Monday Night Raw
Date: May 25, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
It’s Memorial Day and that means the tributes will be strong this week. We’re also on the road to Backlash and I’m not sure what that is going to mean. We do at least already have a World Title match with Drew McIntyre defending against Bobby Lashley. Odds are we get more gaming hijinks between the Street Profits and the Viking Raiders. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long Memorial Day video.
There are NXT wrestlers around the stage to act as a makeshift audience. We have some Plexiglas around ringside, making it feel almost like a hockey arena. It took long enough.
We start with the Kevin Owens Show and he likes having the fans around here too. Owens brings out Asuka as his guest and that means a quick plug for the Man/Mom shirt. Owens: “Now available at WWEshop.com”. We see clips from last week of Nia Jax attacking Kairi Sane but getting taken out. Before we can see where that goes, here’s Charlotte to say that she’s winning the #1 contenders match tonight and beating Asuka, as she always does.
Now it’s Natalya (who is in the #1 contenders match also, because Shayna Baszler beating her twice in a row has already been forgotten), who apologizes for last week’s tantrum. Charlotte says that’s not going to help her win but here’s Nia Jax (also in the #1 contenders match) to interrupt. Owens: “I can see where this is going.” He leaves, which Nia says is a good idea. Nia promises to win and Owens says Asuka is about to hit her in the face. The brawl is on and Asuka clears the ring.
Apollo Crews promises to win the US Title.
US Title: Apollo Crews vs. Andrade
Andrade is defending and has Zelina Vega with him. Crews slams him down to start and drives Andrade into the corner without much effort. The spinning elbow gives Andrade two but he knocks Vega off the apron by mistake. Back from a break with Crews posting him and working on an armbar but Crews sends him into the corner for a Stinger Splash.
A superplex attempt is countered into an Alberto double stomp for two and we cut to Angel Garza in the back. He talks to Kayla Braxton and compares wrestling to making love to a beautiful woman. We get some rather detailed comparisons and Braxton certainly seems interested. Back with the toss powerbomb being countered into a hurricanrana in the corner. Andrade hits the running knees for two but Crews is back with the gorilla press into the standing shooting star press for the pin and the title at 8:21.
Rating: C. What we saw was good enough at least as there was a break and then the interview with Garza so there was only so much going on here. Crews winning wasn’t the biggest surprise but there was no reason to keep the title on Andrade. He has been champion for nearly five months now and it’s not like he has done much as champion. Just move on and let us see what Crews can do. It’s not like the title can lose much more value.
Post match Crews says it was a long time coming and now it is all worth it.
Andrade throws a fit in the back.
Seth Rollins is holding Rey Mysterio’s mask and is very happy to be better than ever. Mysterio was the sacrifice that he needed and Rollins couldn’t be more pleased with the pain that Mysterio had to endure. If that was Mysterio’s final act as a WWE star, it allowed them to move into the future. Murphy and Austin Theory come in so Rollins can say they understand what it is is like to be underappreciated. They needed guidance and now their ceiling is limitless. Both of them offer praise to Rollins and are ready to move forward.
Charlotte is ready to become a dual champion and no one else compares. Asuka comes in and dances around with the title before speaking in Japanese.
Here are the IIconics for a chat. They apologize for their issues last week and talk about wanting to be the Women’s Tag Team Champions again. Their first title reign was ignored because WWE never let them defend the titles but here are Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. The IIconics don’t think much of them and tell Cross to go play, sending Cross into a rant about how she grew up in Scotland and worked every day to get here. Now she and Lexi are champions because Lexi has kept her from bouncing off the wall. Cross has taught her about friendship and that’s iconic. The fight is on and the IIconics stand tall and hold up the titles.
Lana comes up to MVP and says they need to talk. MVP: “No we don’t.”
It’s time for the VIP Lounge with MVP talking about how no one can offer this kind of star power. His guest this week is Drew McIntyre, who is soon to be the former WWE Champion. Drew wastes no time in asking where Bobby Lashley is but MVP says don’t worry because we’ll save that for Backlash. MVP remembers taking a Claymore kick and he knew McIntyre would win the WWE Title, but MVP would have a hand in him losing it.
Lashley has a title shot after thirteen years, but Drew took nineteen years to get here. Then he was in the main event of WrestleMania and beat Brock Lesnar in five minutes. Drew doesn’t need anyone talking or fighting for him and Lashley is going to have to pry the title from his cold dead hands. MVP: “That could be arranged.” Cue Lashley so Drew Claymores MVP just in case. McIntyre is ready for him and tells Lashley to get in. The half conscious MVP holds Lashley back and gets him up the ramp.
Natalya can’t answer a question because she gets a phone call from her husband. She apologizes for not apologizing enough earlier and has to go for her match later. Now she’s out of time on the interview. Ok then.
Kevin Owens vs. Angel Garza
Garza chop blocks him during the introduction and we take a break. Back with the bell ringing and Garza going right after the knee. The leg is sent into the corner and wrapped around the rope, setting up an early leglock. Owens makes the rope and grabs the DDT. The comeback is on but the leg gives out before the Cannonball. A superkick gives Garza two but Owens elbows him off the top. The Swanton gets two on Angel only to have the knee gives out on the Pop Up Powerbomb attempt. Garza hits the Wing Clipper for the win at 3:31.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have the time to go very far and I’m a little surprised that Garza go the win in Owens’ first match back. They did something smart by having Owens come in hurt though and that takes away some of the sting of the loss. I’m not sure where this goes but it’s a different kind of idea.
We recap the Street Profits vs. the Viking Raiders in various challenges.
This week, it’s time to play golf. The Profits are decent but the Raiders just cause chaos, including leaving turkey legs everywhere and wrecking general havoc. Therefore, let’s try some mini golf. Again, the Profits are a little better and the Raiders get in trouble. The final score is 144-28 in favor of the Profits, though only after they explain that the low screw wins in golf. That makes the score 2-1 (and yes there is a scoreboard). Ivar reaches into the final hole and pulls out a red solo cup and a turkey leg, but he stops to stare down an alligator. This has to be the dumbest thing they do this year. It has to be, right?
Lana offers MVP some ice for his face but MVP yells at her, saying that Lashley’s career is finally going somewhere. Lana needs to send McIntyre a message saying that they are going to take care of things.
Humberto Carrillo/Aleister Black vs. Murphy/Austin Theory
Seth Rollins is here with Murphy and Theory. Carrillo starts fast with the springboard armdrag to the floor (going up with Theory to start and then diving over to armdrag Murphy in a cool switch), setting up the big dive to take them both out. Back in and Black fires off the kicks to Theory and it’s already back to Carrillo to start on the arm. Carrillo has to hit an enziguri to cut off Murphy’s comeback so it’s back to black. That means a bunch of kicks, including causing Murphy to kick Theory down. Theory’s rollup with trunks only gets two but Carrillo misses the moonsault to Theory. The ATL finishes Carrillo at 4:20.
Rating: C+. It was short but it was almost all action the entire time and that’s the best thing they could have done. Theory should have gotten the fall here like he did because there is no reason to set up the new stable and then have him lose, even if his team doesn’t win the fall. This was as good as they were going to get in such a time and it worked rather well.
Post match Carrillo is puled outside and Rollins has his goons tease sending him eye first into the steps. Black is told to back off instead of fight for Mysterio and drops the chair, causing Rollins to throw Carrillo down so the villains can leave.
Edge talks about how Randy Orton woke him up last week. Now he has to prove that he still has it, which he has learned over the years from people like Kurt Angle, Mr. Perfect, British Bulldog, Eddie Guerrero and Christian. He was a five tool workhorse for this company but everything he said was in the past tense. Maybe he can’t do those things anymore but he’s going to dig into his soul at Backlash because that’s all a man can do.
The Viking Raiders tell the Street Profits that they let them win at golf. Ivar says he had many birdies, meaning turkey legs. Either way, the Raiders can pick the next challenge and go with bowling. The Vikings leave but MVP and Lashley come up to say this is another example of talent being wasted. The Profits ask how MVP’s jaw is feeling so it’s a tag match later tonight.
Charlotte vs. Nia Jax vs. Natalya
For the #1 contendership and Asuka is on commentary, where she really doesn’t seem impressed with Jax. Charlotte drops Natalya to start but Jax drives her into the corner for the shoulders to the ribs. Some double teaming staggers Jax and send her into the post for a trip to the floor. That leaves Charlotte to nip out of Natalya’s headscissors and grab one of her own.
Jax is knocked off the apron again so Charlotte shoulders Natalya from the apron. It’s time to load up the announcers’ table and Jax pulls Natalya to the floor as well. Charlotte and Jax fight over the table top and then Charlotte chops her on the apron. There’s the double powerbomb through the table to crush Jax, leaving Asuka stunned as we take a break. Back with Natalya hammering away on Jax in the ring as Asuka is rather pleased.
Charlotte comes in to replace Natalya and the moonsault gets two on Jax. All three are in again and Jax clotheslines both of them down, setting up a double splash in the corner. Natalya gets sent outside again and Charlotte starts in on the knee. The Figure Eight goes on but Natalya makes the save. There’s the Sharpshooter to Charlotte but Jax makes another save.
Natalya is sent outside again (yes again) so Charlotte kicks Jax in the face, only to have to knock Natalya off the apron one more time. Jax catches Charlotte on top with a superplex but Natalya turns it into a Tower of Doom. Charlotte doesn’t exactly get elevated enough and takes a pretty nasty landing. Jax has to break up the Figure Eight with a legdrop to Charlotte and the Samoan drop to Natalya sends Jax to Backlash at 15:13.
Rating: B-. Even if Jax was a pretty obvious winner here, they did a nice job of making you wonder if that was where they were really going. Jax vs. Asuka should be a good power vs. striker match and that could make for a solid first title defense. The lack of Baszler is interesting here though and makes me think she’s lurking for the winner.
Drew McIntyre is ready for the main event and Backlash.
We look back at Rob Gronkowski winning the 24/7 Title at Wrestlemania.
R-Truth promises to win the title back and will tackle any football player to win the title. He can’t remember Gronkowski’s name and puts on some children’s shoulder pads.
Gronkowski says bring it on and says 24/7 Gronk is the present. He grew up with four brothers and knows how to fight anywhere anytime. The sunglasses go on backwards, because he has eyes in the back of his head.
MVP and Lashley are ready for the main event.
Ric Flair picks Randy Orton to beat Edge at Backlash.
We look at part three of the Undertaker documentary, featuring the Shawn Michaels rivalry.
Liv Morgan talks about wondering what life had in store for her since she was six years old. Then she found WWE and knew she belonged here. She is alive and will fulfill who she is destined to be because she is living her best life.
Next week: Aleister Black vs. Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio’s retirement ceremony.
Street Profits vs. MVP/Bobby Lashley
Non-title. Ford jumps away from Lashley to start but eventually gets sent into the corner so MVP can stomp away. It’s already back to Lashley for a delayed suplex but Ford slips out and brings in Dawkins. The double dropkick takes Lashley down but he knocks Ford hard into the barricade to take over. Ford gets posted as well and we take a break. Back with MVP handing it off to Lashley for more elbows in the corner.
Lashley stops to knock Dawkins out of the apron and then hits a side slam for two on Ford. MVP misses the running boot in the corner though and Ford dives over for the tag to Dawkins. House is cleaned, including a flapjack, which has to be saved by a camera cut. Everything breaks down and the Cash Out hits MVP but Lashley comes in for the full nelson on Ford. Lashley isn’t legal though and it’s a DQ at 11:31.
Rating: C-. The match was ok, though you can tell how much age has impacted MVP. He moves pretty slowly and while he is still very far away from looking horrible, this kind of limited action is the best thing that they can do with him at the moment. I was rather pleased that they didn’t have the Profits take a loss here, but my goodness the stuff with the Vikings has sucked the life out of them.
Post match here’s McIntyre for the brawl but since there is no security, some NXT wrestlers come in for the failed save. Lashley spears McIntyre down but the brawl continues. Even more wrestlers fail to break it up so here’s another batch to finally separate them to end the show. They’ve got something pretty good here with this feud as I want to see these two fight.
Overall Rating: C+. This is what I once dubbed the Raw Special. Had this been a two hour show, it would have been an excellent week, but instead they had that extra hour (not the third hour, but an extra hour throughout the show) that dragged it down. You could tell they were trying to come up with anything they could think of to fill in time and that became a problem. What we got was good, but they just had too much time to fill. Finally, yes the NXT wrestlers did help, but there’s only so much that they can add in a situation like this.
Apollo Crews b. Andrade – Standing shooting star press
Angel Garza b. Kevin Owens – Wing Clipper
Murphy/Austin Theory b. Humberto Carrillo/Aleister Black – ATL to Carrillo
Nia Jax b. Natalya and Charlotte – Samoan drop to Natalya
Street Profits b. MVP/Bobby Lashley via DQ when Lashley would not let go of the full nelson
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