WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW! (5/22/17)
-Roman Reigns VS Bray Wyatt; no contest.
-Akira Tozawa VS Ariya Daivari; Tozawa wins.
-Dean Ambrose VS Elias Samson; Samson wins via disqualification.
-Finn Balor VS Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows; Balor wins.
-Alicia Fox w/ Noam Dar VS Sasha Banks; Sasha wins.
-Kalisto VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neil; Kalisto wins.
-Winner Chooses Extreme Rules Stipulation: Matt Hardy w/ Jeff VS Sheamus w/ Cesaro; Hardy wins and chooses Steel Cage.
-Tony Nese w/ Neville VS Austin Aries; Aries wins.
-Alexa Bliss VS Mickie James; Alexa wins.
-Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins VS Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt; Joe & Wyatt win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Raw is on a crash course towards the demolition derby that is Extreme Rules. A historic match, a Fatal 5 Way under Extreme Rules, is set between the biggest names on the Team Red roster, and one of them… is here.
Bray Wyatt comes to the ring.
The Eater of Worlds vowed to plunge the “Spear of Destiny” into the Beast, Brock Lesnar, but tonight wishes for all in attendance to “stand up” for they shall soon be “liberated” from Lesnar’s reign. The “One True Savior” of wrestling knows “The Beast cometh”. The Beast is the leash of society, the reason we cannot sleep at night, the voice in the back of our minds that tells us to run and hide. But Bray is in control and will feast upon the Beast’s black heart! At Extreme Rules, four men will suffer as casualties of Bray’s crusade, so please stand up and accept his protection! You think Rollins can protect you? His destiny “ends in malice”, and Bray knows this because he will sacrifice him! You think Samoa Joe can protect you? He got sacrificed, too! There are no friends, only followers. Ask Finn Balor. That reaction is proof, but even The Demon will see that only The Face of Fears can slay a Beast! Of course, there is still… Roman Reigns. The Big Dog that owns the yard, Bray wishes to ask: What does a yard mean to a man that owns the world? So stand up– Roman Reigns comes out!
If someone runs their mouth in Roman’s yard, he wants them to do it to his face. Bray laughs at his “old friend” Roman, and sees his temper still gets the best of him. But Bray reaffirms that he is the only one who can defeat Brock Lesnar. Roman says Bray is wrong, Roman will beat four guys and then beat Lesnar, that’s the truth of it. But for right now, Roman wants to kick Bray out of his yard. Kurt Angle comes out!
The Raw General Manager wants things to slow down. That Fatal 5 Way is a very important match in this New Era, and to see who is the real front runner for that match, let’s have a match right now! “Oh it’s true, it’s DAMN true!”
Roman Reigns VS Bray Wyatt!
The Big Dog and Eater of Worlds are familiar with each other from wars waged in the past, and much has happened for both men since. The crowd is already dueling as they tie up. Roman gets a headlock, Wyatt powers out, the two collide but neither budges. Bray finds amusement in that, and starts a brawl, but Roman’s uppercut rocks Wyatt back. Roman side steps, Wyatt bumps buckles but leans back to spook him. Bray attempts Sister Abigail but Roman powers out and kicks Wyatt out of the ring. Roman goes out and gives Bray another strong uppercut, then puts Bray in the ring again. Bray pounces on reentry and stomps away on Roman, yurinagi slam to plant Roman on that bad shoulder. Bray laughs as he chews on the ropes. Bray stalks Roman, picks him up, and gives him a right hand in a corner. Corner to corner whip rams Roman’s bad ribs into the buckles, Bray takes aim but gets a jumping clothesline from Roman. Roman gives Bray his close range clotheslines in the corner, the fans are raucous over whether “Roman Sucks!” or not. Roman gets running, and gets run over by Bray’s body check! With both men down, Samoa Joe comes out!
The Samoan Destroyer wants payback on Bray for that sucker punch of a Sister Abigail last week. Joe dares Bray to get up, Bray stays back, so Joe puts Roman in a Kokina Klutch!
This disqualifies the match, but Roman fights back. Bray pounces on Roman, Joe pounces on Bray with the Kokina Klutch! So that brings Seth Rollins out!
The Architect takes the fight to the Destroyer, dropkick sends Joe out. Rollins is all fired up, Bray goes to pounce on him, SUPERMAN PUNCH intercepts! The fans chant for the Shield, it’s a stand-off between these four. This tension is already explosive, add Balor as the fifth man and anything could happen at Extreme Rules!
Roman tells Rollins he doesn’t need help. Rollins explains he was only out there to go after Joe. Angle returns to tell them it’ll be a tag team match! Rollins & Reigns VS Joe & Wyatt, the main event, tonight! Also, The Drifter passes by. Elias Samson has Angle’s attention. Samson hasn’t had a match on Raw yet, so why not tonight? Against Dean Ambrose. Samson just keeps playing and moving on, how will he fare against the Lunatic Fringe?
Akira Tozawa VS Ariya Daivari!
The Stamina Monster is back after a heinous attack by THE Brian Kendrick, who is watching backstage. Those two are set on a Street Fight on 205 Live, can Tozawa make quick work of the Persian Lion? Daivari takes the fight to him, but Tozawa gives it back with loud chops and battle cries. Tozawa throws right hands, whips Daivari, and rolls out of the sunset flip to give a Penalty Kick and back senton, TWO. More battle cries gets the crowd going, but Daivari side steps to flip Tozawa with a clothesline, TWO! Daivari stomps away, gives Tozawa a loud chop, Tozawa retaliates with a bicycle boot. Daivari gives a jumping knee, Tozawa hits a headscissors. Tozawa kicks, slips under and then suplexes Daivari fast! More battle cries as Tozawa goes top rope, SUPER Back Senton!
Tozawa wins and is fired up for his Street Fight with Kendrick. Can he survive a battle with the Man with a Plan where anything goes?
Backstage interview with Sasha Banks. She’s having a tie-breaker with Alicia Fox tonight, and she will get away from that “hot mess” of a couple. Sounds like The Boss is jealous of their relationship. She’s not the Boss, she’s– she’s what?! Not telling. Thought so. Will The Boss put away the Foxy Lady tonight?
Dean Ambrose VS Elias Samson!
The Lunatic Fringe is always up for a fight, and now The Drifter has been placed into his path by the General Manager. But keeping in how he was down in NXT, Samson sings us a song. And everyone boos. But they cheer Dean! The Miz and Maryse join commentary, Miz wants to keep an eye on the champion he vows to defeat at Extreme Rules. Samson gets a headlock, Ambrose can’t power out right away, and Miz rants on Ambrose needing to cheat to keep that belt. Ambrose does power out and then arm drags the Drifter a couple times, Samson powers Dean to the ropes and then yanks the champion into ropes. Dean fires back with chops but is back elbowed to the mat. Samson unloads in a corner, then bounces Dean’s head off the apron. Drive-by knee, Samson has the Intercontinental Champion in trouble as we go to commercials.
We return, and Samson is still in control with a half-jacket chinlock. Ambrose fights his way to his feet but Samson brings him back down. Ambrose gets back up, fights out but Samson whips him. Samson runs Ambrose over with a clothesline, covers, TWO. Samson keeps Ambrose down with a forearm and then a Fujiwara armbar. Ambrose endures as Samson bends even fingers, Ambrose gets to his feet, and fights out with forearms. Ambrose elbows Samson back, kicks him in the face, then spins around to the neckbreaker. Ambrose and Samson are down but slowly getting to their feet. Ambrose fires off punches and kicks then starts to rally with forearms. He whips Samson but is reversed, gets a clothesline on the fly. Ambrose scrambles to a corner and climbs to the top rope, firing himself up. Samson on his feet, jumping knee denies the flying ax handle!
TWO, but Ambrose puts Samson in his own pin, TWO. Samson kicks Ambrose, Ambrose responds with a Lunatic Lariat! The Miz decides to get in the ring!
Miz attacks Samson to make the disqualification go in Samson’s favor! Samson wins thanks to the Miz! Ambrose chases after the Hollywood A-Lister all the way around the ring, gets his hands on him, but Samson bails Miz out to give Ambrose the swinging neckbreaker! Samson isn’t happy with The Miz, either, but he’s satisfied with taking down the Lunatic, for now.
Big Cass finds Enzo Amore left unconscious backstage! Who did this to the Certified G?! Can he make a recovery? He regains consciousness after a commercial, but he has no idea who attacked him. He’s helped out of the arena by medics, Angle promises him and Cass they’ll get to the bottom of this. Cass hopes Angle does find out before Cass does, or it won’t end well for the guys that did this to Enzo.
Finn Balor VS Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows!
Though The Demon and The Machine Gun were members of a certain club back in Japan, The Balor Club and The Club aren’t one and the same here in the WWE. Balor addresses his club here in Grand Rapids, and the huge challenge “we” face at Extreme Rules. Anderson is in his path, but Balor is focused– “Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman.”
Heyman might be scouting the “victims” lined up for Lesnar, because no matter the case, Lesnar will make any of the five men just that. Whether it’s Bray Wyatt, “Seth Freakin’ Rules”, Samoa Joe, or “the one that laid the Deadman down” Roman Reigns, they will all become nothing more than victims. Then there’s Finn Balor. Respectfully speaking, Balor is nobody’s victim. Balor, the underdog? No he’s not that either! Heyman knows what to expect of the Balor Club’s leader. Heyman gives his seal of approval that Balor is the most talented performer in WWE today. Heyman believes that Balor believes he’ll take it to the extreme–something Heyman is an expert in–and Balor of all men is the only one to look at Lesnar, with all his accomplishments, as someone for Balor to make into a victim. Therefore, Heyman is here to tell Balor face to face, Lesnar VS Balor is the most interesting match for the Universal Championship. On behalf of said Beast, good luck at Extreme Rules.
Balor wishes Lesnar was here, too–surprise surprise–but this is good enough. Give Lesnar this message: Balor will win to become #1 contender, and will take back the title that he never lost.
Finally, onto the match! Anderson gets control of Balor coming out of a commercial break but Balor hits back with a dropkick out of a sunset flip. Balor throws hands on Anderson, then gives springboard stomps over and over until the ref backs him down. Anderson powers Balor to a corner but Balor fights out. Gallows distracts, Anderson pounces with an uppercut and a clothesline. Anderson rakes the face, the ref backs him down, Gallows gets a cheap shot! Anderson covers, TWO, so Anderson drags Balor down with a chinlock. Balor fights out, Anderson kicks and clubs him down, back to the chinlock. Balor endures, gets to his feet and fights out again, backbreaker from Anderson drops him again. TWO, so right back to that chinlock we go. Balor feeds off the fans, fights out, but gets another strong uppercut, so he gives a PELE to knock Anderson down. Gallows barks for Anderson to get up, both men stand and Anderson rushes in. Balor boots him away and rallies with forearms, then a dropkick. Anderson scrambles to a corner, running chop. Corner to corner, running chop. Balor’s whip is reversed, he goes up and over but Anderson knocks him away. Anderson dares him to retaliate, Balor does with a swing kick! Anderson tumbles down, Balor sees his chance, but he first has to dropkick Gallows away from the apron. Penalty Kick from the apron knocks Gallows all the way down, swing kick to Anderson! Balor goes up top, Anderson sees it coming so he gets under Finn, Spinebuster! TWO! Anderson is frustrated, he stalks Balor before pulling him up by his ears. Powerbomb position, Balor slips out, trips Anderson and gives him stomps tot he ribs. Balor builds seed, and flies onto both Gallows and Anderson! Back into the ring, Slingblade and the blasting dropkick. Anderson is down, Balor goes up, COUP DE GRACE!
Balor wins, Balor Club rolls on towards Extreme Rules!
Alicia Fox w/ Noam Dar VS Sasha Banks!
The Foxy Lady and the Boss are 1-1 in their matches against each other, now it’s time to see who wins the series. They tie up, Sasha throws Alicia to a corner. Sasha mocks Foxy, then drop toe hold, Fox gets a ropebreak to prevent the crossface. Alicia gets out of the ring, Sasha dropkicks her down. Dar mocks Sasha to distract her, Alicia hits a boot! Alicia covers, TWO, Alicia is immediately frustrated. She drives knees into the spine and puts Sasha in a chinlock. Sasha fights out, whips Alicia but is reversed. Sasha boots back and then drives Alicia into buckles. Double knees connect but then Alicia fires an elbow and throws Sasha to a buckle. Sasha retaliates and puts Alicia sideways, Stock Drop knees! Sasha wins!
Dar gets in the ring to complain and trash talk, Sasha slaps him! Alicia retaliates with a blindside elbow and the Scissor Kick! Perhaps Sasha was wrong about getting away from these two…
Kalisto asks Apollo Crews point blank: “What’s wrong with you?” Apollo is fighting Titus’ battles for him. Was Apollo the one to ambush Enzo? No way! Kalisto knows Apollo isn’t like that. But Titus made Apollo an offer he couldn’t refuse. Titus comes into the scene now to say Kalisto wants to join Titus Brand! Money is money, he’s all for signing Kalisto. Kalisto doesn’t want in! Well, then Apollo will have to teach Kalisto some respect to the “little man”. Is Kalisto right in thinking Titus Brand was responsible for Enzo’s beating? Will the same happen to him?
A Shattered Dream production, starring Goldust. Lights fade, but gold “never withers, never rusts.” Truth’s light flickers, holds on to that last glimmer, but Goldust is back “in the director’s chair”. He will determine how this ends for Truth, but the New Golden Age is just beginning.
Backstage interview with Alexa Bliss. The Goddess of Raw defends her title against Bayley in a Kendo Stick on a Pole match, as a consequence of the kendo stick attack Bliss enacted on the Huggable One last week. Bliss doesn’t feel bad for what she did, she enjoyed the sound of smacking Bayley with that stick. The person that gets the stick down gets to use it, and Bayley will be left “tattooed with welts”. Bayley is dreaming of becoming champion again but it won’t happen, because getting extreme is not in Bayley’s DNA. Bliss will make an example out of Mickie James. Will Extreme Rules become nothing but a nightmare for Bayley?
Kalisto VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neil!
The Lucha Dragon may have been asking too many questions, and is now on the bad side of Titus Brand. Kalisto gets a waist lock, Apollo throws him off. Kalisto kicks, his whip is reversed, he handsprings and headscissors Apollo out of the ring. Kalisto speeds up, Apollo comes in with a dropkick! TWO, Titus coaches Apollo to keep it up. Apollo suplexes Kalisto up and holds him there. And holds him. And then slams him, TWO. Apollo puts Kalisto in a facelock, Kalisto works to get out, Kalisto fights out and hits a jawbreaker. Kalisto gets running, runs into an enziguri! TWO, Titus is upset with the ref. Apollo keeps on Kalisto, Crews Missile prepared, but Titus almost distracts Apollo too much. Victory roll, TWO. Titus is angry, SOLINA DEL SOL!
Kalisto wins! Titus is very upset with his client, can their brand make a recovery?
Winner Chooses Extreme Rules Raw Tag Team Championship Stipulation
Matt Hardy w/ Jeff VS Sheamus w/ Cesaro!
The Hardy Boyz have already faced the Celtic Warrior and Swiss Superman many times, but the belts are going to be back on the line at Extreme Rules. As such, this win truly goes a long way towards determining who has the advantage going into their championship match. Matt and Sheamus tie up briefly, then go again as Sheamus powers Matt to ropes. They tie up shortly after the ropebreak, Matt gets a headlock and grinds Sheamus down to the mat. Sheamus lifts Matt, headlock takedown keeps things in Matt’s control. Sheamus finally breaks free and shoulders Matt down hard. Sheamus gives Matt a European Uppercut then a hard headlock takedown, Matt gets to his feet and fights out. The fans rally for Matt Hardy, Sheamus counters the hip toss but is the one getting clothesline’d out of the ring. Sheamus scrambles back in, avoids the Twist of Fate and gets out of the ring again. Cesaro has him take it easy, Matt comes out and throws hands. Sheamus puts Matt into the apron then into the Bodhrain! The fans start counting along, Sheamus stops to blast Matt all the way to the barrier. Sheamus comes out to fetch Matt, puts him in the ring and goes top rope. Flying clothesline, TWO. Matt gets to a corner, Sheamus whips him against ropes, Matt holds on. Matt kicks back and rolls him up, TWO, so Matt wrenches an arm and gives punches. Sheamus gives a forearm back, puts Matt in a corner to go corner to corner. Matt dodges, Sheamus hits buckles, then Matt bounces Sheamus’ head off more buckles all the way to the bottom. Matt climbs up, Sheamus stuns him with a forearm. Rolling senton hits, TWO, and Sheamus is getting frustrated as we go to commercials.
Sheamus has a half-jacket chinlock on Matt when we return, but the fans rally for Matt. Matt fights out, throws forearms and whips Sheamus, but gets a loud kick to counter his body drop attempt before White Noise, TWO. The fans chant “OBSOLETE” but Sheamus just puts Matt onto the top rope. Jeff distracts, Matt kicks back, tornado DDT! Matt crawls to a cover, TWO. Matt throws more hands, Sheamus picks him up on the run but Matt slips out to shove him to a corner. Clothesline but bulldog is denied, the Side Effect hits!
TWO! Matt calls for the Twist, gives the kick, but Sheamus shoves him away. Matt wants another Side Effect but Sheamus elbows out, bicycle knee to the head! Ropebreak on the pin! Sheamus is frustrated again, giving Matt a swift stomp before regrouping with Cesaro. The fans are loving it as Sheamus prepares but misses the Brogue. Jeff sees Cesaro coming, apron dive! Sheamus kicks Jeff, Matt hits the Twist of Fate! Matt wins! The Hardy Boyz get to decide their Raw Tag Team Championship stipulation!
What will it be? It will be The Hardys VS Sheamus & Cesaro, in a Steel Cage! Which team will escape to claim the titles?
Tony Nese w/ Neville VS Austin Aries!
While TJP has helped The King of the Cruiserweights with his “Aries Problem”, Neville has now enlisted the help of The Premier Athlete to pile damage on wounded leg of the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. The fans love Austin Aries, but Aries is worried about Neville. So much so, Nese is given an opening to go after the leg. Aries tries to fight him off but cannot, corner to corner whip is reversed. Aries knocks Nese down, second rope elbow drop to the shoulders, TWO. Aries keeps his eyes on Neville as he picks up Nese. Nese powers out, drop toe hold brings Nese down, special Indian Deathlock stretch using a headscissors. Nese powers out again, gets rolled up, TWO, facelock but Nese avoids the Last Chancery. Aries slingshots over and splashes down on Nese, Aries glares at Neville one more time before putting Nese in the ring. Aries gets a kick to that bad leg on reentry, Nese rains hands down. Nese stomps on Aries as well, Neville is very happy with how things are going. Nese stomps that bad leg, then picks Aries up for a suplex. Aries slips out, chops Nese a couple times but Nese fires back with a haymaker. Nese runs into a corner, gets a boot, Aries hops up but is knocked out of the air with a back elbow. Nese drags Aries up, Neville coaching him, Nese uses his strength to suplex Aries up but Aries turns that into a guillotine!
A submission in reference to the coming submission match he and Neville will have for the title! Nese starts to fade, but then uses power to push Aries. Aries holds on, and gets Nese into the Last Chancery! Nese taps, Aries wins!
Neville is no longer happy. And he takes it out on Nese!
Nese is put in the Rings of Saturn and taps out, but it doesn’t matter. Aries mockingly applauds how “great” the King is right now. Which man will get the other into their signature hold? And which man will leave holding the belt?
Alexa Bliss VS Mickie James!
The Goddess of Raw promises to use the returning icon as an example of what she’ll do to her Huggable Contender at Extreme Rules, but will it be that easy against a former six time champion? They tie up, Mickie gest teh waistlock but Alexa gets the standing switch, Mickie gets it back, repeat. And repeat repeat repeat until Alexa gets to ropes to break the cycle. Alexa and Mickie tie up again, Alexa backs Mickie down to a corner, then stomps away to show “that’s why I’m the champ!”
Mickie turns it around and fires off kicks on Alexa, corner to corner whip is reversed but Mickie gives some kicks and some clotheslines before a neckbreaker. TWO, so Mickie keeps on Alexa with wicked crossface punches. Mickie grabs Alexa but Alexa denies the DDT, so it’s a snapmare and running kick instead. Alexa pulls Mickie to a corner, Mickie elbows back, Mickie wants the huricanrana but is denied. A stiff right from Alexa stuns Mickie, Alexa hits her BlissDT, Alexa wins!
But that glare means she isn’t done with Mickie. She finds a kendo stick under the ring, and stalks Mickie before SMACK to the back! Bayley to the rescue! She trips Alexa and takes that stick for her own.
Alexa runs before Bayley can get a good swing. Bayley sees the fear in Alexa’s eyes, though, can the Huggable One prove Alexa wrong and get truly extreme?
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins VS Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt!
A tag match born from the chaos that kicked off tonight, can either team coexist long enough to finish this match? Rollins and Reigns both want to start, but Bray and Joe are in agreement. Bray starts, Rollins given the go ahead, and Rollins knows Bray is ready to pounce. Rollins fights him off, knocks Joe off the apron and then throws Bray out. Rollins goes after both Bray and Joe on the outside then gets Bray in the ring. Joe swipes but misses, Bray forearms and connects! Rollins hits barriers and is down on the ground as we go to commercials.
We return to find Rollins in a chinlock by Wyatt. Rollins fights out so Wyatt throws him to ropes, Rollins gives a dropkick. Both men down, both tag partners are wanting in, Roman gets in and rallies on Wyatt. Jumping clothesline knocks Wyatt down, Joe is frustrated on the apron. Roman gives Wyatt a kick and a Samoan Drop, then gets to the corner to lock and load. Wyatt spider-crawls, it disturbs Roman. Joe distracts, Wyatt pounces! Wyatt throws Roman out for Joe to throw into the barrier! The ref tells Joe to stay by his corner, Joe tags in. Joe fetches Roman and puts him into the LED. Jabs and a bump off the apron, Joe puts Roman in the ring to toy with. Kurt Angle watches from backstage to see how his main event is going. Joe keeps on Roman with a neck wrench. Wyatt enjoys watching this, Rollins is worried on his end. Joe wrenches Roman’s neck deeply but Roman works to get to his feet. The fans duel again, “Roman Sucks!” “Let’s go Roman!” Roman fights out and backs Joe down, but Joe reverses to put Roman in the corner, back elbow and Pele! TWO, Joe is frustrated with Roman so he tags Wyatt in. Wyatt keeps Roman down with stomps, then puts him in corner for a corner clothesline. Wyatt takes his time before covering, Roman kicks out. Wyatt puts Roman in the straitjacket chinlock, Rollins tells Roman to endure. The fans duel, Roman gets to his feet, so Wyatt throws him out of the ring. Joe grabs Roman again, but now it’s Joe that gets thrown and clips the post! Wyatt grabs Roman, Roman gives him a hotshot. Joe gets up, Drive By Dropkick for Roman! Wyatt knocks Rollisn away but then ROman throws Wyatt out. Rollins is on the apron, Joe gets Wyatt in the ring, both men make tags! Rollins springboards to clothesline Joe. Rollins rallies to hit a flying blockbuster on Joe and then slingshot onto Wyatt. Rollins keeps going, Slingblade to Joe. Rollins is fired up as he forearms Joe, but Wyatt slows him down. Rollins knocks Wyatt away, throws Joe out, then DIVES!
Rollins knocks both big men down and gets Joe into the ring. Rollins goes top rope, fights off Wyatt, Joe uppercuts and stuns Rollins. Joe climbs up to join Rollins, and Wyatt joins in, too. The two bigger men prepare a superplex but Rollins fights them both off. Wyatt goes down, then Joe, Rollins gets up for a big flying crossbody that hits both men! Rollins goes after Joe but Wyatt stops him. Roman saves Rollins and throws Wyatt out, then uppercuts Joe. Rollins hits the enziguri, Roman locks and loads, but Joe side steps so that Roman and Rollins collide!
Inadvertent but Rollins misunderstands, Wyatt gets Roman and Joe gets Rollins! Sister Abigail on the outside while Kokina Klutch on the inside! Rollins flails but fades, the ref rings the bell! Joe and Wyatt win! The Destroyer and the Eater of Worlds have won against the Architect and the Big Dog, but what will happen when it’s every man for himself?
Balor compliments Angle on the main event. But he also wants a match of his own with one of the others. Angle refuses, because it won’t be just one. It will be two: Balor VS Joe VS Wyatt, triple threat! Music to Balor’s ears. At the same time, Rollins VS Reigns will happen next week. Angle’s a great GM, “it’s true, it’s DAMN true!”
After the great three days of WWE programming between the UK Special, TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash, Raw was–as I feared–a speed trap that slowed things down and killed all the momentum WWE had. I swear Vince insists Raw be quantity over quality, because for all the matches that were on this card, it wasn’t as good as anything from this weekend. Fox VS Banks 3, Kalisto VS Crews, Nese VS Aries and Bliss VS Mickie were all so short and barely did a thing for propelling story. If Raw had left out two of those, the other two would have had more time to breathe and would’ve felt much better. In my opinion, short straws go to the first two. With the extra time, the Cruiserweights could have some real spotlight and build as we get closer to some major moments for their Division, and at the same time there would’ve been a bit more to that match of Bliss and Mickie James because we know those two can put on good matches. Fox VS Banks 3 and Kalisto VS Crews felt more like they belong on an Extreme Rules kickoff show, where they could also get some real breathing room.
However, there are things Raw does manage to do right from time to time. Though a bit formulaic, it was expected that Samoa Joe would insert himself into Reigns VS Wyatt at the beginning, prompting Rollins to do the same, and then being the reason for our tag team main event. Said main event was pretty good, and the fans were at least into it the full way despite having to deal with filler beforehand. Rollins and Reigns literally butting heads was good, there is still tension to be played upon with the former Shield members, and then Joe and Wyatt look all the better for besting them. Balor VS Joe VS Wyatt happening as part of a go-home is great news, though, Raw might finally get out of its go-home rut. Speaking of Balor, Paul Heyman returns to give another great, themed promo, and surprisingly he gives Finn Balor a vote of respect and approval. That is big for Balor, at least as far as his character goes. Is this Heyman covering for Balor not being a mic killer like a John Cena or even an Enzo Amore? Maybe, but it is intriguing to see “The Advocate for the Beast Incarnate” Paul Heyman to see promise in Balor. Realistically Balor wouldn’t beat Lesnar but pro-wrestling is not always about reality, and pitting the Demon against the Beast for a new take of David VS Goliath wouldn’t be a bad way to get casual fans curious to what will happen.
My Score: 7.5/10