The Memorial Day edition of Raw showcased the highs and lows of WWE’s flagship show. The good thing about it was that we got three very good matches including a nearly 20-minute main event because of the two top guys on the show. There was also one of the worst in-ring promo segments in many years featuring a “This is Your Life” promo that was a train wreck the moment it began. I’ll get to that later.
The two biggest matches on Raw that were advertised one week in advance were Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe. All five men are in the main event of Extreme Rules this Sunday, so this was all about giving two of them clean wins going into Sunday’s show.
Samoa Joe defeated Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor in a triple threat match
This was a standard triple threat match that was given a lot of time at around 17 minutes. Balor started out strong, which led to Joe and Wyatt realizing that if they worked together they could slow him down. After the heels seized control, Wyatt decked Joe with a clothesline to show you can’t trust anybody in a match like this.
The finish was well done. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Joe and looked like he was going to win, but Balor was there to drop Wyatt with the Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor hit a corner dropkick and Wyatt rolled to the right spot. Balor went up to the top rope and he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Wyatt. Joe, who had been out on the floor after taking Wyatt’s finisher, went back into the ring, sent Balor into the ring post and Joe pinned Wyatt. It was the classic “bad guy steals the finish from the guy” ending that has happened so many times in triple threat matches.
Does the result really matter? Nope. The story is that Joe has some momentum going into Extreme Rules because he won the tag match with Wyatt last week and he got the win in this match too. I don’t think he’s going to win at Extreme Rules. I think Balor or Rollins is more likely. However, at least from a story standpoint, Joe can say he’s got the most positive momentum of anybody in the match.
Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins
The main event, which WWE mentioned about 30 times during the show (I “may” be exaggerating), was Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. Each guy cut promos backstage before the match about how confident they were. I went into it thinking it was a lock that the match would end in some kind of disqualification caused by Samoa Joe and/or Bray Wyatt leading to Finn Balor joining the fray to set up their five-way match with a hot ending. Instead, it was a just a 20-minute match with a clean finish. Nothing after the match and nothing that evolved the storyline in any way.
It was tough for them in the first 10 minutes because the second half of Raw was so bad that the crowd died a bit. Things picked up as they got going. I liked some of the spots they did such as when Rollins countered a Reigns corner mount by picking him up and sending him into the corner with a Buckle Bomb (Powerbomb into the turnbuckle), which led to Reigns hitting a Superman in retaliation. It led to both guys going down to sell exhaustion. Rollins got a near-fall with a Frog Splash. When Rollins went up for another high-risk move, the Phoenix Splash, Reigns moved out of the way and shortly after that Reigns got the pinfall win with a Spear.
I know people complain about Reigns winning all the time, but he lost his last PPV match and was on the losing team last week in Raw’s main event. I don’t think Reigns has a chance to win at Extreme Rules because his match with Brock Lesnar is going to be saved until WrestleMania next year.
As for Rollins, he goes into the Extreme Rules match after Raw losses in two straight weeks. Is that a bad thing going into the PPV match? Not at all. Balor is my first pick to win, but Rollins would be my second choice. I’ll get into more later in the week in my Extreme Rules preview.
Looking back at those two matches, did either of them get you more excited about the Extreme Rules main event? Nope. It would have been better if all five men had interacted in some way. Instead, it was just two matches and that’s it.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here’s what else happened in the ring Monday night on Raw.
Dean Ambrose, Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy defeated Sheamus, Cesaro & The Miz
This was set up using a Miz TV segment during the opening segment. It was a promo that led to a six-man tag. Why does WWE need to spend the first 15 minutes every week doing a promo to set up a match? It’s so repetitive. If I wasn’t writing about the show, I’d probably just tune in 15 minutes into it to skip the opening promo that feels like a repeat week after week.
It was a standard six-man tag. Ambrose and Matt were worked on for most of the match. Jeff got the hot tag, he was on fire and the finish saw Jeff pin Miz after a Swanton Bomb. The crowd was into it, the action was pretty good and it went about 13 minutes. It was fine, but I don’t know if made people care about the IC and Tag Title matches at Extreme Rules.
Elias Samson defeated Zac Evans
There was a guitar playing session and song from Samson before the match. Who is Evans? Just a loser who was there to put over Samson. It was a three-minute match to put over Samson.
Rich Swann defeated Noam Dar
It was announced before Raw that Swann will team with Sasha Banks against Dar and Alicia Fox, so that led to this match.
Easy win for Swann, thanks to Banks preventing Fox from interfering. They got about three minutes. Post-match, Banks danced with her buddy Swann to celebrate the win. Boring match with Dar doing armbars for two minutes and Swann hitting a Phoenix Splash to win.
Titus O’Neil defeated Kalisto
It went one minute with O’Neil pinning Kalisto by grabbing the tights. Apollo Crews, the new buddy of O’Neil, mentioned that he cheated to win, but O’Neil told him it was all about winning. Another boring match.
Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher defeated Neville & TJP
It was a simple tag match with the heels working on Gallagher for most of it. Aries got the hot tag and ended up getting the win for his team by making Neville tap out to the Last Chancery submission. Neville hasn’t been defeated very much since turning heel six months ago, so it was significant to have him tap out like that. I doubt most fans noticed, though.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Alexa Bliss did a “This Is Your Life, Bayley” segment that failed miserably
This was one of the worst segments in Raw history. I feel bad for Bliss having to try to make something good out of the material given here because it was so bad. It was a “This is Your Life, Bayley” segment where Bliss had one of Bayley’s teachers (Mrs. Flapper) with her, Bayley’s best friend and Bayley’s ex-boyfriend. As the segment went on, the crowd booed it loudly with chants of “Delete” as well. It really killed the crowd.
The guests all buried Bayley, basically. The teacher called Bayley a loser, the best friend said all Bayley wanted to do was watch wrestling shows and the friend acted as if that was a bad thing, so WWE is basically calling you a loser for watching Raw and Smackdown. The boyfriend complained about how Bayley had an overbearing favor. Then the boyfriend said that he had a crush on the best friend, so he started making out with her. The crowd booed this entire thing.
Bayley made the save after this godawful promo and didn’t even get the upper hand. There was a Kendo Stick on a Pole (just like at Extreme Rules) and Bayley tried to get it, but Bliss had another Kendo Stick under the table. Bliss hit Bayley in the back with it leading to Bayley rolling out of the ring. Mercifully, the segment ended.
The ex-boyfriend of @itsBayleyWWE Phil Johnson says he once wound up almost kissing…her father? #RAW pic.twitter.com/4F2TT5ps6m
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) May 30, 2017
I like Alexa Bliss a lot and think she’s a very good talker, but nobody was going to save this mess. This did nothing to make people excited about Bliss vs. Bayley at Extreme Rules. If anything, it made me wish they never interacted with each other for a very long time.
On another note, that Youtube clip doesn’t even highlight the worst parts of the segment. WWE must have known how bad it was.
The last segment I can remember being this bad was that “Old Day” parody that WWE did last September. When WWE comedy fails miserably, they fail in a big way.
2. Kurt Angle received a message about something that could ruin him
“If this is true, this could ruin me.” That’s what Kurt Angle said in a backstage segment with Corey Graves. It was after Graves got some text on his phone and went backstage to show Angle. It was something that Angle read on a cell phone. We don’t know what it said or what Angle was referencing, so it’s the start of some sort of mystery promo.
It probably has to do with the TV return of Stephanie McMahon, the Raw Commissioner who has been off TV for nearly two months after a table bump at WrestleMania. I don’t miss her at all. Please stay away.
3. Enzo Amore was knocked out again and the attacker is still unknown
Enzo Amore was face first on the ground again getting looked at by doctors and referees. For the second week in a row, he was attacked and they don’t know who did it. Big Cass and Kurt Angle were there with doctors.
Earlier in the show, The Revival duo of Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder were there being interviewed by Charly Caruso. There was a clip from last week showing The Revival in the background with the belief that they may have attacked Enzo. The Revival denied it. Later in the show, Angle noted they left earlier and it wasn’t them.
There was also a segment with Big Cass confronting Corey Graves at the announce table for insinuating that Cass may have attacked Enzo. They shook hands to squash the beef. It should be noted that last week Graves said that he wanted to shake the hand of who attacked Enzo, so that could give it away.
I think this angle is being done to turn Big Cass heel. The Enzo & Cass team never won the tag titles together and now that the Hardys are there on Raw, there is less of a need for them. I’m sure Vince McMahon wants to see what he can get out of Big Cass as a singles wrestler, so that’s likely where this is headed.
4. Goldust and R-Truth had videos talking about the other guy
Goldust did a “Shattered Dreams Productions” promo similar to last week talking about how he’s back in the director’s chair. That was followed by a promo by R-Truth also in a director’s chair promising payback for Goldust.
I thought this would lead to an announcement of a Goldust/Truth match at Extreme Rules. That didn’t happen, although I think it’s likely going to happen at some point during the week.
Looking Ahead To Extreme Rules
The next Raw pay-per-view event is Extreme Rules on Sunday, June 4 in Baltimore, MD. They announced five matches last week and nothing new this week, but all five matches have some stipulations.
Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules Match to Determine No. 1 Contender for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe – They didn’t announce when the winner gets a title shot, but it will be at Great Balls of Fire on July 9.
Raw Tag Team Championships (Steel Cage Match): The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Raw Women’s Championship (Kendo Stick on a Pole): Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley
Intercontinental Championship (Title can change hands if champion is disqualified): Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz
Cruiserweight Championship (Submission Match): Neville vs. Austin Aries
Alicia Fox & Noam Dar vs. Sasha Banks & Rich Swann
I think Goldust vs. R-Truth will be added as well, but it’s not on there as of this writing.
Raw was a struggle to get through this week. I liked the three longer matches that took place, but there wasn’t much in terms of storyline progression and “This is Your Life” is the kind of thing that makes me not want to watch WWE at all. They needed a better show to get people more excited about Extreme Rules. Instead, I think they did more harm than good.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a review of Smackdown Live featuring a 5-way elimination match between Natalya, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tamina and Carmella. Later in the week, I’ll be back with an Extreme Rules preview as well.