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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 10, 2021
LIVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA – “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with footage of last week’s Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman match with Drew McIntyre giving a Claymore to Lashley and Braun afterward.
-The Raw opening theme then aired. Then pyro blasted in the ThunderDome as Virk introduced the show. Graves hyped the main event between Lashley vs. McIntyre. No overt mention that it’s non-title.
(Keller’s Analysis: I still say Virk sounds just like Norm MacDonald of Saturday Night Live fame, if MacDonald was announcing pro wrestling matches.)
(1) CHARLOTTE & NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. ASUKA & MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE
Rose dropkicked Charlotte to the floor. Reginald stood on the ring apron, then backflipped to the floor. Everyone squared off three-on-three mid-ring when suddenly Alexa Bliss’s music played. She was on a swing next to Lilly on a swing. She said they came out to keep their eye on someone. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Charlotte had Mandy in a head scissors mid-ring. Virk asked Graves about strategy in a six-person tag, as if he had never seen such a novelty before. (Virk’s novice curiosity is adorable, but it reminds me of WrestleMania 2 guest commentators who hadn’t watched much pro wrestling before, not the lead announcer of the USA Network flagship.) A graphic in the corner advertised Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal later. (Usually those corner plugs are meant to retain viewers, not drive them away.) Baszler sold a blown knee and she couldn’t crawl over to make the tag before Asuka gave her a Shining Wizard for the win.
WINNERS: Asuka & Brooke & Rose in 9:00.
-Right after the match, as Asuka’s music began, Charlotte gave her a boot to the face. Charlotte turned to eye Bliss on the stage who began laughing demonically. They showed Jax, Baszler, and Reginald looking on behind Charlotte, seeming a little spooked.
-A video recap aired of the Randy Orton & Riddle tag team. Then backstage, Riddle scootered up to Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods and startled them. Riddle thanked them for the registration forms so he and Orton can become an official tag team. Kofi said it’s a little known fact all tag teams in WWE must register, unlike those frauds A.J. Styles & Omos. (It’s really annoying how New Day are never affected by losses.) Orton showed up. Kofi and Xavier said they didn’t mean to hit him with tomatoes. Riddle told Orton he has to admit it was really funny. Orton turned and asked if he really thought it funny, because what he finds funny is ending careers, punting Legends, and setting things on fire. “See you guys out there,” he said.
-Graves plugged the eight-man tag match later with New Day & R-K-Bro vs. Styles & Omos & Elias & Ryker. [c]
-A clip aired from Elimination Chamber of Lashley attacking McIntyre. Saxton hyped the main event match between then later.
-MVP approached Braun Strowman’s locker room door and knocked. There was no answer, so he entered. The camera cut inside Braun’s locker room and in walked MVP. Braun told him to get out of his locker room. MVP said he’s an intelligent guy, so hear him out. MVP said Lashley told him that Braun is the strongest wrestler he has ever fought, and if it weren’t for Drew, he might have won. MVP said Lashley would rather lose his title to Braun than Drew, if he were to lose it, especially because Drew already had his chance. He dropped a hint to Braun that if Drew were too injured to compete on Sunday, that could benefit the remaining parties. “I really don’t like you,” Braun said. MVP said a lot of people feel that way, but it’s just business.
-Back to the announcers, they recapped the Damian Priest-Miz & Morrison saga.
-Backstage executive Adam Pearce was chatting with Priest when Miz and John Morrison walked up to them. Morrison said he would have beat Priest last week if it weren’t for Miz, but he tried to signal Miz to Priest without Miz noticing. Miz noticed, frustrating Morrison. Priest said the winner of the Priest vs. Morrison match should get to pick the stipulations for the Miz vs. Priest match this Sunday.
-Jinder Mahal looked into the camera and reintroduced himself. He said he is happy to be back on Raw, but he hasn’t come alone. He introduced Veer and Shanky, two friends. Jinder made his ring entrance with his two cohorts. [c]
(2) JEFF HARDY vs. JINDER MAHAL
Graves said Jinder was out of action due to myriad of injuries. Saxton wondered about ring rust. Jinder, true to form, settled into a mid-match chinlock on the mat. When Hardy yanked off his shirt, Virk characterized it as “disrobing.” Jinder blocked a Twist of Fate and finished Hardy with the Khallas slam.
WINNER: Mahal in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they’re going to try to pass off Mahal as a compelling opponent for Drew to feud with this summer, aren’t they? Mahal threw a really slow punch at Hardy for him to block, then soft-shoved Hardy into the ropes for a rebound spot. This was not reassuring that he’s going to bring better matches this time around.)
-Backstage Charlotte was shown speaking to Sonya Deville.
-Jaxson Ryker showed Elias a basket of tomatoes in a basket. Styles and Omos showed up. Elias said he had a song for them. Styles didn’t want to hear it and wanted them to take things more seriously. Omos then squished a tomato in his hand. He said those are his plans for the match. Styles said they hate tomatoes. [c]
(3) RIDDLE & RANDY ORTON & NEW DAY (w/Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. JAXSON RYKER & ELIAS & A.J. STYLES & OMOS
Riddle was enthusiastic about Orton during entrances. When Omos tagged in, he overpowered Riddle, then knocked Kofi and Xavier to the floor when they charged in. Omos tossed Riddle down. The announcers marveled at his presence and power. He eyed Orton, who decided to roll to the floor as they cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Elias stomped away at Riddle. The heels ended up isolating Woods for a while. Eventually he hot-tagged in Riddle. He gave the Bro Derek to Elias, but Omos broke up the cover. He threw Riddle into his corner where Orton tagged in. Omos threw a punch at Riddle that looked bad. The announcers tried to cover for him. New Day at ringside grabbed Styles’s feet and spun him around. Omos went to the aid of Styles. Orton, meanwhile, gave Elias an RKO for the win.
WINNERS: Orton & Riddle & New Day in 12:00.
-Afterward, Orton gave Kofi and Xavier a pair of RKOs. Riddle asked how they’re going to have any friends if he keeps doing stuff like that. Orton’s music played and he walked to the back. Graves said Orton hasn’t changed his colors since day one. “Once a Viper, always a Viper,” he added. Virk said Orton does his best work alone. Riddle stayed back in the ring checking on New Day and looking half-happy, half-upset.
(Keller’s Analysis: I would say Omos’s stock dropped a notch after that not-so-smooth very limited ring time in that match. They’re really going to have to work to protect him if his timing is still as bad is it appeared in a small glimpse in this match.)
-Backstage Rhea Ripley walked up to Asuka in Sonya’s office. She said they’ve been at each other’s throats for weeks, but she was given a good idea earlier. She said so they can focus on the Triple Threat match on Sunday, they will face off one-on-one later tonight. Ripley said that must’ve been Charlotte’s idea. Asuka said she already competed tonight, but she’s ready to compete again because she’s “ready for Ripley.” Ripley said Charlotte can have all the “good ideas” she wants, it won’t stop her from going after her on Sunday. After Ripley walked away, Sonya seemed pleased with herself.
-As Sheamus made his ring entrance, Saxton said he feels there is something suspect about the making of Ripley vs. Asuka. [c]
-Backstage, Kevin Patrick asked MVP and Lashley what he has to prove tonight against Drew. MVP accused him of being disrespectful. He said perhaps he missed WrestleMania because Lashley already proved he is the better man. He said this is like a sequel with a foregone conclusion. Lashley said he already proved be could beat Drew and Braun. He said he’ll beat Drew again tonight. Patrick said “reports have suggested” he made a business proposition to Braun earlier to help take out Drew before Sunday. MVP said they don’t comment on business propositions that are ongoing.
(Keller’s Analysis: Patrick acted like something that aired live on Raw was a mere “report” that “suggested” a proposal was made. It was on camera, not some top secret report based on sourcing.)
-A video package aired on Sheamus beating up Carrillo last week. Sheamus stood mid-ring and said that clip proved he’s the baddest man on the planet. He said a couple weeks ago, Pearce told him about the legacy of the U.S. Title and how, if he were to follow in the footsteps of prior champions, he should defend his title every night. He asked why would he want to walk in the footsteps of all those has-beens who came before him when he can build a path or legacy of his own. He pointed at Virk and said he’s “out of his depth on commentary” and prior U.S. Champions would have probably given him a title shot. He said Carrillo is going to become the Meme of the Week after taking a nasty Brogue Kick to the side of his head. He told him to come out to get his comeuppance.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sounds like John Cena’s going to show up later this month and take on Sheamus for the U.S. Title as this was a promo aimed at him without saying his name.)
(4) SHEAMUS vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Graves said we’ve seen flashes of greatness from Carrillo, but nothing sustainable, so this is an opportunity to prove himself. Carrillo dropkicked Sheamus to the floor seconds into the match. He slid under the bottom rope, but Sheamus yanked him to the floor and then into the time keeper’s area. [c]
After the break, Carrillo came back with a huracanrana off the top rope. Graves said Sheamus must feel he’s in danger of being humiliated on Raw by a wrestler he feels is beneath him. He gave Sheamus a sunset flip off the ring apron, but Sheamus landed on Carrillo’s leg and hip. It appeared Carrillo was a legit hurt as he couldn’t get up and then the ref checked on him and called off the match. A medic came out to check on him. Sheamus sat up, but was selling the injury and seemed slightly concerned for Carrillo.
WINNER: Sheamus via ref decision in 8:00
(Keller’s Analysis: Carrillo didn’t seem to be in great pain, but did seem distressed over his condition as he reached under his hips and just stayed on his back. All four limbs seemed to be moving, which was good as it wasn’t a neck injury.)
-A video package aired on Lucha House Party with speaking lines for Lince Dorado in English and Gran Metalik in Spanish.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good to see LHP get some special treatment, but why wait this many years before deciding they’re worth promoting like this?)
-As Cedric Alexander made his entrance, they aired a clip of him chewing out Shelton Benjamin last week. [c]
-The same Eva Marie vignette aired as last week.
(5) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN
Shelton made his entrance. Cedric yelled that he outclasses him every level in that same screechy, over-modulated tone as last week. Shelton caught Cedric with a kneelift from the ring apron to knock him down. Otherwise, Cedric mostly dominated including countering Paydirt twice. He kicked Shelton disrespectfully and yelled for him to get up. Shelton popped up and surprised him with a T-Bone suplex for the win. Virk said the arrogance of Cedric cost him.
WINNER: Shelton in 5:00.
-The announcers commented on a clip of Angel Garza shoving a rose stem into Drew Gulak’s trunks and then kicking him in the butt. Graves said that might have destroyed Gulak’s love of botany.
-Gulak interrupted a photo shoot of Garza, holding a rose in his mouth. Gulak asked if he was auditioning for “The Bachelor.” Garza tried to blow him off, but Gulak wouldn’t let him leave. Garza said he might shove the rose down his throat next time.
-Asuka made her ring entrance. [c]
(6) ASUKA vs. RHEA RIPLEY
Virk said if Asuka wins, she’ll be the favorite to win on Sunday. Charlotte walked out early in the match, distracting Ripley. Asuka attacked her from behind. Charlotte smiled and said she was just out there to watch. [c]
Charlotte joined the announcers on commentary. Ripley took over control, but kept eyeing Charlotte. Charlotte called her critics “haters.” Graves asked Charlotte what her strategies are this Sunday. She didn’t answer. Saxton said it seems there’s something chummy between her and Sonya Deville. Charlotte said Sonya sees her greatness.
Ripley threw Asuka to the floor. Asuka eyed Charlotte. Ripley headbutted Asuka and threw her back into the ring. Charlotte said Ripley is an opportunist who is learning from the best. Ripley landed a Northern Lights suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Asuka blocked a Rip Tide. Ripley walked up to Charlotte at ringside. Charlotte stood and asked if she wanted to go. Asuka leaped off the table with a hip attack, then threw Ripley into the ring and landed a top rope missile dropkick for a near fall. Ripley came back with a Rip Tide for the win.
WINNER: Ripley in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A smoother match between these two, if you don’t count the constant interaction with Charlotte that interrupted the flow, but was used to promote her involvement in the Triple Threat match on Sunday. Good to see Ripley get the win. It’s still difficult to get a sense of how fans are supposed to feel about Ripley at this point, though.)
-A video package aired on the Drew-Lashley main event.
-Backstage Patrick interviewed Drew. He asked why he attacked Lashley and Strowman last week. Drew said it was proudly his fault both of them got laid out by Claymore Kicks. He said he had no intention of getting involved until Braun put his putrid filthy hands on him. He said he’s going to connect with the Claymore tonight, which he wasn’t able to do at WrestleMania, and he will then go on to become champion again on Sunday.
-John Morrison’s ring entrance took place with Miz. [c]
(7) DAMIAN PRIEST vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)
After some back and forth action, Miz yelled at Priest from ringside to occupy him. Priest bit. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Morrison clotheslined Priest over the top rope to the floor where Miz kicked him. Morrison threw him back into the ring and controlled the offense for a while. Priest made a comeback and leaped off the top rope with a spinning wheel kick for a two count. Morrison rolled up Priest for a two count. Priest came back and set up his finisher, but Miz distracted the ref. Morrison then used a crucifix for a leverage two count. Saxton said Miz’s distraction of the ref cost Morrison a win. Priest then landed Hit the Lights for the win.
WINNER: Priest in 10:00.
-Miz attacked Priest with a barrage of punches afterward. Priest blocked his attempt at a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz ran to the stage. Priest turned back to Morrison and gave him another Hit the Lights.
(Keller’s Analysis: The hints of a babyface turn for Morrison continue. It’s difficult to imagine Morrison’s push last long if he’s broken up from Miz, though. They are portraying him pretty strong against Priest, who has needed Miz’s help to win.)
-They showed Drew warming up backstage. Then a different shot of Lashley warming up as MVP looked on. Braun walked up to Lashley and they had a tense staredown. [c]
-Another Eva Marie vignette aired.
-Pearce was jotting something down in a notebook when Priest walked up to him. Priest proposed a lumberjack match on Sunday to keep Miz from running away.
-The announcers hyped the Backlash line-up.
-Lashley made his ring entrance. [c]
(8) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. DREW MCINTYRE – Non-title match
Lashley took control a few minutes in. They showed Braun watching on a monitor backstage. Drew threw some chops, but Lashley went right back to work on Drew with a barrage of strikes in the corner. When the action spilled to the floor, Drew landed an overhead suplex. They cut to a break with Drew standing tall over Lashley. [c]
Lashley knocked Drew off the ring apron and then lifted him onto his shoulders and rammed him into the ringpost. Drew avoided a charging Lashley and threw him into the corner upside down. Both were down and slow to get up. They exchanged punches on their knees. “Who’s the true badass tonight?” he asked. Drew gave Lashley a leaping neckbreaker and then set up a Future Shock DDT. Lashley escaped, but Drew landed a Glasgow Kiss. Then he hit a spinebuster for a two count. MVP was panicked at ringside. Lashley collided mid-ring with Drew as Drew went for a Claymore. He then applied a Hurt Lock. Drew powered out, so Lashley threw some knees at Drew’s ribs and tossed him over his head. Drew surprised Lashley with a Claymore. Braun’s music played. Braun blindsided Drew and gave him a running powerslam. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Drew in 14:00 via DQ.
-MVP smiled at ringside. Braun turned and looked down at Lashley. He offered his hand and helped him up. Virk innocently said, “That’s a nice gesture.” Lashley hugged Braun, but Braun powerslammed him. (The only person genuinely surprised in the world was Virk.) Braun then landed a running powerslam on Drew. He went after MVP at ringside. MVP swung his cane at him. Braun yanked it away and said he’s going to make him watch him bust Lashley. He gave Lashley a running powerslam into and onto the ringside barricade, which got knocked over. Braun entered the ring and yelled at Drew, “I’m the monster!” He then gave Drew a running powerslam mid-ring before tearing off his t-shirt. Graves said this could be the scene on Sunday on Peacock.