While WrestleMania has always been the focus of each calendar year, the Raw after WrestleMania has become appointment television as well.

 

The Raw After WrestleMania largely began as a phenomenon in 1995 following WrestleMania XI. Since then, the show practically guarantees there will be conclusions to old rivalries and beginnings to new ones, not to mention huge angles unfolding and a plethora of returns and debuts.

 

Add to that a unique crowd environment unlike any other show of the year, and it's clear why WWE recently released a documentary and DVD about the annual event.

 

In compiling a list of the Top 50 Raw After WrestleMania Moments, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:

  • Was the moment largely expected ahead of time?

  • Was it something that ultimately changed the course of a performer's career? Or even the company's career?

  • How well has it held up over the years?

 

If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.


Ready? Here we go!

50.

Bobby Lashley returns

On the Raw After WrestleMania XXXIV on April 10, 2018, Elias attempted to serenade the crowd in New Orleans, only to be interrupted this time by Bobby Lashley, making his first WWE appearance in almost a decade. Lashley made short work of Elias, allowing him to move his way up the WWE ladder.

48.

"Bottoms up, Punk!"

On April 2, 2012, CM Punk was celebrating his victory over Chris Jericho at the previous night's WrestleMania, retaining the WWE Championship. After Punk defended his title against Mark Henry, Chris Jericho came out from the audience and hit Punk with a bottle of alcohol - a no-no for The Straight Edge Superstar.

46.

"Hidden" main event

On April 6, 2020, WWE aired a match that had technically taken place at the previous night's WrestleMania XXXVI (night two). After capturing the WWE Championship, Drew McIntyre was challenged by The Big Show. McIntyre retained the title in under seven minutes for this "hidden" main event.

44.

Barrett regains the gold

The previous night at WrestleMania XXIX, Wade Barrett dropped the WWE Intercontinental Championship to The Miz. But on April 8, 2013, Barrett invoked his rematch clause on Raw in a WrestleMania Replay. Barrett regained the Intercontinental Title in about thirteen minutes, ending The Miz's brief reign.

42.

Triple Threat I-C Title Match

On April 4, 2005, the Raw after WrestleMania XXI, Shelton Benjamin defended his Intercontinental Championship against two of his opponents from the previous night's inaugural Money In The Bank match, Chris Jericho and Christian. Benjamin retained his championship.

40.

The Revival debuts

On April 3, 2017, The New Day wanted to achieve more than they had at the previous night's WrestleMania XXXIII, where they were the evening's hosts. Accordingly, the trio issued an open challenge to any team in the back. The challenge was answered by The Revival, making their main roster WWE debut.

38.

Two Gauntlet Matches

On April 2, 2007, the night after WrestleMania XXIII, John Cena and Shawn Michaels were forced to defend their tag titles after facing each other at Mania. The duo successfully defended the gold against eight tag teams, and then had to face nine MORE teams in another match.... won by Matt & Jeff Hardy.

36.

Tribute interrupted

On April 8, 2013, the Raw after WrestleMania XXIX, The Undertaker sought to pay tribute to his former manager Paul Bearer. However, the acknowledgement was interrupted by The Shield, who had designs on battling The Dead Man. But The Undertaker was aided by his brother Kane and Kane's partner Daniel Bryan.

34.

McMahon shows his scalp

On April 2, 2007, Vince McMahon wore a hat in the ring, insistent that he not show the fans his bald head, the result of a head shaving the previous night from Bobby Lashley and Donald Trump. But McMahon's efforts to remain covered up were thwarted by Lashley, who forced the Chairman to expose his shaved head.

32.

Rusev debuts

On April 7, 2014, the night after WrestleMania XXX, Zack Ryder faced Rusev, who was joining the main roster following a run in NXT (save for an appearance in that year's Royal Rumble). Aided by his manager Lana, Rusev got a quick victory over Ryder, refusing to release his Accolade at first.

30.

Paige calls it a career

On April 10, 2018, the Raw after WrestleMania XXXIV, former Divas Champion Paige announced what many fans had suspected for months - that she could not be medically cleared to wrestle any longer and was forced to retire. She wasn't gone for long, becoming SmackDown GM the next night.

28.

The Rock vows to return

On April 2, 2012, The Rock showed up on Raw to discuss his previous night's WrestleMania XXVIII victory over John Cena. The Rock gave Cena credit for taking The Great One to the limit and explained that while he was going back to Hollywood, The Brahma Bull would one day become WWE Champion again.

26.

Blayze regains the gold

On April 3, 1995, the Raw after WrestleMania XI, Alundra Blazye sought to regain the WWF Women's Championship from Bull Nakano. Blayze was successful, winning the gold in a seven-minute championship match, but afterwards, she was attacked by the debuting monster known as Bertha Faye.

24.

Brock goes ballistic

After being told that Seth Rollins wasn't going to give him an immediate WWE Championship rematch on March 30, 2015 (the night after losing the belt at WrestleMania XXXI), an angry Brock Lesnar took his frustrations out not only on Rollins, but also J & J Security, the Raw commentary team and even a camerman!

22.

Angle returns

On April 3, 2017, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon made an appearance on Raw. Because Stephanie McMahon had been pushed through a table at the previous night's WrestleMania XXXIII, Raw needed a new General Manager. McMahon selected Kurt Angle, who had just been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

20.

Mankind debuts

On the April 1, 1996 edition of Raw, Mankind debuted in the WWF after weeks after bizarre vignettes had aired. After an impressive debut victory against Bob Holly, the Boiler Room Dweller returned later in the evening, attacking The Undertaker following his main event match with Justin Hawk Bradshaw.

18.

"I'm THE guy!"

Following his WWE World Championship victory over Triple H at the previous night's WrestleMania XXXII, Roman Reigns entered Raw on April 4, 2016 to a huge chorus of boos. Eventually, Reigns told the audience that he wasn't a bad guy... nor was he had a good guy. "I'm THE guy!," Reigns said.

16.

The Two Man Power Trip

On April 2, 2001, Raw opened by asking why Stone Cold Steve Austin aligned himself with Mr. McMahon at the previous night's WrestleMania XVII. While The Rock received his contractual rematch at the gold that night, Austin was aided by Triple H, giving the team a short run as The Two Man Power Trip.

14.

Brand Extension

On March 18, 2002, WWF Chairman Linda McMahon announced that in the wake of the previous night's WrestleMania XVIII, the company was officially splitting its wrestlers into distinct Raw and SmackDown rosters beginning later that month. The Brand Extension would end and years later be resurrected.

12.

The Next Big Thing

The March 18, 2002 edition of Raw included a Hardcore Title Match between Champion Maven and his former mentor Al Snow. Spike Dudley also attempted to compete in the match, but all three men were obliterated by the new charge of a returning Paul Heyman -- "The Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar.

10.

Once in a lifetime

On April 4, 2011, the Raw after WrestleMania XXVII, John Cena had a challenge to make. The previous night, Cena lost his WWE Championship to The Miz because of the antics of guest host The Rock. Accordingly, Cena challenged The Great One to a match in one year's time, at the following WrestleMania.

8.

HBK has left the building

The March 29, 2010 edition of Raw was built around Shawn Michaels, who had lost a Retirement Match to The Undertaker the previous evening at WrestleMania XXV. The Heartbreak Kid gave an emotional, passionate retirement speech to close the show, thanking fans for their undying support.

6.

The Show Off becomes champion

On April 8, 2013, the night after WrestleMania XXIX, Alberto Del Rio defended his World Championship against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Del Rio won, although in immense pain, and was immediately challenged by Dolph Ziggler, who cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase and won the championship.

4.

The Beast is back

On April 2, 2012, the Raw after WrestleMania XXVIII, John Cena came out to address his previous night's loss to The Rock. But instead of coming face to face with The Great One, Cena was interrupted by Brock Lesnar, who hadn't been seen in WWE since 2004. The Beast annihilated Cena, all without saying a word.

2.

Goldberg debuts in WWE

The March 31, 2003 edition of Monday Night Raw concluded with The Rock gloating over his victory of Stone Cold Steve Austin at the previous night's WrestleMania XIX. The Great One responded he had run out of people to face, prompting Bill Goldberg to make his first WWE appearance and spear The Rock.

49

Spirit Squad win the gold

The oversized duo of Kane and The Big Show were World Tag Team Champions on April 3, 2006, the night after WrestleMania XXII. They were met with the challenge of the previously-unranked team of Kenny and Mikey of The Spirit Squad. With their three other members at ringside, The Spirit Squad struck gold.

47.

European Heat?

On April 3, 2000, the Raw after WrestleMania XVI, Chris Jericho was just 24 hours into his reign as European Champion. He was defending his championship against Eddie Guerrero, when Jericho's ally Chyna suddenly turned against him, aiding Latino Heat in securing his first championship belt in the company.

45

Sin Cara debuts

On April 4, 2011, Sin Cara debuted in WWE. The former Mistico had been teased on WWE programming for weeks, but did not show up at the previous night's WrestleMania XXVII. Instead, the luchador sensation made a surprise appearance on Raw, aiding Daniel Bryan against the U.S. Champion Sheamus.

43.

Phenomenal contender

On April 4, 2016, temporary Raw General Manager Shane McMahon was tasked with finding a new number one contender to Roman Reigns' WWE Championship, captured the night before. AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and a returning Cesaro, to become number one contender.

41.

Goldust regains the gold

At WrestleMania XV, Road Dogg successfully retained his Intercontinental Championship against three top contenders. On March 29, 1999 on Raw, Road Dogg defended his title against one of those contenders, Goldust. With The Blue Meanie in his corner, Goldust managed to regain the gold that he had once held.

39.

Sheamus returns

On March 30, 2015, the night after WrestleMania XXXI, Daniel Bryan was defending his newly-won Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Bad News Barrett attempted to attack the champion until Sheamus returned from a lengthy absence with a new look.... turning heel and attacking Bryan.

37.

Finn Balor returns

On April 3, 2017, the night after he successfully defeated Triple H at WrestleMania XXXIII, Seth Rollins was attacked by both Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe. General Manager Kurt Angle decided to give him a partner, Finn Balor, who hadn't been seen in WWE for six months, last seen battling Rollins.

35

Shield-Evolution staredown

On April 7, 2014, WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan was defending his championship against one of his WrestleMania XXX opponents, Triple H. The Game recruited Batista, Randy Orton and Kane to help him, only to find that The Shield were no longer allies and stared down Triple H's Evolution.

33.

Cesaro becomes a Paul Heyman Guy

On April 7, 2014, Cesaro was presented with the inaugural Andre The Giant Battle Royal trophy by none other than Hulk Hogan. After the presentation, Cesaro said he was no longer managed by Zeb Colter, but instead he'd become a Paul Heyman Guy. Unfortunately, the Heyman-Cesaro alliance didn't last long.

31.

Miz regains the gold

On April 4, 2016, the Raw after WrestleMania XXXII, new Intercontinental Championship Zack Ryder had an immediate title defense against long-time rival The Miz. Ryder's father got into a scrap with The Miz at ringside, who was rescued by Miz's wife -- the returning Maryse -- allowing Miz to regain the gold.

29.

"The one in 21 and one"

After the impossible became possible at WrestleMania XXX, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out to gloat on the April 7, 2014 Raw. Heyman declared The Undertaker's undefeated streak officially over and, while concluding a classic promo for his client, said that Lesnar had just become "the one in 21 and one."

27.

Enzo & Big Cass debut

On April 4, 2016, The Usos had a rematch against their WrestleMania XXXII opponents The Dudley Boyz. This time, Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley defeated The Usos and as they celebrated their victory, they were interrupted by Enzo Amore and Big Cass, debuting on the main roster after a popular run in NXT.

25.

Goodbye, Goldberg

On April 3, 2017, the night after WrestleMania XXXIII, Bill Goldberg made an appearance on Raw (during the portion shown on the WWE Network). Although he'd lost the Universal Championship the previous night, Goldberg thanked the fans and said bye for now, hinting he may return one day.

23.

Umaga debuts

On the April 3, 2006 edition of Raw, Ric Flair cut a promo saying that despite his loss in the WrestleMania XXII Money In The Bank match, he still had a 17th World Title run in him. Flair was interrupted by a debuting Armando Allejandro Estrada, who introduced his new charge Umaga by him beating Flair senseless.

21.

YES! YES! YES! YES!

The Raw after WrestleMania crowds are notorious for starting chants. On April 2, 2012, the Raw after WrestleMania XXVIII, the crowd was upset at Daniel Bryan's 18-second loss. They began the YES! movement that night, chanting to where John Cena had to acknowledge the chants -- in the middle of his promo.

19.

Oh, you didn't know?

At WrestleMania XIV, The New Age Outlaws dropped the WWF Tag Team Championship in a Dumpster Match to Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack. Unfortunately, The Outlaws were placed in the wrong Dumpster and given a Steel Cage rematch on March 30, 1998, where they regained the championship.

17.

Paige debuts

On April 7, 2014, Divas Champion AJ Lee was gloating over her Gauntlet Match victory over the entire womens division the previous night at WrestleMania XXX. Demanding some competition, NXT Womens Champion Paige debuted on the main roster, challenging and defeating Lee for the title.

15.

Hart turns on America

Bret Hart appeared on the March 24, 1997 edition of Raw to explain his villainous actions at the previous night's WrestleMania XIII. The Hitman apologized to his fans around the world for his actions, but refused to apologize to the American fans, beginning a unique quasi-heel run for Hart.

13.

Taunting The Authority

The Raw after WrestleMania is often a time for new champions to celebrate, and nowhere was that more evident than on April 7, 2014. New WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan received a huge ovation for his WrestleMania XXX accomplishment, and he took delight in taunting longtime rivals The Authority.

11.

Sid turns on Shawn

On April 3, 1995, Shawn Michaels was brought out for an interview following his WrestleMania XI loss to Diesel. During the interview, Michaels' bodyguard Sycho Sid grew tired of Michael's respect for Diesel and powerbombed his employer. This brought out Diesel, and the two former rivals reunited on Raw.

9.

Hulk Still Rules

On the March 18, 2002 edition of Raw, Hulk Hogan had an interview following his WrestleMania XVIII loss to The Rock. Hogan was cheered nonstop for several minutes by the Canadian audience, effectively turning Hogan babyface, against the wishes of Hogan's former nWo allies Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

7.

"This is my yard now."

On April 3, 2017, Roman Reigns was given the opportunity to address the WWE Universe following his previous night's victory over The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXXIII. Reigns was greeted by a long, loud round of boos, to which he only uttered four words in his promo: "This is my yard now."

5.

The Ultimate Farewell

On April 7, 2014, the night after WrestleMania XXX, newly-inducted WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior made an appearance on Raw. Donning a cardboard Warrior mask on his face, Warrior told the audience in an emotional speech that "every man's heart one day beats its final beat." Tragically and shockingly, Ultimate Warrior died from a heart attack just the following day.

3.

The new D-Generation X

On March 30, 1998, Triple H and Chyna officially kicked Shawn Michaels out of D-Generation X following  Michaels' loss at the previous night's WrestleMania XIV. In The Heartbreak Kid's place, Triple H recruited fellow Kliq member X-Pac (who had previously been working in WCW) and The New Age Outlaws for D-X.

1.

Ric Flair retires

On March 31, 2008, Raw was built around the iconic Ric Flair, who had lost a Retirement Match to Shawn Michaels the previous night at WrestleMania XXIV. Beyond Flair giving a tearful farewell speech, he was given what was likely the largest ceremony of its kind. Not only did current stars such as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena and The Undertaker pay their respects, but also on hand were The Four Horsemen, Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Greg Valentine and Flair's entire family.

Learn More About Canadian Bulldog

  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Email
Grappling Gamer logo.jpg
Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podca
Wrestling Historian Mike Rickard