Monday Night Raw
Date: April 9, 2018
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman

As usual, this could be the most interesting show of the year. Tonight could be filled with major angles, returns and surprises, all of which could become big deals in a hurry. Or it could be all about Roman Reigns, who managed to not win the Universal Title from Brock Lesnar last night. Let’s get to it.

I was in the arena for this show, sitting in the upper deck on the opposite side from the hard camera, looking nearly straight down at the ring.

Here’s Stephanie McMahon, walking very slowly and with her arm in a cast after last night, to open the show. Cole talks about how Ronda Rousey’s debut may be the best debut in Wrestlemania history. Does that mean the best wrestler to debut at Wrestlemania. Stephanie talks about the post Wrestlemania crowd having an international flavor but she expected at least SOME sympathy.

She did tap out last night but the fans have to admit that one woman did everything she could last night and made the transition. Yes Stephanie did make that transition and was amazing so she deserves all the praise. This brings out Rousey to a very nice reception and even Stephanie gives her credit for last night. Rousey is a role model and a superstar and with Stephanie guiding her, they can reach new heights. The fans tell Stephanie to shut the F up so Stephanie calls Rousey her friend….and offers a handshake.

Rousey hugs her and smiles before shifting to the death stare. Stephanie gets taken down by the bad arm and Rousey takes the brace off to crank it back all over again. Referees run in for the late save and Rousey is all smiles. She’s getting better at the facial expressions and really does come off like a star. Medics come out to check on Stephanie and the fans tell her that she deserves it. As she’s leaving, JoJo asks for a little respect for Stephanie.

The announcers do their usual “this crowd is insane” speech.

The Superstar Shakeup is confirmed., thereby making almost everything you see here tonight a lot less important.

Here’s Nia Jax for a tag match with a surprise partner. The fans tell Nia that she deserves it but Bliss doesn’t seem to share the mentality. Apparently Nia is the real bully here, even bigger than Rousey. Bliss talks about Nia being so much bigger and running over someone innocent like Mickie. Last night Nia assaulted Mickie before the match and Alexa was competing under emotional distress. Everyone knows how horrible Nia is and that’s why she doesn’t have a partner tonight. Nia: “Shut up Alexa!” She did enjoy what she did to Mickie and Alexa last night and she’s the new Raw Women’s Champion. She does have a partner.

Nia Jax/Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James

Nia throws Mickie across the ring to start (maybe Mickie wasn’t ready) so Mickie kicks her in the knee. Bliss comes in and Nia chokes both of them at once before handing it off to Ember.  Ember enziguris Alexa, slips a bit off a springboard (a quick camera cut protected it) and takes Bliss down with a spinning crossbody. A legsweep sets up the Eclipse to end Bliss clean at 3:00.

Result: Nia Jax/Ember Moon b. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James – Eclipse to Bliss (3:00)

That’s how you debut.

Ember Moon makes her Raw debut with Nia Jax against Alexa Bliss & Mickie James: Raw, April 9, 2018

Braun Strowman comes in to see Kurt Angle and blocks out Nicholas from Kurt’s view. As soon as he steps aside though, the fans go coconuts. Strowman hates to do this but they relinquish the Tag Team Titles. See, Nicholas has a scheduling conflict: he’s still in the fourth grade. As soon as he’s done with school though, they’re coming back to win the titles. Nicholas promises that someone will GET THESE HANDS.

No Way Jose debuts next.

No Way Jose vs. John Skylar

Jose has a Conga line and wins with the pop up right hand in 26 seconds.

Result: No Way Jose b. John Skylar – Pop up right hand (0:26)

The Bar comes in to say they’re ready to take their titles back. Not so fast though (Kurt: “You guys lost to a freaking ten year old!”) as they can be in the title match, but their opponents will be determined by a four team tournament over the next two weeks.

Tag Team Eliminator First Round: Revival vs. Anderson and Gallows

Joined in progress with Anderson throwing Dawson around and declaring him a NERD. Revival gets smart by taking out the knee with Wilder cranking back and bending the leg in various odd directions. Dawson dives over to prevent a tag as they’re trying to get that Revival formula going. A big boot to the face is enough to bring in Anderson though and that means HI YAH in the corner. Anderson dives onto Wilder but Dawson rolls through a high crossbody for two (with tights). Everything breaks down and Gallows gets sent into the barricade, leaving Anderson to eat the Shatter Machine for the pin at 3:41 shown.

Result: Revival b. Anderson and Gallows – Shatter Machine to Anderson (3:41)

John Cena Make-A-Wish ad.

Here’s Seth Rollins for a chat. The fans are all about Rollins here with another YOU DESERVE IT chant. Seth says it’s been a long road back but that was the loudest BURN IT DOWN ever. After last night, he’s back and now a Grand Slam winner, just like the rest of the Shield. He talks about how special it was to complete the Grand Slam in front of fans like these but here’s Finn Balor to interrupt.

Balor gets straight to the point: Rollins was the better man last night but there was someone who wasn’t the winner or a loser and that man wants more. He wants to be the first challenger for the Intercontinental Title and Rollins will shake to that. This brings out Miz and the Miztourage with Miz ranting about how Rollins doesn’t deserve to be champion. It was Miz who made the title what it is but he slips up and says he can’t win without the Miztourage backing him up.

Miz is a changed man after becoming a father to his new daughter. Fans: “HE’S GOT KIDS!” Last night, his daughter watched the match in Maryse’s arms and when Miz lost, she started crying. Miz: “You made my little princess cry.” That made Maryse cry and Miz cried when he heard about it. Seth: “That’s what everyone does when they watch you try to wrestle.”

Miz has a rematch clause and since Balor lost last night, he goes to the back of the line. Rollins is ready now but Miz isn’t wrestling in this suit. Instead he’ll do it at Backlash but if they want a fight tonight, a handicap match is fine. Cue the returning Jeff Hardy to even things up and the Miztourage bails.

Guess who’s back.

Jeff Hardy helps Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor push back The Miztourage: Raw, April 9, 2018

Back from a break with the six man being set for later.

Sasha Banks vs. Mandy Rose

Absolution and Bayley are at ringside. Sasha sends her outside for a baseball slide to start as the fans sing about Bayley. A suplex gives Sasha two as Corey is very glad that he gets to commentate both shows, meaning he always gets to see Mandy. Sasha gets dropped throat first across the top rope and we take a break.

Back with Mandy holding an abdominal stretch until Sasha slips out and hits a knee in the corner. The top rope double knees get two and they head outside where Mandy….seems to mistime whatever she was supposed to be ready for. Mandy goes after Bayley, who hits Sasha by mistake in the next logical step. Back in and Mandy knees Sasha in the face for the pin at 6:55.

Result: Mandy Rose b. Sasha Banks – Knee to the face (6:55)

Post match Bayley leaves and Paige talks about how hard it was to be on the sidelines yesterday at Wrestlemania. This ring is her soul but due to neck injuries, her in-ring career is over. The THANK YOU PAIGE chants start up in a hurry and Paige thanks the locker room for growing the division into something they never could have dreamed of. She also wants to thank Daniel Bryan for giving her hope that she might be able to come back some day as well.

Earlier today Edge spoke to her and showed her that there’s life outside of wrestling. Edge has a family and acting career but now Paige has to go find something else. WWE has allowed her to do this for the last four years. She debuted here four years ago and won the Divas Championship so she wants to retire here as well.  Paige starts to cry so we get a THIS IS YOUR HOUSE chant. This will always be her house and she takes the shirt from around her waist, leaving it in the ring before walking up the ramp.

Always her house.

Paige gives an emotional retirement speech: Raw, April 9, 2018

The announcers recap John Cena vs. Undertaker.

Here’s Elias for a song. The fans get that WWE stands for WALK WITH ELIAS and last night they paid for an Elias performance. That means an OH WALK WITH ELIAS chant but Elias calls them scumbags. Fans: “WE ARE SCUMBAGS!” The song is about how he wants to punch the clapping fans in the face….and here’s the returning Bobby Lashley. House is cleaned in a hurry and Lashley hits a delayed vertical suplex (with one arm free at times) to drop Elias.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come to see Kurt Angle to ask for a job. Sure they had a falling out with their management but that won’t happen here. Angle: “My tag team division is full, but I hear that TNA is hiring.” Angle says he can’t hire them both. He has one spot available so they can wrestle for the contract tonight.

Here are Heath Slater and Rhyno to issue an open challenge.

Heath Slater/Rhyno vs. Authors of Pain

Pounding abounds and the Last Chapter ends Slater at 49 seconds.

Result: Authors of Pain b. Heath Slater/Rhyno – Last Chapter to Slater (0:49)

Post match the Authors walk away from Paul Ellering.

Here’s Roman Reigns for a chat. He took a beating last night but he’s here while Brock Lesnar isn’t. When he got to the Superdome yesterday, no one could look him in the eye. As of this past Wednesday, Lesnar was done and going to the UFC. Now though they have another match in a cage in Saudi Arabia later this month. That means Reigns can win the title there in a match he found out about on the internet. This brings out Samoa Joe to say Reigns exposed Lesnar last night.

For over a year, Reigns has been saying he’s the only one who can beat Lesnar. It doesn’t matter who couldn’t look at Roman because he’s a failure. It also makes him a liar because he can’t beat Brock Lesnar. Every time the Beast meets the Big Dog, the Big Dog gets conquered. After Lesnar makes Reigns fail again, Samoa Joe will be waiting at Backlash to put him to sleep.

Joe is gonna re-turn!

Samoa Joe looks to pick a fight with Roman Reigns at WWE Backlash: Raw April 9, 2018

Tag Team Eliminator First Round: Titus Worldwide vs. Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt

Before the match, Hardy talks to the Andre the Giant trophy, saying it’s time to start on the expedition of gold. Bray shows up and laughter ensues, allowing them to appear in the ring. Matt and Titus have the required pose off and Matt hammers away. Bray comes in and the fans give him a little He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.

The announcers discuss whether these chants are more like football games or soccer until Apollo comes in with a flip. Matt and Bray find this WONDERFUL but beat on Apollo anyway. A series of rams into the buckle have Apollo in trouble but he gets in a dropkick to stagger Bray. That just earns him a release Rock Bottom as Titus is knocked to the floor. Bray tosses Apollo into the Twist of Fate (called Sister Abigail into the Twist) for the pin at 5:08.

Result: Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt b. Titus Worldwide – Twist of ate to Apollo (5:08)

We recap the opening sequence.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

The winner gets a Raw contract. Cole points out that the loser here will NOT be allowed in the Superstar Shakeup. Sami misses the Helluva Kick at the bell and he has to explain the attempt at the fast start. Owens gets low bridged….to the apron as Sami doesn’t get the rope low enough and Owens goes through the ropes instead. He’s smart enough to hammer Sami in the head but gets knocked to the floor for a big flip dive.

A hard right hand breaks up a springboard but Sami catapults him face first into the post. Back in and Sami gets crotched, setting up a Vader Bomb elbow for two. We take a break and come back with Cole sounding like he’s talking to production and Sami getting two off the Blue Thunder Bomb. They head outside again with Sami’s dive through the ropes eating a superkick.

Back in and the frog splash gets two and Owens follows it up with a corner clothesline. He tries another but Sami is right behind him with the Helluva Kick to send him to the apron. There’s the Pop Up Powerbomb but Owens falls to the floor for some reason. Back in and Owens goes up, only to get kicked in the face again. Sami superplexes him down and neither can get up, meaning it’s a double knockout at 10:18.

Result: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens went to a double knockout (10:18)

Post match, the fans chant TNA.

Matt and Jeff run into each other with Matt saying he was glad to hear about Jeff getting over being broken. Jeff left him a message but it must have been DELETED. Matt must have been preparing for Andre’s battle of the giants. Indeed he was, and he won, thanks to the help of an old foe. Bray comes in and hugs Brother Nero, who is glad that Sister Abigail has been rendered OBSOLETE. Bray is now feeling wonderful and walks off with Matt. The camera pans over to Balor and Rollins, who are very confused. Jeff just shrugs and leaves.

Family reunion.

Jeff Hardy comes face-to-face with "Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt: Raw, April 9, 2018

Next week: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks.

Jeff Hardy/Finn Balor/Seth Rollins vs. Miz/Miztourage

Before Finn’s entrance, the production crew replaced a piece of the stage, which I thought would be a Rey Mysterio entrance but turned out to just be for the smoke in Balor’s entrance. Miz and Rollins start but let’s hand it off to Axel instead. Rollins kicks both lackeys in the face and it’s off to Jeff for some Poetry in Motion to Axel and Dallas. Finn and Seth play decent Matt’s actually.

Back from a break with Balor coming in and forearming all three villains. Miz offers a distraction though and Dallas decks Balor from behind. Now Miz is glad to come in with a chinlock, followed by the Hennig necksnap from Axel. Dallas drops some knees and grabs a chinlock of his own as we’re not exactly setting any new standards here. Balor finally dropkicks Miz down and the hot tag brings in Jeff to clean house.

A Whisper in the Wind takes down the Miztourage as you can see Rollins getting all charged up on the apron. The diving tag brings in Seth with a springboard clothesline to Miz. Rollins suicide dives onto all three of them for a big crash and we hit a BURN IT DOWN chant. Back in and the superplex into the Falcon Arrow gets two on Miz with Dallas making the save. Finn dives onto Axel and Dallas and the Stomp finishes Miz at 13:56.

Result: Seth Rollins/Finn Balor/Jeff Hardy b. Miz/Miztourage – Stomp to Miz (13:56)

Post match Dallas takes a Twist of Fate, Coup de Grace, Swanton and Stomp. Axel gets a similar treatment and a Stomp to Miz ends the show.

The dark segment saw Rollins telling the fans to throw in their beach balls. Several fans obliged and the good guys batted them around for a few minutes to wrap up the night.

Ember Moon/Nia Jax b. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James – Eclipse to Bliss
No Way Jose b. John Skylar – Pop Up Punch
Revival b. Anderson and Gallows – Shatter Machine to Anderson
Mandy Rose b. Sasha Banks – Knee to the face
Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt b. Titus Worldwide – Twist of Fate to Apollo
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens went to a double knockout
Seth Rollins/Finn Balor/Jeff Hardy b. Miz/Miztourage – Stomp to Miz

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his Amazon author page with 26 wrestling books. His latest book is the WWE Grab Bag.

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