Monday Night Raw
Date: May 18, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
We’re on the road to Backlash and that means we need to get ready for a midlevel pay per view. I’m not sure what to expect from the show but there is a good chance that something will be added this time around. If nothing else, we have King Corbin as a guest star and an ax throwing contest. Let’s get to it.
We open with a Becky Lynch highlight reel. I know the timing of this might not be the best, but this feels like an In Memorium segment.
Charly Caruso is in the ring to start and brings up the idea of Randy Orton vs. Edge being the best wrestling match of all time, should it take place. Cue Orton to say that challenging Edge to a wrestling match isn’t a surprise because the second W stands for wrestling. They’ve already torn the building apart in a Last Man Standing match and on that night, Edge was the better man.
No one can do what he does in the ring in a wrestling match though, including Edge. Last week Orton saw doubt in Edge’s eyes and the grit (take a shot) and passion are gone. Cue Edge (in a GET GRIT) to say Orton is playing a game of chess so he wasn’t going to rush in. This is just about getting a paycheck for Orton because he was handed this spot.
Orton didn’t grow up dreaming of being WWE Champion or saving up money to go to the show at the end of the month like Edge did. He didn’t cry when he won the Intercontinental Title because it was a stepping stone to the top. Edge remembers beating Orton for that title in 2004 but Orton tells him to hold on. Edge isn’t stopping because Orton doesn’t love this like everyone else does and yes he accepts the challenge. That’s enough for Orton, who leaves without saying a word. I’m digging the love of the business vs. love of a check vibe here, though the “best match ever” thing isn’t working.
We look back at Seth Rollins injuring Rey Mysterio’s eye and getting in a fight with Aleister Black as a result.
Rollins, in a suit, has a revelation for Murphy.
Here are Rollins and Murphy to explain what that revelation is. Rollins talks about falling into a dark place after losing to Drew McIntyre at Money in the Bank, but without darkness, there can be no light. However, he has been pulled out of the darkness by Rey Mysterio. What happened last week has been described as an act of hatred and an act of penance.
Rollins saw it as a moment of clarity that can make him the leader Raw needs. Rey is sitting at home with his family and soon, he will come to know that what happened to him was a blessing in disguise. Soon Rey will say thank you. Cue Humberto Carrillo to say Rey is an idol to millions and Rollins is just a coward. Carrillo gets in the ring but Murphy gets between them.
Murphy vs. Humberto Carrillo
Joined in progress, despite Murphy already having a match with Aleister Black scheduled for later. Humberto gets in a kick to the head from the apron but Murphy sends him head first into the mat. Back up and Humberto hits an enziguri, followed by a springboard kick to the face to put Murphy on the floor. That means the big twisting flip dive but Carrillo glares at Rollins, allowing Murphy to knee him out of the air. Murphy’s Law finishes Carrillo at 2:50.
Post match Murphy stays on Carrillo but here’s Black to start in a hurry. Or not actually as Black tries Black Mass, sending Murphy bailing up the ramp.
King Corbin complains about not having his own private locker room. There were fingerprint smudges on his crown and he has to go from building to building to get food. What is going on here at Raw? Now, he and the referee need to talk about how tonight’s match is going to go.
An emotional Liv Morgan talks about her mom not having much in her bank account but having a lot of determination. She is her mother’s daughter and a couple of weeks ago, she had a match with twelve time champion Charlotte. No she didn’t win, but she did learn. One day, she will be Raw Women’s Champion.
Here’s Charlotte for a chat because she needs to be on every show. Charlotte talks about everything she’s been doing lately, including a champion vs. champion match this week on Smackdown against Bayley and her sidekick Sasha Banks. As for tonight though, she invites Ruby Riott out here for a challenge.
Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott
Non-title and joined in progress again with the fight heading to the floor where Riott can dodges a chop, which hits the post by mistake. Riott goes after the arm but gets sent into the post, allowing Charlotte asks if Liv is watching this. Back up and Riott manages to send Charlotte face first into the middle buckle for two. Riott hits a Downward Spiral, though Charlotte takes it almost like a DDT. A double wristlock is broken up so Ruby tires the Riott Kick, which is blocked with ease. The Figure Eight makes Riott tap at 3:40.
Rating: C. Hey Charlotte wins again while Riott loses again. It’s almost like you could have just gone with that result as soon as Riott’s music came on. The match was the usual way to let WWE praise Charlotte every chance they can, because the solution to everything is more Charlotte (and more Corbin of course).
Bobby Lashley is ready for R-Truth but MVP comes in to bring up the fact that Lashley hasn’t had a WWE Championship match in thirteen years. Lashley already has enough trophies, like that trophy wife. That earns MVP a glare, but all he wants is to unleash Lashley.
We look back at last week’s basketball game. Tonight: axe throwing.
The Street Profits are ready for the competition and run into a bunch of people in viking gear. The Viking Raiders blow a horn and say they have a gift for them: SMOKE, as produced by a fire. Dawkins says they don’t mean it literally, but Ford says you accepts a gift from a bunch of vikings with axes. Good advice really. Ivar throws a perfect axe and Ford is ready to go already. Dawkins says they’ve got this. More on this later.
Here’s Kairi Sane with a bunch of balloons around the ring to celebrate Asuka. Cue Asuka, who is very pleased by the whole thing. Sane presents her with some flowers and talks about all of Asuka’s accomplishments, making her a Grand Slam Champion. Sane busts out a flute and plays a little diddy, only to have Nia Jax interrupt.
There’s nothing to celebrate because Asuka was handed the title. Becky is on maternity leave so Asuka is just on a temp job. Nia will be champion soon because look at her. Then we can have a real party, so Asuka starts striking away. The running hip attack sends Jax outside. This would have been a little better had it not been the same as about 184 other Jax promos.
King Corbin says Drew McIntyre may be WWE Champion but he’s not a king you see. Drew beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship but he still has the ability to slip up. We see Drew watching in the back as Corbin says the next time they face off, he’ll take Drew’s title in the main event of Wrestlemania.
Here’s R-Truth, whose cousin Pretty Ricky has talked about how bad Bobby Lashley has been lately. Now he doesn’t want to be put in Nelson from the Simpsons again but he’s going to have to face Lashley tonight. His childhood hero John Cena would never give up, just like Truth will never give up on getting his baby back. So Tom Brady, he’s coming for you, even if it means a sack! After commentary explains the joke (AGAIN), we’re ready to go.
R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley
Truth accuses Lashley of trying to Debo him and bails outside, where Pretty Ricky appears. Lashley isn’t having that and sends him ribs first into the post. Back in and Lashley slaps him a few times, sending Truth into a frenzy. Unfortunately that frenzy lasts about three seconds as it’s a clothesline into the full nelson slam. The full nelson makes Truth tap at 2:25.
Post match MVP comes out to applaud.
Lana is watching in the back and screams again. She throws some stuff to add an extra dimension.
The Kabuki Warriors are rather happy in the back as Nia Jax watches on.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. IIconics
The IIconics are challenging and show us a clip of their win last week. They’re looking forward to getting their titles back so Bliss and Cross can just leave. Bliss has to fight out of the corner to start and the double knees Royce’s ribs get two. It’s off to Kay for a scoop brainbuster on Cross but she misses a big boot, allowing the (rather early) hot tag to Bliss. Insult To Injury gets two on everything breaks down in a hurry. Bliss blasts Kay with the right hand and Twisted Bliss gets two as Royce makes the save. Peyton sends Bliss into the post three times in a row, which is a DQ at 2:44.
Sane is playing the flute again but Jax sends her into a case.
Post break, Kay blames Royce for the loss and slaps her before they hug and cry.
We look at Chapter Two of Undertaker’s Last Ride.
We look back at Shayna Baszler beating Natalya last week. Tonight, they’re meeting again in a submission match.
Asuka is livid and wants revenge on Nia.
Post break, Asuka jumps Nia as they’re flying through this story tonight.
Natalya vs. Shayna Baszler
Submission match. Natalya goes right after her and tries an early Sharpshooter, which is reversed into an ankle lock. That’s broken up with a boot to the face so Baszler starts bending the arm. Natalya spins out so Baszler pulls her straight down by the hair. Shayna can’t get the Sharpshooter so Natalya puts her own. The rope is reached but THANKFULLY that’s not a break, meaning Shayna has to crawl out of the ring for the break. Back in and Natalya grabs a kneebar but Shayna reverses into a Koquina Clutch for the tap at 3:48.
Rating: C-. Some of the holds looked a bit nasty but it’s still Natalya. Why does WWE think fans are interested in her other than she’s been around for a long time? The match wasn’t terrible but I’m going to need a much bigger reason to care about Natalya than….well whatever reason WWE thinks we have of caring about her. A heel turn isn’t going to work either, as Natalya can’t do emotions no matter what.
Post match the production staff sets up the KO Show but Natalya wrecks everything in a fit.
We look at the issues between Zelina Vega and company.
Vega tells her team to be on the same page out there. Andrade seems to blame Austin Theory for everything and tensions remain high.
Here’s Kevin Owens for the first time since Wrestlemania for the Kevin Owens Show, though the set is still wrecked. Owens has been out since Wrestlemania due to an injury but now he’s back at full health. Therefore, let’s bring out his guests: Zelina Vega, Andrade, Angel Garza and Austin Theory.
Owens heads to the apron so Vega can talk about how there is no distention here and there won’t be a Jerry Springer Show. Vega brags about all four of them and isn’t happy that Owens is on the apron. Owens says he’s offering them some respect but it’s also because there is another guest: Apollo Crews, who runs in to jump Andrade. The big brawl is on and we take a break.
Angel Garza/Andrade vs. Kevin Owens/Apollo Crews
Not joined in progress for once with Garza TAKING OFF HIS PANTS early on. Due to the lighter weight, Crews suplex slams Garza down and hands it off to Owens to stomp away. A backsplash crushes him as Owens tells Andrade to get in. Andrade does just that and kicks Owens down but he’s right back with a clothesline.
It’s back to Crews to pick up the pace, including a hard spinebuster to Garza. Vega offers a distraction so Theory can accidentally hit Garza, allowing Crews to hit the toss powerbomb to finish Garza at 2:49. Owens is very proud of Crews. Not that Owens would want the US Title for himself or anything, because that’s not what we’re doing at the moment.
Post match the team is in disarray and Andrade jumps Theory from behind. The fight is on with Garza helping take Theory down as Vega yells at them to stop. Theory is sent into the barricade and Vega adds a slap, saying she should have never believed in him. Another whip sends Theory into some chairs as the team seems to be down one man.
Drew McIntyre says he’s ready for all of the challenges and Monday is always a good night for a Claymore Party. He knows Bar….hold on let him get this right….King Corbin is dangerous but Drew has a special Claymore for him.
Back to the woods, where the Vikings are really, really good at axe throwing (or maybe the production staff is really good at camera cuts). Ford asks for some space so he can get his Tiger Woods on. Ivar: “TIGER??? IS THERE A TIGER IN THE WOODS???” Can we PLEASE get some continuity on their level of pop culture knowledge? Anyway, Ford throws and the axe goes sailing over a tree.
Post break, Dawkins goes to throw and accidentally breaks the barrel of ale. Ford offers some of his cup but Dawkins says this is nothing like Thor.
Aleister Black vs. Murphy
Seth Rollins is here too. Black wastes no time in striking away at Murphy and taking it to the floor for a big kick to the chest. Another kick hits post though (like when Charlotte chopped the post earlier) and Murphy takes him inside as Rollins sees Theory still down at ringside. Black fights back and loads up Black Mass but Theory comes in for the DQ at 2:34 on Rollins’ orders.
Post match the beatdown is on with Theory hugging Rollins.
And now, in the fourth segment of the night, it’s time for the actual axe throwing competition. They both get ten throws and only bulls’ eyes count. The Vikings win 10-1 with Ford hitting the only target on the last throw. Then the cops come up to complain about an axe being thrown through their police car window. It must have been someone who couldn’t throw, so Dawkins takes the axe, throws it over his shoulder, and hits a bull’s eye. See, it’s like the opposite of last week, but with axes!
Apollo Crews says he’s been waiting a long time since Money in the Bank and now he had to do something. Now, he knows what he wants: the United States Title, which he wants a shot at next week. Zelina Vega comes in and promises pain next week if Crews goes through with this. Crews is ready for his title shot.
We’re STILL not done with the axe throwing thing, as the cops yell at all four of them for being dangerous. The female cop lets them go though because Ivar is cute. Erik, not so much.
Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin
Non-title. Hold on though as here are Bobby Lashley and MVP, with the former saying he’s coming for McIntyre’s title no matter what. The two of them watch as McIntyre and Corbin fight over a lockup to start. A shot to the leg staggers McIntyre early on but he’s fine enough to clothesline Corbin outside. Another clothesline puts Corbin over the barricade with MVP clapping from the stage.
There’s a third clothesline to put Corbin at ringside and he goes inside, only to roll back to the floor to avoid a Claymore. Corbin knocks McIntyre off the apron and into the barricade, followed by the slide underneath the corner clothesline for two. McIntyre gets sent face first into the turnbuckle and it’s a superplex to give Corbin one. Corbin talks trash and runs into an overhead belly to belly.
There’s a big boot to set up the top rope shot to the head into McIntyre’s nip up. McIntyre gets two off a spinebuster but Corbin plants him down for one more. Back up and the Futureshock looks to set up the Claymore, which is countered into Deep Six for two. Corbin tries the slide under the ropes clothesline but walks into the Claymore for the pin at 9:12.
Rating: C. Now this is a better usage of Corbin (provided you keep him on one show): let him do one match as a threat to the champ and then send him elsewhere. There is no reason to do anything higher up with him than that and if WWE can grasp that concept, they might be able to get something out of Corbin. It was fine for a warmup for McIntyre vs. Lashley and that’s all it needed to be. Now keep Corbin on his own show if you have to have him in such a big role.
McIntyre calls out Lashley but MVP points at his watch to say on their time to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I’m not sure how to feel on this one as they had some good and bad things going. I like the keeping things moving and making you want to know where things are going next. There is no reason to have some big fifteen minute match and then expect me to want to see more of it next week. Save that stuff for the pay per view and make it feel more important.
Then though you have points where they just kept going with stuff. Nia seems primed to be the next challenger for Asuka. Ok, that’s fine. Have her interrupt, then have her attack Sane, then have Asuka swear revenge for her fallen friend, who Nia could beat in a regular match if you have the chance. That’s probably a month and they did it in about ten minutes. It’s ok to not burn through EVERYTHING in one night while also keeping things moving. Find the middle ground.
That middle ground does not include FIVE SEGMENTS on an axe throwing contest in the middle of the woods, especially a week after a basketball game. The Vikings beat the Profits in a tag match two weeks ago on Raw. In theory that sets up a title match (because WWE loves that trope) but instead, it’s setting up a rehash of MVP/Matt Hardy when neither were healthy enough to wrestle. I know they’re stretched for ideas here, but can we please just get to a match instead of the guaranteed tiebreaker competition next week?
Overall, this show wasn’t the worst by any stretch and they are indeed doing something, but a lot of what they are doing is making my head hurt. Lashley is a great choice as the Monster Of The Month/Two for McIntyre and I like Theory joining up with Rollins, who is a much better fit for him than Vega and company. Just tighten things up a bit and this show could actually work rather than being dragged over the finish line for a change.
Murphy b. Humberto Carrillo – Murphy’s Law
Charlotte b. Ruby Riott – Figure Eight
Bobby Lashley b. R-Truth – Full nelson
Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross b. IIconics via DQ when Royce sent Bliss into the post
Shayna Baszler b. Natalya – Koquina Clutch
Kevin Owens/Apollo Crews b. Andrade/Angel Garza – Toss powerbomb to Garza
Aleister Black b. Murphy when Austin Theory interfered
Drew McIntyre b. King Corbin – Claymore
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