WWE LIVE EVENT REPORT
MAY 18, 2018
REPORT BY DANNY COSTA, PWTORCH VIP MEMBER
The show took place at Palasport Olimpico. Capacity is just over 13.000 and, other than the half of the upper bowl that was tarped off, it was almost a sellout. I’d say around 9.000 people were there. Most people were wearing Rollins, Strowman and AJ Styles shirts, with the Monday Night Rollins shirt being the most popular, especially among girls. I was surprised to see that almost nobody was wearing Roman Reigns merchandise.
Mike Rome hosted the show, with JoJo handling ring announcer duties.
(1) The Deleter of Worlds (Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy) defeated The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) and Heath Slater & Rhyno to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship. During entrances, Rhyno got the biggest reaction, but all throughout the match there were loud “Delete!” chants. After some comedy to get things started, The B-Team cornered Rhyno. Slater eventually got the hot tag and chaos reigned supreme, with everyone hitting their finishers. In the end, Wyatt pinned Slater after a Double Sister Abigail.
A pre-taped promo from Samoa Joe aired on the big screen. He said that, in the main event, he would teach Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman some respect.
Lights switched to purple, which meant that the Cruiserweight Title was going to be on the line. That got some groans.
(2) Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali to retain the Cruiserweight Championship. This probably was the match of the night, and it was presented as a face vs. face, with both men shaking hands and hugging before the bell rang. The crowd, after a couple of exchanges, was definitely into it, with multiple “This is Awesome!” chants ringing throughout the arena. The action, as you would expect from the cruiserweights, was really fast paced. Cedric, after several near falls, went over with the Lumbar Check.
(3) Zack Ryder & Chad Gable defeated Goldust & Mojo Rawley. Legacy pop for Goldust and a few cheers for Gable during entrances but, once the bell rang, nobody cared. It is sad seeing Gable stuck with this mix of lowcarders given his potential. At least he got the pin after a bridging German Suplex on Goldust. Lowest point of the night.
(4) Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin. The crowd was actually expecting No Way Jose given his rivalry with Corbin, so Balor was a pleasant surprise that got a HUGE pop. Before the match had officially started, Corbin attacked Balor, which set the tone for the first few minutes of the match. Corbin paced himself pretty well and was very good at drawing heat. Honestly, he looked very credible, which was very shocking given how green he looks most of the time on TV. The match was short but solid, with Balor hitting all of his signature moves before pinning Corbin with the Coup de Grace.
(5) Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss, Bayley, and Sasha Banks in a Fatal Four-Way Match to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. Alexa kicked off the match trying to get Sasha and Bayley to work against Nia, but they left the ring, leaving her at her mercy. Eventually, they both came back to break a pin attempt and the match got better and better. Sasha pulled off a 619 on Nia that got a great reaction from the crowd. When Nia Jax was thrown into the ringside steps by Alexa, thus eliminating her from the action for a while, Bliss, Banks and Bayley got rolling in the ring. The crowd chanted mostly for Bayley and Alexa from bell to bell, with a nice pop for Sasha during entrances. Nothing, quite surprisingly, for Jax. In the end, Sasha and Bayley got in a argument, and Bliss took advantage of the situation by throwing them both outside of the ring. Nia, though, had recovered and hit the Samoan Drop for the three count on Alexa.
(6) Seth Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Seth Rollins simply got the biggest reaction of the night. Everybody was waiting for him to come out, and the place was almost shaking during his entrance. He really loved this and kept interacting with the fans. Jinder Mahal came out all banged up, selling the Reigns’ Spear through that THICK wall on Raw. This was probably the best Jinder Mahal match I have seen after that great championship match he had with AJ in London (it wasn’t anything super impressive, but Jinder Mahal matches are usually awful). The crowd was really engaged, with “Let’s go Rollins!” and “Seth! Seth! Seth!” chants during the match. The contest ended with a series of reversals led by the involvement of Sunil Singh, but Rollins got the upper hand after a Buckle Bomb followed by The Stomp.
During the intermission, the ring crew set the stage for Elias.
After the break, Elias was introduced. He did his usual shtick while speaking Italian. That drew a very nice pop. Before he could actually start singing, though, Bobby Roode interrupted him and made his way to the ring to his Glorious theme. The two, after a while, actually sang “Sweet Child O’ Mine” together for a minute or two. Roode, by the way, was really bad at singing. When the former NXT Champion tried to make the crowd sing along, he got attacked from behind, leading to a short brawl that ended with the Glorious One hitting his Glorious DDT.When Roode tried to make us sing along, Elias hit him from behind, and a brawl ensued. In the end, Roode hit his Glorious DDT to cheers. The crowd, though, loved Elias more.
(7) Ember Moon & Ronda Rousey & Natalya defeated The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott) & Mickie James. Rousey came out to a monster pop, but, taking off her Rowdy shirt, she revealed a Juventus shirt, one of the local soccer teams. Only thing is, Juventus for Italy is like the Yankees or the Patriots for Americans, so that drew more boos than cheers. Ultimately, she recovered from that, as there were plenty of “Let’s Go Ronda!” and “We want Ronda!” chants. The heels worked on Natalya for most of the match. They kept milking and milking that hot tag. When Ronda finally tagged in, she got a great pop, followed by the loudest chant of the night: “Ronda! Ronda!”. Ronda looked very credible and everything she did was incredibly believable. After clearing the ring, she did her trademark judo throw followed by the Armbar on Mickie for the clean tapout win. Only negative of this match was that Ember Moon barely stepped foot in the ring and wasn’t part of the action if not for the first few seconds.
(8) Roman Reigns & Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman defeated Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn & Samoa Joe in a Six-Man Tag Team match. Braun got the best reaction out of the six involved in the main event. Cheers for everyone but Lashley, who came out to nothing. The crowd was 80-20 in favor of Reigns (clearly, the typical reaction Roman gets everywhere but in the UK, according to Corey Graves). Joe and Lashley faced off to start of the match. Loud Joe chants. Hey, at least they weren’t chanting for Bobby’s sisters. The heels worked on Lashley the majority of the match. In the end, Braun got the hot tag, laying destruction for a good minute. Ultimately, the numbers game got the best of him and Roman came to the rescue. Superman punches to everyone, followed by a Lashley vertical suplex on Zayn, a Strowman running powerslam on Joe and a Roman spear on Owens that was good for the three count. The crowd was actually happy of the outcome.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Good show, with plenty good segments and good star power. Reigns engaged with the crowd throughout the main event and the easy environment seemed to please him. That said, while Lashley and Strowman stuck around to take photos and sign autographs with the fans, he left immediatly. That was weird. Guess Italian kids aren’t worthy of his attention. Rollins still got a better pop overall than Strowman and Reigns, but it was closer than you would expect watching Raw weekly. Lashley is back to being the non-factor he was in 2007. My main take from this show is that there is a substantial lack of believable heels on the Raw roster, considering that Joe is a SDLive guy and that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, along with others (B-Team, Alexa, Goldust) come off likeable for different reasons, which makes Jinder Mahal and Baron Corbin much more valuable. All in all, it is very noticeable how much deeper and better the rosters are compared to the last time WWE ran a show in Turin, a card that had Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson in the co-main event slot.
BIGGEST POPS OF THE NIGHT:
(1) Ronda Rousey
(2) Seth Rollins
(3) Braun Strowman
(4) Roman Reigns
(5) Finn Balor
MOST HEEL HEAT:
(1) Jinder Mahal
(2) Baron Corbin