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5 Big Takeaways from WWE Monday Night RAW - April 3, 2023: A NEW ERA BEGINS

On the always-exciting Monday night after WrestleMania, it's said that just about anything can happen. This show proved that theory to be truer than ever, with backlash from the big event beginning right away

So... what do you guys want to talk about?

It's difficult to even put into words what the last few days have meant for World Wrestling Entertainment as a live media and event organization. Between a marquee match-up at their biggest event of the year, a controversial finish, and then (basically) the biggest news ever in the company's history, the last 24-48 hours have been like a blur.

It's as if we are on a runaway train, with no clue where it will stop. Or, for that matter... who might get run over along the way. Because what happens tomorrow isn't for sure, and anything beyond that contains limitless possibilities following today's titanic turn of events.

But for now, all WWE can do is focus on their in-ring product, which was excellent again on The Show of Shows. While many critics and observers say it fell short of expectations, its blockbuster battles were what mattered the most. And they all delivered like the Pony Express.

Putting the major news of the company's sale to Endeavor and merger with the UFC aside, this week's episode provided plenty of action and excitement. Along the way, it also foreshadowed some events that could lie ahead for the Superstars of the promotion. Having said that here's a look at five things that stood out in a huge edition of Monday Night RAW:

#1 - You just know it's going to be a big night when Triple H kicks off an episode of WWE Monday Night RAW now

The Head of Creative was out to revel in the glory of this weekend's events in Los Angeles and thank everyone involved. But as he spoke, you could tell the crowd was on edge, waiting to see if he was going to address the elephant in the room.

After a filibuster about the enormity of 'Mania, Trips then thanked the WWE Universe. At this point, it almost felt like he was about to say goodbye. And at this point? Would anything shock us? I mean, just last week we thought we would get a Monday episode with Cody as the new Universal Champion, but otherwise, business as usual. Then, the huge announcement of the sale came out late Sunday night, and everything seemed up in the air.

Instead, HHH let us all know that the same, old WWE wasn't going anywhere. The crowd loved hearing that, and The Game had everyone happy and eating out of their hand. It's funny to think we used to hate seeing him start the show by cutting a promo. But here, it just seemed right,. Great start to the program, which led to...

#2 - The Tribal Chief came to the ring to be ACKNOWLEDGED for his big win at WrestleMania, but Cody Rhodes had other ideas

Roman had the right to gloat a little, after retaining his championship and extending his title run to nearly 1000 days now. He will no doubt pass that mark now, as there's no hurry to remove the gold from his waist now that 'Mania season has passed. He'll likely not defend the undisputed title again until Summer Slam, so his reign is safe for now.

Cody then strolled out and gave The Head of the Table his due respect, before bringing up all the interference in their match. He then asked for a re-match but was rebuffed by the wise man Paul Heyman. It was then settled that there would be a tag team tilt for later in the evening, with Solo Sikoa and Roman taking on The American Nightmare and a partner of his choosing, provided that person had competed on one of the two nights this weekend.

Well, it turned out to be less of a partner and more of a Beast.

The Outlaw Brock Lesnar soon emerged - cowboy hat and all - to massive cheers.

The Man from Suplex City stood as a willing warrior next to Rhodes, while The Tribal Chief scowled in disgust. Throughout the entire Bloodline angle, Reigns has been applauded for his promos, but his facial expressions are always on point, too. He always appears to add true emotion in almost every setting or situation. That has really added to the Tribal Chief persona.

The stage was now set for these guys for later in the episode. Despite the promised showdown featuring this quartet of stars, the live audience was clearly a little letdown. The wind came out of their sails a bit when they got a multi-man match, instead of a championship do-over.

The folks in attendance probably thought the promotion would do a 'makegood' from the previous evening here, but that's not how things went down. Despite that, they stayed invested in the angle throughout the night, nonetheless.

#3 - It may be the start of a New Year for WWE, but babyfaces like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Seth Rollins are still the faces of RAW

In two segments during the middle of the show, we got a glimpse of three of the company's biggest stars. Newly-crowned WWE Tag Team Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens got the welcome of a lifetime. They paraded down the ramp with the gold, and it was smiling all around.

That led to a segment and showdown with The Street Profits. Zayn-O got the win in a really fun match, but that's really secondary here. This reunited team is the story, and their reunion will be one of the biggest stories of WWE throughout the Spring and Summer.

Then, the Artist Formerly Known As Seth was in the back doing a promo and decided mid-way that 'the party was out there'. He asked for his music to play and then went out to basically just drink to the cheers of the WWE Universe. That was it. Just the people singing to a man whose eccentric charm has led to a rebirth in his character. Some fans think it's completely stupid, while many more believe it to be brilliant. The truth may lie somewhere in between, but it's certainly the best work that Rollins has done in years.

All of these stars have been with WWE for around a decade or longer, but they all seem to have finally found their niche. Yes, they have had past incarnations, but this group seems really comfortable in their present-day roles.

#4 - The Women's Champions had a face-off that ultimately laid the groundwork for a future battle between the two terrific titleholders

While this could be a long-term look toward Survivor Series, it seems like RAW Women's Champion Bianca Belair and freshly-crowned Smackdown titleholder Rhea Ripley could happen sooner. It was a little strange to see the two of them come off their big wins at 'Mania and show up in the ring face-to-face the next night.

Belair did her best in a promo thanking the fans, but they were pretty dead in this one. Perhaps that;'s the hangover of two matches where the outcome seemed to be settled before the bell rang. Both Ripley and Belair are terrific performers, but the division, as a whole, needs a shot in the arm right now. They need a rising star to catch fire like Becky Lynch did in what seems oh-so-long ago.

Not sure if that's what Triple H & Company was going for here, but it fell short. Ripley may have momentum for now, but they must protect her by keeping her out of segments like this one. Belair has lost a LOT of the steam she had in the initial months of her current title reign. A good place to start fixing things on the ladies' side of the ledger would be to find a suitable replacement on RAW for Belair. She could use a break to cool off for a while

#5 - The Main Event delivered insult, injury, and intrigue

Going into the closing contest, the questions were: How would Cody and Brock work together, and how would the crowd react? It was pretty interesting to see these two individual stars in the squared circle, standing side-by-side to challenge the evil Champion.

At least, that's how it was supposed to be. Then, Brock decided to throw a monkey wrench into the whole situation.

Before the bell, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion struck like a cobra, F-5ing The American Nightmare before Rhodes even knew what hit him. While it appeared at first that Lesnar may be siding with his former advocate, Paul Heyman, to aid Reigns, that wasn't the case. It became apparent that The Tribal Chief was just as confused as the rest of us, and he just quietly took his exit to let The Beast pick Cody's bones.

The beating raged on for several minutes, with big bad Brock looking to continue things beyond the close of the show. This makes everything a little more interesting (and a LOT more confusing) when it comes to the main event and the title picture.

Cody is obviously coming off his loss to begin a program with Brock, so the question must be now asked: What's next on the agenda for Roman Reigns? Who will challenge for the right to be the new Head of the Table?


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