Did WWE Raw Fail To Make A Mark In Wake of All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) Double Or Nothing?

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Did WWE Raw Fail To Make A Mark In Wake of All Elite Wrestling's (AEW) Double Or Nothing?

WWE Raw Review and results indicates that remembrance of Memorial Day, the show opened with a tribute to the fallen soldiers that included a George S. Patton quote and several veterans sharing their thoughts and stories of what it means to them and remembering their comrades and friends that paid the ultimate price for freedom. It then shifted to the arena and an excited crowd chanting, “USA! USA!”

We were then taken backstage to Paul Heyman and Brock Lesner as they prepared to announce who Lesner would face. Before they were able to, Kofi Kingston came to the ring to address Kevin Owens’ attack on Big E on Smackdown Live and himself being ambushed by Dolph Ziggler, “Dolph Ziggler didn’t finish the job cause I’m still standing here and standing tall!”

Then he switched gears. “I’m here for Mr. Money in the Bank.”

WWE Raw: In answer to Kingston’s challenge, out came…

Seth Rollins.

Guess no one ever told them good thing come to those who wait?

Rollins shared Kingston’s thought: “So, we got the WWE champ out here. We got the Universal champ right here. The only thing we’re missing is Brock Lesner.”

And, surprise surprise, guess who came out to a chorus of boos?

After calling Lesner a joke for his action and stating the championship was “my life!”, Rollins didn’t have the patience to wait until the Brock Party was over and left. Heyman then pointed out it was Rollins’ fault Lesner wasn’t going to announce who he chose.

Ziggler then ambushed Kingston again and was about to use a chair on him again before Xavier Woods came out to help his friend. Ziggler then ran into the crowd.

After the commercial break, Kingston was being helped toward the locker room by two officials when Ziggler attacked Woods from behind. After a brief exchange, Ziggler was about to use a chair on Woods like he’d done with Kingston, when Kingston ran out to stop him.

While running away, Ziggler paused on the ramp to reiterate his reasons for attacking Kingston. As we all know, the championship “should’ve been mine!”

Their championship match at Super Showdown on June 7 is locked in.

WWE Raw: The Usos’ Block Party is Revivale

Outside the arena, the Usos held a party for the Superstars, and promptly took to the mic to welcome everyone to the Usos’ Block Party and talk some smack on the Revival. Eventually, the Revival arrived (Who would’ve ever guessed?), having been invited by Naomi, who wanted to mediate a peace between the two teams for the holiday.

Shane McMahon beat Lance Anoa’i by submission

In one of his few in ring matches, Shane McMahon came out with Drew McIntyre as an escort. Before the match started, Shane shared some insight on his family’s past as well as wrestlers from the Samoan Islands. He was even kind enough to drop some names like High Chief Peter Miavia, the Rock, the Wild Samoans, the Usos, and Roman Reigsn before Reigns’ cousin, Lance Anoa’I came out to face Shane.

To chants of “This is boring!” and “AEW!”, we were treated to McIntyre beating up Anoai’ before throwing him into the ring for Shane. To his credit, Anoa’I put up a fight, but Shane countered a superkick and slapped on a triangle submission for the win.

Afterwards, McIntyre beat up Anoa’I some more and Shane put him back in the submission hold, prompting Reigns to come out. A couple of Superman Punches later, Reigns and Anoa’I remained in the ring while Shane and McIntyre retreated.

Thus ended possibly the most boring first hour (being gentle here) of Raw in a long time. If they wanted to make a statement after AEW’s pay-per-view this past weekend, it’s one of pretending they aren’t there. Ignore it and it’ll go away, right? At least their shows aren’t expected to be across from one another.

Lesnar Decides…

Heyman and Lesner came out to the ring with a referee to inform which champion he would be cashing in his MITB contract.

Of course, Rollins then decided to come out and interrupted Heyman.

Rollins got into Lesner’s face and called him a joke, challenging him to face each other right then. “Cash it in. Cash it in. Cash it in.”

Heyman’s calmer head prevailed by reading the contract for the MITB, but Lesner stopped himwhen Heyman was about to say who he’d face.

Lesner asked, “A year to cash in?”

Heyman replied, “A year.” Lesner then smacked him with the contract a few times.

An argument of how Lesner couldn’t have known started between them, and (surprise) Lesner decided not to give Rollins what he wanted.

“I got a whole year and I got to make a decision now? Seth Rollins, screw you.” A mic drop and Lesner leaving the ring followed. Guess Lesner’s supposed to be incompetent or trust Heyman implicitly? While this was rough on several levels, it was pretty entertaining so see Heyman get smacked around with a folder. Some entertainment is better than none, right?

Speaking of which, Rollins stood in the ring watching Lesner leave, Carmella and R-Truth ran through the crowd, climbed the barricade and into the ring. Rollins disappeared and Carmella escaped while R-Truth’s battle continued.

Continuing Saga of the 24/7 Title Chase

After fighting off a pair of Superstars to get into the ring, kicking out of a rollup pin by Eric Young, ducking under a cross body block that took out two people, sidestepping a flying tackle by Drake Maverick, and ducking under a big boot, R-Truth eventually made it to the barricade where he put Carmella on his back and ran into the back with a referee and Superstars following him.

While it was more of the same, it’s been an entertaining run the last couple of weeks. R-Truth is making this role his, and on a Raw where entertainment wsa lacking, this was a fun bit once again.

Styles Gets… Taken Out?

After backing out of the Fatal 4-Way match for the number on contender at Super Showdown due to injury, Charly Caruso caught up with Styles and asked what happened to him.

He said he felt a pop in his back at MITB, but he didn’t want to take anything from Rollins or the match. Citing his desire for another opportunity at the Universal Championship, he said he’d have to wait as it wouldn’t happen that night.

Then, for reasons that make no sense (kinda the theme for this Raw), Baron Corbin (his replacement in the Fatal 4-Way) knocked him out from behind while Styles was talking about his upcoming treatment.

Okay, WT-? Seriously, what purpose did that serve? Corbin already has Styles’ spot in the match, so he was a little late in taking him out. If it’s about creating a new rivalry (not that they’ve followed through on most of them lately), there are a thousand different ways to do it. This was just… fitting for Raw’s current direction.

Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross beat The Iiconics by pinfall

Cross continued to impress as she faced both Iiconics early on, mixing unorthodox attacks with standard far. It’s clear she’s being pushed, and what better way than by being teamed up with Becky Lynch? The two characters are so similar, it’s kinda freaky.

There were some cool moves on both sides as Cross built some momentum by hitting both Iiconics outside the ring with a crossbody block before tagging Lynch in.

Royce nearly got the pin on Lynch after a bulldog into Kay’s knee in an interesting double team, and Royce counted a DIs-Arm-Her into a roll up, but Lynch kicked out before hitting Royce with her new Manhandled slam for the win.

Lacey Evans came down to the ring after the win to point out that feud’s still ongoing, but Cross held Lynch back before Evans returned backstage. It was a cool moment showing their growing bond and Cross looking after her partner. Cross and Lynch are possibly the toughest team in the women’s division, and it should be fun to watch them continue to bond. Or feud if Cross accidentally costs Lynch her women’s championship. The former choice would be pretty cool, though.

Ricochet beat Cesaro by pinfall

In what’s quickly become a fun rivalry, this match started fast with Rocochet going on the attack early, flipping over Cesaro onto the turnbuckle, then back to flip Cesaro over for a quick pin attempt.

Cesaro eventually slowed it down as he continued to work on Ricochet’s back and arm through a slow burn submission move that Rocochet countered into a near sunset flip, but Cesaro lifted him up by the neck and suplexed him for a near fall.

IN an impressive move, Ricochet did a handstand on the ring apron from outside, hooking his feet on Cesaro’s shoulders from behind. Cesaro then lifted him into the ring and Ricochets turned it into a hurricarana/DDT combination for the pin.

These two have developed some great chemistry in the ring and help each other shine in what is usually one of the best matches of the night. It’s safe to say few of us want this rivalry to end any time soon.

Rey Mysterio to Vacate United States Championship

Following a separated shoulder in Samoa Joe’s last assault, Rey Mysterio would be vacating the United States Championship next week.

To that news, Samoa Joe came out to let everyone know he would be waiting to reclaim what “is rightfully mine.”

This is an interesting twist in their ongoing feud, and plays into Samoa Joe asking for Myserio to do the right thing by relinquishing the title. Wonder how much of it’s story driven and how much may be a real injury. It’s a fun twist either way, and should prove entertaining going forward.

Promo Time

The Miz and Braun Strowman started this off with atypical promos, but with a cool twist. The Miz shared news that he and his wife were expecting another child, to which Strowman congratulated him while stating how he would win. It was so different and showed some great comradery while keeping the intensity high between the two of them.

Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin’s prerecorded promos followed the usual quest for the win and subsequent championship match.

Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: “Mr. Former” Baron Corbin beat The Miz (pinfall), Braun Strowman, and Bobby Lashley

Corbin and Lashley showed their brains by teaming up against Strowman as soon as the bell rang.

The Miz had to get involved, though, and grabbed Lashely, diving the four men into pairs. Maybe that wasn’t the best time to be a competitor? Just saying.

It didn’t take long for Strowman and Lashley to toss Corbin and The Miz out, respectively. With all do respect to the latter two, Lashley and Strowman is the match that most harkens back to the “good old days” for many of us. Just gotta find some popcorn…

In a taste of what is to come at Super Showdown when they meet, Strowman feigned going off the ropes to catch Lashely in a chokehold, and after a brief test of strength, Lashley dropped to a knee. Corbin then attacked Strowman from behind, saving his “partner.”

The majority of the match saw Strowman outside the ring “shaking” off Corbin and Lashley’s attacks while they focused on The Miz. To his credit, The Miz survived a beating and nearly turned the tables on them several times throughout the match.

Not to be outdone, a double superplex by Crobin and Lashley on The Miz turned into a three-person superlex as Strowman climbed into the ring in time to get under them and throw them all to the mat. Lashley kicked out of Strowman’s pin, then as Corbin and Lashley were plotting, Strowman his them with a double dropkick.

The heat of the moment got the better of Strowman and Lashley as the two fought into the fans before Strowman chased Lashley into the backstage area.

After surviving a Deep Six, The Miz remained in the ring and surprised Corbin with a couple quick pin attempts, but Corbin caught him with an End of Days when The Miz attempted his third running double knee strike for the pin.

This had so much potential, but fell flat. The elimination aspect was lost when Strowman and Lashley “took themselves out of contention” by leaving the ring. While this trope has been used before, it felt forced this time, as did Strowman spending most of the match outside the ring. Ideally, we could hope this was meant to cement a rivalry between Corbin and The Miz, but where does that put Corbin’s attack on Styles earlier? Most likely, and this is just a guess, but Corbin will beat Rollins for the Universal Championship at Super Showdown to elevate both potential rivalries. It’d definitely be an interesting change of pace as Corbin as proven to be an excellent heel. Guess we’ll find out on June 7.

Nothing Like a Party

Ths Usos’ Block Party was still going strong as the Usos and Revival were in a heated beanbag contest before a little cheating and, truth be told, mistakes were made.

R-Truth arrived, realized he was surrounded by Superstars, attempted to claim he wasn’t himself, spun around, and had to kick out of two rollup pins from Kalisto and Karl Anderson, before running into the night. In his wake, he left a developing brawl as the Usos, Revival, and the rest needed to work off some aggression.

Remember when cookouts involved eating hot dogs and playing games that didn’t involve caving in another’s skull? Good times.

Firefly Funhouse — The Fiend

After some really dark segments the last couple of weeks, we were treated to a fun-ish, yet dark segment that was just as good if not better than the previous ones, and still the best part of Raw.

The segment opened with Wyatt holding a paper plate mask with his new mask drawn on it. The screen flickered and his new persona appeared briefly.

He slowly lowered the paper plate, looking all serious, then broke into a big smile.

“Hi! Did you enjoy my little secret?” To which the studio children cheered.

“I like to call him the Fiend, but don’t you worry. He’s here to protect us.”

After Abby the Witch said she was tired of this limbo, Wyatt then reverse crab walks under a limbo bar held by two children and said, “I will always light the way, and all you have to do is let me in.”

The Electric Chair with Sami Zayn

Corey Graves hosting while the fans ask Sami Zayn questions. What could possibly go wrong here, right?

Surprising enough, Zayn was entertaining as he took the fans’ questions/insults in stride and dished a few of his out like questioning one’s parentage, threatening to sue, and even hinted at Rollins and Lynch’s relationship (they’ve been mentioning this the last few weeks, but no one seems to care yet, etc (Personally, seeing a young girl try to grab the microphone in the audience to respond was pretty cool). He even said the fans could ask him about anything, including the AEW. Considering the show they put on to that point, it was a dangerous topic to bring up, but it was something he would mention in character.

When he was asked why he didn’t win the Universal Championship yet, he replied he could win it anytime.

To show how unbalanced Lesner is making Rollins, Rollins’ music played and he came out, and after Zayn ducked out of the ring, he tossed the electric chair out of the ring. Apparently, a match between Rollins and Zayn was next. As the main event. Surely, something more had to happen, right? Right?

Seth Rollins beat Sami Zayn by pinfall

Zayn slipped out of the ring when Rollins went after him, and we were then shown Lesner and Heyman lounging in the back, waiting.

After exchanging various blows and moves, Rollins’ left knee buckled on him when he was going to finish off Zayn, and Zayn nearly got a pinfall

Zayn’s first figure 4 leglock following Rollins’ missed superkick was eventually countered when Rollins rolled over, and Zayn then countered a Revolution Knee with a Blue Thunder Bomb, but Rollins kicked out.

Zayn’s second attempt was countered early on when Rollins kicked him out of the ring, then hit with a pair of Stomps when Zayn climbed back in for the pin.

That was it. No run ins, no confrontations. Just Rollins hurting his knee again. It could be foreshadowing how Corbin could beat him at Super Showdown (maybe during the match Lesner will use his MITB contract and be thwarted?).

To be honest, this was a far better match than is probably should’ve been. It’s not often we get to see Zayn on the level of a Superstar of Rolins’ status, and they worked well together. The middle was a bit slow as Zayn fought back, but the key was Rollins’ knee injury. Without it, this probably would’ve been a two minute match.

The problem here was it seems meaningless aside from destabilizing Rollins, as he shouted several times during the match, “This is my life!”

Final Thoughts

Instead of standing tall and delivering an answer to the AEW’s pay-per-view like the fans wanted/hoped to see, the WWE chose to pretend they weren’t an issue until the Electric Chair segment. Truth is, I think they had the right idea, they just executed it poorly. There may be a war for top spot between the two in the future, but right now, it would serve the WWE better to continue trying to improve their product instead of waiting for a challenger to rise. If they do that, there’s no reason they’ll be in trouble and the two federations can coexist. Of course, had they not gotten so sloppy and lazy in their story telling in the first place, this wouldn’t be a concern and fans could enjoy both, as we did in the late 90s.

It’s not putting it mildly in saying this Raw was indeed undercooked.

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