WWE Monday Night RAW Review 5/14/18
Monday Night RAW traveled to the O2 Arena in London this week as part of their European tour. Foreign shows are always better than average because the crowd is more excited than a typical domestic crowd would be. This RAW might not have been the best television WWE has put on lately, but it was more fun than usual, at least from the audience’s reaction. All Money in the Bank (MITB) Qualifying Matches and an IC title match will be broken down with our thoughts as well.
The UK Hates Roman Too
Roman Reigns called out Jinder Mahal in a show opening promo that drew a roar of boos. The announce team chalked up the less than warm reception to the foreign audience being temperamental. Mahal didn’t come out, and, instead, Kurt Angle did. The General Manager revealed that Mahal would be in a triple threat qualification match for Money in the Bank rather than face Reigns tonight. Reigns claimed that was “perfect” as he could beat Jinder and qualify for MITB in the same match if Angle would add him to it. Angle told Reigns that wasn’t happening, and the Big Dog accepted that fact as he went backstage, seeking out Mahal.
Once the Big Dog found the Modern-Day Maharajah backstage, the two broke out into a brawl that utilized every piece of “equipment” left around the production area. The fight moved quickly back out to the stage area where the crowd could see Reigns deliver his Superman Punch before a group of backstage officials came to stop him.
After four years, the WWE is still trying to get Roman Reigns over, but it isn’t working. He drew no sympathy and was clearly hated by the crowd. Unless you buy into the theory that Reigns is some sort of new-meta heel, this is the same broken record Vince has been spinning since he decided Reigns was THE guy. The Universe’s disdain for Mahal won’t get Reigns over and neither will the Reigns-corporation angle that’s embedded in all of this. Reigns needs a true heel turn after some time off to save his legacy.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Kevin Owens
Seth Rollins’ hot streak continued in his title defense against Kevin Owens. Owens and Rollins opened the show with the best match of the night. At this point, Vince needs to consider putting Rollins in the main event spot until he fails. They hit all the usual spots until Owens caught Rollins’ suicide dive and put him in the fireman’s carry. KO teased a Suplex and a powerbomb onto the apron, but Rollins ultimately hit the Falcon Arrow on him instead. Then, Rollins hit the double suicide dive to rub things in. After some more back and forth near falls, Owens got hit with a curb stomp as he reentered the ring. Rollins secured the pin and his title in front of a hot crowd.
Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens via pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship
Nia Jax Names Her Challenger for MITB
Nia Jax challenged Ronda Rousey for her obligatory title defense at MITB. The scene played out at the NBC Universal Upfront presentation. It looked awkward as the WWE forced their “progressive corporate values” on the rest of the entertainment world and seems a bit early for Rousey to compete for the title. Here’s the video and let us know what you make of it:
MITB Qualifier Match: No-Way Jose vs. Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin
This match was a well-paced qualifier, but the crowd wasn’t as engaged as they should have been. While Jose is new and Roode and Corbin have been underwhelming in the mid-card, each man outperformed their usual work. One of the tell-tale signs of decent booking is the ability to make the audience feel like any man can win. The creative team achieved that goal and Roode was triumphant at the end of a match that went the perfect amount of time. For me, this was an encouraging sign that Roode and Corbin can have a decent match if nothing else. Roode joins the Miz, Braun Strowman, Rusev, and Finn Balor in the men’s ladder match at Money in the Bank.
Bobby Roode def. Baron Corbin and No-Way Jose to qualify the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The B-Team on the A-Show
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas demanded a title match against the Deleter of Worlds one week after losing to them. This fact was not lost on Kurt Angle as he denied the two a championship opportunity. He also pointed out that the former Miztourage members have yet to win a tag match on RAW. Axel and Dallas tried to name themselves the A-Team, but Angle warned of copyright issues. So, the next logical choice for them was the “B-Team”. Angle commented that the name was stupid, but they stuck with the name anyway.
Breezango lost to the B-Team, granting Axel and Dallas their first wins as tag partners. Both men looked in shock, probably because they’ve never heard the bell ring in their favor. This comedy gimmick is here to stay, and it looks like the B-Team has the potential to become competitive in the tag division. Breezango was very impressive in the short time they had in the ring. A program between these two could be surprisingly entertaining.
The B-Team def. Breezango via pinfall
Natalya and Ember Moon and Sasha Banks vs. the Riott Squad
During most matches involving the Riott Squad, one of the members interferes when they aren’t legal, and it leads to a victory. The team of Moon, Nat, and Banks finally put a stop to that strategy by working together and helping each other just as the Riott Squad does. Liv Morgan got a lot of time between the ropes and wasn’t all that awful. Banks also impressed, but that’s expected of her. The finish saw Nat submit Morgan with the Sharpshooter after Moon took out Riott with a rocket-like suicide dive.
Natalya, Ember Moon, and Sasha Banks def. the Riott Squad via submission
The Revival vs. the Deleter of Worlds
The Revival looked bad in this squash match. The only thing accomplished in this match was getting a win under the champs’ belt. This is an all too telling sign that shake-up didn’t fix the tag divisions problem’s in full.
Sami Zayn Promo
Sami Zayn cut a promo calling out Bobby Lashley for giving him Vertigo in their return match to Monday Night RAW. He blames Lashley for his condition and subsequent losing streak/absence from WrestleMania. Zayn said that Lashley wasn’t the man he claimed to be in his interview with Renee Young last week. Lashley’s sisters will be at RAW next week as guests of Zayn in what should be the beginning of their feud.
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James vs. Bayley
Bliss and James have been working together for the past few months, making this match more of a handicap match than a triple threat. James and Bliss worked on Bayley early, but James tried to roll-up Bliss when her back was turned. The two continued to work together, but when Alexa went to pin Bayley, James broke it up. The idea is that both women understand that this match is every woman for herself, but it no doubt will lead to a breakup angle. The match broke down when Bliss accidentally hit James and she got upset. The two heel’s discord allowed Bayley to come back briefly, but Bliss won with her DDT finisher.
Alexa Bliss def. Mickie James and Bayley via pinfall to qualify for the Women’s MITB Match
More Pain for Mahal
Jinder Mahal was bandaged up before his qualifying match for Money in the Bank. As Mahal walked towards the ring shaking off his injuries, Roman Reigns speared him through a wall. As Angle tended to Mahal, he said the match must go on despite Sunil Singh’s insistence that it be canceled. Angle walked off to find a replacement and Reigns is left looking rather heelish.
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler and Balor started off in the ring, but McIntyre quickly got tagged in. McIntyre called for Strowman to face him and tagged out as soon as the Monster among Men entered the ring. Strowman and Balor were the dominant team, but McIntyre and Ziggler reversed the momentum by interfering with usual heel tactics. The pairing of Strowman and Balor is odd, but it’s a clever way to get Ziggler and McIntyre over as strong heels against two massive babyfaces.
Strowman eventually went on a rampage only to be fooled by Ziggler as he jumped out of the way of Braun’s running shoulder into the corner. Balor tagged in and went to work on Ziggler. Strowman recovered ringside and attacked McIntyre causing the Greatest Royal Rumble trophy to topple and break. With all the commotion going on outside of the ring, Ziggler quick-pinned Balor for a surprise victory. The B-Team isn’t the team that’s going to take down the Deleter of Worlds, but Ziggler and McIntyre could be.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler def. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Elias vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens call to Stephanie McMahon paid off as he got a second match on the same night. Instead of a Championship opportunity, KO gets a chance to qualify for Money in the Bank. As much of hinderance Shane McMahon was to Owens, Stephanie is proving to be just the opposite.
Owens got hurt early and sold a knee injury for most of the match. Lashley got “Bobby’s Sisters” chants based on the interview that Sami Zayn was making fun of earlier. It’s funny that the crowd wants to chant for Lashley, but because he has no real gimmick, they chant “Bobby’s Sisters.” Elias wound up alone in the ring and began a performance mid-match. Owens interrupted him, but Elias got the upper hand on him. Lashley joined the brawl and Owens went for the Canon Ball. He missed and Elias it a diving elbow that Owens kicked out of. Lashley stalked down Elias and ran roughshod in the ring. He did the delayed Suplex on Elias, but Owens teamed up with Elias to do the same move on Lashley. Lashley stopped them with a snap reverse double Suplex. Elias got Owens up on his shoulders and hit a huge powerbomb. Lashley stopped the pin and hit the Dominator on Elias. Sami Zayn broke up the pin and hit a Helluva Kick on Lashley while Owens Frog Splashed onto Elias for the win.
Owens will join Balor, Roode, Strowman, Miz, and Rusev in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This ladder match has a stacked set of superstars and has the potential to be the first main roster five-star match in quite some time. It probably won’t be that good, but it has the potential.