5/17 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Backlash fallout, what’s next for Lashley, Hell in a Cell hype begins

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 17, 2021
LIVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA – “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome


Tonight after the show, join me live with guest cohost Cameron Hawkins from the PWTorch East Coast Cast to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

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[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with Bobby Lashley celebrating with five women cheering on his success. They walked him down the hallway.

-Virk introduced Raw with his usual low-energy matter-of-fact style open.

-MVP stood mid-ring and introduced Lashley. Lashley walked out with the women still with him. Graves said Lashley is “grinning ear to ear for good reason.” Highlights aired of his win. MVP asked Lashley if he came through for him, in reference to the women. MVP talked about his opponents being in rough shape whereas Lashley was thrown through an LED screen but had “the temerity” to take back his championship. (Not sure “temerity” fits there, since it tends to mean “overconfidence.”) MVP said Lashley did it all despite being injured. He had him hold up his fist. MVP said his knuckles were damaged from punching Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman. He said it was excruciating pain, “yet still, he maintained.” MVP asked when the All Mighty Era would end. Lashley said never. MVP said everyone is blessed to see it.

MVP said the champ was supposed to have the night off, but Lashley said “no nights off.” MVP said he is issuing an opening challenge to anyone in WWE. Drew walked out and said he can’t think of a better way for Lashley to impress his ladies than defending against him tonight. “Was that clear enough?” Drew said. “I accept.” MVP said he’s rude and crass. He said he interrupted him before he was finished. He said the open challenge applies to everyone except him and Braun. MVP told him to get to the back of the line. Lashley took a swing. Drew ducked and punched Lashley. The women screamed in fright, sounding like they just watched a loved one get flung off a roller coaster (which was tremendous!). Lashley yelled back at Drew in the ring.

-Graves pluged A.J. Styles vs. Elias. [c]

(1) A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) vs. ELIAS (w/Jaxson Ryker)

As Elias walked out, Graves asked, “Doesn’t failure usually lead to better song writing?” The screen graphic hyped an Asuka vs. Charlotte match. Styles landed an early dropkick and took control early. Elias took over a minute in by pummeling Styles in the corner. He then slidekicked Styles off the ring apron to the floor with a thud. Elias thought of going after Styles at ringside, but Omos eyed him so Elias nicely rolled Styles back into the ring instead. Elias lifted and dropped Styles over the edge of the ring apron. Styles came back and clotheslined Elias over the top rope and then landed a leaping forearm. Ryker made a move toward Styles, but Omos eyed him. They cut to a break. [c]

Back from the break, Elias was in control. Virk said Elias has been “methodical and merciless.” Elias posed mid-ring and siled for the camera, then dropped a knee on Styles’s chest and scored a two count. He settled back into a chinlock. Styles fired back with an enzuigiri (or “a quick move,” as Virk described it). Styles landeda Pelé kick next, then dropped Elias neck-first onto his knee for a near fall. Elias set up a Styles Clash, but Elias blocked it and hit a high knee. He followed up with a neckbreaker/suplex hybrid for a near fall. Elias lifted Styles onto his shoulders, but Styles punched out of it. Elias threw a back elbow and charged, but Styles send him face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Elias and Styles exchanged chops. Ryker yanked on Styles’s leg as he went for a Phenomenal Forearm. The ref called for the bell.

WINNER: Styles via DQ in 12:00.

-Omos walked toward Ryker who lured him to the back as Elias threw Styles over the ringside steps and stomped on him. Omos turned back, so Elias ran away and hid behind the announce desk. Graves said Elias shouldn’t be proud.

(Keller’s Analysis: I assume Styles & Omos are babyfaces now? That was an oddly long match. It wasn’t awful, but it a level short of exciting 90 percent of the way.)

-Alexa said she and Lilly are big fans of Natalya & Tamina. She said Lilly has been dying to meet them. [c]

-An NXT commercial aired including a promo from Jonny Gargano talking about his cage match Bronson Reed for his North American Championship.

-Graves said he’s excited for the Gargano-Reed match. Virk shifted to recapping the Randy Orton giving New Day some RKOs after winning his tag match with Riddle, and Riddle being upset about it.

-Backstage, Riddle chatted with New Day about having sent them a letter. Kofi Kingston said they got his message, and he asked where the snake is. Riddle said it’s not a hallucination. Orton walked up and asked where Adam Pearce is, and what are New Day doing there. Orton said he is there because Riddle said Pearce needed to speak to him. Riddle said he might have stretched the truth a little, but all in the spirit of friendship. He said he had a great idea to turn a party of two into a party of four, despite ending on bad terms last week. He suggested Randy apologize to New Day. Orton put his hands on his hips and gave Riddle a look. He said it’s not going to happen. He said he’s not sorry. Kofi said the big angry snake doesn’t know how to apologize, and even if he did, he wouldn’t accept it. He told Riddle he’s known Orton longer than him, and warned Riddle he’s eventually going to be dropped with an RKO also. Orton warned him to stop running his mouth or he’ll give him another RKO. Kofi challenged him to another match “just like 2009, just like 2019.” Orton said, “You’re on.” Riddle looked dejected. Orton stopped him from talking. Riddle locked his lips shut with an imaginary key. Orton shook his head and walked away.

-Bliss told Lilly she is excited too. She turned to the camera and said they have two new friends joining them on the Playground. The camera panned over to Natalya and Tamina. Bliss congratulated them. Bliss congratulated them on their win. After an awkward pause, Natalya asked if they can leave now. Tamina looked at Bliss the whole time like she was a total weirdo. Bliss said she hadn’t even gotten to the hard questions yet. She asked what their favorite color is. Natalya and Tamina looked at each other. Natalya eventually answered pink. Tamina said black and blue, and warned Bliss that will be the color of her face if she “tries anything weird.” Bliss said Lilly really liked what Tamina did to Reginald last week. Tamina said if that fly buzzes in their business in their rematch later, he will pay. Bliss said Lilly likes when she swats flies. She said she collects dead inset wings and also hair, finger nails, and teeth. [c]

(2) DREW GULAK vs. ANGEL GARZA

They showed a clip of Garza shoving a rose down the back of Gulak’s trunks in their previous match. When Virk called Garza a “Latin Lothario,” Graves corrected him and said he’s the “Lethal Lothario.” He won quickly and easily with a Wing Clipper. Garza shoved a rose into Gulak’s mouth next. “Style, panache, and a mean streak,” said Virk.

WINNER: Garza in 2:00.

-Kevin Patrick interviewed R-Truth backstage with his 24/7 Title. Truth at first denied it was him. Truth said he has to keep a low profile because someone issued an Open Challenge for his 24/7 Title. Patrick said that Lashley issued the Open Challenge. Truth said he’d find out what happens with the tables turn. Akira Tozawa ran up behind Truth and rolled him up for the 24/7 Title.

-Orton made his ring entrance first. Riddle accompanied him on his scooter and cheered him on the whole way. Graves said he doesn’t anticipate Riddle and Orton being friends and going out for beers. Saxton told him not to rule it out.

(Keller’s Analysis: The ring entrance just sort of dragged on and on before they cut to a break.) [c]

[HOUR TWO]

(3) RANDY ORTON (w/Riddle) vs. KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods)

Kofi made a comeback with a flying dropkick, but Orton caught him with a snap powerslam out of mid-air. Xavier played his trombone to DISTRACT Orton. Kofi then rolled up Orton from behind for a leverage three count.

WINNER: Kingston in 5:00.

-Afterward, Riddle tried to play peacemaker. Xavier and Riddle got heated. Orton turned to leave, fuming mad. Xavier tried to stop Riddle from leaving, so Riddle shoved him to the mat. Kofi held back Xavier as Riddle and Orton left.

-Backstage, Pearce and Sonya Deville were hearing complaints from Lana & Naomi and Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke about not getting a tag title shot tonight. They each made their case to be next. In walked Charlotte, who said they’ve each had a million chances, and they’ve blown them all. Brooke said, “Like you last night.” Deville said they’ll figure out who is next after tonight’s match. Sonya asked the other women to leave so they could talk with Charlotte “privately.” They then had a talk on live TV. Charlotte made her case for a one-on-one match against Ripley. Pearce asked why. Charlotte said she was not pinned, so technically she didn’t lose. Deville said it’s not solely her call, but if she beats Asuka tonight, they can assess things. Pearce said it was fair. Rhea Ripley walked in and said she couldn’t care less about Charlotte’s problems. She said she wants new competition because to her, Charlotte is nothing but yesterday’s news. She laughed and went “woof.” Charlotte asked her to watch her match closely tonight because she’s on he way to getting her title back. Ripley said she’d watch in case the Queen falls from her throne.

(Keller’s Analysis: This Ripley and Charlotte situation leaves fans with no one to root for.)

-Natalya and Tamina made their ring entrance. [c]

(4) NATALYA & TAMINA vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Reginald) – WWE Tag Team Title match

Jax and Baszler looked upset over their loss and ready for a fight. Rome did formal ring introductions for the title match. Jax plowed into Natalya at the bell. Baszler tagged right in and stayed on Natalya. Baszler shot Tamina a look and then went back to working over Natalya’s arm. Tamina got the hot tag a few minutes in. Jax bodyslammed her. Graves said Tamina has never been handled like Jax. Baszler tagged in a threw a knee, but Tamina blocked the knee. Baszler put on a Kirafuda Clutch. Bliss walked onto the stage with Lillty. Pyro blasted out of the corner where Reginald was standing. Baszler let go of Tamina and checked on Reginald. Tamina lifted Baszler, then Natalya connected with the Hart Attack clothesline for the win. Bliss’s laughter could be heard as everyone tries to assess what just happened. Tamina and Natalya looked creeped out. Jax looked frightened and concerned for Reginald, who was holding his face.

WINNERS: Natalya & Tamina in 3:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.

(Keller’s Analysis: At least you could imagine Bliss having an accomplish who set off pyro as opposed to her needing supernatural powers to pull that off. The idea that Bliss is going after Reginald means there’s going to be a Baszler & Jax vs. Bliss & partner feud next? Or what?)

-Virk said Ricochet will get another shot at Sheamus next. [c]

-Sheamus made his ring entrance. Graves said he looks furious because he was humiliated last night, even in victory. Sheamus asked for a mic and said he’s not playing. He said he knows it was Ricochet who put his filthy hands on his jacket and hat. He told him to bring back his property or else he’ll become a stain on the bottom of his boot. “Get your ass out here, Ricochet!” he yelled.

-Ricochet played dumb when Sarah Schreiber brought up what happened last night. They went to a clip of Ricochet putting Sheamus’s hat and jacket and then mocking him while wearing it. Ricochet said he had a lot of fun last night, but the real fun will start when he shuts him up forever. She asked if he stole his jacket and hat. Ricochet said he saw it lying around the locker room earlier, so he had to take it. He put on the hat and jacket. He said he feels like dancing. He imitated Sheamus saying he’ll have himself a pint after the match tonight. He was amused with himself and head to the ring. Sheamus berated the ref about how that’s his property.

(5) SHEAMUS vs. RICOCHET

Sheamus charged at Ricochet on the stage, but Ricochet saw him coming and leg swept him. Ricochet ran to the ring with the hat and jacket on. He dropkicked Sheamus as soon as he entered the ring. Sheamus took control early. Graves said Ricochet is an amazing athlete, but he’s “about a sharp as a marble” by antagonizing Sheamus. Ricochet came back with a Spanish Fly off the top rope. Ricochet chopped away at Sheamus and then landed a flying elbow. He scored a two count after a standing shooting star press. Sheamus lifted his knees on a moonsault and scored a two count. He superkicked Sheamus and then delivered a neckbreaker. When Ricochet climbed to the top rope, Sheamus rolled to ringside. Ricochet leaped onto Sheamus at ringside instead, though. Ricochet rolled Sheamus into the ring and then springboarded at him with a 450 for a near fall. Ricochet lifted Sheamus, but Sheamus elbowed himself free. Sheamus then landed a pump kick on Ricochet out of mid-air for a very near fall. Virk called it, but Graves said Ricochet kicked out. The ref continued the match. Sheamus yelled that Ricochet is no match for him. Ricochet slapped him. Sheamus immediately landed a Brogue Kick for the win. Virk praised Ricochet’s effort.

WINNER: Sheamus in 14:00.

-After the match, Sheamus grabbed the and said it feels great to celebrate a win. Sheamus put his hat and jacket back on, and draped his U.S. Title over his shoulder. He said his other shoulder is feeling empty, so he warned Lashley to keep his eyes open as he just might accept his Open Challenge.

(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. It’s nice to see WWE giving Ricochet some thought again, and while Sheamus won, this seems like the first time in a while Ricochet is relevant or at least having a chance to show what he can do. He’s still a bit awkward with his mic work, but giving him more of a chance to develop with more reps is better than hiding him away somewhere collecting dust. It’s also up to him to come through with finding his voice on promos or it will hold him back.)

-Mace and T-Bar spoke about Lashley having to pay his debt. Mace said, “Everything that lives is designed to end.” They flipped a coin to decide who would go after him.

(Keller’s Analysis: At first I thought it was the return of The Ascension. I’m not sure that’s the memory I’d be wanting to conjure up if they’re trying to rebuild those two.)

-Asuka made her ring entrance. [c]

-Highlights aired of the title match at Backlash.

(6) CHARLOTTE vs. ASUKA

When Saxton said it’s just like Charlotte to expect to be at the front of the line for a title match. Graves said he sounds “just like the internet.” Graves said a last name can get you in the door, but you have to earn status as a mega star like Charlotte. Virk talked about the “storied history” between Asuka and Charlotte. Graves said Charlotte has had Asuka’s number unlike anyone else on the roster has. A couple minutes in, with Charlotte in control, Ripley made her ring entrance. Charlotte stared angrily at her and they cut to the break. [c]

Ripley sat at ringside and watched. Asuka made a comeback with an elbow and a kick and a clothesline.


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[HOUR THREE]

Charlotte took over again for a while. Asuka made another comeback, but Charlotte cut it short. When she went for a Natural Selection, Asuka countered and an Asuka Lock attempt. She put Asuka on the top turnbuckle and leaped with a Spanish Fly attempt. Asuka grabbed the top rope so Charlotte crashed onto the mat. Asuka landed a top rope dropkick for a two count. She then threw some roundkicks to the chest. Charlotte ducked a running kick and rolled up Asuka for a two count. Charlotte went for a figure-four, but Asuka applied a kneebar. Charlotte powered Asuka up. Asuka went for a triangle submission next. Charlotte pushed Asuka’s shoulders down, then twisted Asuka over into a camel clutch. Asuka powered out and sat down on Charlotte’s shoulders for a two count. Asuka then went for an Asuka Lock mid-ring. Charlotte reached the bottom rope. Ripley smiled at ringside as the action spilled to the floor. Charlotte threw Asuka into the ringside table, then got in Ripley’s face. Ripley stood and had some words for her. Asuka recovered and went for a backfist. Charlotte blocked it. Charlotte returned to the ring and went for a figure-four, but Asuka kicked her off and right into Ripley on the ring apron. Asuka rolled up Charlotte, but Charlotte rolled through and set up a figure-four. Asuka countered into a small package for the three count. Ripley laughed at ringside.

WINNER: Asuka in 17:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, which is almost a given with these two. It’s still not at all clear how anyone is supposed to react to Ripley compared to Charlotte at this point. Asuka’s win was necessary to not send the signal that she’s being written out of the top tier on Raw at the moment.)

-Patrick asked John Morrison to explain what happened at Backlash last night. Morrison said whenever he thinks about what happened to Miz last night, he says he gets a feeling someone is picking at his brain “and it’s a rotting feeling.” He said he can still small those lumberjacks. He said he doesn’t think they visited a dentist or had showers in a long time. He said Miz night never be the same, so he’s dedicating his match to his memory tonight. “Love you, bro.”

-Damian Priest made his ring entrance. [c]

(7) JOHN MORRISON vs. DAMIAN PRIEST – Lumberjack Match

Graves noted that Nikki Cross was at ringside among all the other man. Morrison’s ring entrance aired. Graves said he is worried about Miz because he sent him multiple texts and Miz didn’t respond to any of them. He wondered if Miz was okay. Virk asked if Miz every actually returns his texts. “Occasionally,” Graves said. Others at ringside included T-Bar, Mace, Shelton Benjamin, Titus O’Neal, Mustafa Ali, The Viking Raiders, Lucha House Party, Cedric Alexander, and Mansoor. When Priest blocked a Morrison kick on the ring apron, Tozawa laughed. Morrison threw him into the ring. Morrison leaped offthe ring barricade right at Shelton who threw him over his head. Morrison stumbled back into the ring where Priest gave him a one-armed slam. They cut to a break. [c]

Priest made a comeback after the break with an inverted bodyslam for a two count. Morrison tossed Priest to ringside where Mace and T-Bar attacked him. The Viking Raiders and Mansoor confronted them. Morrison smiled and whipped Priest into the ropes. Priest flip dove onto Mace and T-Bar. Meanwhile, Cedric dove onto Shelton. LHP, Tozawa, and Ali tried to break them up. Priest climbed to the top rope, but Morrison punched him and then met him on top. Priest then suplexed Morrison off the top rope onto a crowd of wrestlers gathered below. They all went down like bowling pins. They threw Morrison into the ring where he showed some fight. Priest, though, gave him a top rope huracanrana followed by his Hit the Lights for the win.

WINNER: Priest in 12:00.

-Schreiber interviewed Priest on the stage afterward. She congratulated him on his win. He said it feels great, then said it’s time to move on. He said Miz and Morrison are in the past now. She asked what’s next. He said he wants his name to live forever, and it’s not just a catch phrase. He said he accepts Lashley’s open challenge and maybe his next moment is becoming WWE Champion. Saxton said that would be very interesting.

-They showed Lashley warming up backsatge as MVP observed him from a leather couch. [c]

-A video aired on Eva. She said it takes a whole crew to make a movie, and she wouldn’t be able to have accomplished what she has without everyone else’s support. She said she wants to be a hero. She said she is a star, and her purpose as a star to show people the way. She said she wants to be a hero that kids can look up to and say they want to be like her.

-Patrick said he looks forward to her arrival. He pivoted to Shelton backstage and asked about Cedric. Shelton said he’s moving on from that ingrate and he wants to answer Lashley’s Open Challenge. Cedric entered and said Shelton is a legend in his own mind. He asked if he thinks a fluke win over him last week means he’s ready for Lashley. He said there is a reason everyone around him abandons him, and that’s because he’s worthless. Shelton punched him in the jaw and knocked him down, then left.

-They went to the announcers at ringside. They replayed Lashley’s open challenge from earlier in the show.

-Lashley made his ring entrance with MVP. Saxton said the person who answers this challenge could have the course of their career changed as a result. Graves said Lashley wants a fight. [c]

-In the ring, MVP asked who is going to step up and accept the Open Challenge officially. Lashley ran laps around MVP and looked ready. New Day’s music played. They danced onto the stage. Xavier pointed at Kofi. Graves said Kofi already competed tonight. He said Kofi got beat up pretty bad by Randy, so he can’t be at 100 percent. Lashley asked if he’s crazy.

(Keller’s Analysis: So everyone else who talked about this earlier in the show, we’re to believe, changed their minds?)

(8) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods)

As the bell was about to ring, MVP pointed out he never said this would be for the title. MVP said Kofi isn’t even worthy of being in the ring with Lashley. Kofi charged at Lashley prior to the bell. The bell rang and Lashley gave Kofi a one-armed slam for a convincing near fall seconds into the match. Kofi came back and dropkicked Lashley to the floor, then slidekicked him, then dove over the top rope with a flying elbow. He showed fire and banged on the announce desk. Xavier played the trombone as they cut to a break. [c]

They replayed evidence that MVP did not say this would be for the WWE Title. (Oh, the audacity of WWE turning being sneaky about a non-title match into a storyline given how often they play that game, including earlier with Sheamus and Ricochet.) Kofi eventually caught Lashley with a DDT and scored a two count. Lashley made a comeback, but Xavier played the trombone to DISTRACT him. When Lashley leaned through the ropes to yell at him, Kofi leaped off the top rope and drove Lashley’s head into the ring apron. When he went for an S.O.S., Lashley blocked it and drove him hard into the mat. Then he tossed him to the floorlashley then drove Kofi ribs-first into the ringpost. Lashley set up a move at ringside, but Xavier pulled Kofi to safety. The ref ordered him tot he back. When MVP raised his cane, Drew McIntyre showed up and yanked it away from him as the ref was preoccupied with Xavier. He hit Lashley with the cane, and Kofi rolled up Lashley for the three count. Virk called it “an unbelievable turn of events.”

WINNER: Kingston in 12:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Ehh. I don’t know. Is Kofi going to benefit from a tainted win over Lashley? I’m not sure how many people were rooting for him in the end after Xavier’s obnoxious trombone playing. And it was very convenient that Drew just happened to be standing where MVP was to take his cane. I thought Kofi was going to lose in three seconds, like with Brock Lesnar, and then a bigger name was going to answer Lashley’s challenge. That felt like a long story built up over three hours with a lame payoff.)


Tonight after the show, join me live with guest cohost Cameron Hawkins from the PWTorch East Coast Cast to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER THE TV SHOW ENDS.

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