HEYDORN’S RAW RECEIPT 5/17: MVP defines Lashley championship era with scorching promo to open the show

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

MVP (photo credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.

-That’s how you frame a championship victory, MVP. Thank you. Not only did MVP recap the events of WrestleMania Backlash, but also he was effective in elevating Bobby Lashley in doing so. The nuance was he didn’t bury Drew McIntyre or Braun Strowman in the process either. This was a top-level performance from one of the best promo guys on Raw. Great stuff.

-Did A.J. Styles or Elias turn babyface and I missed it. No? Then what in the blazes are they doing wrestling a singles match together? Who did this help?

-Riddle was, of course, Riddle in his first backstage segment of the night. Randy Orton’s presence continues to alter the tone of his usual obnoxious act.

-The Alexa Bliss stuff with Lilly gets muddier and muddier each week. The creepiness has yet to be given any context or direction. This week wasn’t any better as she engulfed a ring post with fire and burned Reginald. Again, to what end? She’s now had encounters with most of the Raw women’s division, but is still without a discernible feud or opponent.

-I’m on board with pushing Angel Garza again, but get his name right Adnan Virk. Deal?

-I know it was opposite a team of babyfaces in New Day, but pigs must be flying because we saw a little fire from Riddle. In the story, Riddle is rubbing off on Orton. Perhaps Orton is rubbing off on Riddle, too?

-Can Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley both lose their feud together? Who is the audience supposed to cheer for here? Both come across as arrogant and entitled. Ripley overcoming and beating Flair should be a central long-term story arch between both women. To tell that effectively, Ripley has to present as more likable.

-That said, Ripley took a baby step this week. Sure, she was unlikable to the max, but more authentic with her delivery too. That’s a positive given what we’ve seen from her since her main roster call up.

-Ricochet and Sheamus brought it in a big way. 14 minutes is a long match for Raw and this delivered. It was stiff and a lot of fun to watch. Sheamus has become appointment viewing on Monday Night Raw. Ricochet still has yet to find a character or personality, so he’ll remain stuck at the bottom of the card, but for 14 minutes, all the potential for him on the main roster came screeching back to memory.

-Damian Priest uttering the words “WWE Championship” is important. He’s not going to be a guy that carries the company into the future, but he is an act that can be positioned as credible against Bobby Lashley in a title match. We didn’t get it this week, but a sign of things to come.

-Well, I guess I’m the silly one in that I had my brain primed for someone more impactful than Kofi Kingston to answer Bobby Lashley’s open challenge. That’s my mistake, but weakly paying off these types of surprises is going to hurt WWE’s ability to draw on them in the future.

-Kofi sure got a strange win over Lashley, but the means to the end still read Lashley vs. McIntyre at Hell in a Cell. McIntyre helped Kofi get the win and though Kingston may get a title shot out of this, he hasn’t been positioned even close to a PPV level challenger for a top singles championship. My guess is we see this play out on television with Drew grabbing the big match on PPV.


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

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