May 5, 2017
From the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ
Your hosts are Booker T, Corey Graves, and Michael Cole
We are shown a highlight package of the Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman feud, focusing on last week’s attack where Reigns destroyed the injured arm of Strowman.
Kurt Angle comes out to kick off the live show. Angle lets us know that Strowman shattered his elbow and might be out of action for up to six months. He also lets us know that since he had his sights set on the Universal Championship, they need a new challenger. Angle has given this a lot of thought and at Extreme Rules, there will be a Fatal Five Way match for the first-time ever to determine the #1 contender. He then lists off the contenders: Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns. Lots of cheers for Balor and the opposite reaction for Reigns. Angle promises it will be historical as well as “extreme.” He is about to leave but Reigns comes out to interrupt. He tells Angle they do not need a Fatal Five Way because he is the #1 contender. He then declares that this is his yard as he defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania and injured Strowman. Reigns also feels he is the only guy who can defeat Lesnar for the Universal Championship but then Balor interrupts him. Balor says he was the first Universal Champion and he was never defeated for it so if he wants a “piece of the Beast,” the line starts behind himself. They stare each other down as Reigns tells Balor he has a lot of heart but lacks the killer instinct to defeat Lesnar. Balor says he should know of all people what he is capable of as he reminds Reigns that he defeated him on his first night on RAW. Samoa Joe comes out now and tells both guys they have it wrong as its not about hearts, yards, or clubs as its about two things, actions and results. He talks about how he will go on to face Lesnar but Wyatt appears in the ring and does some of his usual promos until Rollins comes out and says Extreme Rules is a few weeks away and it leaves a lot of time to talk but the fans here came for a fight and he wants Joe as they start brawling in the aisle. Wyatt attacks Balor then Reigns makes the save. Rollins targets Joe’s leg as Balor is the last one standing after another minute or so of action.
With the news of Strowman missing more time than originally thought, they had to do something to make a #1 contender for the Great Balls of Fire PPV. Not the most inspired segment but at least they took five guys and put them ahead of everyone else on the roster.
After the break, Angle yells at Rollins and tells him he will face Wyatt then tells Reigns and Balor that they will be facing each other.
Jeff Hardy w/ Matt Hardy vs. Sheamus w/ Cesaro
Jeff immediately attacks Sheamus to start. Sheamus fights him off in the corner but Jeff ends up backdropping Sheamus outside. However, Sheamus catches a pescado attempt and slams him into the barricade as we head to break. The match returns with Sheamus in control. He gets two with a knee drop from the middle rope. Jeff fights back but gets caught with a powerslam as Sheaums gets two off of that. Jeff kicks Sheamus down then makes his comeback. He gets two with a dropkick but Sheamus catches him with a knee smash to the face that gets two. Sheamus flips himself up to the top rope but Jeff catches him with a stunner in midair as that gets two. Matt takes Cesaro off of the apron then Sheamus blocks a Twist of Fate and nearly gets shoved into his partner but puts on the breaks. Matt ends up eating a Brogue Kick after that but Jeff boots Sheamus in the gut and hits the Twist of Fate then finishes off Sheamus with the Swanton (8:29) **1/4.
Thoughts: A below average match for these two. They had some miscommunication in the second half of this match and the ending was underwhelming. With Sheamus & Cesaro losing singles matches heading into their match at Payback, they lost another match before the rematch at Extreme Rules.
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox w/ Noam Dar
Sasha takes control to start the match. Fox kicks her down then hits a Northern Lights suplex for two after pointing out to Sasha that Dar is her man. Fox works a chinlock now that Sasha breaks out of then she makes her comeback. Fox blocks a lungblower attempt and dumps Sasha outside. Back inside, Sasha gets two with a small package but Fox comes back with the ax kick for the win (3:03) *. After the match, Dar and Fox celebrate inside of the ring.
Thoughts: I was shocked to see Fox win this match clean. I guess these two will have a brief feud but I wonder if this loss is more about a potential Sasha heel turn than it is about pushing Fox. Speaking of Fox, I’d much rather see her in the Women’s Division than on 205 Live, where he romance with Dar is failing to get over every babyface he feuds against.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Dean Ambrose (c)
Miz stalls to start off the match but Ambrose catches him and fires away. Miz comes back with a kick to the face and goes for the Skull Crushing Finale but that is blocked. They go back-and-forth until Ambrose hits a swinging neckbreaker. He heads up top but Miz rolls outside as we head to break. The match returns with Miz hitting a corner clothesline. He goes up top and hits a double axe handle as that gets two. Miz now works a chinlock then gets two wtih a neckbreaker then follows with some Yes Kicks. Ambrose surprises him with a rollup then low-bridges him before firing up and flying out with a tope. Back inside, Ambrose fires away then uses a La Magistral for a nearfall. They fight up top and have a reversal sequence that ends with Ambrose getting two with a cradle. Ambrose heads up top and gets two with an elbow smash as the pace has picked up. Miz avoids a rebound clothesline and hits the Skull Crushing Finale but Ambrose is able to kick out. Ambrose clotheslines Miz outside after they reverse each other’s finishers then heads up top but Miz uses Maryse as a shield. Maryse bails as Ambrose jumps and he takes down the Miz with an elbow smash. Back inside, Maryse distracts the ref from the apron as Miz tries a low blow but Ambrose blocks that and hits one of his own and gets disqualified, although he retains the title (12:30) ***1/4. Corey has a hilarious line about Miz trying to hook the thigh of Ambrose in justifying the low blow.
Thoughts: This really picked up in the second half and they were getting into a groove before the finish. The finish is clearly designed to make a stipulation for a rematch at Extreme Rules and these two have great chemistry together so I’d love to see another match between them.
Charly Caruso is backstage with Balor. She mentions his 24/7 documentary airing on the WWE Network and he will be part of the #1 Contender Match at Extreme Rules but tonight will face Reigns. Balor said it might be Reigns’ yard but its his universe.
Alexa Bliss heads out to the ring before the break. The show returns as we are shown highlights from Payback where she defeated Bayley for the RAW Women’s Title. She rags on the city of Newark and calls the crowd the “poster children of failure” but tonight, they will experience the opposite of that in herself. Bliss also calls herself the only goddess in the WWE and continues to put herself over until Bayley interrupts. She tells Bliss she wants her title back and has evoked her rematch clause for Extreme Rules. Bliss tells Bayley that she does not understand the meaning of Extreme Rules as it means to do whatever it takes to win. Bliss says that’s fine as Bayley is a “good girl” and she had her moment but that’s over so she can go sit at the kiddie table where she belongs so the adults can be champions. Bayley attacks her until Bliss snaps her neck off of the bottom rope. Bliss then gets a kendo stick from underneath the ring and whacks Bayley in the back as Bayley is now on the floor in pain as Bliss mocks her in the ring.
The ending here was decent but Alexa’s promo went on for too long at the beginning and it was a good thing Bayley interrupted when she did. I think Alexa has made great strides as a performer but less is more with her on the mic as the longer she goes the less effective she becomes. This was designed to add an “extreme” element to their rematch at the next RAW PPV.
Angle is in his office talking to “Sami” on the phone when Miz & Maryse interrupt. Miz is pissed that Ambrose is making a mockery of the IC Title because he got himself disqualified. Angle agrees and says that he will get a rematch at Extreme Rules. Miz says he wants the title to exchange hands on a DQ as Angle says its done and to change his tone the next time he talks. Maryse yells at him in French as Angle tries to speak French himself and says he is an Olympic Gold Medalist but The Drifter comes out to interrupt and just plays his guitar.
Neville & TJP vs. Jack Gallagher & Austin Aries
Neville tags out instead of facing Aries, who knocks Neville off of the apron. TJP gets pulled to safety but Gallagher backdrops his partner outside on top of their opponents as we head to break. The match returns with TJP & Neville in control as they beat on Aries. They beat on him for a bit then Aries comes back and hits TJP with a bell clap before tagging out as Gallagher runs wild. He gets two with a tilt-a-whirl slam but TJP rams him into the corner. Neville runs in but Aries cuts him off and they hammer away until TJP takes out Aries’ knee. Aries manages to fly outisde to take out Neville as Gallagher headbutts TJP. Gallagher sets up for the shotgun dropkick but Neville grabs his leg. Aries breaks that up but TJP charges at Gallagher then hits the Detonation Kick for the win (9:34) **1/2.
Thoughts: A good chunk of this match took place before the commercial break but it was still solid overall. TJP scoring the win here advances his storyline with Neville too as he aims to get another shot at the Cruiserweight Title.
Backstage, the trainers are checking on Bayley. Angle tells Bayley he is going to put her in a straight up wrestling match at Extreme Rules. Bayley says that’s not fair since Alexa has mocked her family and stole her title. Angle then makes their match at Extreme Rules a “Kendo Stick on a Pole Match.”
The Golden Truth are backstage. R-Truth says he let them down but Goldust reminds them they are a team and when someone falls the other picks them up. Goldust says they can crawl their way to the top tonight by beating Gallows & Anderson as Truth is happier now.
Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns tosses Balor, who gets up and asks if that is all he has. Balor blocks a punch and fires away until Reigns turns the tables and tosses him again. Reigns stomps a mudhole in the corner as the announcers say he is the only guy powerful enough to face Lesnar. Balor fights back but Reigns catches him with a Samoan Drop. Balor is on the apron and blocks a suplex and hits an enziguiri. Balor knocks Reigns down a few times the chops Reigns, who looks pissed and knocks him down. Balor then fights back and knocks Reigns outside. He hits a running soccer kick from the apron before knocking him down again as we head to break. The match returns with both guys slugging it out. Balor takes Reigns off of the kick with an enziguiri but Reigns is able to catch Balor and ram him into the post as both men are out on the floor. Reigns hits Balor with the Drive By and knocks him into the post as that gets two. Reigns hits some corner clotheslines then hits a powerbomb for a nearfall. Balor fights back but Reigns cuts him off. Balor escapes from a powerbomb and hits a double stomp as both men are down. Balor comes back with the sling blade but runs into a Superman Punch and is just able to kick out. Balor cuts off a spear with a knee smash then dropkicks Reigns into the corner as he pulls himself up top while clutching his arm but Reigns cuts him off then hits the spear for the win (14:37) ***3/4.
Thoughts: Excellent TV match. A good back-and-forth bout that had both men go all out. These two also have great chemistry together and now both men are 1-1 against each other on RAW.
Bray talks about what lurks in the shadows and sees Lesnar as the beast but does not care if this is Angle’s show as its his world and at the end they will worship the ground he stands as the new Universal Champion. He then calls out Rollins and questions if he has enough of what it takes to look evil in its eye then tells him to run. All of Bray’s promos are starting to blend together at this point.
Charly is with Rollins. He laughs at Wyatt questioning if he has what it takes then says no one will stand in his way as he will become the Universal Champion. A really bad promo here from Rollins. They delivery was poor and all of the catchhphrases and nicknames he had to say made him sound like a goof.
The Golden Truth comes out for their match but Goldust attacks R-Truth from behind. He knocks him into the corner and hammers away as Truth is shocked. We hear some fans thanking Goldust as he tosses Truth to the floor. This drags on for a few more minutes until Goldust says “that’s what up” and ends up getting a mild “yes” chant from some of the fans near ringside. Looks like this team is done now as with Heath Slater & Rhyno around means you only need one comic relief lower card team on the roster. Truthfully, I didn’t mind the Golden Truth and would have liked to see them at least get a feud for the Titles but it looks like we will get a feud between both members now.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass come out now. Loud “How You Doin'” chants here. They are about to go through their shtick but Titus O’Neill & Apollo Crews interrupt. Titus mocks Enzo and puts down the state of New Jersey before saying that Crews will beat down Enzo then tells us to clap for the Titus brands while doing his Enzo impersonation. The fans are all over Titus as Cass tells him that Crews is not facing Enzo as Titus is going to be facing himself. Titus talks about not fighting in his expensive suit.
Big Cass w/ Enzo Amore vs. Titus O’Neill w/ Apollo Crews
Titus knocks Cass into the corer then takes off his suit coat but Cass fights back. Titus sends Cass back down then takes off his belt but Enzo jumps up on the apron for the distraction then Cass boots Titus for the win (1:09). After the match, Enzo take Titus’ phone and tries to do a selfie as Crews is not too pleased. Enzo wants Crews to get out of the way but Crews nails him with an enziguiri then mocks Enzo’s dance as his music plays.
Thoughts: This was done to set up a feud between the four as I assume we get Crews vs. Enzo next week then possibly a tag match at Extreme Rules.
Backstage, Neville tells TJP he did good tonight. TJP is quite happy and is looking forward to a title shot but Neville says they still have an Austin Aries problem and they will end it tomorrow when TJP faces Aries.
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
Bray knocks Rollins down to start. Rollins fights back and takes down Bray then ducks a tackle and flies out with a tope. He tries a move off of the barricade but gets caught and slammed into it as we head to break. The action returns with Bray in control. He hits Rollins with a superplex for a two count then works a chinlock. Rollins fights Bray off but gets punched trying another tope to the outside. Rollins comes back with a blockbuster as both men are down as we get a graphic of the Fatal Five Way competitors at Extreme Rules. Rollins hits a sling blade then tosses Bray outside. He dropkicks Bray then flies out with another tope and sets up for a springboard clothesline and hits that for a two count. They fight over a suplex then Rollins escapes from a Sister Abigail attempt only to get clotheslined hard for a two count. Rollins fights back and heads up top then flies out with a plancha but Samoa Joe runs out and attacks Rollins for the DQ (14:11) **1/2. After the match, Joe beats on Rollins some more then stares down Wyatt, who joins in on the fun. Its 2 vs. 1 against Rollins then Wyatt tells Joe to stop and soon after that surprises him with the Sister Abigail then does the same to Rollins as the show ends.
Thoughts: While I touted Miz/Ambrose and Balor/Reigns for their chemistry tonight, these two were the opposite. The match wasnt horrible but the crowd was dead and they seemed unable to get in any sort of flow. As a babyface wrestler, Rollins struggles for the most part. And Wyatt’s character is stale, despite the fact he is being pushed again on RAW. The end continues the Rollins/Joe feud and builds more conflict between the members of the Fatal Five Way match.
Final Thoughts: Overall, the show fell flat with me. With Strowman’s injury, they had to come up with a new plan to create a #1 contender and did so with another multi-man match planned for Extreme Rules. They are trying to build up everyone in that match but I’m not so sure that happened tonight. The other matches planned for Extreme Rules were done so in uninspired fashion.
We at least got two good matches here and nothing was outright horrible besides a brief promo from Rollins. They do not have any hot feuds at the moment though, with Miz and Ambrose the closest, and are trying to create some buzz but without Strowman until the Fall, they need to get over some of the talent.