The RAW after WrestleMania has become a standalone spectacle, unique to WrestleMania itself and must-see WWE television in recent years. WrestleMania weekend has become a vacation destination for its fans, offering the marquee event as well as the Hall of Fame Ceremony, an NXT special, RAW the night after, and now, SmackDown, since it's gone live on Tuesday nights in light of the brand split.
This year, RAW and SmackDown Live competed for memorable moment supremacy, 24 and 48 hours removed from WrestleMania 33. RAW brought us the debut of The Revival, the returns of Emma and Finn Balor, The Hardy Boyz appearing on RAW for the first time in more than six years, Kurt Angle being appointed the new general manager of the flagship brand by Vince McMahon, and the longest set of chants to kick off a RAW, directed at the Undertaker and Roman Reigns.
SmackDown didn't let RAW have all the fun after WrestleMania, though. Tuesday night featured a women's championship match, the main roster debuts of Tye Dillinger and Shinsuke Nakamura, the return of Erick Rowan, and the tease of a babyface turn for AJ Styles. At one point, both Andrade Cien Almas and Elias Samson were scheduled to make their debuts on either RAW or SmackDown, but they have been delayed.
Fans will have to wait and see whether WWE officials made any changes in regard to the creative booking of this week's SmackDown Live, but according to a report from Sportskeeda, RAW underwent several significant changes the day of the show. While it's certainly not all that uncommon to hear reports that Vince re-writes a RAW script at the 11th hour, the RAW after WrestleMania is a marquee show and there were apparently several noteworthy changes.
As seen, Goldberg lost his Universal Championship to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania on Sunday but did not appear during the RAW taping on Monday. He did, however, go to the ring to deliver an unscripted promo in the ring on RAW Talk, where he shed some light on his backstage agreement with the WWE and what his future might hold. Originally, the promo was scheduled for RAW itself, but officials decided to push it back and air it exclusively on the WWE Network.
Additionally, WWE officials had a championship match on the books for RAW but scrapped it at the last minute. Not only that, but those plans would have included a title switch. Reportedly, Neville was slated to drop his Cruiserweight Championship to Austin Aries on Monday night, but the entire plan got changed. Instead, Neville cut a promo regarding his WrestleMania victory over Aries and then faced Mustafa Ali in a match that the crowd tried to sabotage. Aries would regain his No. 1 contender status the following night on 205 Live, so he and Neville will continue their feud on RAW.
Speaking of the Cruiserweight Division, it's also being reported that a proposed fatal four-way match was once on the WrestleMania card, but it was scrapped the day of the show. Neville and Aries were the only cruiserweights to perform on the show, and the four that were slated to compete were told it was on on Sunday, before being told it was off again a few hours later.
The third creative angle that was nixed for the RAW after WrestleMania involved the women of RAW. It has been rumored for months that Sasha Banks would be turning heel, with Bayley being the target for her attack and turn. WrestleMania featured a fatal four-way elimination match between the two, as well as Charlotte and Nia Jax, while RAW had a six-woman tag match, reintroducing Emma to the division and adding Dana Brooke to the mix.
The Sasha turn did not happen on the grand stage, but WWE officials were considering it for the next night on RAW. Instead, after the babyface team won, the heel team imploded and resulted in Nia taking out Charlotte. It's unclear whether that turns either Jax or The Queen, but the planned change for Sasha was put on hold again. There was a brief moment after the match that Sasha went to take the title from the ref to presumably give it to Bayley, but Bayley seemed to take minor exception before they laughed it off.
Would you have liked to see any of those plans stick or did the RAW after WrestleMania provide enough memorable moments to suffice?
[Featured Image by WWE]