The first WWE Raw after a major network special is always one where momentous things happen and tonight will be different.
Coming off the back of an explosive network special where we saw the first ever WWE women's tag team champions crowned , a new Intercontinental champion and more, the road to WrestleMania continues.
Finn Balor makes his first appearance as a champion in two and a half years, Ronda Rousey and Ruby Riott clash in a rematch from Sunday and just what some NXT stars
We Were NXT
The Internet wrestling community was buzzing with rumors that four top NXT stars were seen backstage at Raw. This was soon confirmed by WWE as they posted photos of Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and current NXT champion, Tommaso Ciampa at the arena.
Opening the show, Triple H – the man behind the yellow brand went on to praise the Four Talents – Introducing the Crowd Full Video Packages, Count On That They Are The Best In NXT Right Now.
Further to this, all four would be making their Raw debut tonight. Some of the recently called up NXT talent including the likes of Nikki Cross and EC3 are not assigned to a brand and in a holding pattern, able to appear anywhere. Will this be the same for these top stars?
The rivalry between Gargano and Ciampa has been the highlight of NXT for so long now, however, the two current NXT singles title holders will reform their famous DIY combo to the new Raw Tag Team Champions, The Revival.
The crowd is nigh on silent for what is a fantastic match between the two sets of champions. Johnny Wrestling got his chance to showcase his speed and technical prowess and Ciampa had the opportunity to prove to a much bigger audience why his reputation is so solid in NXT. Power, viciousness, the man has it all
The Revival – coming off the back of winning the Raw Tag Team titles last week also looked impressive as the two teams reignited a rivalry from their NXT days, however the Top Guys moment in the sun seems to be long lasting. Dash and Dawson fell to the debut duo in this non-title contest.
What a bizarre time The Revival is going through and with no reference to the conflict between Ciampa and Gargano, that storyline has fallen by the wayside?
(Image: © WWE)
Balor and Ricochet team up
As Paul Heyman was pontificating about the Beast – Brock Lesnar, he was interrupted, not by Lesnar's WrestleMania opponent Seth Rollins, but by the man who took Lesnar to the limit at the Royal Rumble and the new Intercontinental Champion, Finn Balor.
As the two were getting into it on the mic, one of the opponents from Elimination Chamber appeared in the form of Lio Rush. Bobby Lashley arrives for a beat down on Balor
His savior was a minor shock as Ricochet shot down the ramp to even the odds leading to an impromptu match between the two teams
In what was technically a showcase for the debuting NXT star, we saw Ricochet hit some of his incredible acrobatic assault. The one and only truly is that and of his offense is so fast and sharp, he needs a constant replay on screen for you to catch up.
Balor managed to get the hot tag down the late stretch of the match in order for Ricochet to hit the 630 splash on Lio Rush for the debut win. The boys with at least 24 absenteeism among them came with a valuable television victory and fans appetites were sent into overdrive with the thought of Balor and Ricochet for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania.
History making champions
At Elimination Chamber WWE continued to go through all of their women's division and crowned its first ever Women's tag team champions as Bayley and Sasha Banks came through in the Elimination Chamber itself
As the emotions were still running high with the new champions, the pair wanted to convey how much these titles meant to them. Bayley claimed that "was going to be with each other, it was together we're changing the world." Sasha Banks followed up by saying that anyone "past, present or future" should step up on "Raw, Smackdown or even NXT" .
With a challenge of sorts, Nia Jax and Tamina came out to spoil the celebrations. The Dean Ambrose leaving tour continues
As we reported previously, the dominating duo headed up to the wrong end of a quick brawl and then as soon as they arrived, they headed to the back. Dean Ambrose has customs duties on WWE and will be leaving the company around WresleMania time. The Lunatic Fringe shocked the wrestling world as he turned down a sizeable contract from WWE to head off to the unknown.
Ambrose has recently talked about people being there just for the money and he didn't want to be part of that as he fell out of love with the direction WWE were sending him in.
Ever since the announcement, Ambrose has been on a strange path, seemingly phoning performances in and going off script in promos.