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WWE RAWtrospective 5/1/17: Demons and Destroyers

WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from The Golden One Center in Sacramento, CA on 5/1/17!

The entirety of the women’s roster is waiting in the ring, Bayley looking quite unhappy, as we start with the coronation of the new Raw women’s champion, Alexa Bliss. Alexa thanks everyone for coming out, even those who Alexa made GM Kurt Angle send out. She proclaims that the “Queen” is dead, a knock on Charlotte, and she calls herself the one and only goddess of WWE. She is the first woman to hold both the Raw and Smackdown women’s titles. She says she deserved a coronation and it wouldn’t be that without everyone in attendance. She thanks Mickie James, because she watched her as a little girl growing up. This pandering is amazing so far. She compares Mickie to her contemporaries, Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. Ouch. She thanks “The Boss” Sasha Banks. She calls her fantastic and then slams her. She doesn’t trash Nia and she actually stands on top of the platform out there for the title. She forgot Bayley and then remembers that she’s there as a huge “Bayley” chant breaks out. She tells the fans, she knows her name and then says who else could she have beaten for the title? She says she was shocked to see her entire family in the front row for their daughter’s disappointing night. Alexa saw Bayley’s nephews crying and it almost took away from her moment. Alexa says that now Bayley’s whole family has a real role model to look up too. A brawl ensues as expected and they cut to a strangely timed commercial and that’s how we begin Raw. Outside of the “Kevin Dunn” commercial timeout, that was a great opening segment as we get to see how awesome Alexa is. She, as in the case of Charlotte, is a great heel and a fun one for the faces to chase.

Alexa Bliss/Nia Jax/Emma/Alicia Fox defeat Sasha Banks/Bayley/Dana Brooke/Mickie James via pinfall after a Bliss DDT on Bayley. Decent eight women’s tag match to start the show. Some fun moments as Sasha and Foxxy had a straight up brawl at one point, throwing right hands a plenty. I was really worried about the fifty/fifty booking here, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Bliss get the victory once again over the former champ. She raked the eyes and then hit the big DDT on Bayley once again for the pinfall. Bayley hit many of her signature moves and then all of the remaining women hit big spots leading to the end result. Not too bad.

We see what happened after Braun Strowman bested Roman Reigns when Strowman missed a charge at Roman, crashing through an ambulance door before Roman used the other door to wreak havoc on Braun’s shoulder. We’ll find out more about that later, but after the break, Enzo Amore will take on Luke Gallows after Enzo and Cass scored a victory on the good brothers during the Raw pre-show.

Luke Gallows defeats Enzo Amore via pinfall with a side-out slam. Gallows and Anderson have had enough of the pre-match shtick from Enzo and Cass and they attack from behind before the match is even underway. The referee sorts things out and we get another poorly timed commercial, and that’s two tonight. Do they need Paul Heyman and CM Punk to time out the show? Quite frankly, whomever the jabronies in the truck are, they need to be given the Big Johnny future endeavors speech. It’s absurd at this point. When they come back, Enzo is teeing off and working over Gallows with some right hands. Enzo heads up top and Karl Anderson distracts him before Big Cass chases him off. The distraction is enough to allow Gallows to snatch Enzo off the top and beat him with a side-out slam. That’s all she wrote.

TJ Perkins and Neville are backstage and TJP asks what happened last night? He thought Aries wasn’t on the Neville level. He says other people are questioning whether or not he grabbed the ref to save his title. Neville blames it on the professionalism of the official who was out of place. He says he wants to remove the Austin Aries once and for all. Neville asks TJP how he thinks he’s gonna get a title opportunity with Aries in the picture? He tells TJP to start pulling his own weight, starting with a match tonight against Austin Aries. Up next however, we’ll hear from Seth Rollins after his victory against Samoa Joe last night. Joe definitely had the shoulder up. I wonder if they’ll reference that or if that was just the result of a bad rollup from Seth while executing the three quarters roll?

Seth Rollins is out and he’s excited and he knows the people are too. He says we’ve all experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He talks about overcoming multiple injuries and sticking to his guns. He looked in the mirror and figured out who he wanted to be and he came back stronger than ever. He’s still Seth Freakin’ Rollins. Everything came full circle. He slayed the King at ‘Mania and last night he bested Samoa Joe. He says there’s only one thing left to do. He wants the Beast. He calls out the Universal Champion and a huge “Yes” chant breaks out. He’s been to Suplex City and he’s not afraid to go back. He is interrupted by the first ever Universal Champion. Finn Balor is out! They’ve been on the same page recently and he calls him the one-legged man who wo at ‘Mania, but he’s the one-armed man who became the first ever Universal Champion. He asks if Seth remembers that, because he beat him. He says he never actually lost that title, and when it comes to facing Lesnar, the line start behind him. Here comes the IC Champ, Dean Ambrose! He says both men in the ring sound like a couple of chickens with all the “Brock, Brock, Brock”. He says Lesnar defends the title when he wants and it isn’t all that often. Dang. That’s a burn right there. He says the IC Title is the number one title as it stands right now. AWESOME! Here comes The Miz, accompanied by his lovely wife, Maryse. He says they all need to hold up and he calls Dean an embarrassment as a champion. He says if anyone deserves the title, it’s him. He made the IC title relevant and he made it mean something. Finn says he’s the latest inductee into the Finn Balor kicked my rear end club. Miz says it was a cheap-shot and Finn is a coward. He says he defended it nightly and says Dean wasn’t important enough to defend it last night at Payback. He mocks Seth’s injury and Seth says he can run circles around Miz. He says the reason everyone hates him is because he’s the biggest threat on…SHUT UP! All three faces say that in unison. Ambrose pulls out his phone and dials up Kurt Angle in the ring, even though we can see the numeric keypad. Classic though, either way. He books a match between Finn Balor, The Miz and Seth Rollins in a number one contender’s match for the IC Title. I’m cool with that, but I’m confused. So we went from challenging for the Universal Title to challenging for the IC Title? I appreciate all four men in the ring, but that better mean that Brock and Braun is set in stone because otherwise, this part time nonsense is out of control and I love Brock Lesnar. Either way, heck of a main event booked.

Highlights of the Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns match from last night lead us into another commercial break.

Jack Gallagher/Rich Swann/Akira Tozawa defeat Brian Kendrick/Noam Dar/Tony Nese via pinfall after a corner dropkick by Gallagher on Kendrick. The intro alone was worth it as Gallagher passed out William IV and William V to Swann and Tozawa who did the kick spot where the umbrellas landed on their shoulders. Great to see more exposure for all of the talented Cruiserweights from 205 Live and two former champions in the ring with Swann and Kendrick. Nese and Tozawa start things off and they work stiff as the crowd is quiet for the beginning of this. They get a little more excited when Baltimore’s Outlandish one, Rich Swann tags in and goes to work. A little more action and the heels are cleared from the ring as the faces pose in the ring, mocking Nese. That’s actually a well-timed commercial for once. They return and we get a breathtaking spot where Tony Nese had Tozawa suspended in the air with a one-armed suplex and he launches him over across the top rope. That looked good, but it looked painful as well. Good gracious! Swann gets the hot tag and cleans house with a stunning back kick and then the damnedest thing you’ve ever seen with a somersault leg drop that seems effortless. The crowd is hot for this now. It started with Tozawa and definitely picked up with Swann. Kendrick is tagged in and he gets the Captain’s Hook on Gallagher, but Tozawa breaks it up. Massive headbutt for Gallagher on the heels and then a corner dropkick on Kendrick for the victory. That was fun and it was given ample time to develop. That’s how you do it. Fans liked it, so did I.

Highlights of the tag title match from last night which saw the Hardyz retain, Jeff lose a tooth and then we got a wonderful heel turn from Sheamus and Cesaro, which should lead to some awesome television. Clad in new black jackets, we see the heel “Shesaro” head to the ring and after the break, we’ll have an answer to the question “Why?”.

Great heel promo from Shesaro and they talk about ending the “feel good” moment from Wrestlemania with the return of the Hardyz. They call them a novelty act that doesn’t belong in the ring with a warrior and a superman and that’s the “tooth” of it. Good one Sheamus. I actually appreciated that line. Sheamus says this isn’t the WWE of the past, this WWE belongs to Sheamus and Cesaro. They say they are going to win back the titles because they don’t set the bar, they are the bar. Mics are dropped and music is played, but here come the champs! “Delete” chants run wild like “Hollywood” Hogan in his prime. “Broken” Matt says it’s quite illuminating that the two believe this asinine absurdities. It’s true that both men are hurting from last night’s ambush and they figured it was time to answer the only way they know how. Matt does the “delete” motion and they charge the ring. The heels retreat and they’ll live to fight another day. I dig this one.

Miz and Maryse are backstage for an interview and Charlie Caruso asks how Miz will fare tonight. He references the history between Finn and Seth, and he says tonight’s preparation is like getting ready for the movies. Dean Ambrose interrupts him and The Miz and Maryse are disgusted and they take their leave. Dean says “Back to You Gene and Bobby”. Classic line there. We head to a break.

Apollo Crews defeats Heath Slater via pinfall with the spinout powerbomb. Interesting. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews are doing a Lonzo/Lavar Ball thing and it started earlier when Crews was having a conversation with Slater about fatherhood. Titus pulled his “client” aside and said that he can’t associate with those types if he wants to take things to the next level. This might actually be a good pairing if they play this right ad allow Crews to develop, perhaps as a heel? I’m on board. Crews is very talented and Titus has all the tools and missed opportunities. Decent match which got a “We Got Kids” chant and plenty of action, the end came after Crews struck with an inzaguri and then the finish. Titus and Crews took a photo after the match and Rhyno photobombed them. We’ll watch this one develop, it has potential. They head to a break.

“You Suck” chants fill the arena as the Raw GM, Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, heads to the ring. He tells us that after the match last night, Roman Reigns suffered further injuries and Braun Strowman tore his rotator cuff. The two men say they aren’t through with each other. He’s been talking to people all day trying to figure out the best way too…jump cut. Here comes the new face of fear and the man who tamped the viper, Randy Orton, last night at Payback with help from Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers. Bray Wyatt asks that Kurt forgive him, they haven’t been properly introduced. He makes his introduction, and he understands Kurt’s apprehension, but Bray means him no harm. He’s not here for destruction…not yet. He has come here tonight as a savior. He closed the chapter of Randy Orton last night. Randy will forever be trapped in the house of horrors, burning for his sins. With those ashes, he is prepared to write something new on Monday Nights. He is reborn, rising from the hell of his creation like an angel with burnt wings. He hears the cries for salvation, he knows what ails us all. He can fix us. He holds the cure and he needs Kurt’s permission to do his work. Will Kurt stand in his way or at his side? Kurt doesn’t know what he has planned, but Bray needs to remember, this is his show. Bray laughs, and says this is his world. Quick cut and commercial. I am almost convinced that this is Bray’s face turn. Something tells me that he is going to oppose Strowman as Strowman looks towards his eventual collision with Brock Lesnar and perhaps, his first world title reign. This could be incredible if they do it right. I recall watching the Shield go face and that was a heck of a moment. This could be even better. Let’s watch and wait.

Dean Ambrose interviews Seth Rollins backstage and it’s a fun little interaction as they talk about beating each other in the past. It adds intrigue to the possibility of that collision. These two do have incredible chemistry for sure. Dean kicks it “back to Gorilla” and Corey Graves says “Thanks Sean Mooney”. Time for Austin Aries and TJP!

Austin Aries defeats TJP via submission with the Last Chancery. Aries beats the holy heck out of TJP early and has him bumping around like Shawn Michaels when he fought “Hollywood” Hogan several years back. Hard strikes and counter wrestling keep Aries in charge as Neville watches a monitor backstage, scouting his competition. TJP finally is able to get things in his control and he works over the knee before a commercial break, hitting a dropkick on the knee, as Aries is hung in the tree of woe. TJP is still working the knee after the break, going so far as to apply a half crab on the top rope. Awesome. Aries counters a TJP mistake, and he nails a topei suicida through hits its mark. A gutbuster and STO follow, immediately followed up with a pendulum elbow. Rapid fire strikes put TJP back in charge but Aries hits a kneebreaker and reverse overhead suplex. Aries looking for the discus fivearm, but he is stopped short, but he counters into the Last Chancery for the submission victory. The counter to the detonation kick was incredible. These two have amazing chemistry and you could tell just based on Michael Cole’s reaction. He really enjoyed this one. TJP works the knee over after the match, slapping on the kneebar and doing further damage to the knee for Neville. Great story line continuity.

Ambrose grabs Finn Balor on his way to the ring and asks if he’s nervous. Finn eats nerves and produces results. Dean tells Finn to a donut and put on some weight. Finn declines and Dean eats the donut as Elias Samson shows up and Dean asks if he knows any Pearl Jam. Dean nods and says he likes it. The main event begins after the break!

Before the main event, The Golden Truth is pleading with Kurt Angle for a tag team opportunity. Kurt books a tag team turmoil match for next week and the winner of that match becomes the number one contendor for the titles. Goldust says they will make him proud and Kurt says he sure he hopes so. Booker T. puts over Goldust and they then talk about Chris Jericho winning the US title and heading to Smackdown. They show the hilarious “clone” segment from last night. It was amazing.

The Miz defeats Finn Balor and Seth Rollins via pinfall after interference from Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe to become the number one contender to the IC Title. Miz stays outside the ring early as Finn and Rollins tease locking up, but the Miz keeps reaching in trying to grab a foot. Seth gives chase as Miz tries to escape and he gets into the ring only to be stuck between the two faces. Miz tries to give the glad hand to both guys, but they reject his advances. Finn hits a quick flurry combo and Rollins hits a kick and a clothesline and the action ensues. Balor strikes Rollins with an inzaguri off a counter and then Miz pulls Balor off the apron and he spills to the floor. Miz places Maryse in front of him as Seth prepares to strike. It doesn’t work as Finn and Seth work him over anyways. Seth takes down Balor in the ring and he heads up top. Miz comes over and pushes him off the top and he spills all the way to the floor and into the barricade at ringside before a break. They return and Miz is in control. These three men continue to give us a classic match with high spots from all three athletes and Miz working extensively on Seth’s knee. The crowd is into it, and so am I. These two should have matches together on the regular because this was a fantastic way to end a very good episode of Monday Night Raw which was anything but devoid of action. Seth hits a double blockbuster on both men and he hits the frogsplash on Balor for a very close two count. Balor is dumped from the ring as Seth runs up top and nails a superplex and a falcon arrow for a two count. This is really darn good. Crowd is eating this up. This is a pay per view quality match. Seth Rollins hits a topei suicida on Balor and then on Miz. Samoa Joe runs down and nails a uranage on Rollins, taking him out of the match. Miz turns and eats a sling blade and then a delayed corner dropkick. Balor up top for the Coup De Grace…JUMP CUT! So much for the heel turn at the moment. Bray Wyatt is out and there’s a Sister Abigail on Balor to develop that story. Miz isn’t going to ask questions. Three count and a new number one contender for the IC Title. The Miz wins the triple threat and reignites his feud with Ambrose. Heck of a match and a very good Raw where we continue rivalries and develop fresh ones.

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