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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 9. 2022
HARTFORD, CONN. AT XL CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-After the “Then, Now, Forever” brand stamp, a video package aired on the six-man tag team main event on Backlash between RK-McBro and The Bloodline.
-Riddle and Randy Orton made their ring entrance as the announcers hyped their title defense later on Raw against The Street Profits. Orton said they gave it their all, but lost to the Bloodline last night at Backlash. Orton said it was supposed to be a tag team unification tag match, but Roman Reigns ripped up the contract. Orton said they want the Usos’ tag team titles and they want to unify the tag titles and become the undisputed tag team champions of the world. Riddle said he and Orton will be going to Smackdown on Friday and demand that tag team unification match. Fans cheered. Riddle said if Reigns says no, it’ll go to show Reigns has no confidence in his cousins. He said he’s going to show up in with scooter. The Street Profits music interrupted.
(Keller’s Analysis: So are they going to tease another tag title unification match and not deliver, or is it going to be a big match on a future TV show or Hell in a Cell next month? Or are RK-Bro going to lose the belts tonight and undo all of that?)
Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins walked out and talked about RK-Bro losing last night. Ford pointed out they are talking about Friday, “but we got next.” He said they will be the team to unify the tag team titles. Scattered boos. Dawkins told RK-Bro they didn’t mention their names once, so it seems like they’re overlooking them. He said their brains are all fogged up and he made a 420 reference. Riddle said, “RKO 420 says we just smoked your asses.” Orton said they’ll do it with the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment.
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE just asked for it – there’s going to be a lot of “RKO 420” signs that they’re either going to have to confiscate or embrace. Riddle and Orton did come across a bit presumptuous overlooking their tag title defense scheduled on this show.) [c]
(1) RK-BRO (Riddle & Randy Orton) vs. THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) – Raw Tag Team Title match
The bell rang 14 minutes into the show. The Profits got in early offense for three minutes against Riddle. Riddle tagged in Orton who went to work on Dawkins. Riddle tagged back in a minute later. Riddle and Dawkins battled to the floor. Ford landed a running flip dive over the top rope. As he celebrated, they cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
They replayed Ford’s dive after the break. Orton took over and landed a draping DDT on Dawkins shortly after they returned from the break. He played to the crowd as Riddle pounded the ring apron. Orton set up an RKO, but Dawkins blocked it. Riddle tagged in and surprised Dawkins with a high knee. Riddle backdropped an interfering Ford over the top rope. He then landed a running kick to Ford’s chest. Orton held Ford as Riddle flipped off the ring apron, but Ford moved and Riddle landed on Orton. Ford threw Riddle back into the ring. Dawkins hit a spinebuster and Ford landed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Graves yelled, “New champions!” right before the kickout. Good dramatic near fall. Ford went for a top rope splash on Riddle, but Riddle caught him mid-air with an RKO for the win. Orton looked very impressed with Riddle and celebrated with him.
WINNERS: RK-Bro in 14:00 to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.
-They went to Graves, Saxton, and Smith at ringside. They talked about Cody Rhodes scoring a second win over Seth Rollins, which earned him a U.S. Title match against Theory. Smith said it’ll be at 10 0’clock (Eastern).
-They went to Kevin Patrick, who was standing on a platform on the stage with the fans in the background. Theory made his way to the interview platform. Patrick asked Theory how he is preparing for this defense against “such a worthy opponent.” Theory asked Patrick, “Do I look like I need to prepare?” He touted that he’s the youngest U.S. Champion ever for a reason. He said he’s already great and he’s barely scratching the surface of his potential. Fans booed. He told them to shut up. He said he was practically in diapers the last time Cody was in WWE. He said he only cares about the future, not the past, and he is the future. Theory held up his U.S. Title belt and mouthed off to the fans.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice new setting for an interview. I’ve advocated for moving interviews from the ring and backstage to the stage again. WWE did that back in the late-1980s on their syndicated shows and it’s a great setting that WWE has underutilized. The raised platform worked really well here. And good basic heel promo from Theory that built up his title defense later.)
-A video package aired on the Edge vs. A.J. Styles match at Backlash and then the reveal that it was Rhea Ripley who helped him win.
-Edge, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley made their ring entrance. [c]
-Edge stood mid-ring and said they formed The Judgment Day because they were tired of being sheep “like all of you.” He said catering to fans got him a Hall of Fame ring. “Big deal,” he said. “I’m bigger than the Hall of Fame.” He said he’s had surgery on every part of his body, but the fans didn’t care when he made his comeback. He accused the fans of being “keyboard warriors” making “stupid asinine comments.” Fans booed. Edge said they hold a mirror up to the fans. “You don’t like what you see because you’re ugly.” He said they can look in any mirror and they love what they see. He said fans are morons for living in Hartford, Conn. He said they don’t seem to understand that no one can touch them.
Priest said he and Edge were capable of beating any of their favorites, but they’re even more dangerous together. He said they’ve added “an instrument of brutality” as he pointed at Ripley. He asked fans to all rise for Ripley. Ripley said she watched Edge and Priest change for the better and she wanted that for herself, so joining The Judgment Day was the easiest decision of her life. She said she’s tired of signing autographs for fans who say they want to be just like her, only to have those fans turn around and sell them on eBay. She said she has some unfinished business. She talked about Liv Morgan. “You no longer ride my coattails,” she said. She said she’ll destroy her and give her a reason to cry.
Edge said this is about unrealized potential. He said Priest is the Punishment and Rhea is the Eradicator. He said they were ships without a rudder, but he is their direction. “They are now my saints of fate,” he said. He said a few weeks ago he pulled Ripley aside and told her that Morgan was holding her down. She said she was “an albatross around her neck the shape of a human-sized LOL doll.” He said he’s the reason the fans’ favorite tag team split up. He said he saw wasted domination in that woman, “a juggernaut who was content to live in the slow lane instead of running over everything like she can.” He said his movement is not done. “We aren’t finished yet,” he said. “We’re looking for more.” Morgan’s music played and she made her ring entrance.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like Edge’s heel character more as a leader of a faction than just a solo heel act. I’m not sure why, but it feels more fleshed out and believable. Some of his material insulting the fans feels trite and cliche, but if you just started watching WWE this month, you’d think he was believable in this role. It’s just that fans do know him better than this, and no pre-entrance theme claim is going undo the headwind he faces trying to get over this persona to a fanbase so familiar with the real Adam Copeland.) [c]
-A vignette played with Cody plugging Money in the Bank at Allegiance Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. on July 2. He asked, “Do you want to get lucky?” Then he winked and a cash register noise rang.
(2) LIV MORGAN vs. RHEA RIPLEY (w/Edge, Damian Priest)
Ripley headbutted Liv to stop her flurry of offense at the bell. Edge laughed at ringside. Graves said Edge has freed Ripley and Priest “from the hypocrisy of the WWE Universe.” Ripley dominated for several minutes. When Morgan tried a comeback with a flying dropkick, Ripley swatted her aside out of mid-air and then applied a leglock. Morgan tapped out. Smith emphasized “cruelty, cruelty in this match!”
WINNER: Ripley in 5:00 via tapout.
-Afterward, Edge and Priest entered the ring. Edge nodded at Ripley. Ripley then attacked Morgan again. Edge smiled and mock-tapped the mat next to Morgan. Finn Balor’s music played and Balor walked toward the ring. A.J. Styles joined Balor on the stage seconds later. Smith hyped Balor vs. Priest was up next.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ripley is a good fit. WWE is doing a good job, albeit heavy-handed as usual, getting across that Ripley is “cruel” and “an instrument of brutality.”) [c]
(3) DAMIAN PRIEST vs. FINN BALOR
A few minutes in Balor rallied with a sling blade. He clotheslined Priest over the top rope to ringside. As Balor set up a dive, Ripley stood between him and Priest. Edge then speared Balor, prompting the DQ.
WINNER: Balor via DQ in 4:00.
-When Priest attacked Balor after the bell, Styles made the save. Ripley got in Styles’s face. Styles almost hit her, but pulled back. Edge then threw Styles into the corner turnbuckle. Edge and Priest then hit a high-low on Styles mid-ring.
-A sponsored video package aired on the Bobby Lashley vs. Omos match at Backlash.
-Omos and MVP made their ring entrance. Smith said they’d be on an MVP Lounge next.
-A Smackdown commercial hyped Sasha Banks & Noami vs. Shayna Baszler & Natalya for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. [c]
-Backstage, Kevin Owens was talking with Chad Gable and Otis. Gable said they confiscated a Red Cup from Ezekiel. He said he sent it to friends at the DNA lab. He said this time next week they’ll have refutable evidence Ezekiel has been lying all along. He said Ezekiel won’t be able to lie his way out of this. Owens said his brother Ken Owens is the three-time Grand Prix tournament champion. He said he’s at Raw tonight to compete against Ezekiel. He corrected himself and said, “Elias!” He said his older brother is going to beat the truth out of him. Gable and Otis were excited. Otis is growing back some facial hair.
-MVP Lounge: MVP began talking about how ungrateful Lashley was when it came to their partnership. Cedric Alexander came out all hyped up and walked to the ring. MVP told the “bouncers” to let him past the ropes. Cedric talked about how unstoppable those three are. MVP interrupted him and said he likes him, but they’re not a threesome. Lashley’s entrance then interrupted. Lashley plowed past security guys and got in Omos’s face mid-ring. Omos shoved Lashley. Lashley shoved Omos over the top rope. Lashley turned to MVP. Cedric leaped onto Lashley’s back, which gave MVP time to leap out of the ring and flee. Cedric springboarded off the top rope at Lashley, but Lashley caught him and put him in a Hurt Lock. MVP and Omos kept their distance as Lashley stood his ground in the ring.
-Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were talking backstage. Deville said she’s heard enough about this internal investigation. She said she is doing everything by book either as an in-ring competitor or management. Pearce said there can’t be any rule changes mid-match. He said they need to have a conversation. Deville said she needs to focus tonight. Pearce said she’ll face someone of high quality. As he was about to reveal the name, she said she didn’t care. She said it’s nothing personal, just business.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Smith plugged Cody vs. Theory at 10 p.m. ET. [c]
-Deville’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-Pearce announced on the stage that he was trying to tell her that because of the internal investigation, her contract as a WWE official has been terminated. He said she’s still “an active WWE Superstar.”
(4) ALEXA BLISS vs. SONYA DEVILLE
Bliss made her entrance, smiling and carrying Lilly the doll with her. Graves said he can’t imagine how Deville will concentrate now since she just found out she lost her management job. Bliss went after Deville with a DDT and then landed a quick Twisted Bliss for the win. Deville bawled at ringside after her loss.
WINNER: Bliss in under 1 minute.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure if having Bliss’s return be part of the angle with Sonya losing her management job is too much at once in the sense that one overshadowed the other. Deville’s reaction after the match was pretty over-the-top and just seemed cartoonish.)
-The announcers hyped Theory vs. Cody again. [c]
-Ezekiel was in the ring, excited for the fight. Mike Rome introduced “Ken Owens, the older brother of Kevin Owens.” KO came out in a wig. Graves said the resemblance was uncanny. KO introduced himself to Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “Okay.” KO said he’s just trying to prove a point. He said nobody is buying that he isn’t Elias and he is actually Elias’s younger brother. He said anyone who calls him Ezekiel is just playing along. He asked the fans if they believe he is actually Elias’s younger brother. When some fans cheered, he asked if any of them went to high school. He ranted that all of them are liars. Ezekiel said he doesn’t think his younger brother Kevin Owens would appreciate it.
KO yanked off his wig and admitted he is Kevin, not Ken. He told Ezekiel to admit he’s Elias. Ezekiel said this would be the perfect time for his brother Elias to come out and sing him a song to calm him down. Owens attacked Ezekiel. Ezekiel fought back. Otis and Gable charged out and went after Ezekiel. Ezekiel fended them off for a while, but Owens gave Ezekiel a stunner. Otis, Gable, and Owens stood over Ezekiel. Saxton wondered when Owens will get over his obsession with Ezekiel.
-They aired clips of Becky Lynch ranting two weeks ago only to be interrupted by the return of Asuka.
-Backstage, Pearce told Asuka she is deserving of the opportunity she’s getting. Lynch walked in and said “deserve” is a funny word. Pearce said Asuka’s team beat Lynch’s team in the six-woman tag last week. Lynch said Asuka didn’t get the win, and the team got the win over Pearce’s friend Sonya. She accused Pearce of “orchestrating the whole thing.” As she talked about handing over her title two years ago, Pearce said that was a long time ago. He walked away. Lynch said they can stack the odds against her, but she’ll knock her down and it’ll make her comeback even better. Asuka mocked Lynch’s whining about everything since she returned.
(Keller’s Analysis: Asuka’s over-acting is undignified. Lynch and Pearce were good here.)
-Veer Mahan made his ring entrance. [c]
-Saxton interviewed Veer’s opponent, Frank Lomen, before the match. He said he has triplets and a wife at home depending on him.
(5) VEER MAHAN vs. FRANK LOMEN
Lomen landed a boot to Veer’s face early, but Veer shook it off and smashed Lomen. Veer sidewalk slammed Lomen and then splashed him in the corner. He clotheslined him, let out a big yell, and then applied the Cervical Clutch for the win. Graves said, “There is ample reason to fear Veer.”
WINNER: Veer in 1:30.
-Patrick interviewed Cody backstage. Patrick congratulated Cody on his win over Seth. He asked what’s next between them. Cody said he hopes nothing. He said Seth is top five in the world, but he walked away with the moment, the money, and the victory. He said as far as he’s concerned, the chapter is closed. He said Theory is brimming with potential, but potential is like gold in that you have to dig to find it. He said nothing sounds better to him than “The American Nightmare, the new United States Champion.”
-Cody’s ring entrance took place. It was ten minutes before 10 ET, and they advertised the match would take place at 10 ET. [c]
-As Cody’s entrance theme continued to play, a sponsored video package aired on Cody’s win over Seth at Backlash.
-Theory’s ring entrance took place. Then formal ring intros took place for the U.S. Title match.
(6) THEORY vs. CODY RHODES – U.S. Title match
The bell rang a minute before 9 ET. They battled methodically back and forth early. Theory took Cody down with an elbow. Graves said Theory said his goal is to have a more memorable U.S. Title reign than John Cena did. At 5:00 Theory shoved Cody to ringside. Cody caught Theory coming after him and punched away at him. When he set up a move on the announce table, Theory slipped free and rolled back into the ring. [c]
Cody controlled the action for a while after the break. At 12:00 Theory fought back with a chop and a quick fisherman’s buster across his knee for a two count. Cody elbowed out of Theory’s ATL attempt. Cody hit a Disaster Kick and a Cody Cutter. As it appeared he was on the verge of victory, Rollins ran out and attacked Cody from behind. (It was one of those situations where the announcers clearly saw Rollins enter the ring, but the camera angle didn’t reveal it, so the announcers played dumb until Rollins appeared on camera. WWE has to stop this approach. The element of “surprise” isn’t worth the awkwardness of the announcers not reacting to the run-in even as fans do.)
WINNER: Cody via DQ in 13:00.
-Rollins attacked Cody at ringside. He rammed his head into the table over and over and yelled at him. Rollins then gave Cody a stomp on the table. Cody fell to the floor and sold the head trauma. Rollins leaped at Cody and yelled, “Never again! Never again, you understand me?!” Smith called it “madness and insanity.” [c]
-The announcers commented on a replay of Rollins attacking Cody before the break.
(7) SASHA BANKS & NAOMI vs. NIKKI A.S.H. & DOUDROP – Non-title match
No new names for Doudrop and Nikki, and no ring entrances either. Graves said they have a chance to move up the ladder and get a future tag team title opportunity. Doudrop wasn’t thrilled when, a few minutes in, Nikki tagged herself in and went for a cover after Doudrop had Sasha down. Saxton said he’s not sure that was the best strategy for their first time teaming. Nikki set up a suplex, but Doudrop yelled advice to her. Nikki smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it.” Smith said she chose the worst time to pose. Sasha broke free and hot-tagged Naomi. Naomi kicked Nikki. Then they gave Nikki their finisher for the win.
WINNERS: Sasha & Naomi in 5:00.
-After the match, Doudrop chewed out Nikki. “Get your head in the game and start taking things seriously, Nikki,” she said. Miz’s music interrupted. Sasha and Naomi looked confused as Miz came out wearing a referee t-shirt. Graves said he’s special guest referee for the Mustafa Ali vs. Ciampa match. [c]
(8) MUSTAFA ALI vs. CIAMPA
Before the match, Miz told Ali that he hasn’t been treated fairly in WWE, so Theory went to Mr. McMahon and got him a special, impartial, respected referee for his match. “That someone is me!” he said. “I will call it right down the middle. Ring the bell!” Ciampa was just a bystander for all this, it appeared. Graves complimented Miz’s expensive shoes. Saxton said Miz just can’t let it go that he lost to Ali a few weeks ago. Miz was counting Ali’s covers slowly. Eventually Ali superkicked Ciampa to reverse momentum followed by a springboard DDT for a near fall. Miz, though, counted very slowly, so Ciampa kicked out before the third count, but it was well past three seconds. When Ali complained, Ciampa gave Ali an inverted DDT and then Miz speed-counted to three.
WINNER: Ciampa in 4:00.
-The announcers threw to another Lacey Evans video, this one being an anthology of snippets of the previous five parts. They showed a photo of Lacey’s father. She said that she and her mother fled, but the dad found them and her mother gave in. She said she learned to hide and fight and when the right time was to do either. She said that helped drive her to becoming a state wrestling champion. She said she had so little support that she was kicked out of her home by age 17.
-The announcers talked about how inspirational Lacey’s story is.
(Keller’s Analysis: I really think they’re risking overkill and fans being more annoyed by how much time these are being given. They won’t resent Lacey, but they might be less into her just out of spite for how heavy-handed WWE is with these segments for six weeks now. As I mentioned last month, this is so heavy-handed, it feels like a swerve might be coming if not for the authentic photos. What would be great is if one of her family members shows up with a whole alternate story about her background and it turns out she was playing everyone. While the photos were real, she was the real trouble-maker who made life horrible for everyone else in her family.)
-Lashley was pacing backstage. Smith said they will have news about a special challenge involving Lashley next. [c]
-A clip aired of the segment earlier with Lashley, MVP, Omos, and Cedric as the announcers commented on it.
-Lashley angrily talked about MVP. He said next week he wants Omos trapped inside of a cage where MVP can’t affect the outcome. (Doesn’t his cane fit through the cage?)
-The announcers reacted. Then they shifted to a clip of the 24/7 happenings last week.
-Backstage, Truth talked with Dana Brooke and Tamina. He asked if they were sure they wanted to go through with this. Tamina said both men are duds. Dana laughed and said she told both men they were going on a double-date. Reggie and Tozawa walked up to them with flowers. Reggie thanked them for a second-chance. Truth served Reggie with divorce papers. Tozawa ran away. Tamina told Truth it’s not official until he serves him papers. Truth chased after him. Reggie tried to make his case to Dana, but Tamina stepped in and pulled Dana away.
-Becky’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-The announcers hyped the Lashley vs. Omos cage match. Smith said MVP won’t be a factor in the match.
(9) ASUKA vs. BIANCA BELAIR
Becky joined the announcers on commentary. They showed Ford and Belair at the Kentucky Derby over the weekend. Graves said he bet on the longshot and made $800. The bell rang 55 minutes into the third hour, so not much time for a full-fledged match. They locked up mid-ring. Becky defiantly made excuses for her team’s loss last week during the match. When Asuka applied her armbar on Belair, Belair lifted Asuka and slammed her down to break Asuka’s grip. Becky then attacked Belair and yanked her out of the ring. (The announcers again didn’t acknowledge that Becky had gotten up and moved to ringside until she entered the frame of the the zoomed in camera. It makes them seem like co-conspirators to deceive viewers for the sake of needless and ineffective “added drama.”)
WINNER: No contest in 4:00.
-Becky attacked Asuka in the ring afterward including a Manhandle Slam. Her music played as she left, smugly self-satisfied with her actions.