It’s a new era in WWE (as WWE insists on telling us 8 times a show) and that’s why tuning into Raw has become fun again. With so many NXT call ups being prominently featured on the programme, thus creating a number of fresh match ups, Raw has been a consistently solid show over the last 6 weeks or so. Can they keep it up?
Previously on WWE, prepare for anarchy because Shane and Stephanie McMahon are running Raw together! But how will they coexist? They hate each other! They’ve been throwing hurtful barbs each others way, they can’t possibly get along… Oh wait, they’re coexisting fine. Okay, well no drama there. Let’s look elsewhere.
AJ Styles and Roman Reigns and their respective gangs are at each others throats. After a 6 man tag team match with AJ Styles and ‘The Club’ facing Roman Reigns and ‘Team Nepotism’, Gallows and Anderson held Reigns up for AJ to hit him with a chair. AJ said no, Uso’s attacked AJ with a chair anyway, AJ retaliates with the chair and Roman gets all super miffed and destroys AJ by putting him through a table.
Elsewhere in WWE, Jericho killed Ambrose’s best friend, there’s a super strange love rectangle between Goldust, Fandango, R-Truth and Tyler Breeze, Natalya put a pensioner in the sharpshooter and Damien Sandow was employed. It was a good time. Let’s get to this week.
Raw hails from Omaha, Nebraska this week which is already not a good sign. It could be worse though, it could be Corpus Christi, Texas. Wow that city has awful crowds. Anyway, that’s not what this article is about. Raw opens with the Highlight Reel. Chris Jericho talks about killing Mitch and putting Dean Ambrose on the shelf, which is ironically where Mitch’s home should’ve been. He has remnants of Mitch with him, which would be morbid if Mitch was anything more than a plant. Like, imagine if that was Dean’s dog and Jericho had its leg and fur on that seat.
Big Cass surprisingly is the one to interrupt Jericho and he challenges Y2J to a fight, Jericho retreats but still gets a big boot to the face for good measure. I liked this a lot. Enzo is sorely missed next to Cass, but this is a great time for everyone to get to know Cass by himself. With Enzo and all his charisma, it’s easy to forget about Cass. So when Enzo does return, the casual viewer will be truly familiar with the quieter one of the two.
Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler is next. I feel like I’ve seen this match a lot already. Dolph looks like absolute trash right now and Baron Corbin isn’t really ready to be up on the main roster. Corbin definitely could have benefited from another 6 months in NXT. I personally believe Corbin shouldn’t be talking but when he has so far, it’s been bad. When Corbin was in NXT, he was on the cusp of main event NXT title matches. But he was WWE’s get out of jail card winner for the Andre the Giant Memorial Afterthought at WrestleMania. Anyway, the match was fine. To Corbin’s credit, his ‘Deep Six’ suplex looks wicked. Corbin got his win back from Payback because those are the rules of WWE’s 50/50 style booking.
The continuation of the love rectangle between Truth, Goldust, Fandango and Tyler Breeze continues as R-Truth takes on Fandango. Here’s the thing, I like almost everyone in this. But it’s the stench of R-Truth that makes every bone in my body want to hate this. But weirdly, it’s one of the longest running stories on the show at the moment, having stemmed from when R-Truth was trying to recruit Goldust back in January. R-Truth pins Fandango and I die a little inside, moving on.
Charlotte vs Paige is next and it’s a welcome surprise. I can’t remember the last time Paige was on Raw. She’s only been able to scream “THIS IS MY HOUSE!” inside her actual house for the last month. Charlotte is without Ric Flair at ringside and Natalya is on commentary. I can’t stress this enough, Natalya is AWFUL on commentary. Just absolutely brutal, so I try to tune commentary out… Kind of like normal, anyway. Paige and Charlotte have quite a good match, big moves and near falls galore. Flair makes his way out anyway but before he can do anything Shane McMahon arrives with security to escort Flair away. Flair is furious and looks like a gorilla being hoarded by zookeepers.
“Ooh! Ooh! Ahh! Ahh!” – Ric Flair, possibly, or something to that effect.
Seriously, look at him. While Charlotte protests, Paige kicks Charlotte in the back of the head, rolls her up and gets the win. This will not be the last surprise roll up victory tonight. By the laws of pinning champions, this should mean that Paige gets to be added to the Extreme Rules title match in a Triple Threat. But will it actually happen? Probably not.
As announced in an earlier backstage segment, if Sami Zayn can beat The Miz he will be added to the Triple Threat IC Title match at Extreme Rules and it will become a Fatal-4-Way. Time for the match itself, it was pretty darn good. Miz and Maryse are great characters and I welcome them as our new overlords as their outfits are something of sci-fi villains. The commentators mention that whenever you pin a champion, you’re automatically considered for a championship match. Those same rules should apply to the women’s division (I know I’m going on about it, but I can’t be bothered sitting through another Charlotte/Natalya one on one match. It’s been done).
Sami pins Miz clean with a Helluva Kick, Sami is heading to Extreme Rules and that match will be amazing. Also, something I’ve always wondered… Is it called the Helluva Kick because it’s a ‘hell of a kick’ or does ‘Helluva’ mean something else? Help me.
Backstage again with Renee Young and she’s interviewing Becky Lynch over her loss to Emma last week. Emma interrupts and tells Becky she should have eyes in the back of her head as DANA BROOKE attacks from behind. I love that they’ve kept Emma and Dana Brooke together, they had a good thing going in NXT and it should translate well on the main roster. Having Emma and Dana as the No.2 heels in the women’s division is a solid choice, they can keep the non-title women’s storylines going. Somebody’s gonna get their head pat, Dana Brooke has arrived on the main roster.
It’s time to pay some attention to the United States Championship. No, honestly it really is time it was paid some attention. Rusev won a Battle Royal last week to face Kalisto who I genuinely keep forgetting is champion. Rusev is facing Sin Cara and you’d think this would be pretty simple story telling. Rusev destroys Kalisto’s tag team partner, sending the champion a message that at Extreme Rules he’ll be taking the title. Well, NOPE! Sin Cara pins Rusev with a roll up after a distraction from Kalisto… WHY!? I just, WHY!? (Roll up victory No.2 for tonight)
Moving on to ‘We don’t own the rights to Bullet Club’ vs ‘Team we’re related to The Rock’ only this time it’s under elimination rules. Gallows hits Jey Uso in the face and Anderson rolls him up for the first elimination (3rd roll up victory tonight). ‘The Club’ are in control until Anderson picks up Jimmy Uso by the head who rolls him up to eliminate Anderson (4th roll up victory tonight. This is ridiculous).
We go to commercial and we come back to find out Jimmy Uso has already been eliminated by AJ Styles, well that was poorly timed. Down to Roman vs AJ and Gallows now and after one Superman punch, Gallows hits the bricks. Roman and AJ Styles one on one and after a bit of back and forth, Gallows and Anderson return with steel chairs to cause a DQ. Big brawl occurs and it ends with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles in a stare off and giving each other the chair to use. AJ springboards at Roman, but rolls under the ropes and walks away.
Everyone on my Twitter feed was yelling “Who’s the heel!?” and that’s the point, we don’t know. This story has so many factors going that it’s making the viewer pick a side because neither side (with the exception of Gallows and Anderson) are acting majorly babyface. This leaves it to the live audience in each respective city to decide who they’ll get behind. Speaking of, I believe this may be the first episode of Raw in over 3 months where Roman received a more positive reaction than the guy he’s opposing. It only took for them to go to Nebraska for it to happen. If WWE had their way, they’d just stay in Nebraska and other non-smarky towns 365 days of the year.
Zack Ryder vs Kevin Owens is next and if Ryder beats KO, he replaces him in the IC title Fatal-4-Way. Zack Ryder comes out to absolutely ZERO reaction. Seriously, the crowd were reacting as if they just received some terrible news about their favourite aunt. Owens pins Ryder with a pop-up powerbomb and there goes Ryder’s hopes again, poor guy. What does this guy have to do to get a sustained spot in the mid-card?
Next up is New Day taking on The Dudley Boyz and I’ll be honest guys, I zoned out at this point. 3 hours is a long show, I caught the end where D’Von clotheslined the absolute hell out of Kofi Kingston to get the win after a distraction from the Vaudevillians. I’m not sure whether now is the right time for Vaudevillians to get the tag titles, but New Day have had it for a mighty long time now. I wouldn’t be upset if Vaudevillians won them at Extreme Rules, maybe a tad underwhelmed. I think New Day have another month with the belts.
Main Event time as Big Cass is about to take on Chris Jericho, which is an amazing opportunity for Cass. But oh well, it doesn’t happen. Dean Ambrose attacks Jericho while the lights are out and he steals his light jacket. Dean destroys the jacket, ripping it apart as if he’s some kind of lunatic or something. Jericho is distraught as he tries to save his jacket and he screams that “IT’S WORTH $15,000 YOU IDIOT” as Raw fades to black.
Oh wait, not yet as we go backstage to Shane and Stephanie who are recapping the show and praising each other. They make jokes and act all cutesy until Shane needs to take a call and leaves the room. Stephanie holds the picture of Shane as a child in Vince’s arms and she gives a warm smile.
The complete lack of conflict in this supposed ‘Power Struggle’ storyline has completely ripped it of any excitement. One of the main gripes of the way Raw was months ago was that it was too easily predictable. You got the feeling that really anything can, but probably won’t happen on Raw. A power struggle between a face and heel authority could’ve lead to chaos and in turn, quality TV. But having them act chummy and coexist without any troubles is exactly what this angle didn’t need.
Anyway, the 9th of May edition of Raw was the definition of a filler week for Raw. There were some positives like the continued drama between Roman and AJ, Dana Brooke’s debut, Ambrose and Jericho’s story as well as the in ring stuff from the women and Sami Zayn/Miz. But outside of those, a pretty forgettable week of Raw. Could we really ask for 6 weeks of quality Raw’s in a row? The streak was broken.
Final Rating: 5/10