This week’s Raw took place in London, England as the focus remained on WWE’s Intercontinental Title picture. It was a show designed to build to the following week’s Raw with Dean Ambrose set to defend the gold against The Miz on next week’s show. Meanwhile in sad injury news, Braun Strowman is going to miss the next month or two. More details on that shortly, but let’s focus on the Miz and Ambrose story that carried most of the show.
Raw began with Ambrose informing us that General Manager Kurt Angle wasn’t there, which upset the fans, and Ambrose was named the GM of the show. The Miz interrupted to say that Commissioner Stephanie McMahon (who also wasn’t on the show, even though she was tweeting all day that she was in England doing media) named him the co-GM of the show. Braun Strowman interrupted them while wearing a sling on his left arm. He mentioned he wasn’t done with Roman Reigns (crowd liked that) and then he wants Brock Lesnar. Kalisto interrupted them to challenge Strowman to get revenge for his dumpster attack from two weeks ago.
It was a long-winded opening segment that set up Miz vs. Finn Balor and also Strowman with one arm against Kalisto. Do we really need a 15-minute segment nearly every week to set up matches? No, but that’s the WWE formula they like to go with for many years now.
Finn Balor defeated The Miz
Balor faced off with The Miz in an even matchup. They did a spot at the 10-minute mark where Balor was on offense a lot, so Miz shoved Balor into the referee, who was dealing with Maryse while she was on the apron. Miz left the ring to announce himself as the winner of the match by disqualification.
Dean Ambrose showed up to say the match won’t end that way. He restarted the match, tossed Maryse from ringside and Balor beat Miz quickly with three moves including the Coup de Grace double-foot stomp finisher to end the match at around 12 minutes. If Ambrose could change the match result, couldn’t Miz just change it back since they are both in charge? Sure, but that wasn’t addressed. The story was that Miz got screwed out of the win by Ambrose.
They did a backstage segment where Miz put Ambrose in the main event against Bray Wyatt.
Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose
The IC Title wasn’t on the line, so it was obvious Ambrose was going to lose because WWE enjoys having champions lose non-title nearly every week.
These two have wrestled many times in the last few years and it felt like a repeat of those matches. Wyatt has lost so much of the momentum he had in February when he won his first WWE Title. It’s shame to see him as just another guy so quickly.
They worked hard and had a decent match, but the crowd knew this wasn’t going to have a clean ending. That’s why there was barely a reaction to anything. The Miz was also on commentary during the match ripping on Ambrose for barely defending the IC Title, which is him ripping on WWE’s creative team for being inept. Way to sell a title match, guys. Anyway, The Miz made his way down to ringside and when the ref checked on Wyatt, Miz hit Ambrose in the back with the IC Title. Wyatt went for a pin that got a two-count. Wyatt followed up with Sister Abigail neckbreaker to win the match after about 15 minutes. I don’t think the crowd cared about Wyatt’s win and they weren’t upset about Ambrose losing either.
After the match, Miz did a promo about how awesome he is and that he’s going win the IC Title next week on Raw.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) May 9, 2017
I like Miz and Ambrose, but they already feuded on Smackdown earlier in the year and now we’re getting the feud again. What’s the point? I assume it’s being done to put the title back on Miz again. It’s not like that would be new since he’s held it so many times previously. Fans want new things that we haven’t seen before. Replaying feuds we have seen isn’t a good way to excite the audience. That’s why the crowd was dead for a lot of this show and for what WWE thought were big angles. It just didn’t feel like a big deal.
It also doesn’t help that WWE wants us to care about the IC Title match next week when both Miz and Ambrose lost this week. I realize both losses weren’t clean but if we saw both guys lose this week, why should we care about next week? If WWE booked both guys to win it would have made next week’s match mean something more. Instead, it’s just a pair of losers fighting for a midcard title.
Another thing I didn’t like about this week’s show is that Balor did absolutely nothing to try to get revenge on Wyatt for attacking him last week. We saw Seth Rollins go after Samoa Joe, so why wouldn’t Balor go after Wyatt at all? It makes Balor look like a loser and not a fighting babyface we want to root for. Lame storytelling by WWE.
Braun Strowman’s match with Kalisto was interrupted by Roman Reigns
Braun Strowman started his match with Kalisto with a boot to the face. He stomped away on Kalisto in the corner and then Roman Reigns’ music hit, so the match ended right there without a result. Why should we care about matches if the creative team doesn’t care to book a finish? I don’t have that answer for you.
Reigns, who had his upper body taped to sell injuries from the past few weeks, was mostly booed by the crowd. I’m not sure if WWE edited any of it, but they might have. Reigns got the upper hand on Strowman during their brawl thanks to multiple Superman Punches. When they fought outside the ring, Reigns got his hands on a steel chair and hit Strowman in the left arm three times. It led to Strowman escaping through the crowd to end the segment.
It was a good segment that led to the loudest reaction from the crowd. I know that some people really hate Reigns, but if you watch the shows he consistently gets the loudest reaction of anybody on Raw. It’s why WWE is going to continue to push him even though he should be a heel.
As for Strowman, he is set to undergo minor surgery on his elbow this week, according to a report from ProWrestlingSheet. They noted that he will be out for four to eight weeks. We won’t know the exact timeline until after he has the surgery.
Strowman’s absence will be a big blow to the Raw brand since he has been a featured star and they had big plans for him. He will likely miss Extreme Rules on June 4 and his status for Great Balls of Fire (what a terrible PPV name) on July 9 is in question because that’s the eight-week mark. Strowman was rumored to face Brock Lesnar at this show for the Universal Title. Since Strowman may not be able to do it, perhaps they put somebody else against Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire and they can do Lesnar vs. Strowman at SummerSlam.
I think Raw will miss Strowman for the next month or however long he’s off television. I’ll miss writing about him too because he’s been a highlight of this show since the draft last July. Rest up, big man, and come back better than ever.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here’s the rest of what happened on Raw.
Alexa Bliss defeated Mickie James
Bliss had Nia Jax, her new buddy, in her corner while James had Bayley in her corner. The crowd sang a song for Bayley and also did “Hey Mickey” at one point because of that famous song that was actually for a guy, but people sing it at Mickie sometimes.
It was a standard match with Bliss in control for most of it. James did a good job on the comeback. When James tried to climb to the top rope, Jax grabbed her leg while she was on the apron. Bayley took out Jax on the floor, but the distraction from Jax slowed down James enough that Bliss decked James with a punch or forearm leading to the pin. I thought it was a poor finish. That’s all it took to win? It felt weak to me. At least a champion like Bliss won a non-title match for a change.
After the match was over, Bliss attacked James with punches, so Bayley chased Bliss out of there. That led to Jax attacking James with a running splash and elbow drop because she’s mean.
There was nothing announced for the future, but I think they’ll do the Bliss vs. Bayley Raw Women’s Title rematch and perhaps Jax vs. James at Extreme Rules on June 4.
Cesaro & Sheamus won Tag Team Turmoil by beating four teams to earn a Raw Tag Team Title match
The first match was Enzo & Cass against Cesaro & Sheamus. After Enzo tagged in, Sheamus pulled Cass off the apron and shoved Cass into the ring post. That allowed Cesaro to finish off Enzo with a Sharpshooter for a submission win in seven minutes.
Heath Slater & Rhyno were next up with Rhyno not even tagging into the match because Sheamus & Cesaro attacked both guys before the match. When Slater tried to tag out, Rhyno wasn’t there to make a tag. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Slater to beat them in about three minutes.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson faced off with Sheamus & Cesaro. This one felt a bit different with both teams being heels, so Sheamus & Cesaro were cheered a bit. Gallows & Anderson went for a double-team move, Cesaro saved Sheamus and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Gallows to win. This got about seven minutes, but only four minutes were shown on TV since there was a commercial.
The final match saw Goldust & R-Truth, aka Golden Truth, challenge Cesaro & Sheamus. Good tease of a potential win for Golden Truth since Cesaro & Sheamus were tired. Goldust was the face in peril, Truth got the hot tag and nearly got the win, but Cesaro did a rollup for the win in about five minutes.
After their win, Sheamus hit Goldust with a Brogue Kick and they kicked Truth out of the ring. That led to the Hardy Boyz running out for the save with Sheamus & Cesaro bailing rather than fighting.
The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes. Great performance by Cesaro & Sheamus in having four different matches and earning the victory with some creative finishes except for the last one. I say it all the time, that it’s better to see people win a contender’s match to earn a title shot, which is something WWE has been doing better of late.
Seth Rollins defeated Samoa Joe by disqualification
This was set up because Joe was interviewed about his attack on Rollins last week on Raw during a triple threat match. Rollins attacked Joe during the interview and they were put in a match.
Rollins and Joe got about 15 minutes, but the crowd didn’t care about that much. I thought the work was pretty good, though. Joe targeted the right knee for much of the match with Rollins coming back with some impressive moves such as the Falcon Arrow slam that looked great on a bigger guy like Joe. Every time Joe was trying to finish off Rollins, there was a comeback from Rollins. They did a spot where Joe had Rollins on his shoulders and Rollins pulled the turnbuckle pad off because it was right there. Joe capitalized by sending Rollins shoulder first into the steel buckle. Joe also sent Rollins face first into the turnbuckle to cause the disqualification.
The finish was okay in terms of booking a finish without having either guy take a pin. It didn’t seem like the crowd cared about anything in the match, though.
Post-match, Joe attacked again with the Coquina Clutch until the ref made him break it up. It feels like a third match between them is inevitable at Extreme Rules on July 4. Since Rollins won at Payback and won this match by disqualification, I think Joe is going to get the win in their next match.
TJP defeated Jack Gallagher
TJP is the official new name of T.J. Perkins. Quick match that only got about three minutes with TJP winning, thanks to a pin where he grabbed the tights of Gallagher to win in about three minutes. Post match, Austin Aries made the save. It should lead to TJP/Neville vs. Aries/Gallagher on 205 Live or next week’s Raw, although I don’t think the crowd cares too much. There was barely a reaction for any of this.
Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox
It was a bad match that was given about three minutes. The crowd didn’t care because they were more occupied with a beach ball or something in the crowd. Banks got the win with a double-knee attack off the ropes and Fox’s right shoulder wasn’t down, but the ref still counted it because he was on the other side. The replays showed the botched ending. I think it was more a case of the women not getting the spot right.
Banks needs to turn heel soon because she has done nothing interesting for several months now.
Looking Ahead To Extreme Rules
The next Raw pay-per-view event is Extreme Rules on Sunday, June 4. There are still no matches announced yet, but several matches are slowly brewing on Raw.
Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins is probably going to happen here one more time.
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor is likely.
Raw Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro & Sheamus. I figured it would be made official by now, but it hasn’t.
I’m not sure what Roman Reigns will do now that Braun Strowman is likely off this show.
I thought it was a boring show from start to finish. While it’s nice to see the Intercontinental Title used as a focus on the show, there needed to be more in terms of exciting events. It was largely a forgettable episode this week. The only thing I really liked was how well Sheamus & Cesaro looked in terms of dominating the other tag teams. Other than that, it was a below average edition of Raw in front of one of the quietest England crowds I’ve ever seen at a WWE event.
Next week on Raw: Dean Ambrose defends the Intercontinental Title against The Miz in Newark, New Jersey.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a review of Smackdown Live featuring a confrontation between Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler.