RAW Review – 23/05/16

Following a solid Extreme Rules and Seth Rollin’s return to claim what’s his, what will RAW have in store for us? With Money In The Bank now on the horizon, we’re sure to expect a big build up to the main event and the ever chaotic MITB Briefcase match…

RAW kicks off with Seth Rollins (Crossfit Jesus, The Architect, The Man – you choose) returning an a rapturous crowd welcoming him home. It doesn’t take long before he kicks back into his familiar role of sleezy heel, wonderfully making sure the crowd turns against him. It’s a difficult job given his opponent but Seth knows exactly how to tap into that role and tries his hardest to gain heat. Watching him take control over a crowd is a thing of beauty.

Roman Reigns appears and instead of delivering a sub-standard promo, he eyes up Seth as he makes his way into the ring. Seth bails out pretty quickly and Shane McMahon’s music hits.

Shane McMahon turns up and whilst I’m trying to calm down about having these 3 men in the same place at the same time, he declares that Seth will get his chance to fight for the title he never really lost. It makes a nice change not to be bogged down by a McMahon droning on and on and telling us all how we got here – everybody already knows, so Shane gets straight down to business. And that’s that – we have Seth Rollins challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at MITB on June 19th. 

Sami Zayn vs Sheamus – MITB Qualifying Match

We’re straight into the show and Sami Zayn squares off against Sheamus for a spot in the MITB Briefcase Ladder Match. Sheamus is last year’s winner and having Zayn face off against him is a good way for Zayn to show off his talent.

The match is an average one with quite a few nice spots that nicely show off Sheamus’ strength and Zayn’s speed. Zayn lands the Helluva kick and picks up the win – allowing Sheamus to lose his shit afterwards and he ends up attacking Apollo Crews backstage who was chatting to Renee about the new era.

The New Day vs The Social Outcasts

The New Day arrive with a cake to celebrate 1200 episodes of RAW and right before they’re able to throw it into JBL or Byron’s face, The Social Outcasts come out to attack them.

The 6-man tag gets under way and as quickly as it starts it finishes with the double Big Ending (I may have that wrong, not entirely sure what it’s called?) and The New Day pick up the win. Quick and fun match that keeps The New Day at the top and allows them to have a goof and a gaff and a riot.

Health Slater then gets his face smashed into the cake and it’s a glorious shot.

Cesaro vs The Miz (w/ Maryse) – MITB Qualifying Match

Cesaro explodes as soon as the bell rings with a series of uppercuts and immediately gains the offensive advantage. Following their match from Extreme Rules, they’re both on top form and continue the feud well. Attention to detail is great here, with The Miz taking every opportunity to work over Cesaro’s bad shoulder and Cesaro does a pretty good job of selling it. They have good chemistry together and The Miz is excellent in putting over Cesaro. Cesaro scores a neutraliser and picks up the win, joining Sami Zayn in the MITB Briefcase match.

I assume Cesaro will go back to feuding with The Miz regardless of his position in the MITB Briefcase match and hope he will get a chance to have a title run with the IC Title.

Chris Jericho vs Apollo Crews – MITB Qualifying Match

Following his brutal spot with the thumb tacks at Extreme Rules, Jericho is covered in bandages and plasters for his match against Apollo Crews. Crews on the other hand has apparently forgotten that he took a pretty harsh beat down from Sheamus only 30 minutes ago. So there’s that.

Apart from a small botch which likely happened due to some miscommunication, the match is pretty uneventful in my opinion, but wasn’t bad overall. It was also nice to Crews in a match that is longer than 3 minutes. Jericho hits the Codebreaker and picks up the win, joining Zayn and Cesaro in the MITB Briefcase match. This frees up Crews to feud with Sheamus which could give the audience something to cheer Crews for.

Big Cass (w/ Enzo) vs Bubba Ray Dudley (w/ D-Von)

Enzo is back, finally, and gives that x-factor to Big Cass. He has the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands and reciting everything right back at him. Big Cass looks like a superstar with Enzo selling him and I think they would both benefit from Enzo taking a managerial approach and Big Cass going single. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

A small and fluffy singles match between Big Cass and Bubba Ray takes place and it seems like WWE are still happy to continue this feud following Enzo’s injury and subsequent time off. The match is quick and Big Cass expectedly picks up the win.

Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair and Dana Brooke)

Charlotte makes her way down to the ring with Ric Flair and Dana Brooke flanking her and just before she talks, Ric quickly tells her how proud he is after her win at Extreme Rules. Charlotte quickly becomes rattled by the crowd who are “What?” chanting her – she seems a little off of her game here and I don’t know if that’s intentional given the nature of her promo or if she’s agitated by the crowd’s apathetic reaction.

Regardless, Ric slurred through his speech and barely formed coherent sentences so when Charlotte launches into a tirade about how she doesn’t need him any more and that now he will be known as “Charlotte’s father”, it seems fitting. Poorly executed, but it was nice to see this story come to end. Ric sold his role quite well (again, unsure whether real or not, always hard to tell) and eventually leaves the ring and arena crying. It will be nice to see Charlotte have a “dirty player” in the form of a relevant woman in the division instead of her dad always stealing the spotlight. Hit and miss segment here, but I’m just glad that things are moving on and Charlotte is able to continue her run as a hypocrite and “dirty player”, throwing out Ric when she gets new help.

Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler – MITB Qualifying Match

A solid outing from these two who are fighting for a spot in the MITB Briefcase Match. Not much to say here, as it proves quite difficult to get in to and Ambrose picks up the win with his Dirty Deeds finisher and secures his place. This leaves Ziggler obviously facing Baron Corbin… again… yay.

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens – MITB Qualifying Match

Before the match, AJ Styles arrives to talk about his match at Extreme Rules and clearly lays the blame on all the interferences, citing that if it weren’t for both The Usos AND Gallows and Anderson, then he would’ve secured the win and been the new champion. Obviously, G&A take credence with this and they arrive to let Styles know that if it weren’t for them, he wouldn’t be in the WWE at all, let alone fighting for the title. Styles bats them off saying that things are different now and he wants to go it alone, with G&A telling Styles that they’re finished and leaving. OOOHH I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

Kevin Owens arrives shortly afterwards and the match gets under way, with a great back and forth between these two guys. What I loved most about this match is that I honestly didn’t have any idea who would come out top and the unpredictability made the match so much better. Owens shouting at Michael Cole is always great fun too, thanks Kev! Anyway, Styles receives some pretty brutal spots throughout the match, including being power-bombed by Owens onto the steps outside of the ring.

It surprised me that the match finished with a clean win from Owens over Styles, as I thought G&A would come out to put him in his place. However, Styles sold that he wasn’t 100% invested in the match after the earlier confrontation, so it made sense for Owens to go over. Owens joins Zayn, Cesaro, Jericho and Ambrose in the MITB Briefcase Match and I’m wet with excitement about that.

A solid episode that follows nicely from the preceding events at Extreme Rules but also nicely works new directions into the fold for the upcoming MITB PPV. All the matches tonight served some purpose and it was refreshing yet again to see the McMahons take a step back and let the superstars do the bulk of the storytelling.

Additional Points:

  • Commentary all but suck tonight, apart from Byron pleading with The New Day to throw cake in JBL’s face because he’s diabetic. YES BYRON, FIGHT BACK.
  • Rollins tries to hug Steph but gets turned down. Ouchies.
  • Video packages from The Shining Stars and Darren Young – both equally lacklustre in appeal.
  • Big Banter Corbin looked awkward as hell in his promo with Ziggler and part of me wishes this feud would just die already as it doesn’t seem to be doing either men any favours.
  • The Miz puts his title on the line against Cesaro on Smackdown later this week, as does Rusev, who is facing Kalisto in a rematch for the US Title. Continuity!
  • AJ Styles sold Roman’s abilities as a wrestler and got booed to hell. The fans will not accept anything positive.
  • If you wanted to know, I want Ambrose to win the MITB Briefcase Match – having all of The Shield being in contention for the main title belt would make for fantastic viewing.
  • I also watched the interview with Mick Foley and Shane McMahon and thought Shane did a really good job of putting over Vince and avoiding questions about his brother-in-law.

TL;DR – You’re shit, go back up and read it. It’s honestly not that long.

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

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