This is the first WWE show after Double or Nothing and I am sure a bunch of people were looking to see if Vince McMahon would respond to AEW’s inaugural event in some way. They did sort of respond in a way, but I will talk more about that when the segment comes. Overall, this Raw was very good from start to finish and was probably the best Raw of May. Without further ado, let us jump in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Memorial Day Tribute
If there is one thing that WWE does very well on a consistent basis, it is the video packages the create to honor veterans. Every year they come up with a new one and they always end up being touching and respectful. This was another great video tribute to the soldiers on this Memorial Day and I will always give WWE full props for these great tributes.
Who Will Brock Choose?
It was announced that Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar would decide who Brock would be cashing in on and I was interested to see if they would announce it or keep us waiting. Kofi Kingston was the first one out and he had some words for Brock Lesnar. Kofi has been looking stronger with each week and I love that because WWE has had problems with booking first time babyface champions and making them look too weak. Seth Rollins then came out because he couldn’t let Kofi be the only one to call out Brock and he said much of the same as Kofi. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out and I couldn’t help but laugh with joy over the fact that Brock has embraced the meme he created last week. It truly is amazing how much more interesting Brock is when he shows a lick of personality. Brock turn the MITB briefcase into a boombox and it was hilarious when he changed the music to the New Day’s theme and the Seth’s theme because Heyman was rocking out and it had me absolutely dying. Brock and Heyman didn’t like Seth leaving so instead of saying who Brock is cashing in on, they left.
Dolph Ziggler & New Day Brawl
I had to break this away from the Brock part because this was such a fun brawl and I love the intensity that Dolph has come back with. It looked like Dolph would beat up Kofi like he did last week on Smackdown Live, but Xavier Woods came down to save Kofi as they cut to commercial. As they came back from commercial, Woods was helping Kofi to the back when Dolph attacked him from behind. Woods fought back, and he had the upper hand for much of the brawl. Dolph did have moments where it looked like he would take control of the brawl, but Woods did a great job in fighting back every time. I absolutely loved how strong Woods looked here because he didn’t look like the weak link of the New Day at all and he was given his chance to shine. Dolph eventually gained the advantage and went to town on Woods with a chair and tried to do the same thing to him that he did to Kofi, but Kofi ran down with a chair of his own to save Woods from further damage.
Dolph Ziggler Promo
As we came back from commercial, Kofi and Woods were in the ring and Dolph would come out and get on the mic to talk some more about why he is doing what he is doing. He also got bloody at some point during the brawl with Xavier Woods and I could not tell when or where he got cut. Dolph’s promo last week on Smackdown was stellar and this was another great promo by him. This is the Dolph I have been wanting to see again because he had gotten quite stale. Dolph sounds so obsessed with the fact that it should have been him and the blood on his face and body added to the intensity of this promo. This promo concluded a fun opening 30 minutes to Raw and I do not understand why so many were displeased with it.
The Usos Block Party
There is not much to talk about here other than this was a fun segment that would appear a few more times throughout Raw. This was nice and lighthearted, and I loved that Drake Maverick was there with his R-Truth flyers because he so desperately wants to become the 24/7 Champion.
Shane McMahon In-Ring
There is no other way to put it, this segment was pretty bad. I have tried to see the good in Shane as a heel, but this did no favors in trying to find the good. He was horrible here and his promo before his match with Lance Anoa’i completely dragged on for far too long. I had wondered throughout this why Lance looked familiar and Mat mentioned backstage that he has worked for MLW and that is when it clicked where I recognized him. The match was what it was, and I was glad when it was over. Roman Reigns then came out to save Lance before Shane and Drew McIntyre could do more damage to him. The only reason this doesn’t get a zero is because Lance looked pretty good in the ring with the limited amount of offense he was able to get off.
Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar In-Ring
It is very easy to hate Brock Lesnar but when he does his MITB briefcase boombox stuff, I can’t help but laugh. Stuff like that reminds me of his initial run in WWE when he showed his personality and how over it got with the fans. Imagine if we got this from day one when he returned to the company and not the complacent, only cares about money Brock that we got instead. Heyman did his usual shtick and he talked about how it was the time for Brock to announce who he will cash in on. I loved that Heyman had an official looking contract because that is the one thing we haven’t gotten with MITB since its inception. Before Heyman could announce who they chose, Seth Rollins came back out and he was very passionate in saying why the Universal Championship means so much to him. Seth tried to goad Brock into picking him and cashing in right then, but it didn’t work. I love that Brock had no idea that he had up to a year to decide and smacked Heyman with the contract because Heyman never told him that detail. Brock then walked off when he found out he had a year and I love how dejected Seth looked at the end of this.
R-Truth Keeps on Running
I thought this deserved a mention because after the Seth/Heyman/Brock segment, R-Truth and Carmella came running from the crowd and into the ring because the locker room was giving chase once again. Eric Young tried to roll up Truth but EC3 broke up the pin. Truth was able to evade everybody, and he and Carmella ran straight to the backstage area once again.
AJ Styles Interview
AJ Styles had an interview in the back with Charly Caruso and he talked about how he is injured, and he cannot compete in the fatal 4-way match later on tonight. He said how the doctors haven’t cleared him and before he could dive more into it, Baron Corbin came from out of nowhere to sucker punch him. Corbin is just the epitome of slime right now and this was a good way to further that. I also have to give props to Charly because she timed getting out of the way perfectly.
Becky Lynch & Nikki Cross vs IIconics
As I said last week, I just absolutely love the IIconics and I think they play their characters perfectly. Speaking of people that play their characters perfectly, I love that Nikki Cross has been given a chance to shine over the last few weeks. She is someone that can become huge for WWE if they give her the chance and I think she is winning over the crowd with each week. This was a solid match and it really did allow Nikki Cross to shine a bit here. The IIconics are not the best workers but they are more than capable to hold their own in the ring. Some people may not like the screeching they do during their matches, but I love it. It fits perfectly with the characters they are, and it adds to the facial expressions they do during matches. Becky and Nikki would end up picking up the win over the IIconics and then Lacey Evans came out to do a catwalk to continue her feud with Becky. I like that Nikki gave a subtle look up to the Raw Women’s Championship when Becky held it up and I don’t know if many people caught that little detail.
The Usos Block Party Part 2
Just like earlier in the night, this was a fun little segment during Raw and we got a Tamina sighting during it. Like Botch said during the DD, Tamina is truly a beautiful woman and it really showed here. The Revival showed up and the Usos were ready to kick them out when Naomi said she invited them, so they could squash the beef with each other. They stayed friendly for the sake of the block party for the rest of the night, but I have a feeling they will be up to their usual antics next week.
Ricochet vs Cesaro
This was a rematch from last week and just like last week, this was quite the match. I love that we were able to have a rematch between these two because both are two of the absolute best in the ring in WWE right now. You can just take everything I said about their match last week and put it here and add that I can see this match every week and I don’t think it would bore me. I do have to say I still am unsure how I feel about Cesaro’s new music. It isn’t bad, but I feel like there is a better one somewhere and it is a shame because Cesaro has had a bunch of themes in his time with WWE. There is so much about this match that was so very good, and I hope they give them a little bit more time for their inevitable rubber match. Ricochet picked up the win this time in a great match and one you should definitely check out if you have yet to.
Samoa Joe Promo
Samoa Joe can do no wrong on the mic and he is arguably the best talker in all of WWE right now and I have no qualms in saying that. Everything he says is with a purpose and he truly believes in every word. He came out to address the announcement of Rey Mysterio relinquishing the US title and that he expects it to go right back to him. This was another stellar promo to add to the ever-growing library of stellar promos by Joe.
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
With the names announced for this match, I was not sure what to expect really but this ended up being a rather good match. The Miz was the only real babyface in this match since Braun really teeters more towards tweener than face in my humble opinion. Lashley and Corbin are both wrestlers who can rise to the level of their opponents, so you could see why I was unsure about whether this would be good or a boring match. Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised how good this match was and I think the Miz was the one who came out looking the best here. Lashley used his power game nicely and so did Strowman and both did good jobs nullifying the other in that aspect. Corbin would pick his spots wisely as he is utter slime and that is something we see from those types of heels. The Miz was the true underdog in this match and he had moments towards the end where it looked like he would win. The end saw Corbin pick up the win by hitting End of Days on the Miz and people questioned why that resulted in the win, but it was explained that Braun and Lashley took themselves out of the match by brawling to the back and never returning. I think Corbin was the right call here and I hope it will only be a matter of time before the Miz gets another shot at the big title.
The Usos Block Party Part 3
This would be the last time they would cut to the Usos block party and this time we had R-Truth appear. He tried to say that it wasn’t him but that didn’t fool some at the party as Kalisto, Karl Anderson and the other men tried to pin him, but he was able to get away. The men gave chase and I think that was the perfect way to cap off the Usos block party.
Firefly Fun House
I have said it once and I will say it again, the Firefly Fun House segments are the most interesting thing going right now in WWE. That is not to say there aren’t any good storylines being told right now but I am saying this is by far the most interesting of them all. I have no idea who Bray’s first feud will be or if he will be seen as a face or a heel. He has done such a masterful job with these segments and this was another great one. He spoke about his secret being revealed last week and this it isn’t a bad thing, but it is something to protect others. Every Firefly Fun House segment leaves me wanting more and this was another one that did just that. I know some people want to see who Bray is going to feud with already, but I am enjoying the slow burn because each segment keeps me invested every week.
Sami Zayn In the Electric Chair
You can wonder why I gave this segment five crowns, but this totally deserves all of the crowns. Sami completely owned the entire segment and gave line after line of perfection. I loved each fan that asked him a question and how Sami just despised each one. One of the best parts of this was the young girl that asked Sami about his team with Becky Lynch from the Mixed Match Challenge and she was not afraid of the moment, she didn’t stumble, and she totally stole the segment for me up to that point. Sami then dropped the A word known as AEW and boy did that have the internet abuzz about that. I love the way he said it and I love how everybody reacted to it. I know some people will take it as Vince being afraid of AEW that is why he acknowledged it, but I didn’t see it that way. AEW did put on a good show but it will be a long time before Vince truly sees them as a threat in any way, shape or form.
Sami Zayn vs Seth Rollins
What a stellar match to close out Raw between these two and this was totally worth the main event slot. Sami has started to find his groove as a heel now and he played it well here against Seth. I will continue to say that I think Seth Rollins is the best in the ring the company right now and it is darn near impossible for him to have a bad match. This match really did help Sami’s stock in being a threat to the Universal Champion as he took Seth to the limit. Seth played up a knee injury during the match and Sami jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of that to gain the upper hand. Seth ended up picking up the win to close out a pretty darn good episode of Raw.
Usually in my Final Statement I talk about the highs and lows of Raw, but this was a solid episode that only had one real low point. That ended up being the Shane segment/match and really that was it. The rest of the matches were very good, and I have no idea why people decided to crap on this episode. I understand the high we all have right now after the great first show by AEW but that doesn’t mean that you can overly critique Raw to the point of saying it was bad when it was good. I said in a previous Sovereign Statement that is has become the “cool thing” to crap on Raw even when it is good, and this was a true case of that. This was a solid episode of Raw from start to finish and is probably the best episode of Raw we have gotten in some time. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.