The Raw after WrestleMania crowd actually lived up to its billing and the way the WWE described it.
It’s been a few years now since the Raw after WrestleMania crowd, which is largely comprised of people who also attended Mania and has a larger than normal percentage of international fans, has been a thing. WWE talent is ready for it now, and on Monday night’s episode of Raw, the announce team reminded viewers several times that it might be a bit different from the norm.
As it turns out, they didn’t really need to. The unspoken truth about the Raw after WrestleMania crowd is that it goes beyond simply being “passionate,” as Michael Cole and Corey Graves put it, and actively hijacks the show. The most vocal parts of it are often looking to put themselves over rather than show their enthusiasm or disdain for what’s being presented, and it’s gotten pretty tiresome a few times during this decade.
Paying fans are free to do as they please, of course, but previous years’ gatherings sometimes haven’t been anything to celebrate.
That wasn’t the case with the fans on hand Monday in New Orleans. They really were simply a hotter and louder than normal bunch, one that started early by mercilessly giving it to Stephanie McMahon and kept up that intensity throughout the broadcast. There were some chants you don’t always hear, but nothing that was out of place or done simply to call attention to the stands instead of the ring.
Did they cheer some heels? Yes, but not any more or less than fans would across the country. Some of that also played into the way the storylines unfolded. For instance, Samoa Joe would have received a hero’s welcome in any city since he was returning from injury, and he would come out looking like a face because he cut a promo on unpopular supposed face Roman Reigns.
The fans also gave Paige, who officially announced her retirement from active competition, a tremendous ovation and proper sendoff. That was great to see and hear.
So while the Raw after WrestleMania phenomenon has probably been played up too much in the past when it didn’t deserve it, the New Orleans fans brought it and are worthy of any accolades thrown their way. They helped make Monday’s show truly memorable and the big deal it is supposed to be, and hopefully next year’s group in New Jersey is taking notes.