Monday Night Raw
Date: May 28, 2018
Location: The Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
Somehow there are still three shows left before Money in the Bank so we’re really not close to the end of this ride yet. That means another qualifying match tonight, this time in the form of a women’s gauntlet match. Other than that we get to see just how good Seth Rollins is as he defends against Jinder Mahal. Let’s get to it.
We open with the now traditional Memorial Day video. This one includes soldiers telling stories of some of their missions and those who died on those missions. It’s always nice of WWE to do this.
Here’s Braun Strowman to open things up. He explains the idea of the ladder match and says he can’t wait to become Mr. Monster in the Bank. Finn Balor comes out to say he never lost the Universal Title and nothing is stopping him from winning it back. Last week, he gave everything he had to Strowman but at Money in the Bank, there are six other people. Strowman says it was a good fight for a little guy so Finn slaps him in the face and gets thrown outside. Cue Kurt Angle to say he likes the intensity so let’s have a match.
Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman
So this year they’re not even mixing the matches up week to week. Kevin Owens is on commentary and Strowman throws Balor into the corner again to start. The dominance continues as Owens goes on a rant about how hard it was for him to qualify. Cole asks if we can talk about Owens calling Stephanie McMahon to get a second chance. Owens: “No we can not.”
Balor gets in a kick to the chest for very shortlived avail as Strowman whips him very hard into the corner again. There’s a boot to the chest but Owens grabs the mic and tells Strowman to stay on him because Braun can do better than that. Back from a break with Strowman running around the ring and shouldering Balor over the barricade. Strowman pulls him back to ringside but gets posted.
There’s a dropkick through the ropes but Owens grabs the mic again to give Strowman a pep talk. An enziguri sets up a bit flip dive over the top….but Strowman pops back up. The Sling Blade and a dropkick into the corner have Strowman in trouble and a top rope double stomp to the back has him in more trouble. There’s the Coup de Grace but Owens comes in to jump Balor for the DQ at 11:30.
Rating: C-. So remember last week when this match was a lot better? Apparently WWE does too and since they came up with one idea, they might as well just do it again. I’m glad they didn’t have Strowman lose clean, but as usual it’s the standard formula: take people in a ladder match and have them wrestle in matches that change nothing about that ladder match. Repeat for years on end.
Post match Owens hits Balor with a ladder but Strowman takes it away and LAUNCHES it at Owens, who runs off in fear.
Owens tries to leave but can’t get his key from the valet. Angle comes up and asks what’s up, with Owens saying he wants to see the Memorial Day parade. Angle: “You don’t care about that. You’re Canadian.” Owens gets Bobby Roode tonight.
Sasha Banks says she’ll win.
Here’s Elias for a song. He insists on how everything needs to be nice and calm but first, he needs the lights brought down closer because he can’t stand looking at this ugly crowd. Elias makes sure the sound levels are right and we take a break. Back with Elias still in the ring and threatening to leave again. Cue Seth Rollins for his title defense and he throws Elias’ stool out. Rollins vs. Elias sounds very appealing.
Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal
Rollins is defending and wastes no time hammering away in the corner. A Sunil Singh distraction lets Mahal knock him to the floor and we take a break. Back with Mahal working on the ribs and grabbing an abdominal stretch. Rollins sends him into the corner and then outside for the required suicide dive. Back in and a fireman’s carry gutbuster (Darren Young’s old Gut Check) gets two but the Khallas is countered. The Stomp misses as well and Rollins rolls him up for tow.
The low superkick into the Falcon Arrow gets two as well and dang it they’re doing the crowd reaction shots again. Sunil offers another distraction and gets ejected but it allows Mahal to chair Rollins in the ribs for two. The ejected Singh is back five seconds later so Rollins buckle bombs him into Mahal. That’s enough for Seth and he chairs Mahal for the DQ at 12:21. Please tell me they’re not going to do this match again next week.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t that bad and Rollins is still something close to a miracle worker but the ending has me worried that we’re seeing more of Mahal getting title shots. If they’re not continuing the feud though, I have no idea why Mahal didn’t take the Stomp for the pin. Then again I’m not sure why Mahal is still here anyway.
Post match Rollins chases Mahal off with a chair but gets guitared down by Elias.
Post break, Rollins is being put on a stretcher but gets up and walks to the back on his own as two fans sing Happy Birthday.
Here’s Ronda Rousey for commentary while Nia Jax has an exhibition against a woman named Michelle Webb. Nia has her try an armbar (which Nia can’t remember the name of) but easily powerbombs her down. Some trash talk to Rousey (who is mostly silent) is followed by the Samoan drop, more trash talking, and a legdrop. Nia adds a rolling flip dive and tells Ronda to come help this woman. Rousey comes to the ring and stares Nia down so Nia leaves with a laugh. Nia’s talking was fine until Rousey got in the ring and then it sounded very scripted.
Dana Brooke is going over statistics to figure out how to win the gauntlet match.
Bray Wyatt/Matt Hardy vs Ascension
Non-title. Matt beats Viktor up to start as Cole does his weekly “I don’t understand this wacky Hardy stuff” rant. Konnor comes in and takes Matt down with a chinlock and even a side slam doesn’t get Matt out of trouble. Back up and Matt stops a charge with a boot to the face and there’s the hot tag to Bray. House is cleaned in a hurry with a backsplash getting two on Viktor. Matt Cactus Clotheslines Konnor to the floor and Bray plants Viktor with the release Rock Bottom. The Kiss of Deletion ends Viktor at 4:48.
Rating: D. The tag division continues to be one team and then the same jobbers over and over again. Wyatt and Hardy aren’t great champions but I’m not sure who could beat them, save for having the B Team win in a fluke. Then again that’s not exactly out of the norm around here, which is rather sad.
the B Team is in Angle’s office to ask for a Tag Team Title match. Angle says no because they just beat Breezango twice in a row. The team has a meeting but Angle reminds them that he can hear them. Dallas thinks they need to get the other team’s blessing. Like an invitation to the B Team Tag Team Memorial Day Barbecue! Tonight! Angle: “That’s not what I’m saying!” B Team: “B TEAM!” I dig these guys.
The Riott Squad says they’ll win tonight.
Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens
Roode starts fast with a Glorious DDT attempt but gets sent outside. Owens sends him into the barricade and scores with a Cannonball against said barricade to send us to a break. Back with Roode taking over and trying the Glorious DDT again, this time sending Owens bailing up the ramp. He stops though, realizing that Strowman is still here somewhere. Back in and Roode walks into a superkick but tries a sunset flip, only to have Owens sit down on it for the pin at 8:47.
Rating: C-. No time for this one due to the break but that’s probably better when it’s just stalling until Strowman shows up either at the end or after the match. If nothing else it’s cool to see Owens get a clean pin for once as it’s so often staling falls. I’m sure this is the momentum that Owens needs for the ladder match.
Post match here’s Strowman to catch Owens with the running powerslam. Roode gets one as well.
Here’s Sami Zayn for a public apology for last week’s segment with Bobby Lashley’s “sisters”. Well an apology is a nice start, though I’m thinking a prison sentence is more like it. Sami reads the prepared statement and acknowledges how bad it really was. He admits that those were men last week and Sami hired them to entertain and inform. Sami finally gets the apology out but everything he said was true. See, his art was rooted in reality and he doesn’t expect these people to get it.
This brings out Lashley, who talks about what Memorial Day means to a military family like his. With that out of the way, Lashley says his real sisters found last week funny. They need to settle this though so let’s do it at Money in the Bank. Sami shakes on it and threatens to kick the smile off of Sami’s face but Lashley squeezes the hand to take Sami down. Lashley apologizes for what he’s going to do at Money in the Bank.
Mickie James says she’ll win.
Chad Gable vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew powers him into the corner and hammers away with right hands as we talk about the B Team Barbecue. We hit the armbar as Gable is being dominated so far. A super Samoan drop is broken up and Gable gets two off a moonsault press. That’s fine with Drew, who sends him into the post to cut off the comeback bid. The Claymore is enough to end Chad at 4:45.
Rating: C-. I’m glad Drew won but it’s a disappointment as Chad got in almost nothing here. This was just a step above a squash but my goodness Drew is making me drool at the potential. Have him drop Ziggler or have Ziggler be a manager at most as they’re not the best combination. As long as Drew is this awesome though, it’s easy to be happy.
It’s time for the barbecue with most of the other teams on the roster in the ring eating food. The food all starts with B, including Botato chips and Bodogs. With everyone eating, the B Team says no they can challenge for the titles. Titus O’Neil and Heath Slater aren’t happy, so that means no more food. The foot of course winds up on the B Team, and then everyone else, with Rhyno sitting in a chair eating sandwiches. The B Team comes back in and chokeslams Rhyno through a table. Cole: “That was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.”
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Gauntlet Match
Before the match, Bayley says numbers don’t add up and she’s going to Money in the Bank. Bayley is in at #1 and Liv Morgan is in at #2 with the Bayley to Belly getting rid of Morgan in ten seconds. Sarah Logan is in at #3 and blocks the suplex, only to fall victim to a rollup for the pin at 1:50. Logan and Morgan double team Bayley before leaving and it’s Ruby Riott in at #4.
Back from a break with Riott having survived and sending Bayley into the corner. The Riott Kick gets rid of Bayley at 7:01 and it’s Dana Brooke in at #5. Brooke gets sent into the corner and the Riott Kick is good for the pin at 8:44. Hometown girl Mickie James is in at # 6 and sends Riott into the post for an early two. A dropkick gets two and we take a break. Back with Mickie getting two off the middle rope knees, only to get rolled up with trunks for the pin at 15:32.
Sasha Banks is in at #7 (the last entrant) and starts fast with some rollups. The Bank Statement doesn’t work and Ruby gets two off a faceplant. Riott starts the trash talk so Sasha hits her in the face. Another faceplant gives Ruby two and Sasha’s top rope double knees get the same. The Bank Statement is broken up again so Ruby tries a monkey flip, only to bounce off the ropes into a tornado DDT for two. One heck of a powerbomb out of the corner gives Sasha two and here’s the Riott Squad for the distraction. Sasha fights them off with ease and the Bank Statement makes Ruby tap at 20:50.
Rating: D. Well that was terrible. I can’t stand gauntlets where the falls take such little time more often than not. If you can win a fall this fast, why do regular matches take ten minutes? They would have been better off just doing Riott vs. Banks and let them have a good match but, as usual, quantity means quality. I’ll take it over another meaningless singles match though.
Overall Rating: D+. This wasn’t a great show but it was better than last week’s mess. It’s amazing what the lack of something so terrible can do for the quality of a show. The rest of the show was the usual Money in the Bank season show with matches between qualifiers and that’s not exactly thrilling stuff. I’ll take something boring over terrible though so call this an upgrade (while considering how small of a leap that is).
Finn Balor b. Braun Strowman via DQ when Kevin Owens interfered
Jinder Mahal b. Seth Rollins via DQ when Rollins used a chair
Bray Wyatt/Matt Hardy b. Ascension – Kiss of Deletion to Viktor
Kevin Owens b. Bobby Roode – Rollup
Drew McIntyre b. Chad Gable – Claymore
Sasha Banks won a gauntlet match last eliminating Ruby Riott
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