WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
WILD CARD EDITION WEEK II
ALBANY, N.Y. AT THE TIMES UNION CENTER
MAY 20, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
LAST WEEK’S RAW RATING: 1.68 (.05 IMPROVEMENT FROM PREVIOUS WEEK)
In Memoriam: Ashley Massaro
It broke our hearts in a big way towards the end of last week when we had heard about the death of former WWE wrestler and 2005 Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro at the very young age of 39. Here’s WWE’s tweet which includes a link of the announcement on their website:
We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends. https://t.co/PqHSRbOGso
— WWE (@WWE) May 17, 2019
As I mentioned, she won the Diva Search in 2005 and made her debut shortly thereafter. She was the valet for WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick during her time on Smackdown in 2007. At WrestleMania 23, she challenged Melina for the WWE Women’s Championship. In the following WrestleMania, she was involved in a Playboy Bunnymania Lumberjill match. Here’s WWE Hall of Famers Mick Foley, Trish Stratus, and Torrie Wilson on their thoughts about Ashley and also Ashley’s final tweet:
This is just awful news – Ashley Massaro is gone. She was only 39. She lived in the same town as me…I loved seeing her around. She was always so nice…and now she’s gone. #RIPAshleyMassaro pic.twitter.com/wOUY4gsTQo
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) May 17, 2019
Darling @ashleymassaro11 my heart hurts so much with this news. I remember being off with an injury and watching this beautiful, charismatic, athletic girl crowned Diva Search winner…. https://t.co/V01FeTiqvM pic.twitter.com/3wHb7eQDr2
— Trish Stratus (@trishstratuscom) May 17, 2019
I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I am to hear about @ashleymassaro11 – legit one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. When we fall into a dark place it can seem like it will never change but if you are there PLEASE keep hope & reach out for help.
— Torrie Wilson (@Torrie11) May 17, 2019
There are other wrestlers who tweeted out their heartfelt thoughts.
On a personal level, this one was tough to take. She lived only about 30 minutes from me, as does Mick Foley. I’ve never spoken to either of them, but I did come close to speaking to Ashley once. I was deadheading on a flight back from Florida, in uniform, when I noticed her sitting in the row across from me. Later in the flight, we were on the line for the forward lavatory. I gave her once of those shy half-smiles and she did the same in return. I was going to introduce myself but didn’t out of shyness. I can tell though if I did, she would have been very nice in return. I regret not saying hello even more so now that she’s gone.
There are numerous reports as to the cause of her death. For now, let us all remember Ashley Massaro and keep her family and close friends in mind during this very difficult time.
Arena, Money in the Bank Results Pertinent to Raw, Items Advertised by WWE, and Show Start Time
WWE returns to the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. after appearing in this arena during the same week in May of last year. The near 30-year old arena has hosted numerous Raws and Smackdowns going back to 1996. Ironically, as we put Money in the Bank behind us, Edge did the first-ever cash-in here in 2006 at New Year’s Revolution on then-WWE Champion John Cena. Here’s a clip of that historic event:
That was then and this is now. Here are the Money in the Bank results pertinent to Raw:
- The Usos of Raw defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan in a non-title match.
- Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe to win his first U.S. Championship
- Shane McMahon defeated the Miz in a steel cage match.
- Becky Lynch retained the Raw Women’s Championship over Lacey Evans. She would lose the
- Smackdown Championship to Charlotte Flair, who would subsequently lose it to 2019 Money in the Bank winner Bayley.
- Seth Rollins retained the WWE Universal Championship over A.J. Styles.
- Brock Lesnar won the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Lesnar replaced Sami Zayn, who replaced Braun Strowman last week on Raw
As of this writing, WWE.com doesn’t have their preview up for tonight’s show. We learned of one item on last night’s show:
- Mick Foley to introduce WWE’s newest title.
- We now head towards the Super Showdown from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 7.
Mick Foley to Introduce WWE’s Newest Title
During the Money in the Bank show last night, we learned that WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley will be on hand to introduce WWE’s newest title. Here’s the tweet showing that announcement:
— WWE (@WWE) May 20, 2019
There’s speculation that Foley could be reintroducing the Hardcore Title, which existed from 1998-2002. Foley was the inaugural champion by virtue of being awarded it by Vince McMahon. The title had the stigma of being defended 24/7 as long as a referee was present. Tommy Dreamer was the final HC Champion and lost to then-Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam to merge those titles.
There’s also talk of a version of the TV Title, a championship under the NWA and eventually WCW banner. This could be as a result of the Wild Card rule where it’s a title defended on both Raw and Smackdown.
We will find out for certain tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: This is just what we needed, another title. Under the WWE banner there are 18 titles across the five brands. The hardcore title provided a lot of comic relief, which was funny at first, but it got old real quick. I could live with the TV title. In fact, I had hoped the U.S. Championship and Intercontinental Championships would be merged years ago and the TV title brought back. At this point, this is the last thing WWE needs.
Brock Lesnar is Now the “Beast in the Bank”
We were thrown a curveball last night when Brock Lesnar entered the Money in the Bank ladder match, replacing Sami Zayn who had been attacked and tied up in the bank. We had thought it was Braun Strowman doing the attacking as a result of him getting beaten by Zayn last week, but he vehemently denied it to Triple H.
The win happened when Ali climbed to the top of the ladder and was about the grab the briefcase, when Lesnar’s music hit. He came out and knocked Ali off the ladder. He then climbed the ladder in amusement and grabbed the briefcase to win the 2019 Money in the Bank offering. Here’s WWE.com tweeting about it:
— WWE (@WWE) May 20, 2019
With Super Showdown looming, we’ll see if he cashes in for a title match against Seth Rollins. Here is a very sarcastic quote from former WWE wrestler Chris Jericho:
Awesome to see @BrockLesnar win the #MoneyInTheBank match…even though he wasn’t officially entered! Brock is the future of the biz and this perfect example of genius booking shows why @WWE will remain on top FOREVER! #GoBrockGo
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) May 20, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: Jericho’s tweet is the best one I’ve read in a while. Hey, listen, am I shocked? I’m not for one second. Ratings are down, the FOX deal is coming, and thus Vince goes to his bag of tricks. Lesnar is one of those tricks. It’s a disgrace if you ask me, when you have seven guys breaking their rear end only to have this guy come out and do 30 seconds of work. Money in the Bank is a bragging point that usually betters someone’s career. This would have been perfect for Ali, who had been rumored to win the match. What are you going to do? It’s OK WWE, just keep pushing the past and reminding us that your current roster has no stars. Those ratings will continue on their current course.
Next Up for the New U.S. Champion Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio won his first U.S. Champion last night when he beat Samoa Joe in just over one minute. As Joe was going for a powerbomb, Rey rolled through and scored a leverage pin to gain the victory. It seemed a bit awkward as we later found out Joe’s shoulder was up, but the referee missed it. Here’s Joe tweeting his displeasure:
There will be justice, lest the Son suffer the sins of the Father..
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) May 20, 2019
There are reports that the match was cut short due to Joe bleeding after taking a senton from Rey. The title-change and post-match angles were both planned according to said reports. Nonetheless we can expect this to continue.
Frank Analysis: You certainly hope these two have the longer match they deserve. Nothing is booked yet for Super Showdown, but a rematch can’t be off the table. I wouldn’t rule out a short reign for Rey and Joe getting the title back. This cuts off the long run I had hoped Joe would have, but I’m not surprised as Joe is clearly not protected by the company. The pieces are in place though for Rey’s son to turn on him, helping Joe get the title back.
She’s Just Becky One Belt, but Still Raw Women’s Champion
Becky Lynch walked into Money in the Bank as both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion but walked out only with the Raw title.
In her first of two matches she defeated Lacey Evans via her signature Disarm Her. Just prior to applying the move Lacey had Becky pinned, but for some reason the referee didn’t start the count. Becky then countered and put on the Disarm Her as I mentioned to get Lacey to tap out.
Moments later Charlotte Flair came out to challenge her for the Smackdown title, as was scheduled on the card. Instead of saving the match for later, Becky agreed to have the match. They went around six minutes, and Becky lost when Lacey interfered and gave her the Women’s Right with the referee not looking. Charlotte then hit Becky with a kick and scored the pin to win the Smackdown title and her ninth women’s championship overall. She would subsequently lose it to 2019 MITB winner Bayley, who cashed in her newly won contract. I will cover that more in tomorrow’s primer.
Lacey didn’t hesitate to trash talk on Twitter despite losing:
Becky was surprisingly quite on social media, but it also could have had to do with her WWE 24 special on WWE Network after last night’s show, which was enjoyable to watch. Nonetheless we’ll look for this to continue, but not at Super Showdown because well you know…Saudi.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m beating myself up over this because I had Bayley winning and cashing in MITB on the same night over new champion Charlotte but moved away from that prediction. The good thing is that the “2 Belts” bit is over with, an angle I don’t feel was sustainable over the long term. It also gets Becky and Charlotte apart now, with Becky clearly on Raw and Charlotte on Smackdown. After what they’ve been through since last summer, a break is certainly in order. This can set up a bigger match for them at WrestleMania if, say Charlotte wins the Royal Rumble and challenges Becky assuming she’s Raw champion at that point. Lacey did benefit from last night as much as she could have, but we need to see more. I am positive overall.
A Phenomenal Burndown
In what was arguably the match of the night, Seth Rollins retained the WWE Universal Championship over A.J. Styles. The match went around 20 minutes, and Seth won after hitting a ripcord knee followed by his signature Curbstomp. Here’s WWE’s YouTube clip of the match:
After the match, A.J. went to shake Seth’s hand. Seth initially raised the title in his face, but later shook his hand. He shed some light on why may have done in that in a WWE.com exclusive with Cathy Kelley:
Frank’s Analysis: The fact that Seth felt A.J. disrespected him could plant the seed for this to continue and perhaps A.J. turning on him at some point. A.J. may have realized that when he went back to shake his hand, and thus in storyline I don’t blame Seth for rejecting the gesture. Nonetheless this was a great match and helped overall put the show at a thumbs up for me. I certainly expect more to be in the tank for this feud, perhaps something at the Super Showdown
Firefly Haunted House?
Here’s a YouTube clip of last week’s Firefly FunHouse, in which things took a disturbing turn, and also some information on who’s behind Bray Wyatt’s new look:
— Bloody Disgusting (@BDisgusting) May 14, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: What else can you say but, Yowie Wowie? A small part of me thinks he’s just getting all of his secrets out, and he may pretend like last week was just his inner thoughts, but I’m not 100% sure. The money is on this being a part of his new heel persona. I’ll still say though that this is all well and good, but it has to end up in the ring. We’ve seen a lot of these scary gimmicks fall flat on their face through the years. Bray Wyatt’s previous gimmick was certainly one of them.
Not Advertised for Follow Up
As I said, WWE.com does not have their preview up, but here are a few other items to look for on Raw tonight:
Follow-up on the Usos-Revival feud
Mojo Rawley defeated Apollo Crews last week. Apollo arrived via the Wild Card rule
Baron Corbin defeated Ricochet last week. Both participated in the MITB ladder match last night.
Nikki Cross won a fatal four-way involving the Raw women in the MITB match. Last night, she said she wanted to be just like Alexa Bliss. Speaking of Alexa Bliss, she was removed from the MITB ladder match due to not being medically cleared according to WWE.
The arena’s website advertises a start time of 7:30 p.m. local time.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.