The 5/22/2017 WWE Raw featured the return of Paul Heyman, a mysterious attack on Enzo Amore, and a return to form for Goldust!
Wyatt Ready to Feast on the Beast
Bray Wyatt came out on Raw to talk about the Fatal 5 Way Match at Extreme Rules. He talked about all 4 men in the match suffering and that being the beginning of his crusade to slay the beast. He even made fun of Roman talking about his yard saying it means nothing to him because this is his world. Bray’s promos are insanely well thought-out. I don’t think anyone else could say things that way that he does. He’s unique all the time and I’m glad he’s finally seen some success in the last few months.
Roman came out to offer his few words and set up a match between the two men. Same old stuff from Roman, “I’ll win tonight, at Extreme Rules, and defeat Lesnar”. Ok, it was a bit longer than that, but that’s all that he was trying to say.
Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
GM Kurt Angle made Reigns vs. Wyatt to start off Raw. The match starts for a few minutes before Samoa Joe’s theme music starts out. Of course, we can’t just have a legitimate match without some interference at the beginning of Raw. Joe is torn between Wyatt and Reigns, but he elects to get the Coquina Clutch applied on Reigns. He would then apply it to Wyatt as well. Rollins came out to make the save and Reigns and Rollins stand tall in the ring.
Winner: Roman Reigns by DQ
If you couldn’t see this one coming, Angle set up a tag team match for the main event of Raw. It’ll be Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. I’m so sick of the same old thing happening every week. Two guys have a problem, one interferes, tag match at the end of the show. These tag matches don’t do much for me and it always makes me want to turn off Raw before the main event.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
I really feel for these Cruiserweights. Having a decent 3 or 4-minute match on Raw has to be tough. This match was done to promote Tozawa vs. Kendrick tomorrow on 205 Live. Kendrick watched the match from the back. Tozawa got the victory in pretty convincing fashion winning with a Back Senton for the 3-count. Kendrick said he was impressed, but not as much as anyone else. He said he’ll beat Tozawa tomorrow night. That match will be a Street Fight which is a great idea considering they never really have special matches on that show.
Winner: Akira Tozawa
I mean, who really cares about these characters? I’d like to know who actually watches 205 Live religiously for the characters themselves? Barely anyone. The problem with that is that we don’t see much of a match on Raw, they’re simply focusing on the characters. They started off well when they first started the Cruiserweight Division, but now that character development is horrible. I want to care about these characters, but I need a reason why. Apart from Neville, Aries, Gallagher, Swann, Dar, and TJP, there aren’t many other characters that seem to matter. That needs to change.
Elias Samson vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
GM KurtAngle announced earlier on Raw that Elias Samson will have his first match on Raw when he faces Dean Ambrose in a non-title match. This prompted no reaction from Samson as he just drifted off. Elias started singing something about Grand Rapids in the middle of the ring before being interrupted by Dean Ambrose’s music. This is another match that didn’t last too long as it also ended in a DQ victory for Samson. The Miz who was on commentary ended up attacking Samson to get Ambrose disqualified.
So that’s two straight DQ finishes to start Raw. Not exactly what I wanted to see. This one made more sense because it plays into how Ambrose can lose his title on a DQ at Extreme Rules so I’ll give it more of a pass than the first one. I’m interested to see how they use Samson from here on out. His character allows for some fun segments backstage as we’ve seen. I would have had him showing up on both brands to go with the Drifter gimmick.
Who Attacked Enzo?
The cameras cut backstage to a concerned Big Cass as a referee brought him to see Enzo Amore who had been attacked (his shoe somehow ended up beside his head). Enzo had no recollection of what happened and we didn’t get much from it. Cass warns Angle that he better find out who did this before he does. It’s been a while since we’ve seen something like this happen so this is a fresh idea. I’m interested to see who the culprit ends up being. Could it be The Revival returning?
Heyman Addresses Balor
Finn Balor came out to address the WWE Universe and his match tonight and at Extreme Rules. He only got a few words out before Paul Heyman made his return to WWE TV. He talked about the 4 other men in the #1 Contender’s Match at Extreme Rules and said they would all be victimized. The thing I loved about this whole thing is that Heyman didn’t put down Balor at all, he called him the most talented Superstar in WWE today. He talked about being intrigued by the possibility of Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar. Finn told Paul to tell Brock that he will win the title shot at Extreme Rules and that he would beat Lesnar. Strong words by both mean, I really think this is the match we’re going to see and I can’t say I’d be disappointed by that.
Finn Balor vs. Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows
This was a weird match for WWE to book considering the history between these guys. I really hoped for a Club reunion, but it wasn’t in the cards. This match was mostly about Balor and he controlled a good portion of it. Balor ended up taking out both Gallows and Anderson with a dive and then hit a Dropkick and Coup de Grace for the 3-count. There isn’t much more to say than that. This was just a match to keep Balor fresh in the minds of the fans.
Winner: Finn Balor
Alicia Fox w/ Noam Dar vs. Sasha Banks
It’s the tie-breaker match between these two women with Sasha winning two weeks ago and Fox winning last week. It’s been a good short feud for what it’s worth. All these matches have been no more than 5 minutes and they haven’t had a lot of time to really get into them. Noam Dar tried to get Fox the win with a distraction, but Sasha ended up pulling it out with the turnbuckle double knee drop.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Fox and Dar would get the last laugh after the match as Fox hit the Scissor Kick after Banks slapped Dar. I wonder if this feud is going to continue after this week because of that. It’s better than leaving them off the show completely. I honestly think they could have some good matches if they were given 10 or 15 minutes, but Raw tries to fit so much into 3 hours that these inevitable 5-minute matches happen.
Kalisto Disses The Titus Brand
Kalisto was talking to Apollo Crews backstage asking him what he was thinking. He said Crews was fighting Titus’ battles for him. He even wondered if Apollo attacked Enzo. Crews denied that and said that Titus offers him opportunities. That would be the best thing for Crews at this point. He needs to shed his good guy image and be as villainous as possible and attacking one of the most popular people in WWE is a great way to accomplish that. Titus would come up and try to add Kalisto as a client to which Kalisto declined. Titus then said that Apollo would teach him about respect later tonight.
Goldust Returns To His Roots
If you’ve been a WWE fan for a long time, you probably remember how Goldust used to be. He was very provocative and he had an amazing way of doing promos that tied into his character. He brought that back on Raw saying he is back in the Director’s chair and that The Golden Age is back. I’m all for Goldust getting a push. Give him one last big run, let him run through everybody. Who wouldn’t think that was cool? He’ll certainly be retiring soon and I’d like to remember him as more than part of Golden Truth.
Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neil
Kalisto got a pretty quick victory over Apollo Crews after Crews was distracted by Titus yelling for him to keep on Kalisto. This opened up the opportunity for Kalisto to hit Salida del Sol for the 3-count. Crews looked on disappointed after the match. This really seemed pointless in the bigger picture and I fail to see why we wasted a backstage segment and in-ring segment on it.
Winner Picks The Stipulation at Extreme Rules: Raw Tag Team Champion Matt Hardy w/ Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus w/ Cesaro
I liked the fact that the winner picks the stipulation of the match at Extreme Rules. Too many matches in WWE don’t have much of a point. Things like this make people want to watch the match more. If it’s just a winner and a loser with nothing on the line, it’s not nearly as important.
Sheamus has really started to impress me lately. He has had such a mean streak and his strikes have looked so much more vicious. I’ve always enjoyed his work, but he has become that much better in the last few months. Cesaro has been equally as good and has shown a lot more personality as of late. I think these guys are one of the best teams in all of WWE and I’m glad they’ve found something to sink their teeth into after just spinning their tires prior to teaming.
This one ended with another distraction by The Hardys as Jeff hit a splash on Cesaro, Sheamus kicked Jeff off the apron, and Matt hit the Twist of Fate. The Hardys thankfully did not choose a Ladder Match for their match at Extreme Rules, they chose a Steel Cage Match instead. With a Ladder Match at Mania and Money in the Bank coming up, I’m glad we didn’t get yet another one sandwiched in here. Not only that, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a tag team Ladder Match. I think these two teams will steal the show in this type of match and I can’t wait to see it.
Tony Nese vs. Austin Aries
Tony Nese is a guy that is seemingly just waiting for someone to give him an opportunity. He had a really good match with Austin Aries in which he looked great. He was basically out there doing Neville’s dirty work. He went after Aries’ bad knee and tried to capitalize on that. It didn’t work as Aries locked in Last Chancery for the win. Neville would lock in the Rings of Saturn on Nese after the match as punishment while Aries looked on. I found is strange that Aries didn’t save Nese. It seemed kind of cruel for a face not to do that, that’s what happened. Aries will have a Submission Match with Neville at Extreme Rules for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Winner: Austin Aries
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James
Mickie James looked great in this match. It was yet another short match, but she controlled most of it before a quick DDT gave Alexa Bliss the victory. The match was secondary to what happened after, though. Alexa went and got a Kendo Stick from below the ring and hit Mickie across the back with it. Bayley would make the save and try and hit Alexa with it before Alexa retreated. This match between the two women at Extreme Rules should be interesting. I really hope they don’t hold back.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
As is customary in WWE, Raw’s main event put all the big stars in one match with the sole purpose of anarchy. None of these guys get along so you knew this match was going to be a mess. It was good and they gave this one a lot of time, but again, I just didn’t care. Who cares who wins this match? Nothing is on the line. There’s no reason for me to care about what’s going on because, at the end of the day, all these guys are going to fight again next week in different matches that still won’t matter. I know that’s what wrestling is but I believe that we need more matches on the card that actually mean something. If you missed Raw, you wouldn’t have missed out on anything but Paul Heyman making his return to TV and The Hardys announcing their stipulation, that’s it.
The match ended after Reigns collided with Rollins and was pulled out of the ring by Wyatt as they were arguing. This gave Joe the chance to lock in the Coquina Clutch for the Submission victory.
Winner: Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt
Angle would announce a Triple Threat between Balor, Wyatt, and Joe and Rollins vs. Reigns for next week. Looks like we’ll have more of the same next week. This is the side effect of not having your top title available for an extended period of time. I don’t really have any final words other than I’d really like WWE to spread their focus off of these “main event” matches and more on their other interesting characters that only get 5 minutes a show. The Tag Division could main event, the Women’s Division could, anything really. Have a title match. Do something different. Please.