Always one of the most outrageous nights on WWE's calendar, the #RawAfterMania saw Ronda Rousey's wrath, shocking returns, NXT arrivals and huge buzz over next week's WWE Superstar Shake-up.
Having been duly humbled and arm-barred into submission by Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon arrived on Raw with her arm in a brace and an olive branch in hand for The Baddest Woman on the Planet as they move their relationship into the future. But the only thing the future holds, apparently, is more armbars.
Awash in a sea of “You tapped out!” chants from the #RawAfterMania crowd, Stephanie attempted to recast her tapout as a triumph, proclaimed that it was her crossover performance that motivated Rousey to become the best version of herself and offered to put the full weight of the WWE machine behind Rousey to move forward as allies.
Rousey didn’t seem to mind the offer; she even embraced Stephanie with a smile on her face. But as soon as they broke, the smile faded, Ronda rolled Stephanie onto the mat, tore off her elbow brace and put her in another armbar. Stephanie may have thought she’d signed her newest golden goose, but given that WWE medical officials had to escort her behind the curtain, it’s looking more and more like she might have her own “Stone Cold” Steve Austin instead — for better and for worse.
Four years ago, Paige made her debut in New Orleans and won the Divas Championship in her first match on Raw after WrestleMania 30. The Raw after WrestleMania 34 saw her return with a very different bit of business on her mind.
But first, her Absolution crew notched a big win over Sasha Banks, thanks to the fraying relationship between The Boss and Bayley that continued to weigh them both down. Bayley reared her head at a few crucial junctures of Banks’ battle with Mandy Rose of Absolution, stealing her spotlight by making her entrance seconds before the bell and inadvertently cold-cocking The Boss on the outside of the ring after Mandy provoked Bayley into taking a swing. The argument led to a flustered Sasha walking straight into a leaping knee from Rose that won the match, but a chagrined-looking Bayley made her exit before any more damage could be done. (They'll get a chance to settle the score in earnest next week on Raw.)
The moment was a bittersweet one for Absolution, however: Paige took center stage after the match and announced that, due to injuries, she would no longer be able to perform as an in-ring competitor. In the same arena where she made her Raw debut four years earlier and with the WWE Universe showering her in thanks, the former Divas Champion offered gratitude to the rest of the female Superstars, as well as Daniel Bryan (whose return from a neck injury gave her hope) and Edge (who showed her there was life outside WWE). She departed by leaving her T-shirt in the ring, though not before offering one final message to the WWE Universe: “This will always be my house.”
Unlike WrestleMania, The Miz had no reservations about using The Miztourage to his advantage in Raw’s main-event Six-Man Tag Team Match. And yet, the result remained the same for the former Intercontinental Champion.
A stomp to the mat from Seth Rollins ended Miz’s night once again, though having his understudies at his side paid significant dividends for The Awesome One. The Miztourage did their work to take Finn Bálor out of the equation, and the returning Jeff Hardy took as much out of himself as he did his opponents upon entering the fray.
That left Rollins to shoulder the load, and The Kingslayer answered the call, sprinting around the ring and taking out Miz and The Miztourage with a suicide dive. His partners helped clear the ring of interference, and a stomp to The Awesome One handed the Intercontinental Champion the win.
A train of finishing maneuvers from all three to Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel sent the WWE Universe home happy. The moment was somewhat tinged with uncertainty: Come the Superstar Shake-up next week, one, or all, of these Superstars might be competing on a different show. But given their big win, it’s hard to begrudge Rollins, Bálor & Jeff for letting the good times roll while they can.
In other action … Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax & Ember Moon def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James … No Way Jose def. John Skyler … The Revival def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson in a Tag Team Eliminator Match … Jeff Hardy helped Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor turn away The Miz and The Miztourage … Bobby Lashley attacked Elias …
The Authors of Pain def. Heath Slater & Rhyno … “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt def. Titus Worldwide in a Tag Team Eliminator Match … Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn ended in a No Contest.