In my 5/8/17 WWE Raw Recap & Analysis, I’ll talk about Alexa Bliss’ new friend along with Sheamus and Cesaro becoming #1 Contenders to the tag titles!
Dean Ambrose started off the show on the phone with GM Kurt Angle. He would then come out in front of the live audience to announce that he was the acting GM for Monday Night Raw for this show. That would be short-lived as The Miz would come out and announce that Stephanie McMahon said that he would also be acting GM for the evening. So we have co-GMs for Raw in London. This was a cool dynamic to have and considering how successful it’s been with people like Stone Cold and Eric Bischoff, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of this.
Braun Strowman would come out to say that he wasn’t done with Roman Reigns. Will he ever be? This brought out Kalisto for the first time since being thrown off the stage in a dumpster. He talked about not being finished with Braun and wanting a match. Braun said he could beat him with one arm (since Strowman is injured). Ambrose would put him in that match for later in the evening. In a comical moment, Miz congratulated Ambrose saying that “it’s been 5 minutes and you’ve already ended Kalisto’s career”.
Ambrose then announced that The Miz would take on Finn Balor next!
The Miz vs. Finn Balor
Balor took control of the match early and even went after The Miz on the outside. Maryse would get involved and save her husband from getting vaulted onto from the top rope. Miz would then take control after the commercial break. Balor would then control most of the rest of the match until The Miz threw him into the referee. Miz would use his GM power to call for the disqualification on Balor. Ambrose then came out to restart the match and ban Maryse from ringside. It didn’t take long after that for Balor to hit a Slingblade, Dropkick, and Coup de Grace.
This was a fun match to kick off Raw. It was a good way to introduce the audience to the dysfunction between the two co-GMs. This match had The Miz’s IC title shot on the line, but there wasn’t much mention of it so I don’t know if they’re going to follow through with that. I also don’t know if that meant that Balor would be the new #1 Contender or if they’ll have to have another match to determine that. It was one of the few times that WWE has been clear on a stipulation like that. Usually they talk about it endlessly.
Alexa’s New Best Friend
Nia Jax sought out Alexa Bliss backstage to find out what she didn’t run her down like everyone else last week. Alexa’s acts like she doesn’t remember what she said since she talked about so much. Nia asked her if she meant what she said when she said Nia was great. Alexa says that she did and Nia asks for the next title shot after Bayley. Alexa gets weird about it and says that she doesn’t make matches and she would have to talk to GM Kurt Angle when he gets back. Nia tells her that it looks like she’s found herself a new best friend until then.
Mickie James w/ Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss w/ Nia Jax
The crowd was pretty dead for this match after Bayley’s entrance. Alexa Bliss went after the left arm the whole match, pretty viciously at times. I think that’s the great thing about Alexa, she has such a mean streak. These two had a pretty competitive match until Nia got involved distracting Mickie and Bayley took her out. This was all Alexa needed as she knocked Mickie off the top rope and got the pinfall.
After the match, Bayley chased Alexa backstage while Mickie James would be taken out in the middle of the ring by Nia Jax. I like the way they are slowly building to Nia Jax becoming the champion. It’s one of those things that doesn’t have to be rushed and will happen when the time is right. I liken it to the Shawn Michaels and Diesel storyline where Diesel was Shawn’s bodyguard forever until finally taking the title. I can see this being the same way and it could be a great story if they don’t rush it.
Co-GMs Talk Backstage
The Miz meets Ambrose backstage and asks what went on out there. Ambrose says he runs a tight, clean show. Miz says he hasn’t showered in a week to which Ambrose replies that he has a shower in his office. Miz is astonished that Dean has an office. Ambrose says Miz can probably just go home to which Miz replies that he had a special MizTV scheduled with One Direction, but Ambrose canceled it. Miz announces Bray Wyatt vs. Ambrose for tonight.
Rollins Attacks Joe
Samoa Joe was doing a backstage interview talking about how he’ll be throught with Seth Rollins when he says he’s through. Seth would come out of nowhere and attack Joe. The two would continue fighting as officials came in to separate them.
Braun Strowman vs. Kalisto
Braun Strowman told Ambrose to shove it and that he didn’t accept the match. He then kicked Kalisto in the face and started assaulting him in the ring. This would bring out Roman Reigns for the first time since the beatdown at Payback. Reigns would hit 3 Superman punches to send Braun from the ring. Reigns would then try and hit a Spear, but Strowman would boot him before he could. Reigns would then drive Strowman’s arm into the ring post and start hitting him with a steel chair. Braun would then retreat in the crowd.
I like that this feud is becoming like a war. I think Roman needed something like this after having his match with The Undertaker. If he’s that good, he should be resilient enough to go through everything Braun has thrown at him. So far, he has. As much as the fans may hate it, he’s had some great character development.
Tag Team Turmoil for the #1 Contendership to the Raw Tag Team Championships (Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Anderson & Gallows vs. Golden Truth vs. Slater & Rhyno)
Enzo and Cass square off with Sheamus and Cesaro to start out the match. Enzo and Cass came out with a lot of energy to start, but Enzo would tap to Cesaro’s Sharpshooter. Next out are Slater and Rhyno. Sheamus caught Slater with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall. Anderson and Gallows were out next and I think they probably fared the best, but once again, Sheamus would hit a Brogue Kick on Gallows for the pinfall. Goldust and R-Truth were up next, and lost after a roll-up of the tights for a win. They were then beaten down after the match before The Hardy Boyz made the save.
I think this may have been the last time we’ll see R-Truth and Goldust. They’ve been playing up the fact that they’re not good enough and now they’ve lost yet again. Goldust even talked about it upsetting him in a pre-match backstage segment. I wouldn’t mind seeing Goldust turn heel on R-Truth and have a short feud with him. I don’t think that team was going to be anything more than an enhancement team.
Sheamus and Cesaro looked really good tonight on Raw. It was a great idea to have them run the gauntlet through everyone even though it wasn’t that type of match. For the first time in a long time, the next Raw Tag Team Championship Match has a big fight feel. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when The Revival return.
Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins
We were treated to a Payback rematch on Raw between Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins. This match was strange because, apart from a quick flurry by Rollins, it was all Samoa Joe. The finish was even weirder as Rollins fell off the top rope and they quickly went to a finish where Joe got disqualified for ramming Seth into an exposed turnbuckle. I don’t know if this was the original finish, but it’s what we received. Joe ended up locking in his submission after the match to add insult to injury.
I’m not sure what more to expect from these two. I feel like WWE is trying to make every rivalry extremely personal lately, but this feud has felt flat the entire time. I really think that these two need to move on to something else before the crowd starts to turn on these matches. It’s not that it isn’t good, it’s more that we’ve seen it so many times with little variations that it isn’t all that exciting anymore.
TJP vs. Jack Gallagher
TJ Perkins has now been rebranded as TJP since that’s what everyone was calling him anyways. He defeated Jack Gallagher in a quick 5-minute match with a handful of tights. Austin Aries would then make the save as TJP had Gallagher in the Kneebar after the match. This match was interesting because Neville had somewhat promised TJP a title shot if he could beat Gallagher, which TJP did. He will somehow get out of it since he didn’t flat out say that, he just implied it. I can see TJP doing Neville’s dirty work for weeks before finally getting fed up and maybe finally getting his shot.
This is the type of stuff I want to see in the Cruiserweight Division. Feature the main feud on Raw and make it interesting. It’s getting there with how these 4 guys are starting to intertwine. I really don’t quite know how this is going to turn out and I love that.
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox
Sasha Banks made an appearance in a very quick win over Alicia Fox with the double knees off the top rope. Alicia got a shoulder up, but the referee still counted to 3. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be the finish, but it sure didn’t seem like it. They might make this the focal point of a feud between the two women, who knows?
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
It was a battle of former SmackDown stars in the main event on Raw. The Miz was on commentary for this match so right away you knew something weird was going to happen. Miz would head to ringside in the middle of the match. He ended up distracting Ambrose with Bray almost hitting Sister Abigail. The Miz hitting Ambrose from behind with the championship belt which gave Bray the opportunity to hit Sister Abigail for the victory.
The Miz would get some shots in on Ambrose after the match and then he talked about how he was going to win the Intercontinental Title in next week’s match. I can definitely see The Miz winning the title again, I think he deserves it. Ambrose has held it for a while and hasn’t really done much with it since WrestleMania. I think it’s time for a change. This match didn’t really do much for me, though. Not having the main title is hurting Raw and I don’t care what anyone else has to say to the contrary. It is.
What I don’t understand is, where’s the focus on Bray? He literally had that match and that was it. Nothing else. I thought this was supposed to be one of the main guy’s on Raw? He was treated as an afterthought this week and I thought that was really odd.
The Final Word
As with most taped editions of Raw, this one didn’t feel as exciting to me even though I avoided the spoilers. There were some very good segments on this show and I think that we have some good feuds starting up. Raw is going to have an exciting show for the next few months at least once some of these feuds hit their stride.