This week is the eighth anniversary of my WWE Raw Deal review column. Thank you to anybody that has read this column once or over 400 times over all those years. I have only missed a few episodes in that time (I think three), which shows that I can tough it out even when the show gets bad. I started writing ten years before the Raw Deal became a regular thing, but 2009 is really when I committed more of my time into it and turned it into a career. I started doing it regularly on May 25, 2009 with the Lakers vs. Nuggets tag match main event that caused Ken Kennedy to get fired after Randy Orton didn’t like how he delivered a back suplex. Once again, thanks for all the support and the kind words whether via email, Facebook, Twitter or whatever else. I appreciate it all. Pro wrestling is pretty ridiculous at times and it’s supposed to make us happy, so let’s not forget that when we complain about things. Is this a good time to shill a Raw Deal and/or TJRWrestling shirt? Absolutely. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Live from Grand Rapids, Michigan this is the Raw Deal for episode #1250. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the creative banner up top and all the banners over the years.

The opening video package reminded us of last week’s announcement of the 5-Way match at Extreme Rules on June 4 featuring Rollins, Reigns, Joe, Wyatt and Balor.

Bray Wyatt made his entrance to start the show. The spotlight was on Wyatt in the ring. He asked the crowd to stand up for him and respect him. Wyatt said that The Beast is the reason your children can’t sleep at night and he’s the voice in the back of your head. Wyatt claimed that he’s in control, he’ll open the chest of The Beast and feast on his black heart. Wyatt said that The Beast will die a death at the hands of his one true savior, Bray Wyatt. He added that four men will suffer at Extreme Rules. Wyatt told the people he can protect them.

Wyatt asked them if Seth Rollins can protect him and Wyatt noted that he sacrificed Rollins. Wyatt claimed he sacrificed Samoa Joe because in his world there are no friends, only followers. Wyatt talked about how the fans tried to live vicariously through Finn Balor, but at the end of this Balor will learn that Bray Wyatt is the only one that can slay the beast. Wyatt brought up the fifth man that claims this place is his yard…Roman Reigns (loud boos from the crowd). Wyatt said that silly yard doesn’t mean much to a man that owns the world. Wyatt said it’s his world and Roman’s music started up.

Roman Reigns had a slow walk down to the ring while Wyatt was in the ring. Reigns still has his upper body and left upper arm area taped up. Reigns suggested that Wyatt speak to his face. Wyatt said he’s the only there that can beat Brock Lesnar. Reigns said that won’t happen because he’ll beat four guys and then go on to face Lesnar at Extreme Rules. Reigns said right now he’s trying to figure out how to get Wyatt out of his yard.

Kurt Angle, the popular Raw GM, made his entrance with the crowd adding in the “you suck” chants out of love. Angle said those two guys are two of the odds on favorites going into Extreme Rules. Angle said he didn’t want to find out next week or later tonight. Angle set up Reigns vs. Wyatt right now. Angle called out a referee to go to the ring and ref John Cone ran down to ringside. That’s up after the break.

Analysis: Typical Raw opening segment where they went about 13 minutes to set up a match after the break. It’s usually for a match right away or later in the night. I wonder what percent of the time that has happened in my eight years of doing the Raw Deal? I would guess 90% of the time, if not higher. Wyatt’s promo was solid, but he doesn’t have a lot of credibility due to so many booking inconsistencies. Crowd was hot for Angle. Always good to hear that.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt

It started after the break. This is an old rivalry that featured a lot of matches a few years ago. It was hard hitting from the beginning with Reigns knocking Wyatt out of the ring. When they got back into the ring, Wyatt hit a uranage slam to take control briefly. When Wyatt charged in, Reigns hit a leaping clothesline to counter. Reigns hit Wyatt with ten clotheslines in the corner and Wyatt came back with a running cross body attack to take him down. Samoa Joe’s music hit. He marched down to the ring looking angry like usual. Joe went into the ring and applied the Coquina Clutch on Reigns. The ref called for the bell. It went about five minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns

Analysis: *1/2 It was just a short match to set up the angle with Joe leading to the disqualification. Good hard hitting action while it was going on, though.

Reigns broke free of the Coquina Clutch and Joe put the Coquina Clutch on Wyatt. Seth Rollins ran down to the ring to brawl with Joe as Rollins hit Joe with a dropkick to knock him out of the ring. Wyatt charged at Rollins and Reigns hit Wyatt with a Superman Punch to save Rollins. The heels left the ring while Reigns and Rollins were in the ring.

Analysis: Good action. It’s weird that Rollins would run in to actually save Wyatt, but I think it was more about Rollins wanting to fight Joe. That situation also sets up an obvious tag match.

Later on Raw: Finn Balor vs. Karl Anderson. Also, Matt Hardy vs. Sheamus and the winner chooses stipulation of their Extreme Rules match.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: Here’s my review of WWE Backlash presented by the Smackdown brand. It got a lot of people talking because of Jinder Mahal wining the WWE Title from Randy Orton. I have plenty of thoughts on it in the column, so check it out…I also wrote a reaction piece to Backlash on The Comeback with a look at the booking decisions, what’s next for the key performers and plenty of more thoughts about JinderMania running wild, brother.

Reigns and Rollins backstage with Reigns telling Rollins he didn’t need him. Rollins said he was there to go after Samoa Joe. Angle showed up to set up the obvious tag match for later: Reigns & Rollins vs. Wyatt and Joe. Reigns and Rollins left. Holla holla Teddy Long tag match playa.

The Drifter Elias Samson showed up with his guitar with Angle standing there. Angle told him he’s tried to get his attention and he’s finally got it. Angle said he’ll give him his first match ever against…Dean Ambrose. The Drifter just looked ahead and played the guitar while Angle left.

Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari

Tozawa was aggressive early on hitting a senton. Brian Kendrick was shown watching a monitor backstage as the announcers talked to him. When Tozawa missed a corner attack, Daivari hit him with a clothesline. Tozawa with a boot to the face, then a hurricanrana and snap back suplex. Tozawa did his yelling that Kendrick complained about when they talked to him. Tozawa went up top and jumped off with a senton back splash for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa

The replay of the finisher looked great. He got a lot of height.

Analysis: * Easy win to put over Tozawa since he’s got the match with Kendrick on 205 Live this week. Finisher looked cool and was unique because I haven’t seen somebody win with that kind of move on Raw for a long time. Always good to do different things to stand out.

Brian Kendrick said he’ll destroy Tozawa in their street fight on Tuesday on 205 Live.

Up next is Dean Ambrose vs. Elias Samson aka The Drifter.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Banks said when she wins tonight over Alicia Fox she’ll finally get rid of her. Fox walked up to her with Noam Dar with Dar and Fox telling Banks she’s all alone. Dar said she’s not a boss, she’s something else, when Banks asked what, Dar was intimidated and said he wasn’t telling her. Banks yelled at him as if to say “that’s right” and she walked off.

Analysis: Banks vs. Fox round three tonight. Yawn. Please turn Banks heel soon. She needs it.

Elias Samson was in the ring with his guitar. The crowd booed while he sang about how we could say goodbye to the lunatic (Dean Ambrose). Ambrose’s music hit. Graves complained that he needs a mute button as his way of mocking Samson’s bad music.

Dean Ambrose made his entrance. The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse were on commentary sitting in with Michael Cole, Booker T and Corey Graves. The Miz faces Ambrose for the IC Title at Extreme Rules on June 4 with the stipulation that disqualifications can cost Ambrose the title.

Dean Ambrose vs. “The Drifter” Elias Samson

This is not for Ambrose’s Intercontinental Title.

Samson had a headlock and Ambrose applied an armbar. Samson sent Ambrose’s left arm into the top rope and Samson hit a running back elbow. With Ambrose on the apron, Samson hit a running knee to the face as the show went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Samson had Ambrose in an armbar. I noted this last week, but Ambrose wrestling in one of his shirts is a better look than a tank top. Running clothesline by Samson. Another armbar by Samson. Booker and Miz were arguing about things, so Cole basically told them to shut up so they can focus on the action as Ambrose hit a neckbreaker. Ambrose took control with clotheslines. Ambrose up top, he jumped off and Samson countered his attack with a leaping knee to the face for a two count leading to Ambrose getting a two count of his own. Ambrose bounced off the ropes with the running clothesline. Miz ran into the ring and hit Samson with a double axe to the back, so Ambrose was disqualified and Samson was announced as the winner. Miz celebrated his decision to cause Ambrose the DQ loss. It went about nine minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Elias Samson

Analysis: ** It was just an average match. The announcers kept going on about how good Samson was doing, but he is so basic in everything. I was never that impressed by him in NXT. There were no believable nearfalls in the match, so that’s why it was just basic stuff. Clever way to put over Miz causing the disqualification as a tease of what can happen at Extreme Rules.

After the match, Ambrose chased after Miz around the ring. When they got into the ring, Samson hit Ambrose in the back with a punch and Samson hit a neckbreaker on Ambrose. Miz was standing on the ramp with Maryse looking happy about it.

Analysis: It made Samson look strong after his first Raw match. It will probably lead to another Ambrose/Samson match soon. I’m not that impressed with Samson.

Up next: Finn Balor vs. Karl Anderson.

Big Cass was shown walking backstage with a referee. They walked over to Enzo Amore, who was out on the ground face down with one his shoes by his head. A ref told Cass to calm down leading to Cass telling another get help.

Analysis: It’s another “Enzo gets beat up” angle. They do that every few months it seems.

(Commercial)

Enzo was backstage sitting up talking to EMTs. Angle was there with Cass and the EMTs. Enzo said he got jumped and woke up to those guys asking him questions. Angle said they’ll find out what happened and Cass told Angle he better find out who did it before he (Cass) does. Graves joked that when he finds out he’ll high five them.

Analysis: I’m with Graves on that one. As for who could have attacked Enzo, I had a few readers say maybe it was Cass. Could be what they go with to split the team up.

(UPDATE: I don’t feel strongly about what I wrote live on Monday. Looks like it might be The Revival that did the attack on Enzo. Got details on that here.)

Finn Balor made his entrance to a huge ovation. It takes a few minutes for Balor to get out there, but it’s one of the best entrances.

Balor said it sounded like Balor Club was in the building. Balor said “vital” before saying “fatal 5-way” and said “oops” before continuing the promo. He moved on easily, so that’s good.  Balor was interrupted by Paul Heyman.

Heyman did his usual intro with the crowd chanting along with the start of it. Heyman commented about the Fatal 5-Way match at Extreme Rules. Heyman talked trash about Bray Wyatt and kept saying “Freaking” when talking about Rollins. Heyman said that Rollins is the focus of Samoa Joe, who is a hired mercenary and a badass assassin. Heyman said that Joe would be a victim. Heyman moved on to talking about the man that laid the Deadman down…Roman Reigns. Heyman said if Reigns wins the Fatal 5-Way at Extreme Rules he will just be Brock Lesnar’s victim.

Heyman got into the ring. Heyman told Balor that he is nobody’s victim. Heyman spoke about how others may view Balor as an underdog, but Heyman said that Balor is no underdog. Heyman said that he believes in his heart that Balor is the most talented in-ring performer in WWE today. Heyman mentioned he knows a bit about the word extreme and he knows that Balor doesn’t look at Brock Lesnar the way some people do – he thinks Balor believes Lesnar is like the other contenders in the Fatal 5-Way. Heyman told Balor he is most intrigued by Lesnar vs. Balor for the Universal Championship. Heyman shook his hand and said good luck.

Balor wanted Heyman to deliver a message to Brock Lesnar while noting that Lesnar isn’t there and said “surprise, surprise” to that. Balor told Heyman to tell Lesnar that Balor is going to win the Fatal 5-Way and he’ll beat Brock Lesnar.

Karl Anderson made his entrance with partner Luke Gallows as the show went to break.

Analysis: It’s good to hear from Heyman. He always seems to hit on one particular word in his promos and kept going with “victim” this week. Heyman saying that he’s intrigued by Lesnar vs. Balor was interesting and also something I’m sure a lot of fans would be interested in. I want to see that match, that’s for sure. Balor mocking Lesnar for not being there was good. I like seeing different people interact, so Heyman and Balor doing a promo together is a good thing for sure. Lesnar is back on Raw in a few weeks.

The Smackdown commercial noted that Jinder Mahal will have a Punjabi celebration as the new WWE Champion.

(Commercial)

Finn Balor vs. Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows)

Balor stomped away on Anderson early on. Gallows jumped on the apron to distract and Anderson hit a clothesline. Gallows connected with a punch to Balor while the ref wasn’t looking. Anderson continued on offense for a bit. Balor came back with a jumping kick to the head. Balor fired up with a running dropkick, Anderson got a boot to the face and he sat on the top rope. Balor came back with another leaping kick to the head. Balor with a running dropkick on Gallows on the floor followed by a running knee. Another leaping kick to the head by Balor on Anderson. Balor up top, Anderson to his feet, Balor jumped off and Anderson caught him with a spinebuster for a two count. Balor came back with a double stomp to the stomach. Balor hit a running somersault dive over the top to take out Gallows and Anderson on the floor. Slingblade by Balor in the ring, then a running dropkick and Balor went up top. Balor jumped off the top with the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: **1/4 Fun match for the time given. I don’t think anybody thought Anderson was going to win, which is fine because Balor’s in the Extreme Rules main event and needed the win more. The best thing about Balor’s offense is how exciting he is once he gets going. He does the leaping kick to the head a little too often, but the spot looks good, so might as well do it more than others. Crowd loved it too. Solid TV match.

The announcers shilled matches still to come.

(Commercial)

Alicia Fox and Noam Dar were in the ring. Sasha Banks made her entrance. It’s their third week in a row having a match with Banks winning, then Fox winning and now this match. The announcers talked about Fox being on a roll. I think she won one match, so that’s a roll apparently.

Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (w/Noam Dar)

Banks hit a dropkick that sent Fox out of the ring. With Banks on the apron, Dar distracted her and Fox hit a running boot to the face for a two count. Chinlock by Fox. Banks came back with a knee attack. When Fox went for a kick, Banks sent her up on the turnbuckle and hit a double knee attack to the ribs for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sasha Banks

Analysis: * Quick match to put over Banks. Rare to see Banks win with the double knee attack. Usually she has to go to her submission, but Fox is such a loser she loses to a setup move.

After the match, Dar went into the ring to argue with Banks and Banks slapped him. Fox hit Banks in the back with a forearm. Fox hit a Scissors Kick on Banks. The heel duo stood tall over Banks.

Analysis: This boring feud must continue apparently. Yawn. I assume it leads to some male wrestler (like Cedric Alexander or Rich Swann) teaming with Banks in a mixed tag. I can’t say I care.

Apollo Crews and Kalisto were talking backstage. Kalisto told Crews he’s known him for a long time and now Crews is fighting Titus O’Neil’s battles since Crews attacked Enzo last week. Kalisto wondered if Crews attacked Enzo earlier, which led to Crews saying no. Crews said that O’Neil has connections. O’Neil showed up wondering if Kalisto wanted to be in the Titus Brand.  Kalisto said no. Titus told Kalisto he’ll have a match with Crews and that ended it.

Analysis: Are we supposed to think O’Neil can make matches now? No idea. Anyway, I’m all for Crews becoming a heel since he was so boring as a face.

Alexa Bliss “gets extreme” up next. That doesn’t sound PG, kids.

(Commercial)

The announce team appeared on camera talking about the Golden Truth team splitting up last week after Goldust attacked R-Truth.

There was a Shattered Dreams Productions video featuring Goldust as if this was twenty years ago. Goldust said that gold never withers, never rusts and has infinite luster. Goldust said R-Truth is holding on to that last glimmer of hope just waiting to shine on Goldust’s silver screen. Goldust was handed a script and Goldust said he didn’t need it because it’s his picture. Goldust said he is back in the director’s chair and he’ll control when his next film will end. Goldust ended it by saying “The Golden Age is back” and did his chomp to end it.

Analysis: It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Goldust doing a promo like that. He’s almost 50 years old, but still good in the ring. I hope it works out for him.

Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. A replay aired from last week when Bliss hit Bayley in the back with a kendo stick. Bliss said she didn’t feel bad for Bayley and said she wants to hit her with a kendo stick again. Bliss said last week was nothing and said at Extreme Rules she’ll cover Bayley’s body in welts. Bliss claimed that Bayley’s not capable of being extreme – it’s not in her DNA. Bliss said she’ll beat Bayley’s friend Mickie James this week on Raw.

Analysis: Bliss does a nice job of showing confidence every week. Fun promo from her as usual.

They aired a video package of Roman Reigns attacking Braun Strowman from two weeks to show why Strowman is out after elbow surgery.

Rollins and Reigns vs. Wyatt and Joe still to come.

(Commercial)

Kalisto’s music change doesn’t help him. The “Lucha” chant was good for him.

Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Kalisto

Crews was in control with a dropkick early on. Crews hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Graves said he was an investor in the Titus Brand. Kalisto hit a jawbreaker, ran the ropes and Crews hit another dropkick. O’Neil told the ref not to mess with their money. Kalisto hit a forward roll into a rollup for two. O’Neil shouted instructions at Crews and Kalisto hit his Salida del Sol move for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kalisto

Analysis: *1/4 It was fine for the time given, but felt rushed at only three minutes. Too many short matches on this week’s show makes it hard to care about anything. They’ll probably do the match again next week with Crews getting the win because that’s typical Raw booking.

Post match, O’Neil yelled at Crews about the loss as if he was some coach trying to encourage a player.

Matt Hardy vs. Sheamus up next.

(Commercial)

Matt Hardy, one half of the Raw Tag Team Champions, made his entrance with brother Jeff Hardy. Loud ovation for them as always. Sheamus made his entrance with Cesaro.

Matt Hardy (w/Jeff Hardy) vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)

The winner of this match gets to pick the tag match stipulation at Extreme Rules.

Sheamus was in control early on. Matt hit a clothesline that sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. When Sheamus got back in the ring, Matt went for the Twist of Fate and Sheamus left to the floor. Matt followed him out of the ring, so Sheamus drove Matt back first into the side of the ring. Fans chanted “Brother Nero” for Jeff. Sheamus hit Matt with the forearms to the chest while on the apron and a forearm shot sent Matt into the barricade. Back in the ring, Sheamus hit a clothesline off the top for two. Sheamus missed a corner attack after Matt moved and Matt sent his head into the turnbuckle repeatedly with the fans chanting “delete” every time. Sheamus hit a rolling senton on Matt for a two count as the show went to break about five minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Sheamus hit the White Noise slam for a two count. Jeff Hardy went on the apron to distract Sheamus leading to Matt hitting a Tornado DDT for a two count. Weird to see faces doing the distraction spot. Matt hit the Side Effect for a two count. Nice “Delete” sign in the crowd. Sheamus hit a running knee lift to the face, but Matt got his hand on the bottom rope at the count of two. That looked nasty. Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick, but Matt moved out of the way. Cesaro tried to interfere, so Jeff hit a running clothesline on him outside the ring. Sheamus kicked at Jeff and Matt capitalized with a Twist of Fate on Sheamus for the win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Matt Hardy

Analysis: *** Pretty good match. The finish was well done with Matt getting an assist from Jeff for the win. The crowd was into the whole thing too, which shows how over the Hardys are every week no matter where they are. It was weird to see Jeff try to interfere for Matt in that one spot, but it didn’t lead to the finish. The Hardys have won every match they’ve had since the WrestleMania return. I could be wrong on that, but I think it’s right.

After the match, Matt and Jeff were asked by Charly Caruso what the stipulation will be for Extreme Rules. Matt said they will have a Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Sheamus and Cesaro acted angry about that stipulation.

Analysis: Tag team cage matches aren’t a favorite of mine. Most people probably thought they would say ladder match. I can see why they aren’t doing it since Smackdown has Money in the Bank later in June.

Main event still to come: Rollins & Reigns against Wyatt & Joe.

(Commercial)

The Cruiserweight Title match at Extreme Rules will be Austin Aries challenging Neville for the title in a Submission Match.

Austin Aries vs. Tony Nese

Neville was watching the match at ringside.

Aries applied a submission on Nese. Aries had the left knee bandaged up. Nese escaped to the floor, so Aries did a slingshot attack over the top onto Nese on the floor. After Aries looked Neville, Nese kicked the left leg of Aries. Nese was on offense for a bit, but he didn’t really go after the left leg much. Aries got a right foot to the face. Aries jumped off the ropes and Nese hit him with a forearm to the chest. Nese went for a suplex, but Aries countered with a guillotine choke, which Aries powered out of and Aries applied the Last Chancery submission for the win after five minutes.

Winner by submission: Austin Aries

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win to put over Aries heading into his title match. As I noted in the review, Nese didn’t even work on the leg even though it was bandaged. He did one move on the knee. I don’t like that. If the story is a guy working through a knee injury then work on the knee. That’s basic psychology. Anyway, no surprise that Aries won.

After the match was over, Neville attacked Nese by shoving him down face first. Neville applied the Rings of Saturn submission on Nese while Aries watched from the aisle. The ref made Neville break it up.

Analysis: It was a case of Neville wanting to show Aries that he is better than him, so that’s why he attacked Nese in a cheap manner.

Alexa Bliss was shown walking backstage for her match up next.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for NXT hyping Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake and Aleister Black in action.

The great Mickie James made her entrance. Can she get promo time? No. Of course not. Alexa Bliss made her entrance. Bliss defends the Raw Women’s Title against Bayley at Extreme Rules on June 2 in a “Kendo Stick on a Pole” match.

Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James

This is not for Alexa’s title.

They fought over a waist lock early on. Bliss stomped away on James in the corner. James came back with punches and kicks to the ribs. Mickie hit a kick to the face followed by a running forearm, clothesline and a neckbreaker for two. James hit her with forearms to the face that the announcers reacted to in a big way. James off the ropes with a running kick to the face. Bliss created some space and hit a punch to the face. Bliss hit a DDT for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Analysis: * Bliss hit a couple of moves to win. It’s fine to see the champ win, but I’d like to see James used better. I’m not sure why Bliss is using a DDT finish when so many others used DDTs and hers doesn’t look good. When Mickie does the leaping DDT it’s a lot better. I like a lot of things about Bliss, but her offense is weak.

Bliss celebrated outside the ring while James was out in the ring.

Bliss looked for a kendo stick, couldn’t find it and then she found it. Bliss hit James with a hard kendo stick shot to the back. James sold it very well as she got out of the ring. Bayley ran out of the save, tripped up Bliss and Bayley had the kendo stick while Bliss went up the ramp. They replayed the kendo stick by Bliss two times in a row including a slow-motion replay. Bayley checked on James on the floor as Bayley’s music played to end it.

Analysis: That was a good angle to build up the kendo stick as a weapon, which is fine because we don’t see it used in women’s matches that often.

Main event tag is up next.

(Commercial)

The main event tag wrestlers made their entrances separately.

Bray Wyatt was out first. After Wyatt was in the ring, they played Seth Rollins’ music. Oops. Then they played Samoa Joe’s music, which was correct, and Graves covered up for the gaffe by saying that Wyatt was playing mind games. That’s why Graves is the best.

Seth Rollins made his entrance first for his team. Roman Reigns is up last.

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt & Samoa Joe

The heels sent Rollins into the barricade as the show went to break less than one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Rollins broke free and tagged in Reigns. Running clothesline. Reigns set up for the Superman Punch, Wyatt did his upside down crawling thing and Reigns was stunned by it. Joe distracted Reigns, so Wyatt knocked Reigns out of the ring. Joe sent Reigns into the ring post. Joe tagged in and he worked on Reigns in the heel side of the ring. Raw GM Kurt Angle was shown looking on backstage as Joe applied a headlock. When Reigns got back to his feet, Joe with a corner splash and a jumping kick to the head of Reigns. Wyatt tagged in with a running splash in the corner. Chinlock city by Wyatt. Wyatt dumped Reigns out of the ring, Joe went at Reigns and Reigns sent Joe into the steel post. Reigns drove Wyatt throat first against the top rope and Reigns hit a running dropkick on Joe outside the ring. Wyatt missed a charge at Reigns. Joe got the tag and Rollins got the hot tag.

Rollins with a springboard clothesline on Joe, he dove on Wyatt on the floor and Slingblade by Rollins on Joe. Rollins hit a suicide dive on both heels on the floor. Rollins up top, both heels went after him and Rollins knocked them both down. Rollins hit a cross body block to knock down both guys. Reigns with an uppercut punch on Wyatt and a punch on Joe. Rollins hit a leaping kick on Joe. Reigns charged at Joe, which led to Joe moving out of the way and Reigns jumped up (he was going for a Superman Punch) followed by an accidental shoulder tackle on Rollins. That led to Rollins yelling at Reigns. Wyatt pulled Reigns out of the ring. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch submission and took down Rollins. Rollins was out, so the ref called for the bell after 13 minutes. It was a pass out rather than a tap out.

Winners by submission: Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a quality main event to put over the heels as a cohesive unit at least for one night. The main story was that Reigns accidentally bumped into Rollins and that cost their team the victory. I thought Reigns did a great job of selling (he’s good at that even though his haters complain), Rollins was on fire as usual after the hot tag and they set up the collision spot well. The fans were into the match quite a bit with Reigns not getting booed as much since it was a tag. Putting over Joe’s deadly submission move is smart. It’s important to book him strong and give him a lot of momentum.

After the match, Joe and Wyatt talked in the ring about their victory although it’s not like they celebrated a lot.

Finn Balor showed up in the office to talk to Angle. Balor told Angle he wants to have a match with one of them. Angle told Balor he’ll face Wyatt and Joe in a triple threat next week. Angle also announced Rollins vs. Reigns.

Analysis: I love Angle, but sounded like he pronounced Balor’s name wrong there by saying “Baylor” instead.

The show ended with Wyatt and Joe staring at eachother while the faces were out around the ring. That’s it for Raw at 11:07pmET.

Analysis: It’s nice to see them announce two big matches for Raw next week. I’m picking Balor to win the Extreme Rules main event at this point.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Finn Balor

2. Seth Rollins

3. Samoa Joe

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 7

2017 Average: 5.81

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.85 (Smackdown is 6.71)

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5, 7.5, 4.5, 7.5

2017 High: 8 (April 3)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 6 out of 10.

It was just an average show with no meaningful promos, a lot of short matches (six matches under five minutes) and a pretty good main event. I don’t know what the goal was with some of the short matches other than to get people victories that are in PPV matches. The amount of quick matches clearly tired out the crowd and made them not care at various points.

Can we get a big story or angle? The biggest thing on this show was who attacked Enzo. Yawn. I miss the excitement of Raw. It’s been too long since they did something that felt big.

Here’s the lineup for Raw’s Extreme Rules show on June 4.

Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules Match to Determine #1 Contender for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe

Raw Tag Team Championships – Steel Cage Match: The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus & Cesaro

Raw Women’s Championship – Kendo Stick on a Pole: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz – The title can change hands on a disqualification.

Cruiserweight Championship – Submission Match: Neville vs. Austin Aries

That’s all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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