This is a special edition of the WWE Raw Deal review. It was ten years ago this week when I decided to start writing weekly reviews of WWE Monday Night Raw for the May 25, 2009 episode of Raw, which I re-posted on Monday. It was a terrible show that I rated it 3 out of 10 (Festus was in action!), but it was memorable for Ken Kennedy getting fired after it was over and some bad content all night long. Anyway, I am gonna ramble on here a bit before this week’s Raw, so if you don’t care about some personal and professional stuff then scroll down until you see the classic Raw Deal banner right above the “Live from Kansas City” part.
It’s been over 20 years since I started writing about wrestling on the internet because it was in late 1998 at some point when I was 18 years old and then early 1999 is when I remember things taking off a bit. Shoutout to the Big 3 Newsboard and The Oratory among other places. Words like “blog” didn’t exist back then. The internet was only in our households for a few years too. I was learning about pro wrestling while trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to do in my life. Two university degrees, several jobs in different fields and 20 years later, I’m still writing about wrestling although now I can say it’s a career. Life is weird.
Throughout the 2000s I stopped and started a lot due to a busy life in my 20s. There were some years where I wrote way more while other years I barely did anything. I didn’t commit to a regular weekly review of WWE content until May 2009 with the Raw Deal. Life was at a point where I wasn’t sure what was next career-wise. I had a job that I hated and I knew it was affecting me in a negative way, so I had to figure out something else. Since I had a pretty good audience on Rajah, plus I knew Facebook and Twitter were really starting to get popular (the word blog did exist by this point haha!), I remembered how happy writing made me. I knew with the wrestling audience that was out there, plus the growth of social media, that I could do this. I could make this work as long as I worked hard at it. That's why I think of 2009 as my reboot of sorts (kind of like the Shawn Michaels comeback in 2002) because it's when I turned a hobby into what has become a career.
By late 2009, I started a blog on Wordpress, then a company bought me out and agreed to pay me to write content on thejohnreport.net. When that ended a few years later, I started tjrwrestling.com through other contacts I made. That went well for a few years, but then in 2015, I was screwed over when the payments stopped and I lost about five years of content. Everything is saved on my laptop, but the majority of it is not online. Since February 2015, we have been at the permanent home of TJRWrestling.net with no plans to change any time soon. We are doing well, and we get about 5 million views per year. This year will top the previous years. I’m trying to figure out ways to grow. Should I make TJRWrestling like a lot of wrestling sites that post every little news item? Or keep it more about the reviews? I think there are pros and cons to both ways. I’m trying to figure it out. Perhaps adding more writers soon is something we’ll do to keep those numbers going up.
What you learn as you go through life is nothing is certain especially when you’re writing about something as unique as professional wrestling. Even if an editor praises your work one day, you may get an email the next day saying, “we don’t have a spot for you anymore” and then you ask yourself what you did wrong. You get angry. You question your ability. Then, as I often do, you use it as motivation to get better. It also motivated me to find my own way. I’ve been burned too many times. It’s a life lesson that you have to learn sometimes, but what matters is how you pick yourself up after you get knocked down.
One of the phrases that I have really used to motivate myself is “Bet on yourself.” It comes from current Toronto Raptors (NBA Finals baby!) guard Fred Van Vleet, who was an undrafted free agent that has done very well for himself in the NBA. Fred is about 15 years younger than me, but I have no problem saying he inspired me when I heard him talk about his journey to the NBA. The phrase is three simple words, yet they say all you really need because it’s about believing in yourself and trusting that if you put in the work, it’s going to pay off eventually. Bet on yourself. Believe you can succeed. Don't give up - hey John Cena. Anyway, you get the idea.
Now to say thank you. Thank you to everybody that has ever written anything for TJRWrestling whether it’s one column or hundreds of columns. I am forever grateful. The same goes for my former podcast co-hosts. I did enjoy doing them when I did them, but I also have no plans on doing a podcast again any time soon. I prefer to just write at this point.
I want to thank some of the websites that I have written for during this journey because some of you guys found me due to them. They include Bleacher Report, WhatCulture, NoDQ, WrestlingNewsSource, UPROXX, Awful Announcing, The Comeback and some other smaller ones. I don't work for any of them anymore. Some paid well, others didn't pay at all. It's all a valuable learning experience. I'm at a point now where I can make full-time money at TJRWrestling only. Maybe down the road I'll try to write somewhere else again because I'm open to it if it's the right situation, but I like being my own boss on my own schedule. I still write at Rajah.com (mostly just posting my reviews several hours after they go up on TJRWrestling first) for my friend Rajah Kumar because I’ve been loyal since he added me to the team in 2000. Without that site, I would not have my site. That’s where most people found me in the first place because they do millions of views per month. Thank you Rajah.
Thanks to Steve “Melo Man” for the banner above and all the incredible banners. He’s been making my banners for about nine years now and he’s also one of my best friends. Thanks to my late friend Tom Briggs, who passed away way too soon as a young man with a long life ahead of him. Tom helped design TJRWrestling. He tragically passed away in a car accident four years ago and he is missed. He was a great guy. There are many other close friends I can thank too, for pushing me to keep going when I would vent to them or threaten to throw this all away. Sometimes you need your friends to reel you in when you go off the rails a bit. Believe me, it was always appreciated on my end.
Thank you, WWE, and every other wrestling promotion I’ve ever watched, for a lifetime of wrestling content that never stops. If it wasn’t for Randy Savage making me say “wow” in the mid-1980s then I have no idea where life would have taken me. I saw the Macho Man enter with that expensive looking robe, I heard that “OH YEAH” and I saw that elbow off the top. It was the coolest thing ever. I wanted to see more. Here I am over 30 years later not only watching more wrestling than ever, but also writing about 20,000+ words in an average week.
Thank you to you, the reader. You made the choice to click on my column or review the first time and you made the choice to come back. Whether it’s been 20 years, 10 years, a few years, months or even a week, I truly appreciate your support. I try to have fun when I write about wrestling because if I was miserable then I would hate myself for doing it. We all want WWE (or any wrestling company) to have great shows and I think with AEW here now, we’re going to get spoiled with even more awesome wrestling this year. For everybody that complains to me about Raw booking, believe me, it frustrates me too. However, I can point to Rollins vs. Styles having a near five star match eight days ago or the NXT Takeover event on Saturday that could have some matches at the five star level as usual. I try to keep it positive. Will I be critical? Sure, because I care and WWE is like a favorite sports team that I want to see do well. I don’t want to bitch and moan, but if I have to, then it's because I care. Pro wrestling has been there with me through the toughest moments of my life. When I can't sleep, I write. When I feel sad, I write about things that will help put a smile on my face and usually that is pro wrestling. Writing has helped me get through difficult things because it’s a way to release what I’m feeling. It’s therapeutic, at least for me.
I’m not sure how many Raw Deal reviews I have written, but I'm proud that I am going strong ten years into it. I started ten years ago, there are 52 weeks in a year and I only missed about four reviews, so it’s over 500 Raw Deal reviews in that time. An average Raw Deal since 2012 runs about 7,000 words and it was about 5,000 words in the three years before that. That’s a lot of writing! I'll give myself a Horowitz pat on the back for that.
I think I’m done now. I just want you guys to know how grateful I am. Without you guys and the overwhelming support especially in the last decade, I doubt I would have kept going. If you want to send along a comment, my Twitter is @johnreport and you can email me at email@example.com as another option. Thank you once again for your support. As Triple Haitch McMahon-Helmsley Game Levesque once said to Vincent Kennedy Grapefruits McMahon: "I love you, pop."
That was over 1500 words. Too much? Probably. I'm a wordy guy. Here's that classic Raw Deal banner I mentioned earlier.
Live from Kansas City, Missouri, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1356 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. This review is sponsored by ICOPRO.
Raw began with a Memorial Day video. Very well done. It’s important to remember those that have lost their lives defending our freedom and continue to do so. Thank you. When the video ended, there was a shot of the Kansas City crowd chanting “USA” for the video.
Brock Lesnar was shown backstage with Paul Heyman by his side. Lesnar was wearing his new “Brock Party” shirt and he had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him.
Let’s Hear from Kofi Kingston…and others
Kofi Kingston entered with the WWE Championship around his waist. He’s a Smackdown guy that was here because of the Wild Card Rule. A replay aired from Smackdown showing Dolph Ziggler’s vicious attack on Kingston to set up their Super Showdown match for the WWE Title.
Kingston was limping a bit to sell the attack, but not much. Kingston said that Kevin Owens took out Big E backstage and he re-injured Big E’s knee. Kingston said that he was attacked by Dolph Ziggler. Kingston said that Ziggler tried to end him, but he’s still here and he’s still standing tall. Kingston said that when the time is right, he will address Ziggler, but he’s not there for that tonight. Kingston said that he’s there for Mr. Money in the Bank and Paul Heyman said that tonight’s the night where we will find out Brock Lesnar’s choice. Kingston said that he wants to be a great WWE Champion, so he wants to face and beat Brock Lesnar. Kingston claimed that he wanted Lesnar to cash in on him here tonight.
Seth Rollins made his entrance to a big pop and he had the WWE Universal Championship around his waist.
Rollins said that he is not Lesnar, he is better. Rollins said that just like Kofi, he wants to know what Brock Lesnar’s decision is going to be. Rollins called out Lesnar to make that decision right now.
Brock Lesnar entered to his theme song, but then the song changed because Lesnar put the briefcase to his head like a boombox. The back side of the briefcase had some boombox features. Graves called it a “Beastbox” as he asked Renee when was the last time you saw Lesnar have this much fun? Good point.
When Lesnar got in the ring, he did some more dancing like a fool. It was a unique look for Lesnar, that’s for sure, but I enjoyed it. Lesnar looked at Kingston leading to New Day music playing and then Rollins music played when Lesnar looked at Rollins. Even Heyman got into the dancing! That was funny too. Rollins was sick of things, so he just walked out of the ring looking frustrated. Kingston remained in the ring with Lesnar and Heyman.
Heyman said that it’s just like Seth Rollins to pee on everybody’s parade. Heyman said that Lesnar was going to announce right here, right now about who he would cash in the Money in the Bank contract, but Seth Rollins ruined the Brock Party. The fans booed, so Heyman told them there’s no booing Lesnar. Heyman told Kingston to blame Seth Rollins. Lesnar left with Heyman.
Analysis: The Lesnar dancing thing was the highlight. It made me laugh just like 15 years ago when he was feuding with Eddie Guerrero with a mariachi band on Smackdown. I like seeing a different side of Lesnar instead of the usual staring ahead while Heyman speaks. They teased the Money in the Bank cash-in again with no payoff because that’s what WWE wants to do with Lesnar to keep the audience guessing about when it might happen. I didn’t expect a cash-in here anyway. Kingston showed a lot of babyface heart with his promo. Rollins was fine as well. With all of that said, there was nothing happening here. If you skipped it, you missed nothing.
When Kingston went to the ring apron to leave, Dolph Ziggler showed up and attacked him from behind. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Kingston on the bottom of the ramp. Ziggler grabbed a chair to continue the attack, but Xavier Woods ran out there to save Kingston and he chased Ziggler away. That was it for the opening segment about 16 minutes into the first hour.
Analysis: The attacks continue from Ziggler to get him some cheap heat. It worked again.
When the show returned, Kofi Kingston was being helped by referees. Ziggler ran up the ramp and got into a brawl with Woods, who fought back with punches. Ziggler and Woods brawled around the ringside area with Ziggler gouging the eyes of Woods. Ziggler whipped Woods into the barricade at ringside. Woods fought back with punches, he sent Ziggler over the barricade and Woods hit a double axehandle on Ziggler. Woods tossed Ziggler into the crowd. There were some referees around to try to break it up, but they weren’t successful. They brawled into the crowd with Woods tossing a trash can at him. Cole just said, “WWE fans” like a sane person instead of “WWE Universe” like a trained robot. They went back to ringside with Ziggler whipping Woods into the steel steps. Ziggler grabbed a chair and hit Woods in the back two times in a row with Woods screaming in pain. Ziggler sent Woods into the ring with another hard chair shot to the back. Ziggler put the chair around Xavier’s neck, so Kingston ran out to ringside to save Woods and Ziggler left the ring and jumped the barricade to get away.
Analysis: It was a long brawl to put Ziggler over. When you want to get a heel over strong with a new push, you don’t break it up with referees and agents, so that’s why it kept on going. It was okay.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were still in the ring.
Dolph Ziggler showed up for a promo on the stage reminding Kingston that he has to defend the WWE Title against Ziggler at Super Showdown. Ziggler told Kingston to celebrate for the next 11 days because he’s the best WWE Champion he can ever remember (heels lie?), but every time Ziggler sees Kingston it reminds him that it should have been him (Dolph). Ziggler said that Kingston has had two people watching his back and when people said Kofi was a B+ player, Dolph knew how good Kingston was as WWE Champion. Ziggler wondered what happens when Ziggler takes that WWE Title from Kingston. What happens to the fans? Ziggler said that at WrestleMania it should have been him, but at Super Showdown “it will be me.” Kingston held up the WWE Title while Ziggler left.
Analysis: It was fine. The repeated line “it should have been me” annoys the fans, so it’s good to keep doing it. Plus, it makes him look more like a serious, desperate kind of heel rather than the same stuff he has been doing for over a decade.
There was a shot of The Usos hosting a Memorial Day barbecue full of midcard wrestlers, plus others as extras. The Usos wished Natalya a happy birthday. Jimmy said everybody’s invited, but Jey said “hell no” to The Revival being invited. They were all happy about their party.
Shane McMahon was shown backstage getting ready for a match. Charly Caruso showed up for an interview wondering why Shane was having a match on Raw because that’s rare. Shane said he was going to get ready for his Super Showdown match with Roma Reigns. Shane walked towards the ring with Drew McIntyre by his side. When Shane appeared in the arena, he walked back to the back.
Analysis: That was a waste of a few minutes. This is a long show.
The opponent for Shane is Lance Anoa’i, who is one of Roman Reigns’ cousins. Drew McIntyre beat up Lance outside the ring. Shane told the referee Chad Patton to ring the bell.
Shane McMahon (w/Drew McIntyre) vs. Lance Anoa’i
Shane worked over Lance with his bad looking punches. Shane kicked Lance repeatedly in the legs. Lance tried to come back, but Shane worked him over with forearms to the back and a kick to the stomach. Lance with a dropkick to Shane’s face. Lance went for a kick, but Shane caught his leg and hit a spinning back elbow. Shane slapped on the triangle choke submission for the submission victory after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shane McMahon
Analysis: 1/2* It took 50 minutes to have a match and it was this two-minute squash.
Post match, Drew picked up Lance and dropped him with a hard chop to the chest. Shane slapped on a triangle choke on Lance. Shane said that he would do this to Sika if he was there right now. Shane said that the biggest mistake Sika ever made was spawning Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. What took him so long? Reigns ran at Drew and hit him with a Superman Punch. Shane left the ring, so Reigns chased after him. Reigns managed to connect with Superman Punch on Shane. When Reigns wanted a Spear, Drew pulled Shane out of the ring to save him. Shane and Drew went up the ramp. Reigns checked on his cousin Lance in the ring.
Shane and Drew were shown backstage leaving the arena to get away from Reigns.
Analysis: That was the end of the uneventful first hour of Raw with just two minutes of in-ring action. I did like the Ziggler attack on Woods and the promo, but other than that it was boring.
PLUG TIME: I reviewed the AEW debut show "Double or Nothing" from Saturday night, so please check that out here. It was pretty awesome, especially the last three matches. My favorite match was Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes, which was an old school bloodbath type match that I'm sure their late father Dusty would have loved. I also liked the Young Bucks vs. Lucha Brothers a lot. The Chris Jericho match against Kenny Omega wasn't as good as their match last year, but it was still a worthy main event. It was also cool to see Jon Moxley (former Dean Ambrose) debut. I expected it, but you don't really know until it happens. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was a fun night of wrestling and it's good for us fans to have even more quality wrestling programming to watch.
Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman while Brock Lesnar stands there
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance for the second time of the night with Lesnar rocking out to the boom box Money in the Bank briefcase. There was also referee John Cone in the ring to tease the idea of a cash-in right here.
Paul Heyman stood in the ring with the Money in the Bank contract that was in the briefcase. Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Championship around his waist. Rollins entered the ring for the second time on Raw.
Rollins said that the Universal Title is his life and he told Lesnar to shut his mouth. Rollins said that Lesnar makes a mockery of it, not because of his stupid beatbox and Rollins called Lesnar a joke. Rollins told Lesnar he stomped his head to the mat at WrestleMania and he can do it again now. Rollins told Lesnar he used to be the most feared man in combat sports history, but now he’s a shell of what he used to be because he hides behind Paul Heyman. Rollins told Lesnar to cash in right now. Lesnar wanted to do it. Heyman read the contract as if it was a real legal agreement including the part that said the MITB winner can cash in any time for one year, so Lesnar put his hand on the microphone and Lesnar yelled at Heyman about how he had a year to cash in the contract. Lesnar said that he didn’t know.
Lesnar said that he’s got a whole year and he has to make a decision now? Lesnar: “Seth Rollins, screw you.” Lesnar left with Heyman. Rollins left shortly after.
Analysis: That felt like another waste of time segment. I like what Rollins said to Lesnar, but it wasn’t that interesting. Lesnar realizing that he had a year to cash in the contract shows that it could be a long time until they do the cash in. There were rumors that it would happen soon, but maybe it will be later in the year in October when Smackdown is on Fox. That makes more sense than doing it any time in the near future.
There were wrestlers running in from the crowd. It was R-Truth with the 24/7 Title and he had Carmella with him. Some midcard wrestlers like Eric Young, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and Drake Maverick tried to attack Truth, but they failed. Truth went running to the back with Carmella.
Analysis: What a riveting storyline. Now that’s sarcasm.
AJ Styles was shown backstage in the doctor’s office when Charly Caruso asked why Styles was not in the 4-Way match tonight. Styles said that Money in the Bank, he felt a pop in his back. Styles said that he wanted to face Bobby Lashley, The Miz and even Braun Strowman for a shot at the Universal Title, but that’s not going to happen at least tonight. Styles said that more tests had to be run and Baron Corbin showed up with a punch to the back of Styles to knock him down. A "doctor" checked on Styles and told Corbin to leave, so Corbin left.
Analysis: The story is that Styles has a sore back, so he's going to get a few weeks to heal up. I assume he'll sit out the Super Showdown show.
Becky Lynch made her entrance for a tag team match. The next edition of Firefly Fun House happens later.
There was a commercial for NXT Takeover XXV (that’s 25) this Saturday. I’ll review that show too. NXT Takeover shows are always great.
Nikki Cross and Becky Lynch vs. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
The IIconics are the Women’s Tag Team Champions, but this is not a title match meaning they are going to lose.
Royce and Cross started for a few minutes with some mat wrestling, but there wasn’t much going on. Royce predicted Cross from tagging out. When Kay tagged in, Cross threw her out of the ring where Cross hit a cross body block onto Kay and Royce on the floor.
Analysis: It took 76 minutes to get to a real match on Raw, which led to a commercial three minutes into it.
The match continued with the heels continuing to work over Cross while Kay knocked Lynch off the apron. Lynch got the hot tag against Royce with the crowd cheering and Lynch hit a forearm off the middle ropes. Lynch with a kick to the gut of Royce and a Bexploder Suplex. Lynch stomped away on Royce as fans chanted “Becky” for her. Lynch hit a leg drop off the middle ropes, but Kay saved Royce. Cross in the ring with Kay hitting her with a kick to the face. Royce drove Lynch into Kay’s knee for a two count. That led to whining by the IIconics. Lynch slapped on the armbar on Royce while Cross took out Kay on the floor. Lynch picked up Royce and slammed her like a Rock Bottom for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Nikki Cross and Becky Lynch
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match following the predictable formula where they built up Lynch for the hot tag to have her get the win. It was obvious The IIconics were losing non-title again, which doesn’t make the match interesting at all.
Post match, Lacey Evans walked out wearing a dress and then she walked back up the ramp. Lynch held up her Raw Women’s Title.
It was back to The Usos BBQ party when Tamina showed up to hug The Usos and Naomi for a family reunion. The Revival duo of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson showed up to talk to The Usos with Naomi saying that she invited them. Naomi told the four guys to squash all this beef and said that it’s a good place to do it at the block party. The guys reluctantly shook hands.
Ricochet entered first to a good pop followed by Cesaro in a rematch from last week. They are both in the battle royal at Super Showdown.
Cesaro vs. Ricochet
Ricochet hit a move off the ropes into a hurricanrana. Ricochet kicked Cesaro out of the ring and then hit an incredible twisting dive over the top onto Cesaro on the floor. They went to break one minute into it.
The match continued with Ricochet going for a sunset flip, but Cesaro powered him up into the air and tossed him across the ring. Cesaro drove his knee into the back of Ricochet to wear him down. Ricochet fought back with a back elbow and Ricochet hit a superkick to the face. Ricochet with a running shoulder tackle followed by a springboard clothesline for two. Ricochet followed up with a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ricochet did a slow climb to the top rope, so Cesaro stopped him with an uppercut. Cesaro with another uppercut while Ricochet was sitting on the top rope. Ricochet fought out of a superplex attempt with two kicks. Ricochet went up top and went for the 630 Splash, but Cesaro moved, so Ricochet landed on his feet. Cesaro with a running uppercut that sent Ricochet into the turnbuckle for a two count. Cool spot. Cesaro was going for a Neutralizer, so Ricochet climbed up and hit a sunset flip Powerbomb for a two count. That was sweet. Ricochet followed up with a handstand, he went onto Cesaro’s shoulders and Ricochet turned into a hurricanrana into a pin for the victory after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: *** Good match with some cool moves from both guys. You can tell they like working with eachother and their moves look so smooth. Ricochet getting the win was the obvious result since Cesaro won last week when Ricochet was selling the back injury a lot. That’s WWE with 50/50 booking. They do it all the time, especially with midcarders. Ricochet should have won here, so I don't mind it. If it was me, Ricochet would win almost every match he has. Hopefully, if they get another match it will be closer to 20 minutes.
The announcers informed us that Rey Mysterio will give up the United States Title next week due to a separated shoulder.
Samoa Joe walked over to the announce table and he was in his ring gear. Joe said he heard that Rey Mysterio is going to do the right thing next week by relinquishing the US Championship. Joe said he’ll be waiting to take back what has always been rightfully his. That was it.
Analysis: I believe Rey hurt the shoulder when Joe gave him the uranage two times after the match at Money in the Bank, so it sucks to hear Rey is too hurt to compete. I know people like to mock Rey for injuries. I am not one of those people. He’s had a nearly 30-year career and injuries are a part of it especially when you wrestle a high-risk style like Rey. I’d rather celebrate his influential career instead of mocking the guy. It sucks that he got hurt again, but I hope he gets back soon.
Coming up later on Raw, there is a Corey Graves talk show called “The Electric Chair” with Sami Zayn as the guest.
It was back to the Usos block party outside where The Usos and The Revival were playing a game of cornhole. Everybody was really overexcited.
The Miz did a pre-tape promo saying he’s a champion outside the ring since he found out he and Maryse are having another daughter, but he wants to be a champion in the ring.
Braun Strowman did a promo where he trash talked his three opponents with SOME REALLY LOUD YELLING about Corbin and Lashley. When Strowman got to The Miz he said congrats on the gender reveal for his baby girl because faces are nice even when they YELL REALLY LOUDLY.
Braun Strowman made his entrance first, The Miz was next, Baron Corbin was third and Bobby Lashley was last. Lashley got to do a pre-match promo that was shown with Lashley showing a lot of confidence. The show went to break before the match began.
Analysis: Two hours of Raw are done. It has not been a good show so far.
The match started, so that meant that the wrestlers stood in the four corners for three minutes like the good independent contractors that they are. I almost said employees, but I chose not to.
Elimination Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz
Strowman and Lashley sent Corbin and Miz to the floor. That led to a showdown with Strowman and Lashley. Corbin went back in leading to Corbin and Lashley sending Strowman into the ring post. Miz worked over Corbin and Lashley with his weak looking kicks to the chest. Corbin with a belly to back suplex on Miz for a two count. Lashley with a neckbreaker on Miz for a two count. Lashley left the ring and drove Strowman back first into the barricade two times. Miz battled with Lashley on the top rope while Corbin sent Strowman into the barricade. Corbin and Lashley went for a double team superplex Miz, but Strowman went back into the ring for the Tower of Doom spot out of the corner. That always draws a good pop from the crowd and it did here. Strowman followed up with a running dropkick on Lashley and Corbin. Strowman with a punch to the chest of Corbin. Strowman set up his running shoulder block spot on the floor, but Lashley stopped him with a shoulder tackle. Miz was whipped into the barricade by Corbin and Lashley. Corbin and Lashley gave Strowman a double suplex on the ramp leading to a break.
Corbin was working over Miz and Lashley was focused on Strowman on the floor. Miz sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Lashley with a delayed vertical suplex on Miz for a two count. Miz came back with punches, plus weak looking kicks and running knees to Lashley’s chest followed by a corner clothesline. Corbin got back in the ring, he avoided a Miz top rope attack and Corbin hit the Deep Six Slam for two, which is usually what that move gets. Strowman got back in the ring with running splashes on Lashley and Corbin. The three guys were on the floor, so Strowman slammed Miz onto the apron. Strowman with two running shoulder tackles on Corbin. Lashley avoided an attack with a jump to the apron and a clothesline off the apron by Lashley on Strowman. Lashley charged at Strowman, who moved and sent Lashley into the crowd. Strowman and Lashley went brawling into the crowd. Strowman and Lashley went fighting to the back. Back in the ring, Miz got an inside cradle on Corbin for two. Miz got another rollup for two. Miz with the running double knees on Corbin two times, but Corbin no sold it and hit the End of Days slam on Miz for the pinfall win after 17 minutes. The crowd booed.
Strowman and Lashley were not pinned or submitted. There is no countout in a 4-Way, but they went to the back, so that eliminated them. The announcers could have explained it better.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: **3/4 It was a long match, but that doesn’t mean it was great. A lot of it was boring. Corbin winning won't excite anybody. Miz was the best performer in the match by showing a lot of heart in coming back multiple times. The finish did not make Miz’s offense look good since Corbin no sold everything and hit his finisher to win. They should have just said it's a one fall match instead of an elimination match. It made Strowman and Lashley look dumb, but it's also WWE not wanting either of them to get pinned ahead of their Super Showdown match. I think that’s overbooking and overthinking a simple thing.
Corbin will face Rollins for the Universal Title at Super Showdown.
Brock Lesnar was shown in the locker room with Paul Heyman.
Firefly Fun House is up next.
It was back to the Usos block party as The Usos and Revival battled eachother. R-Truth showed up with the 24/7 Title and he was rolled up twice for two counts, but Truth managed to get away. The wrestlers brawled a bit and then chased after Truth.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt was back in his Firefly Fun House. He said that people say and do horrible things. He said that sometimes he finds it hard to find his confidence, he finds it hard to be brave, but when he puts a mask in front of his face, he can be anything he wants to be. Abbey the doll said he’s a sicko and Bray said he’s not a sicko. Abbey asked if he’s a doctor now, so Bray was dressed like a doctor and he called Abbey a bully. Abbey wondered why Bray won’t let Abbey rest and Abbey said she doesn’t want to stay in this limbo anymore. Wyatt heard limbo, so some kids showed up with a bar and Wyatt did his crab walk under the limbo bar. Wyatt said “all you have to do is let me in” to end it. The creepy mask was shown a few times, but it was not on Wyatt for a long period of time.
Analysis: It was just okay this week. The key thing was Abbey wondering why Bray keeps her around, so they are building to Abbey (Sister Abigail) emerging or however they want to do it.
Sami Zayn made his entrance where he did his ridiculous dance routine.
This week on Smackdown it’s Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens in a non-title match.
The Electric Chair hosted by Corey Graves with Sami Zayn
There was an Electric Chair in the ring with Corey Graves hosting and Sami Zayn was in the ring. Graves said that the superstars have to face the truth when they sit in the Electric Chair.
A fan named Eric asked a question when Sami’s retirement date is. Zayn said that Eric’s parents were probably related. Charly Caruso held the microphone for that one. Kayla Braxton interviewed a young girl and she asked if Zayn missed the Ginger Snaps with Becky Lynch in the Mixed Match Challenge. Zayn responded if she was asking about Lynch, the girl said “well duh” and she held up the Raw Women’s Title. Zayn wondered if she was asking about Lynch or really Rollins (who is dating Becky). A guy asked Zayn what it feels like to get beat up by Strowman. Zayn said he would like to go punch the guy in the face, but he’ll get sued and then he ripped on American healthcare. Sami is Canadian, but he lives in America by the way. Another fan asked a question asking Sami why he wasn’t Universal Champion yet. Sami said he didn’t want to be, but then he said: “You could have asked me about AEW.” Very interesting. That led to some “ooohhh” reactions from the crowd and then a mild “AEW” chant.
Seth Rollins made his entrance, he got rid of the chair, Zayn left the ring and they will have a match in the main event.
Analysis: It wasn’t very good even though Sami is one of my favorite guys in WWE. I'm surprised they took four fan questions and I doubt we see it ever again because it felt flat. The interesting thing about it was that Zayn mentioned AEW because I didn’t know if WWE would even bring it up, but they did. It does make sense for Zayn to do it because he’s a heel, so when you have a heel do it then they aren’t putting over AEW. It was just a mention. I am surprised that they would have Zayn say it, though. If you're wondering, Sami was told to say it by WWE, so it's not like he did it on his own.
— Get The Tables (@GetDaTables) May 28, 2019
The match began after the break.
Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn
This is not for Seth’s Universal Title.
Rollins was aggressive from the moment the match began. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were shown backstage in their locker room. Zayn bailed to the floor with Rollins hitting him with a forearm to the face. Rollins was attacking, the referee told him to move back and Zayn decked him with a clothesline. Zayn worked over Rollins with some kicks to the face. Zayn whipped Rollins into the ropes leading to a clothesline. Rollins came back with a knee to the back that sent Zayn out of the ring. Rollins went after Zayn, but Zayn shoved Rollins into the ring post. That led to a break.
Zayn was in control with a suplex. They exchanged holds, Zayn ran the ropes and Rollins hit a superkick to put him down. Rollins with a Slingblade takedown as the announcers talked about how Lesnar could cash in Money in the Bank right now. Rollins hit a Blockbuster off the middle ropes leading to Zayn bailing to the floor. Rollins hit a suicide dive on Zayn, Rollins went back in the ring and Rollins hit another suicide dive. When Rollins landed on the second suicide dive, his left knee buckled a bit. Back in the ring, Rollins went for a Powerbomb, but Seth collapsed due to the left knee and Zayn hit a DDT for a two count. Great sell by Rollins. The knee injury was just him selling the left knee. Rollins sent Zayn face first into the turnbuckle. Rollins with a standing side kick to the face. Zayn avoided The Stomp attempt and Zayn slapped on the Figure Four Leglock on Rollins. After about one minute, Rollins countered the hold and Zayn grabbed the bottom ropes to break the hold. Rollins favored the left knee again and Rollins hit a step up enziguri. Zayn avoided a knee attack and Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two, which is usual for that move. Zayn set up Rollins on the top rope, Rollins knocked him down and Rollins went for a Frog Splash, but Zayn got the knees up to block. Rollins sold the left knee injury well. Rollins kicked Zayn out of the ring. When Zayn went back in the ring, Rollins hit The Stomp, but Rollins was too hurt to cover. Rollins yelled “this is my life” at Zayn. Rollins hit The Stomp again to Zayn and Rollins covered for the pinfall win after 19 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match as you would expect from two of the best in-ring wrestlers in WWE. The problem is Zayn just lot to Kingston recently, so fans know going into the match he’s going to lose to Rollins too. There wasn’t much of a reaction for Zayn’s nearfalls because the finish was so obvious. With that said, I thought Rollins selling the left knee injury in the second half of the match was well done by him and Rollins showed a lot of heart in coming back to win.
The announcers plugged Rollins vs. Corbin at Super Showdown. Rollins celebrated in the ring with the Universal Title and that was the end of Raw.
Analysis: Rollins vs. Corbin doesn't feel like an interesting match at all. When WWE fans hear Corbin's name, they want to turn the channel and that's not a good reaction to a heel. I expect Rollins to retain the title, but I also wish they did something else.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Sami Zayn
3.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2019 Average: 5.45 (Smackdown is 6.98)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 5, 4, 5, 6.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 3.5 out of 10.
This was an awful show. It was probably going to be a 2, but Rollins and Zayn saved it with a pretty good main event match. There just wasn’t anything that interesting with a weak build to the PPV matches, an elimination match ending with a lame finish. The first hour had one match that was only two minutes long. It took 76 minutes to get to the first real match of the show. It just didn’t feel an exciting show at all. I feel bad for the fans in attendance because I’m sure they hated being there.
I’m sure people will be talking about Sami Zayn saying “AEW” on WWE TV. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I know people will get worked up about it.
My Raw Deal debut ten years ago got a 3 out of 10 score, so it was a bit better this week. Some things never change, I guess!
The next WWE pay-per-view is Super Showdown on June 7th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here’s what we know so far.
The Undertaker vs. Bill Goldberg
Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
Intercontinental Championship: “Demon” Finn Balor (c) vs. Andrade
50-man battle royal
More matches will be announced soon...except women's matches, which is a damn shame.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays. Thanks for reading.