WWE Raw: Was This the Best Monday Night Raw in the 21st Century?

Jeff KayerCorrespondent IApril 3, 2012

Less than a day after WrestleMania, the WWE hosted their weekly show Monday Night Raw at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla.

Typically the show after the WWE's biggest event contains a lot of drama.  A year ago they announced what would be WrestleMania 28's main event, The Rock taking on John Cena.  Their year-long feud culminated Sunday night with The Rock emerging victorious.

That took us to Monday night.  What would happen?  Would the two enjoy a bromantic embrace as the Rock went off into the sunset?  Would John Cena finally make the heel turn so many fans are begging for?  Would these two continue their feud for another year?  The answer was none of the above.

As John Cena was putting forth a speech so over-the-top lame that you just knew something was bound to happen, a F5 tornado hit the arena.  Yes, that's right, the newly-retired UFC star Brock Lesnar made his return to the squared circle as Cena was asking The Rock to come down to the ramp.

After some words and what looked like a potential hand shake, Lesnar changed the course of Raw by delivering his devastating finisher to the former WWE champion, leaving us to guess what will happen next.

The thrilling conclusion came after one of, if not the best Monday Night Raw's in over a decade.

This needs to be said right now.  The reason why this Raw was so amazing?  The crowd.  

There really is no debating this.  The crowd at the American Airlines Arena was the kind of crowd people remembered back in the peak of the WWE during the 1990's.  Not only were they loud and popped heavily at all the right moments, but it was a smart crowd as well.  Throughout the evening, you would hear them yell "YES" or at one point "SI."

Because of this crowd, it made this event feel very, very special.

Back to the show, the night started with a farewell from The Rock vowing that he will be making a run at a WWE Championship belt the next time we see him.  Also on the docket was Santino Marella defying the odds and defending his U.S. title belt in a triple-threat match between tag partners Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler.

Following that was the debut of Lord Tensai, who many WWE fans will remember as Prince Albert.  This was probably the low point of the show as Alb..er....Tensai beat around Alex Riley in a slow, methodical squash.

What came next was arguably the best match of the year on free television; a title match between CM Punk and Mark Henry.  With Henry now recovered from his injuries, he's fully come back to the dominant heel that made him a star in 2011.  The match ended up with Henry winning by count out, leading to a potential feud between the two stars.

But that wasn't all.  Chris Jericho added fuel, or in this case some alcohol, to the fire by savagely beating CM Punk and dousing him with some good, old-fashioned Jack Daniels.

What followed was the only period you could call a lull but in actuality, it was the only 20 minutes that felt like a "normal" Raw.  Cody Rhodes lost to Kofi Kingston in a match due to some verbal interference from Big Show.  Then Eve Torres came out to deliver a pretty pointless promo.  Lastly, the Miz beat Zach Ryder.

If there was any large disappointment from the show, it's the fact that the WWE has completely de-pushed one of the fans' favorite wrestlers in Ryder.  Not only is he losing, he's looking like a complete dufus doing so. 

Following this, though, was the amazing conclusion with Cena eating a F5.

Overall, thanks to the strong matches, the shocking return of Brock Lesnar, an appearance by The Rock and, most of all, one of the best crowds I've ever seen on a show, this was perhaps the greatest Raw in over a decade. 

Has there been a better Raw since 2000?  Let us know your thoughts by leaving some feedback!