re-branding of the WWE Diva’s division to the Women’s division was a major step forward for WWE. Now that those rumors proved to be true, it really does seem like the WWE is beginning to care about their women competitors. In my opinion, the Triple Threat Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania was the best of the night and, although I would’ve liked to see Sasha take home the win, Charlotte has been great so far as a heel champion. After cutting another cocky promo with her new title (which looks amazing by the way), it seems like Charlotte’s new competition is Natalya. Some may not like this move, as it shifts the attention away from the other new women in the company, but I don’t mind it. Throughout the entire Divas era, no one exemplified women’s wrestling more than Natalya. It needs to be a very temporary feud, lasting no longer than the next pay-per-view, but Natalya deserves this spot and these two ladies have proven that they can put on a great match.

Other Notes:

  • As expected, The New Day had one of the best entrances at Mania (Saiyan costumes?!?!) even though they ended up losing. However, they did get a bit of a rub by being in the ring to celebrate with those legends, and they got their win back the next night. It does seem like New Day will be faces going forward, and its important that they have a good heel team to face off against to keep their momentum going.
  • The Wyatt Family has had an interesting couple of days. I’ve seen a lot of people criticize their involvement at Wrestlemania with The Rock and John Cena as just another example of them being buried but I don’t agree. They got a primetime spot at Wrestlemania and just being in the ring with those guys (especially The Rock) is a good look for them. Then, on RAW, they came out to attack the League of Nations in what seems like something of a face turn. I’ve said for a while that you don’t need to change the Wyatts character to turn them face, which is what I hope they will start doing.
  • Apollo Crews from NXT made his debut in a squash match against Tyler Breeze. Crews is a great talent and natural face character who hopefully will make an instant impact on the main roster.
  • Baron Corbin winning the Battle Royal was the right move at Mania, because it gives you a chance to put over a guy who could be presented as a great heel on the main roster. The double count out in his match with Ziggler wasn’t great, but he still looks strong and now has something to back up any trash talk he might do.
  • Going with the complete surprise at Wrestlemania and giving Zack Ryder the IC Title seemed like kind of an odd move at the time, but given what happened with a lot of the other competitors, I don’t mind it. Ryder has been in the business grinding through dark matches and house shows for years, and it seems like WWE just wanted to reward him with something. Having him lose this title immediately to The Miz on RAW detracts from this swerve, but The Miz will be a fine heel champion moving forward. It honestly just seems like they have no idea what to do with that Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Dudleyz got a win over The Usos and, just like on the Mania pre-show, no one cared.
  • How you doin!? I’m very happy to see Enzo and Big Cass make their debut on RAW this week, walking right past the Dudley Boyz on their way to the ring. Having them debut in front of this crowd, which is full of smart fans who know the product, makes a ton of sense as they got a great reaction. Enzo Amore cut the best promo of the entire night against the Dudley Boyz and proved that these guys have got exactly what it takes to succeed on the main roster. I’m very excited about them being here.

Be sure to listen to this week’s episode of Book That!, our new wrestling podcast, to see what else Brandon Reid and myself have to say about Wrestlemania and this week’s RAW.

Kyle Kirby writes about WWE for MFST. You can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb.

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