Monday Night Raw
Date: May 21, 2018
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
We’re FINALLY back to normal with no international trips or major shows in sight for at least a few weeks, meaning we can get back to a bit of a routine. Therefore, let’s pick things up with…what’s probably going to be a disaster as Sami Zayn has invited Bobby Lashley’s sisters to Raw to expose him for what he really is. Oh this is going to hurt. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Kurt Angle to open things up. Angle talks about Ronda Rousey getting her first titles hot at Money in the Bank…and Stephanie McMahon is back. She’s here to say that Angle is forgiven for everything that happened at Wrestlemania because she’s a leader who will always do what’s best for business. Stephanie praises Angle for growing as a leader and she wants to see that continue, but Angle needs to listen to her. As for tonight, Stephanie is going to be in charge of tonight’s Jax vs. Rousey contract signing.
This brings out Roman Reigns to say if Stephanie has something to say about him, say it to his face. Stephanie says if Reigns is going to continue letting this Samoan temper get the best of him, he can look for another line of work. Reigns wants more respect and says he’ll destroy everyone in the back if he doesn’t get it. Stephanie talks about managing revenue steams and not playing favorites so Roman brings up Lesnar again. It’s been taken under advisement but Reigns wants something a little less corporate.
Cue Kevin Owens to say everyone needs to appreciate Reigns more because he got Owens into the Money in the Bank ladder match. Owens puts his arm on Stephanie’s shoulder so she makes a match between the two right now. This has been your latest “Stephanie is awesome and don’t you dare forget that she runs this place. Now bask in her awesomeness and smile as she dances to her music.”
Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
Joined in progress with Reigns in control and shouldering the heck out of Owens to send him outside. Back in and Reigns punches him down, followed by another right hand to put Owens on the floor again. The apron dropkick misses and Owens gets in a superkick as we take a break.
Back with Owens up top and punching Reigns away, only to charge into a clothesline. The Superman Punch is countered and Owens scores with a superkick but the Cannonball is blocked with a Superman Punch for two. Owens bails to the floor to avoid a spear, only to get speared on the floor but here are Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh to jump Reigns for the DQ at 13:13.
Rating: D+. That would be another thirteen minutes of below average wrestling until we get to a run in finish to set up either another match tonight or to advance a pay per view match that may in fact set wrestling back 184 years. There is no interest in what Reigns is doing right now and you can see it getting worse and worse every single week. I don’t remember rolling my eyes more at the thought of another match between Reigns and Lesnar since the never ending Orton/Cena vs. HHH feuds. It’s not working and they’re crazy to keep trying it. I’d pencil it in for the late summer.
Post match the double beatdown is on until Seth Rollins makes the save. Just make the tag team main event now.
Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens/Jinder Mahal
Or just make the first hour the Roman Reigns Show. Joined in progress again with Rollins hammering on Mahal and sending him to the floor for a slingshot dive. Roman comes in and gets kicked down by Owens, setting up a long chinlock. Back up and Reigns elbows him away but Jinder breaks up the tag attempt.
Roman fights out of a chinlock and makes the hot tag to Rollins, setting up a Sling Blade and the back to back suicide dives. Now notice the energy picking up and the fans caring. That’s because they’ve got something with Rollins and haven’t shoved him so far down our throats that he has an advanced degree in our spleens. Back in and Seth enziguris his way out of the Khallas but gets caught in Owens’ fireman’s carry gutbuster. A Vader Bomb elbow gets two with Reigns making the save and it’s the low superkick into the Stomp to finish Owens at 13:15.
Rating: C. Rollins helped here but it’s still death to have Reigns vs. Mahal, or almost anything Reigns is doing right now. Fans aren’t interested in hearing him whine about how he’s been mistreated or really about anything from him but that’s what we’re getting. Oh and throw in the ice cold Mahal because that’s the ticket to getting Reigns over. This time. Again. Before he beats Lesnar. For sure this time.
Post match Mahal lays Rollins and Reigns out with a chair as we’re nearly an hour into this show and have covered Stephanie is back and hasn’t changed a bit and Reigns vs. Mahal.
And now, the Lashley interview about his sisters being little rascals growing up.
Reigns vs. Mahal is confirmed for Money in the Bank.
Here’s Sami Zayn to bring out Lashley’s sisters…..and they’re men in drag. With Vince probably in tears of laughter backstage, Sami talks about the Lashley family resemblance. The sisters talk about Lashley abusing them as a child and crying a lot. Their parents had to send Lashley off to reform school because he was such a horrible person. Sami: “THEY….WOULD CALL…THE COPS ON HIM???”
Lashley finally comes out, grinning from ear to ear. He mocks the three sisters so Sami offers to Helluva Kick him in the face like the garbage Lashley’s family thinks he is. The big beatdown is on but Lashley fights back, even knocking the wigs off. A spank with a dress sets up a spinebuster, followed by a broomstick toss over the top. This is going into the list of dumbest ideas in Raw history.
We look back at Nia Jax challenging Rousey last week.
Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss
Before the match, Alexa talks about the fall of Rome and the Visigoths cheating to win. Next time, it’ll be a fair fight and Bliss will win. Bliss takes her down to start and we get some kind of a visual issue as Cole is calling stuff that the camera isn’t showing, including Moon nipping up. Moon did nip up, but she did so off camera and it was a really weird visual, to the point where I thought the audio and video were out of sync. Bliss gets sent outside and takes a headscissors onto the floor but manages to send Moon shoulder first into the steps.
Back from a break with Bliss staying on the arm as the announcers try to explain that the winner here has a step up on the others for the ladder match. It’s not true, but that’s what WWE goes with every year for this match. Moon fights back up so Mickie James comes in, earning herself a quick ejection. That’s enough of a distraction for Moon to kick Bliss down and hit the Eclipse for the pin at 8:45.
Rating: D. Such if life in the building momentum stage of Money in the Bank. Even after hearing the explanation for why this is supposed to help get ready, I still have no interest in seeing these singles matches for the next three weeks. But hey, WWE tells us this is building momentum for Moon so it’s totally important.
Stephanie is in her office with a fruit basket when Braun Strowman and Finn Balor come in. After Strowman accepts an apple, they ask for a rematch with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre tonight. Instead, Stephanie makes Finn vs. Strowman to help set up Money in the Bank. Strowman crushes the apple and says he likes competition. Balor is nervous.
No Way Jose vs. Baron Corbin
Jose starts fast and knocks Corbin to the floor for a slingshot dive. Some right hands have Jose in trouble though and Corbin sends him shoulder first into the post. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Jose fights up and sends him into the post to even things out. A fireman’s carry flapjack gives Jose two and a rollup gets the same. Corbin is right back with Deep Six, followed by End of Days for the pin at 4:13.
Rating: D+. That’s exactly how you would have expected it to go and should be it for this mini feud. I still like Jose but he shouldn’t be giving Corbin any more of a threat than he got right here. You can only get so far with a dancing gimmick and Jose isn’t getting much higher up than this. Still though, it could be worse for him as his size and look alone will keep him around.
Chad Gable comes in to see Kurt Angle, who is somewhere in the back of the building. Angle wanted to put him in the Money in the Bank qualifying match last week but he was outgunned by Stephanie. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler come in and mock Gable for sitting around waiting for a chance. Ziggler vs. Gable is made for later.
B Team vs. Breezango
Rematch from last week and Breezango likes the homemade shirts. Fandango ax handles Dallas to start and gyrates his way out of a sunset flip. Not that it matters as the belly to back suplex into a neckbreaker is good for the pin at 1:47. Axel being stunned at the idea of winning is good stuff and the best thing about these guys.
The B Team celebrates in the ring, even dancing with the referee and then taking over commentary. They steal a rolling chair and slide down the ramp in the biggest celebration in years.
Here’s Stephanie to emcee the contract signing. Nia comes out first and Stephanie talks about the personal issues between Nia and Bliss. Rousey is out now and asks Stephanie how her arm is feeling. After Stephanie asks Rousey about how it feels to jump over the women that Rousey has called more deserving, we hear about Rousey not being used to wrestling singles matches.
Stephanie continues her monologue, talking about how Rousey might leave WWE if she loses and accusing Nia of being lazy for taking so long to beat Bliss (Way to treat one of your best homegrown stars there Steph.). She talks about the armbar and Nia finally snaps, saying that Rousey can’t get the armbar on her.
Nia is tired of being called lazy and promises to make a name for herself at Money in the Bank. She signs and picks up the title with Rousey signing next. Rousey moves the table to the side and promises to take the title as they do the long handshake. She promises to take the arm too and a staredown ends things. Not bad, especially once Stephanie shut up for a few seconds.
Chad Gable vs. Dolph Ziggler
Joined in progress actually as Gable takes him to the mat with almost no effort and slaps on a front facelock with Ziggler not being able to roll out. Back up and a dropkick connects (close enough at least) for two on Gable and it’s off to the chinlock. A quick cradle gives Gable two but Ziggler grabs a neckbreaker to cut him off. Gable’s German suplex gets two more and Ziggler heads to the ropes. The referee won’t let Gable go after him there, allowing Ziggler to get in a headbutt and superkick for the pin at 4:43.
Rating: C. This was kind of disjointed at times as they were doing some good stuff but there was nothing tying between the moves together. Instead it felt like they were trying to get going but had to rush so much that they didn’t have time to put something together. That’s to be expected on Raw though, and it’s a shame given what these two could probably do together.
Post match McIntyre hits Gable with the Claymore.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Dana Brooke vs. Natalya vs. Sarah Logan vs. Liv Morgan
It’s a brawl to start and Morgan gets two off a top rope faceplant to Natalya. Everyone gets in a running shot for two each until the Riott Squad double teams Natalya. Brooke comes back in for the save and breaks up Logan’s cover, only to be sent shoulder first into the post. Natalya is back up with the discus lariat and the Sharpshooter for the win at 4:28.
Rating: D. Another match where they had to rush the whole way, mainly because the first hour was the Roman Reigns Show. Natalya winning was the only pick here, mainly because she’s likely to cash in on her new friend Ronda Rousey and win the title. You know, because that’s how you make Rousey a bigger star: make her a former champion who couldn’t hold the title for five minutes.
Post match Natalya brags about her friend Ronda Rousey winning the title and promises to win the briefcase. Last week I said that someone would cash in MITB on the new champion Rousey because it would be the dumbest thing they could do. I hate being right about stuff like this.
Here’s Elias to take credit for the WWE stock being so high. He does a song about the fans loving Elias but makes it clear that he doesn’t feel the same about any of us. Bobby Roode cuts him off though and we’re ready to go.
Elias vs. Bobby Roode
Roode gets jumped but says start the match and throws the robe at Elias to get in a few right hands. A clothesline puts Elias on the floor and we take a break. Back with Elias grabbing a cobra clutch to keep things slow. Roode fights up and gets in a clothesline for two but gets crotched on top. Drift Away gives Elias the pin at 8:33.
Rating: D. A good bit of what we saw was that cobra clutch and, just like the rest of the show, that doesn’t make me think either of them is going to win Money in the Bank any more than anything else. On top of that, Roode is a natural heel and the fans want to cheer Elias. The solution: do the opposite and ignore the fans. Brilliant!
Post match Braun Strowman runs Elias over on the way to the ring for his match.
Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor
Balor kicks at the legs to start but gets thrown to the floor. A big kick to the ribs puts Balor on the floor and Strowman shouts a lot. With Braun shouting about how pretty Balor’s smile is, Finn gets forearmed down again. Some raised boots in the corner don’t get Balor very far as Strowman tosses him into the corner again.
They head outside with Balor’s apron kick to the chest not working so Strowman forearms him down a second time. Balor gets in a slap to the face and rolls outside, meaning it’s time for Strowman to get his running start. This time though Balor is ready for him with a Sling Blade, followed by a dropkick to knock Strowman over the barricade.
Strowman rises up again so Balor kicks him in the head for a breather. A running double stomp tot he back keeps Strowman down and a Coup de Grace from the barricade for an eight count. Back in and Strowman goes shoulder first into the post, setting up the Coup de Grace but Strowman catches him on top. The powerslam sets up another powerslam to pin Balor at 10:33.
Rating: B-. This felt like the short version of Lesnar vs. Styles from Survivor Series and that’s a high compliment. Balor was trying here and I believed that he could pull off a win like this. That being said, Strowman shouldn’t be losing any singles matches at this point so the ending was the only option they had.
Post match Strowman picks Balor up and puts him in the corner without attacking him to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. This was the show that I’ve been dreading for so long now: no effort put into most of the matches because all that matters is “building momentum”, which is code for winning a singles match a month before a ladder match, plus two other stories that range from boring as sin to a sin for existing. This show felt so long and boring and it’s going to be almost the exact same thing for the next three weeks, just with different names and maybe some tag matches thrown in. But hey, just three more weeks before two matches that might not matter for almost a year!
Roman Reigns b. Kevin Owens via DQ when Jinder Mahal interfered
Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins b. Jinder Mahal/Kevin Owens – Stomp to Owens
Ember Moon b. Alexa Bliss – Eclipse
Baron Corbin b. No Way Jose – End of Days
B Team b. Breezango – Belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combination to Fandango
Dolph Ziggler b. Chad Gable – Superkick
Natalya b. Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan and Dana Brooke – Sharpshooter to Logan
Elias b. Bobby Roode – Drift Away
Braun Strowman b. Finn Balor – Running powerslam
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