April 26, 2016
The XL Center in Hartford, Conn. hosted the go-home edition of Raw on Monday night to Payback, the next WWE pay-per-view coming this Sunday. I’ll have my preview ready later this week, and if you weren’t really looking forward to Payback, Monday night’s episode of Raw did its best to try and change your mind.
Hours before Raw took the air, John Cena sent out this Tweet proclaiming he’ll be back on Raw beginning on Memorial Day, which is May 30th.
WWE also acknowledged the passing of Chyna before Raw went on the air.
It also aired a video tribute to her in the 10 o’clock hour.
Here are some of the main stories coming out of Raw:
Shane McMahon was back for the fourth week in a row as Raw kicked off Monday night. He once again had complete control over the show, which didn’t sit too well with his sister, Stephanie, who made her return to Raw.
After a nice back-and-forth brother-sister verbal joust, Stephanie informed us that her and Shane’s father, Vince, would be at Payback this Sunday and determine who would run Monday Night Raw.
Is this the beginning of a new brand split? Will Shane, Stephanie and Triple H battle for control of Raw for a while instead of a brand split? Do we even need a brand split? Personally, I was always a fan of the split, and I’d like to see them re-introduce it to Raw and SmackDown with Shane taking over Raw and Stephanie and Triple H taking over SmackDown. We’ll see how it plays out.
Shane wound up calling security down to escort Stephanie out of the building, but not before she got some good licks, and kicks, in one of the security guard’s faces.
She certainly packs a wallop.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows made their in-ring debut as a tag team, soundly defeating The Usos. They continued the attack after the match before the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns, came down to help his cousins. Anderson and Gallows retreated, with no sign of Styles. I can dig a Styles/Anderson/Gallows vs. Reigns/Usos feud, but it’s still rather early to think about that. Let’s see what happens at Payback.
Earlier in the night, Styles took on Sheamus and defeated him with a Phenomenal Forearm.
In the main event, Reigns faced Alberto Del Rio and defeated him with a spear despite Anderson and Gallows coming out towards the end of the match. After Reigns got the win, the duo attacked him before Styles came out and stopped them, but was met with a Superman Punch from the champion.
I think they’ve built this very well and people are very much into what WWE has in store this Sunday in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
The feud between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn just got real. WWE finally produced a fantastic video package highlighting the story of Owens and Zayn, which went from an unbreakable friendship to becoming bitter enemies out of nowhere. It truly got the casual fan intrigued into the feud and now they know why it’s important to care about Zayn getting his revenge on Owens.
Zayn took on Rusev and countered The Accolade and rolled him up for the win, but his celebration was short lived as Owens attacked him on the ramp. Then again, why wouldn’t Owens do that? Such a great heel move.
Dean Ambrose called out Chris Jericho and got his wish as Jericho made his way down to the ring. Ambrose would eventually attack him, but Jericho would get the upper hand and lock the Lunatic Fringe in the Walls of Jericho on the announce table.
Does this mean a big win for Ambrose on Sunday? Possibly.
The New Day’s No. 1 Contender’s Tag Team Tournament has the final match set for Payback on Sunday, and The Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady made sure we didn’t forget about it.
Cesaro takes on The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday, and doesn’t he look pretty good with the gold?
It was disappointing that the women’s division took a backseat on this edition of Raw with a two-minute match from Natalya and Emma. Natalya is going after Charlotte for the Women’s Championship at Payback, so it would’ve been nice to see a little bit more than what we got.
• AJ Styles d. Sheamus by pinfall via the Phenomenal Forearm.
• Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson d. The Usos by pinfall via the Magic Killer.
• Sami Zayn d. Rusev by pinfall after countering The Accolade and rolling up Rusev. Kevin Owens attacked Zayn after the match.
• Apollo Crews d. Stardust by pinfall via the spinning sit-down powerbomb.
• Natalya d. Emma by submission via the Sharpshooter.
• Baron Corbin d. Damien Sandow didn’t happen because Dolph Ziggler attacked Corbin during his entrance.
• Non-title: Roman Reigns (c) d. Alberto Del Rio by pinfall via the spear. Anderson and Gallows attacked