The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/28/18 Review (9 Years of The Raw Deal!)

This week’s edition of the WWE Raw Deal is the nine-year anniversary special. The first Raw Deal review was May 25, 2009, which featured a ten-man tag match with the face wrestlers in LA Lakers jerseys and heels in Denver Nuggets jerseys since WWE was mad that Denver was hosting the NBA game that night when WWE had originally booked it for Raw. It was also Ken Kennedy’s last match in WWE because Randy Orton was mad at Kennedy for dropping Orton on his shoulder during the match. It wasn’t even that bad, but Orton was mad about it, complained about it and Kennedy was fired a few days later. That was the Raw where I decided I wanted to try to make a career out of this writing hobby of mine. (If you’re wondering, my review of that show and most of the early years are not online due to it being on an old website that is now gone, but I do have everything on my laptop hard drive.) It's cool to think about the past nine years, but that wasn’t when I started writing about wrestling on the internet because I would have to go back to early 1999 for that. It’s been nearly 20 years now, which is crazy. Throughout the 2000s I stopped and started a lot due to a busy life in my 20s and I didn’t commit to a regular weekly review of WWE content until 2009 with the Raw Deal. That led to me starting a new website that has gone through three different URLs and now we have the permanent home at TJRWrestling.net that is growing all the time. Thanks to Rajah.com as well because I started there in the early 2000s and I still post there. Will I make it to ten years? I think so because I have no plans to stop, but you never know what the next year might bring. I just want to thank you all for the support whether it’s been for nearly 20 years, the last nine years, a few years or even one week, I truly appreciate all of you for letting me share my opinions on PROFESSIONAL WRASSLIN’ (or SPORTZ ENTERTAINMENT PAL!) and having a few laughs along the way. If you can’t laugh at this business and have fun when you watch it, then it’s probably best to move on to something else. It’ll always be fun for me because I know not to take pro wrestling too seriously. Do I wish the current WWE product was better? Of course, but I still respect the men and women that put their bodies in the line in that ring, so I'll always be a fan. Thanks again for all the support. Let’s get to the review. Live from Richmond, Virginia, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1305 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Thank you for all the support and remember you can always pick up a TJRWrestling t-shirt to support the site as well. Raw began with a video tribute for Memorial Day, which was today in the United States. The video featured military personnel talking about their experiences in war. It’s not an easy thing to do and we are all grateful for them for serving for their country to help all of us lead normal lives. The crowd in Richmond applauded the video and did “USA” chants. Let’s Hear From Braun Strowman Braun Strowman entered to a loud ovation. The Money in the Bank briefcases were hanging above the ring. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman talked about what matches are coming up: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal for the IC Title and a Women’s Gauntlet match. Strowman had a microphone in hand and looked up at the briefcases. Fans chanted “Get These Hands” for Strowman before he could say a word. Strowman said he gets motivated when he sees that briefcase because it gives him a contract for a shot at the Universal Championship anywhere at any time at any arena in the entire world. Strowman said at Money in the Bank, he’ll destroy seven other men, then he’ll climb the ladder and take that briefcase as well as that contract. Strowman said he’ll not only be known as Mr. Money in the Bank, but also Mr. Monster in the Bank. Strowman laughed about how nobody can stop him. Strowman said not The Miz, not Bobby Roode, not Finn Balor after last week, not a single member of The New Day, not Rusev, not Kevin Owens and he’s going to win Money in the Bank. Strowman said he’s going to cash in that contract and then Universal Champion Brock Lesnar is going to “get these hands.” Finn Balor showed up for the interruption telling Strowman he’s getting ahead of himself. Balor pointed out he was the first Universal Champion that never lost that title and that eats away at him every single day. Balor said he’ll climb one of them ladders and take back what is his – the Universal Title. Balor got in the ring with Strowman. Balor said that last week he gave Strowman everything that he has, but at Money in the Bank there’ll be six others in the ring with them and it’ll be every man for himself. Strowman said Balor put up a really good fight for a little guy. Balor slapped Strowman in the face. Strowman responded by picking up Balor and tossing him across the ring. Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, showed up to interrupt. Angle said they were showing intensity, which was one of the three I’s. Angle said that Balor’s match with Strowman was incredible last week and he asked the fans if they want to see Balor vs. Strowman right now. A referee ran out to make this match official. Analysis: It was a typical opening segment to set up a match after the break. It’s usually a promo like that or setting up a match for later in the show. The crowd was loud for Strowman as usual. (Commercial) The great Kevin Owens joined the announce team for this match. Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor Strowman with a headbutt early on. Owens said he didn’t even know who from Smackdown was in the match as Bobby Roode was shown watching on a TV backstage. Strowman whipped Balor hard into the turnbuckle. Owens pointed out that he put on a five star performance to qualify for Money in the Bank. Balor with a running forearm that had no effect as Strowman punched Balor in the chest followed by a kick to the ribs. When Balor got back up, Strowman hit Balor with an uppercut punch. Cole asked Owens if he’s ever blamed himself for anything and Owens wondered if Cole has hit puberty yet. I love anybody that rips on Cole, so thanks KO. Strowman whipped Balor into the turnbuckle again. Balor got in a few kicks, but Braun caught his foot and then kicked Balor down. Owens had a microphone while telling Strowman to prove to Balor that he’s the Monster Among Men. Strowman stomped on Balor as the show went to break. (Commercial) The show returned with Balor getting some kicks in and Strowman punched him out of the ring. Cole said their match last week was a classic. It really wasn’t, but it was fine for a TV main event. Strowman charged at Balor on the floor and hit a running shoulder tackle that sent Balor over the barricade into two well placed security guys to break his fall. They went back to ringside with Balor shoving Strowman into the ring post. Back in the ring, Balor with a dropkick that sent Strowman out of the ring. Balor with another dropkick. Owens tried to motivate Balor by saying he needs to give him his best shot. Balor with a step up enziguri followed by a somersault dive onto Strowman out of the ring. Strowman no sold it and threw Balor back in the ring. Balor with a Slingblade followed by a dropkick that sent Strowman into the turnbuckle. Balor with a double foot stomp off the top onto the back of Strowman. Balor up top and he connected with the Coup de Gras double foot stomp to the chest. Balor went up again, but Owens ran down to ringside and punched Balor. The ref called for the bell for the disqualification. It went about 12 minutes. Winner by disqualification: Braun Strowman Analysis: *** Pretty good match again from these guys even with the disqualification ending. I expected that to happen because it would have been a bad idea to have Balor lose for a second week in a row and we all know Strowman doesn’t lose matches. I thought Balor’s offense when he was rolling was looking great, so it shows that he is a credible opponent against a bigger guy. Post match, Owens grabbed a ladder from under the ring. Owens hit Balor with the ladder. Owens went after Strowman with the ladder, but Strowman caught it and Strowman threw the ladder at Owens. It didn’t hit Owens, but Strowman threw that ladder very far. Analysis: That ladder toss was great. Strowman has been booked so strong in the last few months. He barely sells anything and looks dominant at all times. A clip aired of Jinder Mahal attacking Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins with a chair last week to set up Mahal vs. Rollins this week. Also, the Women’s Gauntlet is still to come. Elias was shown warming up with his guitar backstage because he’s up next. A commercial aired for Money in the Bank hyping the WWE Title match: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing match. (Commercial) A commercial aired for Total Bellas and Nikki Bella actually said “I feel like I’ve been living a fake life.” Yes, a woman in a scripted “reality” show actually said that. Poor Daniel Bryan being on that show. A clip aired of what happened with Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman from before the break. Kevin Owens was shown backstage with his luggage. Owens went up to a valet and told him to get his car. The valet asked for his ticket and Owens said he didn’t have it. Kurt Angle showed up and asked Owens where he was going. Owens said he wanted to go see Memorial Day festivities. Angle said he didn’t care about that because he’s Canadian. Good line. Angle told Owens he had a match with Bobby Roode. Owens went back into the arena to prepare. Analysis: Owens is funny in segments like that. Sasha Banks did a cell phone promo about the women’s gauntlet match saying it’s going to take guts, skills and luck. She said she doesn’t need luck because she’s The Boss. Elias was in the ring doing his usual pre-match song. The crowd chanted “Walk With Elias” right on cue. Elias complained about the lighting because the crowd in Virginia was ugly, so the crowd booed. He asked for a smaller spotlight on him. Elias told “Lance” to bring the vocals up so we can hear more of Elias and less of them. Elias continued to rile up the crowd telling them to shut up. Elias said he’ll sit there all night if they don’t be quiet. The IC Title match is next while Elias was in the ring saying if that’s how they feel then maybe he’ll just leave. The show went to break. Analysis: It was Elias getting heat as usual for one of his songs. He is good at pissing the crowd off, so I have to give him credit for that. (Commercial) Elias was still in the ring insulting the audience. Elias told the fans to shut their mouths. Elias said he’ll threaten to leave again. The fans chanted “Leave” at Elias. Seth Rollins made his entrance. He’s the Intercontinental Champion and it’s also his birthday. He’s also a guy with long black hair and a beard like Elias. Rollins is 32 years old today. He’s performing as well as he ever has and is arguably the best superstar in WWE today. Rollins grabbed the stool that was in the ring and he tossed it out of the ring. Elias was frustrated by that. Rollins stuck out his hand telling Elias to get out of the ring, so Elias left, which drew cheers from the crowd. Analysis: My initial thought is that this could lead to Elias attacking Rollins later in the show to set up a feud between them because Rollins is without a Money in the Bank opponent. Jinder Mahal was introduced by his buddy Sunil Singh. Mahal faces Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank on June 17. The wrestlers stood in the ring as Jojo (Wyatt?) the ring announcer introduced both men as they stood in the ring since it’s a championship match. Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) Rollins with a running cross body block that sent Mahal out of the ring. Rollins with a leaping attack over the top that took out Mahal on the floor. Rollins rolled Mahal back in, Sunil provided a distraction and Mahal knocked Rollins off the apron and into the barricade. The show went to break with Rollins in pain on the floor. (Commercial) The show returned with Mahal hitting a belly to back suplex on Rollins. Mahal with an abdominal stretch. Rollins broke free, but Mahal stopped him with a knee to the ribs. Rollins sent Mahal face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins hit a Slingblade followed by the clothesline that sent Mahal out of the ring. Rollins with a suicide dive that took out Mahal on the floor. Back in the ring, Rollins with the Blockbuster neckbreaker that got a two count. Mahal came back by putting Rollins on his shoulders and hitting a gutbuster knees to the ribs for a two count. Mahal wanted The Khallas, Rollins got out of it, Rollins went for The Stomp, Mahal moved and Rollins managed to get a superkick followed by the Falcon Arrow suplex for a two count. Rollins with a kip up. Rollins stomped his foot leading to “Burn it Down” chants, kick to the ribs and Singh grabbed Rollins’ foot. The ref made Rollins stay back. The ref John Cone tossed Singh to the back. Back at ringside, Mahal hit Rollins with a chair to the ribs that the ref didn’t see. Mahal covered for two. That was a great nearfall. Rollins with a step up enziguri. Singh was back at ringside even though the ref sent him out. Rollins sent Mahal into the turnbuckle. Rollins hit a Powerbomb on Singh where he launched him into Mahal as if it was Buckle Bomb. Rollins brought the steel chair into the ring and hit Mahal in the back with it. The referee disqualified Rollins. It went about 12 minutes. Winner by disqualification: Jinder Mahal (Seth Rollins is still IC Champion) Analysis: *** It was a good match that was better than most Mahal matches thanks to Rollins bumping his ass off for him and doing his cool offense. It was similar in style to some of the Mahal matches with Styles, which were the best Mahal matches. That means Mahal is good enough when he’s in there with the best guys. Anyway, it was a weird finish with Rollins being frustrated and settling for the disqualification loss. I figured Rollins would win because he’s a level above Mahal, but maybe WWE felt like Mahal shouldn’t lose since they want to make him look strong going into the MITB match against Roman Reigns. Post match, Rollins hit Mahal in the back again with the chair and Mahal was knocked out of the ring. Rollins attacked Mahal with the chair to the back again. Sunil Singh grabbed Rollins’ leg, so Mahal went to the back. Rollins hit Singh in the back with the chair again. Rollins’ music played to end it even though he was disqualified during the match. Rollins stood on the announce table, Elias showed up from behind and Elias hit Rollins in the back with the guitar. Rollins bumped onto something below, but we don’t know what because they went to commercial quickly. Analysis: Rollins disrespected Elias earlier, so it was obvious Elias was going to get his revenge on him. I thought it might happen when Rollins was on the stage, but they waited until Rollins was on the announce table. (Commercial) There were images shown of WWE superstars with members of the military in honor of Memorial Day. There was a replay of Elias attacking Rollins with a guitar shot to the back that sent Rollins off the announce table. There was no video of what Rollins landed on. I assume it was a well placed table, but there was no shot of the table. Rollins was placed on a stretcher. Rollins told the guys to give him a minute because he wanted to get back up on his own. Rollins sat up on the stretcher while he had a neckbrace on around his neck. Some fans were singing “happy birthday” to Rollins, which was funny considering his situation. Jamie Noble and Adam Pearce, who were there with referees as well as EMTs, helped Rollins walk to the back. Analysis: That’s the babyface thing to do with Rollins not wanting to leave on a stretcher and Rollins wanted to prove how tough he was. The announce team talked about it with Graves saying that it was a cheap shot by Elias. Coachman said that what Elias did was despicable. Nia Jax, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance. Before Jax could get into the ring, Ronda Rousey’s music hit. They are opponents at Money in the Bank. Rousey joined the commentary team for this match. Nia Jax said it was great that Rousey was out there to see this exhibition. Jax told the opponent to apply the armbar like Rousey does. The opponent did it, Jax powered out of it and hit a Powerbomb on the woman. Rousey said it was true that she’s never been in the ring with somebody as big as Jax, but we’ll see what happens. Jax said she wondered if Jax could even apply the armbar. The unnamed wrestler is Michelle Webb according to Graves and Jax dropped her with a Samoan Drop. Jax said she could get a victory on that, especially on Rousey at Money in the Bank, but she’s not done yet. Jax hit a running leg drop on Webb. Jax suggested that you can count to 10, 20, 30 or 40 and she’s not getting up. Jax said that Rousey has never faced anything like that in the UFC. Jax said if she wanted to, her leg could crush a woman’s chest. Jax ran the ropes and hit a rolling senton to the chest of Webb. Rousey commented that she’s never seen anything like Jax before. Jax said that the girl in the ring needs assistance and suggested that Rousey comes down to the ring to help her out. Jax told the ref to back it up. Jax said she wanted Rousey to come down there. Rousey made her way down to the ring. Fans were chanting for her, so Jax said that Ronda knows her name, so the fans can shut up now. Rousey entered the ring with Jax while the ref and the other woman were gone. Jax said she’s not so intimidated by Rousey and said she finds it humorous. Jax called Rousey “cute.” Jax turned her back to Rousey and left the ring. Jax forgot to take her title as she walked up the ramp. Analysis: That was a heelish promo from Jax. I don’t know if that means she’s going to be a heel, but I think that’s the more natural role for her especially because of how big she is. I think the best way to tell the story of this match is to have Jax in more of a heel role like that. That’s the right way to do it because if they are both faces doing the respect thing then it gets boring. If Jax is cocky and a jerk to Ronda then it’s only going to make people want to see Rousey beat her at Money in the Bank. As for the execution of the segment, it was fine, but it would be nice if Rousey would have said something in the ring to try to get people more excited about it. The women’s Gauntlet match is still to come. Dana Brooke did a cell phone promo in front of a white board with mathematics on it. Brooke talked about the statistics needed to win that match later in the show. She’s hot, but that was a weird promo even though she is the “statistician” of Titus Worldwide. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, Raw’s Tag Team Champions, made their entrance to the delight of the crowd. They are the Deleter of Worlds. Matt led the crowd in “delete” chants as the show went to break. (Commercial) The Ascension were in the ring to lose…I mean have a match. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) This is not for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Wyatt started with Viktor as Cole trashed Matt Hardy’s family by talking about his kids Maxel and Wolfgang. Cole got the kids confused and said “Maxwell” challenged him to a match. Wyatt with a clothesline. Hardy tagged in, Wyatt splash and Hardy neckbreaker got a two count. Konnor did a distraction, so Viktor capitalized with a forearm on Hardy and the heels took over. Double team kick to the ribs by The Ascension. Elbow drop by Konnor got a two count. Cole kept saying Maxwell and Graves corrected him it was Maxel, so obviously Cole was screwing up on purpose. Konnor grounded Hardy with a headlock. Hardy broke free, Viktor tagged in, missed a corner attack and Wyatt made the hot tag. Wyatt with a clothesline followed by a senton splash as Konno broke up the pin. Hardy into the ring a Twist of Fate on Konnor and then a clothesline sent Konnor out of the ring. Wyatt with a uranage on Viktor. Hardy tagged in for the double team Kiss of Deletion on Viktor for the pinfall win after five minutes. Winner by pinfall: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt Analysis: *1/2 It was an easy win for the champs over a team that is there to put over the others in the tag team division. A boring match where I would have changed the channel if I wasn’t writing about it. Kurt Angle was in his office watching the television. The B Team duo of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas showed up. Axel said they wanted a Raw Tag Team Championship match because they are undefeated. Angle gave them credit for two straight wins over Breezango, but they need to do more. Dallas came up with the idea that in order to win over the tag teams, they need to do something like the B Team Tag Team Memorial BBQ and then they left. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens is up next. (Commercial) The Riott Squad trio did a cell phone promo. Liv Morgan looks like the least intimidating wrestler ever. Riott said one way or another, that final place in Money in the Bank will belong to the Riott Squad. Bobby Roode made his “Glorious” entrance. He is getting smaller reactions every time the fans see him. Kevin Owens was up next. Both guys are in the Money in the Bank contract Ladder Match. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens Owens slapped on the headlock early on. Roode came back with a running shoulder tackle. Roode dumped Owens to the floor followed by a clothesline on the apron. Owens tripped up Roode on the apron. Owens whipped Roode back first into the barricade. Owens hit the cannonball splash on Roode against the barricade as the show went to break. (Commercial) Back to the action, Owens missed a senton splash. Roode with boots to the face followed by the Blockbuster neckbreaker off the ropes. Roode with a neckbreaker. Roode went up top, Owens tripped him up, Roode punched him down and Roode hit a clothesline off the top. Owens left the ring, so Roode chased after him and hit a clothesline on the ramp. Roode threw Owens back in the ring. Owens with a superkick. Roode with a sunset flip, Owens sat on top and hooked the legs for the pinfall win after ten minutes. Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with a weak finish because the crowd didn’t react to it at all. Owens getting the win was the right decision because he’s the bigger star that’s a legitimate threat to win Money in the Bank, so giving him momentum is the right decision. It’s obvious that the fans are losing a lot of interest in Roode as a face and he needs to be a heel because he’s much better in that role. After the match was over, Braun Strowman’s music hit and he stalked Owens because of what happened earlier. Owens ran around the ring, Strowman chased and Roode stood in front of Owens. They went into the ring with Strowman hitting a massive shoulder tackle that took down Owens. Strowman picked up Owens and hit him with a Running Powerslam. Roode cheered on Strowman and the crowd loved it. Strowman hit another Running Powerslam on Owens. Strowman grabbed Roode by the throat and Strowman hit Roode with a Running Powerslam since it’s every man for himself. Cole put over the “Monster in the Bank” phrase again. The fans loved this. Analysis: Strowman is the kind of face that’s like Stone Cold where he isn’t going to work with another face like Bobby Roode, so that’s why he attacked. Plus, they are both in Money in the Bank, which meant it was Strowman sending a message to Roode. Strowman is definitely the favorite at Money in the Bank and the way that WWE is shoving the “Monster in the Bank” phrase down our throats shows that if Strowman does win, WWE will be happy to use that moniker for him. Sami Zayn issues an apology up next. (Commercial) Sami Zayn’s Apology Sami Zayn made his dancing entrance to the ring with the crowd booing. Zayn was in street clothes and not in his ring gear while also wearing his goofy hat. Zayn said that last week didn’t go as he hoped and WWE management has been gracious enough to provide him an opportunity to issue a formal, public apology. Zayn brought out a paper along with his glasses to read an apology. Zayn’s apology was to the WWE Universe and Bobby Lashley’s family. He said that reaction on social media was swift, cringeworthy and unkind and one young fan said it made him embarrassed to be a fan of Sami Zayn. Zayn said that last week he did something he promised us he wouldn’t do – he lied. Zayn admitted that those were not Bobby Lashley’s sisters last week, they were men that he hired and his goal was to entertain. Zayn said he wanted to entertain, but not to provoke. Zayn apologized to Lashley’s family, WWE management and the WWE Universe, I am…uh…he said he’s trying to do something difficult here and he finally said: “I just want to say that I’m sorry.” Zayn pointed out that everything he said last week was true and his expose on Lashley was rooted in reality. Zayn said he didn’t expect the fans to get it, but there’s no doubt in his mind that history will look back on last week’s interview segment very favorably. Zayn said he’s trying to do the right thing and speaking the truth while telling the fans they should be apologizing to him because Zayn deserves better. Zayn said he deserves more and he should be in Money in the Bank and beating Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Title instead of standing in the ring issuing an apology in front of a repulsive crowd in Virginia. Lashley’s music interrupted. Analysis: Zayn is right that he deserves more. This feud has been awful and he deserves to have more in terms of having a better storyline. Bobby Lashley greeted a lot of fans on his way to the ring. Lashley stood in the ring. Lashley said Memorial Day is a special day for families like his. Lashley said on behalf of himself and his family, he salutes them and he thanks them. Fans chanted “USA” for that. Lashley said that his sisters thought Zayn was entertaining. Lashley talked about how they had an issue, so why not settle it in the ring with a match at Money in the Bank? Lashley said that Zayn talked a big game for the last two weeks, so do the right thing and back up that trash talk by shaking Lashley’s hand. Zayn shook Lashley’s hand to agree to the match. Zayn said at Money in the Bank he’s going to Helluva Kick that stupid smile off Lashley’s face. Zayn tried to leave, but Lashley squeezed his hand tight and Zayn was selling that Lashley was hurting him. Lashley said he apologized for everything he’s going to do to Zayn at Money in the Bank. Lashley let Zayn go to end the segment. Analysis: It was obvious this was going to lead to a match at Money in the Bank, so that segment was needed to set up the match. Zayn’s promo work is entertaining, but the fans just don’t care that much about Lashley. At least this week the reaction to Lashley was better than the other weeks, so maybe there is some progress in terms of how the fans are reacting to Lashley. The MITB match should be a win for Lashley. Mickie James did a cell phone promo. James talked about how she has her eyes on the prize, which is the Money in the Bank contract in the sky. James said it’s going to take a lot more than friends or luck or guts. James said she’s not a six-time Women’s Champion by accident and she knows how to seize the opportunity. James said that after tonight she’ll be Money in the Bank. Cole mentioned that Raw is in Mickie’s hometown of Richmond. Analysis: Good promo as usual from my favorite woman on the show and the woman that needs to be used better. The duo of Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler entered for McIntyre’s singles match against Chad Gable. (Commercial) Images were shown of WWE superstars with military personnel in honor of Memorial Day. A commercial aired for 205 Live this week with Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander defending the title against Buddy Murphy, who has been impressive over the last few months. Chad Gable made his entrance for his match against Drew McIntyre. Drew McIntyre (w/Dolph Ziggler) vs. Chad Gable McIntyre was dominant early on with punches followed by a boot to the face. McIntyre picked up Gable in his arms and hit a suplex. McIntyre slapped on an armbar while the announce team was talking about how great McIntyre has looked since returning to WWE. When Gable got up, McIntyre dropped him with an elbow. McIntyre hit a belly to belly suplex that sent Gable across the ring. McIntyre set up Gable on the top rope, Gable knocked him down and Gable hit a moonsault press for a two count. McIntyre dumped Gable out of the ring. Outside the ring, Gable with elbows followed by a rolling kick. Gable on the apron, he jumped off, McIntyre caught him and tossed Gable legs first into the ring post. McIntyre sent Gable back in the ring. McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after five minutes of action. Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre Analysis: ** Easy win for McIntyre in front of a crowd that knew Gable had no chance, so it was tough for them to get into the match. I am all for the push of Drew McIntyre to the top of the roster in WWE. I hope it happens for him. It’s sad to see how poorly Gable has been booked since he was moved to Raw last month. Aside from beating Jinder Mahal, Gable has looked like a loser and it makes you wonder if WWE will get behind him or if he’ll keep losing. I want to see Gable given a shot, but I know you can’t give a push to everybody. The B-Team’s tag team barbecue is up next. (Commercial) A Money in the Bank moment aired of Kane beating Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Title at MITB 2010. Kane won the MITB match one hour before he cashed in to leave with the World Title. It’s official for Money in the Bank: Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn. The B-Team’s Memorial Day BBQ The ring was full of tag team wrestlers in WWE except for the Tag Champs Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. Bo Dallas welcomed us to the B-Team Memorial Day BBQ. Curtis Axel pointed out to The Ascension that they didn’t have a spread like this in The Wasteland. They pointed out the food in the ring like beans, bratwurst, potato chips and baloney sandwiches, which Titus had. Bo also pointed out the B-Team Bo-dogs. Rhyno had a whole plate of sandwiches in front of him. Axel said since they are undefeated, the B-Team has the right to challenge Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy for the Tag Team Titles. Axel forgot the names of them briefly, so the announcers were laughing. When the B-Team tried to leave, Breezango stopped. O’Neil realized what was going on, so he yelled at the B-Team about this “bootleg backyard basement BBQ” and complained about the food while noting that none of it was seasoned. O’Neil said there’s no way they can cut ahead of the other teams in the tag team division. Slater pointed out that this is a feast. Slater said in West Virginia, this would be a feast. Slater pointed out that Rhyno was still eating, so it’s good food. Slater told Bo and Curtis they won’t be cutting any lines to the Tag Team Titles. Axel said if they won’t let them have a title shot then they are going to take their food back. O’Neil dumped the beans on Dallas and some salad was dumped on Axel by Fandango. It led to everybody having a food fight. Everybody was throwing food and they destroyed everything in the ring. Rhyno was alone in the ring with the food. The fans cheered for him. Axel and Dallas went back in the ring and did a double team slam on Rhyno that put Rhyno through the table. The B-Team’s music played to end it. Analysis: It was a bad comedy segment designed to just have a food fight. I thought it might end with Rhyno hitting a Gore to end it on a happy note, but instead it was done to put over the B-Team. The women’s gauntlet match is up next as the main event. (Commercial) A commercial aired for Camp WWE on WWE Network. I don’t watch it, but a friend told me that Vince McMahon sings “Stand Back” on the third episode, so that might be worth checking out. Next week on Raw: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Roode since those four guys are all in Money in the Bank. Also, Nia Jax faces Natalya. Kurt Angle was in his office texting on his phone. Axel and Dallas showed up complaining about what happened. They asked for a Tag Team Title match. Angle said that next week they’ll settle it in the ring with a Tag Team Battle Royal. The winners will face Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy for the Raw Tag Team Championships, which I assume is at Money in the Bank, which Kurt didn’t say. Dallas shook Angle’s hand and Axel hugged Angle, which ruined Kurt’s suit. Analysis: That means four matches announced next week. Tag team battle royals aren’t great, but it’s a way to get them all in the same match to try to put one of the teams over. It might be a win for Axel and Dallas. I’d like to see The Revival get the win. Bayley was the first woman out there for the Gauntlet match. The rules of the gauntlet match are that two women start, it goes on until somebody gets beat and the next entrant gets their shot. Bayley was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso. Bayley said she’s bringing the fight to the Riott Squad, she said that sometimes the numbers don’t add up for Dana Brooke, she respects Mickie James and she will go through her if she has to. Bayley talked about how Sasha Banks thinks her name is written on that contract, but the name on that contract reads Bayley. Analysis: I thought it was a weak promo. The line at the end of it was similar to the Vince and Shane McMahon buying WCW promo from March 2001. Bayley has fallen so far in the last year and should be used so much better. Her storyline with Banks stalled months ago. Liv Morgan of the Riott Squad was up first as the opponent of Bayley. Money in the Bank Qualifying Gauntlet Match #1: Bayley vs. Liv Morgan The bell rang, they circled eachother, Bayley ducked a clothesline and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex to pin and eliminate Morgan. Match of the year! Liv Morgan eliminated by Bayley MITB Qualifying Gauntlet Match #2: Bayley vs. Sarah Logan Bayley tried to do a Belly to Belly on Logan, but Logan got out of it and Bayley punched her out of the ring. Bayley with a headscissors takedown on Logan on the floor for a two count. Logan choked her across the middle rope. Logan with a back body drop for a two count. Ember Moon was shown watching the TV backstage. Logan with a running knee on Bayley for a two count. Bayley got a rollup on Logan where she sat on top of Logan and that was enough to pin her. Sarah Logan eliminated by Bayley Morgan went back in the ring to attack Bayley. Logan with a knee to the face and Morgan with her knee to the face took down Bayley. Ruby Riott entered as the show went to break. (Commercial) MITB Qualifying Gauntlet Match #3: Bayley vs. Ruby Riott They started during the break. Riott had Bayley grounded in a headlock. Bayley with a sunset flip for two. Bayley with a belly to back suplex. Alexa Bliss was shown watching on a TV backstage. Riott sent Bayley arm first into the top rope. Riott hit her leaping Riott Kick to pin and eliminate Bayley. Bayley eliminated by Ruby Riott Analysis: That ended the brief run of Bayley. The crowd was dead for this match at this point. MITB Qualifying Gauntlet Match #4: Ruby Riott vs. Dana Brooke Riott stomped on Brooke and sent Brooke into the turnbuckle. Brooke came back with punches. Brooke hit her cartwheel into an elbow in the corner followed by a clothesline for two. Brooke worked on the arm, Riott slipped through and hit a Riott Kick to pin and eliminate Brooke. Dana Brooke eliminated by Ruby Riott Mickie James was next and she got a good reaction because the fans know she is from Richmond. James has been a heel of late, but not in front of this crowd. Nice Wonder Woman attire for James. MITB Qualifying Match #5: Ruby Riott vs. Mickie James James pulled Riott out of the ring and kicked her in the ribs. James with a running Thesz Press attack on Riott outside the ring. The fans were chanting “Let’s Go Mickie” for James. They went back in the ring with Riott hitting James with elbows. James came back with a flying headscissors and a dropkick for two. Riott bailed to the floor as James hit a baseball slide dropkick that sent Riott to the floor. (Commercial) Back to the match, James with three clotheslines, kick to the ribs and a flapjack followed by a kip up with the crowd cheering James a lot. James went up top and connected with the Thesz Press off the top for a two count. That was a good nearfall. James went for her Mick Kick, Riott ducked, Riott Kick avoided by James and Riott got a roll through into a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights for the pinfall win to eliminate James. Mickie James eliminated by Ruby Riott Analysis: I’m not a fan of that booking. I guess the reason for Mickie losing is because WWE wanted a heel to be in the end with Banks and Riott is more of a pure heel since James got cheered in her hometown. I just think James winning would have been better. Of course, the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! would lead to one of the falls in the match. Sasha Banks was up last with Cole doing his line about it being “Boss Time.” These are the last two competitors in the match. MITB Qualifying Match #6: Ruby Riott vs. Sasha Banks Banks got four two counts immediately with a variety of different pin attempts. Riott with a flatliner for a two count. There was a shot of Natalya watching on a TV backstage. Banks with a kick followed by a stomp to the back that sent Riott to the middle rope. Banks with a knee to the face. Banks jumped off the top with the double knees into a pin attempt for two. Riott with a back elbow to the face, then she sent Banks into the middle rope. Riott bounced off the ropes in a sweet move and hit a DDT for two. Riott with a kick to the face for two. The crowd was dead again. The women battled on the turnbuckle with Banks hitting a knee to the face against the ropes followed by a Powerbomb for two. Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission. Morgan and Logan showed up on the apron. Banks knocked them down. Riott with a rollup for two. Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission, Riott was near the ropes and Riott tapped out to lose. The whole match went about 22 minutes. Ruby Riott eliminated by Sasha Banks Winner of the Gauntlet Match and Qualifier for Money in the Bank: Sasha Banks Analysis: **1/4 The match was decent, but not that great. I pointed out the crowd throughout because this match went 22 minutes and the crowd was dead for about 18 minutes of it. They didn’t even care about the finish that much. The work of the women in the match was okay, but some of it was poor too. The best parts were with Mickie and Riott because the crowd cared about it. I’m not surprised by Banks getting the win since she always gets pushed to that level. Sasha Banks celebrated her win by staring and pointing up at the Money in the Bank briefcases above the ring. That was it for Raw. Analysis: If you thought staring and pointing season ended with WrestleMania, you are wrong.   Three Stars of the Show
  1. Braun Strowman
  2. Seth Rollins
  3. Finn Balor
  The Scoreboard 5 out of 10 Last week: 5.5 2018 Average: 5.98 Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6.5, 5.5 2018 High: 8 (February 19) 2018 Low: 4.5 (March 26)   Final Thoughts I give it a 5 out of 10. It was a very uneventful three-hour show. They spent three hours hyping up the main event match featuring the women, which is fine, but it’s just one woman joining seven others in a match that is still about three weeks away. It didn’t feel like a big match and the crowd was dead for most of it. That’s pretty telling. It’s hard for me to get that excited about it. I don’t want to say the creative team mailed it in this week by putting in no effort because that would be disrespectful. However, there was very little in terms of storyline advancement and exciting moments. If you missed this week’s show then you really missed nothing that was interesting. The Strowman/Balor match and Rollins/Mahal were pretty good even with both matches ending with disqualifications. They felt repetitive in that sense. Everything else in the ring was just average stuff. No Roman Reigns this week because he was given the week off to be with his family. I believe he's off live events next weekend too, but I think he'll be back for Raw. Reigns is married with a daughter and twin sons, so I'm sure he's enjoying a bit of a break after the crazy two week European tour earlier in the month. The next WWE PPV is Money in the Bank in Chicago on June 17. Here’s the lineup so far. WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Braun Strowman (Raw), Kevin Owens (Raw), Finn Balor (Raw), Bobby Roode (Raw), The Miz (SD), Rusev (SD), One member of The New Day (SD) and the last Smackdown guy is the winner of Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan on Tuesday. Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Ember Moon (Raw), Alexa Bliss (Raw), Natalya (Raw), Sasha Banks (Raw), Charlotte Flair (SD), Becky Lynch (SD), Lana (SD), Naomi (SD) Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella vs. Asuka Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson I assume Seth Rollins vs. Elias for the IC Title gets added as well. The Raw Tag Team Title match may be set up next week too. --- You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams. Thanks for reading. John Canton Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com Twitter: @johnreport Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook