WrestleMania 32 happened on Sunday night, and despite being the highest grossing live event ever, the overall reaction has been… not great. Along with a lackluster main event, there was a bizarre burial of talent by guys from the 1990s that overshadowed the entire show, and you could argue that Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker was the only main event match that delivered anywhere close to its expectations.
On top of all of that, the show went nearly seven hours from the start of the preshow until the closing shot, which is far too long for any wrestling show — the audience was burned out by the time it ended with Roman Reigns spearing Triple H to win WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
That being said, there was still plenty of good stuff from the show, and the Raw after WrestleMania routinely marks one of the most exciting shows of the year. It would appear that anything from new debuting superstars, to brand splits, to a complete overhaul of the direction of the company are on the table, and there’s a good chance Monday will provide more overall excitement than Sunday did.
With that being said, here are the five biggest questions we have after a lackluster WrestleMania that will hopefully be answered on Monday night.
5. Is Zack Ryder going to be given a legitimate title reign?
Undoubtedly the most surprising result from the show came in the opening match, where Long Island Iced Z, Zack Ryder, beat six other superstars in a ladder match to win the Intercontinental championship.
Even if you’re not the biggest Ryder fan, you had to at least be a little happy for the guy, as he was essentially punished for getting himself over five years ago and has been toiling around on the undercard for years just trying to hang on to his spot. His ascension basically came out of nowhere, as he was serving in a mid-card NXT tag team as his primary role just a month ago, and now he’s had his WrestleMania moment. But the question now becomes, will Ryder’s reign with the IC title be a short one?
Kevin Owens will presumably get a rematch, and it’s tough to see a scenario where Ryder goes over him in a one-on-one environment. With that said, KO and Sami Zayn appear to be continuing their blood feud, so it’s possible that they could go into Payback without the IC title and Ryder could defend it against someone else.
However, there’s also the question to consider of Ryder’s tag team, The Hype Bros. If Mojo Rawley is set to come up soon to the main roster and join his partner, Ryder’s intercontinental title win could have just been a way to get the team more, er, “hype” before they move into the tag division.
Hopefully Ryder gets at least a few months to see if he could really become a thing in the upper midcard, but this feels a lot like it could be a short championship reign.
4. Did the Women’s Championship triple threat match mark a permanent attitude change when it comes to the entire division?
For my money, the match of the night by a country mile at WrestleMania 32 was the Women’s Championship triple threat match between Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. Although the result didn’t turn out how most of us wanted (I’m still a little bummed Sasha Banks didn’t win), the women were able to surpass the tremendous expectations that a lot of people had for that match, and it is, bar none, the best women’s match in WrestleMania history.
On top of that, they got to compete not for the Divas Championship, but for the newly revealed Women’s Championship which is about as big of an upgrade both in name and design as you can get.
Giving the women that opportunity at WrestleMania was the first step for WWE, but it’s now time to follow through in the weeks to come. For all of the talk of the “Divas Revolution” in the last eight months, not all that much has changed in the division besides “give them more time to wrestle on Raw.”
With the three women in the title match joining other talented performers like Paige, Emma, Natalya, Naomi, Summer Rae, and more (maybe Bayley?!?!), hopefully the company takes the time out to build the entire division back up as it is in some of the best shape it’s been in for years. A Women’s Tag Team Championship seems like a logical idea to me, but even if that’s not happening, surely there can be multiple feuds happening going into Payback that don’t involve the championship, but do more ground work than “is jealous about something” or “is mad about something that happened on Total Divas.”
3. Is Shane McMahon sticking around in any capacity?
Insane person Shane McMahon did the thing we all thought he was going to do on Sunday night, and it was somehow even more insane looking than any of us thought it would be.
Other than Shane diving off the cell, though, there wasn’t all that much to his match against The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell as there was no outside interference of any sort and Taker just pinned him clean, assuring that The Authority stays in power on Raw. Undertaker winning is the least interesting way that match could have gone from a storyline perspective, as a Shane win would have promised a much-needed shakeup on Raw.
There have been rumors of a brand split coming back, but Shane’s loss would appear to make that much less likely. That is, unless Shane sticks around after all. For all of his flaws, the show is significantly more interesting with Shane O’ Mac on it, so it’s my hope that they find a way for him to be involved in the upcoming months despite his loss.
An ongoing battle for control between the McMahon family isn’t the most interesting storyline to tell in 2016, but The Authority has been around in the same capacity for so long now, that some kind of change is desperately needed, and Shane appears to be the best chance of that happening.
It’s entirely possible McMahon was only around for a one-off and we won’t be seeing him again anytime soon, but let’s hope that he has another trick up his sleeve and will make a return on Monday night.
2. Who will be debuting/returning on Monday night?
NXT staple Baron Corbin made his surprise debut on the main roster Sunday night, lastly eliminating Kane to win the third annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Corbin has improved tenfold in the last 12 months on NXT, and he could be a great addition to the main roster if he keeps being allowed to do what he does best: beat up former indy wrestlers. However, he’s not likely to be the only NXT talent that moves up to the main roster this week.
The Raw after WrestleMania has become synonymous with call-ups as the likes of Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, Paige, Kalisto, and Neville have all moved up on the night after Mania in the last two years. Bayley, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, The Bullet Club, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, Carmella, and Mojo Rawley would appear to at least have a shot of moving up on Monday night, and it will be super intriguing to see which of them get to start the next aspect of their careers.
Also possible are returns of injured superstars. Big Match John made his comeback on Sunday a solid six months or so ahead of schedule to help his old enemy The Rock beat up The Wyatt Family. If he is indeed ready to wrestle again, that will provide a huge boost to the roster, and he could be joined by Cesaro, who has already been announced for WWE’s tour in Amsterdam on the 15th of this month.
1. Does WWE have a plan to combat Roman Reigns’ negative crowd reaction?
By far the biggest concern after Sunday night is the fact that Roman Reigns does not appear to be any closer to getting over with the crowd. Reigns finally got his WrestleMania moment when he beat Triple H to win WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but the match was lackluster, and the crowd basically completely turned on it. It’s not often that the closing shot of WrestleMania is filled with audible boos from the live crowd, but here we are.
It’s entirely possible that WWE will continue to try and make face Roman Reigns a thing and just ignore the crowd reaction. But now that we’re past WrestleMania, there would at least appear to be a chance that it doesn’t go in that direction. A heel turn is probably the only way to get out of this at this point, as the company has done basically everything it could to get the majority of fans to cheer Reigns, and it just hasn’t worked.
There are a limited number of people who Reigns could feud with in the upcoming months, but almost all of them would get a bigger reaction than he would. A rematch against Triple H is probably most likely even though it’s the most boring, but a feud with Dean Ambrose or Brock Lesnar would be even worse in terms of how one-sided the crowd would be.
Roman Reigns was picked to be the face of the company a while ago, and there has been little indication that is changing any time soon. However, WWE can’t go on this path forever if Reigns does not start to get a better reaction, so hopefully there will be something on Monday night that proves they are at least trying to make it right.