KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 29, 2019
LEXINGTON, KY. AT RUPP ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
-They opened with a crowd shot as Cole loudly proclaimed they were at the historic Rupp Arena at the University of Kentucky. Out came Alexa Bliss right away for “A Moment of Bliss.” She walked to the ring for her segment.
Bliss walked to the ring and said this is a “very special Moment of Bliss.” She announced the four men representing Raw first, and they came out to their entrance music as the were announced: Braun Strowman, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin. Fans chanted “Ricochet” when he entered the ring. Graves said Drew is the immediate favorite. Fans groaned when Corbin was announced. Ricochet taunted Corbin for failing after his prior MITB win. Corbin asked if someone said something, pretending not to hear Ricochet. Drew said Ricochet has a point. He told Corbin he’s tired of him ruining his chances at the Universal Title. Ricochet interrupted and said he didn’t come here to talk. Drew told him in that case to shut up and “leave the business talk to the grown-ups” and stick to the high-flying moves. He towered over Ricochet and threatened him. Drew and Corbin went back and forth some more. Strowman finally had enough and told them he wanted to give them a preview of what they have coming at MITB – “You two against Ricochet and me!” He said they’ll get those hands right now. Cole wondered if the match will be made official. Oh, the suspense.
(Keller’s Analysis: Other potential competitors left out are Rey Mysterio, Cedric Alexander, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, and Cesaro. Decent segment. They established Corbin and Drew won’t be working together. They gave Ricochet the most speaking time he’s had yet on the main roster. He’s not great, but he’s the ordinary guy who doesn’t extraordinary things. Hey, that’s catchy.) [c]
(1) DREW MCINTYRE & BARON CORBIN vs. BRAUN STROWMAN & RICOCHET
Amazingly, the match was made official during the break by the unnamed authority figure. Strowman clotheslined Drew over the top rope and then Ricochet moonsault off the ring apron onto Corbin on the floor. Corbin got right back into the ring, but Ricochet kicked him. Drew tagged in and took over on Ricochet. [c]
After the break, Ricochet was out on the floor. Strowman went to check on him. Corbin attacked Strowman from behind. Strowman no-sold it and then chased Corbin around the ring. Fans cheered. Drew then caught a charging Strowman with a Claymore. Back in the ring Corbin scored a near fall. Strowman eventually got the hot-tag and went to work on both heels. The crowd popped and cheered. It almost felt post-produced as the crowd was reacting exactly how you’d script them to if you could. Drew side-stepped a Braun charge, so Braun went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Ricochet tagged back in, but quickly got headbutted by Drew. As Drew set up a Claymore Kick, Corbin tagged himself in. Ricochet avoided Corbin and tagged Strowman back in. Drew punched Corbin. Strowman powerslammed Corbin, then Ricochet landed a shooting star press for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet & Strowman in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd really made this match because it was pretty one dimensional most of the way with Ricochet selling for the methodical offense of Drew and Corbin, yet the crowd stayed into it for their fellow Kentuckian and popped big for both him and Braun.)
-Cole said Becky Lynch would be out later to address defending her title twice in one night at Money in the Bank, plus Miz TV would feature Bobby Lashley.
-The Usos began their ring entrance. [c]
(2) THE USOS vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS
As Anderson and Gallows came out, a sound bite aired with them. Anderson said they’re going to show everyone why they’re Bullet Proof. Graves said he wants to learn about the Good Brother Penitentiary, including whether it had conjugal visits.
(Keller’s Analysis: What’s more surprising, that the Superstar Shake-up continues to reveal itself three weeks in, or that Anderson & Gallows are still in WWE at all?)
Anderson & Gallows controlled early. Cole said they’ve dominated around the world, so there’s no reason they can’t on Monday nights. They cut to a break with Anderson & Gallows in control. [c]
The Usos eventually won with a top rope splash after stereo superkicks on Gallows.
WINNERS: The Usos in 11:00.
-Afterward, Jimmy Uso told fans to put their kids to sleep and make sure their grandmother’s eyes are closed because they had a video for them. They showed a video where they walked into a bathroom and showed Dash Wilder shaving the back of Scott Dawson. They yelled, “You missed a spot!” and then ran. Back live, the Usos were laughing. The Revival walked out and said that was an invasion of their privacy. Dawson said they’re men and he has some hair, including on his back. He said with his muscles, he can’t always reach every spot on his back, so he asks his compadre and best friend to help and he obliges. Jey asked who shaves whose back. The Revival said they’re going to beat Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins later, and then they’ll turn to the Usos.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t get what’s humiliating or even funny about the back shaving. Yet another example of WWE writers placating Vince McMahon’s fetish for bathroom and scatalogical humor.)
-The Miz made his way to the ring for Miz TV. Graves said he thinks Miz TV can be as big as “A Moment of Bliss” some day. [c]
-An NXT TV commercial hyped the arrival of Kushida with his first TV match.
-They showed postcard shots of the University of Kentucky. Cole said Seth Rollins and A.J. Styles will sign the contract for their first-ever match at MITB later on Raw.
-Miz TV: Miz got the crowd to join him with his catch phrases as he introduced his show. He touted his reality show and his “decorated career.” He said he’s excited to have new guests on Miz TV on Raw, then introduced Lashley. Lashley came out alone. The announcers didn’t mention he was without his usual mouthpiece, Lio Rush. (How do they not mention that?) Lashley interrupted Miz’s introduction and said he’s seen Miz TV before and he’s going to set the ground rules. He kept referring to himself in the third person as “Bobby Lashley,” which Miz pointed out. Lashley told Miz to watch his tone.
Miz said Lashley has a lot going for him, but some people think he has yet to put it all together. He said he’s not trying to insult him when he says some people don’t think he’s reaching his full potential. Lashley said he’s been back in WWE for one year and he is already a two-time Intercontinental Champion. Fans began “what’ing” him. He asked Miz what he’s done. Miz laughed at the very question being posed. He listed all of his title wins and said you can see it on his Wikipedia page. Graves said Miz is the type to update his own Wikipedia. Miz said he’s an overachiever. “Have you seen my wife?” he self-deprecatingly said.
Lashley brought up what happened between Miz & his dad and Shane McMahon. He said he had an opportunity for payback at WrestleMania, but he screwed it up. “No wonder your father thinks you’re worthless.” Miz attacked Lashley and knocked him out of the ring with a boot to the face (which showed light). They cut to a break. [c]
(3) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. THE MIZ
Cole said the match was made officially during the break. It was joined in progress. Cole said this is the first time they have met in WWE. With Miz rallying, Shane McMahon’s music played. Shane danced out and then pretended to back away before charging to the ring. Miz still managed to keep an eye on Lashley and gave him a DDT for a near fall. Shane stood at ringside and cheered on Lashley. Miz did a series of Yes Kicks. Shane put a picture of Miz’s dad on the big screen, which distracted Miz. Miz leaped at Shane on the ring apron. Lashley speared Miz and scored the pin.
WINNER: Lashley in 3:00.
-Afterward, Shane taunted and kicked and “punched” Miz. Miz fought back, but Lashley yanked Miz off of Shane and threw him down. Shane “punched” Miz some more and then figure-four’d his head. Miz passed out. Miz then took a mic and said, “Just remember this. I am the Best in the World.” He popped him on the forehead with the mic and got up and left. Fans chanted “C.M. Punk!”
(Keller’s Analysis: I got a kick out of Graves saying it’s not a picture of Miz’s dad, it’s a picture of a baked potato, as a way to blame Miz for being so easily distracted. How is it possible to be so bad at throwing worked punches?) [c]
(4) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. THE LUCHA HOUSE PARTY
LHP attacked the Vikings from behind at ringside before the bell. They celebrated inside the ring as the Vikings regroupedoutnside the ring. The Vikings then dominated in the ring and won quickly with a pin on Kalisto with the lift-and-drop into a powerslam. They beat up on Lince Dorado afterward.
WINNERS: Viking Experience.
(Keller’s Analysis: THE REFEREE IS STILL COUNTING THE PIN WHEN BOTH VIKINGS ARE PUSHING DOWN ON THE FALLEN OPPONENT WHICH IS STUPID AND AGAINST THE RULES FOR OBVIOUS REASONS AND NEEDS TO STOP – AND WHY AREN’T THE ANNOUNCERS TALKING ABOUT HOW UNFAIR IT IS? They could easily do a legal pin, then the other joins in and strikes a pose over the fallen opponent afterward. Then the ref wouldn’t look like an idiot and the announcers wouldn’t look bad for ignoring it.)
-A sponsored segment aired with The IIconics talking about themselves and how they do everything together.
-Bliss sat mid-ring again and announced the women from Raw in the MITB. Natalya came out first. She said she’s never been Raw Women’s Champion before, but when she wins the MITB, that will all change. Bliss blew her off and announced Dana Brooke. Dana walked onto the stage as Renee said she’s really happy that Dana gets this opportunity. Dana said she’s so excited because she’s tired of being told to wait her turn. She shot those words at Natalya. Natalya took offense. Natalya said she’s earned everything she’s gotten in WWE. Bliss said it’s her turn to talk, so they can take their catty arguments elsewhere. Bliss announced Naomi, who strutted onto the stage. Renee said she’s her early favorite. Naomi said she’s a former two-time Smackdown Champion, and now her goal is to become Raw Champion. She said she’ll win MITB and whoever the champion is “will get all this glow.” As Natalya and Dana chimed in, Bliss said they’re worse than the men. She asked them, for the dignity of the women’s division, to let her finish introducing the final entrant. She revealed she herself is the final entrant. As Bliss shot off her mouth, Naomi challenged her to a match tonight. Bliss said she’s not dressed for it. Naomi said it’s clear Bliss isn’t as good as she says she is. Bliss said, “You know what, you’re on!”
(Keller’s Analysis: It was what you’d expect from those four in this situation. Dana’s character is just directionless and seems pathetically desperate and insecure without intending to be.)
-Cole threw to the “Firefly Funhouse,” noting it was the no. 1 trend on Twitter last week. Then episode two aired. Bray was painting and said it’s a way for him to express his suppressed feelings. “When you’re expressing yourself, no one can ever truly hurt you,” he said. A scary looking rabbit puppet showed up – Rambling Rabbit. Bray showed him his painting. It was a house on fire with a little kid inside. He hung it up. Then the Abby the Witch doll woke up and talked. Rambling Rabbit ran away. Abby said Bray was a bad boy and didn’t learn his lesson about messing around in the Funhouse. Bray said that’s part of the past and he’s really sorry for what he did. He looked at the camera and said, “All of you forgive me, right?” Kids cheered and yelled yes. Bray said Abby the Witch is a bit of sociopath. The rabbit returned and asked if “sociopath” is the word of the day. Bray agreed it would be. He spelled it as it appeared on the screen. Bray said that’s all the time they have today, but as always he’ll light the way and all they have to do is let him in. He looked sinister briefly, then broke into a smile and waved.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m still really loving this. The key is transitioning this to a character that works without the Playhouse setting and the edits, and also keeping the character moving forward and not just settling for repetitive platitudes that plagued the Bray Wyatt character before.)
-Back live, Graves said, “That’s okay, I never wanted to sleep again anyway.” They showed the MITB briefcase. Bliss was in the ring as Naomi’s music played. Cole said that match was up next. [c]
(5) ALEXA BLISS vs. NAOMI
Bliss had to keep tying her shoes, which Graves pointed to as evidence that she wasn’t even dressed to wrestle and this match shouldn’t be happening. Naomi eventually won with a Rear View and split-legged moonsault clean.
WINNER: Naomi in 6:00.
-Rey Mysterio and his son Dominic were hanging out. Charly Caruso told Rey Mysterio that people are saying this is the most challenging stretch of his career. Rey said it’s not easy being his size living in the world of giants. He said he gets knocked down, but he keeps getting back up. He said at WrestleMania against Samoa Joe, he feels he let his fans and family down, most of all his son Dominic. He said he knows he’s a better man and he’ll prove it against Joe later.
-Becky Lynch walked out to her music. [c]
-Caruso interviewed Becky mid-ring. Fans chanted “Becky!” Caruso said Becky made a decision that most would call “impulsive.” She asked her about agreeing to defend her belts in one night. “Why would you do this?” she asked. Fans chanted “Becky Two Belts!” Becky said the fans are answering it for her. Becky said that wasn’t impulsive and there is nothing impulsive about what she’s doing. She said she could try to protect all that she has, or fight. “And I only know how to fight.” Caruso said she’s greatly increasing her odds of losing one or both. Becky said she’s been defying odds, including main eventing WrestleMania. Another “Becky!” chant broke out. Becky smiled. She said a month ago Ronda Rousey was unbeaten, but then she beat her. She said nothing she’s done has been an accident.
Becky said she accused Charlotte of holding the division and titles hostage, so there is no way she’d do that as double-champ, even if it puts her at a huge disadvantage. She said she can talk about impulsiveness and odds, but she didn’t make history by dodging anybody, she did it by beating everybody. Cheers. She said bring on her opponents. She said while Lacey likes sneak attacks, she’s going to tell Lacey exactly where and when her beating is coming – at the MITB PPV. Charly said she respects her confidence, but she wondered if what happened last week with the Woman’s Right is a preview of what’s coming her way at MITB. A clip aired of Lacey punching her out last week with two Woman’s Rights. Back live, the fans booed. Becky took the mic and said if Lacey isn’t too busy backstage currying favors, come on out and get some payback so she can remind her who she is dealing with. Fans chanted “Becky!” again.
Lacey came out to her music. She said isn’t just like a man to want what he wants when he wants it. She said she warned Becky last week not to let her temper get the best of her. She said she didn’t listen, so she’s done talking. She charged toward the ring. Becky met her at ringside and they fought. Referees ran out to immediately separate them. (Where were the refs earlier when Shane & Lashley attacked Miz?) Producers joined in pulling them apart including Fit Finlay, Jamie Noble, and Sonjay Dutt. Becky broke free and went after Lacey again.
-Hawkins and Ryder came out wearing their Raw Tag Team Title belts. [c]
-The announcers recapped the Becky-Lacey angle. Then on camera they threw to a segment on WWE working with Make-a-Wish.
(6) CURT HAWKINS & ZACK RYDER vs. THE REVIVAL
The announcers talked about the Usos filming The Revival back-shaving moment. Graves said it was humiliating. Graves said Renee must appreciate smooth backs. She agreed a smooth back is preferred. Fans chanted “Shave your back!” (Well, they did, so what’s the point? Prince Albert didn’t, and thus the chant.) Graves said The Revival should barge in on Ryder in a tanning booth to get even. Renee said this has nothing to do with Ryder because it was the Usos who invaded The Revival’s privacy. Graves talked about the Ryder & Hawkins tag title win as miraculous. In the end, Ryder surprised Dawson with a roll-up for the win.
WINNERS: Hawkins & Ryder in 4:00.
-The unnamed interview woman (Sarah Schreiber) interviewed Miz backstage. He challenged Shane to a cage match at MITB. Then he walked away and the camera turned to Schreiber nodding and smiling over and over.
-Sami Zayn made his over-the-top entrance. [c]
-Sami stood mid-ring and said during his time off, he learned psychology. He said his joy during his time recovering from shoulder surgery included soul searching and deep introspection and learning about various subjects of interest to himself. He said when it came to psychology, it helped him understand “you people.” He said fans have been talked into believing they’re always right, and it’s called “Psychological Entitlement.” A graphic on the screen said it means someone who believes they are entitled to more or is entitled to more than others. “Sound familiar?” he asked. He said fans throw “little baby tantrums” when they don’t get what they want. He said it’s almost not their fault. He said nobody in Lexington, Ky. would understand if he explained it in detail. “You all know I’m right,” he said. He said a five year old once cried when he turned him down for an autograph, but he’s given the fan everything he deserves already with 17 years of five star matches. He said from now on, he’ll give the fans only what he decides they deserve, and he’ll hold them accountable for their actions. He said it would be amazing to quit WWE, but he’d rather be “the critic of the critics.” He said they’ve been drunk with power and nobody has had the courage to stand up to them. He said he is taking the power back. He dropped the mic and his music played.
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. [c]
-Joe stood mid-ring and told Rey noticed that Rey’s son said he loves him, but what he sees is a son who is ashamed of his dad. He said he is ashamed of how quickly he put him to sleep at WM. He said if Rey was a decent father, he’d have gotten Dominic a mask so he could hide that shame in public. He said he should be signing the contact to face Seth Rollins tonight, not A.J. Styles, so tonight there will be reckoning. He said tonight he will make what he did to him at WrestleMania pale in comparison.
(7) SAMOA JOE vs. REY MYSTERIO
A couple minutes in Joe caught Rey flying at him at ringside and they cut to an early break. [c]
Joe controlled the action after the break. When he went for a urinage, Rey countered with a roll-up to win. After the match, Dominic came out and celebrated with his dad.
WINNER: Mysterio in 7:00.
-Cole stood mid-ring and introduced A.J. Styles first, then Seth Rollins. Each made their full ring entrance. Styles said he had two great years at Smackdown, but everyone knows Raw is where the craziest fans are. (Ugh. They’re the *same* fans.) He said people have often said Seth will be “the next A.J. Styles.” He said people say he’s stronger, faster, and younger. He said the truth is, he will never be the Phenomenal A.J. Styles. Seth listened and smiled, then said Styles is right that there is only one A.J. Styles. He said as much of a compliment as it is, he never wanted to be the next A.J. Styles. He said he just wanted to be “the first Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.” He said things are different around here. He said the ropes are red, it’s Michael Cole not Tom Phillips standing there, and this is Monday Night Rollins, not “the House A.J. Styles built.” He said he’ll have to be more than phenomenal to take the Universal Title from him at MITB.
Styles said he knows what Seth did to get where he is. He said he ran himself ragged and then mockingly asked if he was obsessed with proving he is a thoroughbred. “How are you holding up?” he asked. Fans chanted “Burn it down!” Styles said he has no doubt they’ll burn it down, “and I will build it back up.” He asked Seth about being without “your little team” who used to hold him up. He said he doesn’t think Seth has a lot left at this point. Styles said he’s ready to go now, though. He said his shirt says: “Never rest, never rust.” He said he’ll be the bulldog nipping at his heels and at MITB he’ll latch on and sink his teeth in and he won’t let go until he’s standing over him as the new Universal Champion. Scattered cheered and boos. He stood and signed the contract.
Seth said Styles doesn’t seem to understand what he’s saying. He said they share a lot in common, but while Styles likes to build things up, he likes to tear them down. Seth said while they have similar backgrounds, he did something Styles never did: “I beat Brock Lesnar.” He said that’s why he’s standing there holding the Universal Title while Styles is trying to take it away from him. He said he was at his best when he beat Brock at WrestleMania and he’ll be at his best when he beats him. He signed the contract. Cole stepped out of the ring. Styles picked up the belt and handed it to Seth with a smirk. Seth held it up and they had a nose-to-nose staredown. Fans started a “Shave his back!” chant. As Seth continued to mouth off to Styles, Styles gave him a sudden punch to the face. Seth knocked Styles to the floor. Then he hit his dive through the ropes. He yelled at Styles from the ring that if he wants to start a fight, that’s what he gets. Styles came back with a punch and then a Phenomenal Forearm that sent Seth crashing through the contract signing table. Styles stood and his music played as the show ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was solid. It built tension between two fan favorites and was true to each of their characters and backgrounds.)