KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 29, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Booker T, Corey Graves
-A Memorial Day video package aired with primary narration by John Cena. Nicely done.
-They went live to the arena where fans chanted “USA!”
-The Raw opening aired.
-The announcers introduced the event as the camera panned the crowd. They hyped the two TV main events: Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. Cole said the matches could change the course of the “New Era.”
-The Miz came out with Maryse for Miz TV. Miz said he and Maryse, “The It Couple,” are feeling really good. Miz said Dean Ambrose is a lying, cheating, backstabbing thief who stole his Intercontinental Championship. He said Dean got himself intentionally DQ’d last week. He said when he asked for a rematch and made sure if he gets DQ’d on purpose, he loses his title. He threw to a clip of Miz attacking Elias Samson which led to Ambrose losing by DQ. He used that to illustrate how easy it could be to get Ambrose DQ’d.
(Keller’s Analysis: That shows, more than anything, the ludicrous WWE rules that everyone in a position of authority seems okay with. So Maryse can just attack Miz and that would make Miz the IC Champion. It’d be nice to see Kurt Angle walk out and say Dean has to get himself DQ’d not someone from the outside.)
Miz introduced Sheamus & Cesaro as his guests on Miz TV. Miz said no two Superstars have worked harder than Sheamus & Cesaro. He said they scratched and clawed their way to a big moment at WrestleMania, only for the Hardy Boyz to show up unannounced. He said the Hardys were handed an opportunity and their spotlight was stolen. Shemaus said the biggest shame is all of the fans turned their backs on them. Fans began doing the “Delete” chant and arm gesture. Sheamus paused to look at them, then said the fans are “all about the new thing, the new toy.” He said they plan to win back their tag team championships.
Miz said the fans don’t recognize the greatness that is in the ring. He told the fans, “When my hand goes up, your mouths go shut.” He explained that he elevated the IC Title and Ambrose tore it down. He said the title needs a comeback, and that’s why at Extreme Rules his Intercontinental Championship Comeback Tour will headline arenas worldwide. He stood up and said he can see it now. Dean Ambrose walked out with his belt around his waist. Booker wondered what this interview was supposed to be about. He said Miz has guests, but he kept talking about himself.
Ambrose arrived at ringside. He said he can sometimes run headfirst into a bad situation, but he can’t help himself. He said somebody needed to come out there and shut their mouths. Miz asks the fans if they want Dean to shut his mouth. He told Dean to do the math because it’s three-on-one. “Either you’re crazy or you’re stupid,” Miz said. Ambrose said he might be crazy, but he’s not stupid. He dropped the mic and the Hardys music played. They ran to ringside. Booker said this is a moment. Cole declared things even. He said Dean and the Hardys “came to play.” They cleared the ring of Sheamus and Cesaro, while Miz bailed out. Cole called it an explosive start to Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: Booker had a point. Miz managed to turn that interview segment with Cesaro & Sheamus into primarily being about himself. It was good to have Sheamus & Cesaro reiterate why they feel jilted by the fans.) [c]
(1) THE MIZ & CESARO & SHEAMUS vs. DEAN AMBROSE & THE HARDYS
The heels isolated Matt for a couple of minutes until he hot-tagged Dean. Cole called him “eccentric.” Dean slingshot himself onto Miz at ringside. Sheamus blind tagged himself in, but Dean ducked a Brogue Kick and then knocked Sheamus to the floor. A minute later Shemaus used a high knee to knock Dean off the top rope to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live Miz was kicking Ambrose. Ambrose went for a tag to Jeff, but Miz yanked Jeff off the ring apron. Matt went after Miz, leaving no one for Dean to tag. Cesaro tagged in Sheaus who went after Dean with White Noise for a two count. Dean eventually came back with Lunatic Clothesline. He leaped to tag Matt, but Matt pulled his hand away and then pretended to try to tag him because apparently Jeff was supposed to get the hot tag. Dean tagged in Jeff who sprung into offense against Miz. Then Matt tagged in and gave Miz a Side Effect. Sheamus broke up the pin attempt. A bit of chaos broke out with everyone. Dean gave sear a Dirty Deeds DDT. Then Dean dove through the ropes and tackled Sheamus. Matt then gave Miz a Twist Fate. Matt tagged Hardy who landed a Swanton Bomb for the win.
WINNERS: Hardys & Ambrose in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sloppy at times. The crowd largely ate up the teaming of Dean and Hardys and seemed really into them.)
-They went to the announcers. Graves was distracted by his phone. When Cole asked Graves about Ambrose and Miz, a distressed Graves apologized, got up, and left. Cole shifted to plugging Alexa Bliss hosting a “Bayley, This is Your Life” segment later. [c]
-After the break, Kurt Angle was reading Graves’s phone. He looked concerned. Angle read: “…a disgraced embarrassment to WWE. Besmirched my status as an Olympic Gold Medalist.” Graves asked Angle if it was a joke. Graves said he’s on his side, but it looks serious. Graves said he thinks Angle is doing a great job. Angle asked how he found out about this. Graves said people tend to tell him things. He said he’s willing to help. Angle said if this is true, this could ruin him.
-Elias Samson played his guitar mid-ring. He sang Johnny Cash-style about having a plan and “what it needs is what I am.” The crowd didn’t know what to make of that.
(2) ELIAS SAMSON vs. ZAC EVANS
Booker said that was another sad ballad that shows he is a gunslinger. He said he has to be on a high after last week. Booker said “this kid” (meaning Samson) could be the next big things in WWE. Samson aggressively beat down Evans. Evans took a nice bump into the corner. Samson rammed his face into the edge of the ring. Booker said that’s a message to the rest of the locker room because he’s a new guy in town looking to become a contender. Booker called the beating a straight up mugging. Samson won decisively with his finisher. Booker said after the match he didn’t know the jobber’s name even though he had a graphic on the screen and was introduced. Cole told him the name. Booker laughed for some reason. He said it’s a lesson for the kid who needs preparing. Cole said Samson seems like the real deal who is off to a good start.
WINNER: Samson in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m a fan of squash matches to establish new wrestlers, and squashes from time to time therefore, too. Evans took a good beating and made Samson look tough.) [c]
-They showed Joe watching Balor on a screen backstage. Charly Caruso walked up and interviewed him about his match later. Joe said while everyone is watching Balor’s “WWE 24” special and “catching feelings,” he’s looking at it with different eyes. He said he’s learning how to hurt Balor. He said it’s a battle of the devil you know versus the one you don’t know, and he said he knows Balor well. He said he has broken Balor’s body before and he will again. When he began to talk about Bray, he was interrupted by Bray’s sound effects. Bray spoke on a screen. He said Joe is like the rest, blind. He said his own eyes are wide open, though, and sees a future where The Beast runs wild over civilization “with the hope of mankind hanging bloody from his fangs.” He said he can see a world where the Beast screams with a deafening wickedness that impales the wings of angels and demons mid-flight. He said the eater of worlds is prepared to wage war with the end of time and leave the carcass of the Beast in him. He said he won’t turn from the fight, but he will stand up. He said Joe and Balor should give in to their fear and run.
(Keller’s Analysis: Two good talking segments blended into one that highlighted both Joe’s and Bray’s different personas.)
-Balor made his ring entrance for the Triple Threat match. [c]
-They caught the end of Joe’s entrance. Bray made his full ring entrance.
(3) SAMOA JOE vs. FINN BALOR vs. BRAY WYATT
They took turns pairing off and battling. When Joe set up a superplex on Balor on the top rope, Bray powerbombed Joe to the mat hard as Joe superplexed Balor. Bray set up a Sister Abigail on Balor. Joe came up behind him first and applied the Coquina Clutch. Balor kicked Joe in the face, then stomped on Joe. He saw Bray at ringside and kicked him, too, and then landed a flip dive. They cut to a break. [c]
Afterward, the heels worked together to take down Balor. Balor battled back, but Joe took him down with a big boot and a senton splash. Bray then landed his own senton. Joe smiled at Bray. Bray then clothesline Joe as he charged at Balor. He kicked him to the floor. Joe looked foolish for trusting Bray again. Balor blocked a chokeslam and then hit a Pelé kick. Both were slow to get up. Balor got up first and kicked Bray as he charged. He went on rapid-fire offense, but Joe then cut him off with a clothesline. Joe then attacked Bray. Cole said the action here is like the Fatal Five-way with people coming from all directions. Balor threw Joe out of the ring, slidekicked him, and then delivered a running knee off the ring apron. Balor dropkicked Bray into the barricade at ringside. Graves said Balor is overcoming the odds tonight, just as he’ll have to do at Extreme Rules. A “This is awesome!” chant started. Cole acknowledged the fan appreciation. Balor charged at Joe, but Joe turned it into a urinage.
Balor powered out of a Coquina Clutch. He fended off Bray briefly and then landed a quick double stomp. Joe countered a Balor sling blade with an overhead suplex. Bray went into the crab walk. Joe looked freaked out. Bray then delivered a Sister Abigail, but Joe rolled to the edge of the ring. As Bray moved him back into the ring, Balor jumped Bray from behind. Balor then hit a below-par Sling Blade and a dropkick in the corner. He then leaped off the top rope with his Coup de Gras. Joe threw Balor into the ringpost and made the cover Bray to “steal the victory.”
WINNER: Joe in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match with what felt like a fresh mix of match-ups. Joe looked bad trusting Bray at one point in the match, which seems to undercut the core of his character which is a street wise bad ass fighter. The match served, as illustrated by the commentary, to tease what’s coming up Sunday in the Fatal Five-way.)
-Mike Rome interviewed Seth about his match with Reigns later and the Extreme Rules main event. He said he and Roman have a complicated history. He said they had some great times, but also some not-so-great times. He said he knows that every time they’re in a ring together, it’s a war because they both want the same thing – to be the best. He said he also knows that “Seth Freakin’ Rollins owns Roman Reigns.” He said it won’t be personal, it’ll be about him sending a message to Reigns and the other three he faces at Extreme Rules. He said on Sunday he’ll change the course of WWE history again.
-They showed Sasha Banks giving Rich Swann some dance tips backstage. [c]
(4) NOAM DAR (w/Alicia Fox) vs. RICH SWANN (w/Sasha Banks)
In the end, Banks stopped Fox from interfering against Swann. Swann then landed his splash off the ropes for the win. As Swann and Sasha celebrated, Cole said Swann “loves to entertain.” Sasha danced as Swann did his Iceman Parsons flashback.
WINNER: Swann in 3:00.
-Backstage Caruso interviewed The Revival, Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson. She said they haven’t been in action on Monday Night Raw in six weeks. Dash showed off his teeth and his jaw wired shut. Dawson said they’d be back in action as soon as those wires were cut. When she brought up Enzo being attacked last week, Dawson asked if she was asking a gotcha question journalists like to ask. She said there is some video raising questions showing Dash & Dawson leaving Raw last week. She said it appears they were at Raw last week. Dawson said they were at Raw because they work there and they’ve been Raw almost every week since Dash’s injury. He said Enzo is a bottom feeder they wouldn’t waist their time with. He said they are top guys doing what top guys do. They are sporting a t-shirt that says: “No Flips, Just Fists.”
-They went to the announcers on the stage. Graves said Enzo is familiar with the footage of Dash & Dawson sneaking around last week. Booker wanted to know what that meant. Cole threw to a clip of Akira Tozawa vs. Brain Kendrick on 205 Live last week including a big leap off the top rope by Tozawa onto Kendrick on a table with a senton splash. Cole called it one of the most spectacular moves you’ll ever see.
-Back to the announcers, Big Cass angrily confronted Graves asked if him was insinuating he had something to do with an attack on someone he considers his little brother. Graves said he just knows that Angle is doing his own investigation. Graves said it’s a misunderstanding and offered a handshake. Cass shook his hand and walked away. [c]
-A soundbite aired with Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neal. Titus told Crews that he has a front row seat to watch what he does and take note of his athleticism and charisma. He said he could use a little charisma. Crews took exception. Titus said, “Now let’s go out there and make it a win!” Crews looked uncomfortable.
(5) KALISTO vs. TITUS O’NEAL (w/Apollo Crews)
Kalisto got in early offense, but Titus won with a handful of tights on a rollup. Booker said, “A win is a win. He’s trying to show what it takes. I like it.” Crews told Titus he saw him use a handful of tights. Titus ignored that and took a selfie with him and said it’s time to party all night.
WINNER: Titus in 1:00.
-They showed Bliss backstage. Cole said the “This is Your Life” segment was up next. [c]
-Bliss entered the ring which had a table set up with various pictures and items representing Bayley’s life. Bayley pointed at the kendo stick hanging from a pole in the corner. Bliss said Bayley won’t really use a kendo stick even if she gets a hold of it. Bliss said to understand Bayley, she had to dig deep. She said what she found will fascinate everyone. She yelled, “Ladies and gentleman, Bayley, this is your life!” She said the Huggers will really like the first trinket. She held up a doll and said she still plays with it. She picked up a trophy which was for “Best in Sportsmanship.” She laughed at that. Next was Bayley’s yearbook in which she was voted Most Likely to Apologize.
Bliss said she had three special guests who are part of Bayley’s past. First, her fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Flapper. Her teacher said Bayley sat front row next to her dad in class because she cried if she was too far from him, showing what a Daddy’s Girl she was.
Then a classmate Tracy said she was a pushover and never wanted to do anything because she always wanted to watch Raw and Smackdown. The segment was dying. Bliss said the fans were being rude, but she’d be polite to her guests. Finally, she interviewed her first boyfriend who said Bayley brought her father along for their first date. He said they almost had a first kiss, but he closed his eyes and nothing happened. He said when he opened his eyes, there was her father and he almost kissed him. Some “Delete” chants were heard. He said she only dated Bayley because he wanted to get close to Tracy. She said she always felt he was out of her league, but she always liked him. They made out. Booker said, “This is hard to watch.” Bliss said it was disgusting.
Bayley’s music played and she walked out, looking upset. Cole said she’s had enough. Bayley attacked Bliss in the ring. Bayley knocked stuff off the table. Bliss, though, came back and hit Bayley with a kendo stick.
(Keller’s Analysis: That will go down as one of the worst written segment and biggest flops of this era of WWE television. I can’t imagine writing that and thinking it was material that belonged in front of millions of viewers. Bliss couldn’t even save it, and she’s been an effective heel act lately. There wasn’t one redeeming slice of that segment start to finish. Just truly unfunny and ineffective at accomplishing anything.)
-They went to the announcers at the desk for a plug for WWE Network’s 30 Day Free Trial. They hyped Raw’s Extreme Rules and Smackdown’s Money in the Bank, which take place in the 30 day trial period. Then they shifted to hyping the main event tonight. [c]
-A commercial hyped Michael Hayes, Eric Bischoff, and Jim Cornette on a new “Table For Three.”
-They showed Enzo had been attacked again. Cass told Angle it was Revival. Angle said he saw them leave the arena earlier. Cass said they could have come back. Angle said he won’t assume anything until the facts are in. Angle said he needs to calm down. Cass said he’s not leaving Enzo’s side. He asked if he saw anything. Enzo couldn’t speak and looked glassy eyed and confused.
(6) AUSTIN ARIES & JACK GALLAGHER vs. TJP & NEVILLE
They cut to a break after a couple minutes of action. [c]
In the end, Neville missed with a top rope corkscrew splash attempt and then Aries applied the Last Chancery for the tapout win. Cole wondered what that does to the mind of Neville going into Sunday’s Cruiserweight Title defense.
WINNERS: Aries & Gallagher in 13:00.
-The announcers hyped the main event.
-Backstage Rome interviewed Reigns in the locker room. Reigns, in a quest to win over the fans booing him, had a man bun. He stood up and said there isn’t a man on Earth who owns him – a reference to what Seth said earlier – so he’s going to show him and the rest of the world why is the Big Dawg and why this is his yard. He looked intense and got right to the point. [c]
-Caruso attempted to interviewed Neville backstage, who was angry about the loss. She said that was his first loss by submission since joining the Cruiserweight Division. She asked if that concerns him headed into the Submissions Match on Sunday. Neville yelled and stormed off.
-The announcers on camera reacted to Neville. Then they commented on the Goldust heel turn on R-Truth.
-Another Goldust interview vignette aired. He said he deserved the spotlight all to himself and he’s going to make sure the ending to R-Truth’s little motion picture isn’t a happy one.
(Keller’s Analysis: This shows what Goldust still has left in the tank as a contributor to WWE, but also what was lost all these years of being treated as a lower card wrestler and a novelty of a past era. Maybe he had to go through the journey he took to be this good, though.)
-A video aired with R-Truth with upbeat funky music. He sat posed like Goldust, though. He talked about “Pulp Fiction.” Truth said movies were an escape for him. He listed movies that influenced him. He said he’s a “bad mother shut your mouth!” just like the heroes in those movies. He said he’s coming for Goldie with serious anger. “You’re gonna get got,” he said.
(Keller’s Analysis: Those two vignettes did more to hype their match than the Bliss-Bayley segment did, and it took one-tenth the time.)
-Seth’s ring entrance took place. Graves said this is a chance to build serious moment headed into Sunday’s Extreme Rules. [c]
-Graves plugged that Sasha will be on 205 Live tomorrow night.
(Keller’s Analysis: I had suggested that to make 205 Live seem more relevant, mix some of the main roster Raw wrestlers with the 205 Live Cruiserweights. This is a step in that direction Not sure how Sasha feels about the extra night of work, but the Crusierweights deal with it every week. It’s too bad Sasha was so cold going into this, though. It seems like this move to 205 Live participation does more to indicate she’s cold than it does heat up 205 Live.)
-Roman Reigns’s entrance took place. No sense of crowd reaction on TV.
(7) ROMAN REIGNS vs. SETH ROLLINS
Graves said the Architect is in the Big Dawg’s sights. They did some “babyface vs. babyface” spots such as tests of strength and reversals without any real aggression or violence. Reigns took Seth down a few minutes in with an uppercut, and then he paced in the ring as Seth rolled on the floor. Reigns went after Seth at ringside, throwing him into the ringside barrier. Reigns gave Seth a Drive By, sending Seth chest-first into the ringpost. Seth yelled out in pain. Reigns set up a Spear with a big yell, but Seth caught him after the telegraph with a kick to the face. He dove onto him at ringside, then played to the crowd. They cut to a break. Not a lot of heat as the fans seemed torn. [c]
Reigns got in a stretch of offense after the break. When he went for a top rope move, Seth countered with a running buckle bomb in the opposite corner. Reigns popped out of the corner with a Superman Punch, which popped the crowd. Seth landed a top rope splash for a very near fall. Both were slow to get up. When a battle-chant broke out, Cole said the fans were expressing respect and appreciation for both. Seth climbed to the top rope. Graves said it was like putting all of your money on one number. Reigns avoided a Phoenix Splash. Reigns charged. Seth gave him a knee to the face. Reigns gave him a big right. Seth delivered an enzuigiri. Reigns came back with a spear and scored the three count.
WINNER: Reigns at 18:15.
(Keller’s Analysis: Very good match.)
-The announcers gave final hype to Extreme Rules and the Fatal Five-way Extreme Rules match.
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