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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 14, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
-The show opened with a promo video for WWE’s involvement with the NBC Upfronts and Michael Cole hyped the challenge laid down earlier by Nia Jax to fight Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship.
-Out of the video, Roman Reigns hit the ring to a loud chorus of boos from the London audience. As he walked down the ramp, Michael Cole highlighted the events from last week between and Reigns and Jinder Mahal. Cole then played up how rough the last few weeks has been on Reigns. Booker then touted Reigns’s confidence as boos rained down on Roman.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Cole worked to lay a good foundation of sympathy for Reigns with his commentary. He looks foolish saying the words that he does as the audience reacts in total disagreement. If you’re new to the product and watched this open, you’d be totally confused as to the narrative of the show. That can’t be what WWE is looking for as they attempt to attract new customers.
In the ring, Reigns picked up a microphone as the audience continued to boo. He said that he got robbed and that it wasn’t by WWE management, but by Jinder Mahal. He then said if Mahal wanted to be more relevant then ever, he should come out and face him like a man. This prompted Kurt Angle’s music to hit and the Raw General Manager hit the ring to address Roman Reigns instead. Angle told Reigns that Mahal would not be coming out and Reigns asked him when he started to speak for Jinder. Angle said that he doesn’t speak for Jinder, but that he does speak for WWE management. Angle then said that he made a mistake in not allowing Jinder to compete for a spot in the Money In The Bank ladder match. Angle then said that Jinder would have that opportunity in a triple threat match. Reigns said that angle should add him to the match and said it would be perfect as the crowd chanted “no.” Reigns said he understands and that Angle is just doing what he has to do, but that he would then do what he has to do.
Heydorn’s Analysis: More of this Reigns against WWE management stuff? He just main evented a PPV, folks. Nobody has ever bought this story, but if you listened carefully to the crowd response, they cheered for “WWE management” when they denied Reigns opportunity. So, not only does nobody buy it, but fans are reacting counter to the story now too. Good times.
From there, Reigns left the ring and walked backstage as the crowd sang “hey hey goodbye” to Reigns. The cameras followed Roman backstage as he looked for Jinder Mahal. Eventually, Reigns found him and the two brawled backstage. The battle was heavy in Jinder offense at the beginning, but Reigns eventually took over. As the fight ensued, the audience cheered Mahal offense and booed Reigns. The two then made their way to the entrance ramp where Reigns connected with a Superman Punch to Mahal. After, Kurt Angle brought out security, referees, and agents to break up the fight. From there, the crowd chanted “Roman sucks” as Reigns’s music hit ahead of the commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s draining to watch these segments. Stories involving Reigns just stall out because the reaction just isn’t there.
-After the break, Cole and announce team recapped the opening segment and laid the sympathy on thick for Roman Reigns. From there, Seth Rollins hit the ring for his Intercontinental title match.
(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. KEVIN OWENS – Intercontinental Championship Match
Rollins got a tremendous reaction from the London crowd which included a very loud “Burn It Down” at the appropriate moment. As Rollins walked to the ring Cole, but over Seth’s hot streak as Booker T mapped out all of Seth’s title defenses since WrestleMania.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I really like that the announce team plays up how hot Rollins is right now. To me, it says that there is something going on there and that this hot streak is an actual story they are trying to tell. In addition, it makes Rollins like a million bucks and gives him a ton of credibility as he walks out. Great stuff.
Kevin Owens hit the ring next and got a nice heel reaction. From there, the official introductions were made and the match began. Before the two started, a “let’s go Rollins” chant broke out throughout the arena. Owens came out of the gate strong and hit flurry of strikes on Rollins. He then tossed Rollins into the ropes but Seth bounced off and connected with a clothesline. From there, Rollins stomped Owens in the corner and then lifted him to deliver a handful of stiff chops. Out of that, Owens rolled out of the ring to recharge the battery. Seeing this, Rollins went for a suicide dive, but Owens caught him in mid air and tossed him into the ring post. After, Owens rolled Rollins back into the ring and connected with a senton drop. He then covered Seth for a two count as the crowd chanted “let’s go Rollins” once again. Out of the pin, Owens tossed Rollins over the top rope before the show went to commercial. (c)
After the commercial, Owens was still in control of the match and had Rollins in a stretch submission. Rollins escaped and finagled his way into sending Owens to the outside of the ring. From there, Rollins tried for the suicide dive again, but Owens caught his foot and pulled him to the outside with him. He then went for a turnbuckle powerbomb on Rollins, but Rollins countered. The two then did battle on the ring apron before Rollins connected with a Falcon Arrow on the ring apron.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Whoa. Great move, but a stiff move that Owens will be feeling it tomorrow. It worked for this match though and took the match from first gear into second. A very well-placed spot.
This left both competitors out and laying on the outside mats. They both made the count at nine and then exchanged punches and kicks in the middle of the ring. Finally, Rollins knocked Owens out of the ring and then connected with two consecutive suicide dives. From there, he hit a springboard clothesline and then covered Owens, but only received a two count. Out of the pin, Rollins kept momentum and connected with a facebuster before covering again for a two count. Out of that pin, Rollins nailed Owens with strikes, but Owens took control back by laying in a stiff DDT. Owens then made the cover, but Rollins kicked out at two. After the pin, Owens attempted the pop-up powerbomb, but Seth countered with a kick the gut. Rollins then went for The Stomp, but Owens countered. From there, they exchanged kicks before Owens hit a devastating clothesline and covered for a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the psychology of both guys countering each other’s signature moves. It gives off a sports-like feel that these guys were prepared for their fight and ready to do battle for a prestigious prize.
After the pin attempt, Owens went for a senton, but Rollins got his knees up to counter. Rollins then called for The Stomp again, but Owens countered. From there, Rollins was able to hit the Revolution Knee instead and covered, but got a two count. Rollins then climbed to the top rope and went for his frog splash, but Owens put his knees up for the counter. Out of that, Owens climbed to the top rope, but was followed up by Rollins. The two exchanged punches with Owens getting the upper hand which sent Rollins back down to the mat. Rollins then ran up to Owens again, but Owens caught him and hit a Fisherman-buster off the top rope. The move sent Rollins to the outside of the ring so Owens was unable to make the pin. Eventually, Rollins rolled back into the ring and promptly hit The Stomp on Owens for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rollins via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a really nice TV match. They included enough material to make it exciting, but still left some in the tank for future matches. The crowd was very much into Rollins and Rollins lived up to expectations within this match.
-After the match, Cole hyped the MITB qualifier matches on the show with Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James, Bobby Roode vs. No Way Jose vs. Baron Corbin, and Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Elias. (c)
-Out of the commercial break, Cole discussed the happenings of WWE in New York at the NBC Universal Upfront. Cole put the event over huge and touted WWE’s involvement. Cole then cued the video with Ronda Rousey in which she was interviewed about her time in WWE and her match at WrestleMania. Rousey said she had a ton of work to do, but said that she had some friends to help her. She then brought Charlotte onto the screen before Nia Jax interuppted them. Jax said she has an obligatory title match at Money In The Bank and that she wanted her opponent to be Ronda Rousey. Rousey said she thought others on the roster were more deserving at this point, but Charlotte told her to accept. Rousey then looked at her, then back at Jax, and accepted the challenge. From there, the trio woo’ed with one another and walked off together.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ugh. Not only was this cheesy in execution, this segment gave the audience the total wrong idea on who Ronda Rousey is. She’s denying herself championship matches now? C’mon. I get the idea and understand that WWE wants to make Ronda seem like a team player. There are other ways to make that point though. To have Rousey outright almost reject a title match totally runs counter to who Ronda is and why she’s been so successful in becoming the draw that she is. On a happier note, Ronda played her part well within the poorly scripted segment. Another big step for her as she was tangling with main roster women and not the likes of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
-Angle was shown talking on his phone backstage before Axel and Dallas came into the office and demanded a tag team championship. They said they wanted to be called the A-Team, but Angle said they couldn’t use it because of the movie. Dallas then said “how about the B-Team” and Angle called that name stupid. From there, Angle told them they haven’t even won any tag team matches yet. Dallas then said that the Miztourage had not won a match, but that the B-Team was undefeated. Angle said that he would not give them a title shot, but that he would give them a match tonight if they left him alone. They agreed and walked off stage.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A nice showing for Dallas and Axel. Based on the way they played it here, this B-Team gimmick could easily take off and be a popular cult-ish act on Raw. I’m glad Angle didn’t just give them a title match and utilized their record to determine whether or not they deserved one. The entire show should live in this area, but it doesn’t often enough.
(2) NO WAY JOSE vs. BARON CORBIN vs. BOBBY ROODE – MITB Qualifier Match
Jose hit the ring first with his conga line behind him as the show cut to commercial. (c)
After the commercial, Baron Corbin hit the ring to true heel response. Roode was next and did his full glorious entrance. The crowd sang along, but weren’t overly adoring of Roode. The match began with Corbin assaulting both opponents with strikes. He then tossed Jose into the steel stairs to incapacitate him before going back into the ring to fight Roode. As he did, Roode was ready and connected with boots to the face and other strikes before hitting the Blockbuster off the top rope. This sent Corbin to outside of the ropes and Roode followed. With Corbin playing possum, he hung Roode on the ropes which launched him back toward the middle of the ring. Then, out of nowhere, Jose came to and clocked Corbin with a clothesline. The show then went to a commercial break. (c)
Back in the ring after the commercial, Baron Corbin was in control of the match and had Roode in a choke hold. Graves sold how well Corbin was doing in isolating No Way Jose from the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great commentary by Graves in drawing attention to what Corbin was doing with Jose. The crowd wasn’t fully behind Jose at this point, but Graves was tremendous in helping tell the story of the match.
Almost on cue, Jose tried to climb into the ring again, but was bounced off by Corbin. Corbin then went to the outside and smashed Jose’s face into the guardrail. From there, Corbin worked to get more offense in on Roode, but Jose stopped with a club to the back. Jose then connected with a top rope cross body which he followed with a cover on Corbin. Roode interuppted the pin at the count of two. Out of the pin, Roode connected with a spinebuster on Jose. The three then battle it out again with Roode getting the upper hand after a top rope clothesline on No Way Jose. Out of the move, Roode teased the Glorious DDT but was distracted by Corbin. This allowed Jose to knock Roode out of the ring. From there, Corbin struck Jose in the face and then jumped off the ring apron and onto Roode on the outside.
After, Corbin dashed back into the ring and hit a nice kneeing chokeslam to Jose. From there, Corbin mounted Jose and struck him intensely. The ref couldn’t get Corbin to stop, but Roode interfered and pushed Corbin off. Corbin then immediatley hit Roode with the Deep Six.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great sequence for Corbin. He looked authentic and dominant. Sequences like this one is why I’m particularly high on this guy. He just has an intangible it factor that shines in moments like these.
In the end, Bobby Roode dodged a Corbin shoulder tackle which sent him out of the ring and promptly connected with a Glorious DDT on No Way Jose. Roode then covered Jose for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Roode via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked Corbin’s involvement in this one, but thought the work of the others fell flat. Jose could have used this win and the loss planted him firmly as a low mid card guy. As for Roode, I just don’t feel anything for him and could care less that he is going after MITB. He needs to make me care outside of the fact that he’ll think its glorious.
-After the match, Kevin Owens stopped Kurt Angle and demanded a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. Angle said no and Owens threatened him and said he would call Stephanie McMahon. Angle then walked into the training room and asked Mahal if he could go. Mahal tried to get out of the match at first, but Angle said the match needed to happen tonight. Mahal then said he would do what Roman Reigns couldn’t and qualify for MITB. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Am I crazy, or did Jinder Mahal come off as sympathetic here. The way he gave his mission statement sounded babyface-ish to me and him overcoming the beating Reigns gave him ahead of his mission is babyface in nature. This entire thing makes. no. sense.
-Out of the commercial, the B-Team was in the ring wearing white t-shirts with the letter B written on it. From there, Breezango hit the ring.
(3) BREEZANGO vs. THE B-TEAM
The match began with Dallas and Breeze. Out of the gate, Dallas rolled Breeze up for a pin attempt, but Breeze kicked out at two. The audience chanted “let’s go B-Team” as the two tied up in the middle of the ring. Breeze and Dallas went back and forth through various holds before each member tagged in their partner. Out of the tag, Fandango secured momentum and cleared the ring quickly. From there, Fandango connected with a snap powerslam on Axel who was the other legal man in the match. The finish saw Dallas and Axel connected with a double back suplex on Fandango for the 1,2,3 win.
-After the match, Axel and Dallas celebrated like they won the titles. They then were interviewed by Charley Caruso. In the interview, Axel yelled “B-Team” and Dallas said that anything was possible for the B-Team. Axel then called out Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt and said the B-Team was coming for the tag team championships. (c)
WINNER: The B-Team via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: This B-Team gimmick will organically get over. Probably so much so that the WWE will hate it like they do with Rusev Day. They certainly need more wins before they get to the tag team titles, but I like that they have made their intentions known. Now the audience can watch and cheer them on as they work to achieve the goal.
(4) SASHA BANKS, NATALYA, & EMBER MOON vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD
Banks walked out to the ring first and then was followed by Natalya and Ember Moon. As Nattie walked to the ring, Cole talked up Ronda’s title shot and said that Nattie may help her prepare for that match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A planted seed there perhaps? Nattie vs. Ronda always seemed like a logical place for WWE to go given that they seemingly turned Nattie babyface for no reason other than to position her with Rousey. Rousey’s title match could be the catalyst for that feud to begin. Nattie could prevent Rousey for winning because she’s jealous of Ronda getting an opportunity ahead of her, or Nattie could attack Ronda after she wins the title and then tell the same story of jealousy. Either way, Cole talking like he did about Rousey when he did here was certainly done with a specific reason in mind.
The Riott Squad came out to the ring next to a very quiet crowd reaction. Cole still put them over nicely. Moon and Logan started the match with a tie-up in the middle of the ring. Out of the tie-up, Logan slammed Moon to the mat and then beat her chest in celebration. Moon quickly got to her feet and laid in some strikes before tagging in Banks who hit Logan with the Meteora out of the gate. Eventually, Logan got control of the match and detained Banks in her corner as she tagged in her team members to maintain the assault. Banks then broke free and sent Riott crashing to the outside. As the Riott Squad entered the ring together for a 3 on 1 attack on Banks, Banks’s teammates interuppted which made the Riott Squad pause and roll back out of the ring. (c)
Out of the break, the babyfaces were in control of the match with Nattie dominating Liv Morgan. Nattie then tagged Banks into the ring who kept momentum with some nice dropkicks. With Morgan in the corner, Banks went for her knee attack, but Logan interfered. This allowed Morgan to officially tag Logan into the match which was bad news for Banks. Logan decimated Banks with kicks before tagging Riott into the match. From there, the heels again detained Banks in their corner and kept her neutralized with submissions. This prompted the fans to cheer for Sasha in an effort to get her to her partners.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great selling by Sasha here. She really knows how to take a beating to shine up her team.
Finally, Banks made the tag to Nattie who proceeded to clear the ring. She then hit a running dropkick on Morgan which she followed with a discus clothesline. As she went for the pin, Logan interfered to stop the count. After, chaos ensued around the ring with Banks hitting her Meteora again on Riott and Moon connecting with a suicide dive on Logan. Then, back in the ring Nattie locked in the Sharpshooter on Morgan and she tapped out immediatley.
WINNER: Banks, Natalya, and Moon via submission
Heydorn’s Analysis: Natalya getting the win here further drives my suspicion that she is lined up for Ronda Rousey. Nattie typically isn’t the focus of these kinds of matches. Something is up.
-After the match, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler cut a selfie promo. McIntyre said that the Raw locker room was full of under achievers. He said that superstars like Finn Balor and Braun Strowman got to where they are with short cuts. Ziggler then said that they weren’t there to take food off tables, but to flip the tables over. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: McIntyre is just too good for this type of thing. The big threat is to flip over some tables? How about winning matches and championships? Or making money? Ziggler doesn’t need a sidekick to execute this nonsense. Get Drew out of there.
(5) THE REVIVAL vs. MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT
When the show returned from commercial break, The Revival was in the ring ahead of Matt and Bray’s entrance. From there, Hardy and Wyatt’s music hit and the announce team worked to explain the tag team champions to Michael Cole. Hardy and Wyatt got a nice response and the audience chanted “got the whole world in his hands” as the match began.
Hardy and Wyatt took over early and Hardy did the “wonderful” gimmick with the crowd early. The B-Team was shown backstage taking notes and scouting the tag champs. Back in the ring, Wyatt froze Dawson with his spider look and followed that with a stiff clothesline. From there, he hit a senton and then tagged Hardy back into the match. As Hardy entered, The Revival quickly got momentum and destroyed Hardy’s knee in their corner. As this happened, the crowd chanted delete. Eventually, Hardy connected with the Side Effect and then was able to make the tag to Wyatt. Wyatt entered the match hot and cleared the ring. Then, Hardy connected with the twist of fate. From there, the two connected with a double Sister Abigail that they’re now calling the Kiss Of Deletion. Wyatt then covered for the win.
WINNER: Wyatt and Hardy via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Hardy and Wyatt got quite the reaction. This wasn’t much of a match, but the audience’s reaction for Hardy and Wyatt is the story. These two are ready for a serious tag team title feud and need one to take their act to the next level. It’s hot, but has the legs to get even hotter.
-After the match, Bayley was shown walking backstage. Sasha Banks stopped her and told her good luck. (c)
-Out of the commercial break, Sami Zayn was in the ring and said that Prince Harry looked like him. The crowd chanted “yes.” Zayn said that Harry was a fan of his and the crowd chuckled. Zayn then talked about Bobby Lashley and said that he overshadowed Zayn upon his return to the company. Zayn then took shots at the crowd for cheering Bobby Lashley as he beat him up. Zayn said that because of Lashley’s attack he contracted vertigo.
Zayn proceeded to pull out a doctors note and read it to the audience. Zayn then blamed every loss since Lashley’s attack on that moment. From there, Zayn cued up Lashley’s sit down interview which was shaved down from the debacle that aired last week.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ahh the benefit of post-production editing.
Zayn then said that Lashley wanted to be him. Sami then said what he saw in that interview was someone trying to hide something. He proceeded to say that he dug into Lashley on Facebook by reaching out to Lashley’s sisters. Zayn then said he invited Lashley’s sisters on Raw and that with them he will expose Bobby Lashley as a fraud. Alexa Bliss’s music then hit and the women’s MITB qualifier match was set to begin.
Heydorn’s Analysis: So, that interview did in fact lead to something. That certainly is a good thing. I still maintain that it was very poorly done, but at least it had a purpose. This ran a bit long, but I’m on board with what was set up. Zayn vs. Lashley is an ideal first match for Bobby to have. Zayn will help make him look great.
(6) ALEXA BLISS vs. MICKIE JAMES vs. BAYLEY – MITB Qualifier Match
After Bliss, Mickie James hit the ring and was followed by Bayley. Bayley got a decent response, but not noticeably louder than Alexa Bliss.
The match began with Bayley striking James as the crowd chanted “hey Bayley.” Bliss and James then tossed Bayley to the outside of the ring as the show went to commercial. (c)
Out of the commercial, all three women were in the ring battling. No one specifically had full momentum in the match. With Bayley down, James rolled up Bliss from behind as the crowd popped a bit. After, James motioned to Bliss that every woman was in it on her own. Immediatley after, they worked again to team up against Bayley. Bayley responded by connecting with a top rope cross body on both Bliss and James. Bayley followed that by hitting a tandem neck breaker on both opponents as well. She then hit her patented elbow on Bliss, but the one to James was countered.
Heydorn’s Analysis: 18 months ago, this run by Bayley would have been cheered like crazy. This crowd was ice cold for it. A true reminder of just how much of a miss Bayley’s been on the main roster.
From there and out of the blue, Bliss rolled Bayley up, but the pin was halted by James. Out of the pin, Bayley took the fight to both opponents until Bliss knocked Bayley out of the ring. After, Bliss and James argued a bit which allowed Bayley to get the upper hand again. Shen went to the top rope and jumped off for a move, but Bliss dodged it. Bayley then hit the Bayley To Belly slam, but James pulled her out of the ring before she could cover. On the outside, Bayley battled James away and climbed back into the ring. Immediatley upon entering, Bliss was there and dropped her with a massive DDT for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Bliss via pinfall
-After the match, Bliss celebrated in the ring and stared at the briefcase hanging above the ring. Then, Cole cued a recap of the show open with Roman Reigns, Kurt Angle, and Jinder Mahal.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This entire match felt cold. Bayley wasn’t getting a great reaction and the in-ring story between Bliss and James was rushed. Bliss winning was a good call and her involvment in the match makes her a clear front runner to win in my mind.
-Win the video ended, Jinder Mahal was shown again writhing in pain backstage. With Mahal in pain, Roman Reigns decimated Mahal through the wall he was walking by. Reigns was booed mercilessly once the crowd realized what had happened. The show went to commercial as Samil Singh called for help. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, Mahal looked like the sympathetic figure. I can’t get over or overstate just how backward the booking of this angle is tonight.
-When the show returned from commercial, Kurt Angle checked on Mahal and said that he would have to find a replacement for him in the MITB Qualifier Match.
(7) FINN BALOR & BRAUN STROWMAN vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW MCINTYRE
Balor came out first to a nice response. Strowman was next and got an equally good response. The audience ate up the Braun roars and gladly roared along. Ziggler then came out to a small response and was followed by McIntyre. Drew got an impressive and noticeably different reaction than Ziggler.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This reaction proves my initial thoughts on the Ziggler/Drew pairing. McIntyre clearly is in another league.
The match began with Strowman and McIntyre locking eyes and staring each other down. From there, Balor and Ziggler kicked things off. Out of the gate, Balor connected with a dropkick and then went for the quick pin, but Ziggler kicked out at two. Balor then went for the tag to Strowman which the crowd popped for, but Ziggler scurried to his corner for the tag. Ziggler then tagged Drew into the match and Drew proceeded to ask for Strowman to enter the match. Balor obliged and as McIntyre fired up for his run at Strowman, he immediatley tagged out. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Classic heel work. McIntyre came off as close to Strowman’s equal in terms of intensity, but then squashed a moment that the crowd wanted by backing out. The way he did this was important. He didn’t run away like a coward, but dismissed an encounter with Strowman as below him. Well done.
After the commercial break, Braun Strowman and Balor were decimating Dolph Ziggler. Balor went to attempt a jumping dive over the top rope, but McIntyre tripped Balor up as he hit the ropes. From there, McIntyre tagged into the match and dominated Balor in his corner while taunting Strowman.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Love the psychology of McIntyre taunting Strowman while beating up Balor. Its setting up a great moment later in the match and an incredibly hot tag to Strowman when the time is right.
WINNER: McIntyre and Ziggler via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was an effective and creative way to get the win for Ziggler and McIntyre. They certainly needed it. On the flip side, Braun Strowman got his massive spots in and looked strong in the process. The big takeaway was how good McIntyre looked compared to Strowman. Physically he looked pretty comparable, but he also matched Braun’s alpha nature as well which is important.
-After the match, Michael Cole plugged the big challenge out of NYC that will pit Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey. When the recap video was over, Kurt Angle was shown talking on his phone and said that he sent Roman Reigns away. Angle then looked surprised by what was said on the phone and said “ok, goodbye Stephanie.” (c)
-Out of commercial, Elias was in the ring for a performance but was quickly interrupted by Kevin Owens who was announced as replacing Jinder Mahal.
(8) ELIAS vs. KEVIN OWENS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY – MITB Qualifier Match
As Owens and Lashley made their way to the ring, Cole played up that Stephanie made the decision to give Owens a second opportunity to spite Kurt Angle. Cole and Booker than argued about the merits of that notion.
The match began with Owens and Elias ganging up on Lashley, but the momentum they secure was short-lived. Lashley quickly administered neck breakers to both guys and through them over the top rope before the show went to commercial.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Owens getting added to this match is a way to further drive a wedge between Stephanie and Angle. It’s also a good way to get heat on Owens because he is absolutely not deserving given his recent performances.
Back in the ring, Lashley was taking care of business on the outside of the ring until Owens hit Lashley from behind. He then tossed Lashley back into the ring and him and Elias stomped him to pieces in the corner. The crowd chanted loudly for Elias in this moment and was chanting “walk with Elias.” As this happened, Owens and Elias came to blows in the ring. This allowed Lashley wake up and get back into the fray with Owens. As he did, the audience chanted “Bobby’s sisters.” From there, Elias pushed both men out of the ring and demanded his guitar from JoJo at ringside. With his opponents down, he attempted to play a song, but was stopped by Owens. The crowd responded by chanting “let him sing.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: Elias is so massively over in that arena tonight that its actually hurting the quality of the match. In moments where Lashley was designed to shine, the fact that the shine was against Elias angered the audience and some psychology was lost because of it.
The three did battle once again with Owens gaining the quick momentum. He then attempted to hit his running cannonball on Elias, but Elias countered at the last minute and moved out of the way. From there, Elias went to the top rope and connected with an elbow drop. After, he pinned Owens, but Lashley interrupted it at the count of two. Out of the pin, Lashley dominated and was booed by the crowd for doing so. Eventually, Lashley ran into a big boot from Kevin Owens. The finish saw Sami Zayn interfere in the match be stopping a Bobby Lashley pin attempt on Elias after Lashley’s finisher. From there, Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Lashley on the outside of the ring. Inside the ring, Owens hit a top rope frog splash on a prone Elias and then covered for the victory.
WINNER: Owens via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: For the most part, this match did the trick. Owens got the win and is positioned well because of his friendship with Stephanie. Lashley was protected in the loss because of the Sami Zayn involvment. Lashley still has work to do and is not connecting with the audience as he should be. Sami Zayn is the perfect opponent to help him get there. Elias is the wild card in all of this. A babyface turn may be in the works sooner than later so as to fully take advantage of his organic connection.
-The show faded to black as Owens celebrated at the top of the ramp with Sami Zayn.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Outside of the nonsensical and maddening confusion surrounding whats happening with Roman Reigns, this was an effective Raw. The Reigns stuff now has to live on its own island because it just doesn’t make good sense within Raw’s narrative structure. That said, Drew McIntyre, Elias, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens all had standout nights. McIntyre in particular as he carried himself nicely against Strowman. Now that the Raw MITB participants are in place, look for stories to develop between those characters in the coming weeks.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 5/7: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including Backlash fallout, women’s MITB qualifiers, and more