Monday Night RAW Recap – May 15, 2017

The Good

Jeff Hardy beats Sheamus: This match had a good clash of styles in Hardy’s high-flying and Sheamus’s hard-hitting brawling. After some failed shenanigans on Cesaro’s part, Jeff Hardy hit a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb combo to pick up the victory. The match was good, but the angle itself went nowhere. Last month, Jeff wrestled Cesaro and Matt wrestled Sheamus. So given this pattern, 1) next week Matt will wrestle Cesaro and 2) this angle will meander while the Hardys nostalgia tour gets staler.

Alica Fox beats Sasha Banks in a surprise: This was a decent, short match that found Sasha taking a bad tumble to the outside then getting hit with a scissor kick once she was back inside, which led to a pin.  This was a rather shocking victory, and it’ll be at least a tad interesting to see what this is leading to as Fox hasn’t been featured as a wrestler in a couple years now.

Dean Ambrose retains the IC title over Miz: This was a pretty strong, yet safe, match between Ambrose and Miz. It had a big time feel throughout, and the crowd was really into it the whole time. The ending, which found Ambrose blocking a low blow by Miz then giving a low blow of his own leading to a DQ, might get criticized by some, but it kept the title on Ambrose and left Miz looking strong still by not taking the pin. They use DQ endings so little anymore that it didn’t feel like a cop-out.

Alexa Bliss hits Bayley with a kendo stick: Alexa Bliss came out and cut a promo about how she’s a goddess and better than the entire roster, especially Bayley.  Bayley came out and did her “aww shucks” routine and said she wanted her title back.  Alexa attacked her, got a kendo stick from under the ring, and hit Bayley in the back and shoulder with it.  Later, backstage, Angle wants to put Bayley in a traditional match against Alexa for the title at Extreme Rules, but Bayley says she wants to get “extreme.”  Vince Russo must be back writing for WWE because Kurt Angle books them in a kendo stick-on-a-pole match for the PPV.  Alexa’s confidence keeps increasing each week in her mic work and character.  She’s not fazed by the audience at all, no matter what they are doing, and her heel work is on-point.  She’s actually making Bayley look like a babyface underdog for the first time on the main roster.

Roman Reigns goes over Finn Balor: These two men put on the best match of the night.  It was back-and-forth with good selling.  Balor had the victory but took too long to hit the double foot stomp, and Reigns regained the upper hand.  Roman hit the Spear to get the pin.  While the match quality was strong, the booking of this match is questionable. Why even have this match here on television when they could have built to this for a pay-per-view?  This was a PPV quality match-up that was wasted.  Roman winning gives him his win back against Finn, and let’s everyone think he could win at Extreme Rules.

Goldust turns on R-Truth: Goldust and R-Truth come out to the ring to their song and usual shtick, but suddenly Goldust attacks Truth. He even started doing the old Goldust mannerisms from his original run.  This was a tad surprising for the turn to happen and turn Goldust heel again.  This might very possibly be his swan song if he’s returning to his original gimmick.  If so, it could continue to be interesting.  If it’s only because creative doesn’t know what to do with them, then it won’t.

 

The Drivel

Fatal Five-Way for #1 contender scheduled for Extreme Rules: Kurt Angle comes out to announce that Braun Strowman, who was the #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s title, is injured and out for six months. In lieu of Strowman facing Lesnar, Extreme Rules will feature a fatal five-way match between Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and Samoa Joe.  Each man comes down and gets some mic time until they are all in the ring, and the fighting ensues.  The end result is Finn Balor standing alone in the ring.  This match and the announcement is interesting, but they did this segment in the most obnoxious way possible of having everyone come to the ring one at a time, which is such an overused trope at this point.  It feels entirely unnatural and scripted. And they still are trying to pretend that Roman isn’t getting  booed out of the building every night. The parallels between Vince and Trump are so astounding sometimes.

Cruiserweight tag match: Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher took on Neville and TJP. The match was fairly lowkey, even downright boring, and once Aries and Neville started going at each other, TJP hit the Detonation Kick on Gallagher for the pin.  This didn’t do anything to further this feud, and hopefully this is the last month for Aries and Neville because creative seems to be running out of ideas in the weeks in between their matches.

Apollo Crews finally turns heel?: Enzo and Cass came out in the hometown; Titus, with Apollo, comes down making fun of Enzo. Titus thinks that Apollo is supposed to wrestle Enzo, but Cass informs him that they are wrestling instead, which begs the question: how did Titus not know this? Either way, Cass squashes Titus quickly. Enzo takes Titus’s phone to take a selfie of the fallen Titus, but Apollo Crews gives Enzo a enzuigiri to stop him. This segment felt like filler, and the story with Apollo and Titus feels like it will never gain much traction. If Apollo somehow ends up a good heel, it might be different, but it feels like Apollo will walk on the dark side with Titus only to not fully turn heel by the end, which will kill his main roster run even more.

Bray Wyatt stands tall over Seth and Joe: Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins had a rather boring match, which has become standard with both men recently.  When they were on the outside fighting, Samoa Joe attacked Rollins once again which caused a DQ finish.  Joe and Bray join forces to beat on him, but the union is short-lived as Bray gives Joe the Sister Abigail and then does the same to Rollins. Follow the buzzards. While Bray cut a good promo in the third hour, one of the first good ones in a while, how often has this been the finish to RAW or Smackdown where Bray looks strong at the end of the episode? It feels fairly often and never leads anywhere. The Joe and Rollins feud has produced no great matches and feels like it has been going on for months now.  This match deserved the slot that Balor and Reigns, which should have main evented.

The Final Analysis: This was mostly a good episode of RAW with only a few uninteresting filler segments and a lame main event.  There were enough surprises with the booking to keep people guessing, and with only two more RAWs until Extreme Rules, creative might not be able to completely kill and bury the momentum this show built, but fans should still expect some lame shows the next two weeks.  The biggest problem is WWE consistently giving away big matches like Wyatt/Rollins and Balor/Reigns 2 on free television. Still, those are systematic problems. The show itself tonight was good.

 

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