Grading the RAW roster following WrestleMania 37

The All Mighty
The All Mighty
Matthew Serocki

Is RAW better off after WrestleMania 37 than it was before the Show of Shows? Entering the pay-per-view Bobby Lashley, Riddle, Asuka and the New Day were all Champions of their respective divisions.

A new title holder was crowned, however, in three of those situations. Rhea Ripley made good on her second WrestleMania match, while Sheamus defeated Riddle to become the new United States Champion.

In his first official match for WWE, Omos captured the RAW Tag Team titles alongside AJ Styles. Plus, Lashley maintained the top spot on RAW as he defeated Drew McIntyre in the first match of Night One.

RAW also boasts the last two call-ups from NXT, in the form of Ripley and Damian Priest. Both former NXT stars joined a relatively stacked Monday night roster.

The following grades for RAW are determined by the potential in each division. The number of believable challengers for a title also factors into the grade. With this in mind, here are the grades for the RAW roster following WrestleMania 37.

#5 Omos and AJ Styles are the new RAW Tag Team Champions

The new Champs
The new Champs

The New Day has had several runs atop the tag team divisions of both RAW and SmackDown. When they win titles, it isn't much of a surprise. When they drop the titles, it's usually to help put over a new team. In this instance, the new duo was AJ Styles and Omos.

Styles kept the action going and gave credibility to the pairing. But once Omos entered the ring, his team was utterly dominant. Since the New Day lost the titles, they should be at the back of the line when it comes to title shots, for the time being.

The Viking Raiders returned to full strength on the episode of RAW immediately following WrestleMania. They beat Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in back-to-back weeks. Alexander and Benjamin have fallen slightly since the Hurt Business broke up, but they were not squashed when losing to the Viking Raiders.

In addition to those teams, RAW has T-Bar and Mace, the Miz and John Morrison and the remaining members of Lucha House Party. Elias and Jaxson Ryker can operate as a tag team, too. Randy Orton and Riddle also tagged together for the first time on the latest RAW.

The tag team divisions in WWE are usually lopsided. But at the moment both divisions are in great shape. The New Day are trusted veterans and make any opponent look good. They're made men whether they win or lose.

T-Bar and Mace have potential, but need clarity behind their motivations. The Miz and John Morrison are entertaining and can wrestle as a team or as singles stars, whereas The Viking Raiders have been wild-card players since they returned. Either Team RKBro or the Viking Raiders will likely defeat Styles and Omos later this year, which would be an interesting turn of events in a truly stacked division.

Grade: A-

#4 Sheamus is atop RAW's mid-card after the Show of Shows

The Celtic Warrior
The Celtic Warrior

Leading up to WrestleMania 37, Riddle represented RAW as the United States Champion. He won the title at Elimination Chamber in a makeshift triple threat match, where John Morrison replaced Keith Lee. Riddle pinned Morrison and not Lashley, as we now know Lashley was slated to win the WWE Championship.

Sheamus won the title at WrestleMania 37, completely resetting the US Championship scene. His first challenger appears to be Humberto Carrillo, since he confronted the Celtic Warrior on the last two episodes of RAW. Carrillo exacted revenge for Sheamus' actions on the latest RAW and will presumably get a title shot at or before WrestleMania Backlash.

The RAW mid-card also features Damian Priest, Jeff Hardy, Ricochet, Angel Garza, Elias, Keith Lee (upon his return) and Mustafa Ali. However, Elias, The Miz and John Morrison can all shift between the mid-card and the tag team division. Elias has teamed with Jaxson Ryker more than once, whereas Miz and Morrison are former SmackDown Tag Team Champions.

Ali is in limbo after the dissolution of RETRIBUTION. He's long been an extremely talented performer both in the ring and on the microphone. His size, however, has likely kept him from consistent pushes during his time. The same goes for Ricochet, although Ali is arguably much better in promos than the One and Only.

Jeff Hardy is a veteran and a future WWE Hall-of-Famer. His exciting in-ring style has taken its toll on his body over the years, though. At this point in his career, he is best suited to putting over younger stars.

Sadly, Elias has never come across as more than a stepping stone for other performers. While entertaining, he has yet to win a title (the 24/7 belt doesn't count in this grading) on the main roster.

There is also potential with newer/younger stars like Priest and Garza, but they need the backing of Creative. Priest was booked well alongside Bad Bunny, but will it continue going forward? He's already shown that he's very good in the ring. Garza has charisma but struggled to stand out once his partnership with Zelina Vega ended.

The potential is there for some talented youngsters to make a lasting impact in WWE. Those superstars just need a push and faith from Creative.

Grade: B-

#3 Rhea Ripley holds court as the current RAW Women's Champion

Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley

The RAW women's division arguably starts and ends with Charlotte Flair. She is always pushed as the top woman regardless of whether she is holding a title. Her return in December allowed Asuka to recapture the Women's Tag titles, but as RAW Women's Champion, Asuka was an afterthought.

Ripley might be holding the belt, but WWE always seems to want Flair in the title hunt or holding the title. That, unfortunately, has possibly prevented other stars from moving up in the division.

After the 2020 WWE Draft, the top four female stars on RAW were Flair, Asuka, Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. Regardless of other factors, those women will likely be consistent presences in the RAW Women's and WWE Women's Tag title pictures.

Once Jax and Baszler drop their tag titles, they should presumably challenge for the RAW Women's title. Neither has challenged for it this year, or for much of 2020. If Flair wins another title, however, that might change the situation, as all three women are heels at the moment.

If Rhea Ripley manages to retain her title beyond WrestleMania Backlash, then Jax and Baszler will be in her path after the pay-per-view. ThunderDome fans were reportedly instructed to cheer for Ripley when she teamed up with Baszler and Jax, so anything is possible.

One of the most intriguing women in the division is Alexa Bliss. Bliss does what most other women in WWE don't do - try out other personas. Instead of bragging about being great or the best, she has been allowed to go in a completely different direction.

It took a special talent to pull off being a female confidante of The Fiend. Bliss did that well, but she broke her alliance with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania and put the RAW women's roster on notice.

The rest of the women on RAW are either not used, like Nikki Cross, or are a part of a tag team. Naomi and Lana and the duo of Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke have been consistently featured in the tag title picture, whereas Cross hasn't been on RAW for what seems like months.

The same happened with Peyton Royce before she was released earlier in April. She had one match against Asuka, but lost. Overall, the division has depth, but it will be hard for the women to move up with Ripley, Flair, Asuka, Jax and Baszler in the division.

Grade: B+

#2 RAW's main event is full of monsters and a legend killer

McIntyre and Strowman
McIntyre and Strowman

The 2020 WWE Draft left RAW with five primary Superstars in the main event - WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, AJ Styles, The Fiend and Braun Strowman.

Since the 2020 Draft, however, things have changed. Styles is now holding the RAW Tag Team titles alongside Omos. The Phenomenal One has traditionally been in the main event of either RAW or SmackDown, but has helped out the mid-card and tag divisions. Randy Orton took his place in the main event, but he is also possibly heading into the tag division in the near future, alongside Riddle.

Also in that time, Bobby Lashley dropped the United States Championship and won the WWE Championship, winning the title from The Miz after Miz cashed in on McIntyre. With that win, Lashley joined the RAW main event scene. While he's been on RAW sporadically following the Show of Shows, The Fiend is also a main-event caliber talent who could challenge anyone for the belt.

Braun Strowman has always been in and out of the title scenes on both RAW and SmackDown. He won the Universal Championship at last year's WrestleMania but dropped it at the end of the summer. Before that win, he was consistently used as a formidable obstacle for the likes of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

The Monster Among Men has campaigned for a title shot since Survivor Series but was denied. However, he won a match against McIntyre on the latest RAW, putting him in the triple threat title match at WrestleMania Backlash.

The names atop RAW are diverse but three of them (Orton, Lashley and Styles) are over 40, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Athletes like Tom Brady are playing at high levels into their early 40s, so things seem to have changed in professional sports.

One big question is how long does WWE plan on having Lashley as the top dog on RAW? Having MVP as his mouthpiece helps, but Strowman is usually a stepping stone. McIntyre has already won the title twice over the last year.

The wildcard is undoubtedly The Fiend. Outside of a returning Brock Lesnar, The Fiend seems like the only feasible option to eventually dethrone the All Mighty. Will it happen?

Grade: B+

#1 Are there any additions on the horizon for the RAW roster?

Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch

Like SmackDown, RAW also has several stars out of action. Lacey Evans is currently pregnant and her return is far off. When Becky Lynch returns from giving birth in December, will it be back on RAW or will she join SmackDown? Those two names help the roster in terms of depth (Evans) and name recognition (Lynch).

Jinder Mahal could return soon, after undergoing another knee surgery last June. He returned to RAW following WrestleMania 36 after suffering a prior injury. But Jeff Hardy has been away for some time. Without a program for WrestleMania 37, the Charismatic Enigma hasn't been used over the last few months.

A huge void on RAW at the moment is the absence of Keith Lee. Sadly, he wasn't a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, after disappearing following Survivor Series. His last match was on February 8th prior to the Elimination Chamber event. Rumors have circulated that he hasn't yet been medically cleared. Whatever the case may be, from his social media accounts, it looks like Lee is working hard to return to RAW.

When Lee returns, he could challenge for either the WWE or United States Championships. He was potentially slated to win the US title at the Elimination Chamber, but wasn't medically cleared.

Another huge name that could potentially shift the landscape of RAW would be the return of Brock Lesnar. The Beast has primarily done his work on RAW during the last ten years, while briefly going to SmackDown to fight Kofi Kingston. Bobby Lashley has consistently campaigned for a match with Lesnar, but his wish has not been fulfilled.

It would be strange to have more NXT call-ups join RAW instead of SmackDown. The last two, Ripley and Priest, have joined RAW. The last two to join SmackDown were The Forgotten Sons and Riddle. The Forgotten Sons are no more and Riddle is now on RAW. On the other hand, The Street Profits debuted on RAW but were drafted to SmackDown.

While names like Adam Cole, Finn Balor and Io Shirai could join RAW, they'd be better suited to join the blue brand. SmackDown would offer more opportunities for NXT call-ups, since both the women's division and main event on RAW are seemingly ruled by a select few names.

RAW is in pretty good shape in terms of rosters and depth. The main thing that could improve the show would be pushing some different stars up the ladder rather than the same old names. Mixing things up in terms of matches, with superstars facing off in totally new feuds, would also help improve things for the red brand right now.

Edited by James Sullivan
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