After the enormous success that was Wrestlemania, the action continued in this week’s RAW and Smackdown. With title defences, assaults and the return from injury of Dublin badass Sheamus, the WWE universe was not short of thrills.
After new Intercontinental champion Daniel Bryan defeated challenger Dolph Ziggler on Monday night’s RAW, we saw interferences first by previous champion Bad News Barrett and then the returning Sheamus. Sporting a new mowhawk, he attacked and knocked out the other wrestlers. After a chant of ‘You look stupid’ from the incredibly vocal crowd, Sheamus simply announced ‘I’m back’. Sheamus took on Bryan on Thursday’s Smackdown, winning by count-out with the assistance of Barrett and marking himself as a possible future challenger for the Intercontinental title. Bryan will defend the title against Barrett in this month’s Extreme Rules PPV.
On RAW, Paul Heyman demanded a rematch with Seth Rollins for his client Brock Lesnar, who lost his title at Wrestlemania. Though the fight was accepted, Rollins later claimed to be too jetlagged to fight, postponing the defence. This infuriated Lesnar, who attacked bystanders and flipped the announcer’s table, prompting Stephanie McMahon to issue him a hefty fine and suspend him indefinitely. This puts Lesnar out of the running for the Heavyweight championship for now, with Rollins defending against Randy Orton at Extreme Rules.
This week also saw several faces that will be familiar to fans of WWE’s developmental territory NXT promoted to main roster matches, with Adrian Neville scoring a comprehensive victory over Curtis Axel while the high-flying Lucha Dragons won in a fatal four-way tag team match. This, coupled with Hideo Itami’s appearance at Wrestlemania could pave the way for Bray’s Finn Bálor and Dublin diva Becky Lynch to make the jump.
John Cena made his first defense of his US championship on RAW, to a shockingly poor reception from the crowd. Having just defeated Rusev at Wrestlemania for the title, Cena issued an open challenge, taken up by Dean Ambrose who was eventually defeated after an impressive match. On Smackdown, Rusev, availing of his rematch clause, challenged Cena to a title fight to take place at Extreme Rules.
This week also saw the retirement of three-time Divas champion and three-time Slammy award winner AJ Lee. Having teamed up with Paige to defeat the Bella twins in a tag-team match at Wrestlemania, AJ looked set to challenge Nikki Bella for the title for the fourth time in the near future. This leaves the Divas division wide open, with a battle royal for number one contender-ship now on the horizon.