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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 3, 2021
LIVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA – “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with a three minute video package on the happenings in recent weeks with Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman leading to Backlash’s main event Triple Threat for the WWE Title.
-Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville talked with MVP backstage. MVP insisted Lashley be called “The All Mighty Bobby Lashley.” MVP said Lashley said can beat either Drew or Braun in one-on-one competition. Pearce said he has a coin to decide whom he’ll face tonight. Drew walked in said he’s taking back his title. Braun said he’s so wrong because he’ll walk out of Backlash as champion. Drew taunted Braun with saying he needed help from Mace and T-Bar. Braun got upset. Braun called tails when the coin was in the air, and it was tails. Drew said he’ll preview what will happen to Lashley at Backlash. Drew said when Braun is done wrestling Lashley tonight, Drew will send him on a one-way trip to Claymore Country. MVP said once Lashley puts Braun in the Hurt Lock, he won’t make it to Backlash.
-They went to Virk, Saxton, and Graves at ringside. They reacted to the main event being set.
-A.J. Styles and Omos were introduced with fanfare by the ring announcer. Styles gloated about Omos winning the WWE Tag Team Titles in his first match. He asked the viewers if they missed them since WrestleMania. “I know you guys have questions, like where did they go after WrestleMania?” he said. Styles said they celebrated in the Caribbean. He said they had better things to do than throw tomatoes. Styles bragged about being a Grand Slam Champion. He said it only took him five years. New Day’s music interrupted.
As Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their way to the ring, Graves hyped the tag team title match up next. Saxton said he thinks New Day will regain the titles. Kofi said he wasn’t even sure they still worked there. He congratulated them on deserved time off. He sarcastically said when they were tag champions, they just took vacations and came and went whenever and showed disrespect to the tag division. Kofi got serious and said there’s a reason they are 11-time tag champs. He said every time they get knocked down, they dust themselves off and win their titles back every single time. Kofi talked about winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania in front of thousands in person and millions at home in front of his kids and his brothers in New Day. He said it was physically and emotionally draining, but somehow came to Raw the next night because that’s the kind of champion he is. Omos eventually broke in and said he’s tired of their joking around and he wants to knock sense into them. Xavier said they’re about to become 12-time tag team champions as they gyrated.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m glad they acknowledged they’ve been gone. It wouldn’t have hurt if announcers had been wondering on-air the last few weeks where they were to build up to this segment.) [c]
-An ad for NXT said Finn Balor would return for the first time since Takeover.
(1) A.J. STYLES & OMOS vs. THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) – Raw Tag Team Title match
Styles immediately tagged in Omos. Graves pointed out this is the first time Omos has competed on Raw. Omos overpowered Xavier with a methodical battering. Graves talked in an over-the-top way about Omos’s first match and how impressive and powerful he was. Omos asked for Kofi. He swattered away Kofi and shoved him down. Styles cheered him on enthusiastically from the ring apron. Graves said Styles is a great learning tree for Omos. Styles high-fived Omos, but the ref called it a tag. Styles entered, and Xavier rolled him up for a quick two count. Styles rolled to ringside. Xavier kicked him to the floor. Kofi leaped off the top rope and knocked Styles down, although mostly he missed him and rolled over onto his feet and celebrated. They cut to a break. [c]
After a couple minutes, Styles landed a Pelé kick on Xavier, then tagged in Omos. Omos beat up Kofi and Xavier. He slammed Kofi. Xavier kicked his leg. Omos brushed him off, then tagged in Styles who leaped off the top rope over Omos’s shoulders and landed a Phenomenal Forearm for the three count on Xavier. Graves said Styles & Omos might end up being tag champs forever.
WINNERS: Styles & Omos in 12:00 to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Although it’s heavy-handed, the push of Omos is one of those all-in pushes Vince McMahon gives from time to time to a “freak” athlete. Omos is still very limited in what he’s doing in the ring, but his presence is pretty good in terms of how he reacts and emotes. It’s a rare Tag Team Division storyline that Vince seems enthusiastic about. I’m curious who they have in mind to be the “serious threat” if they’re just manhandling New Day like this.)
-Backstage Sonya told Charlotte she understands her concerns and will take it under advisement. Pearce walked in and told her, sounding perturbed, that he appreciates her input, “but you are really overstepping your bounds recently.” She stared back at him and didn’t blink.
-They showed MVP, Lashley, and Kayla Braxton preparing for an interview. Saxton then hyped Braun vs. Lashley. [c]
-A vignette aired on Eva Marie. She asked, “Now do I have your attention.” She stood on an expensive sports car and said she wants to inspire other people to be independent and pursue their ambitions. She said she’s back where she started and it’s “Eva-Lution.”
-Back to the announcers, Graves was wide-eyed and panting like a dog on a 90 degree day. “Do you guys believe in miracles!” he said. Saxton asked if he needed some water. Graves wiped his brow of sweat.
-Braxton interviewed MVP and Lashley. MVP said Braun should consider himself lucky to be in the ring against Lashley, “or unlikely, depending on your perspective.” Lashley said he’s a freak of nature and neither Drew nor Braun can pry his title out of his hands. He said he can lose his title without being pinned by either of them, and he won’t let that happen.
(Keller’s Analysis: When they present a marquee singles match on Raw with the WWE Champion in action against a top contender, it’s good to see them weaving throughout the show build-up to frame it as important.)
-They reaired the the acoustic version of Miz & Morrison with Elias and Jaxson Ryker singing “Hey Hey Ho Ho” followed by tomato throwing by Damian Priest and New Day.
-Elias told Ryker that the most humiliating experience of his life was being hit with tomatoes last week. They began throwing tomatoes at New Day who were nursing their pain with ice packs, but Randy Orton stepped into the path and got hit. He didn’t look happy about it.
-The announcers reviewed clips of Sonya lifting Charlotte’s suspension last week.
(2) CHARLOTTE vs. DANA BROOKE (w/Mandy Rose)
Saxton said Brooke has come a long way since being the understudy of Charlotte. Charlotte scored an early two count. A corner graphic hyped Asuka and Rhea Ripley would have a face-to-face later. Brooke made a comeback with a Swanton for a two count. Saxton said a Brooke win here would change her career. When Brooke went for a handspring elbow in the corner, Charlotte clipped her out of mid-air and then applied a Figure-Eight to win.
WINNER: Charlotte in 4:00.
-When Charlotte didn’t release after the bell, Rose broke it up and kicked Charlotte out of the ring. Saxton said Rose is trying to make her name at Charlotte’s expense after all this time. Deville walked out. Virk wondered what was next. [c]
-Graves hyped that McIntyre would speak later during “an exclusive interview.” (Congratulations to Raw for getting that exclusive!)
-Deville said she has agreed to let Charlotte make a proposal. Charlotte said she was a little taken aback when she was left out of a title opportunity when Asuka and Ripley were announced as having a one-on-one match. She talked about her successes against Ripley and Asuka. She said Ripley stole her opportunity when she “took my spot” at WrestleMania. She said she knows she has made mistakes and learned from them. She told Sonya she can’t deny that if she were added to the Backlash match, it’d be a bigger show. “If you add me, I make it that much more important.” She said she is the most famous face of the Women’s Division and the original “influencer in WWE.”
Charlotte pivoted to the camera and said love her or hate her, the WWE Women’s Division needs her. She asked for a match that is of worthy of her. She turned back to Sonya and said she made a right decision last week, and it’s time for another courageous decision. “Sonya, be fair to Flair,” she said. Sonya said she makes a compelling argument. She said since the men have a Triple Threat match for the WWE Title, she’s adding Charlotte to it. Ripley’s music interrupted.
Ripley walked out. She said she’s put up with a lot from the spoiled brat’s mouth, but this is absolute crap. She said the reason Charlotte wasn’t at WrestleMania is because “nobody likes you.” She laughed and rubbed it in. Charlotte fake-laughed. Ripley said she’s confident she can beat Asuka because she already did. She entered the ring and told Sonya she should have known this was always part of her plan when she reinstated her last week. Asuka’s music interrupted.
Asuka came out to the ring. Graves said Backlash’s title match is now higher profile with a Flair involved. Asuka made fun of Charlotte’s fake crying as if she didn’t understand that Charlotte wasn’t really crying. She said she can beat either of them because she’s ready to become the Raw Women’s Champion. She let out another odd yell. Charlotte said that’s why no one compares to her. She said they’ve both lost their minds after being thrown one curveball. She said she will be walking out the Raw Women’s Champion at Backlash. Ripley got in Sonya’s face and said, “You did this to me! She didn’t earn it.” Charlotte attacked Sonya, and Asuka knocked them both out of the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Charlotte being in the match does make it a bigger deal, so there’s that. It’s difficult not really having anyone involved all that likeable. Ripley should have been brought in as a clear babyface and this would be working well.)
-Kayla interviewed Humberto Carrillo backstage. First they showed footage of the Sheamus-Humberto incidents. Humberto said Sheamus is a bully and he knows what it feels like to be bullied. He said he’s not afraid of him, and he’s going to beat him. Sheamus jumped Humberto from behind. Virk said Sheamus didn’t appreciate being humiliated last week. Sheamus tossed him around backstage, then said he unfortunately doesn’t appear ready to accept his open challenge this week, but there’s always next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good to see Humberto getting more of a chance to show what he can do in a feud pretty high on the card. He’s got a good look, charisma, and athleticism that’s worth investing in. Plus, the Raw depth chart needs some young up-and-coming wrestlers to root for and invest in.)
-Miz and John Morrison made their way to the ring to Morrison’s theme song. Virk said Priest would face Morrison next. [c]
-After a replay of the previous segment with Charlotte being added to the Raw Title match at Backlash, Pearce approached Sonya and asked, “What in the hell was that?” Pearce said they’re beyond abuse of power. He said he thought they agreed last week to consult each other. She said she tried to find him and sent him a text. He said they share an office and he didn’t get the text. She said service must be terrible, but a decision had to be made urgently. She agreed they should be making decisions together. Then they gazed into each other’s eyes for a few second before they cut away.
-They replayed the tomato incident from last week. Miz and Morrison introduced each other. Miz said last week they suffered the humiliation of a sophomoric prank when they were hit with rotten tomatoes. He said his accomplishments match up with anyone in WWE history. He compared himself to John Cena, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock. He said none of them would ever be subject to such disrespect. Morrison then said: “Forgiveness ain’t good for dripness, and tonight it’s Johnny Drip-Drip’s turn.”
(3) JOHN MORRISON (w/Miz) vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Priest’s ring entrance aired. A soundbite aired with Priest who said he respects Miz’s accomplishments, but he said a big mouth like him wouldn’t last ten seconds where he came from – New York City. He said if he’s all worked up about being hit with tomatoes, imagine how he’ll feel when he breaks his jaw. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Priest took Morrison down with a clothesline, then climbed to the top rope. Miz jumped onto the ring apron and distracted Priest. Morrison landed a Spanish Fly for a two count. Miz distracted the ref as Priest was trying to roll Morrison up, but Morrison actually reversed it so the distraction cost Morrison a chance to win. Priest ducked a Morrison kick and then landed his Hit the Lights for the win.
WINNER: Priest in 8:00.
-Backstage Pearce held a clipboard as Mansoor signed a Raw contract. Pearce said he’s happy to have him on Raw. Sheamus barged in and said there’s a rumor Humberto can’t answer his challenge because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. He said accidents happen. He then looked at Mansoor and asked Pearce if he got himself a new little intern. Mansoor said he just became a Raw Superstar “just like you.” Sheamus laughed at the idea that he’s on his level. He invited him to accept his open challenge, but emphasized his U.S. Title won’t be at stake. He said there’s no better way for the WWE Universe to find him than taking a Brogue Kick to the side of his head. He said he’d see him later. When Sheamus walked away, Mansoor said things happen quick around there. Pearce told him to get used to it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Mansoor carried himself there with confidence. Sheamus is effective in this role making you want to see his words get shoved down his throat.)
-Braxton interviewed MVP. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Lashley and Drew team up to take Braun out so they can have the rightful one-on-one match they deserve.
(4) LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN
Graves said Cedric & Shelton haven’t had much success lately and are looking to relight their spark. Dorado landed a rope walk elbow drop for the win.
WINNERS: LHP in 4:00.
-Afterward, Cedric stood in the ring and yelled at Shelton on the floor. He screeched, “Look at us. No wonder MVP and Lashley kicked us out. No, they didn’t kick us out, they kicked you out.” He said Shelton was the weak link in Hurt Business from day one. He asked him how long he’s been there getting one opportunity after another. He asked how many years he has left. He said he’s in the prime of his life and he refuses to waste another second keeping afloat career alive. He said as of this second, they’re done as a team.
-As Angel Garza walked the hallway with a rose. Drew Gulak called him “pretty boy”and asked if the rose was for him, then said for someone who is supposedly such a ladies man, he can’t ever score. He said the rose smells almost as bad as his win-loss record. He challenged him to a match. Garza accepted and threatened to shove the rose up his ass. [c]
-Saxton said “Young Rock” has been picked up for another season.
-Braxton interviewed Shelton backstage. She asked if he has a response to those harsh words from Cedric. Shelton said he has survived so long because he can take the hit. He said the only reason Cedric was in the business is because he saw something in him no one else did, including Bobby or MVP. He said he doesn’t want to team with him and learn from him, fine, he can do whatever he wants as a grown man. He said he let him say what he said tonight, but if he keeps talking like that, he’ll turn into another bright young star fizzling out while he continues to survive.
(5) ANGEL GARZA vs. DREW GULAK
Garza smiled as he dished out some early offense. Gulak came back and grounded Garza. Garza applied the Wing Clipper to win. Afterward, Garza put the rose down the back of Gulak’s tights and kicked him on his ass, apparently shoving the rose up his ass as he promised to do.
WINNER: Garza in 2:00.
-Matt Riddle scootered over to the Viking Raiders. He asked them if they rooted for the Vikings or the Raiders during the NFL Draft. Ivar said he’s actually a Cleveland Browns fan. Riddle scooted away and approached Orton. He called him Bro. Orton said they’re not bro’s and don’t call him that. Riddle said technically, yes, but they share the same goals. He said it’s an honor to team with him and touted that they’re undefeated. Orton said they’ve literally won a single match. He suggested if they go the ring and win another one. Riddle suggested the snake skin Speedos again. Orton signalled he should zip his lips shut. They headed toward the ring.
-Graves said they’re unconventional, but successful so far. [c]
(6) RANDY ORTON & MATT RIDDLE vs. ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER
The announcers talked about Riddle growing on Orton. Orton got in some early offense. Eventually the heels took over on Riddle for a couple minutes. Orton got a hot tag, but Elias snapped Orton’s neck over the top rope to avoid a draping DDT. They fought at ringside where Orton dropped Elias onto the announce desk. Orton threw Elias back into the ring, but had to fight off Ryker before going back after Elias in the ring. Orton set up a draping DDT on Elias, but Riddle asked for a tag. Orton tagged him in. Riddle watched as Orton gave him the DDT. When Elias ran in, Orton gave him an RKO. Riddle landed an RK-Bro on Ryker for the win.
WINNERS: Riddle & Orton in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Who had their money on a feud in the summer of 2021 between Styles & Omos and Riddle & Orton? Looks like we’re headed toward Riddle & Orton building up a winning streak and earning a shot against Styles & Omos.)
-Braxton interviewed Drew. She asked for a prediction for the Lashley vs. Braun match. He said it’s a tough question, but he doesn’t care as long as they beat the hell out of each other. She asked how he feels about Mace and T-Bar. He asked why they keep attacking him and who’s side are they on. “Why did they take off the stupid masks but keep their stupid names?” He said there’s an old saying that is what’s meant to be will be. He said it’s meant to be that he will regain his WWE Championship. Strowman walked in and said he realizes he and Lashley don’t think he belongs there, but he’s going to prove them wrong by walking out of Backlash as the new WWE Champion. Drew said, “Maybe, maybe not, but for now, you just need to leave.” Braun stared at Drew for a few seconds, then turned to leave.
-Sheamus made his way to the ring. [c]
(7) SHEAMUS vs. MANSOOR
Graves said Mansoor has wrestled in NXT and on 205 Live, but can he cut it on Raw. Sheamus took it to Mansoor early. Graves said if Mansoor won, it’d be one of the biggest upsets ever in WWE. Mansoor came back with a dropkick and a cradle for a one count. Sheamus took over offense again. Mansoor barely avoided a countout. Sheamus, who was bleeding from the forehead, eventually landed a White Noise. Virk called him “the ginger-headed juggernaut.” (Just no.) Carrillo attacked Sheamus for the DQ.
WINNER: Sheamus via DQ in 5:00.
-After the bell, Sheamus made a comeback and took out Carrillo
(Keller’s Analysis: Mansoor showed promise. Carrillo’s offense looked credible when he attacked Sheamus, but getting beaten down decisively and quickly by Sheamus despite Sheamus having just wrestled made him look a clear level below contendership.)
-A vignetted aired with Alexa Bliss who said her new doll is excited to see WWE Superstars up close. She said Lilly likes to play hide and seek, but she always seems to find her in peculiar positions. She said she gets her hands dirty sometimes. She said her favorite color is red, and wherever she goes, trouble seems to follow. She acted like Lilly told her something. Then she said Lilly told her a certain someone might have caught her beady little eyes. She said for now it’s their dirty little secret. “Don’t blame me for what happens next,” she said. Then she sang, “The world goes crazy at the sight of you. We have so much fun together. We’ll be friends together. What was a scream, is this a dream, Lilly, what did you make me do.” Her singing went from cheerful to despondent and then demonic at the very end. [c]
(8) NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. LANA & NAOMI – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match
WINNERS: Jax & Baszler in 2:00.
-Another backstage promo aired with MVP and Lashley. [c]
(9) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN
Lashley and Braun battled for a few minutes. When Drew walked out to his music, Braun confronted him. Lashley offered a fist bump. Drew turned it down. They cut to a break. [c]
Lashley took control against Braun for a few minutes. Drew joined the announcers on commentary. Virk oddly asked Drew about “promo class” which he wrote about in his book. Drew seemed surprised, but went with the flow and said Vince McMahon offered them a chance to practice expressing themselves. Braun made a comeback. Lashley went for a Hurt Lock. Braun elbowed out of it and landed a sidewalk slam. At ringside, when Braun charged at Lashley, Lashley sidestepped him and threw him into Drew. Drew popped up and approached Braun, who told him to get out of his face. He shoved him. Drew dared Braun to hit him. Lashley surprised Braun with a spear for the three count.
WINNER: Lashley in 13:00.
-Drew then landed a Claymore (which Braun bumped a bit early for) just as Lashley’s music began to play. Graves said Pearce just booked Drew vs. Lashley one-on-one next week on Raw.