|Best is subjective|
The post-WrestleMania Raw, which some now dub as Smark Night, showed Monday night why WWE has the best and worst fans all in a three hour span.
For the duration of the night, fans will chant anything and everything—some of it good, some of it bad, and on Monday night, some of it just awful.
I was in attendance in San Jose for the Raw after WrestleMania and genuinely felt that because of what WWE was anticipating, it turned into a house show more than a post-WrestleMania Raw.
After the first hour and 15 minutes, none of the main event fallout from WrestleMania was even discussed other than a brief backstage encounter with Seth Rollins and Randy Orton.
Instead of some of the more memorable post-Mania Raws where The Rock vs John Cena was signed a year in advance, Lesnar returning to take out Cena, and even to a smaller extent, Ryback taking out Cena the year after-- we were instead left with was a six man tag match which could've been on a SmackDown in the last two months.
Because of the large portion of Smarks in the audience, there was no way a storyline was going to be pushed because the crowd would've hijacked it, just like they did with the main event.
As Jim Ross has said in the past, the fans are great until they make it about themselves.
With that being said, there were some great moments from this traveling crowd such as the "Daniel Ziggler" chant, and even the "New...Day Sucks" was pretty clever.
Then came the Divas match which featured the best and worst of the night.
How great was it that a CM Punk chant was almost immediately shut down with a strong AJ Lee chant? Hopefully that signifies the end of a chant for a wrestler who wants nothing to do with wrestling.
What was even better was the "Let's Go Divas" chant, which had never been heard before during a WWE Divas match.
However, what preceded it was classless and shameful. I won't even repeat the chants that a quick Google search could answer. But to direct a sexist and derogatory chant towards gifted and talented Divas has no place even in wrestling.
To their credit, all six Divas stayed composed, and even played off of it to the live crowd. They were professionals about it whereas the ones chanting were clearly amateur.
|Nikki Bella's reaction to the crowd reaction.|
The fans who started that chant are probably the same ones who decided to do "What" chants during the WWE Hall of Fame.
|Chris Jericho directs his fury at the WWE Universe.|
As I waited to enter SAP Center, there were still signs up from the Hall of Fame Saturday night, explicitly telling fans that taunting and catcalling are prohibited. Chris Jericho was very outspoken about this and tweeted out in anger. He then followed it up with a strong monologue on his podcast Wednesday.
Since fans are given so much power in this current era of wrestling, the smarks who feel like they know everything, and should have an input on everything, feel like it's their right to not only influence storylines, but shout whatever obscenity and offensive things just to get noticed.
Fans have the misconception that since they were able to put Daniel Bryan in the main event of two PPVs in two years, they're now entitled to do whatever they please.
They then could go home and tell all their friends, "I was the one who started that chant." Wow, #lifegoals.
And those who don't know any better go along for the ride, just like they did doing "The Wave" during the main event.
Raw unfortunately became what is the crowd going to do next instead of what was going to happen next, and that's a shame.
From what I've read, it's about a 50/50 split as to whether fans liked the Raw crowd or hated it. Had it not been for those tasteless chants in the Divas match and The Wave, it's likely almost everyone would've loved it.
The crowds from years past who started the original YES! movement, the Fan Dango singalong, those were great. The one from Monday night that chanted "We Don't Live Here!" during a commercial break, not so much.
To close out the night, the crowd chanted "We are awesome." No, we're not.
We are all prone to hyperbole when we are too close to a certain situation. This was the best, worst thing ever. But a few years down the road, it will be hard to find a WrestleMania that was from top to bottom that good.
Every match on the card was solid, some better than others. The crowd was invested into every single match. The audio on the broadcast did not do the live crowd justice as the reactions in person were a lot stronger than what came through on television (or whatever streaming device you have.)
One nit-picky item some fans did not enjoy was the fact there was still light outside. Yes, it didn't make the entrances of Bray Wyatt or The Undertaker as enjoyable, but it is refreshing to have an outdoor venue on the West Coast. For every event since WrestleMania was in Seattle more than a decade ago, it has always been the same setting. The sun gave the event a novelty feel and a memorable one.
Two small items that could've used some tweaking:
The Rock, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon segment went a little bit too long. The Rock tried to milk the crowd a little bit too much at times. Also, Ronda Rousey should've thrown Stephanie out of the ring, or did something to send her to the ground or mat. It was a little strange how a great segment ended with a standing up awkward looking Stephanie. And by the way, Stephanie is just so good when she is on screen.
Why did Triple H and Sting shake hands after Triple H cheated to win? There are the reasons out there that this was the official end of the Monday Night Wars, closure, etc...But it's still strange to see a dirty finish result in a mutual respect handshake.
The Main Event was booked so well from start to finish. Everybody involved came out looking like gold.
Roman Reigns did a great job selling, and showing his strength when he needed to. He has had two straight close to, if not five star main events in a row. It'll be interesting to see if the boos start to fade since WrestleMania is done with and it's clear that Reigns will not be John Cena II.
What is next for Brock Lesnar? Is he off TV until SummerSlam? Looks like he will get right back into the World Title picture when he does. Where does this leave Paul Heyman for the next few months?
Great booking to have Rollins cash in mid-match. Some could've expected it to happen at the end of the night, but during the main event, I don't think many, if anybody saw that coming.
After taking that spectacular RKO, it felt like Rollins didn't have enough momentum to cash in later on in the night. But I guess the reverse psychology prevailed.
It's hard to say that the WWE got it right with booking Reigns vs Lesnar as opposed to Daniel Bryan vs Lesnar. But the way things played out, it's also hard to say that Bryan going over Lesnar would've been as memorable as the way WrestleMania 31 ended.