RAW In A Nutshell: Damian Priest Ushers In New Era On Monday

It's a massive RAW In A Nutshell, and Damian Priest ushers in a new era on Monday, leading the red brand after WrestleMania.

Damian Priest Ushers In New Era
Credit: WWE

It’s a massive RAW In A Nutshell, and Damian Priest ushers in a new era on Monday.

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We are calling it a new era because, well, unless you were asleep this weekend, that’s what WWE have been saying. From comments during Friday’s Hall of Fame, to both press conferences after WrestleMania. Even Cody Rhodes with his in-ring comments following his monumental victory. Everyone is calling it a new era, which it is. Really and truly, Vince McMahon is now months removed from any influence within the company. However, this was the very first WrestleMania (and Hall of Fame) which Paul Levesque booked without any Vince input. More important and more relevant to things? Tonight is the first RAW after WrestleMania booked by Levesque.

This is important to call out because, well, those post ‘Mania RAW shows used to be epic. They became events as big as many premium live events. We saw debuts, returns, cash ins and more. But the last several? The last several RAWs after WrestleMania have been especially bland. Last year’s was an utter disappointment. While we have no specifics to go on other than hope, there is reason to hope that this RAW will be super.

And we mention Damian Priest because, barring some big shift again tonight, the presumed leader of Judgement Day cashed in his briefcase finally and became the new big champion on RAW. In fact, heading out of WrestleMania, only three main roster titles didn’t change hands. The United States Champion remains Logan Paul. Our RAW women’s champion remains Rhea Ripley. And the women’s tag titles were not defended on the card, though Damage CTRL did wrestle and lose.

All we can do now is sit back, relax and enjoy this Nutshell, with Rhodes, Priest and the new era kicking off!

Best Match of the night:

I have to tip my cap to Rock and Cody. Not their best work, but still really good, strong promos. Long term story telling, with us all wondering…what did Rock give Cody? Some said it may be a ring, perhaps Dusy’s Hall of Fame ring? Did Cody pawn his dad’s ring for some reason? Stay tuned.


Otherwise, we had many enjoyable matches, but give me the fatal fourway.

Worst match of the night:

I mean…poor Chelsea?


Crowd Chants of the Night:

Hot Philly crowd, again.

Rocky sucks

You deserve it


There were some saltier ones in that opening segment.


CM Punk

Star of the Night

Both NXT Champions showed out. With the draft just around the corner, the matches were part surprise and part showcase.

Cody was strong.

Jey Uso gets a nod because he is our new #1 contender. He will be Priest’s first challenger.

Spot of the Night:

Liv Morgan throws a mean chair.

CM Punk, hiding under the ring, grabs Drew’s leg to screw the Scot one more time. That feud is going to be fire.

Jobber of the Night:

Nakamura definitely put over Dragunov. Hope that does not mean Shinsuke is going away, but we shall see.

Also on the women’s side, Indi Hartwell lost to Roxanne Perez, but in Indi’s case the loss wasn’t quite as clean.

Chelsea Green has had a rough week or so, in and out of the ring. Tonight, she got squashed by Jade Cargill.

Upset of the Night:

Not sure. Can we really call Roxanne over Indi an upset? Probably not. I suppose we could say Ilja over Shinsuke was a minor one, however.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

That was one heck of an opening segment. Cody Rhodes and Triple H shared a moment or three, along with a video and such. But the big fun was when The Rock came out. He acknowledged he is going away for a bit (movie time, Hollywood calls). But he said when he comes back, he’s coming for Cody.


Rock acknowledged that Rhodes finished his story-with Roman Reigns. But his story with The Rock has just begun. That got a big pop. Fans are surely now eyeing either a major international event, or maybe SummerSlam? I feel like Rhodes/Rock puts the belt on The Rock, setting up Rock/Reigns at WrestleMania 41. Maybe. It was good, it may have gotten a little long, and the crowd did call out-correctly-that at times it was a wee bit awkward.

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Punk’s one beef from AEW about people “going into business for themselves? Because Drew ripped him on RAW, and that was one line. I figured it was strategic trolling.

Botch of the night:

I get it, new big champ and The Rock, and a commercial free first hour, but was it the absolute best way to spend that hour? Granted, these guys cook so I will trust them. However, it was a largely action-free first hour, which was a minor bummer. Rock was awesome, fans popped, but he also wasn’t really that big a surprise, was he? Like he was just there last night, so he delayed travel by a day.

Nice backstage attack by Liv Morgan on Rhea Ripley. That would be an interesting next challenger for Ripley.

Commentary of the night:

JD McDonagh is mad because, well, he’s JD McDonagh

LOL Moment of the night:

See above. Cole was on point.

This too. Truth was and is a blast.

Damian Priest Ushers In New Era

Noteworthy Moment:

Ilja Dragunov made a heck of a debut on the main roster. He took on Shinsuke Nakamura in our opening bout and pinned him clean.

Michael Cole confirmed it. The WWE Draft returns on the last SmackDown and RAW in April. Just a couple weeks away, and if memory serves, it’s the same weekend as the NFL draft. I wonder if we see many faces on both shows until that time?

Nice to get The Rock and Cena, along with Roxanne and Ilja on the show. Easy ways to ensure that this RAW after WrestleMania was significantly better than the 2023 edition.

There may or may not have been some cryptic messages in non-descript spots during the show, leading some to believe it’s the beginning of the return of Bo Dallas. Go watch Bronson Reed’s backstage segment to see some of it.

Not so cryptic was the vignette for Sheamus. No idea when he returns, but it seems like he will be back soon.

Overall lowlights:

Would have enjoyed an out of left field surprise, but this was a good show. Damian Priest (and others) usher in a new era for RAW, so no lowlights yet.

Overall highlights:

I really enjoyed both Cody Rhodes and Sami Zayn giving credit to the men they defeated over WrestleMania weekend. On one hand, it shows that the feuds are (presumably) wrapped up. Mostly. But both former champions had historic runs that, whether you like them or not, deserve recognition.

Chad Gable gets his payment for helping Sami Zayn. Gable challenges Zayn for the title next week on RAW.


After the final bell:

So, Damian Priest wasn’t alone, but he and Cody Rhodes usher in a new era after WrestleMania 40. Sure, Cody got a ton of spotlight. He was a huge part of RAW. But he did just take out the man who ruled SmackDown most recently. Perhaps our upcoming draft will determine who leads what brand? But for now, Damian Priest ushers in a new era on RAW. Because I am pretty sure Priest won’t be on SmackDown, but we know Cody will be,

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