This week’s Raw established some new storylines including a big one for Bray Wyatt. Find out what I thought in the 5/1/2017 Raw Recap & Analysis!
In case you didn’t know, Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley last night at Payback to win the Raw Women’s Championship. This made her the first woman to hold the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Championships. Alexa came out on Raw saying that some people call themselves The Queen but she’s here to say that The Queen is dead, long live Alexa Bliss. In true heel fashion, Alexa then trash-talked Mickie, Sasha, and Bayley. She then sucked up to Nia saying she was looking forward to teaming with her. Alexa has proven she can carry a segment and she did exactly that once again on Raw.
Emma, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox and Alexa Bliss vs. Dana Brooke, Mickie James, Sasha Banks and Bayley
We got another multi-woman tag team match on Raw this week because we can;t possibly give the women two segments on one show. It’s actually more because a lot of these girls don’t have anything going on right now. I actually liked this match for what it was. It was your normal run of the mill tag team match where everybody ends up taking each other out until the two title contenders face off. Alexa got the win after an eye rake into a DDT. It was a different spin on the Payback finish we saw the night before.
Enzo Amore w/ Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows w/ Karl Anderson
Enzo and Big Cass came out with their usual smack-talking, but Anderson and Gallows decided to attack them from the crowd before the match. Enzo and Cass fought them off and then the match got under way. I’ll say that Enzo Amore is really carving out a nice role as a face that you have sympathy for. He spends most of the match getting beaten down and trying to make a comeback. It was nothing different on this night against Gallows. It did look like Enzo was going to get the win until Anderson distracted him giving Gallows the opportunity to hit him with his finisher for the win.
I don’t know how much longer these two teams can feud with each other. At this point, what are they even fighting about anymore? I miss the days where all the teams were around the title picture and you got different matches every week. It seems like we’re always locked into one team feuding with another team. It is possible to have multiple teams feuding and that is a lot more interesting than seeing variations of the same matches every week. I won’t say more on this because I’ve already talked this to death many times, but it does get annoying.
TJ Perkins came up to Neville backstage to talk about the DQ finish at Payback. He talked about how Neville essentially got himself disqualified. Neville turned this around on TJ by saying he has a plan to rid them of their Austin Aries problem. TJ wondered why it was “their” problem. Neville went on to explain that TJ can’t lay claim to being the #1 Contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship if Aries already is. He told TJ he would help him all he can, but that TJ will have to make the most of his opportunity against Aries tonight.
I like this mutually beneficial partnership between Perkins and Neville. It makes sense from a storyline standpoint that Perkins would help Neville get rid of Aries to get a title shot. Neville also sees TJ as less of a threat in this story. This is the kind of simple story-telling that will help make the Cruiserweight segments and 205 Live much more interesting.
Figuring Out The Title Pictures
Seth Rollins came out on Raw to address what he has planned next now that he’s slain the king and beaten Samoa Joe. Rollins said that there was only one thing left to do and that he wants The Beast. He wants to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Shortly after that Finn Balor would interrupt him and talk about how the line starts with him. Balor never actually lost his the Universal Championship. Dean Ambrose would come out after that telling them that if anyone wants to fight, he’s a fighting champion. He put over the Intercontinental Championship as the top title on Raw. The Miz would then come out to insult everyone, but he had a rare off night where none of his insults were that scathing. Ambrose would call GM Kurt Angle who made a match between Rollins, Miz, and Balor with the winner becoming #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship.
Ok, so let me get this straight. Rollins came out to stake his claim being a contender for the Universal Championship and ends up being in a match to be a contender for the IC title? Who would settle for the secondary title like that? I don’t understand how WWE can just gloss over the fact that their main Raw title has been absent for almost a month now. That’s not to mention the fact that it must be defended every 30 days which won’t be happening. I hate these holes in their own rules. If the rules are there, they should be observed. What’s the point otherwise?
Tony Nese, Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa and Jack Gallagher
Here’s the complimentary Cruiserweight match we get every week. This week we get a match that was very similar to the 8-woman tag match earlier in the show. The difference between them is that some people cared about the women’s match and no one cared about this one. Ok, so I’m being a bit harsh but I need more substance from these matches. Jack Gallagher got the pinfall on Kendrick. What purpose does that serve in the grand vision of everything? I don’t see one. It’s getting to the point where WWE has so many Superstars under contract that they have to get some of them on TV or risk them getting forgotten by the audience. That’s what we see with these types of matches. I’d much prefer having something that matters in that 5-10 minute time slot.
The Hardys Look to DELETE
Cesaro and Sheamus came out on Raw to address why they beat down The Hardys at Payback. They mentioned how The Hardys are a nostalgia act and that they set the bar. Cesaro is still average on the mic and I don’t see that ever changing at this point in his career. I could tell that he was being fed certain lines from creative that he’s touched on a bunch of times the last couple days. The Hardys ended up coming out and delivering a simple message that they’re there to DELETE!
You can start to see the Broken gimmick starting to surface more and more. I think the reason the nostalgia act keeps being touched upon is that they’re going to shed that soon and go back to the Broken gimmick that has been so successful in the last year. There’s no rush, though. if it works out like that over time, it’ll be the best thing they’ve ever done. The fans want it and I really think we’ll see it happening soon.
Ambrose and Miz Backstage
In a funny moment backstage, Ambrose asked Miz about his hair gel to which Miz walked off frustrated. Ambrose then sent it back to “Gene and Bobby at ringside”.
Heath Slater w/ Rhyno vs. Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neil
Heath Slater and Apollo Crews had a decent match on Raw. This all came about after Titus O’Neil took exception to Heath giving Apollo some fatherly advice backstage. I like these little stories that give a match some type of background rather than just throwing two guys in there for no reason. Crews got the victory after his Sitout Powerbomb. It seems like Apollo is starting to buy into Titus and I think this is going to give him the added boost that he’s needed. Apollo has needed a bit of character since joining the main roster and Titus is just over the top enough to be that person.
Angle Meets Wyatt
GM Kurt Angle came out to address the condition of Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns after Payback. He said that Reigns has broken ribs and other internal injuries while Strowman tore his rotator cuff. He also made it clear that they weren’t done with each other. As he was getting to how that would be resolved, Bray Wyatt made his way out to introduce himself to the GM.
Bray shakes hands with Angle. He talks about Orton being trapped in his House of Horrors. He says that he means Angle no harm and that he is here to be the savior. He says that Angle needs him and asks is Angle will allow him to do his work or stand in the way. Angle says that this is his show to which Bray replies that this is his world. It was a weird segment between those two guys and I for one am hoping that it leads to a match between the two men somewhere down the line.
Ambrose Interviews Rollins
Dean Ambrose continued his interview skills with an unscheduled interview with Seth Rollins. He talked about ideas for names for a new show featuring him on the WWE Network with such gems as The Today Show and The Daily Show. Rollins stated they were both real shows. Rollins also said Ambrose would be surprised how far he would go to win the IC title. Ambrose says he won’t be surprised again and throws it back to “Gorilla”.
Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins
TJ Perkins is showing a much darker side lately and I like it a lot. It’s been a great thing to see him embrace his heel character and try to attack body parts during the match and take every advantage he can. It was yet another match where the knee was a focal point, but I’m just going to ignore how much we see that at this point. Aries would win after countering a Detonation Kick into Last Chancery to make TJ submit. Perkins attacked Aries from behind and put the Kneebar on after the match.
I think that WWE is doing a good job with the Aries/Neville feud. Adding TJ as an extra wrinkle is going to be fun to watch over the next few weeks to see just what Neville and Perkins come up with. I somehow think that Perkins will end up turning on Neville at some point, but I guess we’ll see how this goes.
Ambrose Interviews Balor
Ambrose stopped Balor to ask him if he’s nervous about the match. Finn says he eats nerves and puts out results and says the IC title is coming to The Balor Club. Ambrose then gave him a doughnut and told him to eat some carbs once in a while. Balor took a bite and gave it back to Ambrose who then also took a bite as Elias Samson drifted into the picture. Ambrose said he was good and asked him if he knew any Pearl Jam. Samson just walked by. Ambrose was great on these bite-sized interviews all night. WWE does a great job keeping him on the show even if he isn’t wrestling.
The Golden Truth Want a Shot
R-Truth and Goldust talked to GM Kurt Angle backstage about getting a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. They said that they have been inspired by Kurt’s comeback as well as The Hardys. They’re dubbing it The Golden Quest. Angle shot it down saying that he can’t approve it due to their win/loss record. As they keep pushing him, Angle makes a Tag Team Turmoil Match on next week’s Raw for the #1 Contendership to the Raw Tag Team Championships. This is a decent idea with the number of teams and it can easily create a fresh start for one of the teams that have been under-utilized lately. I don’t see any way this won’t be won by Cesaro and Sheamus, but I guess we’ll see.
Triple Threat Match to Become #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship: Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins
The main oven on Raw was one of the better ones I’ve seen lately. I really liked the dynamic between Rollins, Balor, and Miz. Balor and Rollins started out the match while Miz stood on the outside. This remained the case until they decided to corner him. There was constant action throughout the match and the crowd was really into everything that was going on. Seth Rollins looked like a man possessed in the final minutes of the match hitting a bunch of big moves. In the end, the finish wasn’t determined by the competitors at all.
Samoa Joe would interfere and lay out Rollins. Then, Bray Wyatt would make his presence known in this match interrupting it right at the end. he would shove Finn Balor off the top rope and hit him with Sister Abigail before disappearing. Miz capitalized on this to get the easy pinfall victory and become the #1 Contender for the IC title.
I liked the match and I liked the finish. There wasn’t much more that WWE could do with this. Balor will go on to feud with Wyatt which should have a lot of interesting possibilities judging from their characters. Rollins and Joe seemingly have unfinished business. Miz will go on to challenge for the IC title which is really the only direction they could have gone if they wanted a face vs. a heel. I would really prefer Miz doing more, but there isn’t a next level right now without the Universal Championship being around.
The Final Word
It was a decent episode of Raw, all things considered. I feel like they accomplished quite a bit as far as the direction of the storylines are concerned. I do feel like there needs to be more in-ring action, though. There are far too many interview spots and in-ring talking segments. There’s enough quality talent that there should be one or two more matches each week and I’m not talking about the 5-minute pointless matches. Raw is getting there, but I still expect more.