The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/07/18 Review

Submitted by John Canton on May 8, 2018 - 12:43pm
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Live from Long Island, New York, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1302 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Thank you for reading and remember you can always pick up a TJRWrestling t-shirt to support the site as well.

The show started with Raw General Manager Kurt Angle making his entrance. The stage has ladders on it to get people excited about the Money in the Bank pay-per-view next month.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear From Kurt Angle

Angle stood in the ring under the Money in the Bank briefcase. Angle said he’s been a part of the WWE family for nearly 20 years (aside from the 10 years where he left, but that’s okay) and one thing he knows is that things never stop whether it’s WrestleMania, the Superstar Shake-up, the Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash. Speaking of Backlash, you can read my review of that crappy show here in case you missed it.

Angle mentioned up next is the Money in the Bank PPV with a men’s and women’s MITB Ladder Match on that show with stars from Raw and Smackdown.

Analysis: The men's and women's ladder matches will have 4 people from Raw and 4 from Smackdown. There were rumors that there might be three Money in the Bank ladder matches with a tag team MITB match. It's not confirmed, so it's just a rumor for now.

Angle announced two triple threat matches: Ember Moon, Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks. The men’s triple threat match is Roman Reigns (the crowd booed), Finn Balor and Sami Zayn.

Braun Strowman made his entrance to a good ovation as usual. Strowman entered the ring with Angle and fans chanted “get these hands” for him.

Strowman said when he was a kid, the boys in the neighborhood built some tree house, so Strowman said that he waited until all the kids were in the tree house and knocked it over. Weird story. Angle talked about how Strowman was on a roll because he won the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania, won the Greatest Royal Rumble and won at Backlash, so Angle said he deserves a chance to qualify for Money in the Bank.

Kevin Owens interrupted saying that if anybody deserves to be in that Ladder Match it’s him. Owens said that he is Raw’s MVP, he anchors the highest rated segments and arenas are chanting his name. Owens said he respects the rules unlike Braun Strowman. Owens noted that last night at Backlash, Strowman pinned the wrong guy, so the decision should be reversed and that means Strowman’s not on a roll because Owens is on a roll. Owens said Strowman deserves to be sent to the corner to reflect on how he has been a bad monster. Owens: “Bad monster, Braun.”

Angle told Owens that Strowman will get a qualifying match. Owens said he deserves to be in the match. Strowman said that Owens deserves to “get these hands.” Owens told Angle to make a smart decision with Angle realizing that he needs this job and that Stephanie McMahon is watching. Owens told Angle to name Owens in the match.

Angle told Owens that he’s going to put Strowman in a qualifying match against Owens and that match starts right now. Angle’s song played to end it with Owens freaking out about it.

Analysis: It was a typical opening segment to set up Money in the Bank while also making a match for right after the break. Strowman using the “Get These Hands” catchphrase is smart because it will sell more t-shirts and every key face in history has had a catchphrase that the fans associate with them. The treehouse story was dumb. I don’t know who wrote that promo, but it was lame. I was hoping that Strowman would go out there saying he wants to face Brock Lesnar in a singles match. Nope. That’s not happening because I assume Lesnar will be off for Money in the Bank and we may not see Lesnar again until SummerSlam, which could be another match with Roman Reigns. I’m groaning already at the thought of that match again.

(Commercial)

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman

Owens ran away at the start of the match. Strowman caught up to him and hit a back elbow. Strowman with a punch to the chest of Owens. Hard whip into the corner by Strowman. Owens got back up and Strowman whipped Owens into the other turnbuckle. Strowman pounded Owens in the back again. Strowman charged, Owens got the boot up and Strowman punched Owens over the top to the floor. Strowman charged at Owens on the floor, Owens tried to leave, but Strowman brought him back to the ringside area. Owens with a Tornado DDT on Strowman on the floor. The ref did a slow count with Strowman getting back into the ring before the ten count. Owens kicked Strowman to keep him down, but Strowman came back with a punch to the chest. Strowman charged at Owens in the corner, Owens moved and Strowman hit the ring post leading to Strowman bumping to the floor. That’s a bump Strowman does in nearly every match. Strowman slowly got back in the ring before the ten count. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Strowman back in control with a Chokeslam. Graves noted it was KO’s birthday. They should have had Owens mention that and I’m surprised that it wasn’t a part of his promo. Owens avoided a Running Powerslam, he punched Strowman in the back of the legs, a superkick from Owens and Owens hit a senton splash onto the back of Strowman for two. Owens wanted a cannonball, Strowman blocked it and Strowman hit a kick. Strowman charged in, Owens moved and Strowman hit the turnbuckle sternum first. Owens with a superkick. Owens up top with a Frog Splash that got a two count. Strowman powered out at two. Owens nailed another superkick, Strowman avoided a Popup Powerbomb and hit a clothesline. Strowman with a running splash against the turnbuckle. Strowman ran at Owens outside the ring and nailed him with a running shoulder tackle. Owens with another running shoulder tackle on Owens on the floor. Strowman sent Owens back into the ring, so Owens bailed to the floor again. Strowman charged again and hit another shoulder tackle with Owens doing more of a flip bump. Great sell by KO. Strowman picked up Owens and hit the Running Powerslam for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

The win means that Braun Strowman qualifies for the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with Owens getting a lot of offense before the loss. Owens really busted his ass to make Strowman look like a badass in that match. Strowman hasn’t had a long singles match on Raw in a long time, so it was nice to see them go 14 minutes in a competitive match with Owens nearly picking up the win a few times. Those running shoulder tackles by Strowman outside the ring look devastating, which is why they did the spot three times. Strowman being in the MITB match means that he is a huge favorite to win. We don’t know the other names yet, but obviously Strowman is going to be a popular pick to win because of his status as a main event performer that has yet to win the Universal or WWE Title.

Strowman celebrated the win by stepping on Owens’ gut and he left the ring with a smile on his face.

Still to come: Reigns vs. Zayn vs. Balor. Also, it’s Banks vs. Moon vs. Riott.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns was interviewed in the locker room by Mike Rome. Reigns towered over Rome even though they are about the same height. Reigns complained about management and he can’t control the backstage politics. Reigns said he silences the haters when he gets in the ring while telling people to ask Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. Reigns said that Finn Balor and Sami Zayn are in his way, so he’s going to win that, then get the Money in the Bank contract and his destiny will be in his hands. Reigns said that was his mindset.

Analysis: It was a serious promo from Reigns, who has a right to be frustrated after the Greatest Royal Rumble cage match where they offered up no resolution to the loss he suffered even though he really won. Sorry Roman, but the WWE Creative team is poor at their job. I pointed out the thing about Roman’s height with Rome because Rome is the same height as Reigns, but WWE tells the interviewers to crouch down to make the superstars look bigger. It’s silly, but that’s WWE.

Just to follow up on the Mike Rome thing, I posted about it on Facebook and Twitter and had a reader named Shadi Amin Q send me this that we can call the Many Heights of Mike Rome!

Keep in mind that Rollins is about the same height as Reigns, so Rome is around the same height as him there, yet there's Rome looking way smaller than Reigns and smaller than the much shorter Balor too. Anyway, I just wanted to share the ridiculousness of this. Let's move on.

Bayley did a cell phone promo about the Money in the Bank talking about getting her hands on the briefcase.

The Breezango duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango did a promo about Money in the Bank. They have no chance.

Goldust was in the office with Kurt Angle. Goldust quoted something from the "Million Dollar Baby" movie. Goldust said he wants to be in the MITB Ladder Match. Jinder Mahal showed up with Sunil Singh complaining about not getting opportunities on Raw. Angle told Jinder he hasn’t won a match since he came to Raw. Angle told Jinder that this can wait until after Jinder’s match with Chad Gable, who already beat him. Angle told Jinder if he has a good showing then he’ll consider Money in the Bank. Goldust said it’s going to be bumpy night (another movie quote from “All About Eve”) and he did his chomp at Angle. Goldust left.

Analysis: It seems like every character on this show wants to complain to Angle about how they are booked. Maybe if Angle was booked to be more competent at his job then there would be less complaining.

No Way Jose entered with Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil, Dana Brooke and the conga line that is a part of Jose’s entrance. They face Baron Corbin and The Revival after a break.

Analysis: I don’t know many viewers that would stay tuned in to watch a No Way Jose match. Just saying. At least Dana looks great.

(Commercial)

Baron Corbin made his entrance. His teammates, The Revival, were already in the ring.

No Way Jose, Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder

O’Neil worked over Wilder with a chop to the chest. Crews tagged in with a shoulder tackle to the ribs followed by an elbow drop. The announcers did their “Apollo has potential” usual commentary that they always do for him. The heels took control of the match with Corbin punching the back of Crews and he whipped Crews into the barricade. Dawson hit a belly to back suplex. Corbin back in with an elbow to the neck of Crews. Corbin knocked O’Neil off the apron, Crews nailed a jumping kick and tagged in Jose against Dawson. Jose with forearms followed by a kick, hip toss and he knocked Corbin off the apron. Jose splashed Dawson in the corner followed by a rolling senton for two. Wilder with two boots to the face of O’Neil. Crews nailed a clothesline on Wilder. Crews ran the ropes, Corbin pulled down the top rope and Crews went flying out of the ring. Corbin tagged in, Jose never saw it, Jose forearm on Dawson and Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Jose for the pinfall win. The match went about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder

Analysis: ** Easy win for the heel team with Corbin as the biggest star in this match, so it was obvious he was going to get the win. I thought Corbin should have kicked Jose before the End of Days, but it was a simple End of Days for the win. The crowd wasn’t into the match that much, which was no surprise considering the lack of star power in the match.

Up next is Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riott in a MITB qualifying match.

The Smackdown commercial hyped up MITB qualifying matches: Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz, Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev and Charlotte Flair vs. Peyton Royce. I’ll pick Miz, Bryan and Charlotte in those matches.

I got a local commercial saying that Raw and Smackdown have TVs on August 27 and August 28, so that’s cool. I’ll probably go to both shows and perhaps a house show on August 26 if it is close to home.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks was up first in the women’s Money in the Bank qualifying match. Cole noted that Banks wasn’t in MITB last year because it was Smackdown only last year. The MITB briefcase was above the ring.

Ruby Riott entered with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, who are collectively known as The Riott Squad.

Ember Moon was up last. There was a nice ovation for her. She joined Raw last month and is one of the best athletes in the women’s division.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan)

Banks and Moon each got rollup nearfalls on eachother while Riott was outside the ring. Banks with an arm drag on Moon, Riott tripped up Banks and pulled her out of the ring. Riott nailed a kick on Moon for a two count. Banks got back in there, Riott kicked Banks in the ribs and Riott used her feet to send Banks face first into the turnbuckle. Moon with a kick on Riott followed by a trip. Logan grabbed Moon’s foot leading to Riott with a STO for a two count. No disqualifications in a triple threat, so Logan and Morgan can cheat all they want. Banks was on the apron and Riott kicked Banks off. Riott with a headlock on Moon. When Moon got back to her feet, Riott knocked Moon down with an elbow. Banks back in, Riott hit a neckbreaker and a DDT combo on both women at the same time. Riott kicked Banks out of the ring. Moon with a rollup for two and Riott stopped her with a clothesline for two again. Moon with a jawbreaker. Banks back in with a clothesline on Riott, dropkick on Riott and Moon came back with a springboard cross body block for two on Banks. Moon with overhead suplexes for Riott and one for Banks as well. Moon with a dropkick that knocked Riott off the apron. Banks with double knees on Moon. Banks with a flip dive onto Logan and Morgan on the floor. Riott with a missile dropkick on Banks of the floor. Moon with a suicide dive on Riott. Back in the ring, Moon got a two count on Riott. The fans were distracted by something in the crowd. Moon tried to climb to the top rope, but Logan pulled her down. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at something going on in the crowd. Riott with a shoulder to Banks on the apron, Banks avoided an attack and hit a knee to the face. Banks with a kick that sent Riott into the turnbuckle. Riott with a hurricanrana off the top, Banks rolled through for two and Logan and Morgan were there to break up the pin. Bayley ran down to the ring to fight Logan and Morgan, but it didn’t work because the women threw Bayley down easily. Bayley kicked Logan and Morgan down from behind. Banks went back in the ring with a rollup on Riott for two. Riott with a kick to Banks. Banks recovered, hit Riott with a forearm, Banks wanted the Bank Statement, but Moon jumped off the top with the Eclipse on Riott and Banks bumped to the floor. Moon covered Riott for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ember Moon

The win means that Ember Moon has qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Analysis: *** Good match with Banks coming close to winning a few times, but the Riott Squad were there to prevent that and then Moon capitalized on the situation when Banks was about to apply the Bank Statement. I figured Banks was going to win the match when it was booked, but I’m glad it was Moon that went over because of how much potential Moon has as a future star of the women’s division. Riott was the centerpiece of the match in terms of being the one that was in the ring for most of it while the other two women spent time of the floor. Those are the kind of matches we want to see more of where there’s something on the line for the winners and it brings out the competitiveness of the talent to see who can get the victory. Sometimes they just throw matches out there on Raw that are boring. Thanks to MITB, these matches mean a bit more.

Moon celebrated the win while the Riott Squad, Banks and Bayley were all sad at ringside.

Still to come is the men’s triple threat. An interview with Bobby Lashley is up next.

A commercial aired for a new season of Table for 3 on WWE Network. The episode with Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Shane McMahon is on WWE Network after Raw this week.

(Commercial)

Ember Moon was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. Moon said she’s an underdog that rises to the challenge. Moon said she’s going to rise and grab that Money in the Bank contract.

A video package aired about Bobby Lashley showing his amateur wrestling career where he was a two-time NAIA Champion. It also showed that he was in the army and he tried out for the Olympic team, but a knee injury prevented that. Lashley met with Kurt Angle and then he got a call from WWE to try out. They showed clips of Lashley in action in the mid-2000s saying he headlined WrestleMania, which was not true because his match representing Trump at WM23 was a midcard match although it was a big match. They showed images of him in MMA for Bellator. It skipped ahead to his return to WWE last month.

Bobby Lashley Interview

Lashley did a sit-down interview with Renee Young, who asked him who is Bobby Lashley? Bobby said he’s extremely blessed and he said he had a great family. Lashley talked about his parents as well as his three older sisters. He told stories about how he would get bullied by his older sisters and it was something he smiled about it while talking about his oldest sister chased him with a broom. Lashley spoke about how his second sister had a white towel that was nasty, so somebody took the towel and he stopped that towel. Lashley spoke about how his youngest sister had a helmet, he took it from her and she hit him with it, so he has a scar near his eye for life. Lashley said he enjoyed every second of his time with his family, but now he has an extended family called the WWE Universe and they will have a lot of fun together. Lashley looked into the camera saying he wanted to say hello to his sisters, so he said their names and said he loved them. Renee thanked him and that was it.

Analysis: That was a weird interview. I’m all for doing sit-down interviews to try to get talent over, but I don’t see the point of having Lashley telling stories about having three older sisters. Don’t get me wrong because it’s nice that he has a close family. It’s just a weird direction to go in for this interview. They should have had Lashley talking about his goals in WWE, how he is better than ever and has a lot to prove. This was just awkward to have this guy sitting there telling childhood stories of his sisters. If he talked about wanting to do this for his kids (he is a dad) then I get it, but talking about older sisters is just awkward. I don't know what they were really going for other than trying to show he's a good guy.

Sami Zayn was shown in the locker room with Kevin Owens, who had a towel on him after his grueling match. Zayn complained about how things are on Raw and said that they need to focus on the future to get out of the position they are in right now. Zayn said they need to become Universal Champion and win the Money in the Bank contract. Zayn apologized for what happened at Backlash when they argued. Zayn asked Owens if he is with him. Owens begrudgingly said “yeah,” Zayn asked if it was a “yep” and Owens said “yeah.” Owens left.

Jinder Mahal made his entrance after Sunil Singh did the introduction for him like usual.

(Commercial)

Chad Gable entered for this match against Mahal. Gable beat Mahal on Raw two weeks ago in an upset. They showed images from Gable’s win. Why not video? Because WWE is weird. I have no idea why.

Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Chad Gable

Gable with a waistlock takedown. Coach thanked Cole for using his word of the hour, which is annoying by the way, but I try to ignore commentary. Gable was on the apron and Mahal hit a shoulder tackle to send Gable to the floor. Coach mentioned that would be a penalty in the NFL while the other two mocked him for it. Mahal slapped on a bearhug. Mahal whipped Gable into the turnbuckle with Gable bumping sternum first. Mahal with an abdominal stretch. Gable slapped on an armbar using the ropes for an assist. Gable up top with a moonsault for two. Running knee by Mahal. Gable got a rollup for two. Mahal sent Gable throat first into the top rope and hit a superkick. Mahal with The Khallas for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jinder Mahal

Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Mahal after he has lost most of his matches on Raw since he was moved there. Mahal’s offense was as boring as ever with the crowd dead for most of it. I hate seeing Gable being booked like that, but we know WWE management loves Mahal because of how he looks.

Post match, Singh trash talked Gable, so Gable pushed him down. Mahal kicked Gable. Mahal sent Gable sternum first into the turnbuckle. Mahal sent Gable ribs first into the top rope with a suplex. Mahal kicked Gable out of the ring.

Analysis: This was done to make Mahal looks strong after he looked like a loser in the last few weeks.

Alexa Bliss did a promo about Money in the Bank with how she can overcome bullies. The Ascension said they will rise to win the Money in the Bank contract and turn Raw into The Wasteland.

Triple threat match still to come.

(Commercial)

Zack Ryder was in Kurt Angle’s office. Ryder said they are in his hometown and said there would be nothing better than him qualifying for the Money in the Bank match right here tonight. Mahal and Singh showed up in the office. Mahal ripped on Roman Reigns by saying he was undeserving and told Angle to make the main event a Fatal 4-Way. Angle said “woo, woo, woo, the answer is no, bro.” Mahal and Singh left angrily. Ryder did a fist bump to Angle, who didn’t know what to do at first and then got it right.

Analysis: Ryder is in the best shape of his career and they barely use the guy. Ryder wrestled his buddy Curt Hawkins on Main Event before Raw. I’d like to see Ryder get more of a chance. As for Mahal’s comments and anger, it set up what was to come later in the show.

Heath Slater and Rhyno were in the ring to lose a match.

Drew McIntyre with a very serious look on his face followed by his tag team partner Dolph Ziggler, who is here to show the world. It’s in the song.

Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno

Rhyno with a back elbow on Ziggler. Slater tagged in wearing his shirt about how he has kids. Fans chanted “He’s Got Kids” for Slater. They tried some atomic drop spot, Ziggler broke free and tagged in McIntyre. There was face off with McIntyre and Slater with some fans chanting “3MB” for them. The announcers didn’t even mention it as McIntyre nailed a kick on Slater. McIntyre held Slater upside down, Ziggler nailed a superkick and McIntyre slammed Slater down. McIntyre knocked Rhyno off the apron. Ziggler and McIntyre nailed Slater with a Zig Zag/Claymore Kick combo for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler

Analysis: * A quick match to put over McIntyre and Ziggler, who won easily. Their tag team work has been very impressive so far. They will likely challenge for the Tag Team Titles soon because there’s a lack of teams in Raw’s tag team division right now.

Elias was shown warming up with his guitar up next. Bobby Roode vs. Elias is also up next.

(Commercial)

There was a “superstars who could have used a save” moment sponsored by Progressive and they showed the Titus fall at the Greatest Royal Rumble event.

Elias was in the ring playing his guitar. The fans cheered the “who wants to walk with Elias?” bit and then they said WWE stands for “Walk With Elias” when he set them up for it. Elias complained about Backlash when he was interrupted by pancakes, conga lines and Bobby Roode. Elias complained about Roode while saying he is going to win Money in the Bank and fans chanted “Rusev Day” at him. Elias said Rusev Day ain’t got a damn thing to do with Elias. That led him into his song. Elias did his song ripping on the city saying this place will still suck, which led to Cole laughing and Cole was mad that Roode interrupted.

Bobby Roode made his glorious entrance for their match. Graves and Coach bickered about Coach’s stupid word of the hour with Cole noting in seven minutes it’s a new hour. This is very annoying.

Elias vs. Bobby Roode

Roode started with a running forearm. Roode went up top and hit a clothesline. Roode set up his finisher way too early, Elias caught his foot and Roode hit an enziguri to send Elias out of the ring.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Elias was in control with a back body drop. Elias picked up Roode and tossed him across the ring with a body slam. Elias slapped on a crossface. Graves said that Elias is “definitely” a main event star, but Graves doesn’t like his much. I think saying that about Elias as a main eventer is a stretch at this point considering he has no meaningful feuds yet in his career. Roode made a comeback with a knee to the ribs. Elias slowed him down by whipping him into the turnbuckle. The fans were bored, so they chanted “Let’s go Mets/Let’s go Yankees” for the NY baseball teams. Roode hit a spinebuster on Elias. Backbreaker by Elias got a two count. Elias with a Powerbomb into a pin for a two count. The crowd has lost interest in this match with Elias hitting Roode with a forearm. Elias slowly picked up Roode, so Roode countered a suplex attempt and hit a Glorious DDT for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Roode

Analysis: **1/4 They got a decent amount of time and had an average match that the crowd didn’t care about at all. Elias beat Roode two times, so this was Roode getting his win back. It was a boring match. The story was that Elias trash talked too much leading to Roode capitalizing for the win. I like Roode a lot, but he’s always been better in his career as a heel. The announcers were trying hard to put over Elias calling him a main eventer (he’s not) and saying he’s a future champion. I'm not that impressed by Elias in the ring. He's very average to me.

Roode was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso. She said that victory has to feel great. Roode said in the future those emotions are going to feel a lot better and that Angle has been handing out qualifying matches, Roode hopes he is next in line for that opportunity as well. Roode said that beating Elias was great, but winning the Money in the Bank ladder match will be absolutely…glorious.

Still to come: Reigns vs. Zayn vs. Balor.

Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.

(Commercial)

Seth Rollins walked out with the Intercontinental Championship around his waist. Cole mocked Coach’s two words saying Rollins has been “red hot.” Coach’s third hour word is “impact” because nobody has had a bigger impact on Raw than Rollins in the last month. At least he didn’t say “impact” when it was a former TNA guy entering the ring.

Rollins fired up the crowd asking them how they were cheering. Rollins said after last night, he’s feeling good too because at Backlash whether you love him or hate him, The Miz took Rollins to the limit, but in the end Rollins stomped out his dreams of tying the record for most Intercontinental Title wins and Rollins is still the IC Champion. Fans chanted “you deserve it” at Rollins.

Rollins said what he can learn from The Miz is what kind of champion not to be. Rollins said he wants to be a champion that is there every week (hey Brock Lesnar) and a fighting champion. Rollins talked about knowing a thing or two about Money in the Bank and he knows how winning that contract can change your life because it changed his life. Rollins said he wants to make that title “the title” on Raw. Rollins issued an open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship right here, right now.

Analysis: Good promo from Rollins. He is the most popular guy on Raw. I say it every week. It should lead to an even bigger role for Rollins later in the year, but for right now he’s settled in as the fighting IC Champion.

Mojo Rawley answered the challenge…and the crowd goes mild. Rawley stood on the stage. Rawley said this is the Raw debut that he deserved because when an opportunity comes knocking, Mojo Rawley knocks people down. Rawley said that’s what he’s going to do to Seth. Fans chanted “We Want Ryder” at him and Rawley said he’ll knock down Rollins like he did to their boy Zack Ryder. Rawley said it’s no longer Monday Night Rollins because from here on out, it’s Monday Night Rawley. The fans booed.

Rollins told Rawley that if he wants a fight he should get in there to get his ass kicked. The wrestlers stood in the ring while Jojo the ring announcer did the introductions for them.

Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Mojo Rawley

The fans chanted “We Want Ryder” as they locked up. Rollins sent Rawley out of the ring, Rollins went for an attack on the floor, but Rawley moved and Rawley clotheslined Rollins in the back. Rawley nailed Rollins with a shoulder tackle that sent Rollins into the barricade.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Rawley sent Rollins into the turnbuckle and took him down with a STO trip for a two count. Rawley charged at Rollins in the corner, Rollins caught him and sent him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins nailed a step up enziguri followed by a clothesline that sent Rawley out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive outside the ring. Rollins went back in and did a suicide dive again. Back in the ring, Rollins with a boot to the face followed by the Blockbuster neckbreaker off the ropes for two. Rollins avoided a springboard attack and hit a spinebuster for a two count. Rollins got a rollup for two. Rollins with a standing side kick to a kneeling Rawley for two. Rollins stomped his foot leading to “burn it down” chants. Rawley caught Rollins, put him on his shoulder and slammed him off. That got a two count with Rawley yelling at the ref about it. Rawley whipped Rollins into the ropes and hit a pounce attack. Rollins with a superkick, lifting knee to the face, kick to the gut and Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall win after 11 minutes with Cole yelling “Monday Night Rollins” as the ref counted the fall.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match with Rawley getting in some nearfalls where he came close to winning although it was no surprise that Rollins got the win. I’m glad it was competitive with Rawley coming close to winning a few times. The Rollins comeback at the end was well done. I still want a better name for The Stomp, but that’s what it is for now.

Post match, Rollins let out a sigh of relief as a small way to put over Rawley for putting up a fight. Rollins celebrated with the title while the fans cheered him for his performance.

Finn Balor did a cell phone promo about his triple threat match later. Balor said he likes earning his opportunity and overcoming the odds.

(Commercial)

Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel were in the ring to lose a match. They did a promo backstage before their match. Bo said they are leading men in their breakout role. Axel said it’s in their DNA and they’ll prove it when they meet the Raw Tag Team Champions.

Analysis: Both guys are third generation wrestlers, so it is in their DNA to be in this business.

The Deleter of Worlds duo of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, who are the Raw Tag Team Champions, made their entrance. Cole complained about being bothered by a three-year-old and a bald guy (Matt Hardy’s son Maxel and Senor Benjamin, who is Matt’s father in law). Graves was really over the top trying to put over the wackiness of Hardy and Wyatt.

The Deleter of Worlds - Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas

This is not for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

Axel tried an attack on Wyatt, but Wyatt nailed a clothesline. Running cross body block by Wyatt led to a suplex from Wyatt, who tagged in. Hardy wanted a Twist of Fate early, Axel sent him into the turnbuckle, Dallas tagged in and Axel hit a DDT on Hardy. Dallas slapped on a headlock as Graves said maybe Axel and Dallas can be Coach’s Crew, but Coach said it was already taken. Hardy with a Side Effect to Dallas. Wyatt got the hot tag about one minute into this match. Wyatt with a running cross body block that took down Axel. Wyatt kicked his brother Dallas off the apron with Cole saying “no brotherly love there.” Wyatt with a uranage on Axel. Hardy tagged in, Wyatt kissed Axel on the head and they did a double team Sister Abigail, which is really just a double team slam that sent Axel face first into the mat. It went three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

Analysis: * An easy win for the champs in a quick match where they did the hot tag two minutes into it. It’s nice to see champs win non-title. Wyatt didn’t really get to work with brother Bo there although he did punch him off the apron towards the end of the match. The champs need a feud. It might be with Ziggler and McIntyre unless the Authors of Pain get the push first.

Natalya did a cell phone promo talking about winning Money in the Bank saying she’s going to win that contract.

Baron Corbin did a cell phone promo talked about how he won Money in the Bank last year and this year it will be no different.

Up next is Reigns vs. Zayn vs. Balor.

(Commercial)

Finn Balor entered first for the Money in the Bank qualifying match. There was a good ovation for him with the fans doing the poses during the song as usual.

Sami Zayn made his entrance to boos. Zayn’s dance for his entrance is hilarious as a heel.

Roman Reigns was up last with a lot of boos for him as soon as his music hit with Cole shrieking about “The Big Dog.” Cole said that Reigns should be the Universal Champion after what happened at Greatest Royal Rumble.

Next week’s Raw is in London, England. Coach said there’s nothing like going to England for a big show, Graves replied that Coach won’t even be there and Booker T is back next week. Coach probably has some work commitment with his golf announcing gig. I don’t think either Raw commentary team is very good. Coach is way better in a heel role.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn

Reigns punched Zayn leading to Zayn bumping out of the ring. Balor with a dropkick on Reigns, but Reigns came back with a punch on Balor and Zayn was back in only to get punched by Reigns again. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Balor got a rollup on Zayn. Reigns decked Zayn with punches. Reigns nailed Zayn with a running kick to the face followed by a Samoan Drop on Balor. Reigns was alone in the ring, so Balor and Zayn slowly surrounded him. They double teamed Reigns with stomps leading to the shaky camera work that gives me a headache and the fans chanted “yes” for the kicks they delivered to Reigns. Double team clothesline sent Reigns out of the ring. The match went to the floor with Balor and Zayn punching Reigns as they left the ring. Reigns came back with punches, the fans booed and Zayn stopped Reigns with a Helluva Kick that sent Reigns over the hockey boards. Balor stood on the boards and hit a Coup de Gras double foot stomp onto Reigns. Zayn capitalized with a forearm on Balor. Zayn sent Balor over the barricade, so they were back at the ringside area while Reigns was out in the crowd. Fans chanted “ole, ole, ole” for Zayn, who hit a clothesline on Balor for two. Zayn hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb slam for a two count. I think he won one or two matches with that, but it’s mostly just a move to get a two count for Zayn. Balor came back with an overhead kick. Balor with an elbow to the chest for a two count. Zayn sent Balor out of the ring leading to a hard bump for Balor on the floor. Zayn charged in right into a Slingblade from Balor on the floor. Balor tried to charge in, but Zayn nailed him with a boot to the face as they were outside the ring. The fans booed, so I assumed that meant something for Reigns and Reigns nailed a clothesline off the barricade on Zayn. Reigns sent Zayn into the ring post followed by the Drive By dropkick on the apron from Reigns. Balor hit Reigns in the back to send Reigns into the steel steps. Balor with a kick to Zayn’s head. Balor up top, Zayn back up and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex on Balor into the turnbuckle. Reigns back in with a Superman Punch on Zayn. Balor with a Slingblade on Reigns and a dropkick that sent Reigns into the turnbuckle. Balor up top, he jumped off, Reigns moved and Reigns nailed a Superman Punch. Jinder Mahal showed up at ringside and tripped up Reigns. Zayn nailed a Helluva Kick on Reigns, who fell to the floor. Balor with a dropkick that sent Zayn into the turnbuckle. Balor up top and he hit the Coup de Gras double foot stomp on Zayn for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good triple threat match that followed the formula WWE loves to do in triple threats where they take out one guy and have the other guy wrestle for most of the match. The interference from Mahal was expected after his complaining earlier in the show where he wanted to be in this match and Angle didn’t give it to him, so Mahal costing Reigns makes a lot of sense. The work from Balor and Zayn most of the match was outstanding. Reigns got his spots in, which the crowd hated, but this match was really about Reigns getting screwed out of the win. I’m fine with Balor winning because he should be in Money in the Bank while Reigns is likely out of the match and will probably wrestle Mahal at the MITB PPV. It sucks that Zayn lost, but I’m used to him not being boked well.

Balor celebrated the win, Mahal made mean faces while standing in the crowd (or the “WWE Universe” Cole would say) and Reigns looked at Mahal with an angry look on his face. Balor celebrated some more to end the show.

Analysis: I am not looking forward to Reigns vs. Mahal. I realize it is probably Vince McMahon thinking that Mahal is hated by the fans, so maybe the crowd will finally get behind Reigns. I doubt it’s going to work, though. Those matches are going to be brutal too. Reigns is fine against the better workers, but against somebody like Mahal, who is very average in the ring, it’s not going to be pretty.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Kevin Owens

2. Braun Strowman

3. (tie) Finn Balor

3. (tie) Ember Moon

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2018 Average: 6.05

Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 5.5, 7, 7, 5.5

2018 High: 8 (February 19)

2018 Low: 4.5 (March 26)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

It was a solid night for in-ring action with Strowman vs. Owens, Moon vs. Banks vs. Riott and Balor vs. Reigns vs. Zayn all hitting around that three-star level of a good match. The other matches really didn’t stand out and there were no memorable promos elsewhere.

The build to Money in the Bank was fine because they put over how important it was to win the contract all night long. There were a lot of promos about it even though some of them were just quick cell phone promos from people with no chance of winning.

The next WWE PPV is Money in the Bank in Chicago on June 17. Here’s the lineup so far.

Men’s Money in the Bank Match: Braun Strowman and Finn Balor are the first two qualifiers. There will be 4 from Raw and 4 from Smackdown.

Women’s Money in the Bank Match: Ember Moon is the first qualifier. There will be 4 from Raw and 4 from Smackdown.

There are rumors that there might be a Tag Team Money in the Bank match as well, but it’s not confirmed yet. Also, Brock Lesnar is not wrestling on this show. That’s all we know for now.

---

That's all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Go Toronto Blue Jays.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook





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