Monday Night RAW Recap – May 8, 2017

The Good

Ambrose and Miz as co-GMs:  Dean Ambrose is backstage and gets a call from Kurt Angle, who didn’t make the trip for the European tour.  He makes Dean the guest GM for the night.  Ambrose comes to the ring, happy about his new position, but The Miz comes out. He’s been on the phone with Stephanie McMahon, and she made him a co-GM for the night to balance out Dean’s insanity.  As they argue, Braun Strowman, with his arm in a sling due to his match with Roman last week, interrupts.  He wants Roman Reigns and once he beats him, he wants Brock Lesnar.  Kalisto comes out to new music, which caused everyone at first not to know who he was.  Kalisto wants revenge on Braun for beating him up two weeks ago.  Braun brags that he could beat Kalisto with one arm. Ambrose books the match, thinking it’s a good idea.  Miz quips that Ambrose’s first action as GM is to destroy Kalisto’s career.  Ambrose then books The Miz against Finn Balor.  Kalisto received no heat, and the crowd openly mocked him with “What?” chants, but the segment was saved by Ambrose and Miz’s good comedic timing.

Finn Balor beats The Miz: Finn Balor and Miz were in a match that Balor had a firm grasp on when Maryse distracted the referee and Miz tossed Balor into him.  Miz rolled out of the ring and declared, as co-GM, he won’t allow a referee to be attacked and told the ref to disqualify Balor, which he does.  Ambrose, however comes out and says, as co-GM, he wants the match restarted and Maryse is banned from ringside.  Balor makes short work of Miz after that and wins with the Coup De Grace.  This was a good segment; the reaction to Balor in England was incredible and made him look like a star.

Alexa Bliss makes a new friend: Backstage, Alexa is approached by Nia Jax.  Nia wants to know why Alexa didn’t run her down last week during her coronation and merely said she was “great.”  Alexa says she has nothing bad to say.  If she’s so “great,” then Nia wants a title match.  Alexa squirms her way out by saying only Kurt Angle makes the matches, and once he’s back, they’ll figure it out.  Nia agrees, but in the meantime, Alexa “has a new best friend.”  Nia accompanies Alexa to the ring in her match against Mickie James.  Bayley seconds Mickie.  The match wasn’t anything to write home about.  Nia tried to help Alexa, but Bayley gave her a cross body block off the apron to stop her to a big pop.  The distraction was just enough for Alexa to get the pin on Mickie though.  This bodyguard/best friend angle is exactly what Nia has needed since she came in, so hopefully this helps give her a bit of personality that is more in line with who she is.  Bayley was the most over wrestler in the match simply by being at ringside, so Alexa’s fantastic heel character might be working for Bayley already.

Tag Team Turmoil/#1 Contender Match: Before the match, Goldust cuts an impassioned plea to R-Truth to get serious about this match as it could be their last shot.  He wants to show the world that the Hardys aren’t the only ones that can “turn back the clock.” The first pairing is Sheamus and Cesaro against Enzo and Cass.  Enzo tapped to Cesaro’s Sharpshooter. Heath Slater and Rhyno come out next, and Sheamus and Cesaro attack them before the bell rings.  They lay both men out in the ringside area; Slater tries to fight back but gets eliminated with a Brogue Kick.  Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are out next.  Cesaro and Sheamus are still dominate, but they are losing a little steam at this point, so they get some more offense in than the others.  Still, an exhausted Sheamus hits Gallows with a Brogue Kick for the pin.  Golden Truth are the last team to come out. It looks like Golden Truth might win after R-Truth gets the hot tag, but Cesaro capitalizes on a mistake and rolls up R-Truth for the win.  They attack Golden Truth after the match, which draws out the Hardys to protect them, but Sheamus and Cesaro run away.  This was a good set of matches, and it did it’s job…moderately well.  Sheamus and Cesaro looked incredibly strong. They were trying to build up Golden Truth as the underdogs which they did well, but they didn’t anticipate how over Sheamus and Cesaro would be in Europe, so when they won, the boos weren’t what they wanted even after Goldust and R-Truth were attacked after the match.

TJP cheats to beat Jack Gallagher: This was a fun five or six minute match that ended with TJP pulling the tights to get a win.  Afterwards, he slapped on the kneebar in an attempt to injure Gallagher, but Austin Aries made the save.  An angry Neville came to the ring and had a staredown from the ramp with Aries.  This is a nice and short continuation of the Neville and Aries feud, and set up a Gallagher/Perkins feud as well. The simple storytelling that is done with the cruiserweights (when they aren’t making them look like clowns, that is) is often more effective than the main roster storytelling.

The Drivel

Roman Reigns beats down Braun: Braun comes out for his match with Kalisto.  At first, he says he isn’t going to wrestle because he’s injured and Roman Reigns is a coward who won’t face him. He turns his back, and the bell rings, but he spins around and big boots Kalisto.  He starts punishing Kalisto with kicks, but then Roman’s music hits to massive boos.  Roman hits him with three Superman punches and beats on Braun with a chair until Braun flees through the audience.  This was more of the same.  Roman the underdog with his “internal injuries” coming out “stand tall” at the end.  He stood tall to boos from the crowd as usual.

Samoa Joe tries to injure Seth Rollins: Rollins and Joe had a competitive match.  The crowd wasn’t into it, and they can’t really be blamed.  Both men were working hard, but something is just…off in their matches.  Honestly, Rollins’s matches have felt like this for a few months now, so maybe it’s the knee injury.  In fact, it was so bad that the crowd seemed split between Joe and Rollins with alternating chants.   This match began a big downhill slide in the show.

Sasha Banks beats Alicia Fox: Sasha Banks beat Alicia Fox with one of her signatures, the double knees off the second rope.  Something was happening in the crowd, which generated more attention and heat than this match.  Sasha received mild boos but, otherwise, no reaction after the win.

Bray beats Dean Ambrose after interference: Dean and Bray were the main event as booked by The Miz.  The match was fairly standard, and the crowd either had no reaction or they muted the crowd mics for some reason.  The Miz, who was on commentary, eventually walked down to ring and distracted Ambrose by taking the Intercontinental Title.  Ambrose went after him, but The Miz hit him with the title in the back.  Bray tossed him in the ring and went for the pin, but Ambrose kicked out, showing fighting spirit.  Bray immediately hit Sister Abigail and got the pin though.  The Miz beat on Ambrose after the match.  This was a fairly week way to end the show.  Bray is aimless right now; he’s supposed to be feuding with Finn, but there was no mention of that this week.  The champ took a pin that wasn’t needed.  This was just messy and filler booking.

The Final Analysis: This show started off well for the first hour with the Miz/Balor match and the women’s match.  The middle of the show had one of the better tag team turmoils in recent memory, but then the show just fell apart.  The crowd seemingly gave up too after the tag match.  The Brits are savvy fans, and it felt like they realized they were being given a filler episode of RAW where nothing major was going to happen.  They weren’t wrong.

 

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